Who was Angela Burke?

Angela Burke
(Photo courtesy Athena Burke)

Piecing together a picture of who 26-year old Angela Burke was has been difficult. Now I know why.

Today I got a call from her mom, Athena Burke. Ms. Burke, fighting back tears throughout our conversation, said her daughter had just moved to Portland a month or so ago and that she “was lonely and hadn’t found her people yet.” Given what I know about Angela now, I feel like it would have been just a matter of time until some of us would have eventually become her “people.”

Angela was from Albany, NY. Ms. Burke said Angela packed up and moved here after finishing college. “She just did this huge trip and moved out there, she was so brave. She knows a million people out here, but we have no one out there.”

Angela Burke’s Facebook profile photo.

It turns out Portland was something of a dream for Angela. Ms. Burke, who’s technically Angela’s stepmother, had a “very hard life.” After being in foster care, Athena Burke said her daughter had been through “a lot of very difficult, hard stuff.” It took her a while to finish college, but when she did, Ms. Burke said Angela told her she had a dream of, “living somewhere very beautiful and seeing what I can do.”

Once in Portland, Angela didn’t waste time enjoying our region’s beaches and mountains. “She was hiking and camping… Just going everywhere, especially Cannon Beach. She was climbing up mountains… She was just so independent.”

With an eye toward getting a degree from Reed College in environmental studies, Angela was working two jobs; one as a house painter and a second job as a barback the the Aloft Hotel at Cascade Station out by the Portland Airport. Angela was on her way home — trying to cross Barbur to get her unit at the Greenbriar Apartments (5132 Southwest Slavin Rd) — when she was hit on Wednesday night.

Athena Burke says her daughter was a “believer in biking and taking care of our earth.” As for the advocacy effort that started before this tragedy and has now taken on new importance, Ms. Burke said, “She would be up for this, it would honor her. She’s a person who believed in social causes. She would support this. She was always fighting for the underdog.”

— Read Angela Burke’s obituary from the funeral home in Albany, NY where services will be held this Thursday.

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