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.

Glen Hansen

By Ann-Derrick Gaillot, Contributing Writer

Glen Hansen sees himself as somewhat of a nomadic person, having lived all over the US, Canada and Europe (he is fluent in Danish) before settling in Portland last August.

“I don’t grow roots well, so I migrate a lot,” says Glen, whose travels have taken him far from his hometown of Detroit.

“I grew up listening to Motown, disco and KISS,” he says. Glen admits he has found it hard to settle in one place, but he regrets nothing.

“I’ve lived in a lot of places, and I’ve met a lot of people, and I’ve seen a lot of different cultures and those to me are experiences that you can’t buy. You know, I didn’t have a two-week vacation here and there. I went to places and I lived there and met people and really became part of the culture.”

Despite his love of traveling, Glen has fallen in love with Portland and its people, and is now committed to building a life here. After advancing through a few different programs, he is now in vocational rehab, “trying to figure out where my strengths and weaknesses are and all that good stuff,” as he puts it.

Glen has been looking hard for work, applying mostly to sales jobs, but his goal is to eventually have a job helping people in either the government or nonprofit sectors. “One of the things I’ve realized being on the street,” he says, “Is that I’d really like something that would allow me to go to bed at night and think, ‘You know what? I did good today.’”

He has been with Street Roots for the past few months and sells outside of the City Market at 21st and Johnson, a location he has stayed with because of its more easy-going atmosphere compared to other parts of downtown. He has made impressions on many a passerby with his big smile and genuine well wishes.

Glen, though, is not just a vendor, but also a huge fan of the paper itself.

“I don’t sell anything I don’t believe in, and I don’t stand by anything I don’t believe in, he says.”

Indeed, Glen is working hard to find a job and eventually get into his own home. But what this father of three is most excited about is for his daughter, whom he describes as his best friend, to be able to move up from Arizona and live with him. “Honestly,” he shares with a big smile, “my ideal job would be stay-at-home dad.”

Glen’s genuine optimism and love for life and people are infectious, as is his determination to do good for the world. Wish him well if you see him, because if he achieves his dreams, indeed, only greater good will come from his success.

Author: 
Ann-Derrick Gaillot, Contributing Writer
2013-05-10

Our Friends Speak About Street Roots

Street Roots and its writers and vendors are an invaluable part of our community's fabric. Social justice is only within our grasp only when we all participate in learning about, supporting, and fighting for this mission. Street Roots is a daily reminder, on blocks throughout Portland, that we are all in this together.

- Mara Zepeda, co-founder, Switchboard