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Cost, time, location, and reservations

 1. How do I sign up?
 2. How much does this cost?
 3. How long is the typical tour?

 4. Do I have to make a reservation?
Do I have to pre-pay, and if so by what date?
 6. What exactly will I be seeing on the tour?
 7. Do I have to be part of a group, or can I attend a tour on my own?
I've signed up for a tour, but I can't remember where to meet.

What to bring or wear

  8. Is it dark down there? Will I need a light?
Do I really need to bring a dust mask?
10. What should I wear? Can I dress up?
11. Can I take pictures?
12. I have difficulty standing still for long periods of time, is this tour for me? (Parents - please think of your children)

Parking, Food, and other considerations

13. Where can I park my car during the tour? 
14. Is there someplace to eat before or after the tour?
15. Are there alternate ways to travel to and from the tour site?

Who runs these tours?

16. What is the Cascade Geographic Society?
17. What else does CGS do?



FAQ not found? Please write to kaseits@comcast.net with your question.


How do I sign up?
To arrange a tour contact us at: 
shanghaitunnels@onemain.com  or call us at 503-622-4798.

Let us know how many people are interested in attending and what nights you are considering.
We will let you know if there are any open tour times for that day, or if not we will suggest some alternatives.
Please be sure before you contact us that you have read the 18 key points for a successful tour.
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How much does this cost?
Adults: $12 per person
Children (under 12): $7 per child
Not recommended for children under the age of 6.
There are no refunds.
Please note - individuals will always be placed with larger groups for all tours.
Tour sessions require a minimum of 15 participants. Generally there will be no more than 25 participants.
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How long is the tour?
The tours last about an hour and a half, and they typically begin sometime AFTER 4:00 pm, when the cooperating restaurant owners open for business. If requests are made in advance by a group - afternoon tours may be made available on a case by case basis.
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Do I have to make a reservation?
YES. However, a reservation must be accompanied by pre-payment in order to hold your spot. If you book a reservation, but you do not pre-pay Cascade Geographic Society reserves the right to cancel your attendance. Usually everyone who books a reservation is admitted to the tour.

To make a reservation contact the Portland Underground Tours c/o the Cascade Geographic Society at 503 622-4798.

Do NOT for any reason contact the restaurants - they DO NOT schedule the tours.
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Do I have to pre-pay, and if so by what date?
PRE-PAYMENT is not required. HOWEVER, pre-payment is the ONLY way to GUARANTEE your reservation. Pre-payment also allows the tour guide to create a better plan for the tour without overbooking. If you choose to pre-pay, all payments must be mailed within 72 hours of booking your tour. Please send check or money order to:

Portland Underground Tours
PO Box 398
Rhododendron, OR 97049

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What exactly will I be seeing on the tour?
The tours take place in Old Town-Chinatown, which was known back in the days of shanghaiing as the "Old North End"
 You will venture into the "Portland Underground" tunnels to view a segment of the once-hidden world of shanghaiing. You will experience remnants of this shocking maritime history --- unique architecture, underground holding cells, a "deadfall" trapdoor, unearthed artifacts of this terrible, misguided labor practice, and more. This is a unique opportunity to learn about the secret history of shanghaiing.            

What educational material the tour covers depends on what specific tour you take. There are three primary tours offered:

                                                        1- The Shanghai Tunnels Heritage Tour
                                                        2- The Shanghai Tunnels Ghost Tour
                                                        3- The Shanghai Tunnel Ethnic History Tour

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"Shanghai Tunnels Heritage Tour"
Is the main tour given and involves the history of shanghaiing in Portland. You'll leave knowing more about the shanghai trade in the "City of Roses" than you ever considered wanting to know.
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"Shanghai Tunnels Ghost Tours" Given upon request only!
These tours are given only upon request and require at least one week advance reservation.
"Northwest Paranormal Investigations"* has proclaimed that the shanghai tunnels are the most haunted place in Oregon and, perhaps, the most haunted place on the West Coast.  *link to NPI -note this will take you outside the CGS site

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"Shanghai Tunnel Ethnic History Tour"
Given upon request only!
This tour provides insights into the histories of the Chinese, the Japanese, and the Gypsies and how their histories relate to those infamous activities in the "Portland Underground". Many myths will be dispelled in this living history tour.
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Is it dark down there? Will I need a light?

