Tag Archives: homeless

Right 2 Dream Too to sign new lease, threatens suit against city

Staff reports

Oct. 10 will be the one-year anniversary of Right 2 Dream Too, and members of the homeless rest stop are celebrating by signing a second one-year lease with the property owners.

They’re also firming up their expectations of City Hall to suspend its fine process and declare R2DToo’s site at Fourth Avenue and Burnside a legal transitional housing campground area as allowed under state law.

In a letter to the city dated Aug. 31, R2DToo’s attorney, Mark Kramer, says that if the city refuses to suspend monthly fine assessments against the nonprofit, he will seek a judge’s decision to void the regulatory process in this case. The letter was addressed to City Commissioner Dan Saltzman, head of the Bureau of Development Services that overseas the regulatory process, and Commissioner Nick Fish, who heads up the city’s homeless and housing programs. Continue reading

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Even the busiest weekend plans have room for friendly smile and a good read. So swing by the local turf tomorrow morning and pick up the latest edition of Street Roots. Your vendor will thank you and you’ll be glad you’ve got your copy before they sell out! Here’s what’s rolling on the press now:

Natalie Merchant: An discussion with the former 10,000 Maniac’s front woman about her life today, her passion for music for all ages, and her latest tour.

Veterans could soon join ranks of specialty courts: Multnomah County is preparing to start a special veterans-only docket to address the circumstances behind former soldiers caught up in criminal behavior. Service providers who to learn why so many veterans who had no problems in the service, return to enter our criminal justice system.

Lenders bypass foreclosure mediation law: Created to help keep Oregonians in their homes, the state program appears thwarted by bank tactics.

Realtors’ constitutional rewrite: The national push to end real estate transfer taxes has one real estate agent crying foul.

Plus, commentaries by police activist Jo Ann Hardesty and Portland Police Chief Mike Reese on the latest report on the Portland Police Bureau, words of wisdom from Mel Favara and the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, and more news and poetry from the homeless front. Get your edition early, and spare a smile or two for your fellow reader. Thank you!

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It’s a long holiday weekend coming up, so remember to get your Street Roots on Friday to savor the news, commentaries, puzzles and poetry for an extra day! Here’s what’s rolling on the press now:

An international field: The Portland World Cup brings together immigrants for high stakes community and competition. Lace up!

Three Boxes: Revisiting David P. Hooper: The story of the namesake to the Hooper Center, which marks 40 years this September. It’s a noble legacy to a tragic life.

Nichole Maher: An interview with the new executive director of the Northwest Health Foundation about mixes health and social justice, and a bit about that fluoride debate as well.

Our 2011-2012 Annual Report: A look back on the past year at Street Roots, with reports on our vendor program, our coverage and our advocacy. Please take a look at what your support has accomplished, and recognize our remarkable partnerships in the community as we move forward.

All this, plus commentary from the Bicycle Transportation Alliance and Ramona’s mom, Melissa Favara, and poetry to boot! Pick your copy up tomorrow morning and put the icing on your holiday weekend! Thank you!

McKinney-Vento turns 25; homelessness still grows

By Paul Boden, Contributing Columnist

Passed in 1987, McKenny-Vento was intended to address the emergency needs of homeless people while the federal government worked to restore the funding which had been cut from HUD’s affordable housing programs.

But it didn’t work that way. McKinney-Vento has spawned an endless array of continuum-of-care plans, 5-year plans, 10-year plans — an endless system of writing, planning, and researching which “best practices” should be used to end homelessness. At the same time, the federal government has continued to defund, dismantle, and sell-off affordable housing units, thus ensuring that more and more people become homeless. 360,000 Section 8 and 210,000 Public Housing units have been lost since 1995.

It is a shameful trade that robs Peter to pay Paul. Continue reading

Housing veterans, local numbers fall short

By Robert Britt, Staff Writer

When Army veteran Mark Townsend left the military service in the early ’70s, a decades-long battle with substance abuse and homelessness was just beginning.

Addiction marred Townsend’s transition to civilian life and reduced him to living what he calls a “life of drinking and using.” That life led to legal troubles, mental health issues and a lack of stable housing.

Townsend, now 54, says he repeatedly tried to get help. “I’ve been in and out of the VA several times, trying to get clean and sober, and couldn’t.”

Last August, he entered a residential substance abuse treatment program and was soon told of a federal program that could get him into subsidized housing while providing counseling and treatment for his addiction.

The Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing program (VASH) is a two-pronged approach to reduce homelessness among veterans. It couples government-subsidized rental vouchers from local, public housing authorities with case-managed assistance and clinical care provided by VA medical centers. When created, the program tasked a VA system already strained from the rising number of returning veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — with the new responsibility of managing a supportive housing program. Continue reading

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If your “to do” list for the weekend is getting a little long, then pencil in a break with your friendly neighborhood Street Roots vendor and a great read. The new Street Roots will arrive early Friday morning, so don’t forget to pack a buck for the best little newspaper in town. Here’s what’s rolling on the presses now:

Trash Talk: An interview with author Edward Humes about his new book, “Garbology” about the consequences of our garbage affliction.

Death by plastic: What happens to all that plastic we throw away? The albatross are eating it. Photographer Chris Jordan documents the revealing contents of their stomachs.

The homecoming: Despite renewed support for voucher system to house veterans, local numbers fall short.

Oregon’s great health care experiment: This month the state puts $240 million on the line with coordinated care organizations.

Plus, the latest from the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, the Western Regional Advocacy Project and Ramona’s mom, Melissa Favara. And, of course, the best street poetry in the country! Pick up your copy first thing Friday morning and the weekend will be off to a great start. From all the vendors, volunteers and staff — thank you!

Hunger strike ends on promise of regional conference over housing equity

If there is one substantial step forward to come out of the Cameron Whitten hunger strike for housing equity, it is the announcement of a regional conference on housing and homelessness.

This November, the Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon will convene a meeting with the city, county and Metro governments to address how the tri-county area can work together on housing and homeless issues.

Nick Fish, Portland’s city commissioner in charge of housing, says the forum will bring together the major players to examine issues of funding and regional equity throughout Multnomah, Clackamas and Washington counties.

“We’re a little less than half the pop of the tri-county region, and yet we’re 70 percent of the housing dollars,” Fish told Street Roots this morning. “We’re proud of our leadership role. On the other hand, homelessness is not unique to Portland, and it’s going to be important over time that everybody in the region participate fully.”

Since 2008, when Fish took office, the city has spent $215 million local dollars addressing affordable housing and homelessness, Fish said. “That’s a phenomenal commitment, and it dwarfs what we get from the federal government, and we have to be intentional about it.”

The city and county have long worked in tandem on providing housing and support services, and bringing in metro will incorporate zoning and urban growth policies to the discussion.

The summit is scheduled to occur after the general elections.

Cameron Whitten in Terry Schrunk Plaza last Friday during a rally supporting his demonstration. Photo by Art Rios

Whitten, 21, held a press conference outside of City Hall at 10 a.m. today to address the conclusion of his 55-day hunger strike in which he lost nearly 35 pounds. The conference was among the key victories he saw emerging from his protest against housing injustice.

City Commissioner Amanda Fritz released her own statement on the issue at the same time as the press conference.

“We believe solving our local housing challenges is best accomplished with a stronger regional partnership involving advocates, agencies, non-profit and faith communities, and people experiencing homelessness. After the November elections is an opportune time to take a new look at regional homeless and affordable housing issues, as we welcome newly elected leaders to the table.”

Whitten started his hunger strike and 24-hour demonstration outside City Hall with three demands: that the Bureau of Development Services waive fines levied on the owners of the property where Right 2 Dream Too is established, for the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Department to issue a one-year moratorium on foreclosure evictions for homeowners, and for City Council to add a housing levy measure to the November 2012 General Election ballot.

While none of those issues were resolved, Fritz said in her statement that they would be discussed in the future.

“In addition to the Summit, the city is engaged in ongoing conversations about the futures of Right 2 Dream 2 and Dignity Village. When the time is right, we believe a future City Council will support a public vote on a new dedicated funding source for affordable housing.”

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Street Roots will have about 80 vendors filing through the office for a new edition of the newspaper Friday morning. Get your copy bright and early from your neighborhood sales man or woman, and your weekend will be off to a great start! Here’s what’s rolling on the presses now:

Oregon Hold ’em: Mediation efforts ramp up for foreclosure victims, but other resources from the national mortgage settlement await lawmakers’ discretion. A look at what Oregon has on tap for its share of the money, and what other states have done with their portion.

The gravity of abuse: Part 2 in this riveting series that chronicles one families fall into domestic violence.

Quiz, culture and, oh yeah, community service: Wayne Baseden brings his own flavor and inspiration to the crew members assigned to Portland’s community service program.

Wee, the people: Jack Sim from the World Toilet Organization wants everyone to face facts around their most basic need.

