Framework

Capturing the world through photography, video and multimedia

Eddie Martinez, 14, sits crying in the stairwell at the Country Inn motel in San Bernardino as his girlfriend Breanna’s mom jealously berates her for texting her dad.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

A young boy retrieves a ball in the empty pool at the Country Inn.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

Feeling ill, Eddie Martinez lies on the floor at the Country Inn. The San Bernardino motel is as close to a home as he’s had since his brief stint in the middle class ended when he was 6 and the family lived in Oregon.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

Vanessa Padilla attempts to clean a turkey in her motel room at the Country Inn.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

When Eddie Martinez's mother, Noreen Gutierrez, was in jail on a probation violation, he stayed with her 24-year-old boyfriend, above, who was mostly strung out on the shards of crystal meth he smoked in the bathroom.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

Children hang out in Breanna's room at the Country Inn.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

Eddie Martinez, 14, stands outside his room at the Country Inn in San Bernardino. With his mother in jail, Eddie felt adrift in a storm, with no search party looking for him.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

Vanessa Padilla, 30, talks with San Bernardino police officers in the Country Inn parking lot after her daughter Breanna, 12, failed to come home after school. She fears she is missing.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

In tears, Vanessa Padilla pulls her youngest daughter into their motel room. Her older daughter Breanna was missing after she didn't come home from school.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

Vanessa Padilla, left, watches her daughter Breanna, 12, get a hug after Breanna is brought back to the motel by police officers.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

A young girl does her homework against a broken window at the Country Inn, where she lives with her family.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

Barefoot and holding her blanket, a young girl runs in and out of her room at the Country Inn.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Francine Orr

A couple and their baby were evicted from the motel for not paying their bill.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

Using a rake, manager Sam Maharaj, left, cleans as a renter sits on the floor, rocking back and forth in her motel room at the Country Inn.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

This afternoon, Sam Maharaj will evict a couple and their 4-month-old baby for not paying their bill.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Francine Orr

This afternoon, Sam Maharaj will evict a couple and their 4-month-old baby for not paying their bill.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

A woman cries outside Room 105 at the Country Inn. She is being evicted, along with her husband and 4-month-old son.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

A child watches motel manager clean out a room at the Country Inn.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

A boy plays with a cockroach he calls his pet "turtle," just outside his room at the Country Inn.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

A young boy watches the from the balcony at the Country Inn.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

Children play in the parking lot at the Country Inn.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

A boy plays in a plastic bin while his mother cleans the motel room.

A child rides past her father at the Country Inn.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

A man uses a pickax to remove a metal pole from the concrete next to the Country Inn.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

A man plays with Grumpy the dog in the parking lot of the Country Inn.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

A young girl tosses herself on the ground next a broken metal box spring outside their room at the Country Inn.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

Motel manager Sam Maharaj, buys the kids a pizza after they helped clean the parking lot at the Country Inn.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

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No room for a normal childhood

The children gather at dusk on the pitted motel parking lot, hard against the sound wall of the freeway. They kick a scuffed soccer ball and play with the stray dogs they have rescued.

One holds a cockroach he pretends is a pet turtle.

Eddie Martinez, 14, rides his bike among them, happy they are back from school. Since he quit going to class several months before, he spends his days sitting on the breezeway at the top of the stairs waiting for them.

In the dim light and freeway exhaust of San Bernardino’s Country Inn, he has friends and a piece of a normal childhood.

The problem of children growing up without a secure place to call home is growing worse nationwide.

Nearly 1 in 10 students in San Bernardino County are homeless and many live in run-down lodgings rife with drugs and despair. Return to story page.

6 Comments

  1. June 14, 2015, 8:04 pm

    i lived in san bernardino on an off since i could remeber an its still the same way it was then now i feel the only way to help the people of san bernardino is stop renting to tenants who have evitions an judgments in their credit history .stop renting rooms to prostitues change their pimps now im sure everyone knows what they are an look like.An anther thing they dont do credit checks at some places so you wouldnt know anyway iknow that for a fact.The police are slow or they dont when neede they come hours later by then we dont need you anymore. Their scared to protect an serve how is that.Rasing the taxes might help but thats not the biggest problem they have bigger problems then that the police have to do their jobs an not just get paid to have it.I think in order to fix this city you have to fix the problems the city has first without people you have no city no city you have no money right.I have so much to say about this city an its people living there.