In the past, people brought their own flashlights which were too large and powerful, and became distracting and took away from the experience and the ambience of the "Portland Underground". We ask that guests do not bring their own flashlights, instead small flashlights will be loaned to every fourth participant for use during the tour. However, if you intend to take pictures your camera will need a source of light.

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Do I really need to bring a dust mask?
It is not a requirement, however the Cascade Geographic Society assumes no liability for any illness or injury sustained as a result of inhalation of dust or mold. The environment that the tour takes place in is constantly under renovation and construction as new tunnel areas are uncovered and restored. Additionally, the tunnels are underground, below buildings and in cellars where mold naturally occurs. If you are at all concerned about breathing in any foreign objects, it is highly suggested that you buy and bring your own dust mask. However, it can be noted that many people have taken the tour without masks and have suffered no ill effects.
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What should I wear? Can I dress up?
You should wear pants. The best shoes are sneakers or closed-toe shoes. We do not recommend dressing up. You should wear comfortable clothing that you don't mind getting dusty.
No dresses or skirts please. Also, no high heels, sandals, thongs, or open faced shoes.
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Can I take pictures?
Yes, cameras and video are allowed on the tour, but they must have a source of lighting or flash due to the darkness of the areas visited. Other than light sources attached to your photo devices, please do NOT bring additional flashlights. See lighting FAQ above.
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Is this tour for me?
Unfortunately if you, or your child, cannot stand still for 15 minutes at a time, or if you are unable for any reason to ascend and descend narrow stairs it is probably not for you. The tour guide will stop at various stations through the tour which require about 15 minutes of constant standing. In addition because of the location and nature of the tunnels it is necessary to walk down stairs and through narrow passages. If you are unable to walk down stairs, or stand continuously for 15 minutes yet you are interested in the information provided in the tour please contact Michael directly to make arrangements to discuss alternative options.
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Do I have to be part of a group, or can I attend a tour on my own?

Individuals are always welcome to make a reservation, just be aware that the tours do take place with a group. If you are part of a group and your group would like to schedule a private tour please read over the information on the Group Tour page. Please note that private group tours require a minimum of 15 attendees.

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I've signed up for a tour, but I can't remember where to meet.
Hobo's Restaurant, 120 N.W. Third Avenue, Portland, Oregon 97209. If you patronize the restaurant as a customer prior to your tour, let the waiter know and we will find you in the restaurant. If you're not a restaurant customer, please meet ten minutes prior to your tour outside Hobo's on the sidewalk. [DIRECTIONS: Located a block and a half blocks north of West Burnside, between N.W. Couch & N.W. Davis Streets.] The restaurant staff does not schedule or lead the tours; pre-arranged tours are available only through us, at 503-622-4798.
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 Where can I park my car during the tour?

Street parking is available at meters, which are free after 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and free all day Sunday and holidays. If you prefer covered parking, there is a "Smart Park" parking structure at N.W. 1st and Davis, just one and a half blocks away from Hobo's Restaurant, where the "Portland Underground Tours" begin. Please see their website for information on parking rates.
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Is there someplace to eat before or after the tour?
"Portland Underground Tours" highly recommends Hobo's Restaurant. This unique antique Old Portland bar of yesteryear includes the ornate mirror from a former "Red Light" establishment (that was tactfully labeled in the old City Directory as a "woman's boardinghouse"). This 1880's Victorian-era historic building creates an ideal setting for enjoying food or drink. All of this, coupled with the fact this was a former shanghaiing and "white slavery" joint --- known back then as "Lasso Saloon" --- makes it the perfect place to gather before or after a tour of the "Portland Underground" and have a meal or a place to toast the old shanghaiers and their infamous and colorful maritime history.

