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Not every Portland newspaper is cutting back its print editions. Street Roots, the scrappy urban-issues newspaper sold by homeless vendors, is making plans to go weekly.
Executive director Israel Bayer announced at the annual Street Roots breakfast Thursday that the nonprofit paper is raising money to pay for two new members of the editorial staff.
"We're starting a campaign at the end of this month to raise money towards the goal of going weekly sometime at the end of 2014, or the beginning of 2015," Bayer tells WW.
Street Roots currently publishes 26 issues a year, about once every two weeks. Bayer says the paper's vendors—homeless people who sell copies for donations—do 65 percent of business in the first week following publication.
"Vendors do very well during that time, but find themselves scrambling during the second week," Bayer says. "We know from working with our sister paper in Seattle, Real Change, that if we can get to a weekly schedule we'll be able to stabilize the vendors income and improve their quality of life."
Among the supporters of the circulation increase? Portland Mayor Charlie Hales, who has been cozying up to homelessness advocates since his sidewalk sweep of downtown camps this summer drew ire.
Hales' wife, Nancy, attended the Street Roots breakfast. Last night at the Bright Lights forum hosted in the Pearl District by former Portland Monthly editor Randy Gragg, Hales contrasted the proposed increase in Street Roots editions against what he termed the "downward spiral" of The Oregonian.
"They're going to weekly," Hales said of Street Roots. "Isn't that cool? That's a silver lining in The Oregonian's cloud."