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Shanghai Tunnel Tours, Portland

1.3
#53 of 56 in Tours in Portland
The Old Portland Underground, better known locally as the Shanghai tunnels, are a group of passages in Portland, Oregon, United States, mainly underneath the Old Town/Chinatown section and connecting to the main business section. The tunnels connected the basements of many hotels and taverns to the waterfront of the Willamette River. They were built to move goods from the ships docked on the Willamette to the basement storage areas, allowing businesses to avoid streetcar and train traffic on the streets when delivering their goods.During 1990, area businessman Bill Naito was quoted in the newspaper The Oregonian as saying that the tunnels are underneath "Northwest Couch, Davis and Everett streets".Historians have stated that although the tunnels exist and the practice of Shanghaiing was sometimes practiced in Portland as elsewhere, there is not any evidence that the tunnels were used for this.In Barney Blalock's book, "The Oregon Shanghaiers", Blalock a Portland historian, dates the notion the tunnels were used to shanghai sailors to a series of apocryphal stories that appeared in The Oregonian in 1962, and the subsequent popularity of "Shanghai tunnel" tours that began in the 1970s. He says the tours were popular but misled visitors.In popular cultureThe underground tunnels are reportedly haunted and were featured on an episode of Ghost Adventures. These tunnels have also been featured as settings and plot devices in television shows set in Portland, such as Leverage and Grimm.
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Shanghai Tunnel Tours Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 3.5
124 reviews
TripAdvisor
  • The tour operated by the Cascade Geographic Society was a highlight of our week in Portland. History that we would never have known (and have since learned that many Portland residents don't know) add...  more »
  • We took the Portland Underground tour on Saturday night. Our guide was very knowledgeable about the history of the area and it was really interesting to be able to go "underground" into the tunnels. W...  more »

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