Maple Shade Apartments
The ten years since Maple Shade was built have not been kind to it. Though it was built in the somewhat-rough Brooklyn neighborhood in hopes that the new development would help pull the area out of its economic slump, it was too little, too late. The neighborhood continued its downward spiral in the last ten years, and took the Maple Shade Apartments with it.
Today, the poor-but-hardworking families and individuals that originally made up its community have largely fled for safer places. Drug crime, homelessness, and prostitution define the grit of the Brooklyn neighborhood in 1984, and almost no one lives here out of choice. Still, there are decent folk who live here – some of whom have been here since it opened – trying to eke out a life of safety and comfort despite their surroundings.
Manager • Apt A10
Perpetually exhausted and cynical to the point of apathy, Myrtle doesn't give a shit what happens here. She mostly stays in her apartment, dealing with people who come to her door directly. When she is seen around the property, she is usually clad in bathrobe, hair curlers, ratty slippers, and smoking a cigarette.
Maintenance & Pool Shark • Apt A09
Myrtle's nephew Georgey technically works for the Maple Shade as its maintenance man. The pay is low (though it does include an apartment), but so are the demands of the job. He always assures residents he's got a list, and that their problems are next on it. Georgey is notoriously critical of "junkies and fags," and seems outwardly judgmental of the "loose women" who live at the Maple Shade...when he's not propositioning them, of course. He makes most of his pocket money by playing pool at the local bars for cash.
- Management Office: A sizable office set aside for the use of the complex's manager, this office goes largely unoccupied. It shows signs of having been broken into before, but is now secured with multiple sturdy locks.
- Security Office: A much smaller security office is largely abandoned, much like the management office. It has also been broken into and is now locked with heavy-duty locks.
- Play Area & Courtyard: A "green area" that is more dirt and trash than actual grass, the few children of the complex occasionally can be found playing here. At night, however, it is a gathering point of a variety of shifty characters, who use the lack of lighting, open access, and blocked lines of sight to sell drugs.
- Closed Shopfronts: Most of the shops here are run-down and decrepit, despite signs that proclaim them "FOR LEASE". There are iron bars over the windows, and much of the glass has been broken and not replaced, being boarded over with plywood instead. Every so often, the police cruise past, ready to roust out any homeless who have broken into one of these spaces for shelter.
- Fairways Payday Loans & Pawn: With bars on the windows and roll-down security gates over both door outside and windows inside, Fairways is the closest thing to a bank in the local area. They buy all sorts of pawned goods without too many obvious questions, as well as offering positively usurious "payday" loans that prey on those who have no choice but to take the loans between paychecks.
- Bright Gethsemene Church: A small nondenominational, charismatic church that gathers on Wednesday evenings and Sunday mornings and evenings, the Bright Gethsemene's stated goal is the redemption of the many sins in this neighborhood. Pastor Lucas Garvey and his wife Jacinda lead services with a small but loyal congregation. On days when there are no services, the Garveys run a soup kitchen for the area's hungry, although these days they can only afford to open it twice a week or so (Tuesdays and Fridays).
- Apartment A01: Lonnie Stedman
- Apartment A02: VACANT
- Apartment A03: The Flophouse (Edgar Reese, Oscar Ray)
- Apartment A04: Mindow Residence (Barton & his twin siblings Ruben and Tania 13)
- Apartment B01: Rex Bagby
- Apartment B02: Charlotte Murray
- Apartment B03: VACANT
- Apartment B04: Ashe Burdette
Mercy Corps Worker • Apt A01
Lonnie works for Portland's newly headquartered Mercy Corps. He is a big proponent of drug and alcohol recovery in underprivileged communities around the world, and helps proselytize the use of a new treatment called Naloxone to help prevent heroine overdoses. He used to follow different jam bands around the United States, but now that he himself is sober, he has given it a rest, though he still loves The Grateful Dead. Lonnie thinks everyone just needs to settle down and see one another as people worthy of care and empathy. He loves electric model trains, and is very excited about new electric train public transit developments that should be ready later in the decade. He is trying to organize a local neighborhood watch.
Towel Boy & Rent Boy • Apt A03
Edgar is a towel boy at Club Portland downtown and a rent boy on the side. Loves to laugh and sing loudly, very quick wit. He shares an apartment with a number of other queer sex workers that is little more than a flophouse with one bedroom kept tidy enough to bring a john back to. He drives a red VW bug named Hester and has a well loved copy of How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive that he always keeps handy to keep her running
College Student & Rent Boy • Apt A03
Onkar "Oscar" Ray is studying pre-med at PSU. He doesn't talk much about his past, although it's known that his parents died when he was in high school, and he's struggled to pull his life together ever since. Oscar is the quiet foil to Edgar's boisterousness, and he shares a bedroom with Edgar, although they aren't romantically involved. (The other bedroom is the apartment's "working bedroom.")
