Portland Walking Tours

In the Spotlight: Meet Portland Walking Tour Guide Jen Endicott, Our Resident Spice Girl and All-Around Superwoman

July 29th, 2016

Jen Endicott is funny . . . really funny. We are genuinely thrilled to have her as one of our tour guides. Read on to find out why we think she’s a superwoman, why she thinks you should take a walking tour, and to find out some seriously bizarre stories from some of her tours. Warning: you may laugh throughout this whole blog post!

Jen originally hails from the Los Angeles San Fernando Valley, and moved to Oregon in 1993. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Spanish and then worked as a child advocate for the welfare system. Married with an almost eleven-year-old daughter and a chihuahua named Diego Mang whom she found, Jen has many talents and has done many things. In addition to being one of our trusty guides, she is working on developing some all natural skin products for kids. She has also taken her love of estate sales to a profit-bearing level and is selling treasures on eBay. She has even been an extra on Grimm! In fact, this lovely photo landed her the gig. As long as we’ve known her she’s had her own salsa business, so of course we asked her about that, too.

Jen

1) How long have you lived in Portland and what brought you here? What do you like about living here?

I’ve lived in Portland for almost 20 years. I had lived in Eugene for a couple of years after graduating from the University of Oregon and decided to move to Portland after developing a severe allergy to patchouli and people that are barefoot. I think what I like most about living in Portland is my neighborhood. I love being in a community where I know if I am in need of anything—a red pepper, epsom salts, a ride to the airport, a ladder, or someone to look out their window and tell me that I DID close my garage door (phew!), there is a long list of neighbors who are fantastic and helpful and fun.

2) How did you get involved with PWT and how long have you been giving tours? Which tours do you give?

I have been giving tours with PWT for a little over three years. I mainly do Beyond Bizarre, but have also done Underground Portland and the Art, History, and Transit Tour for Portland’s 3rd Graders.

3) What do you enjoy most about giving tours for PWT?

Did I say I enjoy it? I don’t think I said that. You’re putting words in my mouth. I’m just kidding. I love it. First of all, I have amazingly talented and supportive co-workers and PWT is a great company that takes great care of staff. In fact, just today I opened my mail and BOOM! I received a super sweet “thank you” note and a gift card from PWT after they felt I had handled a situation well. So I like working for a company like PWT. As far as GIVING the tours, I love meeting people. Beyond Bizarre, PWT’s ghost tour, gets all kinds of people on it — skeptics and believers alike. It makes for a good balance when a tour group is made up of both. I want my guests to have a fun time and I also love to share Portland’s dark and creepy history and talk about some of the legends said to haunt different parts of the city. I try to present a realistic and down-to-earth paranormal investigation to appeal to everyone’s belief or lack thereof in the supernatural. However, even presenting as a skeptic, I have had several experiences I can’t explain while doing the tour. I find it EXTREMELY inconvenient to have one of these creepy “holy-crap-what-the-heck-was-that-touching-my-hair” moments when I’m locking up for the night after a tour and the guests have already left. But I have thankfully had some shared experiences while giving a tour so I know I am not crazy.

4) Do you have a few favorite tour stories you can share with us?

My favorite tour stories? Oh my. There are so many. I am a big fan of random stuff happening and doing a ghost tour at night through the streets of Old Town, Chinatown and downtown will provide the perfect stage for weird and random things to occur. I could tell you about the time I left my group for two minutes to go get Voodoo Doughnuts (for them, not for me) and when I came back, one of the guests stood there dumbfounded holding a pigeon. “His name is ‘Ned’” he told me. Apparently when he made eye contact with Ned’s owner he conveyed that he was available to watch Ned for a couple of minutes. Ned’s owner returned shortly and and thanked my guest, took Ned and walked away. Then there was the time I got thwapped in the back of the head with a blow-up doll. Or I could tell you about the live snake I found after finishing a late night tour. The poor lil thing was about to be stabbed by a guy using a plastic fork. After convincing the fella that it was NOT a poisonous viper, I rescued the snake and brought it home with me. The next day I released Booth (‘Boots’, but with a lisp) to the Rose City Golf Course.

5) Why should someone take a tour with PWT? Why should someone take the Beyond Bizarre tour specifically?

Most people I meet are surprised that guests on the walking tours are not all tourists. Locals can learn a lot as well! I was floored at the amount of history I learned when I went on the Underground Portland Tour as a trainee. When I went on the We Got Tipsy in Portland tour, I discovered I love gin after all! Like I said earlier, this is a great company and we all work hard to provide an accurate AND entertaining tour. Beyond Bizarre is different from all of the other tours in that a lot of the stories are legends and require a bit of an open mind to be fully appreciated. Taking the Beyond Bizarre tour will show you things about our fair city that are far more wackadoodle than you ever imagined, and it’s a great way to learn about our seedy history, see some cool and creepy architecture, and get to know the seven different types of hauntings.

6) Tell us about your salsa company Hello, Salsa

After five years in the food production business, I decided I no longer wanted to make salsa. Or produce any more food, for that matter. So after much deliberation and therapy, I said, “Enough” and put Hello, Salsa to bed.

7) What do you enjoy about making and selling your salsa?

Eating it.

8) Why should someone buy your salsa (how can they buy it)?

Someone should buy my whole company. Cash or check would be fine.

9) Any similarities between being a salsa queen and a tour guide?

Yes. Coming home from either gig, I may find myself asking “how did this tomato get IN my ear?”

To experience some bizarre occurrences for yourself, book our Beyond Bizarre ghost tour. You might even get to meet Jen!


Article by Natasha Kelly

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