Tag Archives: Rebecca Robinson

SR receives three first place awards from Society of Professional Journalists

Street Roots received three first place, and one, second place award this weekend from Oregon/Southwest Washington Society of Professional Journalists.

Amanda Waldroupe took first place for “Social Issues” reporting for her story, “Return of the Dragon.” The story details the increase of heroin use in Portland. During the reporting of the story, Waldroupe met with a heroin addict named “Joe,” who told her and photographer Ken Hawkins his story, and also allowed them to observe and document him during a disturbing time of day in any drug addict’s life–the moments when he shoots up.

Esteemed photographer Leah Nash took first place in the “Photo Essay” category with “Look at me. I am not invisible.” Nash documented the lives of two Street Roots vendors (Sean and Melissa Walsh) for nearly three months— highlighting the trials and tribulations of experiencing poverty and mental health in the Portland region.

Managing Editor Joanne Zuhl took first place for her story on City Commissioner Nick Fish for the “Personalities” category with “Man of the Hour.”  Zuhl highlighted Fish’s turbulent appearance into Portland politics, and what’s behind the man leading Portland’s Housing Bureau during one of the worst recessions in our history.

Rebecca Robinson took second place in “Social Issues” with “Motel limbo.” This story profiles one family’s struggle to exit motel life and secure permanent housing, and places their story in the larger framework of Oregon’s ever-growing homeless population.

Congrats to everyone who took awards, and many thanks to our vendors and readers!

Posted by Israel Bayer

Motel limbo – some of Portland’s motels hide a troubling side to homelessness


From the August 24 edition of Street Roots

The first thing you notice when you enter Tiffany Shepard and Patricia Schafer’s motel room is the darkness, especially in contrast to the blindingly bright summer sunshine outside. The second is the fatigue on the women’s faces, betraying the exhaustion that accompanies living in limbo with an 8-month-old child. Tiffany looks lovingly but wearily at the blanket-covered crib in the corner, where a soft rustling announces the end of her son Caden’s nap and the beginning of nonstop infant supervision.

The fractured family’s room off Sandy Boulevard in outer Northeast Portland is a temporary residence; neither Tiffany nor Patricia calls it a home.

“It’s a roof over our heads,” says Patricia. “That’s it.” Continue reading

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aug2109page1Thanks to all of you who wrote in about our vendors lately. We’ve known how great they are for years, and it’s good to hear it from their customers, too. So, if you haven’t talked to your vendor lately, you’ve got a great reason to swing by tomorrow morning. The new edition of Street Roots hits the pavement around 9 a.m. Friday. Here’s what’s inside:

Motel limbo: Some of Portland’s motels hide a troubling side to homelessness. Becca Robinson reports.

Loss of low-cost housing routing poor from downtown: Amanda Waldroupe reports on the latest figures on housing in the city’s center, and how services are looking beyond for affordable options for the poor.

Who’s raking the muck? Joanne Zuhl interviews Harper’s editor Ken Silverstein, who lays out his brutal vision of modern-day journalism.

HUD’s hopes for the future: HUD Secretary Shawn Donovan cut his teeth on homeless issues with the National Coalition for the Homeless. Now, homeless advocates want to hear how he will apply what he’s learned.

Plus more news, a new column by vendor Leo Rhodes, letters to the editor, and lots of attitude in between. Let us know your thoughts, and as always, thanks for your support!

Posted by Joanne Zuhl

City bails on funding Visions Into Action – PSU picks up the slack


(Kerfala Bangoura (“Fana”) performs outside City Council Chambers as audience members file in to testify on behalf of the Visions Into Action program.)

The City Council hearing on the evening of May 20 was best summarized by Sisters of the Road co-founder Genny Nelson: “It is not business as usual in Portland.”

Indeed, the individuals giving testimony about the VisionPDX public engagement process and its progeny, the Vision Into Action coalition (VIA), stood in direct contrast to the city’s overwhelmingly white majority. Africans, Cambodians, Iraqis, Latinos and other immigrant and ethnic minority populations packed the seats in council chambers and stepped up to the microphone, detailing in voices alternately shaky and forceful how VIA had empowered their communities — and why the city should not go forward with its planned elimination of VIA’s $339,416 budget. Continue reading

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May2909page1Quick! Grab your Street Roots and head to the park! Summer time is here and it always seems to vanish before we really get to enjoy it. Your vendor knows it too, and they all have their summer sales hats on, with new papers in hand starting Friday morning. Here’s what’s on tap:

Shock waves: The number of veterans hittings the streets is on the rise- but not necessarily who you might expect. Older veterans, from conflicts long past, are falling through the cracks now widened by even more wars and economic priorities. Mara Grunbaum reports.

