Jennifer Drain, 33-year-old shot to death in Portland’s Old Town, was former foster child seeking housing, beauty amid suffering

The victim of a Thursday night time capturing in downtown Portland was a 33-yr-previous female dealing with homelessness whose quest to grow to be housed was chronicled by The Oregonian/OregonLive just 3 months just before she died.

Law enforcement on Monday determined Jennifer Drain as the female who died in close proximity to West Burnside Street and Northwest Sixth Avenue. Persons around the scene that evening mentioned they read a one gunshot and that their buddy had been shot when in the head. Law enforcement stated Drain died of a gunshot wound but launched no other facts.

Drain is at least the fifth person going through homelessness to die from homicidal violence this yr. She was also 1 of four individuals who died in downtown Portland shootings in the previous 7 days.

Her demise was bracketed by other individuals gun fatalities. A 19-year-outdated Portland Condition College college student was fatally shot around the school’s campus April 4 fellow scholar Keenan Harpole, 20, was arrested on suspicion of murder. On Friday, a person died after remaining shot in the neck beneath the Burnside Bridge. And Sunday, a girl was killed and yet another injured immediately after a shooting in the 1200 block of Southwest Clay Avenue.

Drain’s pals are mourning the dying of the man or woman they understood as flawed but kind, devoted to seeing splendor amid struggling and hardship.

Her favored breakfast was biscuits and gravy. She had normally dirty blond hair but loved to dye it brilliant pink. She had a tiny canine that she cherished fiercely. Scrappy and independent, she navigated daily life on the streets applying her enjoy, her wits, most loved tunes on her cellular phone and friendships with all those she imagined she could have faith in.

In the wake of her violent death, a vase of bouquets stood outdoors her tent property – not a memorial, but a pop of magnificence that friends said Drain often placed there to make dwelling out in the things feel homier.

Drain hardly ever lived an quick life.

She grew up in New Mexico and Utah, she reported, ahead of shifting to Portland as an grownup for a possibility at a new begin.

She mentioned she entered the Utah foster method when she was 5 a long time previous and aged out when she was 22.

Drain’s maternal aunt, Lori Baker, who lives in Kansas Town, mentioned she and Drain’s grandmother fought to support Drain’s moms and dads and the very little woman, whose center title Lee Ann was a combination of Baker’s middle title, Lee, and her grandmother’s center identify, Ann.

In the conclusion, Baker claimed, she and her mom felt allow down by the Utah foster care procedure on Jennifer Drain’s behalf.

After several years of transferring from one particular household to one more, Drain reported she felt like the state system just kicked her out the door 1 day. They offered her a Position Corps education system, but did not aid her discover housing or give her other providers.

She interned as a court clerk for the section of human services in Utah by the coaching program. She went to trade college two times – the to start with time to be a qualified nurse assistant and the 2nd time she acquired a culinary certificate. When her grandmother fell sick, she cared for her until finally she died.

In a full shot, a person to the left of frame walks toward the camera carrying several bags.  Behind them, to the right of frame, is a row of tents on the sidewalk

Jennifer Drain, 33, pictured going for walks away from one of the downtown parts where she lived on the streets in Dec. 2021. Drain was shot to demise outdoors her tent around West Burnside Road and Northwest Sixth Avenue on April 7. The Oregonian

But when she was 11, most likely the major change of her lifetime occurred – 1 of her foster brothers launched her to meth.

“It was terrible,” she explained to The Oregonian/OregonLive months ago. “I obtained much more abused and mistreated in foster treatment than I ever did from my have dad and mom. The condition said I was neglected and abused, which was why I was taken absent, but I really do not think I was.”

Her mother even now lives in Texas. Baker explained Drain’s father finally met a related destiny as his daughter would in Portland, dying from gunshot wounds.

Drain utilized methamphetamine during most of her existence – immediately after she was released to it as a kid it was really hard to untangle herself from it, she explained. She got made use of to the way it served her experience far more energized and very clear-headed.

Almost a decade in the past, she seriously hurt her again when she was operate more than by a snowmobile, she claimed. She was specified prescription suffering killers. The prescriptions eventually stopped coming but the soreness did not stop, so she started out using opioids, which eventually led to heroin.

Drain was also diagnosed with a mind tumor. But for the reason that she expert homelessness for a long time, she mentioned she didn’t want to endure medical procedures without the need of getting someplace risk-free to recuperate. Her problems persisted but the meth and opioids helped soothe the suffering.

3 months prior to she was killed, Drain explaine
d she wanted help accessing housing and supportive products and services. She said she under no circumstances came in contact with outreach employees who assistance unsheltered individuals obtain help. She said she very likely would not have been ready to make it via the arduous methods to get housing on her individual – habit experienced been aspect of her existence so lengthy, she wasn’t absolutely sure if she was solid adequate to do it.

The week right before she died, she was packing up her belongings with a plan to shift back again to exactly where some of her relatives customers lived, according to pals who lived unsheltered around wherever she did. Her pals asked to be anonymous out of dread of further violence.

Baker stated when she observed shots of Drain in The Oregonian/OregonLive, her “strikingly attractive eyes” and “tiny hands” had been the exact as when she was a baby.

“When I saw that image of her hands, it reminded me of this time when she was 9 or 10 when she needed to plant a backyard garden,” Baker explained. “It was the sweetest minor point.”

Recalling the psychological and bodily soreness her niece professional, she explained, “She was so lost…If only she didn’t have that ache.”

Drain’s 3 buddies claimed they understood she was not fantastic, but they liked her with all her flaws. They talked about how they have been concerned that the “little blue supplements,” which are fake oxycodone drugs indistinguishable from the prescription variation, typically laced with lethal fentanyl, have been producing Drain not act herself around the past 7 days.

On Friday early morning, hours just after Drain was shot to loss of life, two close friends were being very carefully packing up Drain’s private merchandise in hopes of providing them to one particular of Drain’s family members customers.

The two women promptly grabbed a camp chair for an additional close friend who sobbed and shook uncontrollably. She claimed Drain was her very best friend.

The friends murmured about what could have brought about a person to target Drain – was it the simple fact that she witnessed two other new shootings? Was it due to the fact she owed an individual $5? Was it because individuals thought she was feeding information to law enforcement? Did it have a thing to do with “the blues” fentanyl capsules? No just one understands.

But all three feared what continued violence could provide.

Portland has recorded 29 homicides so significantly in 2022 — two extra than the metropolis experienced professional at this point final 12 months. At minimum 92 persons were being killed in Portland homicides in 2021, shattering the city’s preceding record of 70 homicides in 1987.

Personnel reporter Savannah Eadens contributed to this story.

Nicole Hayden reviews on homelessness for The Oregonian/Oregonlive. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @Nicole_A_Hayden.