Diane is the heart and soul of our neighborhood, and sometimes the neighborhood should win, not the BIG banks!
Diane has lived in our Northeast Portland neighborhood for 30 years. She bought her home in 1981, and over the years she helped raise her nieces, cared for her dying brother, welcomed her parents in their old age and raised her daughter, Gabrielle.
Her home has been a shelter to many in need, and her generosity has been endless to those in her family and community. She has put years of time and energy into her home— a new roof, new deck, bathrooms redone, electrical work, paint jobs, etc. In 1996, Diane paid off the house and was in the clear!
Then times turned for her. Diane lost her job at the nursing home where she had been for sixteen years, when new management hired younger workers for less pay. She required hip and knee surgery, only to learn after the fact that her insurance would not fully cover the costs. To pay her medical bills, Diane took out an ARM loan at the height of the real estate boom in 2006. Then the recession hit her hard, and the ARM loan has come back to haunt her.
Diane has yet to find a full-time job with decent pay. To make ends meet, she works very hard at two jobs—one at a Head Start preschool in North Portland and the other teaching water aerobics at our local community pool. But despite all of her hard work, Diane has not been able to catch up or keep up with her house payments. And now, sadly, Diane is about to lose her home.
Diane is the heart of our neighborhood, and we really love her. As one of only two African American families left on our block because of gentrification, Diane is our local historian. She is also our welcoming committee, our block party organizer, our neighborhood patrol, and so much more. We can’t even begin to describe what losing her would mean to our community. Please help us to help Diane.
Whenever I went to visit you, I could always count on bike rides and donut holes. The basement was so scary for me, but I absolutely loved going down there with you when you did laundry simply because the scare was thrilling. And, any time we did go down there, I was given an orange Creamsicle. In my adolescent mind it was as if you were awarding me for bravery. You would take the time to sit me down and try to teach me songs on the piano, of course not without first lecturing me to wash my hands. Every night was a treat to lay down with my auntie and watch all my favorites, The Mask, Flubber, The Secret Garden which was done while exchanging foot rubs.
-Diane’s niece, Taylor
My fondest memories are when we spent holidays around the dining room table with Grandpa James and Grandma Lois. Me and Gabrielle would sneak dinner rolls before dinner on Thanksgiving and run to the bathroom! My favorite memories, though, are the ones when we stayed up all night listening to music and dancing around the living room until we were worn out and crashed in your bed, our tickle fights and stories you read to us growing up, the fires you built for us and the snacks you prepared for us when we got hungry. Growing up in New Song, our church, was also an amazing experience. My fondest childhood memories were created, lived and experienced in your house!
-Diane’s niece, Kahila
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