    By: erica
  2. June 14, 2015, 9:50 pm

    The state of the City of San Bernardino is the failure of our Judicial System and the selfish and greedy acts of our elected Politicians. The neighboring County of Los Angeles has done nothing but instilled their rejects of hardened and drug affiliated gang members and criminals our way by "banning" them from their communities for their criminal activities and wrongdoings. These rejects have to leave and migrate over the more expensive living cities such as West Covina, Pomona, Ontario and Rancho Cucamonga and wind up here in San Bernardino. The drugs and weapons they bring with them lead to the elevated crime and poverty of our beloved city. The homeowners and "Scumlords" need to screen their rental applicants more effectively and more thoroughly not just renting to anyone just to make a dollar. "Passing the buck" , I call it and yet the media does nothing more than to sensationalize and make a mockery of our city and these homeless people by doing a special report on it. To those who are longtime and loyal residents of San Bernardino such as myself our memories are priceless. I can remember a time when we can look back and reminisce when San Bernardino was a city where jobs were plentiful and our economy was booming. We were the home for 2 well know Malls, the Home of the Little League Western Regional Headquarters, and the Swing Auditorium that hosted Musical Concert Events with acts such as The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, and even Elvis Presley. The US Festival brought fans from all over the world to San Bernardino. The National Orange Show with its mascot Citrus Sam was a yearly event where its carnival booths and rides such as the zipper and the hammer were the main attractions.Visitors from all over the state would come and attend. Our cities parks such as Secombe Lake aka 5th St. park were the home to a lake full of ducks that our children would come and feed. Perris Hill Park was the home to "Kiddieland" which was an everyday carnival attraction. In the 70's we were the "spot" where we teens could come in their classic and fast cars and cruise down "E" Street. Teens from neighboring communities would use it as a place to meet new people and friends. I remember going cruising with several guys from out of town not having to worry about my safety or welfare. One-stop shopping centers such as Sages and Fedco were a convenient way of life where you could purchase anything from hardware to grocery store items. Sages even had a coffee shop where they had the best pies you could eat . Sadly the closure of Norton AFB failed our society. Our politicians failed our society. But we the people have not. The thought of sending gang members to a city where they are not wanted and accepted because of their "territory" is the beginning of the end. Thus starts the vicious cycle and an ever spinning wheel and the "cancer" of San Bernardino. This is part of the reason of what we are today. We need to band together and "clean" up our city by taking control of the drug infested culture that has been created. We need to "pass the buck" back to from which they were evolved from. The pictures that are seen in this report should be a police matter. They should handle it. Let our Judges "ban" them from our County. But let us not forget our own homeless who are not asking for a dollar to buy a bag of drugs. We need to provide shelter and food for those only who are deserving and hungry. We have let down our youth by not having any type of youthful activities or a place for them to get together and be just what they are, simply kids. People as myself remember when we had arcades, malls, movie theaters, drive-ins and even a skateboard park that served as a gathering place and a safe haven for teens. I remember a San Bernardino that had yearly 4th of July fireworks spectaculars that my father would put up a ladder to climb where my brother and I had front row seats from our homes rooftop. San Bernardino was a place where neighbors all knew each other and had each others back. A place where we would not have to lock our doors at night and worry about any type of robberies, rapes or home invasions. A place where kids could go freely to other neighborhoods without worrying about getting jumped or killed. San Bernardino has been made the "scapegoat" for our neighboring communities. We have become what you all of our neighboring communities were supposed to be.

    By: reginasan1@yahoo.com
  3. June 15, 2015, 7:05 am

    Kids are the ones who suffer from un-fit parents.

    If you cannot afford to live, you are a criminal to bring kids into this world.

    Every photo of poverty shows un-fit parents who are responsible for deepening their own misery and making the kids suffer.

    Rather than provide free contraception, the idiots of government chant about taking more tax money and giving it to those who make this problem worse with child bearing.

    Yeah. More government money. So these people can continue having kids which is nothing more than CHILD ABUSE.

    By: sickofit@aol.com
  4. June 15, 2015, 7:07 am

    How clear is this photo?

    A female, unable to live on her own, brings a baby into the world to suffer.

    Its criminal child abuse and none of the government people have the guts to admit it. Its far easier to chant that they "need more tax revenue" from everyone else so that these criminal parents can get a free check to continue the life we see in this photo.

    By: sickofit@aol.com
  5. June 15, 2015, 2:01 pm

    waystation, one word

    By: drmoran@aol.com
  6. June 15, 2015, 5:12 pm

    No one cares in the city of San Bernardino anymore including the police a random lady locked my kids in a yard and told them she would hurt them if they moved I called the police and not one officer showed up but they harassed my kids for playing on the playground at there school yet the park is filled with homeless and drug dealers and addicts where kids are supposed to be able to play and feel safe and they wonder why our kids grow up to be dealers addicts and prostitutes the police would chase the petty weed man than to deal with what really matters.

    By: Latosha

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