Prohibition in Beaverton, 1920s (1900 Saloon on Broadway Street)

Prohibition in Beaverton, 1920s (1900 Saloon on Broadway Street)



Mountain Dew. Moonshine. Giggle juice. Hooch. This popular slang was used for alcoholic beverages produced illegally in the United States from 1920-1933.


Oregon anti-drinking groups (“drys”) aggressively pursued a state-wide ban in 1914, citing the damaging effects of domestic abuse, income loss, and crime. There would be fewer on-the-job accidents, a moral gain, and greater civic consciousness. Anti-Prohibition individuals and businesses (“wets”) alluded to economic hardships and closures of saloons, breweries, and related businesses. Washington County hops farmers and vineyard owners would be hit hard by the forced closure.

Early that year, a petition was initiated to amend the state constitution and prohibit the manufacture and sale of intoxicating liquors. An exception was made for scientific, sacramental, mechanical, or medicinal purposes. The proposed ban would take effect January 1, 1916. Spirited editorials, dramatic charges and counter-charges, statistics, and mass meetings followed.

The Committee of One Hundred and Women’s Christian Temperance Union were possibly the most outspoken. Their position was that morality would be higher, business better, and taxes lower. There would be more work and paychecks cashed in saloons would be cashed in stores.

Taxpayer and Wage Earners’ League of Oregon proclaimed Prohibition would adversely affect the local option and trample individual rights. Further, the criminal element would control the liquor trade. They argued that business was not so fine in dry towns that looked like “deserted village(s).”


In November 1914 Oregon voters amended the state constitution to prohibit the manufacture, sale, or advertisement of alcoholic beverages. The final vote was Yes (58%) and No (42%). The state Legislature implemented the law, which took effect January 1, 1916. Exceptions were made for scientific, religious, and doctor-prescribed purposes. National Prohibition was enacted four years later when the Eighteenth Amendment eliminated businesses that trafficked in alcohol. Most closed or went underground as speakeasies. Others adjusted and sold soft drinks, or operated as cafes and entertainment venues. August Rossi closed his 1900 Saloon on Broadway Street. The Twenty-first Amendment repealed Prohibition in 1933. Drinking was once again legal.


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