From the July 24, edition of Street Roots
Darby and I had been doing car burglaries for a few weeks now and selling whatever we could to the pawnshops and used clothing stores. We got the idea from this kid we met named CJ who was a long-time downtown Portland dope fiend and had been doing the car prowl thing forever. CJ had dirty blonde hair that had matted into two large dreadlocks; he called them his mud flaps. He had a number of shitty tattoos up and down his arms, mostly punk rock stuff like anarchy signs and pentagrams. On his face, right above his eyes and taking up most of his forehead, he had poorly inked bluish green goat horns. He always wore filthy black Carhart bib overalls that were blown out in the ass and held together by Punk Rock and Black Metal patches.
CJ was a good thief and long-time heroin addict like us. He had hopped freight trains and hitchhiked all over the country. He knew so many tricks for getting by under the radar in the city, and he taught us a lot. He showed us how to use a chip from the porcelain part of a broken spark plug to break car windows quietly; which downtown pawn shops were legitimate, and which ones were crooked and asked no questions. This is the short version of how CJ ended up on the streets as he told it to me one night while drinking rum under the Ross Island Bridge.
Hot! Hot! Hot! The new edition of Street Roots is! And your vendor is keeping his cool on a corner near you. Check out what’s coming tomorrow morning in the latest edition:
West meets East: Attorney and writer Ronault “Polo” Catalani is the world’s ambassador to Portland. He sat down with Israel Bayer to talk about the dynamics facing Asian immigrants to Portland.
Violence in, violence out: Author Jerome Gold talks about his new book, “Paranoia and Heartbreak,” about the juvenile corrections cycle. Adam Hyla reports.
Escaping boys’ town: Vancouver’s male sex workers fight to emerge from the street’s shadows.
Addict’s Almanac: Back by popular demand, Tye Doudy picks up where he left off last year chronicling his life on the streets of Portland.
Plus you’ll get to know Kevin Bynum, one of our vendors, a little better in a profile by Elizabeth Schwartz.
But that’s only half the fun! Great commentaries and more await you this weekend. So take a copy to the beach, and when you’re done reading, Street Roots makes a great fan!
Posted by Joanne Zuhl
Street Roots writers Mara Grunbaum, Tye Doudy and Joanne Zuhl took home honors from the Oregon and Southwest Washington Society of Professional Journalists May 30. The event honors journalistic achievements of 2008.
Mara Grunbaum received the second place award in the News Feature category for “Rest in peace, and dignity,” a report on work to preserve the memory of Hawthorne Asylum patients buried in unmarked graves in Lone Fir Cemetery. The package of stories not only looked at the memory of the Hawthorne Asylum, but also society’s changing view of mental illness.
Tye Doudy was awarded second place for general columns for his highly personal series of columns called “Addicts Almanac.” The seven-part series gave Portlanders an eye-opening tour of their city through the life of a heroin addict.
Joanne Zuhl received third place honors for social issues reporting for her piece “In need of a New Deal,” a report on the obstacles facing affordable housing developers following the economic collapse. The report was part of a Special Edition of Street Roots that navigated the maze of affordable housing.
Congratulations to all the winners!
Street Roots, a nonprofit newspaper, competed in the non-daily category for papers with 8,000 circulation or less.
Sept. 18, 2008
Tye Doudy is 33 years old and lives in Portland. His stories chronicle his experiences and are told in the hopes that others may learn from his mistakes. This is the latest in a series of articles about his life. He can be reached at email@example.com.
By Tye Doudy
Waking up under the Jackson Street Bridge is never a good way to start the day. Looking out from under the meager warmth of the mildew-smelling blankets, I can’t see the sky, only the mud, the beer cans and discarded piles of wet clothing revealed in the sodden half light of early dawn. It is a typical Portland morning in late spring. Cold, slate-grey sheets of rain pound the overpass and the cars rushing overhead. The rhythmic sounds of their passing greet my ears like the waves of a great industrial ocean crashing on blacktop shores.
Addict’s Almanac, Parts I-III
Tye Doudy is 33 years old and lives in Portland. His stories chronicle his experiences and are told in the hopes that others may learn from his mistakes. This is the latest in a series of articles about his life. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
By Tye Doudy
There is mariachi music playing quietly when I enter the car. Julio smiling with bulging cheeks, reaches over and turns off the stereo. “Hola, mi amigo,” he greets me as we pull away from the curb. “Hay mang, what chew need?”
“First, I need two white” I hand him the $30 for the two bags of coke and Julio holds his hand up to his mouth and spits out two small yellow balloons from the right side of his mouth. He dries them off on his leg and hands them to me. I wipe the balloons again on my own leg and place them in my mouth. I can immediately taste the harsh, almost diesel flavor of the cocaine in the balloons and I gag a little.
