Salomon Castillo and family

Salomon Castillo has lived in the same house on Primitive Street for 20 years. The one story tan-colored house is set back further from the road than its neighbors, without a front porch or other distinguishing characteristics. I meet him on a Sunday afternoon as he sits at a plastic table at the end of the driveway, near his back door. He is surrounded by family: his wife, a brother and his wife, a younger friend Jake, and a half dozen kids. They’ve been celebrating his birthday. The table is full of empty Corona bottles, the kids run around with ice cream cones. One of the wives goes to turn down the music playing as I walk up the driveway with my friend Adam, who translates for us.

Salomon and his brother do home construction: framing, siding, roofing, decks. Salomon has paid the same rent for 20 years, he tells us, because if anything needs to be fixed inside or outside the house, he does the work. The backyard is full of old auto parts, a chicken coop and run, and other assorted odds and ends along with a small tool shed that looks like an old chicken coop.

“It was much worse here years ago, much more crime. People used to break your windows and steal your stereo, that kind of thing. People used to cut across my driveway and steal tools from my shed back here.

“In the last two or three years, there’s been a lot of new people, it’s been quieter, safer. Muy tranquillo.”

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