Free Portland, OR

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Portland is a hip left-libertarian leaning city with some of the best tolerance for radicals as US cities go. It has a population of 562,690 in a metro area of around two million, it is the third largest city in the Pacific Northwest AKA Occupied Cascadia and 23rd largest in the United States. Bicycling and public transport are among the best in the world. If you like good coffee, craft brewed beers, cycling, high tech, and radicals for all causes Portland has what you want.

In 2006, Portland was ranked overall number 1 of 50 U.S. cities by the organization SustainLane on quality of life and economic factors that affect personal sustainability. According to Grist Magazine, Portland is the second most eco-friendly city in the world.

Portland is divided into 5 quadrants - North, Northeast, Southeast, Northwest, and Southwest. The Willamette River divides East & West; Burnside Street divides North and South.

Sellwood, Hawthorne, Woodstock, Brooklyn, Alberta, Mississippi are "hip" neighborhoods where a person can find housing near amenities and transportation. Rising prices in Northeast have displaced the African-American community that for many years was "redlined" into that area.

Downtown has plenty of places to hang out with south park blocks and PSU having both free WiFi and benches plus an occasional power plug. Downtown the Pioneer Place mall is like any other but the decor and lighting of the underground food court area has a futuristic blade-runner feel. Pioneer courthouse square has an amphitheater and people hang out around there, bikes are forbidden to be ridden in the square and the private security can evict anyone since the city has set this up as a private space but it is a free speech zone. Don't leave without hanging out at the Powells largest used bookstore in the world 1005 W. Burnside [1]. Northwest is another trendy area, prices are high for rent but there are nice parks and the bike ride down from the zoo down to Burnside is a long scenic one. Dignity Village alternative housing experiment is near the Portland airport.


Dignity Village[edit]

After much protest, relocation, and negotiation a city recognized squatter camp exempt from building codes, occasionally troubled by internal political turmoil. For safety reasons children are not allowed to reside in dignity village. There is a limit to amount of residents and/or a waiting list to get in. Also, all new residents must be approved by a council interview. [2]

The Rules:

  • No violence toward yourself or others.
  • No illegal substances or alcohol or paraphernalia on the premises or within a one-block radius.
  • No stealing.
  • Everyone contributes to the upkeep and welfare of the village and works to become a productive member of the community.
  • No disruptive behavior of any kind that disturbs the general peace and welfare of the village.

Among the services offered by Dignity Village for their residents are:

  • Showers
  • Sanitary facilities
  • Private and communal food and flower gardens
  • Communal cooking and refrigeration facilities
  • Emergency transportation
  • Access to education
  • Access to counseling
  • Distribution of donated food, personal items and construction material
  • Internet access
  • Weekly community meetings
  • On-site medical care on a scheduled basis by volunteer doctors and nurses
  • Access to prescription medication assistance
  • Rudimentary first aid
  • Access to telephone


SafeHaven - Eligibility Criteria

  • Must have one or more children under the age of 18.
  • Must be homeless
  • Must have been clean and sober for 30 days prior in intake

If you have questions about SafeHaven Shelter for Families, or are in need of homeless family services, please call (503) 246-1663 ext 100 between 8:00am and 5:00pm Monday - Friday.

Goose Hollow Shelter[edit]

First United Methodist Church, 1838 SW Jefferson St. Shelter Manager's Desk (during shelter hours only) - 503.228.3195 ext. 203 Email:

Families staying at the Shelter are provided an evening meal and a light breakfast. They have access to showers, laundry facilities, sleeping areas (partitioned for families), and constructive activities for kids. Thanks to many donations received throughout the year, they maintain a pantry of personal toiletry items and a clothes closet of re-cycled clothing for shelter families.

Transition Projects[edit]

The Community Service Center staff provides resource information and services to homeless and other very low-income adults. Located at the corner of Northwest Glisan Street and Fifth Avenue, the Community Service Center is open: Monday through Friday 8:30 AM to 12:00 Noon 1:00 PM to 4:30 PM

Call 503-823-4930 to be placed on the shelter waiting list, or visit us at 475 NW Glisan Street, [3].


24-Hour Shelter Referrals call 211 or (503) 222-5555.


We have known "homeless" Portlanders who lock up their bicycle on shore and row to one of the urban area river islands staying in self built cabins on these rarely patrolled islands. Once in town they bike trailer the kayak and lock up bike and boat at the university for classes.

