Street Roots

Portland, OR, United States
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Covers round-up: Street papers on sale in November

What’s been making the front pages of street papers during the past month?

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Life on the streets: Growing old

Portland’s Street Roots has a periodic column about the parts of homelessness most people don’t talk about. In the US, the proportion of elderly people experiencing poverty and homelessness has risen by more than 20 per cent in the past 15 years. For this instalment, Street Roots explores what being homeless is like for people in the later years of their lives.

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Halloween Horrors: October’s covers round-up is here

Happy Halloween! The end of October is nigh, and we’re ready to dust off the cobwebs and send shivers down your spine with our round-up of covers from the past month.

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Our vendors: Randy Humphreys (Street Roots, Portland, USA)

Randy Humphreys has been working as a Street Roots vendor for a few months and experiences great enjoyment in his work. He enjoys the contact that he has with his customers and is focusing on leaving his past behind him and moving forward with his life.

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Life on the Streets: Beating the heat

Summer may be over, but due to pollution, the trapping of heat in urban areas and global warming, the autumn months may not prove to be much cooler for people living on the streets. In a periodic column about the parts of homelessness most people don’t talk about, Street Roots vendors talk about the burden of living on the streets when the weather is hot.

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Life on the Streets: Prone to loss

Portland’s Street Roots has a periodic column about the parts of homelessness most people don’t talk about. People in extreme poverty are experts on loss, whether it be their belongings, their privacy, their dignity or anything else.

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Life on the Streets: The proliferation of private guards

Portland’s Street Roots has a periodic column about the parts of homelessness most people don’t talk about. Some Street Roots vendors welcome added security; others say private guards – who are not police – overstep their bounds.

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Life on the Streets: A love story

Portland’s Street Roots has a periodic column about the parts of homelessness most people don’t talk about. Through the tough times and the good, vendors Johnny and Stephanie find that life is better together.

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Street papers respond to President Trump’s homelessness comments

Last week, US President Donald Trump made comments about homelessness that garnered some bewildered reactions. Homelessness is an issue rarely spoken on by Trump. But a community of people who know a thing or two about homelessness in the US are street paper staff and vendors. A selection of them, from Portland’s Street Roots and Washington, D.C.’s Street Sense, had their say.

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IN PICTURES: INSP Awards 2019 Winners

Our picture gallery of the 2019 INSP Awards. Relive the highlights!

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INSP Awards: 2019 Winners Announced!

The winners of the 2019 INSP Awards have been revealed at the official Awards Ceremony, as part of the Global Street Paper Summit in Hannover, Germany.

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Read Street Roots’ award-winning cultural feature: ‘She Shreds: Ripping up the rulebook on female guitarists’

Fabi Reyna is the editor of She Shreds, a groundbreaking magazine that is a revolutionary platform for female guitarists. Since being launched in 2013, the magazine has championed itself as being an inclusive space that celebrates female guitarists – a demographic that is often overlooked in the industry. Here, Reyna looks back on five years of success and contemplates what is in store in the magazine’s future. Last night at the 2019 INSP Awards, this piece won Best Cultural Feature. Now, you can read it in full.

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Stress on the streets

All of us experience some degree of stress in our everyday lives. For those who are homeless, however, stress can be a debilitating and chronic issue. Street Roots talked to a number of individuals about their experiences of life on the streets and about the impact that stress has had on their lives. This is especially pertinent as delegates at this year’s ongoing Global Street Paper Summit talk about dealing with conflict and vendor welfare.

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INSP Awards: Presenting the 2019 Best Cultural Feature Finalists

As the 2019 INSP Awards draws closer, we’re bringing you the Finalists in each category over this week and next, and we’re continuing today by announcing the Top 5 Entries for Best Cultural Feature.

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“You have to wait in line constantly”

Portland’s Street Roots has a periodic column about the parts of homelessness most people don’t talk about. Here, vendors talk about how they’re “spending a hell of a lot of time” waiting around.

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Street Roots vendors and attorneys partner for expungement pilot

The homeless community has long been the target of police action and prosecution, often creating an insurmountable backlog of tickets and non-violent misdemeanors that can effectively shut people off from safe housing, education and jobs, and perpetuating cycles of poverty. Portland’s Street Roots partnered with other organisations on a project aimed at helping vendors attain a clean slate.

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Our vendors: Brian Lane (Street Roots, Portland, USA)

Brian Lane credits his Lummi Tribe heritage with helping him to recover from a traumatic injury: he feels that the spirit of his tribal lineage gave him the ability to pull through. Now homeless and living with a disability, Brian has found something else that is helping him to navigate his way through life: Street Roots. His involvement with the magazine has brought growth, support and the possibility of moving forward.

