Portland’s 1894 Flood…Many Continued On With Daily Life

“Even in the biggest flood, in 1894, no one seems to have considered closing for business until the floodwaters receded. A downtown Portland hotel built a temporary false floor in its lobby, so guests could keep their feet dry. The cook at the Bureau Saloon brought a rowboat into the kitchen and stood in it while he worked. The Meier & Frank department store built raised walkways for shoppers– and shoppers came, many by boat. Erickson’s Saloon downtown — known at the time for having the world’s longest bar, a monster counter longer than two end-to-end football fields — moved onto a houseboat, which the owner anchored in the middle of the canal formerly known as Burnside Street.

Sullivan reports in his book that more than 1,500 boats crowded through the town’s streets and some folks in Chinatown staged an eight-block boat race downtown.

In the 1894 flood, one lucky angler found a very special fishing spot:  The Union Station train depot downtown. This fisherman managed to bag a 15-pound steelhead trout inside the station.”

Union Station, Portland, Oregon 1905

(Off Beat Oregon History)