Forest park is the largest urban park in the USA. There is enough depth that you can usually find a place to tent up off of bicycle or walking trails. A father and daughter lived hidden for five years in forest park using tarps for shelter while teaching the girl from a set of encyclopedia.


Excellent Dumpster diving at the plentiful organic food markets and if you ask at the independent stores most clerks are cool and will load you up with the days spoils before they hit the dumpster.

Portland farmers market is good farm grown produce with plenty of organics open when in season Saturday at PSU, Wednesday Downtown, Thursday Eastbank, Thursday Ecotrust [4].

The Portland chapter of Food Not Bombs serves free vegan meals every Wednesday (Dawson Park), Friday (Colonel Sumners Park), and Saturday (Under the west end of the Burnside bridge) starting at 5:30.

Medical Care[edit]

  • Outside in Clinic and homeless assistance center

1132 SW 13th Ave in Portland just north of the I-205 overpass from Portland State University 503-535-3800 Health and counseling services for the homeless and low income population, they do not turn anyone away, some days they even have doctors for the naturopathic medical school.

  • Oregon health plan

OHP provides benefits to low income people and families especially pregnant mothers and children, some people are required to pay monthly premiums, non-mothers and men are often rejected for care under the OHP. [5]

Legal Aid[edit]

Oregon State Bar Association [6]. The Modest Means Program is a reduced-rate legal service program administered through the Lawyer Referral Service. The number to call in the Portland area is 503-684-3763 or, toll-free elsewhere in Oregon, 1-800-452-7636.

Legal Aid Services of Oregon serves people with low-income and seniors. If you qualify for food stamps you may qualify for services from Legal Aid Services of Oregon. Child Support Hotline: Statewide service of legal aid programs throughout Oregon that provides help to low-income persons who have problems with getting or paying child support. 1-800-383-1222 Monday 1:00 - 4:00; Thursday 9:00 - 12:00. Public Benefits Hotline, Statewide service of legal aid programs throughout Oregon that provides help to low-income persons who have problems with applying for or receiving public benefits such as Welfare, Food Stamps, or Social Security. 1-800-520-5292 [7] English and Spanish services.

Armed Forces/Deployment Avoidance Counseling[edit]

Legal aid, resources, etc.


More beautiful wilderness nearby than you could imagine, Mt Hood for skiing and boarding all year round, national forest for camping and anti-logging action, beach and rivers for fun in the water, Columbia gorge for the best wind surfing in the world, Rock climbing is scattered all around the metro area.


Portland Futsal (3401 SE 17th Ave) is a converted warehouse designed to give soccer fans a place to play after work. Open play occurs twice a week, Wednesday and Friday 8-11, and though there is technically a charge of $5 per hour a little resourcefulness will get you in and out for free. Beautiful facility, good soccer players, good vibe.


Zoobomb is a weekly bike event that meets every Sunday around 8:30PM across from Rocco's Pizza (949 SW Oak) in Portland OR. Bring a bike if you have one, MAX fare ($1.75), bike lights, and any safety gear you want to wear. You are welcome to bring snacks and drinks but you MUST clean up everything you bring with you. Leave no trace. Its a good time and you WILL have fun![8]




Portland has a temperate rain forest climate cool winters with occasional snow days which quickly melt away and mild warm summers, the city is very hilly as it is built on and near small volcanoes it is bisected by the Wilamette and Columbia rivers. The cycling infrastructure is amazing with bicycle paths on almost every road in the metro area and progressive bicycle traffic laws.

Underground Papers[edit]

Street roots vendors can be found at busy crossroads throughout the Portland metropolitan area and at special events and farmers markets. A newspaper by the homeless for the homeless, covering a vast array of civil and human rights, political, local and international issues. Homeless or Jobless Street vendors can sell this paper to make money with dignity and pride. The street vendor keeps 70% with the other 30% going for the operations of Street Roots. [9]

Most Underground print publications are also online but there is free internet at city libraries. Papers with alternative content

  • Wilamette Week [10]
  • Portland Mercury [11]

Portland is at the forefront of the zine movement, they are everywhere.

Portland Indymedia Center is a media resource with community submitted articles and editing. [12]


  • provides free WiFi to many neighborhoods and locations [13]
  • Freegeek is a good source of cheap computers and electronic equipment, free if you have a good cause. Volunteer for 24 hours and receive a free computer.

