Portland’s Lost Waterfront Reviewed by Willamette Week

February 10, 2013

Books, Lost, Oregon, Reviews

“Barney Blalock, Portland’s Lost Waterfront: What do you do with a drunken sailor?”

Of course you’ve heard the stories of victims disappearing in the night: drunken and drugged tourists shipped through Portland’s vast network of turn-of-the-century Shanghai tunnels and sent as sailor slaves on boats to China, never to be seen again. Families wept; children starved.

Well, bunkum….

To read more of Matthew Korfhage’s Willamette Week review of Portland’s Lost Waterfront: Tall Ships, Steam Mills and Sailors’ Boardinghouses by Barney Blalock, please follow this link.

Portland's Lost Waterfront: Tall Ships, Steam Mills and Sailors' Boardinghouses by Barney Blalock

Today, Portland, Oregon, is a city of majestic bridges crisscrossing the deep swath of the Willamette River. A century ago, riverboat pilots would have witnessed a flurry of stevedores and longshoremen hurrying along the wharves. Situated as the terminus of sea lanes and railroads, with easy access to the wheat fields, sawmills and dairies of the Willamette Valley, Portland quickly became a rich and powerful seaport. As the city changed, so, too, did the role of the sailor—once bartered by shanghai masters, later elevated to well-paid and respected mariner. Drawing on primary source material, previously unpublished photographs and thirty-three years of waterfront work, local author Barney Blalock recalls the city’s vanished waterfront in these tales of sea dogs, salty days and the river’s tides.

Portland’s Lost Waterfront: Tall Ships, Steam Mills and Sailors’ Boardinghouses by Barney Blalock is available from the History Press and Portland bookshops.

Related Posts:

Interview with Finn J.D. John, Author of Wicked Portland

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