“You Are History”




It is with great appreciation to all of you for welcoming my notebooks and camera into your lives, your structures and your activities. I came to the Village six years ago to photograph the architectural styles of those founding Dignity Villagers. Soon street-life anecdotes were shared..including many from Village alumnae and “86ers”. I listened about the Village and came to love the vision, the reality and, most importantly, you Villagers. It has been wonderful documenting what has come to be my Oregon home-away-from-home….and yes, I agree about those rats chewing late night in the Commons!

I thank each of you…and I welcome new opportunities, challenges and continuing friendships. We know and experience the difficulties created by ignoring Village Rule #3 (No Drugs or Alcohol). I have photographed and been pipeline for stories with tragic endings and endings with personal heroic success: difficult, necessary and ongoing. Now the success of the Village hangs in the next few, perhaps fewer months’ actions. Best intentions no longer satisfy the City, nor should they satisfy Dignity Village. Meaningful shows of progress toward a drug and alcohol-free village are required.and the success of Dignity Village demands it.

I look forward to being of whatever help I may be individually and cooperatively contributing and documenting the Dignity Village whose earliest and most recent vision statements encourage creativity and self-governance.

You are homeless people’s most successful solution to homelessness. You are history. It is both pleasure and challenge to share via AmericanStreetPhilosoophers.org the continuing journey of Dignity Village from the 13 years ago idea of a few homeless visionaries to today’s contributions from each of you: caring for each other, your gardening, your microbusinesses, your own efforts. For many of you conquering your addiction will be the greatest and broadly beneficial effort you can contribute. And you may be proudly amazed when you revisit Dignity Village in years to come. Pride of accomplishment becomes a heady addiction.

Been there, done that…

You come too,

Steve W


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