By Amanda Waldroupe, staff Writer
It was a dark and stormy night when Census workers went out under Portland’s bridges to count homeless people for the 2000 Census. Robert Washburn, who worked for the Census as an enumerator, or counter, in 2000, remembers that “it was a bad time to do the count,” because of how hard it was raining, but also because of the cold shoulder they received from many homeless people. “(Workers) thought they could go out there, and walk right up to those people, and expect them to answer questions,” Washburn says.
Many homeless people rebuffed the Census workers and refused to fill out the questionnaire, which asks for basic information, such as a person’s permanent address and how many people live with them. “Locally, we were naïve,” Washburn says. “We thought there would be more responsiveness than there was.” Continue reading