Plus, commentary from Partnership for Safety and Justice, the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, economist Robin Hahnel, Neighborhood Partnerships and Melissa Favara. Don’t forget to pack a dollar for Street Roots and have a great weekend read!

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Soon we’ll be tossing our galoshes to the back of the closet and wearing nothing but shorts and flip-flops, both of which pair well with some classic reading material. Thankfully, the new edition of Street Roots hits the block tomorrow morning. Here’s what’s rolling on the presses right now:

 The gravity of abuse: The first in a series examining the complex personal toll of domestic abuse.  Reporter Rosette Royale spent 22 months researching the path of violence in Brandy Sweeney and Richard Duncan’s lives. The result is an intense dissection of abuse in America.

Bugged out: New federal guidelines for low-income housing support cut out explicit tenant protections regarding bed bug infestations. The result could deter eradication in Portland apartments.

 Where wisdom sleeps: Author Linda Ross Swanson chronicles the lives of addiction and recovery on the streets.

The endless journeyman: Portland icon Lewi Longmire has found success on many stages, but his roots still run deep beneath the Rose City.

Plus commentary from the Western Regional Advocacy Project, and poetry from the students of the Native American Youth and Family Center. All for only $1! So don’t forget to keep a buck on hand when you head out this weekend, and share a smile for your friendly neighborhood vendor. You will make their day!

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Season’s greetings from the crew at Street Roots! The vendors will be gathering for a seasonal get together tomorrow morning before they head out with the new edition of the paper. So don’t forget to bring a buck and a smile to share with your friend on the corner. Here’s a look at what’s on the press:

Making a dream reality: Right 2 Dream Too’s success flies in the face of skeptics — and city policy. A photo package by Israel Bayer on the development of the little camp that could.

Jefferson Smith: Eastside’s legislator hits the citywide circuit with his own style of grassroots campaigning. The latest in Jake Thomas’ series of candidate interviews.

The last installment of Leah Nash’s series on Asperger’s Syndrome features Leska Emerald Adams’ ‘New Found Aspirgations.” Leska embraces the idiosyncrasies of Asperger’s and has overcome its many of the challenges with the help of Orka, her Newfoundland service dog.

City opens up overnight camping option for select sites: Faith-based and nonprofit organizations will get a free pass to allow up to four homeless vehicle campers on their property. With the winter shelter system up 150 percent over last year’s numbers, it’s expected to take in some of the overflow of families living in cars this winter.

Arriving home after a long journey homeless: Street Roots vendor Charles Yost gets the key to his apartment after years of working to get off the streets.  And while we’re at it, read vendor Leo Rhodes’ column. He signed the lease on his own apartment this week as well. Way to go, Charles and Leo!

All this and much more, including the latest column by the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, and introducing the commentary of author and professor of economics Robin Hahnel on the 99 percent. So pick one up for yourself and one for a friend in the spirit of the season. Thank you all for a fantastic year!

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Hopefully, you have a little extra leisure time for the holiday weekend, which is a good thing, because Friday’s edition of Street Roots will be one to savor. Here’s a rundown of what’s rolling on the press right now:

Catching a snowflake: A photo story of Asperger’s Syndrome by photographer Leah Nash. This is the first in a five-part series in partnership with the Regional Arts & Culture Council to chronicle the lives of people living with the often misunderstood and extraordinary diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome. Look for the print edition features, along with online shows starting next week.

Eileen Brady: The grocery executive talks big bridges, urban renewal and creating jobs in her bid to become Portland’s next mayor. The latest in our series of interviews with local candidates.

Psychology in warfare, for better or worse: A Portland filmmaker looks at the military’s foray into mental health treatment in the field.

Federal cuts continue downward spiral on housing assistance: A report by the Western Regional Advocacy Project outlining the cuts in the works to the Department of Housing and Urban Development. More tough times lie ahead.

Plus, another insightful column from the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, a review of the book EcoMind and the potential in being a “possibilist,” plus poetry and artwork from the streets. The paper will be on the streets early Friday, so don’t forget to tuck a buck in your back pocket before you head out and save a smile for your friendly neighborhood vendor. Thank you!

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Street Roots vendors will have a fresh copy of the paper ready for you Friday morning. Make sure you pick up a copy and say hello to a friendly face. It’s still only $1! Here’s what’s waiting for you inside:

True to what’s real: Painter Max Ginsburg records the social condition and his own political views with vivid realism. Joanne Zuhl interviews the remarkable painter and activist, who has a new retrospective in publication.

