Sandwiched between the noise of the 99 highway and the city’s train yard, the Trainsong Neighborhood is a maze of railroad tracks and dead end roads. Due to time constraints, our group had to divide into two mini groups and visit the neighborhood separately. Kyle Shepanek and I took a longer-than-expected bike ride to find Trainsong at 1:30 p.m. and struggled considerably in finding it. After asking several people on the street, none of whom had ever heard of Trainsong, we decided it must be some mystical place that can only be found by those who already know where it is. Then, a very cranky and apparently homeless woman gave us directions that lead us into the neighborhood.
After riding along the train tracks on the NW border of Trainsong, we came across some horses living in a large front yard and an American Red Cross building, our first sign of business apart from a small satellite location to High Priestess Piercing and Tattoo.
Eventually, we made our way to Trainsong park, where a small playground and skatepark wait at the end of what would be a normal residential street if not for train cars holding giant logs that sit next to it, not to mention the Eiffel Tower replica and other strange lawn ornaments (usually just discarded appliances or vehicles) that, in some ways, decorate the dreary blocks.
At the park there was a group of mothers and their children playing on the playground. I approached one of them and asked (very politely) if I might be able to take a picture of her and her child playing. She did not hesitate in saying no.
Perhaps it is because of the past danger associated with the park, or maybe simply because I was being an annoying journalist and she didn’t want her child’s picture taken. Either way, there is a strange sense of uneasiness that I get from Trainsong. I’m not sure what to make of the neighborhood yet, with it’s industrial feel and lack of any obvious vibrance. It is clear that it is a low income area, but I think it has potential to prove to be a very community-based neighborhood that is comfortable the way it is. We’ll find out as we continue to cover the Trainsong Neighborhood.