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INSP Awards: The 2019 Best Cultural Feature Nominees Revealed

We’re continuing with our 2019 INSP Awards announcements, and today it’s the Top 10 Entries for Best Cultural Feature.

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Sick with nowhere to go

Portland’s Street Roots has a periodic column about the parts of homelessness most people don’t talk about. In this instalment, vendors describe how a common cold can potentially turn into a life threatening illness when they have nowhere to go to recuperate while sick.

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Surviving the cold

Portland’s Street Roots has a periodic column about the parts of homelessness most people don’t talk about. In this instalment, vendors talk about how they get through Portland winters on the streets, sometimes having to resort to novel, and in some cases dangerous, ideas.

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The pain, cost and stigma of parasites from living on the streets

Portland’s Street Roots has started a periodic column about the parts of homelessness most people don’t talk about. In this instalment, now shared with INSP, vendors describe their experiences of picking up parasites and bugs, such as head lice and scabies, mainly at hostels and shelters, and the effect it has on an already difficult way of living.

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Hello 2019! A round-up of January’s street paper covers from around the world

2019 is well and truly underway, and the new year has brought with it an impressive array of street paper covers to cast the winter blues away!

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Our vendors: Jason Sheer (Street Roots, Portland, USA)

Jason Sheer has been involved with Street Roots for eight years and he credits the magazine with bringing an increased level of stability into his life. Here, he talks about his experience of homelessness and the support that he has received from Street Roots. He is hopeful about what the future will bring.

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Homeless in a woman’s body

In the most recent count of the homeless community in Multnomah County, Oregon, 1,355 adult women were identified as homeless, making up 36 per cent of the total homeless population, a 16 per cent rise from the previous survey. Street Roots spoke to five of its vendors about what women living on the streets experience.

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INSP Vendor Playlist: Street Roots vendors share the stories behind their selections.

This year we asked vendors: if you could give a song as a present this Christmas, what would you choose? The result was the INSP Vendor Playlist, which is now available for your listening pleasure. Street Roots vendors in Portland, Oregon, run through their choices.

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Festive Front Pages: A round-up of covers, calendars and books being sold on the streets this Christmas

With the festive season in full swing and Christmas Day less than a week away, we take a moment to cast our eye over the street papers, calendars, books and other goodies on sale by vendors during December.

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A round-up of November’s street paper covers

As the festive season approaches and we prepare to open the first door of our advent calendars, time to take a look back at the street paper covers that have been sold by our vendors in 34 countries around the world during November.

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Doctor Who, Aretha and Anniversaries: A round-up of September’s street paper covers

As September draws to a close, we’re pausing for a moment to reflect on the impressive street paper covers that have been seen across the INSP network this month.

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Our vendors: Gail Marcotte (Street Roots, Portland, USA)

Street Roots vendor Gail talks about her upbringing in New York, moving to Portland with her daughter and using selling the street paper to combat social isolation.

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Vendor voices: Have you felt profiled by police?

This week, the 2018 INSP Global Street Paper Summit has been held in Glasgow, giving street paper staff from countries throughout the network the opportunity to discuss the issues affecting their vendors in our modern world. According to recent news reports in the US state of Portland, 52 per cent of all arrests last year in the Portland area were made against people on the streets, and 86 per cent of those were for non-violent violations. The city’s street paper, Street Roots, surveyed its vendor about their first-hand experience with law enforcement.

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INSP Awards: Presenting the Finalists for Best Online Presence 2018

Today we bring you the first Finalists in our Impact categories, for the Best Online Presence from the street paper network.

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INSP Awards: Introducing the 2018 Best Cultural Feature Nominees

We’re continuing with our 2018 INSP Awards announcements, and today we’re revealing the Top 10 Entries for Best Cultural Feature.

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Our vendors: Tina Drake (Street Roots, Portland, USA)

Tina first arrived in Portland two and a half years ago and she now sells Street Roots from her pitch outside Target in Downtown Portland. Here, she reflects on her childhood struggle to reconcile her outer gender with her inner self, how welcoming Portland has been for her as a trans woman and the rich feeling of hope that her mother endowed her with.

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February Feels: A round-up of street paper covers this month

With entries for the 2018 INSP Awards opening very soon, has February delivered us any potential winners in the Best Cover category?

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Vendor moments 2017: “Just every day of 2017 was memorable”

As 2017 draws to a close, we asked vendors across the global street paper network to look back on the highs and lows of their year. Today, Paulette, a Street Roots vendor in Portland, explains that, despite getting on a bit, she is still full of a lust for life.