Bouncer • Apt A04
Life hasn't been easy for Barton. He peaked in high school, playing center for the football team. When a drunk driving incident killed his parents, Barton had to drop out of school to take care of his younger siblings, twins Ruben and Tania. Though they had to be in foster care long enough for Barton to get emancipated, they have lived with him ever since. Barton now works as a bouncer and barback at Brooklyn Park Pub.
Record Store Guru • Apt B01
One of the long-term Maple Shade residents, Rex suffered a bad accident one rainy night in 1979 while riding his bike. He doesn't ride any more, but he does still work in a couple of record shops, mostly doing buying and merchandising for them. He is well-known in Portland's music scene, and he occasionally writes reviews of local performances for the papers and magazines locally. His dream is still to one day open his own music store.
Activist • Apt B02
Charlotte came to Oregon about ten years ago, escaping a series of bad relationships. She went to work at the Broadmoor Hotel doing housekeeping, and became involved in the small black community and its activism. Last year, she volunteered for Margaret Carter's state legislature campaign, but when the Broadmoor closed down, she was forced to move to the Maple Shade. Charlotte's church downstairs, Bright Gethsemane, is important to her, and she has taken up the desire to help make her new home a better place - without much success, to date. Charlotte loves going to karaoke nights down at the Nite Hawk, and she absolutely devours romance novels (a secret she doesn't let slip to her church friends, of course). She makes ends meet occasionally cleaning up houses, and has been known to do such tasks gratis for those with physical limits and limited means (such as Winnie, up on the third floor).
Author • Apt B04
Ashe hit it big 15 years ago with a trio of self-help books: You!, Becoming You, and Where Did You Go? She was even something of a celebrity, making her way through the national talk show circuit and appearing on all the morning shows. It's been a while since she's had a popular book, though. She's been living off the royalties from her books, which have been getting smaller each year. She's been trying to make ends meet by writing fantasy novels, but so far hasn't found much success.
- Apartment A05: Em Gruenwald & Sixx
- Apartment A06: Joel Lerma
- Apartment A07: Sarina Sparkles
- Apartment A08: xxx
- Apartment B05: Desiree Yale
- Apartment B06: Sowenda Montgomery
- Apartment B07: Belle Allman
- Apartment B08: VACANT
PSU Freshman (Theater Major) • Apt A05
Em just graduated high school, and is attending PSU as a theater major. Em is largely uncomfortable with being identified as a woman, but neither do they consider themself a man – their roommate Sixx has assured them that being "agender" is a real thing. These days, Em has taken to spending most of their time with their best friend, Erica, another PSU student. Em frequently gives Charity Montgomery a ride to school in the mornings.
Odd Jobber • Apt A05
Sixx somehow manages to pay rent on time each month even if nobody is quite sure how. He doesn't have a steady job, but he always manages to find temp jobs, short term gigs, and odd jobs here and there that manage to at least cover the cost of rent and food, if not much more than that. While he lives alone, his apartment seems to be a hub for the transgender community in the neighborhood. He knows what it's like to be on your own at a young age with no place to go and does what he can to pay it forward.
Pothead Philosopher • Apt A06
Though he works down at the Port Authority, that's not who Joel is, man. A charming pothead who hasn't quite figured out how to get his life together (or if he has, it sounds like way too much work), Joel's apartment usually hosts a collection of his buds couch-surfing or passed out under a table. Joel is usually broke, but everyone always gets paid back, and when payday comes, it's party o'clock for everybody. When high, he tends to expound at length about the problems in the world and with society. Joel is good with kids, and builds the coolest LEGO shit in the complex. He's the sort that is only too happy to babysit someone's kid, but usually only at their place – by no stretch of the imagination is his pothead den even remotely kid-friendly.
The Exotic Dancer • Apt A07
According to local legend, Portland is the city with the most strip clubs, per capita, in in the United States - and "Sparkle" has taken the stage in them all. The years of hard living are definitely catching up with her, and where once she was welcome at any stage she wanted, she now is just scraping by working day shifts at The Pitiful Princess. To make ends meet she rents her extra room out to girls she dances with, none of whom seem to stick around for more than a month or two - meaning there is a steady stream of boyfriends, stalkers, and abusive ex-boyfriends stalking the halls of Maple Shade.
