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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 83803 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Trouble in River City - An Analysis of an Urban Vice Probe
Author(s): J S Uris
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 274
Sponsoring Agency: UMI Dissertation Services
Ann Arbor, MI 48106-1346
US Dept of Justice
Washington, DC 20531
Sale Source: UMI Dissertation Services
300 North Zeeb Road
P.O. Box 1346
Ann Arbor, MI 48106-1346
United States of America
Document: PDF
Type: Thesis/Dissertation
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: An historical case study of a highly publicized investigation of vice and official corruption in Portland, Ore., from 1956 to 1958 reveals the nature of the public's and court's information sources, the effect of public attitudes on the course of the case, and the ultimate effects of the case on continued vice operations.
Abstract: In 1956, a local Portland racketeer, John Elkins, told reporters from one of the city's two rival newspapers a story of political corruption, labor union pressures, and attempted takeover of the local vice scene by outsiders. The publication of this information launched a journalistic war between the two papers, a vice probe that eventually gained national attention, and accusations against numerous public officials. Events are seen from four perspectives: (1) the viewpoint of the Oregonian which first published the racketeer's story that the Teamsters Union was trying to take over the local vice scene; (2) the contention of the Oregon Journal that the racketeer was dishonest and was himself the center of the vice problem; (3) the viewpoint of the Oregon State Attorney General who emphasized the role of both papers in pressuring for an investigation; and (4) the perspective of the mayor's advisor who felt that the Oregonian had created a pattern of corruption from several unrelated events. Information was gathered from printed media, government sources, and personal interview and indicated several aftereffects of the incident regardless of the failure to convict any of the implicated parties, save Elkins himself and one local official. The national attention and continued local publicity effectively blocked the Teamsters' entry into Portland's vice operations and altered business-as-usual for existing operators, reducing the overall level of vice operations in the city. Public attitudes appeared to have considerable influence on the course of the case, and, as interest waned, the probe lapsed. A partial list of public figures interviewed for the study is provided.
Index Term(s): Case studies; Corruption of public officials; Labor racketeering; Moral-decency crimes; Oregon; Organized crime; Urban area studies
Note: Portland State University - doctoral dissertation.
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