PORTLAND – Dion Weeks has been a wanted fugitive for five years. That’s how long he’s been dodging the arrest warrant, issued after he was busted on drug charges in 2004.
But Monday, he ended that. “I’ve been suffering and I’ve been causing my kids to suffer”, says Weeks. “it’s time for me to step up to the plate.”
Or, in this case, to step up to the Multnomah County Jail. He turned himself in, to face jail time and possible fines – but also to put the criminal phase of his life behind him, a chance to start over.
Dion’s childhood friend, Erik Glass – a former gang member – put Dion in touch with a local program called “Project Clean Slate”. The project helps people in trouble get their lives back.
Dion had plenty of company as a fugitive. There are more than 60,000 of them in the four-county area around Portland. Many never get caught, or, if they do, are released, only to commit more crimes and become fugitives again. Getting a good job becomes almost impossible, because background checks not only reveal their record, but the fact that they’re wanted.
Dion Weeks says he’s had it with that life. In the short term, he faces the justice system, the courts, then possible jail or prison time. After that, he plans to go back to school, and to go back to work – and to a life where he can look forward, instead of always looking back over his shoulder. Fortunately, Dion wants to work for himself, start his own business. The people at Project Clean Slate will help him through the transition.