A letter to the Editor of Willamette Week

Dear Editor,

We at Dignity Village weren't particularly shocked by your story Return to Dignity (The truth behind one of Portland's most prominent street denizens) in this week's Willamette Week. We all know John Reese. John's gay. We don't mind that John goes to adult bookstores on his own time. John's an adult. The criminalization of the poor is nothing new. And the Willamette Week is well-known for its yellow journalism which, we suppose, sells advertising and subscriptions.

The truth about John Reese is that by leading our popular shopping cart parades, he keeps us safe from the Forces of Brutality who were beating old people and children last May Day. The children Kevin Criswell, district manager for Multnohmah County's parole and probation office, saw in the background in Dignity Village on the evening news may have been the children of parents who are allowed to live together again as a family now that they are no longer separated by the mission system. And where was the presumably comfortably-housed Criswell's concern for Portland's children including the 1,500 homeless street children when John Reese was living in a parking lot or under the Broadway Bridge? There are dangerous predators out there, you know!

John Reese is not one of them. If you want to know who John Reese is and what he is doing in this 2000 century rather than what he may have done 14 years ago, come visit us at Dignity Village at 17th and Saviour under the flyover of the Freemont Bridge. Or visit our Web site at http://outofthedoorways.org . A lot of people are.

My name is Jack Tafari, Dignity soldier and a coordinator of the Out of the Doorways campaign.