From Combat Zone to Family Friendly: 5th & O St NW (Shaw)

Street sign for 5th & O intersection in Shaw.

In his book S Street Rising Ruben Castaneda described 5th & O Streets Northwest in Shaw as a “combat zone” an area whose reputation involved a murder, drugs and little to no press attention on the intersecting streets. As I continued to do research, googling 5th & O I discovered articles that were written a decade or so after Castaneda’s stories in the book, that played the same tune. In article Warring Gangs in District’s Shaw Neighborhood Declare Truce and similarly in Truce and Consequences authors Johnson and Samuelson describe 5th & O as gang filled, murdering spree atmosphere that was finally in the midst of trying to find newfound peace in the area after too many lives lost in the streets.

After such narratives and ideologies being written about the Shaw area, I decided to visit 5th & O to see if these same stories would fit what 5th and O is now. When I got here I was presented the opposite, the first word that comes to me to describe Shaw is – Gentrified. Here are some of the things that I observed…

House sign showing appreciation to Shaw.