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In Southwest, countless mysteries to solve

When I was a kid, I wanted to a detective.

I was enthralled by the idea that there were mysteries, that I could perhaps be the one to solve them.by: CONNECTION PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Drew Dakessian.

Taking my cues from Harriet the Spy, I could often be found investigating my backyard with a children’s magnifying glass my mom purchased for me at what is now Food Front Cooperative or documenting ‘evidence’ in a spiral notebook under my desk at school.

Well, here I am, a supposedly full-fledged adult, and it would seem that like most kids, my plans for ‘when I grow up’ were derailed. Except that they weren’t.

I've been tasked with reporting the news to the citizens of Southwest Portland. Without a doubt, that involves solving a few mysteries, as simple as what neighborhood a source hails from (a case cracked with a quick visit to PortlandMaps.com); and as complex as why South Portland is a mecca for alternative schools. Investigative journalism and detective work are the same thing. I do get to solve mysteries; I’ve simply traded my old spiral notebook for a MacBook Pro and my magnifying glass for an iPhone.

People often ask me if I hope to move on to a bigger paper someday, believing that this must be merely the first rung on the ladder of my career. They scoff at the importance of this newspaper because its coverage area is Southwest, a swath of suburbia where, “Portlandia” would have us believe, nothing ever happens.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Southwest may not be a hipster haven, but what it lacks in dive bars it more than makes up for in potential detective work. It’s always changing and constantly teeming with new mysteries to solve. And after having worked here a year, all I want to do is keep on working here, and keep getting the chance to solve the mysteries of Southwest.

Drew Dakessian is the lead reporter of The Southwest Community Connection. She can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .