Archive for May, 2011

The Oregon Vagabond in the News – The Register-Guard

Sunday, May 29th, 2011

Sunday, May 29, 2011 – Diane Dietz reports on street newspapers on the front page of the business section (D) in The Register-Guard: Papers provide jobs and a voice – Homeless vendors and writers gain from a growing trend:

“A new form of hand-to-mouth economics has emerged in Eugene during the past 1½ years with the development of the Oregon Vagabond street newspaper.

The paper is the latest manifestation of a two-decade old national street newspaper movement devoted to helping urban homeless people earn a little money and eventually find a way off of the streets.

Homeless people write the stories. Homeless vendors buy the papers from the publishers — generally for 25 cents apiece — and sell them on the streets for $1, plus any tips they earn. The 31 street papers nationally are seen as an antidote to motivation-sapping handouts as well as to the isolating practices of begging or panhandling.

“It was a response to the rise of modern day homelessness in urban environments throughout the United States,” said Israel Bayer, director at Street Roots, the Portland street paper that began in 1999.

The content in the papers varies. Some focus on stories from the streets, others dig into issues related to poverty and others have an entertainment bent for maximum saleability.

Celebrities often contribute. Each year, for example, a Portland Trail Blazer offers himself for a page-one story in Street Roots.

The street papers have developed a surprisingly sophisticated infrastructure, including a trade group, the North American Street Newspaper Association, and an annual convention — this year in October in Nashville.

Like mainstream newspapers, the street newspapers share their articles for publication through a news service, the 9-year-old international Street News Service. In addition, the Reuters News wire service donates content to the street papers….”

Click here to read Dietz’s full article with photos by Paul Carter, an in-depth report in The Register-Guard on street newspapers and The Oregon Vagabond.

 

Vagabond Vlog 1 – May 2011

Saturday, May 21st, 2011

Every month, beginning May 2011, David Gerber, the publisher and editor of The Oregon Vagabond – Eugene’s Original Street Newspaper and “Voice of the Streets”, will post a “Vagabond Vlog” update of what’s new with the newspaper and on the streets.

May 2011

Photo Essays, request for submissions

Friday, May 20th, 2011

We now have an Oregon Vagabond Flickr photostream! This month we are kicking off an open-ended request for submissions for Photo Essays. Submit your photo(s) to us with a title and description that tells a visual story of homelessness in Eugene, Oregon from your perspective. If it’s appropriate for the subject and publication, we’ll publish it on Flickr as part of a collection of images, in our newspaper and on our website! Send your submission to community@oregonvagabond.com. Be sure to include your name, the city and state where you live, and if you are homeless or know someone who is.

We’re All One

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

I’m watching from afar as David and his homeless friend Jason play basketball under the bridge. One of the first things Jason says as he approaches me after their game is “we are all connected… we’re all one.” Looking me in the eyes with his arms held out wide, he steps close and gives me a long hug. He goes on to quote a passage from Psalms, talks to me about the angels that surround and protect us, along with a demonstration on how to protect myself should I ever be attacked by an unsavory character. More hugs follow.

It’s no coincidence that I meet Jason for the first time the day after I saw the documentary “I AM“. The whole point and purpose of the film is to acknowledge and celebrate the mysterious and profound interconnectedness we have with one another and all things. Not only is it a spiritual phenomenon, but this truth is being validated over and over again by scientific research throughout the world. It is in our DNA to be sympathetic, compassionate… we are born to be our brother’s keeper.

Often as I walk the streets of the city, talking with, hugging, helping out and photographing strangers (some are members of our homeless community), Hebrews 13:2 comes to mind – “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.” Perhaps I have. I am discovering that we all have far more in common than not, and those with little more than the clothes on their back bless me more than words can say simply by being themselves and sharing even a brief moment of their lives with me. Thank you, Jason.

David McArthur writes in his book ‘The Intelligent Heart’ – “Love does not only transform our mental/emotional nature, it also involves the physical system of our body which goes through profound changes as well.” As we give up our self-awareness to become more aware of the greatness and beauty that lies within others, not judging by outward appearances so that we might know and love them with our heart, we begin to experience life and relationships with one another on a deeper and much healthier level of interconnectedness, wholeness and wellness. This is where the kind of change we wish to see in ourselves and the world happens.

