Organized Crime and Corruption in Portland
Publication Year: 2011
Published by: University of Washington Press
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Foreword: Portland Has Not Always Been Portland
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Sure, the name’s been the same since 1845, but the twenty-first century city represents a radical break from the majority of its history. ...
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I am truly grateful for the support and guidance from friends and family as I worked on Dark Rose. Like all great endeavors, I made a number of new friends while researching for this project, particularly Bob Larson, Arthur Kaplan, and Wally Turner. ...
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In April 1956, Portland Oregonian investigative reporters Wallace Turner and William Lambert—using information provided by the city’s infamous crime boss, James B. Elkins— exposed the city’s organized crime rackets and the corrupt city law enforcement officials who either tolerated or profited from them. ...
One: Early Portland and the Failure of Progressive Reform
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In the early decades of the nineteenth century, Portland was known simply as “The Clearing,” a rest stop for those traveling between Fort Vancouver and Oregon City. In 1843, the town was founded, and a toss of the coin—a gamble—led to the site’s naming in 1844. ...
Two: Post–World War II Portland
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On the evening of January 14, 1947, Frank Tatum, captain of the merchant ship Edwin Abbey, went ashore for a night of drinking and gambling. Wearing a cameo ring and platinum watch, and carrying almost $700 in cash, he entered the Cecil Club on Southwest Sixth Avenue ...
Three: Elkins vs. the Teamsters
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“We should get rid of the Character,” Multnomah County District Attorney William Langley told Seattle mob boss Joseph McLaughlin and Teamsters union organizer Thomas Maloney. Langley wanted vice racketeer James Elkins eliminated, not because Elkins was the biggest crime boss in the Rose City ...
Four: The Portland Vice Scandal
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Realizing the impact that the Seattle racketeers and Teamsters union officials would have on his vice rackets in Portland, and considering the violent threat issued by Teamsters’ chief Frank Brewster, James Elkins concluded that he had very few options to protect his properties and his life. ...
Five: The McClellan Committee
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August 1956 saw Portland’s top law enforcement officers indicted on a host of corruption charges, which bled into the upcoming mayoral contest between Sheriff Terry Schrunk and incumbent Fred Peterson. Schrunk himself was implicated in the vice scandal that the Oregonian had blown wide open and the accusations were flying. ...
Epilogue: The Fallout
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The 1957–1960 McClellan Committee hearings had tremendous political and social impact on Portland. Top officials were indicted, law enforcement was branded corrupt all the way from the police chief and county sheriff through the city’s district attorney, and clear connections to organized crime were laid bare. ...
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Publication Year: 2011