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Oregon Historical Photo: Flooded Front Street, Downtown Portland


 
The main commercial area of Portland was prone to flooding in the early days. 1870.
 

  The main commercial area of Portland was prone to flooding in the early days. 1870.  

The Oregon Historical Society. Folder 1540.

Each week Oregon Experience shares a photo highlighting the state’s diverse, exciting history.  

Portland’s waterfront of the mid to late nineteenth century was not the idyllic tree-lined park we see now. It catered to the shipping trade and was filthy, smelly and dangerous, filled with brothels and idle men whose meager wages were burning holes in their pockets. Intrepid August Erickson, owner of the infamous Erickson’s Saloon, made the best of a particularly bad flood in 1869 by chartering a scow and stocking it with liquor allowing business to continue as usual to the delight of thirsty men.  

Watch the Oregon Experience documentary “Portland Noir” to learn more about the early, messy days of Portland.

Portland Noir

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