Tag Archives: Street Roots vendor

Vendor column: Finding a caring community keeps this vendor standing tall

By Marlon Crump, Contributing Writer

“Community cannot feed for long on itself; it can only flourish with the coming of others from beyond, their unknown and undiscovered brothers.”
— Howard Thurman,
American Theologian, clergyman and activist

We all somehow relate to life despite day-to-day activities or hardship.  Be it a mother, a father, single parent, children, passerby, private citizen, prominent figure, public official, a hardworking employee, etc., and anyone in any form of struggle.

Eight months ago, I arrived here from San Francisco, Calif., with a goal and a priority: Peace of mind. Circumstances surrounding my work within the community became too chaotic to withstand any longer. My greatest regret upon my retreat was leaving a very wonderful community of comrades who have more than made a positive difference in my life.

For the sake of my soul and sanity, I moved on to wholeheartedly heal from a darkness that was spearing my spirit.

“Don’t let yesterday use up too much of today,” goes the Cherokee proverb.
Almost immediately upon my arrival in August last year, I made a startling discovery of love and support from caring communities through Street Roots. As one of its street vendors who sell its paper on a daily basis, I’ve been extremely blessed to venture out into the community and meeting supportive people who’ve embraced me as part of their own.

“Collectively, we can begin to build towards real community change.” Israel Bayer, director of Street Roots explains of the relationship it has with the community. “From a newspaper perspective we are changing the way people think about poverty and contributing to a larger conversation about solutions and hope.”

The communities of Mississippi/Shaver, and employees in the Standard Insurance Building, located on Southwest Fourth Avenue and Taylor Street have become a major lifeline of ongoing support for me. Everyone from all walks of life who smiles genuinely in my direction showing respect equally earns mine, in gratitude. Even to those who quickly look away from me for whatever reason, positive personalities parallel someone in need.

Supporters at times do U-turns after seeing and sensing a positive aura to make a donation, or share words of wisdom. Typically, I’m a human statue with a stance of a symbolic smile, exchanging its genuine energy to everyone who needs it, while holding a stack of Street Roots.

One of the primary perceptions people have of me surrounding ambition and success is in the pride in my appearance — in properly suited attire. Consistent compliments I receive ignite an energetic friendly feeling within me of appreciation for acceptance.

My darkest days are never lifted with a frown, as they stay smothered in my smile. Love is confirmed when people ask me how my day is going: whether the weather chooses to shine or shun us makes no difference, being our own breakfast and easing away any difficult or weary day, exchanging how we relate in some way shape or form through brief and lengthy conversations.
And at the same time, informing every single supporter of the content in the latest edition.

“I have been a reader and supporter of Street Roots for a number of years.” says Mary Anne Joyce, an employee of the Standard Insurance Building. “I read it because the journalism is great, and I read stories I would not read anywhere else.” Joyce interacts with other Street Roots vendors and me in general.
“I especially like Marlon Crump who sells the paper at the building in which I work. He and I are from Cleveland, Ohio, which means we are friendly, and difficult to discourage.”

Another supporter, Mary Hull, also an employee at the Standard Insurance Building, shares Joyce’s similar sentiments. “I like Street Roots because it addresses topics that really matters (or should matter) to people who live or work in this city. There’s nothing shallow in it, no ‘fluff.’ And it tries hard to give everyone a voice.”

Real wealth in spirit is a welcoming community, a true legitimate level of love for everyone to hopefully reach at some point.

Marlon Crump is a Street Roots vendor who sells in downtown Portland near Southwest Fourth Avenue and Taylor Street.

Vendor profile: Building real relationships with each sale

By Cole Merkel, Contributing Writer

The morning rush hour traffic on Northeast Broadway is almost deafening. Automobiles accelerate toward the I-5 on-ramps at the Rose Quarter, cyclists commute toward the Broadway Bridge on their way downtown and pedestrians move quickly into the Lloyd Center Safeway on Northeast 11th Avenue.

Jim Dienes is not the first Street Roots vendor to call this spot his own, but in recent memory, he is one of the more consistent ones. Dienes started selling at this Safeway in January and is onsite most mornings by 7 a.m., building relationships with the individuals who pass him coming in and out of the store. He says he has twenty or more regular customers and many others who buy from him as they pass through the neighborhood. Continue reading

Vendor profile: Staying positive a rewarding role for vendor

By Cole Merkel, Staff Writer

Brian Schmidt sells Street Roots like a corner newsman at the turn of the 20th century. “Great articles in today’s Street Roots, read all about it for a couple quarters!” he yells, waving his bag of papers high above his head.  He calls out headlines and lets readers know what the newspaper is about: “Focus on vendors in today’s Street Roots!”

“I believe more in excitement and positivity than any kind of depth of reason,” Schmidt says, laughing with a deep, authentic trill. “I believe that excitement reveals the truth.” Excitement: that one word is the distillation of Brian’s life philosophy. “When we really get excited and we’re really engaged, we perform and produce at our peak and we’re happier.” Continue reading

Vendor profile: The new face on the block

By Kaisa McCrow, Contributing Writer

The corner of NW Lovejoy and 11th Avenue where Starbucks is located doesn’t quite pick up foot traffic until noon, when the sun finally hits that side of the pavement.  The tall Pearl District buildings make it a fairly shady corner and according to Jason, the Street Roots vendor who sells there, “the windiest corner in Portland.” He wears a jacket, gloves and scarf to sell the paper, because even on a nice day the shade can get chilly. Jason is new to this corner, less than a month in, so he is still trying to make himself at home. Continue reading

Hard work, high energy means a ticket home

By Kaisa McCrow, Contributing Writer

Dymar Blanton sells Street Roots outside of Voodoo Donuts, a spacious corner on Second Avenue and Burnside, a mini downtown center. Groups of people, mainly tourists and Saturday Market goers, can spend a serious chunk of their Saturday in line for these famous donuts. For Dymar, this means that instead of people coming and going, maybe stopping for a second to buy a Street Roots on their way to the grocery store, he sells to a slowly creeping line of the same hungry, fried-dessert-seeking faces. With a crowd this tough, he has to stay on his game, as people are likely to hear him trying to sell a paper three or more times while they wait. Luckily, Dymar is neither short on energy nor information. He is slight in stature, and wears thick glasses that he has needed since birth. Recently, he spent six months without his glasses, living life on the streets virtually blind, which for most is an unfathomable feat. He circles the periphery of the donut line offering tidbits about the paper, singing songs, and good naturedly heckling people when appropriate. Continue reading