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Pago-Pago, Portland, OR (restaurant)

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Street:525 S.W. Stark St.

Here's a postcard from the Pago-Pago:

Puamana, thank you for posting that postcard! I've only just learned of the existance of the Pago Pago And I want to know more! Apparently it was a real den of iniquity, with a gambling club (the Turf Club) upstairs, complete with mob-supplied race wire feed and everything!


Gorgeous postcard, Mimi.

What's at that address now?


James, I'm not sure what's at that address now... I did a quick online search, but didn't find anything at that spot. Maybe one of the Portland TC ohana could drive by and let us know ? TikiMaxton, I'm curious to know more about the Pago Pago, too. I also have an old menu from there. I'll post some pics in a day or two.

Everything I know about Pago Pago I read while skimming through the book "Portland Confidential". I haven't had time to sit down and actually read the book yet, but it sounds like it was both swanky and seedy at the same time...

Can't wait to see the menu.

I go by the stark street area once in a while, I will try to cruise by there one weekend and let you know.


Anyone got $600K? That's the estimated value of the building that formerly held the mysterious Pago Pago.

[pic removed]

The street entrance is apparently different from what would have been there in the 50s, but this is for sure the same building, built in 1890. The door on the left is marked 525, but looks to be blocked by a cement wall. I think the last working address for the space was from the door on the right, 517. The building looks forgotten, but the city sales records show it's changed hands three times in the last decade. The price seems pretty damn low, so it's probably got serious problems.

Meanwhile, I went to a party the other night at a quirky house in the NE....

The story is, the place was a heavily modified (formerly) one-room cottage that had been occupied by a couple of crazy swingers from the 60s until just a few years back. One of their favorite hangouts had been the Pago Pago room, so when it was 'decomissioned', they rescued alot of the raw materials.

I spent most of the time in the back porch/laundry room area. This was the most tikified part of the dwelling. I'm sure there were many other treasures hidden from my glazed eyes by the numerous partygoers. This one definately merits another visit. Unfortunately I didn't ever meet the host and hostess (it was a pretty crazy party and we left early).

TikiMaxton has apparently been in contact with them and even visited their place last year in hopes of getting it on the crawl. Here's to hoping for 2006!

Meanwhile, any more Pago Pago info would be much appreciated. Does anyone have any clue as to when it first opened? Tiki history tells us most such places came about after WW2, but Portland was a pretty busy maritime hub before that. Maybe, just maybe this was a pre-boom establishment.



[ Edited by: rum demon 2008-03-25 09:01 ]


Seems there's a place called the Miracle Theatre there now.

On 2006-06-08 14:51, Rum Demon wrote:
Tiki history tells us most such places came about after WW2, but Portland was a pretty busy maritime hub before that. Maybe, just maybe this was a pre-boom establishment.

In the other threat on the Disney Pago Pago in Burbank I mention that, judging by all of the material collected so far, Pago Pago as a night club name was popular in the PRE-WWII and in the war years, the 30s and early 40s (It was clearly a Pre-Tiki period term). There was a popular song (year?), and a 1940 movie that might have inspired restaurateurs:


What a cool place, I love that they resurrected the diorama!

Wow indeed....and the postcard is awesome. Makes me want to cover my tiki room walls in bamboo. :)

Here's a matchbook from the joint and like the post card it also boasts of "Americans Most Beautiful Tropical Room." It has the address on it but not sure if Broadway 9013 is a phone number or a crypic code.

I just picked up the book that TikiMaxton mentions above, Portland Confidential, by Phil Stanford, and thought I would share some of its details about the Portland Pago-Pago.

Here's the cover:

It only has one picture of the interior, on page 19, but here it is:

Stanford states on page 21 that in Portland's "booming vice economy" the "Top banana at the time was an intriguing fellow by the name of Al Winter. Winter owned the Pago Pago downtown at 525 Southwest Stark: bamboo furniture and Chinese cuisine. On the second floor was a full-service gambling joint called the Turf Club, which operated so openly that the results of the latest races were sometimes announced from its windows to crowds waiting on the sidewalks below."

Later on page 33-34, Stanford tells an anecdote about how the first silver dollar slot machine in Portland was delivered to the Pago-Pago and was filled to capacity in less than an hour by eager gamblers.

Lastly, on page 36, Stanford confirms that, "In 1950 Winter moved his base of operations to Las Vegas, where, with the help of a good deal of money from the Los Angeles mob, he and several others started the Sahara, the first big casino-hotel on the Strip. In 1951, the Pago Pago and the Turf Club closed for good."

There are some more pictures of ephemera from the Portland Pago-Pago in Sven Kirsten's thread on all things Pago-Pago here:


So far, the only thing I've found was this matchbook, but I was very tickled to find it. Such a great history with this place!

pagp (2)

I saw this on eBay last year. The listing said that it was from the Portland location.

Pages: 1 12 replies