By: Nick Simms
If there’s one thing a Portland native knows, it’s that Portland is the leader in strip clubs per capita at roughly one for every 10,000 residents. Technically Springfield, Oregon holds the most per capita nationally, but it’s not a major city so Portland holds the crown. This is due to the Oregon Constitution, which has been interpreted to protect nude dancing as free speech. Traditionally in our country, strip clubs are somewhat frowned upon or considered taboo. With Portland’s extremely liberal nature, it makes sense for strip clubs and adult theme shops to be rampant across the city. The Portland strip club culture is nothing like anywhere else and gives many women fairly high paying jobs. What’s so interesting about the strip clubs here in Portland is that they are all so different and unique in their own ways. The clubs range from showy suburban clubs with numerous stages to small downtown dive bars. Most clubs serve alcohol and many have full food menus. For example, at the club Acropolis on McLaughlin Blvd, they are well known for their steak dinners and good beer. At the club lush in Northwest you can have sushi with your show. The most famous strip club in Portland would have to be Mary’s Club; opened in 1954 it’s considered somewhat of a local landmark. Although very small, it keeps the women working respectably and isn’t a club just out to make a buck.
With that being said, how do the people feel about having strip clubs down every corner? I think many are still not accepting and feel it’s degrading to woman. You can argue and say stripping is a profession for someone lazy and to go get a real job, or some call it an art form and take pride in each performance. The idea of stripping and taking your clothes off for money falls into the category of just another way woman are solely used for their beauty. All strippers here in Portland are in it for different reasons, and all have completely different styles. At a popular strip club, a woman could make in one night as much as a schoolteacher makes in an entire week. It seems the strip club culture will only continue to grow with more young woman given the opportunity to make some money. Is this the way we want Portland looked upon?