First Advisor

Hugo M. Maynard

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Urban Studies


Urban Studies




Organized crime -- Oregon -- Portland, Political corruption -- Oregon -- Portland



Physical Description

1 online resource (v, 265 pages)


This dissertation is an historical case study of a highly publicized investigation of vice and official corruption which took place in Portland, Oregon from 1954 to 1958. Three major relevant areas of social science literature are reviewed. These are: historical material on American reform and corruption, criminology and political science. This literature suggests both the ubiquity and usefulness of vice and corruption in the urban situation.

A set of propositions regarding vice, corruption and reform was developed from these works. These propositions were then examined in terms of the vice probe and political situation in Portland, Oregon.

The triangulation method of this study involves three separate data sources: popular accounts in the print media; government documents, including material from the Oregon State Archives, the City of Portland and the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Improper Activities in the Labor or Management Field; interviews conducted by the author (1979-1981) with persons who had intimate knowledge of the vice situation, political arrangements or corruption in Portland.

This case study has utility and general application beyond the single case illustrated. It demonstrates the functions and limits of corruption and reform. While historical in nature, this study offers insight into processes seen in many cities today.


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