Violence of Spring

March 28, 2009

The ‘hood has changed after a week of violent crime only a short walk from my Northeast Portland house.

Count them: two stabbings in two gang fights at the Lloyd Center Mall, another gang fight at the Applebee’s restaurant across the street from the mall, a bank robbery, and a gang-related shooting at an Asian restaurant-bar four blocks south of me. The victim survived four gunshot wounds.

broken-window

Bullet damage at Orient Chinese Restaurant

Considered one of the city’s most desirable neighborhoods, Irvington is a few minutes from downtown and boasts high home prices that haven’t fallen as sharply as elsewhere. Or until the wave of violence. Irvington had plenty of crime before but the petty variety — car break-ins, vandalism, and the like.

Now leisurely strolls to the grocery or elsewhere in the neighborhoods shopping area are tense, wary affairs. Every person is deemed suspicious and a potential threat. Walking at night is out. Nothing looks or feels quite the same.

What happens if the violence shifts a short distance north amid homes, homes like mine housing a wife, toddler, and elderly mother-in-law? I never dreamed of worrying about anything other than weeds in the garden and repairing an old house.

Add to the list bullets splitting the sweet-smelling spring air.