Jason Hubert is patrolling the sidelines, barking out instructions - or as he says, “positive advice” - to his girls soccer team at Sam Barlow high school. His Bruins reached the round of 16 in the OSAA state playoffs before losing to Lakeridge on Tuesday night. But Hubert’s patrolling isn’t limited to the sidelines.
“It’s harsh out there right now,” he said as we took a ride with him through downtown Portland. “We’re taking guns from 13, 14, 15 year-old-kids. It’s very disheartening. It’s sad.”
Coach Hubert, is also Officer Hubert, a member of the Portland Police Bureau’s dangerous Gang Enforcement Unit. He saw a surge in gang violence in Portland when the school district began slashing after school sports and activities. So he should’ve known the same would happen in his jurisdiction in East Portland.
“I spoke to the school superintendant (and others), and told them, ‘don’t take away middle school sports, it’ll only lead to an increase in gang memberships.’”
He was right. As the Gresham and Barlow schools made cuts, gang related violence has risen in the last year. “Don’t take away sports,” he said, “even the gang members will tell you that!”
Hubert’s job on the streets is tough. “At the end of the day, I need to be going home,” he said referring to the hazardous nature of the position. But his other job isn’t so easy either. “Dealing with 22 girls can be more chaotic that you think,” he said tongue-in-cheek.
But he loves every aspect of the sport and coaching regardless of its rigors. “I play in four different (adult soccer) leagues, I love it. I love being able to do both jobs,” he said. “I love teaching kids not only about how to excel in sports, but to teach them life lessons. The gratification of teaching youth, not just putting them in the back of my (police) car.”
Jason Hubert is one of Portland’s finest. He’s a pretty good cop too!