Street Roots didn’t save Paul Gefroh’s son. Nothing could.
Nick Gefroh was an addict. Alcohol, then harder stuff. For most of his adulthood, his addiction made it impossible for him to keep a job, a girlfriend or an apartment. The only consistent things he had were his father, his demons and Portland’s street newspaper, which he sold anytime he was bad off enough to be living on the streets but self-aware enough to know that he needed some kind of work.
“He died because of his addiction,” Paul Gefroh said of his son, “but Street Roots gave him a better life.”
Street Roots, sold by and for homeless Portlanders, pushes to go weekly and do more good
In a time of increased fracturing of the Portland media market, Street Roots organizers want to increase their publication schedule from biweekly to weekly. But the push has little to do with journalistic competition.
Instead, it’s about helping the dozens of men and women who at any given point in the year are using the newspaper as a source of spare cash and sense of community.
“Everything we do is for those guys,” said Israel Bayer, the paper’s executive director. “They’re the ones who asked us to go weekly. They’re the ones who’ll benefit if we can.”
Eds. Note – the Mental Health Association of Portland is a frequent contributor to Street Roots; our latest is “Portland police, DOJ settlement fails on multiple fronts” from their August 8 issue.