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Community Profile: Palolo Valley

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Lucky they live Palolo

Forget selling houses. There was a time not so long ago that folks in Palolo Valley couldn't even get people to come visit.

*Loa Faimealelei, left, greets Darryl Tomita at the Palolo Valley District Park gym.


"The reputation was bad," said Loa Faimealelei, 32. "There was a lot of gang activity, a lot of crime. People from outside wouldn't come into the valley. They were afraid.

"Before, you say 'Palolo' and ..." Faimealelei raised his hands defensively to finish his point.

Still, Faimealelei, who was born in American Samoa and grew up in the Palolo Valley Homes public housing complex, said the neighborhood's reputation wasn't the whole story.

Where outsiders saw only drugs and violence, Faimealelei and other long-time residents saw a quiet community where older, middle-class families lived in relative harmony with struggling immigrants trying to establish themselves.

Where some viewed Palolo as the black sheep in an East Honolulu family that includes Kaimuki, Kapahulu, St. Louis Heights and Manoa, others knew that under the right circumstances the neighborhood's time would come.

And it has.

In the past few years, community activism, renewed business investment and a white-hot housing market have led to a radical reconsideration of much-maligned Palolo.

"There has been a revitalization over the last five or six years," said state Rep. Calvin Say. "It's catching up to Manoa and Kaimuki. 'Palolo' now has a very positive connotation.

"There are more families moving in," he said. "Some of the older residents are dying out, and their children are moving back. There are more renters, too. I'm proud to say that the complexion of the valley has changed."

The transformation has been most evident along the two main corridors into the 2,584-acre valley

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^Man its a trend that is happening all over especially in Hawaii with the hot housing market its changing the face of the islands i'm hoping the bubble will burst soon because everything is skyrocketing. :(

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