The Portland Shanghai Tunnels

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A brief report on the Portland Underground, more commonly known as the Shanghai Tunnels. Portland, Oregon used to be one of the most feared places in the world during the

Submitted: February 01, 2008

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Submitted: February 01, 2008

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The Portland Shanghai Tunnels
 
Today, Portland, Oregon is known as a liberal, humble, Victorian-refined city, the beautiful “City of Roses.” But, from 1850 to 1941, Portland was one of the most dangerous places to be in the world, particularly for women. It was known as the “Forbidden City” or the “Unheavenly City” due to the alarming practice of shanghaiing. A large network of dark tunnels lays half-buried beneath the streets of Portland, stretching from the North End (modern day Old Town, Skidmore Fountain, and Chinatown) all the way down to the South End (today’s southwest downtown area).
Can you imagine being kidnapped, knocked out, and then waking up many hours later on a ship in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, being forced to perform slave work for sailors? Most victims were able-bodied men, good for slave labor, but women were also grabbed and dragged through the tunnels, where they were sold as slaves or forced into prostitution. If you survived, it would take about six years to return to Portland, but women rarely were seen again. 
There are regular tours of the Shanghai tunnels (lesser known as the Portland Underground). The main one is the “Heritage Tour,” focused on the practice of shanghaiing itself. Another is the “Ghost Tour,” about the haunts and ghosts in the Portland Underground. The Shanghai Tunnels are proclaimed to be the most haunted place in Oregon, and possibly all along the West Coast. The “Ethnic History Tour” is about the background on the Chinese, Japanese, and Gypsy shanghaiiers. 

Under of beautiful city of Portland lies a hidden world with shady secrets and mysteries waiting patiently to be solved. A lot of people try to cover up Portland’s shadowed past, for they are ashamed of the horrid reputation the City of Roses earned. But in truth, it is the future that is important, not the past. It matters not what happened in the past, but what is happening in the present and the future. We must look ahead to all of the things to come in the beautiful city of Portland, Oregon. 


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