Street Roots

for those who cannot afford free speech

Our Mission

Street Roots creates income opportunities for people experiencing homelessness and poverty by producing a newspaper and other media that are catalysts for individual and social change.

Vendor Profiles

Eric Bradley


Union Station, often bustling with activity, is a gateway to the city for many commuters and visitors. Situated adjacent to the Bud Clark Commons, it is also at a crossroads of people who are homeless in the downtown core. Eric Bradley, a Street Roots vendor for the past six months, who has been selling at Union Station since before Christmas, is an ambassador between these two worlds.

Debra Knauf


Oregon’s relentless rainy months between late summer and late spring are difficult for many, including Debra Knauf, who admits that the winter is probably the hardest time to sell Street Roots. “Not very many people want to come out in the rain and buy a paper,” she says. “You have more luck in the snow than in the rain.”

Jacob Anderson


At 19 years old, Jacob Anderson may look young, but a difficult past has forced him to grow and brought him a lot of wisdom in the process. “I’ve said it many times before: It’s not the cards you’re dealt, it’s how you decide to play them,” Jacob says. “I could see myself doing so much better than being at a homeless shelter, and slowly I’m taking that step to making it in society.”

Brian Schmidt


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!”

Saul Cortes


Saul Cortes watches over the community around him. During our interview at his sales location, the Whole Foods at Northwest 13th Avenue and Couch Street, he had conversations with many passersby. It was a cold day and he asked a friend who passed, “You need some handwarmers?”  She was fine, but the offer opened five minutes of conversation between the two. A few minutes later he yelled, Hey! Check your bag!” to a mail carrier up the block who had dropped a few letters from his pack.

Charles Yost


Home is a place many of us have the privilege to take advantage of. It is a place to rest one’s head and relax, a sanctuary with a hinged door to close the world out or invite it in. Creating a home doesn’t necessarily take much: four walls and a roof, a bed, a kitchenette and bathroom with a few windows to let in the natural light.

Ron Sanford


Growing up in Las Vegas brings to mind images of neon lights, slot machines and 24-hour indulgence. But for Ron Sanford, whose father was a professional blackjack dealer, life in Sin City was, admittedly, “pretty normal.”

“It was a mid-sized town back then,” remembers Sanford. “We didn’t live on the strip. We had a house.” On weekends, though, Sanford and his friends had access to the Las Vegas Strip. They would visit Circus Circus casino. “That was more of a kid place because they had a big arcade. We used to play Asteroids,” he says.

Nathan Roper


Art is Nathan Roper’s outlet to channel his energy. “It gives me a perspective,” says Nathan. At times tumultuous, Nathan’s life has taken him through addiction, prison and now, recovery. “That’s what art is supposed to do — pull an emotion out of you. It may not be good, it might be disgust. It might be revulsion, but at least it’s pulling something out of you.”

J. Neal Carr


Neal Carr is a philosopher at heart. He has always been philosophically minded, he says, and the existential question, along with Eastern religion keeps him optimistic and hopeful, “I know,” Neal says, “this life is just a temporary part of our soul’s existence.”

Carr has lived in Portland for 16 years. Having grown up in the Bay Area, Neal moved northward because he needed a change of environment, which he found.

Donald Grubb


Don Grubb commands few pretensions. His quiet, friendly smile and shaved head don’t easily lead on to the fact that, in a few short years, he has seen more places outside the United States than most people see in a lifetime.

“I try to live life peaceful and do the right thing,” says Grubb, whose year and a half in the Navy took him to Italy, Spain, France, Greece, Portugal, Turkey, Sicily and the United Arab Emirates. Of them Italy was his favorite country.

Marlon Crump


Marlon Crump is a self-described Renaissance Man, in that he is able to undertake many challenges and multi-task in order to help others solve their problems.

“If they made a movie about my life it would be a mini-series,” says Marlon, whose life’s work has spanned stage acting to volunteering and political activism. His true passion, though, is writing.


Our Friends Speak About Street Roots

Street Roots advocates for those folks who don’t have a voice and you and your team work diligently, and with great humanity, humility and grace to bring those stories center stage for food, housing, healthcare and social justice. Portland is lucky to have an organization like Street Roots to help us understand the complexities of homelessness, politics and the community.

- Tamara Pedrojetti, Community Relations Manager and SafeLink Program Manager, CareOregon
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