Portland Walking Tours

“How much of the Shanghai Tunnels do we get to see?”

June 22nd, 2012

We know we’re not the only tour option in town. We often get confused for another tour group who makes some pretty outrageous claims about what went on in Portland’s ‘neath-layers, what the tunnels were used for, and what you can see down there if you tour with them.

Here’s the facts:  No matter whose tour you go on in Portland, you cannot go INTO the tunnels. They’ve been shut down for decades by the City for safety reasons. Anyone who tells you they’re bringing you into the Shanghai Tunnels is, pure and simple, making that up.

On OUR tour, you’ll see a little bit – what is purported to be (with some justification) an entrance to the walled-off tunnels. You can duck into that entrance and see (if you bring a flashlight), the wall about ten or twelve feet in that seals off further access. You’ll get a pretty good idea of how cramped and skanky these tunnels were. You’ll hear about the true practice of “crimping” (the real term for what is now called “Shanghaiing”) and get the real scoop on how useful those tunnels might have been for crimpers.

Lately, it’s getting worse. Fly-by-night tour “companies” seem to be popping up like dandelions these days, including, it seems, people who learned everything they know about the so-called “Shanghai Tunnels” on-line.

Well, that’s one approach, I guess. It’s all very entertaining … but pretty misleading.

Here’s another (the one we prefer):  see for yourself what’s there. Bring tour guests down there. And when you show them basements, tell them it’s a basement. Only call a “tunnel” something that actually IS a tunnel. Then tell them what it REALLY was used for.

Lest you think you’ll be crawling around under city streets finding dead bodies and stolen shoes… well, we just wanted to set the record straight.