Portland man becomes eyes of Piedmont neighborhood after tragic past
Posted August 11
Portland, OR — Night after night, Joseph Levi Gibson rests his head on a grassy nook on top of a tree, and looks out for the Piedmont neighborhood.
Gibson said it is a small climb compared to the uphill battle he faced with addiction that led to beatings by his older brother, leaving him mentally and physically scarred.
In their house in Camas, Gibson and his brother Justin started smoking meth. As their addiction grew, so did Justin's paranoia. He admitted in court, he thought his brother and his ex-girlfriend were trying to poison him.
"He posted me up in the recliner in the living room like attempted to beat me to death," Gibson said.
Gibson was shot, suffered broken bones and was burned with a cigar.
After the incident Justin was sentenced to 12 years in prison for assault.
After multiple surgeries Gibson left the hospital but could not return home. His house was foreclosed, and he ended up in Farragut City Park.
Danno is the committee chair for crime and safety for the Piedmont Neighborhood Association. When he realized Gibson was hanging out in the park and down on his luck, he stepped in.
"It makes me feel easier at night knowing that Levi is out being my eyes and ears," said Danno.
Gibson cleans up the park and discusses situations that happen in the park.
"If you can work with those types of people to help them get ahead they become an asset not just for you but for the entire neighborhood," said Danno.
Gibson has been clean for about a year. He works side jobs and looks out for others.
Gibson said he does not want to be sucked back into a life of addiction.
"You learn to just deal with the pain in your own way you don't really need the drugs, it's superficial, it's mind over matter," said Gibson.
He said he is saving money to purchase an RV and wants to continue to build his relationships with people in the Piedmont neighborhood.