Lee: portland

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.”

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.

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.

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.

“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.

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.

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.

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.