It’s been interview central in May and June. It’s really all I have the capacity to do. My one love is journalism, but unfortunately I find myself locked into a world of administrative duties, fund raising and running operations at Street Roots. What I would give to just write? Does anyone want to take over for me for awhile at Street Roots? I would be more than thrilled to step aside for a time.
In May, I interviewed the Mayor of Portland — Sam Adams with the great Joanne Zuhl. The dash in the previous sentence is for Joanne. She’s the best editor I’ve ever known, and has more or less taught me everything I know about journalism. Saying that, she still can’t beat the dash out of me. The interview was great too. I followed with an opinion piece about SR working w/community partners to count individuals on the street who pass away. Sounds simple, right? Of course not.
In June, I had the pleasure of interviewing Carol Cushman with the League of Women Voters about voter owned elections.
Then it was on to Jefferson Smith and his view from East Portland, where the state rep is raising eyebrows. The interview came less than 24-hours before we went to press, and ended up being a lifesaver for SR. Wowzers. And if you’re looking to tug on some heart strings follow this story. It’s a beaut.
I’ve moved all my photography over to SmugMug. Check it.
Matt Davis is an odd and unforgiving creature, and one of the hardest working newsmen in the Pacific Northwest. I have written on Matt before. I believe I compared him to Hunter S. Thompson once minus the LSD, and still believe that to be true.
From the moment I met the man he made me nervous, like before getting in a fistfight, or bridge jumping when you were a kid.
Being that I work with some of the hardest brothers and sisters on the streets one day, and have to attend the King’s ball the next, it takes a lot to make me really uncomfortable. Matt made me uncomfortable. Did we having a working relationship, or were we going to go out in the street and duel? You never really knew.
As time went on I realized that Matt didn’t give two shits either way. He was after the story. And you may or may not have information, or be a part of what he was chasing that particular day. He wasn’t a lazy reporter. He would meet people face to face, and bring himself into the environment he was covering— more than I can say about any reporter in Portland that has ever challenged Street Roots, or myself on a particular issue. While at times I wanted to choke the man for the way he was covering an issue, he always had my respect.
There have been many in people in Portland that Matt has gunned for. He has gunned for both myself, and SR. I consider it an honor. You really haven’t lived in PDX until Matt has you in his cross hairs, but that’s beside the point. Matt along with then news editor Amy Ruiz helped put issues like homelessness, housing and mental health on the main stage— therefore helping groups like SR, Soup Box Under the Bridge, and the Mental Health Association of Portland, etc. gain credibility.
For better or worse, SR and many other social justice activists were sources for his stories, and collectively we often times tipped him off to important happenings. But that didn’t happen just because he was a reporter for a newspaper, it happened because he was a compassionate individual who built real relationships and was trying to get to the heart of a problem, and solve it.
His stories over the past couple of years have spanned far and wide into Portland politics, and have contributed to things like police oversight and reform, a possible housing levy, mental health services and much more. Things that don’t come lightly in PDX, or any city without battle scares.
Today, Matt announced he’s headed south to New Orleans where he’ll find a place to land one way or another. My personal opinion is he belongs on the national and international stage, and if he doesn’t get shot in the Big Easy for his style of writing— I think that’s where we’ll find him one day.
There’s no question that Portland is a better place because of Matt Davis, and the editors at the Merc that let him run wild. I know he has made me a better person and civic leader, and I don’t think I’m the only one.
I got to write a piece on one of my all-time favorite songwriters Casey Neill. I spent several hours with Casey over the course of a couple of weeks, and had the opportunity to interview the great New York Times columnist Dan Barry for the story. It’s long, but oh so sweet. Check it.
Spent the day w/Street Roots shooting photographs of vendors and ask them what needs they have on the streets. It turned out pretty cool.
Finally, I published the poem Home (less) on PoMotion of Poetry blog. That’s all folks…