I have been taken to task by someone named Chris who objects to my lighthearted slant on the corner bordello story.
Normally, I ignore anonymous comments (Chris left no email address or URL) for all the obvious reasons, but Chris, who appears to be a resident of my new neighborhood, makes some interesting points, so I’ll reprint the comment here in full, although I’ve paragraphed it for easier reading:
“um...those photos are not of the not the right building. Also, you might want to consider ratcheting down the objectification [and prurience] a notch or two: it's not a legend...nor even an "oooohh, so exciting blog-worthy bordello!" anecdote.
“Rather, it was a sad situation where a poor and opportunistic ("poor," as in impoverished, and if you haven't noticed, there's a lot of poverty here in Portland--even on the same street where you've shelled out more to live than most families in the neighborhood will ever, ever be able to...on a dwelling that would house a family of 5) woman, who oversaw a few stringy pathetic young women in their late teens who came and went, looking pretty desperate, most likely on meth or crack (ohhhh! how lively and colorful these *interesting* locals are!), and who plied their trade on filthy mattresses on the floors, in a run-down building.
“The building was up for sale and some of us in our neighborhood took a look at it - and no, not to gawk and feverishly report the findings in our blogs. Now, I know it must be fun for you and your cronies that you wax amusing about the "quaintnesses" of your newly assumed non-New York address, but frankly it's less so for others of us.”
Chris is right. I made some assumptions and had a little fun at the expense of some people I don’t and will never know; people who were undoubtedly, at the time, desperate. Also, I ignored the impact such illicit activity can have on an area and its residents.
I know from first-hand experience that having meth and crack addicts in the neighborhood is much worse than “pathetic”; it’s scary as hell. I’ve seen them beat and stab one another and any passersby who got in the way over one, tiny rock. And I’ve watched helplessly when they have died of overdoses.
There have been too many of such situations for them to be "colorful" or "quaint" to me. Nor are they "amusing". Illegal prostitution and the drugs that are frequently attendant to that occupation can not only destroy the people involved, they can and do destroy families, acquaintances and entire neighborhoods. So I’ll take the hit for having been superficially glib about the corner bordello.
But I won’t apologize for being able to afford my new apartment. Since 1958, nearly half a century, I’ve worked hard and would still be working if corporate America didn’t discriminate against old people. I supported myself through bad times and good, earning this home with the sweat of my brow. There is no shame in that.
As to identifying the wrong house as the former bordello – hey, I’m new here and can only go by what a long-time resident tells me.