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Street Roots partners with small business to brew up Street Roasts

Street Roast's The Messenger is available now. It's brewed by Portland's Marigold Coffee. (KATU Photo)

For almost 20 years Street Roots has been a go-to source of in-depth coverage of street issues in Portland.

"We're putting out a very quality newspaper that informs the larger community about a range of different issues, including poverty and homelessness, the environment and healthcare, etc.,” said Executive Director Israel Bayer.

He says the street paper has long wanted to make even more of a difference.

"We've been searching for a long time to be able to create an alternative revenue stream," he said.

With Portland-based roaster Marigold Coffee, Street Roots has found it.

Marigold co-owners Cassy Gleason and her sister, Joey, had been looking for ways to make a difference, too.

So they partnered with Street Roots on a new coffee brand called "Street Roast.”

The first batch is out now.

"This is our first coffee. It's called The Messenger. It's a nice bold coffee," said Cassy.

All proceeds go to Street Roots.

"When he told us about what they were wanting to do, it was like an immediate decision for us,” Cassy said. “We had a half-hour initial conversation, and by the end of it, we were totally sold."

Marigold's Roaster is turning out batches of The Messenger blend at Buckman Coffee Factory, a roaster-share facility owned by the Gleason sisters.

They wanted it to be big and bold.

"So I wanted that to be the thing that's right up front... plus chocolate," said Sarah Hall, Marigold’s coffee roaster.

Hall is now working on the next two Street Roast blends coming out in January: The Poet, which will feature more delicate flavors, and The Artisan, a single-origin roast that will probably change from season to season.

What won't change is the Street Roots' and Marigold's commitment to homeless issues and making a difference.

"Being able to partner with a small business like Marigold Coffee provides us with a win-win situation," said Bayer.

"We had this growing sense of what can we do as just an individual? And this is not the solution, this is not going to solve the problem, but it's a way to contribute. It's also a way to feel connected individually to folks who are experiencing homelessness," said Gleason.

Local creative studio Ideaville came up with the original idea for this partnership.

Street Roots will use the money raised to fund its print journalism and to help pay for a safe day-space for up to 400 hundred people experiencing homelessness.

You can find Street Roast at New Seasons markets and at Marigold's Coffee Shop on Southeast Holgate.

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