Realtors seek to amend state constitution over transfer taxes: A look at the proposal to prohibit local and state lawmakers from creating a real estate transfer tax, which has some affordable housing advocates concerned about losing a potential tool against homelessness.

The council incumbent: An interview with Amanda Fritz who faces two challengers for her seat on Portland City Council.

Another piece of occupied land: People’s Park: Street Roots’ own Mary Pacios was active in the movement to create People’s Park in Berkeley, Calif., and she writes about the battle between campers and the police and the government that wanted it to all go away.

Plus, commentaries from the Bicycle Transportation Alliance and a review of a new book that looks at the rise and survival of radical social movements against poverty. And of course, poetry and art, crossword and Curbside! We love hearing from our readers, so let us know what you think. As always, thank you for your tremendous support!

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Not a drop in the sky, which makes for perfect outdoor reading! The only thing that could perk it up this weekend would be a fresh edition of Street Roots, warm and waiting in the capable hands of your friendly neighborhood vendor come Friday morning. Here’s what’s rolling on the press right now:

Lost — in a moment: A traumatic brain injury on the job in Iraq turned journalist Bob Woodruff into an advocate for veterans experiencing homeless. An interview with Woodruff about his personal experience and how the work he does not to raise awareness of the plight of veterans.

Setting new sights on the city: An interview with City Council candidate Steve Novick on the state of Portland, it’s obsession with being cute, and the real work at hand.

But then the vets came to town: Portland author Martha Gies writes about her time at the Veterans For Peace National Conference, held last weekend here in Portland. The conference brought together more than 400 veterans for four days of engaging workshops and discussions about achieving real peace in the face of the military machine.

Hands on — from the heart: The Downtown Chapel prepares to exhibit a mural by their guests to display in the First Thursday art tour.

Plus, commentary from Portland author Michael Munk on the Longview labor dispute, a column by SR vendor Leo Rhodes, scenes from a demonstration and assorted news you can really use! Thank you, and as always, let us know what you think. Letters are always welcome at streetrootsnews@gmail.com, or drop a line via our blog, www.streetroots.wordpress.com, where you can catch up on our past editions.

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Our ships have come in! Give a smile to those hardworking men and women out there, and that includes your friendly neighborhood vendor. Tomorrow they will be out in force with the newest edition of Street Roots, featuring something for everyone. Here’s a peek at what’s on the press right now:

 It’s … it’s… Courtenay Hameister! Joanne Zuhl interviews the host of Portland’s own Live Wire! Radio about the ugly business of comedy, stage fright and mental health  — with a nod to the familiar freak inside us all.

 What we don’t know will hurt us: Why diagnosing traumatic brain injuries on the streets matters. Stacy Brownhill follows up on our coverage on how TBI remains a problematic mystery in our efforts to end homelessness.

Safe — or unsound? Will concerns about public safety win the day when it comes to reforming the Psychiatric Security Review Board? Amanda Waldroupe reports on the power struggles over patient terms and reviews at the Oregon State Hospital.

Plus news and commentary from David Rogers of the Partnership for Safety and Justice, Jon Ostar with the Coalition for Affordable and Safe Housing, Robert Pickett with the Portland Police Bureau, the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, and prison activists Ruth Kovacs.

All that with a solid dose of poetry and opinion from the crew. Get your copy bright and early Friday morning, because weekends were made for kicking back and catching up. And send along a friendly word to your neighborhood vendor. As always, thank you for your readership!




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It will be April 1 tomorrow, so be on your toes for those merry pranksters, looking to take advantage of your trusting ways! But you’ll never be steered wrong by your friendly neighborhood vendor, who will have the April 1 edition of the newspaper in their hands extra early tomorrow. Save the date!

Oh, Portlandia! Street Roots’ courtesy entertainment reporter Valeria Peacock interviews Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein about their hot project, and how they really feel about homelessness.

Mayor Sam Adams running in 2012? Street Roots has the inside scoop on Sam’s plans. You’ve got to see this…

Rep. David Wu’s strange haberdashery: More odd photos surface of the Congressman following reports of his unusual behavior.

The Japanese fallout: What the West Coast should brace for following the disaster in Japan.

Whither the weather? How all of us are feeling may go much deeper now that the sun seems to have left us for good.

That, plus much more news-like stuff and even a bit of fun thrown in for good measure. Get your copy before you head into work Friday, and don’t forget to send a smile to your neighborhood vendor. Thank you!