Sunday, July 12, 2009

Salem Neighborhoods

As daughter Lise and her husband continue their search for an apartment that meets their price and also allows pets, I've noticed the prejudices I have about certain areas of town. For example, am I right in giving a motherly warning about living in the area around Lancaster Mall? It didn't help that the apartment sign had been tagged recently.
I want her to be safe--not having to worry whenever she gets home late at night. Karyn, who cuts my hair, often talks about how her policeman husband counsels her on which areas of town to avoid. But I'm torn, because I believe in order to make change we must not abandon a neighborhood and let crime take over. I just don't want to offer up my oldest as the method for improvement.

When checking out an area what should we look for? Is a car up on blocks in the front yard enough, or should we be looking for bigger things like tagging on houses and fences?


Emily said...

Yes, you're definitely wrong. People are afraid of the places near the Lancaster Mall because that's where Latinos live. When I lived in big cities, it was refreshing and interesting to live around people who weren't exactly like yourselves. Here in Salem, people act like you are resigning yourself to a life of crime and danger. That's some major bull-honky, it smacks of the worst kind of racism. So much for Oregon and its pioneers. You can't predict what kind of neighbors you'll have based on their cars. I suggest if she's interested in a place she should just hang out there and talk to people who live there.

KandN said...

I was hoping you'd answer Emily. I wanted a different point of view. Living in the south end I think I've become enmeshed in the type of culture you mentioned--that dangerous things/people lurk in all other places. But then I have events etched into my brain, like a young friend ending up in the hospital for several days after catching a stray bullet while out walking her dog just blocks from that area. The bullet wasn't meant for her (something to do with a gang initiation), but it was enough to convince her to move south and then eventually to the Stayton area. It probably could've happened anywhere and it was around 8 years ago, but it's tough to shake.
Please keep talking. I'm listening.

smc said...

My husband and I live in NE Salem, a few blocks east of the RR tracks in an older neighborhood which we just love. We could have afforded to move to one of the newly developed neighborhoods out south or in West Salem, but found the charm and character of our neighborhood so much more inviting. Occasionally things will get tagged around here but I think every neighborhood has it's pros and cons.

For 11 years when I was single, right out of college, I lived in the heart of downtown Seattle. My parents were horrified, just sure I would be murdered in my sleep. It was the most exciting, interesting and fun place I have ever lived. The major reason for that was the amazing diversity of the people and the opportunities available to me because of that diversity.

KandN said...

SS, It sounds like you live close by where a friend from work lives. She too loves the area and the neighborhood--more character than the developments built in the 70s, like ours.
Part of what Lise is struggling with is a desire to be close to downtown and not too far from us. Seems like when you get too much criteria, it just gets tougher to find what you want.

Emily said...

Well, thanks for letting me chime in! I'm wondering if you knew I had invited your daughter to come look at a place right next to us? Ha ha. We love where we live. As a mom, it's your job to worry about your kid, so I can't really blame you for being concerned. It's true that as you get closer to Lancaster it gets a little shadier -- I wouldn't live surrounded by chain restaurants myself. But there are pockets of wonderful little micro-communities within Northeast that are affordable, historic, and pretty darn cute. But I think your girl wants to be closer to downtown, right? and in that price range, I can't say I've heard of anything recently. We can bike to downtown in five minutes or so...

KandN said...

I find the drive on D street, starting at Lancaster and driving west, an interesting neighborhood study all by itself.
As with many of us, I'm not sure if we really know exactly what we want until we're given that decision (and a 12 month contract) to sign off on. Anxiety was building.
A large part of her frustration is that she had a high paying job in Virginia and now she's having to work her way up from the bottom rung. Dollars limit choices, adding to that frustration.