Tag Archives: Street Roots

Give to SR this week, get a shot at signed Trail Blazer ball

Street Rooters,

The Willamette Week Give!Guide is here. Street Roots wants to start supporters off right when giving a donation of $10 or more to the organization.

When you give to Street Roots through the Give!Guide from now until next Friday, Nov. 16  — you will be entered to win a signed Trail Blazers team basketball and two tickets.  Tickets are to see the Trail Blazers battle the Chicago Bulls on Nov. 18. (14th row from the court in section 116.)

Street Roots is proud business partners with Voodoo Doughnut, and Don and Chrissy Washburn this year and all donations up to $4,000 will be matched through the Give!Guide.

Your support, small or large, will help Street Roots remain strong! We sincerely appreciate all of your love!

Give! (We are under the community section!)

* Everyone gets great incentives when you give at the Willamette Week Give!Guide.The Give!Guide runs until Dec. 31st.

Vendor Profile: Urban hobo brings sales to life in downtown

by Kaisa Crow, Contributing Writer

Buy a copy of Street Roots from vendor John Michael Christian if you are passing by Southwest Sixth and Salmon outside of Starbucks, or, some mornings, if you find yourself leaving Great Harvest Bread at Southwest Second and Yamhill. The least you’ll get is the paper, but if you have a few more minutes, you can get a lot more. John Michael, although he doesn’t take to labeling himself, is an artist, a writer, a teacher and spiritual guide, whose own life is reflected and expanded in a message of love and compassion that he wants to share with others.

That message is so ready to be shared that when I arrived late to our interview, it felt suddenly as if I had tuned in late to “This American Life” and was scrambling excitedly to put together what I had already missed in Part I. Tall in stature and slightly flaired in dress, John wore a blue stocking cap, a cross necklace layered over a rosary, and donned painted red fingernails, which appeared both calculated and cursory at the same time. We attempted to go for a walk, which lasted only a block before I found myself simply leaning against a lamppost, listening intently to both his personal story as well as his life philosophies, which he collects in a working tome titled, “Hobo Metaphysics.” Continue reading

Amy Ray of the Indigo Girls talks with Street Roots about music and politics

By Sue Zalokar, Contributing Writer

When the Indigo Girls hit the music scene, a queer folk duo from Atlanta was quite the departure from the kinds of role models, female musicians had. Now known for their heart-wrenching, gritty lyrics, warm vocal harmonies and social commentary, Amy Ray and Emily Saliers complement one another like no other duo and they have made their mark on the world of social activism just as intensely as they have on the world of music.

The duo was coming of age, so to speak, in the ’80s when other female-based bands and performers such as 10,000 Maniacs, Suzanne Vega and Tracy Chapman were finding success in the mainstream media. It left an opening for the the duo to shine into the lives of a flurry of listeners who would soon become loyal fans and admirers of their music.

While they continue to produce albums and tour together, they each have created individual careers for themselves as well. Saliers is a restaurateur and author and Ray has a solo musical career that rounds out her musical experience.

Recently, Ray sat down with Street Roots to talk about road maps that have led her to where she is now, the music industry, activism, gay marriage and much more.

Sue Zalokar: You and Emily have been forging the way for not only yourselves, but also the legions of female musicians who have and will come behind you. In your experience, has the music industry evolved at all for women?

Amy Ray: Definitely. It’s not perfect, by any stretch. There are steps forward and sometimes you step back. Sometimes it feels like it’s not getting anywhere. It has evolved though, and there are more opportunities for female artists — more exposure. Part of that is the Internet. There are so many avenues that are free and are open from the normal gatekeepers. Continue reading

Funding for affordable housing on the ballot in 11 communities

by Israel Bayer

Communities in Washington, California and Massachusetts are all voting today on local funding for housing.

In San Francisco, voters will consider Prop C, which would increase the real estate transfer tax for transactions involving all properties valued at $1 million or above by 0.2 percent. If passed, the proposition would generate an estimated $1.1 billion over the next 30 years for affordable housing.

In Bellingham, voters will consider Proposition 1 which would impose a tax of 36 cents per $1,000 of property value, generating $21 million over seven years.  The money would go towards supporting the Bellingham Home Fund to provide housing for families, seniors, veterans and others experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

Nine Massachusetts cities and towns are voting on the adoption of the Community Preservation Act, which allows local communities to pass a surcharge of up to three percent on real property in order to create a local dedicated fund for the four Community Preservation Act purposes: affordable housing, open space preservation, historic preservation, and outdoor recreation.

The Center for Community Change’s Housing Trust Fund Project created a centralized webpage with information about all 11 of these campaigns.

Follow the results tonight on Twitter at @CCCHTFP.

Help us tell the #StreetRoots @StreetRoots story

Throughout the holiday season Street Roots is asking for your help in telling our story.

We’re asking readers and supporters to take photos and share stories about your relationship with Street Roots through social media. At the same time, Street Roots is going to be asking vendors what special moments they shared with customers and businesses over the past year.