Jesus wasn’t found among the most beautiful and affluent, rather he was ridiculed for befriending and loving those who are known as “untouchables” in some cultures. Jesus led by example, showing us how to love and give generously and unconditionally. Corinthians 9:7 says, “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” Like the message of the movie “I AM“, it turns out that it is our intuitive heart’s intelligence that guides us and not our cerebral brain. It is knowing, responding, loving and giving from our hearts that makes our community and world a better, safer place to live… one decision, one random act of kindness, one person at a time… starting with me and you.

by L.E. Erickson

“At the heart of each of us, whatever our imperfections, there exists a silent pulse of perfect rhythm, which is absolutely individual and unique, and yet which connects us to everything else.” ~ George Leonard (1923-2010); American writer

The Grand Symphony

Monday, May 9th, 2011

I love the warming centers. I’ve been so cold for so long, never knew I’d miss warm air so much. The ladies there always treat me so nice although I have no idea why. Perhaps they just feel sorry for a lonely old cowboy. But I’ve known so many trails since Oklahoma, and all of the have somehow led me here, to these warming centers in Eugene. They are the best God sent life-savers you could ever imagine. The only drawback is this. There you are, lying on a cot in a large room in the basement of a church, with about 100 other homeless bodies such as myself. As the evening goes on into the early morning hours the place becomes a veritable symphony consisting of a variety of snoring, accompanied by the occasional soft or loud fart. You really have to be there to appreciate the entire concert performance. It’s for real, just like survival.

Actually it’s kind of weird in symphony hall because the entire orchestra is used to being outside in the cold all the time. So the first time that we actually have a nice warm place to sleep we’re just not used to the warm air, creating a situation where you’re almost sweating while trying to get some rest. The experience is difficult to describe, but it’s very true. If you’re not used to warm air, it takes some getting used to. At the same time you certainly don’t prefer to be cold and freezing to death. You just want to survive. Don’t we all… Happy trails until we meet again!

by Cowboy

Single Mothers

Monday, May 9th, 2011

The one thing that I hope we can all agree on is the sadness we feel when we see single mothers struggling to survive on the streets with 2 kids, in a broken down van, with no place to go. It’s something we wish wasn’t true but it is. It’s a fact of life but what are we to do? Smile and walk on by, take her kids and send her over the edge. No, we should stop and ask what we can do to help with some clothes, food, a place to stay, or maybe a job. Be it housework, yard work, or something for a little cash so that the kids can stay warm or eat. What do you think? What would you do? What if it was you?

by Bobie Goddard

What This Newspaper Means to Me

Monday, May 9th, 2011

Regarding my life today working for The Oregon Vagabond, I can say this much – the stories we choose to write for the community are written from the heart, and we don’t mind sharing our personal stories. When I chose to live on the streets, I started out doing a lot of things which today I am not proud of. I started getting into a great deal of trouble with the law. It was getting harder and my luck was running out. Then I was introduced to the homeless newspaper (Street Roots) in Portland. I had been trying many different ways to make a living. One day I went to the office, applied for the job, and got myself a stack of newspapers. Then I had to pick an area where I would stand and hold up a few newspapers for sale. When people purchase the homeless paper, vendors keep all the profits, and buy more newspapers at the print-cost. Now I’m calling Eugene home, and I work for the Vagabond. So please keep supporting our newspaper, the vendors need these jobs and I hope you enjoy reading it.

by Taz

Inspired by Eugene

Monday, May 9th, 2011

The first time in my life at the of 27 years, I decided to take my first stroll out of Indiana, to see what was out there for me! I went from the bottom to the top of Cali by bus, foot and train. Somehow we ended up in Eugene about a month into our tour of curiosity – and who would have imagined that this was the place that would be our choice for living! We’ve been here for about a month and a half, living on the streets, and at one point it felt like we were headed nowhere.

I’d never been to a town where people that are homeless help others until now! We lost everything in a really bad rain and thought we were going to freeze. But as we walked to stay warm someone not on the streets gave us hope & inspiration, by helping us. The next day someone living like us gave us sleeping bags to stay warm! The reason that we’ve chosen to stay here in Eugene is because the people who reside here, both in homes and on the street, always in some shape or form, have a way to give hope and inspiration to all.

by Michelle Gunn