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Dressed in spandex and equipped with a shield and riot baton, he patrolled local streets for almost a year.

Editor's note: This story is part of the The Times' special series, "Decade in Review." This series features three stories that helped to define each year of the 2010s. These can retell single stories that captivated readers of the time, a saga that played out across many articles, and even stories that were crowded to the margins by other news at the time but have made a lasting impact on our region.

PMG FILE PHOTO - A U.S. Army veteran known to the public only as Guardian Shield became Beaverton and Aloha's masked protector for several months in 2015.When times get tough, that's when heroes rise.

A masked, spandex-clad man with a ballistic shield became a curious sight on the streets of Beaverton and Aloha in 2015. He called himself Guardian Shield, and he identified as a superhero.

"I wanted to be a guardian of the citizens, and I wanted to shield people from harm," explained Guardian Shield, who said he served in the U.S. Army and became interested in the idea of being a "real life superhero" about 10 years earlier. While he occasionally donned his superhero garb while stationed in Colorado, it wasn't until he left the service and moved home to Oregon in late 2014 that he began regularly assuming his alter-ego.

Cursed with the same plight as the rest of us mortals — no superpowers, and not a lot of money — Guardian Shield mostly stuck to being a community watchdog rather than taking on the forces of evil singlehandedly. Despite his dramatic appearance, including a police baton and his signature shield embossed with the letters "GS," the self-made superhero didn't carry any lethal weapons. While he was a trained infantryman, he wasn't a master of martial arts, either. And he was no vigilante, telling the media he wasn't out to upstage the local police force or Washington County Sheriff's Office.

Guardian Shield kept the peace in his own way: making sure people didn't leave garage doors open, keeping a lookout for suspicious or belligerent strangers, and calling local law enforcement when he encountered a situation he thought could use their attention.

"Yeah, it's not glamorous, and it's not exciting or awesome, but you know what? No one else is out here," Guardian Shield told The Times in October 2015, about 10 months into his crime-fighting campaign.

While he took his role as community protector seriously, Guardian Shield became an endearing figure to many. He courteously posed for pictures with strangers, explained his mission to curious onlookers — and, occasionally, perplexed sheriff's deputies — and even held tryouts for a superhero sidekick.

Sadly, all good things must come to an end. Not quite one year after taking Beaverton under his protection, Guardian Shield announced in November 2015 that he was moving to Clackamas County and would no longer be patrolling Beaverton and Aloha. While he remained sporadically active as a friendly neighborhood superhero in the years that followed, he announced on Facebook in May 2019 that he was "stepping away" from his role as Guardian Shield indefinitely.


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