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

David Fink Jr.

 

If you take a stroll through the Pearl District and turn onto 10th and Hoyt, you might be lucky enough to meet David Fink Jr, a Street Roots vendor.  David is the kind of guy whom you could find reminiscent of a quiet Woody Guthrie as he stands by a light post, bedecked simply in a brown camo coat and blue jeans. He possesses an unassuming air and a refreshingly genuine persona tempered by a past littered with hardship and conversion, exhaustion and renewal.

Eddie Zuber

 

I was surprised to learn that Eddie Zuber, the vendor outside the New Seasons market on N Interstate Ave., started selling Street Roots on August 6th. Eddie’s nonchalance and amicability with his surroundings suggest months of experience, and his friendly rapport with the New Seasons staff seems as if it were gained from longstanding trust. I soon realized that I was responding to the warm, thoughtful demeanor that Eddie naturally brings to the job.

Bob Hannick

 

Readers may remember Bob Hannick from the back page of the July 9th issue, when Di Agee wrote a caption explaining why Bob is her favorite Street Roots vendor. Though I had met Bob once before, I was delighted to experience his easygoing charm once again and learn about his experience as a vendor.

Alex Briggs

 

Maneuvering through the airport illustrates the wide breadth of the general population quite clearly.  Among people, one sees all kinds. Some are familiar-looking, some boisterous, some shy.

Alex Briggs is a talker. He requires little prompting to get going, is full of ideas and observations. Much unlike the (thankfully) silent older lady reading Nora Roberts to my right, and the larger, sleeping passenger-pilot to my left. It occured to me that if Alex Briggs were in either seat beside me this flight, there would be no isolating silence.

Jamie Smith

 

Jaimie Smith seems to radiate.  Happy, with a lot of energy, full of stories.

“My first day, I had the rattles inside,” she says, a bit of laughter behind her voice. “I get anxiety about selling the paper sometimes because you have to put yourself out there on display, you have to be in a good mood.”

She looks at me, asking if I understand. After more than 10 years of customer service jobs, I know exactly what Jaimie means. Working with the general public can be tough. But for her occasional fears, Jaimie finds ways to enjoy herself, and good people find her.

Scott Landauer

 

At first, Scott Landauer is nervous.  He sits across from me, shy, barely making eye contact, forearms crossed, guarding his chest.  It took some convincing to get him in the interview.  I ask him why.

“My story is nothing special,” he says, shrugging.

Almost all the vendors say that.  Just regular people, who have fallen on hard times, or perhaps never knew anything different.  Perhaps, in this sense, none of us are special.  But then, that is being human.  And bringing humanity to the face of homelessness is what Street Roots is all about.

Ramon Sims

The first place Ramon ever lived was in a car, around the San Francisco Bay area with his parents.  He stayed with his parents until he was about two years old, and was taken to live with his aunt after his parents’ drugs and alcohol use escalated. By the time he was five, he was sent to live with his grandmother, and at the age of 11, he was shuffled to his father’s home in Portland.  By age 15, he was put into foster care.

Skip Haggett

 

In America, we often refer to the poor as invisible. Vendor Skip Haggett can attest to the truth in this. He says it’s tough on the streets, trying to find a job, a good place to lay his bedroll, or even to help the city in an honest way.

“A lot of people don’t see what happens out there. I do,” Haggett says. “It’s just rough on people, it’s rough on the homeless.”

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Our Friends Speak About Street Roots

Journalism with a social purpose. That’s been the focus of my entire professional career — and it’s why I read and support Street Roots.

- Richard H. Meeker, founder of Willamette Week’s Give!Guide and president of City of Roses Media Company
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