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Street Roots’ Israel Bayer steps down as director after 15 years at the helm

After 15 years at Portland street paper Street Roots, Israel Bayer has stepped down from his position as director. Speaking to INSP, he reflects on his time there, what it has been like working as part of the global street paper network, and what’s next for him and the organisation.

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Our vendors: Loretta H. (Street Roots, Portland, USA)

Loretta H. talks to Street Roots about her journey to becoming a Street Roots vendor and the ways in which selling the magazine is giving her hope for the future.

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Our vendors: Wally and Chauncey (Street Roots, Portland, USA)

Wally and Chauncey are a Street Roots selling, comedy double act. But it hasn’t always been a laugh. Here, they tell the story of how they met.

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INSP Awards: Finalists for the 2017 Best Project Award

Our last set of finalists are here – which innovative projects have captured our imagination and made it to the top five?

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INSP Awards: Best Cover 2017 Nominees Revealed

It’s been another brilliant year for street paper covers, and we’re delighted to announce the first set of nominees for this year’s INSP Awards – kicking off with the hotly-contested Best Cover category.

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Our vendors: Maria D. (Street Roots, Portland, Oregon, USA)

Maria has always held physically demanding jobs, but recently that has been causing her pain and difficulty. Selling Street Roots gives her independence while she finds the right career. “They have always welcomed me,” she says.

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“This opportunity is thrilling” – INSP’s new Intensive Learning Programme kicks off

Participants about to set off on international placement scheme to strengthen street papers and share ideas.

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Our vendors: Norm Chamberlin (Street Roots, Portland, Oregon, USA)

When Norm lost his job and his home, it was thanks to the kindness of a stranger he ended up in housing once again. Now he sells Street Roots, accompanied by his dog Heidi. He says being a vendor is an adventure – and good for his mental health.

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#VendorWeek interview: James and John share two sides of North American vendor life

They’re both North American street paper vendors, yet over a recent Skype interview James and John – from Montréal and Portland respectively – discovered that Canadian and American vendor life can be very different.

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Vendor wishes: “I wish for peace in people’s hearts”

Eileen and Mike both sell Street Roots in Portland, USA. They join our vendor wishes series, both calling on the government to tackle affordable housing.

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Our vendors: Janick Webb (Street Roots, Portland, USA)

“I stay positive by recognising the negatives first,” says Street Roots vendor Janick. “Get those out of the way, and figure out how to change the things you can change.”

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“How will you reach out to people like me?” street papers respond to President Trump

International street paper staff and vendors responded with surprise and apprehension following the election of Donald Trump as the next President of the USA.

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Street Roots’ Cole Merkel wins Skidmore Prize for work with vendors

Street Roots’ inspiring Vendor Program Director, Cole Merkel, has been awarded the 2016 Skidmore Prize for his tireless work to support the Portland paper’s 150 vendors.

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Prophets of Rage to Bridget Jones – September street paper supporters

There’s support from big name stars featured on this month’s covers – but also stark reminders of why street papers are so necessary for homeless people.

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“We are a part of something much greater” – INSP summit scholarships enhance street paper movement

INSP scholarships to the Global Street Paper Summit allow emerging street papers to learn from the expertise within the network, and bring new voices to the global conversation.

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Olympic fever gripped world’s street papers this August

August’s street paper covers have the Olympic spirit, featuring ‘cuddly lawnmowers’, a homeless wedding, Steven Spielberg, and a cheeky little bit of rickrolling.

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Sizzling summer street paper covers are animal mad!

Soak up a summery selection of animal-mad street paper covers with pugs, wolves, chickens, seagulls and crabs – plus Pikachu and the fish star of Finding Dory.

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Portland street paper campaigns for safe injection sites

“Opiate overdoses are wreaking havoc on people experiencing homelessness” in Oregon, USA. Portland street paper Street Roots has joined with other local activists to campaign for safe injection sites that they say will stop preventable deaths, and reduce drug-related litter.

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Hard-hitting, striking… phizz-whizzing: it’s June’s street paper covers

A gloriumptious look at the world of Roald Dahl, a red-haired mischief-maker, a mafia flower plot and Yanis Varoufakis at the INSP Summit… explore June’s street paper covers.

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INSP Awards: street paper finalists for Best Online Presence

Like all print media, cultivating a strong online presence is becoming increasingly important for the world’s street papers. Meet our four tech-savvy finalists for Best Online Presence.

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Our vendors: Bill Whicher (Street Roots, Portland, Oregon, USA)

Bill Whicher has a career that reads like the economic headlines, only more personal. He was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, USA, and now sells Street Roots in Portland.

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“Homelessness is not normal”: powerful TED talk from Street Roots director

At the end of WW2, street homelessness was largely non-existent in America. Yet hundreds of thousands of people will sleep rough in the USA tonight. What happened?

