This Week in the Mercury


Thursday, February 18, 2010

As Poor Move East, So Does Street Roots

Posted by Sarah Mirk on Thu, Feb 18, 2010 at 9:24 AM

Street Roots is going the way of Chinatown. The 14-year-old newspaper based in Old Town and sold by homeless vendors all over Portland just opened its first branch office out on 82nd Avenue this week.

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Two views of Street Roots new 82nd Ave office.
"There’s growing poverty that’s moving east, there were a whole lot of individuals that we weren’t able to reach," explains Director Israel Bayer. He says the new office is not just to make things more convenient for vendors who live on the East side, but is part of the paper's attempt to branch out to cover more homeless issues east of 39th Avenue. "A lot of people who are in low income housing, people of color, older folks are being displaced and pushed out into the east side. We're hoping to put a focus on more communities on the east side, Gresham, Gateway, etc." The new office is shared with homeless advocacy group JOIN and its outfitting was completed thanks to grants from private foundations, says Bayer.

Street Roots began as a paper with five vendors and a print run of about 1,000 and now employs between 40-50 vendors and distributes 8-12,000 papers every two weeks, according to Bayer. The staff will start small with the new 82nd Avenue branch office, sending 2-4,000 papers there for pickup every other week. Bayer says the group is aiming to establish a dozen permanent locations for vendors and a dozen semi-permanent locations between 39th and Gateway over the next year.

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