It’s hard to compile a short list of the most haunted places near Portland, since there are so many! Portland is the largest city in Oregon and has seen a large growth in population, which also means many deaths over the last two centuries. Ghosts are said to be crawling all throughout the city, but in some places more than others.
Grab a flashlight, comfortable shoes, and some ghost detecting gear and follow along with our list of the five most haunted places near Portland Oregon.
White Eagle Saloon
The McMenamins White Eagle Saloon and Hotel is located near the beautiful Willamette river. It first opened its doors in 1905 and has continued surprising guests for over a century! During an economic boom in Portland, William Hryszko and Barney Soboleski opened the saloon. Sailors and industrial workers frequented this location. Now, tourists from all over the world come to enjoy its interesting and inviting architecture.
Not only is the white eagle saloon just as stunning as when it first opened, but it is also supposedly haunted, filled with dark and shady spirits. If you ask any Portland native, they can tell you multiple urban legends surrounding the saloon. One of the most popular stories is about a woman named Rose, who was supposedly a “working girl.” According to the story, she fell in love with a sailor, but he was married. He left for work and came back a few months later to find that she had been murdered. Guests in the café and hotel can sometimes hear a spooky and sorrowful sobbing, which may be from Rose.
When visiting the White Eagle Saloon, you can look for spirits, chat with locals, and enjoy multiple live music events! Some ghost tours also stop right outside this saloon.
Address: 836 N Russell St, Portland, OR 97227
Phone: (503) 282-6810
Lone Fir Cemetery
Unsurprisingly, an old cemetery makes this list of the most haunted places near Portland. Lone Fir Cemetery is an important and historic cemetery in Portland. It first began in 1854 as one grave on private land. The cemetery grew larger in 1855 when sadly a devastating steamship explosion occurred, killing at least 24 people. It expanded again shortly after and more than 24,000 graves sit on over 30 acres of land. Although people continued being buried in the cemetery, there was no one in charge of upkeep. This led to large wild blueberry plants taking over the tombs. Actually, more than 10,000 graves sit without any kind of markings or tombstones.
So, who haunts this historic site? It would be easier to list who doesn’t! Most of the remains belong to early Portland settlers, asylum patients, Chinese working immigrants, and working men and women. However, the most popular ghost that haunts this cemetery belongs to an inspiring French woman, Emma Merlotin. She was wealthy before her husband ran off with another woman. Instead of sitting in despair, she started her own business and thrived! Emma made friends with everyone, including wealthy men and women of all socio-economic backgrounds. Although she was beloved, sadly she was brutally murdered with a hatchet in her own home.
Many visitors swear they see a silhouette of a woman in French designer clothing. Some people say she is still roaming around the cemetery, unable to stop reliving the nightmare, while others swear she sits beautifully, smiling at everyone. Either way, it must be something interesting to see!
Address: 649 SE 26th Ave, Portland, OR 97214
Phone: (503) 797-1709
Multiple ghost tours, some virtual, take you to the creepy Cathedral Park in Portland Oregon. This park gets its name from its unique architecture, including the gothic-style arches that support the St. Johns bridge. The design alone looks like something out of an old movie or photograph, giving sighs of ghostly figures, but it’s deeper than that!
About 70 years ago in 1949, a 15-year-old girl was murdered in the neighborhood and found near the St. Johns bridge. Thelma Taylor, a Roosevelt High School student was waiting for a ride to work, but she never made it. When her ride showed up at the pickup spot, she was nowhere to be found. For years, Portland residents have used her story as a cautionary tale. Her murderer was caught and did confess to the crime and was sentenced to death.
It seems like while her body is no longer near the bridge, her spirit roams the park. Residents tell stories of them hearing a ghostly tragic scream and cry, which they think belongs to the deceased young girl. So if you visit the park at night and hear a shrill “help me, help me”, know it may come from the spirit of Thelma Taylor.
Address: 8706 N Bradford St, Portland
North Portland Library
North Portland Library was not always a public library for the community, nor was it as large as it is now. Actually, it first started as a small reading room in a little house on Albina Avenue. The room started with a little over 500 books, before it quickly expanded to include thousands of books. By 1911, just a few years after the reading room opened, it partnered with the Multnomah County Library. In 1913 the new location opened. It has a Jacobethan style of architecture and is a second home for students looking for a late night study session.
Libraries seem innocent enough, so why do some people think this location is very haunted? Well, the first well-known incident happened in 2000, right after the building was renovated. Two security guards working were laughing, before they saw a shadowy man in the conference room on the camera displays. They quickly ran to check, but the room was empty! The men returned to the security room, only to see the shadow on the screen again, but by the time they re-checked, it was gone again. Could it be a previous book lover? Maybe a spirit who once visited the library a century ago? Although the library doesn’t focus on its hauntings, you could always check by yourself and see if the shadow man will appear.
Address: 512 N Killingsworth St, Portland, OR 97217
Phone: (503) 988-5123
The University of Portland
Almost all schools have a ghost story or two spreading around students, this is very true when the school is over a hundred years old! The University of Portland was founded in 1901 and is a private catholic university. It is a calm university with unique red brick-style buildings. Class sizes were small and limited to men for the next 50 years.
If you aren’t careful when walking around the University of Portland, you may run into an angry Frank Houston, or at least his ghost! Frank Houston owned the land the Commons is built on. He refused to sell because he was a devout Protestant, wanting nothing to do with Catholics. When he died, his wife sold the land. Since the first day the Commons opened, students and employees have seen strange things including a yelling ghost and the tumbling of pans.
Another common resident ghost may be Paul Hillgens, a young high school student who died in the Willamette River. While taking a dip during the first day back to school, he sadly drowned. Now, his ghost is said to haunt the school, dripping cold water all over the floor. He isn’t a terrifying spirit though, more curious than anything as he wanders the Waldschmidt Hall in his bathing suit and swimming cap. Are you brave enough to explore the school? What will you do if you see the ghost of Frank Houston or Paul Hillgens?
Address: 5000 N Willamette Blvd, Portland, OR 97203
Phone: (503) 943-8000
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