Criminal history in Portland, OR

Have you heard about the seedy, sordid history of the Portland underworld? I am a bit of a history buff, not because it’s our task, just because I care about it, but i read lots of books, and spend a lot of time doing deep-dive research on the PC, then between the libraries and Google I consistently have more information than I can possibly handle, and after moving to Portland, OR a few weeks ago, I started to focus our studying on local history, and found a treasure trove of fascinating stories.

In the 1940s and 1950s, Portland was a notorious hub of criminal interest, and under the stern hand of a local gangster named Jim Elkins, Portland was the center of a massive underground criminal organization that went up and down the seaboard… Elkins drew a lot of scrutiny on a national level for Portland, but the funny thing is that it didn’t seem to hurt the city’s image at all, that same period of criminal interest was also a crucial boom in the local economy of Portland. There have been numerous books written about Elkins and the Portland mob, but genuinely the most famous version of it is a film called Portland Expose made in 1957. It is not an self-explanatory film to track down, but anyone interested in Portland history should check it out; Soon after Elkins is when the hippies migrated to Portland from down south, and brought with them the cannabis that helped make this neighborhood famous in later years, and of course cannabis isn’t a criminal offense in Portland, OR, but it used to be.

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