The Divorcee • Apt B05
A long-time resident, Desiree divorced her husband Bruce in 1981, shortly after their son Malcolm graduated high school and moved away to Berkeley to attend university. Though Bruce used to come around, drunk and shouting, banging on her door until the cops came to round him up, it's been a few years since he's come around. Desiree has a couple of part-time jobs to make ends meet and in general seems perfectly content with her newfound peace. She's got some opinions about the decline in the complex, but it's cheap and it's home. Every so often, Malcolm (now 20 years old) comes home to visit her.
School Office Clerk • Apt B06
Sowenda has worked for the Portland school district as a clerk in the front office of a local elementary school for many years. A recent widow, Sowenda discovered that her recently-passed husband Edgar left behind a mountain of debt she didn't know about, and no life insurance to be had. Worse, it all happened just as they were getting ready to send their only child, Charity, off to university. Sowenda moved to the Maple Shade a few months ago, forced to move to a much cheaper place – just until she can get herself back on her feet, of course. Despite multiple invitations from Charlotte Murray, Sowenda has not been at all social, telling herself that living here is only temporary, so there's "no use settling in."
PSU Freshman • Apt B06
Though she knows how difficult things are of late for her mother, Charity can't help but feel cheated of the college experience she's been planning for herself since she started in high school. With no money to live on campus, Charity now lives in this crummy apartment with her mother. Where Sowenda's grief looks like hiding away from the world, Charity's dealing with it all by distracting herself with college parties and bar-hopping.
Inspirational Speaker & Spiritual Advisor • Apt B07
Inspirational speaker, spiritual advisor, self-proclaimed self-defense expert, and dog enthusiast, Belle claims that Maple Shade can be transformed by the power of positive thinking. She is one of the few folk at the Maple Shade striving to change life here, and she puts forward a very put-together demeanor to back up that goal. She finds joy in perfumery, cooking, poetry, and other hobbies that engage sensuality. Though she has managed a few paying speaking gigs, Belle makes ends (barely) meet by working at a perfume counter at the mall.
- Apartment A09: Georgey Connor
- Apartment A10: Myrtle Connor (Manager)
- Apartment A11: Esther Padilla
- Apartment A12: Jaime Sinclair
- Apartment B09: Becca Lambright & Isaac Boyer
- Apartment B10: Thomaston Residence (mother Alberta, her kids Lucas 15, Minnie 12, Amir 9, and Jada 4)
- Apartment B11: Winnifred "Winnie" Suttle
- Apartment B12: VACANT
Dental Office Staff • Apt A11
Esther has been a resident of Maple Shade for about a year after divorcing her husband and moving out on her own. It's been hard for her to strike out on her own. She was always told that her greatest accomplishment was to be a good wife and mother. After several years of of trying to get pregnant without success, and her husband getting more and more verbally abusive, she finally decided she could do better following her own dreams even if it meant not having very much money.
The Burnout • Apt A12
After a hard youth and early adulthood partying on daddy's dime, the Sinclairs eventually cut her free, tired of the drugs and shady boyfriends. These days, she floats from one drug-dealer boyfriend to the next, working as a stripper and dancer at VIBE when she can convince them to let her.
Singer/Secretary • Apt B09
Becca shares an apartment with with her boyfriend and singing and music partner Isaac Boyer. Isaac plays guitar while Becca sings. The folk rock duo call themselves Bring Me Your Heart. Their music career doesn't quite pay the bills, so while they play various gigs at night, Becca has a day job as a secretary in a small law office downtown.
Musician/Barista • Apt B09
Isaac shares an apartment with with his girlfriend and the other half of the folk rock duo Bring Me Your Heart, Becca Lambright. Isaac plays guitar while Becca sings. Isaac is well known for his mohawk and bad boy appearance, but anyone who actually knows him is aware that he has a heart of gold. He's known for always trying to help other residents of Maple Shade when he can, carrying groceries, assisting with small repairs. He helps to make ends meet by working as a barista at a coffee shop.
Single Mom • Apt B10
The mother of four (ranging in age from 15 to 4), Alberta struggles to make ends meet. She sleeps on a folda-bed in her living room, with the two bedrooms of the apartment she rents given over to her two boys and two girls. Though Alberta does temp office work, her faith pulls her through – she attends Bright Gethsemane church every Sunday morning and Wednesday evening, her kids well-groomed and dressed in their best. Alberta's oldest, Lucas, has begun to reject her authority and push against her boundaries, much to her added stress.
|Winnifred "Winnie" Suttle|
The Shut-In • Apt B11
After having a minor stroke in 1982, Winnie doesn't get out as much as she used to. She has a difficult time with her mobility most days, but on her better days she pulls a chair up on the balcony to breathe the air and reminisce about days when she used to garden down in the green space below. She sometimes speaks wistfully of her daughter Vanessa and her family, but holds no grudge for not having seen her in years ("People just get busy these days, don't they?")
