Vandals spray paint gay slurs on grandmother’s home

Neighbors believe trailer park managers target Melanie Powell because she's gay

RAINIER, Ore. (KOIN 6) — A grandmother in Rainier said she is being targeted because of her sexual orientation.

“I see a lot of discrimination and a lot of hurting words,” said Melanie Powell.

Most recently, Powell said homophobic slurs were spray painted on the side of her home.

Melanie Powell says trailer park managers are targeted her because she  is gay, Sept. 3, 2014. (KOIN 6)
Melanie Powell says trailer park managers are targeted her because she is gay, Sept. 3, 2014. (KOIN 6)

“I stood up, turned around and looked down. I seen (sic) two boys down there,” said Powell

By the time she got outside to confront them, the boys were gone.

Powell said she has been living at the trailer park for 25 years without any issues.

“I got my gay pride flag hanging out front. I’ve kept my business inside my house. I don’t put it in people’s faces,” said Powell.

However, in the last few months, Powell said the new property manager has been out to get her, issuing her notice after notice.

Powell said she was also given a list of repairs she must complete, including her roof and porch, in a 30-day timespan. She immediately went to work on her porch.

“When I start working on all this here, I get this handed to me: ‘stop building immediately, not park approved,’” said Powell.

Though according to the paperwork the property manager gave her, the only thing that needed to be approved by the trailer park was the paint color.

Melanie Powell said she found homophobic slurs spray painted on the side of her mobile home, Sept. 3, 2014. (KOIN 6)
Melanie Powell said she found homophobic slurs spray painted on the side of her mobile home, Sept. 3, 2014. (KOIN 6)

As for her roof, Powell said she just had it redone last year.

“I’m tired of being yelled at, screamed at, vulgar language, being accused of doing stuff we are not doing,” said Powell.

Several of Powell’s neighbors, including William Pierce, said they haven’t had any problems with the new property manager and that all focus seems to be on Powell. Neighbors believe the manager may be targeting Powell because she is gay.

“I’ve watched it enough where I had to come down here myself and stop the manager from yelling at her the way she was,” said Pierce.

When confronted, the park’s manager, Maureena Schmaing, denied she was targeting Powell because of her sexual orientation.

“I’m a landlord. I follow the Manufacturing Housing Oregon Law, and I follow all the Title 10 Law with any park site I manage,” said Schmaing.

She also claimed if Powell needed an extension on the Sept. 7 deadline, she could have one of up to 90 days to complete the requested repairs.

Regardless, it’s clear that if someone messes with Powell, she has the whole trailer park backing her up.

“It’s a great deal of support. I don’t know what I would do without having all these people on my side,” said Powell.

Powell is in the process of hiring an attorney.

The vandals responsible for the spray paint, however, remain uncaught.

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