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Spooked In Portland


Many years ago I was part of the Portland restaurant scene, working and partying after hours in haunted buildings around the PDX- Metro area. It would be very interesting to see if anyone else had similar haunting experiences, back in the day.

In Portland, my favorite haunted place you could still visit, is an historic movie theater where I have volunteered sometimes. All of Portland's historic theaters are wonderful spots to visit for that certain supernatural thrill, as well as some more modern cinemas in the suburbs.

I have come to enjoy the neighborly type spooks that seem to hang out at these spots. Or at bars like The Belmont Inn, Moe's or Embers, looking for a good time. I have shivered walking past the darkened old-west dance halls, but have only been frightened to go near a few places like the old brick pioneer jail, when I lived downtown. That building was terrifying to walk close to, or even look at. I don't know if any of those places still stand.

The second level of the Galleria shopping mall is someplace I would never go back to for a million dollars, even if it was still open. It feels like the mouth of hell. The Burlingame neighborhood also makes me intensely uncomfortable. Mount Tabor Park has always given me the awful creeps, but that may be because it is a live volcano within city limits.

Here are some more Portland haunts:

At twenty years old, I was a barista for a Halloween charity, all-ages rave, held in the building which used to be the City Night Club. It was apparently under renovation. I was new to town. I am not sure when the club had shuttered, but the old club furniture and a lot of bar junk was still there. It was a very casual gig, a favor for a coworker, and I was stoked to attend. Halloween is my favorite holiday.

I had never been there. I did not expect dirty floors and rigged lights showing holes in walls from old equipment, and tore out wiring everywhere. It felt old but had nineties decor. Possible squatters. My coworker was there early, to set up. More people we knew were expected to party until late.

I came in and followed upstairs, the back way, before dark. Someone took me through to an espresso bar set up next to piles of dusty half-trashed club junk in one of the open spaces for dancing. We had to go through some narrow, dirty service corridors which came out by an old bar top. I could see out the windows to the street front of the building at the tops of trees, until it got dark. Everything was all set up, so I just stared out the window waiting for the deejay to start the party.

The longer I was there, I became so lonely and sad. I kept thinking about just jumping out those windows. Or just laying down behind one of the big amps, to die unnoticed. I was in despair, even though I love to dance and dress up. I actually closed down about an hour after the music began. Everyone else was having fun. My friends and the party were great. The night was young, my outfit was foxy, and I wanted to get the hell out. The walls felt like they wanted me out, too.

I had friends who rented in places so haunted, I am not sure how they stayed. One place was in this gorgeous, huge old boarding hostel, near NW Vaughn. It was all original wood and had these terrific wide staircases. It smelled like only old wood buildings can. The rooms were clean, with nice big windows. Each floor had shared washrooms with private showers and toilet cubbies. Once when I had to wander out alone, late at night, I became suddenly very much aware of someone I couldn't see. It was like having a pal "along to powder her nose". I barely slept whenever I was visiting.

I had friends in a tall apartment building on Alder, by the church. The ancient cage elevator in that apartment building is very "crowded".

I used to walk to and from work, faster past the scary old Civic Apartments. I only went inside them once, which was deathly uncomfortable, especially the hallways, like visiting a morgue. I wish I had not. I am glad they were torn down.

I really disliked walking within a block or two of the train tunnel in Goose Hollow, but I otherwise adored that neighborhood late at night. Every shadow seems aware, and the streetlights are lovely on the trees in the rain. I liked living there.

In Old Town, there used to be rooms for rent, above the Satyricon Club, where one never felt alone when one should. Not in a bad way, just how old buildings are "busy" sometimes. Like someone came back to make sure the kettle is off, and stayed for your company.

My friend who lived there was a fishmonger at an upscale market off NW 21st. It was a bright, busy place, in a small brick building which was very extra "loud", especially after the customers you can see had left.

I lived in several supposedly haunted houses, but never anywhere scary. One person I knew had a ghost which would spoon her, and comfort her if she cried. No thank you. She lived north of Burnside, near Stark, in an upper apartment.

I worked the bar for two lunch shifts at a downtown restaurant called Fernando's Hideaway, trying very hard to avoid looking into the mirrored wall. After just two trips to the dirt-finished hella Hella HELLA creepy basement, during one agonized solo shift where I was actively dodging around certain weird spots on the second floor, I called my old boss on the east side and begged her for my job back.

I was just fine with whatever haunted her restaurant. It sometimes said hello, especially to any red haired female staff, and seemed to hang around upstairs mostly. That's where the projection booth had been, before the theater became two busy restaurants and the army recruiter office. To me, the connecting rear hallway was sort of "extra dark", although always lit. I have only been on the army side a few times, and always just quickly running food. I never discussed the haunt with the cafe crew next door, either. Our haunt was very fond of one certain hostess, and had touched her, said hello to her by name. I always just hollered out a general greeting whenever I was first in the door, making certain to "peace" out as well. The haunt would tease one feisty chef, hiding her knives, and she'd swear at it under her breath. No one was ever scared though-it was a family place. I miss that building.

My first job downtown was as a shift supervisor for a bakery at 6th and Alder. I always felt like there was something hanging out in the back room near the prep table. My friend "Max" worked there, too. We would get off work at 2 in the afternoon, and start drinking. One of our favorite spots was a Chinese place a few blocks away. It was called the Gateway Lounge then, over time it has had many names. It even was a set, in a teevee show "Stumptown".

This was a gorgeous, dark bluish stone building with original long hardwood bar tops, and fancy brass trim. It was a hot music spot at night, then a slow corner bar for lunch. Just us punters, watching sunbeams through the legs of upturned chairs. As we got into our cups he would casually tell me things like, "our bakery is haunted", "this place is haunted", or "I choose this table so my back is to the ghost by the kitchen door." I cannot find it on street view, because now there's a new high-rise, I think. I never went there without another real person, even though I really enjoyed the general atmosphere.

The buildings which used to be bath houses on Stark Street all seem haunted to me, which I have visited. The spaces which were Roxy's and Cassidy's also always made me feel like I had company who I could not see, but in a friendly sort of way. I only went to Paul's Fish House once, and felt nothing off. Then, years later I went to a job interview in the upstairs part of that same block, and left before they called my name. Something about the place felt sinister and wrong, even in bright daylight, like the white plaster work on the columns was hungry.

Anyway, those are a few Portland stories from back in my day. I hope you have enjoyed reading them. Please comment why, if you also remember these places as spooked as I do.

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The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, BettinaMarie, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

BettinaMarie (14 stories) (80 posts)
9 months ago (2023-10-06)
Dear Rajine, How would I know somewhere is haunted, simply from an invitation to visit? Night clubs are great places to party. Should I quit my job because of ghost stories? Are these places haunted, or am I a chickin with a wild imagination? Maybe someone on this site has answers. Is it rude to leave a building because the elevator scares me? Is the Galleria shopping mall the Mouth of Hell? It could be my imagination. Thank you for reading my entry and for commenting. I would never go looking for ghosts, ever. BettinaMarie
BettinaMarie (14 stories) (80 posts)
9 months ago (2023-10-06)
Dear Rajine, How would I know somewhere is haunted, simply from an invitation to visit? Night clubs are great places to party. Should I quit my job because of ghost stories? Are these places haunted, or am I a chickin with a wild imagination? Maybe someone on this site has answers. Is it rude to leave a building because the elevator scares me? Is the Galleria the Mouth of Hell? Thank you for reading my entry-BettinaMarie
Rajine (14 stories) (833 posts)
9 months ago (2023-10-05)
Hi BettinaMarie

You have had some really frightening encounters, but why would you go partying in haunted places?

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