Street Roots

Street Roots is a Portland, Oregon, United States based homeless advocacy group[3] and a weekly alternative newspaper that covers homeless issues[4] established in 1998. The newsprint is sold by and for the homeless in Portland.[5] The paper is published every Friday and sold through vendors who are currently or formerly homeless. The paper's editorial position is homeless advocacy. Vendors purchase the paper for 25 cents and sell them for $1 and keep the difference of 75 cents. The paper features alternative news, interviews, and poetry written by local journalists as well as the homeless and those who work with them. Street Roots is a member of the North American Street Newspaper Association and the International Network of Street Papers.

Street Roots
Divestdapl-3523 (32160106063).jpg
A Street Roots salesman with newspapers
TypeWeekly alternative newspaper
EditorJoanne Zuhl[1]
Political alignmentHomeless advocacy
HeadquartersPortland, Oregon, U.S.
Circulation10,000 (2018)[2]


Street Roots was established in 1998. Israel Bayer was hired as executive director a few years later, and remained in that position for 15 years, performing numerous duties as he emerged as "one of Portland's leading moral authorities on homelessness," according to coverage in the Willamette Week. He announced his departure in 2017.[6]

In 2007, it was described as the "most vocal opponent" of a proposed "sit-lie ordinance" championed by the Portland Business Alliance and then-Mayor Tom Potter. Its acceptance of a $30,000 grant from Street Access For Everyone (SAFE), at a time when its annual budget was $90,000, prompted concerns about editorial influence. The funding was designated for printing 10,000 resource guides that listed services for the homeless and an employee to assemble the guides. The executive director at the time of Street Roots Israel Bayer asserted the paper would not change its editorial position against the sit-lie ordinance. Kyle Chisek, a non-voting member of SAFE at the time announced the money wasn't intended to influence newspaper's editorial position. Chisek added that SAFE committee and Street Roots shared commitment to "providing a service for the homeless."[7] Initially, the city was concerned that this guide might be a duplicate of services already offered by the government and other non-profit agencies.[7]

The Rose City Resource, a guide to local services related to homelessness, began as a four-page section of the paper in 1999, was launched as a separate publication following the SAFE grant. It served as a model for a similar publication established in Seattle in 2018.[8][9][10] By 2018, the guide had grown to 104 pages, and was published twice a year.[11]

In recent years, Street Roots has continued to take positions on public policy related to homelessness.[12][13]


Papers are sold for $1 each. Vendors purchase the copies of papers for 25 cents each and keep the difference of 75 cents.[14]


  1. ^ "Juanne Zuhl Street Root". Retrieved May 12, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ Cohen, Jason (February 27, 2018). "Meet the New Executive Director of 'Street Roots'". Portland Monthly. Retrieved 2019-11-24.
  3. ^ Harnisch, Kelsey (November 19, 2019). "Emails Show Portland Businesses Wanted Homeless Meal Service Gone From a Downtown Park". Willamette Week. Retrieved 2019-11-20. Kaia Sand, executive director of the homeless advocacy group Street Roots,
  4. ^ "Street Roots responds to continuation of Portland homeless sweep". KGW. Retrieved 2019-12-23. "Street Roots, a local newspaper that covers homeless issues" at 13 to 15 seconds in video
  5. ^ Griffin, Anna (2015-03-01). "Our Homeless Crisis: Join our Monday live chat with reporter Anna Griffin and Street Roots executive director Israel Bayer". The Oregonian. Retrieved 2019-04-16.
  6. ^ "Street Roots Executive Director Israel Bayer is Leaving the Paper". Willamette Week. Retrieved 2018-08-05.
  7. ^ a b Pein, Corey (August 22, 2007). "Sit. Lie. Roll Over". Willamette Week. Archived from the original on November 7, 2007. Retrieved 2017-02-20. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ Greenstone, Scott (April 4, 2018). "New booklet an aid in getting help for homelessness in Seattle area". Seattle Times. Retrieved 2019-04-17.
  9. ^ "Portland State Queer Resource Center". Retrieved 2019-04-17.
  10. ^ independencenw (2009-07-27). "Rose City Resource Guide Just Published". Independence Northwest. Retrieved 2019-04-17.
  11. ^ Fried, Susan (April 5, 2018). "Real Change Creates Resource Guide for the Unhoused". Retrieved 2019-04-17.
  12. ^ Pollard, Jessica (September 25, 2015). "Street Roots: Invest $20 Million in Housing Crisis". Willamette Week. Retrieved April 17, 2019.
  13. ^ Vespa, Maggie (March 22, 2019). "Amid spike in 911 calls tied to homelessness, Street Roots pitches". KGW. Retrieved April 17, 2019.
  14. ^ Cheney, Cathy (December 12, 2019). "Portland Street Roots vendors share their stories (Photos)". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved April 11, 2020.

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