University of Portland is known as 'Oregon's Catholic University'. It's
doors were opened in 1901 to 56 boys and 8 teacher/priests. There are now
2,900 students and 240 professors. It is ranked as one of the Top 10
schools in the West by U.S. News and World Report and is known internationally
for it's engineering department.
The preceding information is from the school website. What is not mentioned in their text is the history of haunting which predates the academy by many centuries.
I have been meaning to do this story for many years. My hesitance was due, in part, to the variety of paranormal energies in the structures and surrounding grounds. This is a bluff against The Willamette River with a strategic southern view. It is at the very end of the great Willamette Valley and was the perfect location for a Native American village. There is the possibility of psychic activity associated with these Indians, as well as activity relevant to the university.
The following is from a former student:
"Regarding experiences and
stories on the bluff...I have a few."
Another person who is 'in the know' offers more information:"Well let's just say that I am in a position or was in a position that allowed me to hear stories about our haunted buildings on campus. Granted the buildings that are mentioned on your website include Kenna Hall, Waldschmidt (West) Hall, Christie Hall and the Mago Hunt Theatre building all having stories of ghostly activities. However the University Commons, (commissary,) located on the southwest side of campus overlooking the bluff has to be the most haunted of them all. This excerpt was taken off the university website, but I must add that it is tough to find."
"The University purchased additional property as it became available. The 'Melvin Tract', on the southwest side of today's Bluff near the Commons, was owned by the irascible Frank Houston. No fan of the black-robed men of Holy Cross, he referred to the priests as "old black crows" and refused to sell his property to the congregation for a reasonable price. His widow finally sold the tract to the University in the 1930s after Houston died. Tradition has it that Frank Houston is one of the several "ghosts" haunting the campus; his perpetually cranky spirit is said to pace the line where his fence once stood, shaking its preternatural fist and shouting, "You old black crows!""
"Now here are some of the odd occurrences that I have heard about. Employees working alone at night have been chased through the dining area by push carts moving on their own. Pots, pans, kitchen utensils, food items have been thrown onto the floor by some unseen hands. A radio located in the Priests dining room with turn on and off even the tuning dial will turn. Pictures will shake on the walls. Some people have even heard a voice yell in their ear as they make their way up the stairs from the basement area. There is an alleged photo of the Commons ghost that was located in the Campus museum but I believe it is now in the archives. It seems that Frank Houston is still a little upset."
"This may be something worth looking into."
Kenna Hall, Christie Hall, Waldschmidt Hall, the University Commons, the bluff and the Engineering Building.... a very active campus with many tales to tell. And what of the Native Indians and their ghostly influence? Perhaps it is coincidence but consider the following missive from a resident who lives just a stones throw from the campus:
"Yes, Willamette Ln. runs the
same way as Princeton. There are only 8 or so houses on the lane.
The cross street on the far end is N. Wall Ave. The lane makes a
semi-circle around and connects to Willamette Blvd. on our end."
What could this be..... shadow people, stick figures..... two dimensional beings in our world? I checked with American Indians.... they do not wish to discuss it, feeling a possible threat and better left alone. Ancient ancestors? Jinn? Like so much of the ghostly realm, it remains a mystery to mortals.
A few graphics for your enjoyment:
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