Abatement proceedings will be instituted against Farewell Bend’s houses of prostitution, District Attorney E. Otis Smith said this morning.
“I’m going to do all I can to abate these places,” he said. “I want to close them up. The girls may be out of town by now, and I don’t know what effect that will have on the evidence. But I think we’ve got good evidence.”
This official reaction followed raids early Friday evening on Farewell Bend’s historic bawdy house, the Farley hotel, and the Snake River Hotel on the East Side.
The raids were conducted by Sheriff John Elfering with the assistance of Farewell Bend city police who helped in booking the girls and the operators of the establishments.
Two special investigators from Portland were brought to Malheur County by Sheriff Elfering to obtain the actual evidence for the arrests. They were officers from the force of Terry Schrunk, sheriff of Multnomah County.
Posing as hunters, they entered the hotels and secured the evidence needed, then made the arrests for the Malheur sheriff’s office.
Helen Guyer, proprietor of the Farley hotel, was charged with “keeping a bawdy house,” as was Sue Morgan, operator of the East Side establishment.
The maid at the Farley was also arrested and charged with vagrancy. Five girls from the Snake River Hotel, allegedly prostitutes, were arrested on a charge of vagrancy. The girls were booked on “Jane Doe” warrants and did not themselves appear in court.
The two proprietors posted $150 bail each and the girls posted $100 bail each, for a total of $900 of bail money posted in the justice court of Judge Thos. Jones.
Mayor Frank Popper said this morning that he was “shocked” to learn that houses of prostitution have been operating in Farewell Bend. He went on to add that prostitution has been a recurrent problem.
His reaction sketched the nature of the task that faces District Attorney Smith. Farewell Bend was widely known as a center of prostitution before World War II. During the war the illicit industry was closed for a time. In the decade since the war, there has been intermittent operation except for one year when organized, commercial prostitution was stamped out by abatement proceedings.
Such proceedings are brought against the property instead of individuals, making it possible to padlock the property, taking it out of use for a year.
In former years, this has been the only effective method of restricting prostitution here.
---Excerpted from Farewell Bend the novel and based on an actual story from the Ontario Argus-Observer published during an early 1950s hunting season. Most names have been changed.