Community Technology Center 1731 SE 10th Avenue 503-232-935 [14]

Bicycle Collectives[edit]

  • Bicycle Repair Collective

A full-service shop at 4438 SE Belmont (503) 233-0564

  • Citybikes

A worker-owned cooperative shop with 2 locations on SE Ankeny - 734 SE Ankeny - (503) 239-6951 and 1914 SE Ankeny - (503) 239-0553

  • The Recyclery

Known for their great selection of used bikes and regularly scheduled swap meets. 1417 SE 9th & Madison (503) 734-8831

  • The Community Cycling Center

operates a full-service professional bike shop. Proceeds from the shop benefit our year-round bicycle education programs for low-income youth and adults. 1700 NE Alberta Street 503-287-8786

  • KBOO 90.7 FM

Community Radio Programing Non Corporate - The Communities Voice

Public Transit[edit]

Light rail and trolley are free in the center of the city, Bicycles are allowed on buses and light rail for free with ticket purchase. Be sure to take a ride on the OHSU cable tram, it runs from the Willamette river up one km to the state medical university which is on the tallest mountain in the city. A fun ride and beautiful view of the city with a 500 foot elevation change bike or skateboard ride down into the city, $4.00 a ticket in 2007. [15]

Ticket Prices:

  • All Zone: $2.35 (Valid for any ride within time-stamp)
  • 1 and 2 Zone: $2.05
  • Honored Citizen: $1,00 (disabled and elderly passengers)
  • Youth: $1.50 (ages 7-17 and students in high school or pursuing a GED).
  • LIFT Paratransit All Zone: $1.85
  • Children under 7: Free when accompanied by fare paying passenger
  • Day Pass: $4.75 (Valid all day, and for all zones)

Light Rail[edit]

Blue line runs 33 miles east west covering nearly all of the metro area from Hillsboro to Gresham, Red line runs 26 miles from Beaverton to the downtown area on blue line then splits to the airport, Yellow line runs 7 miles north from downtown to the Expo Center near the Oregon Wasington border.


Find the big neon "Made in Oregon" sign shaped like the state of Oregon with a deer jumping through and you will be headed toward the Amtrak station, as you get closer begin looking for the neon "Go by Train" sign, that is on Union Station. Blue line MAX to downtown get off at the last stop west of the Wilamette River right before the Steel Bridge and head north, the station address is 800 NW Sixth Ave. The rail and bus stations are in the light rail and bus fareless square section of the city.

Amtrak trains leave Union Station on three routes.

  • The Coast Starlight north-south line from Los Angeles to Seattle; major stops on the route are Portland and Eugene, Oregon; Sacramento, Emeryville (for San Francisco), Oakland, San Jose, Santa Barbara, and Oxnard, California.
  • Empire Builder line runs east-west from Portland to Chicago. Major stops include Milwaukee Wisconsin, St. Paul Minnesota, Spokanne Washington and dozens of stops between, the line splits toward the end to reach either Portland or Seattle.
  • The Amtrak Cascades commuter trains run north-south between Vancouver, British Columbia and Eugene, Oregon, and stop in Portland several times daily in both directions. The following stops are made: Vancouver BC, Bellingham Wa, Mount Vernon Wa, Everett Wa, Edmonds Wa, Seattle Wa, (Passengers change trains here) Seattle, Tukwila Wa, Tacoma Wa, Olympia-Lacey Wa, Centralia Wa, Kelso Wa, Vancouver Wa, Portland Or, Oregon City Or, Salem Or, Albany Or, Eugene Or.

Long Distance Bus[edit]

The Greyhound bus station is across the street from Union rail station so you can compare prices and take the cheapest ride.


Take the red line MAX light rail to get to the airport. From Portland Airport international flights regularly depart to Japan (Tokyo), Singapore, Germany (Frankfurt), Mexico (Guadalajara, Mexico City, Cabo San Lucas, and Puerto Vallarta), and Canada (Vancouver, British Columbia) as well as flights to US destinations.

Free Clothing and Furniture[edit]

See Free Clothing and Furniture section, provide details for this city.

Assorted Freebies[edit]

See Assorted Freebies Section, provide details for this city, including other topics. Whatever fits and is useful. [16][17]


Go to the Survive section and provide any city-specific details, including new topics.

The people in Portland are usually very nice but something like 10% are carrying a concealed handgun at any time, violent crime is quite low by national and world standards.

Gresham (an Eastern suburb) is considered more plagued by meth than the rest of town and has a reputation as having increased property crime but is still quite safe compared to nearly all urban areas in the world.