By Kaisa Crow, Contributing Writer
My morning with Street Roots vendor Raymond felt more like a casual stroll through Southwest Portland with a new pal than an interview. Our walk started at the Street Roots office at Northwest Second Avenue and Davis Street and took us to Southwest Sixth Avenue and Main, where Ray sells papers some mornings. It was made longer by the fact that we both became distracted in conversation and briefly were lost.
Taking the long route didn’t bother Raymond at all, he prefers walking anyway and doesn’t take to staying in one spot all day. And although neither of us had our eye on Main, Raymond did keep an eye on potential customers and sales he could make as we traveled. This laid-back attitude is more of Raymond’s style.
A lanky redhead standing well over 6 feet, Raymond speaks with a mixed southern drawl that supports his approachable and friendly vibe. He has been selling Street Roots for more than two months now, and he likes it. He says it gives him something to do, and he is impressed with how well received the paper is in the community. He describes himself as bashful, but by the end of our conversation I think a more appropriate adjective might be “humble.” He calls himself “a hillbilly lost in the city” even though he traverses the streets with comfort, and he has a positive outlook about selling papers and meeting people, preferring to be a source of positive rather than negative energy. “I figure attitude can rub off; Sometimes it takes just one word to bring someone down. I don’t want to be the one to cause that. I’d rather uplift somebody.” Continue reading