How does it work?

We’re asking readers to tag Street Roots on Instagram, Twitter and FaceBook throughout the month of November.

For example, you find your partner or friend enjoying a cup of coffee and reading a Street Roots on a rainy Saturday morning? Post a pic on Instragram using the #StreetRoots hashtag. The next time you purchase a paper from your local neighborhood vendor, drop it on Twitter and tag @StreetRoots. Have a special story about an experience with a Street Roots vendor this past year, post your story on FaceBook and tag us in it.

We will take submissions from vendors and readers and publish them in the December edition of the newspaper.

Street Roots is working hard to marry technology and poverty in new ways. By taking part in this month-long project — all of Portland can help shape the story of Street Roots.

We sincerely appreciate you taking part in this project and sharing it with your peers.

#letsdothis @StreetRoots #StreetRoots

Would mayoral candidates support the Portland Plan?

Mayoral candidates Charlie Hales and Jefferson Smith take a shot at Street Roots’ questions for the future of Portland.

5. MAYORAL CANDIDATES ONLY: Previous mayors, including Mayor Sam Adams, have spent countless hours and community capital in crafting city plans, only to see them pushed aside and replaced when someone new takes office. If elected, would you follow the current The Portland Plan as drafted, or would you create a new plan forward? If so, what would that plan be?

Charlie Hales: As Mayor I would use the Portland Plan as a framework in moving forward. We’ve done enough planning in this city over the past eight years. It’s time to implement, starting with the very basics that will help make all our neighborhoods safe, livable and thriving.

Jefferson Smith: I will work to build upon the work rather than restart it. The issue is not one of developing plans, but of implementing them. The Portland Plan was an exhaustive look at our city’s needs with significant outreach to many people and communities. But there has been too little work done to implement its recommendations. Far too few of our citizens are civically engaged and do not participate in the hard work of governing our city. There are limits to what city employees can do; there are far fewer limits on what 580,000 citizens of Portland can accomplish if we work together.

As mayor, my charge would be to analyze recommendations from the Portland Plan and put the best of them into action, developing specific goals, objectives and strategies that will address the needs of our citizens and our city. As part of my transition plan if elected, I will have a broad swath of citizens (and not just political people) analyzing each bureau, looking at current or past recommendations, determining the needs of our citizens and establishing our game plan moving forward. Plans are effective tools for determining what needs to be done. The hard work comes at implementing them and that is the area I will focus on as mayor.

Question 1: Police and mental health

Question 2: Joint-Terrorism Task Force, FBI

Question 3: Panhandling, sidewalk management, Right 2 Dream Too

Question 4: What do you fear the most if your opponent is elected?

Your call: Mayoral and City Council candidates question panhandling, sidewalks

Mayoral and City Council candidates Charlie Hales, Jefferson Smith, Amanda Fritz and Mary Nolan take a shot at Street Roots’ questions for the future of Portland.

3. Many issues of livability can become sticking points on the streets of Portland. Please state your position on the following topics: Support for the current Sidewalk Management Plan, panhandling and the future of Right 2 Dream Too. Continue reading

Your call: Mayoral and City Council candidates question on JTTF

Mayoral and City Council candidates Charlie Hales, Jefferson Smith, Amanda Fritz and Mary Nolan take a shot at Street Roots’ questions for the future of Portland.

2. The issue of local law enforcement interfacing directly with federal agencies such as the CIA and FBI is highly controversial — from cooperating with the surveillance-oriented fusion centers in Salem and Portland, to the city police participating in the Joint Terrorism Task Force. The FBI also have been involved in questionable investigations, such as the Christmas tree bomber case and raiding the homes of so-called anarchists. Where do you stand on our participation in the JTTF, and how far should our police cooperate with these federal agencies? Continue reading

Your call: Mayoral and City Council candidates question on police, mental health

Mayoral and City Council candidates Charlie Hales, Jefferson Smith, Amanda Fritz and Mary Nolan take a shot at Street Roots’ questions for the future of Portland.

1. The Department of Justice investigation into the Portland Police Bureau revealed, among other things, two serious problems. One being that our police use excessive force on people perceived to have a mental illness, due to deficiencies in policy, training and supervision. The other serious problem is failings in our mental health support network, from triage sites to engagement with health providers. What will you do to correct these problems? Continue reading

Surviviors’ stories: Three women reflect on what it means to escape domestic violence

By Alex Zielinski, Staff Writer

Statistics can carry a lot of weight. Like the fact that nationally, one in every four women will be the victim of domestic violence. And the fact that such violence takes lives, destroys families and costs the nation billion in health care costs and lost wages. In Oregon, annually, 18 people die each year from domestic violence, including men, women and children.

