Vice, Vengeance and Victims
In the quiet Northwest, Portland has been doing its own thing for over 160 years. Much of the early history was lawless, with local villains letting nothing stand in the way of their quest for profit.
Hear about the history of the Shanghai tunnels below the city sidewalks. Used to smuggle incapacitated innocents to a life of slavery on the high seas.
You’ll visit upstanding establishments that have inadvertently become the sites of bizarre bedevilments that have sent many running in terror from their gilded doors. Hotels besieged by spirits and restaurants troubled by disturbing apparitions, all these and more feature on your Portland Ghosts walking tour. Some of the buildings you’ll see date back to the late 1800s and early 1900s and retain much of their early charm, as well the spirits of some of their original occupants who have never quite let go of this earthly realm.
You will hear stories from the history books of Portland’s early days, as the discovery of gold in the Yukon, past the end of the rail line in Portland, made it the last place to get supplies and brought rapid expansion during the late 1800s. The stories you will hear have been compiled directly from historical records, and the fascinating histories will be delivered to you by knowledgeable and engaging guides in the very spots where these hauntings happened. You’ll see why some of the spots on your tour frequently make national top ten “most haunted” lists and are regularly visited by paranormal researchers, authors, and the curious from around the world.
Why is downtown Portland so haunted?
Downtown Portland was a rough area in the early days of the city; the new port brought in people from all over the world. Many newcomers had shady pasts and had no qualms about victimizing others, even if it meant killing to get what they wanted.
You’ll hear how men and women alike fell prey to a multitude of evils that roamed the city blocks you will walk along. Much of this despicable crime occurred in the Shanghai Tunnels under the city, leaving a trail of broken victims whose last earthly memory was the slimy underground walls.
Then there are the spirits of notable members of the early Portland community. Like Mr. Simon Benson, and his rags to riches story. He arrived penniless from Norway at age 16, earned a fortune in the lumber business, and built the Benson Hotel, ‘to rival any on the East Coast.’ He was also a teetotaler and gifted the city the Bronze Drinking fountains you will see all over the Downtown area. His ghost still patrols the Benson hotel, knocking over the drinks of people he thinks have had too much!
The Portland Ghosts Walking Tour will reveal details and unexpected twists best experienced in Portland’s silky black night when the cover of daytime is drawn back to expose the city’s history of darkness. Reserve your tour today and see why many of Portland’s ghosts have chosen to stay downtown forever.
Our nightly tours take you to some of the most haunted locations in downtown Portland. All tours start at the specified time according to the booking calendar. On our Ghosts of Downtown Portland tour, you’ll explore both the paranormal and historical accounts of each of our carefully selected tour stops. You’ll visit some of the locations that have been made famous by paranormal researchers, television programs and nationally recognized top ten “Most Haunted” lists.
All Ghost Tours meet in front of the Lan Su Chinese Garden at 239 NW Everett St., at the corner of Everett St. and 3rd St. We are not affiliated with the Chinese Garden.
The standard tour route is approximately 1 mile. Eight different locations are included in our standard tour. Our extended tour includes four extra locations, adding 1.9 miles to the distance for a total distance of 2.9 miles.
The tour is around 1 hour long, and is 1.1 miles long. If you choose the extended tour, you will get roughly 30 minutes and an additional 0.5 miles after the first tour ends.
Portland: Ghosts of Downtown ghost tours are held every night. Check booking calendar for times and more details. Please arrive at least ten minutes early and allow plenty of time for parking and walking to the location. Tours are held rain or shine! Rain is a key element in the Pacific Northwest and most “true” Portlanders don’t even use umbrellas. It is acceptable to carry one though, if there is a chance of rain in the forecast.
Admission for the Ghosts of Downtown Portland tour must be purchased ahead of time on our site. Click “Buy Tickets” to bring up the ticket order process, fill the (short!) form out completely, and confirm your reservation, then… you’re done!
You do NOT need to print your tickets or worry about mobile passes! After completing your tour reservation online, you’ll automatically be added to the admission list for your tour time and date. Simply bring your ID with you for us to verify your reservation before your tour begins.
There is curbside parking throughout the area with small green kiosks located on every block to purchase parking permits. The kiosks take coins and credit cards. If you prefer a parking garage with longer term rates, there is a multi-level Smart Park parking garage at 33 NW Davis at the corner of 1st St. This is just two blocks to the east of the Lan Su Chinese Garden.
Here are 4 reasons why you should book Portland Ghosts right now!
You want to know the real story of Portland
There’s so much more to Portland than its recent hipster revival; it has its own unique atmosphere and its own quirky history. Like the dedicated fire chief from the early 1900s who still hangs around Kell’s Irish Bar. He led practically the entire Portland Volunteer Fire Department into a blaze at an oil distribution plant, nearly losing his life. The firehouse he was stationed at is just a block and a half away from Kells Bar, maybe he haunts his regular bar waiting for the next callout?
