Real Change not Spare Change: Campaign Encourages People to Give to Outreach Groups Instead

Summer Brings More Panhandlers Downtown

Jun 17, 2015

For more information, contact:
Liza Dossick |  503.552.6772,

PORTLAND, Ore. – With warm weather and the tourist season approaching, there is an increase in the number of people who come downtown to enjoy its vibrant offerings. Downtown Portland is also beginning to see a seasonal increase in the number of panhandlers. In an effort to address the problem at its roots, Clean & Safe has teamed up with local social service agencies to relaunch the “Real Change not Spare Change” campaign to direct donations to social service nonprofits.
Prominent advertisements, signs and flyers placed in heavily-trafficked areas of the downtown area will encourage those approached by panhandlers to donate instead to organizations whose help can make a broad impact. The campaign also will provide a number to text and a QR code to scan from a mobile device that allows for a donation, which is split among three local social service agencies – Transition Projects, Portland Rescue Mission and New Avenues for Youth.  
“We want to disrupt that moment when someone would hand change to a person on the street and instead redirect that generosity towards groups who can offer the most widespread help,” said Mark Schlesinger, partner at Schlesinger Companies and incoming chair of the Downtown Clean & Safe District board of directors. “Portland has terrific nonprofits that are helping people move from the streets to safer shelters and ultimately to more productive lives. We want to encourage financial support for those programs.”
The “Real Change not Spare Change” campaign currently is set to run from June through November 2015. More information on the campaign, the participating outreach organizations, and a way to donate can be found at


Downtown Clean & Safe District
Downtown’s Clean & Safe District was created more than 20 years ago to support additional cleaning and security in the central city. The district, funded by downtown property owners, includes 213 blocks in the central city, and also supports market research and retail recruitment and retention efforts. The district is managed by the Portland Business Alliance under the direction of the district’s board of directors. Learn more at