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Hard-hitting Street Roots zine shares Portland vendors’ experiences of sleeping rough

Street Roots vendors share their stories of homelessness and sleeping rough in a visually stunning black and white zine published by the Portland street paper.

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Campaigning and celebrating with April’s street paper covers

The mood in the network feels celebratory this April, with some big anniversaries and some big names. Street paper covers applaud some true heroes – including Luke Skywalker, Korean escapees, and our vendors.

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“It’s not often you see a homeless vendor in a suit”: vendors from Massachusetts and Oregon meet

Street Roots vendor Marlon and Spare Change’s Mike are from opposite ends of the USA, but when they met they found common ground – as they both sell street papers.

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March’s covers reveal the power of illustration

From fierce illustrations to wild covers, experience dozens of the world’s best street paper artwork from the last month.

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Stunning photos place focus on Portland’s homeless

With his project Careful: Soul Inside, photographer Pedro Oliveira aims to break the “social wall” that makes homeless people invisible. His photos and stories emphasise the humanity of his subjects.

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Rock gods to proud vendors: February’s street paper covers are out of this world

From rock gods to proud vendors, February’s street paper covers featured lots of fascinating and inspiring people. Explore the world’s street papers here.

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Street Roots’ #VendorWeek celebration captures Portland’s imagination

#VendorWeek may be over, but we’re looking back at some of the best bits. Street Roots were out in force on Twitter to celebrate their vendors. They also shared a moving video about Marlon – their best dressed vendor.

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Starting 2016 with street papers: January’s covers collected

Haruki Murakami, Beyonce and Bowie all graced January editions of street papers.

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World’s street papers celebrate #VendorWeek 2016

It’s only Day 2 and INSP’s fourth international #VendorWeek is already in full swing. Here’s how dozens of street papers are joining the celebration worldwide.

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Weekly publication triumph marks an extraordinary year for Street Roots

One year after doubling their print run to become a weekly publication, the staff at Portland street paper Street Roots are celebrating increased sales, higher morale, more quality news – and extra dollars in the pockets of their vendors.

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“The boat was close enough for us to see the scared children” – helping refugees on Lesvos

What is the reality of helping refugees in the Greek island of Lesvos? One volunteer recounts her emotional story from the front line of the crisis.

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Vendors celebrate Christmas across the world

Our street paper members are all over the world. Here is how some vendors are spending Christmas at their street paper.

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INSP Advent Calendar: Christmas Eve

In the final window of this year’s #INSPadvent Billy tells us “It’s all about love.” We couldn’t think of a better message. Merry Christmas, everyone.

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Explore dozens of this month’s brilliant street paper covers

The Pope, Bond, Naomi Klein, great illustrations… and a blue wolf. It must be November’s street paper covers.

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#BuckTheSystem with Portland street paper Street Roots

Portland’s Street Roots calls on customers to #BuckTheSystem with a new initiative that promotes the street paper’s social impact and quality journalism.

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Street Roots celebrates its readers after extraordinarily successful year

Street Roots has had an extraordinary year. In a guest opinion piece, editor Joanne Zuhl tells INSP that it’s down to their readers (and a little help from our News Service).

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Fancy a scoop with your paper?

Sweet-toothed Portlanders have a new way to support their local street paper, as Street Roots launches their first ice cream sale – and a brand new, exclusive flavour.

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Our vendors: William Howard (Street Roots – Portland, Oregon, USA)

“I’m going to sell papers, get off the streets and be a productive citizen,” vowed William Howard when he first started selling Street Roots in Portland, Oregon. And that’s exactly what he did.

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American police arrest homeless woman for charging phone

A homeless Portland woman was charged with third-degree theft when she plugged her cellphone charger into an outdoor electrical outlet.

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American students provide homeless women with free pads and tampons

For women, menstruation is a natural and regular part of life. But for those experiencing homelessness, finding a pad or tampon can be harder than finding a meal or a new pair of socks.

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Our vendors: Harry Richards – Street Roots, Portland

Drug addiction led Harry Richards into homelessness and eventually prison. But time behind bars helped him discover a new habit – drawing. The aspiring artist now earns a living selling Street Roots from his pitch […]

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Our vendors: Paul Ortiz – Street Roots, Portland, USA

On a cold, spitting December afternoon Paul Ortiz walks from the food carts at Southwest Third Avenue and Stark Street back to the Street Roots office to check his mail and pick up more papers. Paul began […]

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Calling out around the world! Dancing in the street with Portland’s Street Roots

The Street Roots team are dancing in the streets of Oregon in a brand new celebratory video, as the street paper prepares to go from a fortnightly to a weekly publication. The unique flashmob-style video […]