When the Gateway Center for Domestic Violence opened its doors in September 2010, it was intended as a one-stop hub for both victims of domestic violence and their families. A collaboration between the city of Portland, Multnomah County, and public and private agencies, the center has quickly become a crucial refuge for families across the county seeking escape and guidance. From helping victims file for restraining orders to leading teen therapy sessions, Gateway has left a resounding impact on its clientele.

Even what all we know today about domestic violence, it remains one of the most under reported crimes in the nation. But for as many victims who walk into Gateway, survivors walk out. To commemorate October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Street Roots spoke with three survivors about their journey to move beyond the violence they experienced. Continue reading

Local enforcement of fed’s immigration law weakens public safety

by Cassandra Villanueva, Contributing Columnist

A hairline crack in the windshield of my sister’s car turned our family’s world upside down in 2010. On their way home from the store to celebrate my nephew’s birthday, my sister was stopped by police two blocks from home. In the passenger seat was her husband with a birthday cake in his lap and three of their children were in the backseat.

For years, they had lived cautiously in the shadows and practiced what they would do if they were pulled over or stopped by the police. They talked about how they would know their rights, remain silent, and not answer any questions about immigration status. But all that rehearsal was useless when the police threatened to detain my sister and kids as well for not answering about my brother-in-law’s immigration status.  Out of fear for harm against his family, he admitted he was undocumented and the police dragged him out of the car and took him away. Continue reading

Health care reform, part II: Will Obamacare save America from itself?

By Samuel Metz, Contributing Columnist

Just when despair engulfed our dysfunctional health care system, Congress passed the Affordable Care Act (also known, inappropriately as we will see, as “ObamaCare”). Is the Affordable Care Act a knight in shining armor, a red herring or the end of civilization as we know it?
Let’s look closer.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was a response to powerful health-care forces pulling in many directions — from families bankrupted by medical bills, businesses crippled by employer-sponsored insurance, hospitals and physicians paid less for Medicaid and Medicare patients than the cost to provide the care, insurance companies protecting their industry, and voters demanding that something — anything — be done to solve an apparently unsolvable crisis.

Ultimately, Congress created a 400,000-word compromise of baffling complexity. Before we review whether this effort was worth the trouble, let’s look at the major (but not the only) provisions. Continue reading

Vendor profile: A walk, a talk with a new friend

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

SR editorial: Bar set high for future office holders

As a non-profit newspaper, Street Roots can’t endorse candidates. What we can say, however, is how those candidates, if elected, should govern our great city.
Street Roots has been around the block now for more than a decade. In that time, the organization has been active in helping contribute to and challenge a number of important policies related to poverty and social justice.

We understand the many voices, lobbying efforts and insider politics that will influence and guide individuals who maintain our city government. We understand what it’s like to be used for political gains and completely ignored when speaking critically of laws or office holders. We also understand that what candidates’ promise on the campaign will not always be achievable once in office.

It’s easy to say if elected that one will curb homelessness and uphold people’s civil rights. It’s another thing to become a real housing champion and to not engage in horse-trading the rights of people experiencing homelessness and poverty away for a divergent strategy with powerful interest groups. The rates of unemployment and incarceration for minority communities are staggering. Yet we still have gentrification and displacement and a growing concentration of wealth and disparity in our city.
Continue reading

Street Roots endorses statewide measures

Real estate transfer/79: Amends Constitution: Prohibits real estate transfer taxes, fees, other assessments, except those operative on December 31, 2009

Summary: Current statutory law prohibits a city, county, district, or other political subdivision or municipal corporation from imposing taxes or fees on the transfer of real estate (with certain exceptions). However, the state legislature has the authority, subject to Governor approval, to impose such taxes and fees or to change current statutory law.

No! We do not want a private, national trade organization spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in our state to rewrite our constitution under the fog of false necessity. We have a statewide ban on real estate transfer taxes. We have a system that allows for the people of Oregon, our elected officials and due public process to both keep it that way and reserve the right to consider our options for the future.

Likewise, real estate transfer fees are not the taxation boogie men they have been made out to be. They can be constructed to provide relief to first-time homebuyers, lower-priced homes and long-term homeowners. And they can be directed to support real community needs, right here in Oregon, in ways that benefits all residents.

This measure isn’t something Oregon wants or needs

Marijuana cultivation-sale/80: Allows personal marijuana, hemp cultivation/use without license; commission to regulate commercial marijuana cultivation/sale

Summary: Currently, marijuana cultivation, possession and delivery are prohibited; regulated medical marijuana use permitted. Measure replaces state, local marijuana laws except medical marijuana and driving under the influence laws; distinguishes “hemp” from “marijuana”; prohibits regulation of hemp. Creates commission to license marijuana cultivation by qualified persons and to purchase entire crop.

Yes! It’s time Oregon pushed the envelope on the issue of hemp production, marijuana use and government oversight, and this bill will do just that. It’s far from a panacea on the nonsense of our war on drugs. But it is a starting point that can draw out new ideas on the matter of managing a long-distorted crop that has potential in many markets. Continue reading