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Powderhorn has problems, yes. And it's a wonderful place to live.

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Haddayr Copley-Woods
Haddayr Copley-Woods lives in Minneapolis and is a writer, blogger and mother.
Courtesy Haddayr Copley-Woods

I knew we were in trouble again when I saw those horrible white news vans on the side of the road. Those vans never show up for the Art Sled Rally or the MayDay Parade.

  But they appear, like jackals, whenever there's violence in my Minneapolis neighborhood.

What most people know about Powderhorn is what they see on the news. People who should know better have asked me if I'm afraid to live here. They don't seem to realize what an insulting question that is.

I'm not naive. I know we have our problems. My own husband was held up at gunpoint on our front lawn. But that kind of isolated violence -- what the news plops unceremoniously in our faces -- it's not the Powderhorn I know.

The Powderhorn I know is a warm place. It's a place with deep community involvement, where we actually get to know each other. And why wouldn't we? We are a seriously interesting bunch.

Where else will you find hippies rubbing elbows with punk bicycle Holy Rollers whizzing by Somalis playing soccer with Guatemalans? When your son asks you: "What's a lesbian, Momma?" where else could you reel off a list of friends and neighbors who just happen to live on your block?

Where else can you welcome the sun every May with a huge group of goofy, singing, wild, silly creatures dressed as bears, hawks, birds and antelope? Where else will you hear a heavy metal band shriek out ear-rending guitar riffs while little children pound happily on drums next to grandparents handing out peacenik flyers?

Where else would a woman assaulted in front of her children refuse to be a victim and instead write a public letter filled with compassion for her attackers? "I see those boys as hurting, scared children," she wrote. "Please send them all the love you can muster. I think they really need it."

Where else? Nowhere else. Nowhere but Powderhorn. Like it says on the banner that flies from my neighbor's balcony every May Day: "Powderhorn and Proud!"

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Haddayr Copley-Woods, Minneapolis, is a copywriter, blogger and mother. She is a source in MPR's Public Insight Network.