Crooked City Stroll - Soundtrack for Portland's Scandalous Past
Updated: Oct 3, 2019
This week on Travlin' the Tracks I'm presenting part 2 of my soundtrack for scandalous mid-century Portland.
In the first week of October of 1948, Portland City Club released a report on the vice and crime situation in Portland stating "Portland had become the clearing house for dope, bootlegged whisky, prostitutes and other contraband for the entire area from north of California and west of Colorado”.
The vice situation in Portland would only go on to intensify over the next decade.
The city becoming so notorious that a noir exploitation film was made about it.
This is a chapter of Portland's past that's not often discussed in our rapidly growing city. Like our history of racism and Jim Crow laws, these are not the things we tend to feel proud about. If you're new to Portland, all of this may seem incongruous with Portland's current reputation as progressive, trendy city. However, the grittier aspects of Portland's history were very much a part of the city's culture as recently as a decade ago.
If you haven't read up on the city's seedy past, this paper about Portand's vice crime boss Big Jim Elkins is a great place to start.
For more on Tempest Storm's turbulent times in Portland, check this article out.