Friday, July 21, 2006

Burnside, "THE SKID-ROAD."

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Portland waterfront near the Burnside Bridge, c.1925

From a WPA "Guide to Portland," of all things.

The wide thoroughfare North of Ankeny Street is "THE SKID-ROAD," known as a meeting place for itinerant workers from all over the country. In former days Burnside Street separated the rough North End "bowery" district from the more genteel parts of town, but now it is the southern boundary of a cheap mercantile district of lounging rooms for itinerants and numerous cheap hotels and flop houses. These are gradually being pinched out to make room for factories and wholesale warehouses. In 1905 Mayor Harry Lane, later United States Senator, clamped down on the women denizens, and scattered them to all parts of the city. Since then the city has had no restricted red light district.
Portland had a "restricted red light district?" No surprised, really. After all, what western U.S. town was not without its, uh, adult entertainments?

Portland, you dirty girl, you.

1 comment:

jd chandler said...

This is a bit of misinformation. There never was a "restricted" zone for prostitution in Portland. There was, however, a high concentration of prostitutes in the area know as "Whitechapel" stretching north on 2nd and 3rd ave from about couch to just south of everett.