Portland issued an emergency alert yesterday urging residents to stay indoors and avoid travel due to the icy conditions. But I wandered out on foot anyway, camera in hand.
It was indeed very icy, and I wondered if I’d see anyone — the streets and sidewalks were pretty empty. Just blocks from my house I saw a man chipping the ice off his van, a converted ambulance. He gave me a friendly smile and after I explained my project, we started talking. “What are you struggling with most right now?”
"Survival. There are so many variables to just trying to survive. Even when you have a job its hard not to become homeless unless you have a roommate."
"Are you homeless?"
"Yeah for about six months now. Well, my wife and I live in here with our dog. Our son is living with his grandma until we can get a place. I’m working, mostly in construction, but things are really slow this time of year. It’s tough."
We talked a bit more and I thanked him for taking the time to speak with me. “Thanks for doing this, ” he said. “I think it’s really important to tell these human stories.”