Walking up to a complete stranger and asking to take their photo isn't easy. In 2017. I photographed over 250 people on the streets of Portland and asked each a question (some light, some heavy, some bizarre).

Doing this, I learned that people are, for the most part, thoughtful and kind. I've realized that my own perception of being stylish isn't about who is wearing an eye-popping outfit— for me, people's interactions with their surroundings and those around them revealed true style.

Here are our favorite photographs and voices we've published in our Street feature this year.

If you were mayor of Portland what would you change? "I would provide more resources for the homeless. I'd want to make sure that people would have a place to go rather than just having to camp out on the streets before being periodically forced out."

Where are you from, and why did you move to Portland? “I’m from Queens, NY. I moved to Portland for dance and to check out the West Coast.”

What cause do you most care about? “We’re having so much trouble with women’s reproductive rights, particularly. I have a daughter, and this is her future. I fought hard to get those rights and now they’re being taken away. It makes me very angry.”
(Sam Gehrke)
(Sam Gehrke)

Why do you think people are so mean on the internet?
"There's absolutely no accountability in that world. It's a really
punk move to pull."

What's the best thing about living in Portland? "Actually being from Portland!"

(Sam Gehrke)
(Sam Gehrke)

What is your signature emoji? 

If you were a mascot, what would you be?  "I'd be a bear wearing a really tight, really small T-shirt."

What are you doing on December 25th? "Smoking a fat blunt!" (We hope she did.)

What scares you the most about death? (L–R) "The possibility that maybe there's nothing and mourning the things I didn't get to do
in life" "A boring death." "Being closed up in a box." "Uncertainty."

If you were a scented candle, what would you smell like? "The smell of home. Like the feeling you get after traveling and you get home—the smell of familiarity."

Describe an emotional experience you have had with art. "Working with some friends of mine in Black Sun. It's an all-black production of short plays that really allowed me to emotionally connect with other people of color in Portland. On top of that, it does an excellent job of showing other people what it's like to be black in this city."

How would you describe your experience with the housing market?

(Left) "I work full-time and barely make rent. I get about $50 from each paycheck because of what I pay for housing and living expenses."

(Right) "I'm a student with two jobs, and I would definitely not be able to afford rent without help."

Who are you most excited to see at Pickathon? "Ty Segall and Tank and the Bangas. I wanted to see Charles Bradley last night, and Dinosaur Jr. for freakin' sure!"

Why did you move to Portland?  “My heart belongs, and thrives best, in the forest.”

What city should Portland make a baby with? "I think PDX with the non-gentrified portion of the Mission District in San Francisco. There's more of a community there that would mesh well with Portland. The specialty stores would be really complementary to the ones here. Also more diversity."

What's your favorite city? "Anywhere blacker than here. Portland is way too homogenized."