Story Image

Woodcutters standing next to a large fir tree in 1905. Woodcutters along with other laborers made up the transient population that came through Portland in the 1880s.

Image: City of Portland Archives, A2004-002.401 (Used by permission)

A Transient Population

The mobile workforce of the 1880s

By the late 19th Century, up to 25% of Portland's population lived in hotels and boarding houses. Bars such as Erickson's Saloon and Blaziers helped working men spend their hard-earned cash.

Guest thumbnail

As Told By...

Doug Kenck-Crispin

Resident Historian, home of the podcast series Kick Ass Oregon History

Website: Kick Ass Oregon History

Doug Kenck-Crispin is the Ribald Resident Historian from He researches, writes and co-produces the bi-weekly podcast series Kick Ass Oregon History, recently featured in the Portland Mercury, Portland Monthly and The Oregonian. He has a BA in History, and is nearing completion of his MA in Public History, with an emphasis on the History of the Pacific Northwest (Portland State University). A lifelong resident of the Pacific Northwest, Doug enjoys a good yarn — the more outlandish and unseemly the better — especially when they are true!