Friday, August 17, 2007

Water Wars hits the streets

The new edition of Street Roots has hit the streets. The feature article "Water Wars" with John DeVoe, the executive director of WaterWatch, is about the intersection of politics and science and the future of Oregon's Kamath River Basin. Other news pieces include, "Leonard: SAFE group misses target in City Hall restrooms," and a piece on immigrants being detained in the Northwest Detention Center. We also have some great street poetry, a piece by Jay Thiemeyer on his travels across the country and a whole lot more.

Directors Desk:

Please take the time to go on-line to the organizations Web site,, and take the Street Roots Readers Survey. We’ve gotten hundreds so far, but with your help we can get at least 1,000 responses by the end of August.

The survey will help the organization empower vendors, create a marketing and advertising plan and to help the editorial team know exactly who is reading the newspaper.

Volunteer consultant Sarah Johnson is leading the research project, which includes the survey, but also includes working with a team of vendors out in the field and doing one-on-one interview’s with vendors and supporters. Street Roots is also leading a sales training for vendors that will help people better sell the newspaper in the community.
Over the next two months we will be having a healthy, free breakfast with vendors, exploring sales techniques and what’s working and what’s not working out on the beat.

Street Roots has more than 70 vendors in the community – each individual offers their own unique perspective and personality. We work hard to meet people where they’re at. We respect each individual for the skills and passion they bring to the table. We can in no way, shape or form make everyone happy on the streets, but what we can offer is a safe place for people to gather every morning, get a hot cup of coffee, some conversation and an opportunity to earn an extra buck, with dignity, in the community. We hope you know that as we grow as an organization it does not mean we lose our roots in being a voice and friend to all people on the beat, or lose our edge in being a provocative publication.

Street Roots received $25,000 from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation this month. The relationship being built with the foundation is exciting and allows us to continue implementing the organization’s strategic plan, which is to empower vendors, increase circulation to help put more money directly into the hands of poor people, stabilize infrastructure and to create a sustainable funding for the future.

We also recently received $30,000 from the City of Portland to reformat and publish the Rose City Resources. Look for the new format in September – it’s going to be hot!

The drama surrounding the SAFE Committee’s work to implement public restrooms, park benches and a day access center in exchange for banning people from sitting or lying on public sidewalks continues. Lines have become so blurry it’s hard to tell what is what. City Hall has opened its door for an all night restroom and has shown real leadership in the face of adversity for doing so. Still, like Utah Phillips has said more than once about human rights, “It’s not enough!” While not always popular or sexy, the rights of poor people are the rights of us all.

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