Gulfton, Houston - History - 1992-2009

1992-2009

In August 1992, Mike McMahon of the GAAC and Francisco Lopez of CARECEN founded the Gulfton Area Neighborhood Organization (GANO). In 1995, CARECEN merged with GANO as both organizations had board members and goals in common. Fisher and Taafe said in the 1997 article Public Life in Gulfton: Multiple Publics and Models of Organization that the merger into GANO made cooperation between the members of the combined "progressive" GANO and Shenandoah Civic Association with the more "conservative" GAAC unlikely. By 1993, Gulfton received 500 new street lights, paved streets, and new sidewalks as part of the City of Houston's "Neighborhoods to Standard" program.

On July 11, 1998, Houston Police Department officers acting on a tip regarding drug related activities entered a Gulfton apartment complex and shot and killed Pedro Oregon Navarro. The circumstances of the event were disputed. By October 19 of that year a Harris County grand jury cleared the officers of charges related to the incident. Nestor Rodriguez, a professor of sociology at the University of Houston, described Gulfton as "a place where people are just struggling to get by." Consequently, there were fewer "displays of outrage" than would have been expected if the incident had occurred in one of the "older, well-established Latino communities." Oregon's killing was controversial because illicit drugs were not found on the property. Oregon's family sued the City of Houston arguing that the raid was inappropriate. The city countered that its officers acted in an appropriate manner. A federal judge dismissed the lawsuit in 2000.

Beatrice Marquez, a Houston Independent School District (HISD) parent involvement specialist for the Gulfton area, stated in a 2004 Education Week article that members of the Central American communities specifically identify themselves with Gulfton rather than Houston.

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