Street Roots — published weekly in Portland, Oregon —
has been Portland's flagship publication addressing
homelessness and poverty since 1998.
Street Roots is participating in a statewide media collaboration with Lines For Life, a regional nonprofit focused on suicide prevention, to raise awareness about the health crisis of suicide in Oregon the week of April 7-14.
Suicide claimed the lives of more than 800 people last year, and with this series, titled Breaking the Silence, we hope to provide both research and resources for helping people who are in crisis. Read here about how one Oregon county has been successful in addressing the link between eviction and suicide. This and other stories throughout the week will be available at breakingthesilenceor.com.
Street Roots Understanding the link has created opportunities for training and prevention in Oregon by Amanda Waldroupe | 5 Apr 2019 “Breaking the Silence” is a statewide media collaboration aimed at putting a spotlight on the public health crisis of suicide in Oregon and offering our readers, l...
A list of the dead... Killed by PDX police officers...
Review the complete list of Metro PDX Critical Incidents — 1969-2015
Of 171 people killed by police, the public record identified:
20 as African American (11.7%)
32 as persons of color (18.7%)
110 as having a mental illness or being in mental health crisis: (64.3%)
Of 129 people injured by police, or shot at but not hit:
21 are identified as African American (16.3%)
30 are identified as persons of color (23.3%)
54 as having a mental illness or being in mental health crisis: (41.9%)
This was my first time seeing a posting resulting from the intergovernmental agreement between the city of Portland and Oregon Department of Transportation, because the city had only begun doing “camp clean-ups” of ODOT land this month. Bettyjo and David were living on this land for months, and were only being swept now. Bettyjo gave me a tour of her home – a mattress set up inside an organized tent, their black cat, Bubba, lounging on the neatly made bed. Outside, plywood served as patio space, a small tarp stretched over a chair and a cat scratching post. The perimeter of their campsite was decorated by small stacks of rock cairns created by their Basque neighbor, they said, as well as a ring of rocks around the tent David created to cast what he described as a protective, peaceful space. Together they lift a brown tarp draped over the tent, revealing, in white spray-paint, a graffitied message: “Go home.”
“The irony of that is that this is my home. I was born right here in this city,” said David.
“Home is where you have love and peace,” Bettyjo continued. “Where you share bread and talk about the day. It doesn’t matter whether you have a roof or not.” She gestured toward the tent, which they planned to pack up the next day.
“This is my home.” I returned the next day to a very different scene. Bettyjo and David's tent was gone.
Would this mean that the city of Portland will clear camps from ODOT land with increased efficiency? One of the first camps they selected had three Street Roots vendors living there, opening a window to access I might not have had. Now I'm watching and tracking. Meanwhile, this little community is dispersed with few options and new worries.
Update: While the camp was posted with an ODOT sign, it is not ODOT land. It is Multnomah County land that the city of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services manages as a stormwater collection area.