Title: "Portland Hotels Deny Accomodations To Troop Train Attendants," Northwest Enterprise, 4/10/1942, (denshopd-i35-00172)
Densho ID: denshopd-i35-00172

Portland Hotels Deny Accomodations [Accommodations] To Troop Train Attendants

Hotel accommodations for Negroes has always been more or less an acute problem in Portland. However, last week it bobbed up from a new angle. On the troop trains that come to Portland are Negroes who serve as attendants to men in uniform. They are many troop trains. There are numerous Negroes who, upon arrival here, need baths and rest. But in all of Portland there is but one 40-bed Hotel open to these men, weary after sustained care for the comfort of uniformed men or even other Negroes. The owner and Manager of this hotel (The Hotel Medley) Mr. Stephen Wright, of good business and civic standing relates this story -- that he has tried in vain to rent or lease one or more hotels that have been operated by Japanese who are now evacuated. Mr. Wright's comment concerning the white owners or managers of these properties is: "They rented to Japs, who are America's enemies, but they won't rent to us."

One Negro attendant from a troup [troop] train said: "I couldn't get a bath in Portland nor a bed, not even a cot. Yet we, who serve the men in uniform are ourselves subject to call to armed service. If we are, we will prove that we are good Americans. But if we are good enough to fight for America why aren't we good enough to get a bed and bath in Portland? The Oregon Journal has referred this un-American, or is it American, tactic and problem that involves Portland hospitality and a certain element of justice to Mayor R. Earl Riley, who has given return assurance of his sympathy and his hope to find a solution. Not to have a good answer to the troop attendants' question invites resentment and racial hostility. That is why Mayor Riley searches for a solution based not upon legal action, which is scarcely possible, but upon cooperation, for which Portland has a tradition.