- Apartment A13: Marv Feldman
- Apartment A14: The Rutherfords (Evelyn, Isaiah, Lena)
- Apartment A15: xxx
- Apartment A16: xxx
- Apartment B13: Unoccupied (Water Damage)
- Apartment B14: Unoccupied (Water Damage)
- Apartment B15: Tanner Heldon
- Apartment B16: Ben Pardo
|Marvin "Marv" Feldman|
Costumer & Amateur Sleuth • Apt A13
Marv is a retired costumer for the Portland Opera, but was put out to pasture in the 70s and has struggled to make ends meet ever since - mostly doing work for the girls at Darcelles. He is completely obsessed with mystery shows like Columbo and Hart to Hart - and especially the new Angela Lansbury vehicle Murder, She Wrote. He fancies himself an amateur sleuth and is always watching the comings and goings at Maple Shade just waiting for a big mystery (but so far mostly salacious gossip)
Gospel Singer • Apt A14
In recent days, Evelyn has come into a little bit of the spotlight as a gospel singer. She has done a small Washington-Oregon tour of churches in recent years, leading praise and worship. Though none of the venues could really afford to pay much, it's allowed her to stop doing mending and cleaning to make ends meet.
Activist & Freelance Writer • Apt A14
Still involved in community activism, Isaiah writes think pieces and cultural spotlights for a number of Black publications in the U.S. Most of his time and resources are poured into local political efforts. Isaiah met Charlotte Murray through similar endeavors. Last year, Isaiah married Lena, who lives with him and Evelyn now.
Activist • Apt A14
Enchanted by Isaiah's political awareness and fiery words (written and spoken), Lena and Isaiah married last year. Lena helps with several political endeavors, volunteering her time when she isn't tending to her domestic situation. She somewhat resents the assumption that housekeeping and cooking will fall to her because of Isaiah and Evelyn's involvement in their various projects, but she's content to help keep things together for now.
Wrestler • Apt B15
Tanner is a 6'9" rural Kansas farmboy who left farm life behind to chase his dream of being a professional wrestler. Two years ago he bought a bus ticket and headed to Portland to join the Pacific NW Territory of the National Wrestling Alliance. He is well liked in the company, but is struggling to come up with a gimmick that has struck a chord with the audience. Currently he's trying his hand as a corpse paint wearing heel with goth trappings called The Warlock. Matt can be seen keeping in shape by running up and down the stairwells of Maple Shade, as well as out on his patio where he has a weight bench set up - he's a gentle giant who politely endures the wolf-calls he gets from various denizens of the building (and there is much speculation about what team he plays for since he's never been seen with a romantic interest).
Unemployed • Apt B16
Ben thought he'd found happiness, with Carol. And then, the weird shit happened. His fear and pain as a result of those things drove a wedge between him and Carol, and when she left for Chicago, he was devastated. He lost his job and hasn't quite managed to find regular work ever since – his old job in sales was so high profile that his dramatic emotional collapse is common knowledge, and no one in his field wants to take a chance of it happening again if they hire him. So he's made rough ends meet with savings (now exhausted), credit cards, and the unemployment line since then.
- Apartment A17: VACANT
- Apartment A18: xxx
- Apartment A19: De la Fuente Family (Sal, Tina, Marisol, Diana, Mama Rosalinda)
- Apartment B17: Unoccupied (Water Damage)
- Apartment B18: Andy Koval
- Apartment B19: Annette Weaver & Her Weird Ass Commune
|Salvador "Sal" Ignacio de la Fuente|
Driver • Apt A19
Sal owns his own business, which is to say he owns a low rent limosine and is able to rent his driving services out enough to keep the lights on.
He lives with his mother Rosalina, two sisters Marisol and Diana, and his girlfriend Tina - none of whom get along. They fight loudly and endlessly anytime he is not around to diffuse the situation. Sal is a good catholic boy, and despite their means, the whole family dresses to the nines to attend services every Sunday, and Mama Rosalinda then comes home and makes a big dinner that anyone in the complex is welcome to attend - provided they are willing to listen to helpful advice about their lifestyle choices from Sal and Mama Rosalinda.
Construction Worker • Apt B18
Andy works at a local construction company. He's down on his luck and rebuilding his life in Portland after his life fell apart in Minnesota – he's known to have been an accountant at one point, and to have been married. Now he spends his off time inviting other residents over for coffee and telling tall tales about his past.