on sleeping on the streets of portland, part 2 (b & w)
Outside my apartment during the past two weeks, a lady in her fifties, maybe, with an overfilled shopping cart, her possessions piled high and secured, had chosen to pass the day and the night, not moving far, often prone on the sidewalk but out of the way for pedestrians to pass without stepping on or over her.
The other day I walked by a stretch of street with two adjacent popular restaurants. The tables were taken and the terrace tables, newly installed during the pandemic to provide safe, out door dining, were all taken. Brunch is popular in Portland. Across the narrow side street and clearly visible to all were four tents, neatly pitched, and no trash cluttering the pavement.
On another day I happened to pass Voodoo Donuts. As usual a long line extended along the wall from the entrance to West Burnside. The patrons generally were young, although some adults stood patiently waiting, well dressed and clean and fresh. A jazz saxophone player played music. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)
Down a side street and one block away is a Salvation Army distribution center where, on that same day when I passed Voodoo Donuts, a young woman was handing out plates of food through a small window to the street people who had lined up, like those waiting patiently for their donuts, just a short walk away. These people looked tired and unkempt, frankly dirty in some cases, brown from the sun. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)
By chance I had recently watched a video that described the life of the documentary photographer Dorothea Lange. She was known for taking pictures of the Depression era. Her most well known photograph is the 1936 photograph of Florence Owens Thompson, “Migrant Mother”. Many of the people I see living on the streets of Portland remind me of the images she took. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)