The Chilling History of the Shanghai Tunnels of Portland, Oregon

Photo of the Shanghai Tunnels in Portland, Oregon. Photo used under the Creative Commons License via

Photo of the Shanghai Tunnels in Portland, Oregon. Photo used under the Creative Commons License via

Brandon Dunning, Staff Writer

The Shanghai tunnels also known as the Old Portland Underground are a series of tunnels and hallways that stretch all around Portland like roots. Some even lead to buildings such as hotels, basements, taverns, and other locations along the Willamette River. Something that they were known for is kidnapping. Individuals They would kidnap others and sell them to the for the British navy.This process of kidnapping and forcing a man into the military was known as the press gang.

The tunnels are located mostly underneath the Old Town Chinatown, but some lead underneath other parts of Portland. The Shanghai Tunnels where mainly used for transporting goods back in the day. Most of the kidnappings happened between 1850 and 1941. The men were transported and kept in the tunnels until they were put on British ships. Many of the men who were kidnapped were held there for about from 1850 to 1941 or longer or even shorter. Not very many people believed in the kidnappings being true but the tunnels do exist.

People said that when they were kidnapped when they were intoxicated, and knocked out, and dragged to a trapdoor that was called a dead fall. When they were dragged down there, they were put in cells where they waited for them to get picked up. Today, you can take a tour into the Shanghai Tunnels in Portland and see all the history it left behind.

The tunnels have been around for many years.They don’t even know if it was used for many kidnappings.One thing is that there was cells so people assumed so with the recent kidnappings. Over 150 years later they are doing tours on what they found and what its like down there how far it reached,where it went, where it could have gone and where the cells are. Many think it’s true but only one could know the people who might have suffered down in the tunnels


Portland Underground: Shanghai Tunnels