“Ees that eet?” Julio asks, sounding a little disappointed.
“No, I need some black too” With my own money and the money from the Scarecrow I have $100 to spend on heroin. I ask Julio what kind of deal he will give me if I spend a hundred bucks. He says, “Four for feefty, so eight for uno hundred.”
“Come on man, you can give me 10 for a hundred.”
Julio grins sheepishly. “Hokay, nine,” he says, looking at me to see if I will take the deal. I know nine is all I’m going to get so I count out the money fold it in half and hand it to him below the dash. He unfolds the bills and recounts them. Satisfied that all the money is there, he spits out nine blue balloons from the left side of his mouth. He repeats the ritual of drying them on his leg before handing them to me, and I do the same before placing the balloons in my own mouth. I put two balloons of the heroin in the left side of my cheeks with the two bags of coke and place the remaining balloons in the other side. That way I can hand the Scarecrow guy his shit without having to count it out on the sidewalk and also avoid letting him see how much I am holding.
Thursday, Aug. 21, 2008
This is the second in a six-part series by Tye Doudy chronicling his life in addiction on Portland streets.
By Tye Doudy
Zoey and I get off of the Max train at the Pioneer Square stop. After doing the score at Home Depot, we are both in a hurry to get some drugs. I look up at the giant clock that stands in the corner of the square and see that the time is 5:30 p.m. It’s getting late and we need to make it across the river to the Hawthorne neighborhood to page my heroin dealer Julio. We quickly walk the few blocks to the bus stop and in no time are boarding the No. 14 to Southeast Portland.
When we get off the bus, there is already someone standing at the pay phone. Only a few of the pay phones over here take inbound calls and since you have to page your dealer and wait for him to call you back, it seems like there are always sketchy people hanging around these phones waiting for their call.
This guy is somewhere in his mid 40s. He has to be around 6-feet tall and he can’t weigh over 120 pounds. His dingy jean jacket and worn camouflage fatigue pants hang on him like rags on some kind of junk scarecrow. His face is a lunar landscape, pockmarked and scarred with the pits and white spots of a long-time coke fiend. He has deep-set, intense blue eyes, and his cheekbones jut out of his face at stark angles, casting dark shadows under the streetlights.
Addict’s Almanac Part I
August 6, 2008
The smoky interior of the Roxy, with its smells of clove cigarettes, coffee, and greasy diner food, is an oasis. Those old familiar pulp fiction posters on the wall and the same Skinny Puppy songs playing on the jukebox. Small groups cluster at tables and in the booths. Gothic kids and punk rockers drinking the all-night coffee and chain smoking. Flamboyant gay guys sitting at the bar talking loud and looking around to see if anyone is paying attention. No one is.
I spot an associate sitting by himself at one of the small two-person tables and make my way over. His name is Joe but he goes by Ashes, and Ashes looks loaded. He barely looks up when I sit down and from the length of the ash on his smoke I can tell he was on the nod. His hooded eyes finally look up and find mine as the waiter takes my order for coffee and toast. He tucks a long strand of greasy hair behind his ear and through missing teeth tells me I look like hell. Coming from him this is truly something.
Ashes has been on the streets a long time. He was already “old” when I first hit the dope road all those years ago. Beneath his long and tattered leather jacket and his Sisters Of Mercy T-shirt his thin frame shows the wear of the longtime dope fiend. His arms are covered in homemade tattoos and scars from past abscesses. He is somewhere in his late 30s but looks a decade older. Anybody with eyes would make him for an addict. He’s about as trustworthy as a rented snake, and he is the closest thing I have to a friend at this moment.
My first question is, of course, is he holding and second, can I get him to kick down a little something. Even a rinse would set me straight and buy me some time to make a plan. No junky wants to give up any dope ever, but I have some leverage as he has no hustle and he knows I will make some money today. He supports his habit by spare changing in the transit mall. Not a sure thing, even on a good day. A real loser’s gambit. Real bottom of the food chain shit. So I get him to agree to get me well as long as I take him along on whatever scheme I cook up for the day.
(July 24) Street Roots highlights the work of artists on the streets who have chronicled their lives through film, poetry and art. Pitchfork Rebellion fights against the Bureau of Land Management’s plan to ramp up logging in Oregon’s forests. One of Street Roots more popular vendors (Roger Gates) is highlighted after his passing this week.
Jay Thiemeyer and Miyuki Sese bring us hard-hitting commentaries from on and off the grid. Street Roots introduces a new and controversial column by Tye Doudy called The Addicts Almanac where he explores his life as a junkie on Portland’s streets.
Street Roots features Green Party Candidate Cynthia McKinney from Georgia and our editorial explores the double standard with shield laws that protect a journalist’s ability to protect their sources and material.
All of this and much more in the new edition of Street Roots coming out tomorrow.
Posted by Israel Bayer