Community’s heart for Vision into Action beats loud and clear: The city pulled the financial plug on Visions into Action, but people are rallying to spread the word on how important the cultural empowerment program is to Portland’s minority communities. Rebecca Robinson reports.

Out and down: After serving time, many former inmates find that the real trial begins upon release.

The Latino Obama?: Rafael Correa won a landslide second term as president of Ecuador in a “citizens’ revolution,” but he faces huge challenges in realizing his election manifesto and placating a demanding electorate.

The paper is just packed, but it doesn’t hang around long.  When they’re gone – they’re gone. Just like summer!

Posted by Joanne Zuhl

Sending out an S.O.S.

Police, shelter workers and advocates work to piece together a month long pattern of violence

three-womenBy Rebecca Robinson
Contributing Writer
On a recent Friday afternoon at Sisters of the Road Café on Northwest Davis Street, women shared their stories of sexual assault and domestic violence. One woman, who asked not to be identified by name, said that her 14-year-old daughter was recently gang-raped at a party by three teenage boys who attend her school.

“No one is immune,” the woman said, her forceful voice a stark contrast to the tears flowing down her cheeks. “It’s not a prostitute problem; it’s not a homeless problem; it’s not even just a woman problem.”

In downtown Portland, a recent set of incidents has brought the problem into stark relief for women on the streets.
Portland police, homeless shelter workers, and women’s crisis advocates are working to piece together a month-long pattern of violent sexual assaults by multiple male attackers on young homeless women. But the police are struggling to conduct an investigation because the victims, many of them sex workers, fear that going to the police may lead to their arrest for other unlawful activities.

A former sex worker known as Jasmine contacted Street Roots last month, saying, “I have a story that needs to be told.” It was a story that, for some on the streets, was all too familiar.
Continue reading

Are we stimulated yet?

We know the stakes are big – nearly $800 billion in stimulus money, more than $80 million headed to Oregon for housing and community services alone, just over $4 million pledged to Portland for homelessness prevention, with potentially more waiting in the wings. And the winner is…

“We’re like, the envelope — please!” says Beth Kaye, the public affairs manager for Portland’s Bureau of Housing and Community Development. “There are many different funding sources and many different processes and many different funding formulas… So we’re waiting.”

They’re waiting for the 50-plus spigots of funding open up and begin the flow of relief into Multnomah County and all government agencies and organizations within as part of the American Recovery and Revitalization Act. The act authorizes $13.6 billion for public housing and homelessness prevention programs, organizations and agencies nationwide. Oregon’s piece of that pie is believed to be just over $82 million (although some estimates have been closer to $100 million) some of which will trickle down from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to Portland, Multnomah County and local organizations by early April.

In the world of affordable housing, the emphasis for using this infusion of cash rests on two main components: Preserving the thousands of affordable housing units that are at risk of disappearing over the next five years and resuscitating the low-income housing tax credit market for new development. Continue reading

Positive Negatives: Women in Portland’s sex industry document the world around them in a new photo exhibit

By Rebecca Robinson
Contributing Writer

compassionBeer bottles reflecting the sunlight off a bar window. A pair of fixed-gear bikes, chained together to a rack, frayed tape on the handlebars. An old diesel Mercedes, parked in a pile of shriveled fallen leaves. A curvaceous woman in a sheer dress, clutching a pole onstage as she throws her head back.

It may seem easy to pinpoint which one of these images doesn’t belong in a thematic photo exhibit. But the pole dancer and the frayed-tape fixies belong together: They are part of a photography project depicting the everyday reality of the women who created the images. The identity of the women behind the cameras is as noteworthy as the photos they take: all 11 photographers are sex workers, and their photos are part of the Visions and Voices Photovoice Project.

Each woman was given a basic 35 mm manual camera and 36 exposures of black-and-white film. Their only instructions: to document their everyday lives and aspirations.
Continue reading

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feb2009page1Holy Moly! Street Roots turns 10! And we want to celebrate with you! Step one: Pick up a copy of the new edition of Street Roots and read all about our development over the years, and opportunities for getting involved and supporting the Roots. It all starts with that great vendor on the corner. Here’s what to look forward to in the latest edition:

Positive Negatives: Women in Portland’s sex industry document the world around them in a new photo exhibit. Rebecca Robinson reports.

Border crossings: A reflection on a life in containment. Mark Turner of Denver rights about his life spent living in the confined Palestinian city of Nablus.

Bad times for Bonzo: Reagan revisited: A review of the new book, “The Man Who Sold the World: Ronald Reagan and the Betrayal of Main Street.

One economic stimulus plan for two Americas: Paul Boden with the Western Regional Advocacy Project writes on how the administration’s plan could truly stimulate change – get behind the real housing movement.

And much more awaits you in the new edition of Street Roots – hot off the press Friday morning!