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Reading, Writing, Evicted: Driven to stay in school

Fellowship Story Showcase

Reading, Writing, Evicted: Driven to stay in school

Picture of Bethany Barnes
Adelfa Sanchez was forced out of her apartment in Northeast Portland after a 100 percent rent increase.
Adelfa Sanchez was forced out of her apartment in Northeast Portland after a 100 percent rent increase.
The Oregonian
Saturday, February 24, 2018

Adelfa Sanchez spends roughly two hours each school day driving children to and from Portland’s Rigler Elementary.

Sanchez isn’t a bus driver. 

She’s a mom who is dedicated keeping her children and two of her sons’ classmates in their old neighborhood school after the landlord at their old apartment complex doubled — doubled — the rent last year.

That rent hike forced more than a dozen children out of Rigler. The move separated them not just from their Northeast Portland school, but shut them out of a Spanish immersion education.

It could have been worse. In total, 26 children’s educations were threatened by the rent hike at that one complex. But some were able to remain in the well-regarded Spanish immersion program that connects them to their native language. Three of those children managed to hang on because of one person: Sanchez.

Her family and two others found city-subsidized apartments where they could afford to live. But they now live miles outside the Rigler attendance zone and no school bus will come and get them.

So every day, Sanchez starts her tiny silver Nissan with the booster seat in back and drives her son and two classmates to Rigler. Then she drives back home and picks up her two middle-school-age children and drives them to Beaumont. Then, in the afternoon, she gets back in the car again.