Real Life COPS

When Garbanzo and I bought a house in North Portland (aka NoPo) 10 years ago, we knew that we were buying a house in a “transitioning neighborhood”. If I mention living in North Portland, most people have visions of drive by shootings, drug sales on every corner, gangs, and prostitutes running wild.  That was North Portland about 20-25 years ago.  But, many of the neighborhoods got fed up with it, banded together, and worked with police to drive it out. 

What was left behind was a bunch of working class families who rented houses, struggled to make ends meet, but worked hard to keep the neighborhood safe for their kids.  They didn’t have time to volunteer at the schools, or take steps to improve it beyond where it was at, but keeping the status quo was hard enough.

Fast forward 10 years ago, Portland decided to re-invigorate the area by tossing dollars into redevelopment projects, improvement projects, and adding a MAX train line from downtown out to the convention center up further north.  All of these things were aimed at helping the neighborhood complete its transition.  And, that is when we bought into the area.

The first weekend we were in our house, the neighbors had a fist fight in the middle of the street after a morning of drinking.  We called the cops, made a note of it, and laughed at the stereotypical behavior.  A few weeks later, we had a high speed chase end at the end of the block complete with about 15 police cars, helicopters, and firetrucks – at 3am.  A couple months after that, about a mile away from us was a drive by shooting at a bus stop near the community college and high school we live near.  Of course, each and every times things like this would happen, everyone we knew would shake their head and make comments about where we lived.

But, we knew it would turn around.  The city could not dump that much money into an area without having it turn around – so we participated in much of the planning process and waited.

And slowly, it did turn around.  Rentals and derelict houses were sold to people who rehabbed them and lived in them.  The apartments and four-plexes were rehabbed and rented to people who stayed for years rather than a few months.  The neighborhood changed…changed for the better. 

But, periodically we have left over crime that must be chased out.  Like the drug dealing that went on across the street from us when Indigo was a baby.  When we got up in the middle of the night to get her back to sleep, we would first call the non-emergency police number, go get her back to sleep, and call it again if the police hadn’t shown up yet before going back to bed.  If we came home and it was happening, we called it in.  We instructed the neighbors to do the same, and they did.  We called the owner of the rental property who apologized for their poor judgment and assured us they were in the middle of eviction proceedings.  To counteract the issues, they hired a contractor who looked as though he walked off the set of the Sopranos to remodel the empty unit next door.  He kept a lot of things at bay during the day.  We kept the shit at bay at night.  And, soon there after, they forcefully evicted the dealers and they were gone.

I talked several months ago about our neighbor who running his pseudo thrift store out of the garages and piling ‘inventory’ all over the place. He was evicted, left, but left his shit everywhere.  Well, his time to remove it is up – and the owner of the four-plex can now throw it out if they want. He gave permission to the residents there to start the clean-up.

Guess who showed up? Yep, George, the evicted guy. And guess who was pissed that his stuff was being gone through? If you guessed George, you are correct. And, guess who was flipping out?  Yep, George.

Indigo was outside playing when I heard him starting to flip out at the neighbors.  The woman who lives in his old unit has been harassed repeatedly by George.  When she told me that he would refer to her as “The Bitch” instead of her name, I was a bit annoyed. And, he has fun nicknames for the other woman too.  I heard them as he was yelling at her and threatening her.  When I saw what was going on, I grabbed my phone and headed next door. 

The two women are not very assertive, unfortunately.  They tend to just let him get his way while getting annoyed.  And, to be honest, it pissed me off. He was over there flipping out – teaching Indigo great words and making threats against the women.  I sent her inside – then went over to make sure they were okay. I was going to call the cops if they hadn’t already.  I don’t fuck around with shit like that.  Plus, we are neighbors.  Hell, any people who have watched out for our escaping chickens including catching them when they do escape like they have deserve to have someone watch out for them.

I found they were all hiding from him in one of the units.  They had called the police who just pulled up – all three police cars – when I started talking with them.  In the end, they escorted him off of the property and told us to call the police for trespassing if he came back.  I advised them what to do – call the owners – report what has happened – request a lock to their back gate – again – so he can’t come onto the property at all. 

And, I had to have a very honest talk with my kids about this guy.  I explained that if they saw him around, they had to come inside immediately and tell an adult.  They asked why, so I explained he did something wrong & he was treating their friends badly. I reassured them that he was not going to hurt them or anything.  He was just a bully who was not allowed to come around anymore.  What a weird fucking talk to have with your kids!  They asked good questions though – and I told them a cleaned up version of what he had done.  DJ was outraged. Indigo was sad and a bit freaked out.  She had seen him yelling and saying bad things.  Later she told me she was scared of him. I assured her that there was nothing to be scared of.  His issues weren’t with us directly. Plus, he’s scared of us.

Hopefully he doesn’t come around again.  He’s a dumb ass about things, but I don’t think he’ll risk arrest.  Maybe he’ll prove me wrong – who knows.  Just wish the drama would end.  I mean, I had thought the days of multiple police cars in front of the house had ended. Guess not but we are getting MUCH closer.

Or at least that’s what I keep hoping.

7 Comments Add yours

  1. Secretia says:

    It’s nice when cops come and help when we need them.

  2. Just $ ain’t enough. Neighborhood reclamation requires people like y’all who refuse to let it be shitty. It’s rough and it ain’t fair but it is the case. Good on ya!

  3. I’m with Lion. I’m proud of ya’!

  4. Emmy says:

    Secretia – Agreed! Nice when they are there when you need them.

    Lion & Ms Bitchtits – Why thank you both! We love our neighborhood. I’m just glad our neighbors are interacting and looking our for each other. That helps a LOT!

  5. Just me... says:

    “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
    – Edmund Burke (1729-1797)

    Sounds like you’re the good guys!! Keep it up!! :):)

  6. Cheeks says:

    And you’re setting a good example for your other neighbors. Maybe showing people who haven’t had to work with the police or assert their rights as residents before. Good work, sister. 😉

  7. garbonzo says:

    I’m glad he is gone. However, it means we need to work on the front of our house. Now we have the shitty front porch ;). His shanty town was covering for us!

What do you think?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.