Just north of me, on the other side of the Salish wetlands, is the Fieldstone apartment complex. It’s right off Halsey, a big collection of one- to three-bedroom units with a pool, a sauna, a fitness center, and a clubhouse.
I met a man named Jim, who loves where he lives. He likes the schools and the parks in Fairview – he has a 13-year-old – and really loves the futsal court that recently went up next door in the Reynolds School District complex. He likes that families of all races live in Fieldstone, and Fairview, and appreciates the fact that kids in the complex all get along. They don’t see color, Jim says. And the kids agree. I met two small boys, Hugo and Tariq, who love their Fieldstone friends and just wish the pool would reopen. Down with COVID!
A young guy walking his cute old Corgie also likes Fairview. But living off Halsey, and walking a lot more during the pandemic, he realizes how fast the cars drive and how spotty the sidewalks are. It’s not always easy to walk around here.
I hear him. I had to cross Halsey to hit the next neighborhood, and, well, good luck. Especially when you’re dragging a Radio Flyer wagon, crossing Halsey doesn’t feel safe.
On the other side, I dropped fliers in Raze Meadows – a lovely group of 39 homes with a private pocket park – then in Osburn Park, one of the oldest Fairview neighborhoods, settled in 1907.
This part of Fairview, all running off of 205th Avenue, feels a world away from Fieldstone – and Raze Meadows for that matter. Huge ancient cedars tower above you and the shoulders of the road crunch soft with needles. There are no sidewalks and driveways are long, with houses tucked far from the road. Many are completely hidden from the street. One resident said lot sizes in the area are anywhere from a half-acre to two acres. Altogether, Osburn Park and Wistful Vista feels as if a chunk of the country was plopped into our city.
I talked with a gaggle of little kids, who like all the big yards and forest to play in, and I ran into one teenager chasing a coyote who’d just eaten a neighbor’s chicken.
Safety was on the minds of a couple of residents I met. A Boeing worker who’s lived on 205th for years said there’s been too many break-ins and strangers on the street – and he hates the homeless crisis in Portland. That’s why, when he retires, he’s leaving Fairview.
Dennis Carline has lived on 205th with his wife for 24 years. They raised their kids here, while he taught physical education in Portland Public Schools. Dennis is retired now and has a cool new business – a mobile Black history museum he calls Black History on the Move. He’s already brought the project to some Fairview schools. Dennis likes where he lives, but he wants street lights. It would be safer, he says.
When I left Dennis and his wife, it was getting dark, so I hustled through two older sub-divisions – Brookcrest and Lutzenburg that reminded me of where I grew up, a working-class suburb in Central New York built in the 1960s and 70s, row after row of ranch houses with yards.
Walking this part of Fairview made me appreciate, on a deep level, the diversity of our city. Not just the diversity of income or race and ethnicity – but diversity of lifestyle. Urban, rural, suburban – how people choose to live is as different as who they are. In Fairview, you’ve got options, all in a half-mile of each other.