Portland is a young city, one of the youngest on the planet. Yet, for years Portland has been considered a “wide-open town.” A town where anything is available.
Prior to the 1930’s, the Southern Pacific railroad’s main track ran right up Portland’s SW Fourth Avenue from Union Station in the Old North End all the way to Sacramento, California. Due to this, there was as you might imagine, a Right Side of the Tracks and a Wrong Side of the Tracks. The Right Side where the wealthy and middle class lived, and the Wrong Side between SW Fourth and the Willamette River with hundreds of saloons, gambling halls, opium dens (where Portlanders smoked an estimated 75 pounds per day), brothels, bagnios and cribs, gambling halls, Shanghaiing and so much more.
As a sea port, Portland was an entertainment mecca for lack of a better term. Anything could be had for a price. Fortunes were made off vice. Made by respectable citizens as well as a large criminal element.
From fourth Avenue to the banks of the Willamette River, south to Jefferson Street, all the way to our Union Station train depot- this was our Sin City. And it lasted well into the 1960’s and beyond. Though gone now, our tours focus on the more interesting remaining relics of the Gay 90’s of the 19th Century.
Map of Southern Pacific tracks on S.W. 4th through downtown Portland from the 1880’s through the 1930’s.
SinCity Portland Walking Tours
Well researched * Historically accurate * Typically Portland
— 503 298-3661 —