Vendor Roger Cavitt: ‘It’s important to give back’

By Cassandra Koslen
Contributing Writer

Roger Cavitt is a people person.

“I’m enjoying the Street Roots experience,” he says. “You meet so many people (selling the paper) that you wouldn’t normally. It gives you the opportunity to talk to people.”

Cavitt sells downtown, sometimes near Pioneer Courthouse Square and in front of Nordstrom’s. Enjoying the social interaction of it is what compels him about being a vendor, but he was not expecting to encounter as many sterling examples as the streets of Portland have to offer.

“I’ve met so many different people, and it amazes me that 90 percent (of his customers) are really good people.” Pausing, he smiles. He attributes this to the city’s smaller environment, and that most of his sales come from repeat customers.

Originally from California, in his younger days Cavitt worked for the San Bernadino school district and ran his own maintenance business on the side. Reeling off the bitterness from a bad marriage and difficult divorce, he decided to hit the road.

He ended up in L.A., and started drinking.  About seven years ago his sister asked him to move to Portland, where she lives, and get a fresh start. Cavitt has been selling the paper for just over six months, and uses his income to stay housed and keep up on bills.

“I’ve lived on the streets,” he says, “and it ain’t no fun.”

Although he plans staying with Street Roots throughout the summer, Cavitt is also in training to work at a Goodwill, and is going back to school at Portland Community College. The next three years he is going to spend working towards a drug and alcohol training certificate.

While Cavitt may have his own history of drinking, he says it was never too bad. His father, however, was an alcoholic. The memories of growing up with an addicted parent and realizing that his mother enabled the situation, were enough to keep him from hitting the bottle too hard himself.

Now, he wants to take those experiences and use them to help others.

“It’s important to give back, to volunteer,” he says, in earnest. “Somebody helped me when I didn’t have two nickels to rub together.

“I am a Christian; I put God first. That’s what’s gotten me to the point where I’m level-headed. I’m not hooked on drugs, and I treat people with respect.”

Cavitt tells people interested in selling Street Roots to go for it.

“Be professional, and try to say something (the customer) will remember,” he advises.

One response to “Vendor Roger Cavitt: ‘It’s important to give back’

  1. Pingback: Cassandra Koslen hits up PoMotion as a regular contributor « PoMotion: production of poetry

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