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Ed aka Blackie

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The Man Troutdale Forgot. One other resident of the Harlow Farm is often overlooked. At the base of the cliff, near the north property line was a small frame building. In 1979 when the house and grounds first came into the ownership of the city and the Troutdale Historical Society, it was evident that the building had been a residence. It still contained a small electric stove and a number of canning jars. The building was demolished in the late 1990s after it became inaccessible and fell into decay because a spring arose under it. The shack, local residents said, was the home of \u201cBlackie,\u201d a handyman who worked for the Harlows
and possibly for other local residents. His name, apparently, came from his color, though many residents could not say for certain that he was African American. Walter Nasmyth knew a bit more and wrote about him in 2004: \u201cIn 1937 and 1938, I worked for Mrs. Helming taking care of her potted plants and planting her many bulbs and flowers. I was too small to handle the spading of her vegetable garden so she hired Ed (Blackie)\u2014I never knew his last name\u2014to do the spading. \u201cAlthough crippled, Blackie, who was African-
American, was such a hard worker that most of the people in the area hired him to do their garden and yard maintenance work. While working for Mrs. Helming, I was in daily contact with him and he told me of his injuries and that he could not contain his urine. \u201cIn his youth, Blackie worked in the woods setting chokers, a job that involved working around felled timber waiting to be \u2018yarded\u2019 into the loading area by a steam donkey engine. One day while setting a choker around a log, the log rolled and pinned him beneath it. His legs and pelvis were badly broken and it took several years for him to partially recover from the accident. \u201cWhen I was young Ed, or Blackie, lived in a small shack on the northeast corner of Fourth Street and Dora Avenue. (The old shack was just east of the Howell home and one day, probably about 1933, it just slid off the bluff.) Due to his problem with his bladder and kidneys, Blackie\u2019s shack smelled so bad that it was never occupied after he moved to the small shack on the Harlow House property. \u201cDuring the years I worked around Ed, I never
heard him complain about his disabilities and he always put in a full day of hard labor for the person he worked for. The only thing he mentioned was that he could not hold his urine.
\u201cIn retrospect, it makes me sad to think that such a man lived in the area and no one knew his last name, and that he just faded into obscurity with no one to mark his passing.\u201d

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