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The fragile accord that once existed between the renters and homeowners of Portland’s Bayside neighborhood and the vulnerable people seeking help from Preble Street and the city’s Oxford Street Shelter has shattered, as drunken brawls, overt sex, burglaries and drug deals encroach on neighbors’ doorsteps. Bayside has also become a magnet for drug dealers and other predators.

Photographer Ben McCanna and staff writer Randy Billings documented the desperation and hopelessness in the spring of 2018, in a powerful piece of journalism that focused public attention both on the plight of Portland’s poor and marginalized and on the pressures facing the residents of Bayside.

March and April 2018
Sunday, April 22, 2018
Hanover Street resident Stephanie Scherer picks up litter on Portland Street while an intoxicated man sleeps on the sidewalk during April 22’s Community Clean Up! organized by the Bayside Neighborhood Association and the city.
Tuesday, April 10, 2018
A crowd gathers at the intersection of Preble and Oxford streets, where two men are fighting in the street next to Preble Street Resource Center.
Monday, April 2, 2018
Opiate addict Heidi Stevens, 44, credits Oxford Street Shelter for her strides toward recovery.
Thursday, March 29, 2018
A woman is arrested on Oxford Street, near the intersection with Cedar Street, after throwing a can of beer at an officer.
Friday, April 20, 2018
A tourniquet flies off the arm of a 28-year-old man who just injected heroin. The man, who didn’t want his face photographed and asked to be identified only as Ed, was sitting in a tight space between a retaining wall and a shipping container near Oxford Street Shelter.
Thursday, March 22, 2018
Authorities respond on March 22 to a woman who suffered a head injury after she was pushed down on Oxford Street.
Thursday, March 29, 2018
Bayside resident Sarah Michniewicz peers through a window in her Cedar Street home. Her property has been the site of public indecency, defecation and drug use, and she’s pushed the city to clean up the neighborhood. “I’m worried for Portland,” she said.
Thursday, April 19, 2018
“Trick,” who asked not to be identified by his real name, was recently evicted from an apartment in Westbrook. He receives methadone, but uses heroin occasionally.
Thursday, April 19, 2018
Trick injects heroin into his leg. A few minutes earlier, Trick traded a cellphone for a 1/4 gram of the brown powder during an open-air drug deal outside the soup kitchen at Preble Street Resource Center.