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Photo a day— week #17

May 2, 2010

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Photo a day— week #16

April 23, 2010

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Photo a day— week #15

April 15, 2010

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Writing of late…

April 15, 2010

Seeing as this post is really a mid-month-to-month reminder of what it is I actually get to write, (I have to run a non-profit, and be on a bunch of Board of Directors, boring) I’m calling this the mid-monthly round-up. Actually, it’s titled something different. I’m leaving it at that. I’m not changing the title, again.

I’ve been all over the place lately with my writing— which is a good thing. I like diversity. Being a homeless advocate, sometimes you get worn out on policy and politics. That’s why I’ve enjoyed writing for PoMotion, a new poetry blog created w/friends. Let’s see, besides actually being a part of a community that gives a wing-ding about poetry (which I’m still not convinced I do, I must, right?), it’s nice to have an outlet to share my poems, and to read others witty wittfulness. Let’s see, there’s Cowboy Poetry, which I’ve discovered is way freaking cool, and Last Thoughts on Woody Guthrie. There’s been a couple of poems I’ve posted from my past. But my favorite is writing, or more like researching, and linking to interesting tidbits about what’s happening in the world of poetry  with Poetry news you can use. I try to rock it weekly to keep the kids happy and all. Sometimes they get all up in a fit over something, something I said. Honestly, it makes no difference to me. There’s only four million bloggers online right now trying to get your attention. I’m number four million, and one. I seriously doubt that it matters much. I’m positive this post doesn’t mean anything. What were we talking about again? Oh…

On the homeless front. Let’s see, SR publishes an all satire edition of the newspaper every year. It’s a chance for us to say what we really think, and because it’s satirical, we can get away w/it. I will neither claim, or deny that I wrote the following pieces: City looks to climate change opportunities. PDX on the verge of collapse after homeless invade downtown. Politicians jockey for money to manage. And my personal favorite, the local media round-up.

I can claim the following, and there’s photos too. James Chasse action. Affordable housing rally. And my always sunny and funny Director’s Desk.

OK. Jesus. There’s more. A post from the national blog Change.org, and all those lovely amatuer photos from Photo a day. There’s also an in-depth feature on one of my heroes Casey Neill coming out tomorrow, but you’ll have to wait until mid-May to get that action. You can’t wait, can you?

Saying all that, I’m tired, but that doesn’t mean I don’t deserve some kind of an award. A really nice one, with a cash prize. And a vacation someplace nice. OK. Fine. Orange Crush and cheescake will do. See you around.

Photo a day— week #14

April 8, 2010

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Photo a day— week #13

April 1, 2010

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How does that sound to you?

March 29, 2010

A good friend of mine, and fellow housing advocate told me this week, “It’s not what you are saying, or even how you say it, but it’s what people hear that’s important.” I thought about that for a long time, and pondered how people in Portland view people on the streets, our vendors, the newspaper and how that relates to the broader public.

Much of what Street Roots strives to do through the newspaper is to create an atmosphere for the community to think and talk about issues important to poor people and how that relates to everyone, regardless of your financial lot in life. From what’s happening on the block and at a grassroots level to what’s happening behind the scenes in the halls of power and with policy concerning the livability of poor and common folk.

In the coming months Street Roots has plotted out an editorial budget that will look at a number of things, including doing photojournalism pieces of people and families living on the street, youth downtown and to continue to tell a story that is interesting and compelling.

I had a conversation with a vendor this week that told me that if it wasn’t for Street Roots that he still would be breaking windows in cars and stealing things to survive. He is what some have referred to as a “Road Warrior,” a troubled street youth that is being accused of threatening the quality of life downtown. He told me that stealing was all he knew. He had to survive. The young man went on to tell me that life didn’t mean a whole lot for him: he had been abused, he was sleeping under a bridge and in many ways he couldn’t see a way out.  Since he starting selling the newspaper, he claims that he hasn’t done anything illegal and that he was getting by with the sales of the paper. “It’s the only thing keeping me going right now,” he told me.

Will this young man become a success story? Will he end up in prison, or worse? I don’t know the answer to that question, only he does. But I can tell you that there’s more to every human being on the streets than meets the eye. This is our goal through the vendor program and the newspaper. To look and think about things a bit differently, while trying to capture proactive solutions and formulas to create change in our community. Do we always get it right? Of course not, we’re only human.

Street Roots is working hard, with a small staff and a small army of volunteers to up the ante in our community around poverty. To present, dissect and deliver creative ways to address poverty— from the language we use and messaging, to highlighting roadmaps and successes in other communities, to challenging foundations, activists, businesses and government to look beyond what’s in front of them and to build a movement for real change. Communication is one of the key avenues that will get us there. Without the proper avenues (blogs, Web sites, newspapers) to deliver important messages and to tell people’s stories, we as a social justice community are left in the dark, acting alone.

This next year Street Roots hopes to at least create an atmosphere where the issue of homelessness and housing (gentrification) can begin to be talked about from a health perspective. Right now, everything is framed in terms of pubic safety. Public safety equals quality of life and quality of life for poor people, without adequate resources, means more policing, shelter beds and band-aid approaches to homelessness. It’s not enough.

As a reader, and a person that has taken the time to build a relationship with a vendor and to purchase and read our newspaper, we value your input. We hope that we are on the right track and invite you to connect with us on issues that matter to you. We take our journalism seriously and how we are presenting important issues. We hope that what you’re hearing is as clear as what we are presenting. Because after all, it’s not what we’re saying that matters most, but how you’re hearing it.