Portland Underground

The Shanghai Tunnels

Useful Information

Location: Portland, Hobo's Restaurant, 120 NW Third Ave., Old Town-Chinatown.
Open: All year Fri, Sat. By appointment, after 16.
Fee: Adults USD 12, Children (0-12) USD 7.
Groups (15+): [2007]
Classification: SubterraneaCellar
Guided tours: D=90 min.
Address: Portland Underground Tours, Cascade Geographic Society, P.O. Box 398, Rhododendron, Oregon 97049, Tel: +1-503-622-4798. E-mail: contact
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.




The Portland Underground are networks of tunnels, which were once used to hide and transport kidnapped people. This process was called shanghaiing, as the victims often were sold to ships sailing to Shanghai.

Ships in the harbour of Portland always were in need of sailors. Many captains had no problem to buy their shipmen in an illegal way, if they were cheap enough. Once on sea, they were not able to flee and had to work if they wanted food and water. Some bartenders satisfied this demand, by kidnapping drunken guests. Late in the night, when nobody in the bar was noticing, the drunken men were disappearing through trap doors, known as "deadfalls". They fell down on paillasses, were confined in cells, and then sold to the ships.

One of those bars is the eponymous Shanghai Bar on Ankeny Street, at the waterfront. It is partly built into one of these tunnels. This gives the bar a special atmosphere.