More Than Just Shanghaiing Underground in Portland

I’ve heard a lot about the Shanghai tunnels under Portland’s downtown, the tours you can take that begin outside Hobo’s in Oldtown/Chinatown – and I’ve seen that curly haired guy (Micheal P. Jones) on multiple occasions giving reporters and other TV personalities tours of the tunnels. And apparently that was the only part of the story that the O thought we’d be interested in for their review of the show. It’s always interesting – but what fascinated me even more about Portland’s contribution – Underground Bootleggers – to Discovery Channel’s “Cities of the Underworld” series were the other underground places of Portland’s past – and some of the new stuff too.

I knew Portland had speakeasy’s (and wish they still did – that would be so cool!) but didn’t realize that Huber’s had actually been one, and that if we had speakeasy’s we had to have had bootleggers – and that Portland’s lead bootlegger was a woman. ‘Prohibition Rose’ ran brothels all over town as well as one of the most successful whiskey stills under what is now a graphics shop over off of E. Sandy/Burnside (I think – they never gave the name, but I’m pretty sure I recognized the building) and was then camouflaged by an Italian meat market. There was also a series of underground speakeasy’s that featured bare knuckle boxing up in the Kenton neighborhood – apparently a main attraction for cattle buyers in town for an auction.

They also talked a bit about Portland current situation underground with meth lab leftovers and what the Big Pipe project is (I honestly had never paid much attention to it – if nothing else the technology of what they’re doing is amazing!)

They’re repeating the episode this weekend (and probably several more times as they are want to do) and there are some video clips on The History Channels website that aren’t part of the show. Check ’em out – it’s some fascinating history on our city.

1 Comment so far

  1. Julian Chadwick (unregistered) on July 24th, 2007 @ 11:40 pm

    The episodes are also usually “On Demand” as well.

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