‘Don’t get me wrong, I love Downtown Eastside’

This is the 14th in the series of reports “Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside: Past and Present.” The Downtown Eastside is a neighbourhood with severe issues, amongst them, poverty, homelessness and drug overdose, all of which have intensified with the pandemic.

The week before last, Emma Gregory and Jase Tanner walked the streets of the Downtown Eastside and interviewed a number of people.

Brian Rutledge has lived in the Downtown Eastside for about four years, but he says he’s been partying in the neighbourhood since the age of 14. He works at Spikes on Bikes and Binners. He knows where to get a free meal. When we asked him what he thought the issues were with living in a single-room occupancy hotel (SRO), he had his grievances but maintained a touch of gratitude. What does one do when given a free apple but they don’t have a full set of teeth? “We make applesauce.”

Each day this week, we’ve published one of these interviews.

Watch the full series here.

Jase Tanner has worked in the film industry for 30 years where he frequently serves as a shop steward. During this time he’s been active in social justice issues and has produced a handful of short, web-based documentaries.

Emma Gregory recently graduated the Langara journalism program. She is interested in animals, agriculture, power dynamics, and the difference between free trade and fair trade. She believes that she is being spied on by her computer, but only for the mundane purpose of market research.