Strip City: Why Does Portland Have So Many Strip Clubs?

Strip City, a film by Leslie Taylor and Melinda Chilton examines Portland’s favorite, possibly apocryphal, factoid: more strip clubs per capita than any other city in America…including Las Vegas.

This film is an exploration inside this world while getting to know the citizens living next door to it. Beautifully shot and thoughtfully told, STRIP CITY is at times both comically charming & hauntingly personal in it’s a quest to answer the question…why Portland?

Visit the website for more information. No screening dates have been set yet.

Spoiler Alert! [actually, I have no clue if the film brings this up]: I can partially answer the question of why Portland has an abundance of strip clubs (and bookstores and free speech in general): Article 1, Section 8 of the Oregon Constitution.

Courts and voters (e.g. Oregon Ballot Measure 19 in 1994, and Measure 31 in 1996) agree: the Oregon constitution provides greater individual freedom of speech than the First Amendment to the Federal Constitution.

“[W]e have little trouble in concluding that the people who framed and adopted Article I, section 8, as part of the original Oregon Constitution intended to prohibit broadly any laws directed at restraining verbal or nonverbal expression of ideas of any kind.”
— State v. Ciancanelli
(Oregon Supreme Court, 2005)


  1. Interesting film and I will look for it! Good to see Malice in there, too, although I think she’s currently in LA.

    But has anyone ever actually calculated the strip clubs per capita for American cities and listed them? I hear that statement all the time but I never hear any actual numbers attached to it. Hopefully the documentarians have done the research.

  2. BrianM – Yeah, I’ve wondered about that too. I’m sure there’s some tiny town out there with one strip club and a much higher “per capita” rating than Portland. Of the larger cities I’m sure Portland holds its own, but I’ve never seen real stats either.

  3. PortlandJon says:

    I believe that Hurley, Wisconsin has 6 strip clubs and a population of 1800 — that’s going to be tough to top around here. Coincidentally, Hurley was also built on the logging industry and was in it’s heyday the most decadent town in the USA, with over 30 bordellos and 5 casinos for a peak population of 10,000 or so. Gotta love those loggers.

  4. When you’re a logger, you gotta go someplace to scrape the bark off your log…

  5. Its an old logger community…… hence the predominence of businesses that cater to men.

    Porn City Baby !!

  6. brennan says:

    haha come to portland and find out. haven’t found any conclusive proof except i’ve had more fun in the past six months of living in portland than i had the past two years before that. *and i have allot of fun then….

Speak Your Mind