Thelma Glover worked the phones.
In the living room, a spotless space with good light and four dozen photographs, she used the cordless to dial a friend. The call went to voicemail.
"This is Thelma," she said. "Is someone going to pick me up? I don't have no way to get there."
Glover needed a ride to the bank, the grocery and Mt. Olivet Baptist Church, where she's been a member for six decades. She had stopped driving three months before. At 98, she supposed, it was time.
"Hello?" she said into another answering machine. "Don't forget me."
Glover carried a wooden cane from room to room but leaned on it only once. Even at her age, she's too stubborn to stoop.
Before she gave up the 1964 Chevy Malibu wagon, Glover made regular trips to her old North Portland neighborhood just to look at what she lost. She drove down Williams Avenue and imagined the jazz clubs that used to dot the stretch. She curled along Commercial Avenue, peered up at the hospital high rise that replaced her house.
"That was my first home," she said. "I was living close to everything that I was accustomed to. But they came and took the place. I had to give up my life."
Hers had been a quintessential black experience. She came to Portland from the South in 1941, expecting a better, safer community. Instead, Glover found what African Americans in Chicago and Detroit and San Francisco did: Black communities anywhere were expendable.
Government officials across the country penned African Americans into less-desirable areas. Later, when white people wanted the land, planners declared the communities blighted and forced African Americans out.
The bulldozers came for Glover and 200 other families -- mostly black -- in 1970 when Emanuel Hospital officials decided they needed their properties. Glover found a place in East Portland, eight miles and two interstates from her church, her bank and her friends. She has given it 45 years, but the pink-and-white house at the end of a cul-de-sac has never felt like home.
She put down the phone, smoothed her wig and adjusted two necklaces around the pink cowl-neck sweater she guessed no one would get to see. Without a ride, she couldn't even visit the neighborhood that held her best memories.
Most cities haven't tried to make amends for the ways they systematically pushed black people out of neighborhoods. But last year, Portland leaders decided to try. They announced a multi-million dollar program aimed at bringing back people pushed or priced out of close-in neighborhoods. This winter, they'll begin doling out down payments.
Glover won't get one. For her, it's too late.