Oregon History Portland History

The “Bates Motel” on Caruthers

A reader writes:

Back in the late 80s/early 90s, when I was attending PSU, I used to park down toward the end of Water Ave. and walk up the hill on Caruthers to get to my classes. (The uphill trudge was hell, but the parking was free.) Along the way, there was a house that apparently was occupied by deranged artists of some sort. There were weird sculptures in all the windows, an enormous phallus with a cowboy hat over the front door, and a sign that proclaimed the place the “Bates Motel.”

Surely I can’t be the only person who remembers this place, even if it was on an obscure street. The huge behatted dingus should have been kind of a memory-sticker, if nothing else. But looking around online yields no mention of it.

Do you know anyone who would know about this house and its occupants? I’ve been curious about the bizarre artwork ever since, and now I kick myself that I didn’t find out then. I know I didn’t dream it up, as I doubt I could hallucinate something that weird on my own.

Please post in the comments if you have any idea!