The Boiler Room. This nightclub also has been cooperating with "Portland Underground Tours", and has made it possible that visitors can still take tours of this world beneath the cobblestone streets of the "City of Roses". It is at this spot, where shanghaiers once grabbed so many victims that Portland's reputation boasted of being the "Worst Port in the World", that you can view photographs of the infamous catacombs of the past --- that is, if you are 21 years of age! This is a great place for a drink or a light snack, but, a word of caution: A trap door in the floor, which at one time claimed a countless number of victims for the shanghaiers, is reportedly still operational and yearns for those good ol' days when the Old North End was reputed to be the rowdiest spot on the West Coast and any other waterfront area in the rest of the world.
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Are there alternate ways to travel to and from the tour site?
Travel by Light rail:

Located two and a half blocks from "Portland Underground Tours" at N.W. 1st and Davis. This is an excellent way to travel into Downtown Portland and avoid parking issues. Be sure to get off at the Old Town/Chinatown stop. For information on MAX [light rail] scheduling, please call Tri-Met at (503) 238-7433 or receive 24-hour recorded information at (503) 228-7246.

Travel by Trolley:
Trolley stops are located in and around "Portland Underground Tours". This is Portland's latest addition to its transportation system, and is an ideal way to travel in Downtown as well as all the way to Lloyd Center and Northwest Portland. Be sure to get off at the Old Town/Chinatown stop. For information on the Trolley and scheduling, please call Tri-Met at (503) 238-7433 or receive 24-hour recorded information at (503) 228-7246.

Travel by bus - Park and ride:
Another excellent way to travel to "Portland Underground Tours" and avoid parking hassles downtown is to arrive by bus. Just ask your driver for the nearest bus stop to 226 N.W. Davis. For information on bus scheduling, please call Tri-Met at (503) 238-7433 or receive 24-hour information at (503) 231-3199.

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What is the Cascade Geographic Society?
Cascade Geographic Society is a non-profit 501(c)(3) educational organization founded in 1979. It began conducting research on the cultural and natural history of the Cascade Mountain Range and "all of the lands and waters it influences". It received its official non-profit status in 1987.
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What else does CGS do?
Besides operating "Portland Underground Tours", some of the things that CGS does are as follows: operates "Stage Stop Road Interpretative Center" in the Village of Welches on Mount Hood, located at the junction of East Welches Road and Stage Stop Road, focusing on the history of the Oregon Trail and its cultural and natural resources; conducts tours of the Oregon Trail and other historic sites and trails; conducts tours on Old-Growth Forests and other natural areas; works directly with schools in a variety of ways, including "Project Discovery" that introduces inner-city students to natural areas and historic sites for field studies opportunities; provides storytelling and living history programs; operates a "Sanctuary Lands Program" which protects natural, cultural, and historical resources; restores fish and wildlife habitats; for the past 13 years the "Oregon Trail Education Center" has provided upper-division and lower-division classes through Portland State University's Division of Continuing Education; works towards protecting final resting places like Native American burial grounds and pioneer cemeteries; preserves historical landmarks; sponsors the "Mount Hood Quilt Show & Old-Time Fiddlers Jamboree" during the third weekend in July; sponsors the "Mount Hood Huckleberry Festival & Barlow Trail Days" the weekend before Labor Day Weekend in the month of August; sponsors the "Mount Hood Salmon & Mushroom Festival" in the first weekend of October; sponsors the "Mount Hood Public Lands Clean-Up" the first weekend of November; and much, much more.
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Go to CGS home    *    Go to Shanghai Secrets    *    Go to Shanghai Tours   *    Read the 18 key points for success