Tag Archives: Ola Bell

Ghosts in Portland Hotels


McMenamins' Edgefield complex

Oregon’s hotel ghosts are just as likely to be encountered in greater Portland as in more rural parts of the state.

My favorite Portland ghost story is centered upon the elegant Heathman Hotel (http://portland.heathmanhotel.com), the beautiful metropolitan inn that stands next to the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. It’s well-known to most Portland visitors, if only for the colorful doormen dressed like Elizabethan Beefeaters.

Heathman doorman

The Heathman has a ghost that haunts only rooms that end with “03,” from room 303 up through 1003.

Room 703 is a particular target of the poltergeist. After a few hours out, guests return to find clean towels used, furniture moved, a full glass of water on the desk. A check with the front desk indicates that no one has used the electronic key to get into the room … and over the years, this has occurred with surprising frequency.

A visiting psychic, who claimed to have seen a ghost at the end of her bed in room 803, suggested that someone jumped to his or her death from room 1003, and now is haunting every room passed on the way down.

Many hotels in the McMenamins group are said to be haunted: not surprisingly, perhaps, are many are historic-preservation projects. Probably none has more stories than the company’s flagship property, Edgefield in Troutdale (http://www.mcmenamins.com).

The old Multnomah County poorhouse and farm housed not only the indigent, but also the elderly, disabled and mentally challenged, in the early 20th century. A nursing home after the Second World War, it was purchased and renovated in the 1980s by the McMenamin brothers.

Haunted Edgefield room

Both in the farm’s administration building (which now has a few lodging rooms) and in the main lodge (formerly a hospital, now a 100-room hotel), guests claim to have had their hair played with and their feet tickled. Footprints appear and disappear on the wooden floors. Some say they’ve been serenaded by a flutist or a woman reciting nursery rhymes.

In the Edgefield winery, occupying the basement beneath the old infirmary, a nurse has been seen wandering the halls. A child in white, perhaps an administrator’s daughter who died young, wanders the grounds. A woman, also dressed in white, peers through windows.

There are even ghost cats and ghost dogs. In room 215, in fact, guests have reported a cold nose being shoved into their faces as they sleep.

McMenamins’ White Eagle Hotel, in Portland’s Albina district, opened in 1905 as a bar and boarding house, and popular lore paints it as a den of iniquity that included a brothel and opium den in its early years. New psychic events are regularly reported. Objects fly across rooms. Employees smell smoke and cheap perfume at the empty bar.

The renovated Hood River Hotel (http://www.hoodriverhotel.com) in Hood River is the home of Ola Bell. Ola lives in room 319. The only thing is, she died in 1942.  Owner of the hotel for the 35 years prior to her death, she still is occasionally heard and seen walking the hallways and making guests feel welcome.


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