Oil on canvas; 24x30; framed
This is part of my series "Oregon's Painted History" - which depicts some of the more colorful, less-known stories from bygone days in Oregon.
From the early 20th century through the mid 50’s, vice and sin were big business in Portland. Young men from across the state working lucrative timber, mining and trapping (fur trading) jobs had money to burn on good times—but even pinball was illegal. Vice operators, however, didn’t let laws stop them. They simply greased the palms of the police and their bosses in city hall who happily took the money and allowed almost open operations. The arrangement made Portland the go-to city on the West Coast for illegal alcohol, narcotics and opium, prostitution, gambling and pinball. In this painting, enterprising vice officers are seen staking their claims of parts of downtown while a police hat fills with money.