Feb 16 2020215 Vortex One: An Excerpt From Storied and Scandalous Portland, Oregon

In 1970 Oregon governor Tom McCall had a problem: An American Legion convention was descending on Portland in August of that year, with a potential visit by then-president Richard Nixon. A group called the People’s Army Jamboree promised to protest the convention and Nixon, and McCall wanted to avoid the possibility of urban warfare in his state’s largest city. His solution: Vortex One, a week-long state-sponsored music festival where attendees could enjoy sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll free from law enforcement interference. This, McCall thought, would lure potential protesters away from Portland.

This episode is an excerpt from Storied and Scandalous Portland, Oregon, my upcoming book about vice, transgression, and weirdness in the Rose City. If you’re in the Portland area, be sure to join me at Powell’s Books on Sunday, March 22nd at 7:30 for a live reading and book signing.

Dec 05 2017146 The Lost City of Vanport

This episode is a little different. It’s about a topic that I’ve previously written and spoken about, though not on the podcast. Vanport was one of the largest federal housing projects in the United States during WWII. It went up hastily and cheaply just outside of Portland, Oregon, producing supply ships in less than two months, and was Oregon’s first major African-American population center. In 1948, though, it was destroyed by a cataclysmic flood that wiped the then second-largest town in Oregon off the map entirely.