Seeing the streets though a mother’s eyes

From the March 20 Street Roots on the streets today…

Today I bought my first Street Roots newspaper. It’s a great newspaper. I bought it from a nice young man on his way back to the Portland Rescue Mission. His name is Scott and he just turned 43. I asked myself, how did he become homeless? And, what brought him to this point in his life? Was it the economy…twists and turns of his life?

If I went back just nine years of his life, I would have seen him graduate from Oregon State police academy with the other 130 graduates to be new Oregon Troopers. Then the layoffs started. They were the first to be let go, and he wanted this to be his career job. He only got one year in with them and then fell back on long haul truck driving again. His last temporary job was a mail carrier truck driver for a company that contracted to the downtown post office. Christmas came and Christmas went, and so did his job. He was hoping to get a bid run, but cutbacks started.

He was to start driving a log truck just a couple months back. He drove down to Eugene ready to start work that Monday. But again, the layoffs started. The truck he was to drive that Monday was one of the trucks put on hold. The owner had a meeting with Weyerhaeuser and the cutbacks started. Scott came back to Portland, disappointed, broke, and now homeless.

You ask, where was his family to fall back on? He had just lost his grandfather to cancer who had lived in Medford and was the last living grandparent that Scott had. His father, who had once been a Portland policeman, had just lost his home in Las Vegas, with his new wife, to foreclosure. He had no place to offer him to go for support, except the phone. For myself, I too am struggling on a fixed income (Social Security) and living in a one-bedroom apartment where he could only stay for a short time.

It is a time for reflection and transition for many families in America. I am thankful for the job that Street Roots has given Scott as a vendor. He notices how some people just walk by without a glance, but then again, I was once one of those people he is talking about.

I had worked in downtown Portland for a number of years at one of the banks, and was too busy, as I thought, to notice the one standing on a street corner. Today, I stopped and noticed a young man named Scott, who I bought my first Street Roots newspaper from. He said it was his first paper he sold. Today was an awakening to homelessness and how easy each of us can be there with no home to go to, when life challenges come our way. I don’t have a lot of money right now, but I see I can donate each month to Street Roots and the rescue missions. I would like to do that.

Thank you for all you do.

(Scott Walden’s Mom)

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