Portland’s early development got a boost when it was discovered the Willamette River was deep enough to allow ocean-going ships to dock. The rapid development in the previously densely forested land meant a great deal of the tree stumps were left standing, some in the middle of new roads and besides new houses. Some were painted white, so people didn’t trip over them. One visitor reported more stumps than trees in Portland, giving it the Stumptown nickname.
Your haunted tour will take you to a curated selection of locations with fascinating stories, and authentic ghosts that reveal this city’s history and the darker side of its past.
You only have a short time in Portland.
Portland’s downtown is easily walkable, and the carefully chosen route takes you to the best 8 or 12 locations to give you an entertaining look at the city’s ghostly past. We walk past the rebuilt Erickson’s Saloon, which once had one of the longest bars in the country, nearly 700 feet long, 30 bartenders could serve 300 men 10c pints of German beer, or 5c pints of domestic!
Upstairs at Erickson’s Saloon was a disease-infested sex factory, ‘street girls’ operated a rapid turnaround brothel in deplorable conditions. The ghosts of the original building that burned down continue to haunt the masonry building there today, confused ghosts of loggers have been seen hurrying around the upstairs, now a set of apartments.
This is just one of the 8 locations on the standard tour that all have fantastic stories attached, if you want more, opt for the extended tour to see an additional 4 locations that put you in touch with the true character of this town, and the stories of its longest residents!
You are skeptical of the Supernatural.
We won’t try to change your mind if you don’t currently have the imagination to see the connection with the energy we put into the world and our continued presence after we die. Even if these compelling ghost tales don’t change your mind, we’ll leave you with a vivid and atmospheric tour through the history of Portland and its past residents.
Like Frank Woon, restauranteur, Chinese immigrant, and gangland boss! He used imported thugs from San Francisco (where nothing good comes from!) Frank hatched a plan to establish his gang as the pack of top dogs. His brainwave devolved into an eighteen-minute street fight, with blood and corpses left in the street afterward, and Frank still not the top dog. He tortured a succession of rivals in his restaurant storage room over the years, many of whom had his stacks of onions as the last things on this earth that they saw.
Later on, Frank started being tormented by the ghosts of his rivals; he was seen running from his restaurant late at night, chased by nobody. He was later found dead on the second-floor balcony one day, clutching a stick, his eyes wide open. Portland Ghosts tour will show you where Frank haunts today and what has become of the Restaurant.
You want something the whole family will enjoy.
Ghost tours can sometimes focus only on the gory details, ruining any chance of a good night’s sleep. They tend to exaggerate the bloodiness and diminish the subtle art of a good scare. The approach at Portland Ghosts is to paint a vivid picture of the lives of the people in the stories, the better we recreate a truly absorbing picture of life in Old Portland, the more scared you will be when we reveal the bloodcurdling nature of their deaths and how they continue to haunt us!
However, we don’t want anyone to lose sleep, even younger members on the tours. We proudly encourage the whole family to come on the Portland Ghosts tour and see what it was like to be convicted of the most serious crimes and sentenced to death at the Multnomah County Courthouse, now the site of the impressive and beautiful City Hall.
We’ll tell you the stories of the people who haunt the City Hall today, and what strange supernatural acts they use to make their presence felt.
You've done the hipster stuff and want to know more.
Portland has a great vibe, good community, and some really off the beaten track things to see and do. The Ace Hotel downtown is about the hippest place to stay, and it’s just down the road from the ‘best book store on earth’ Powell’s Books. If you have been to the Smoked Vegan restaurant up in Cathedral Park and rented a 90s mountain bike from the guy who is also an urban goat farmer (true story), then you might be looking around for what else Portland has to offer.
The rain here is pretty regular or threatening, at least, so there are a bunch of great cinemas and film festivals here. The Northwest Film Center has a great theatre and a constant rotation of events. But if you are looking for something a bit more personal, then try Portland Ghosts. You’ll hear engaging and thrilling stories told by knowledgable and entertaining local guides from the very spots the spooky stories happened; you will hear tales from throughout the fascinating history of Portland.
You will hear 8 stories of horrible hauntings, but no one will jump out on you, and nothing is going to explode or appear out of nowhere. Instead, the carefully researched and skillfully told stories will paint an engrossing picture of the real lives our ghosts led and the tragic circumstances of their death. We let your own mind do most of the work, imagining the pain, and turmoil, the injustice, and fear, so when you hear the verified accounts of the hauntings these ghosts create today, the fear will be all of your own making.