A Portland activist has been charged with stealing homeless people’s identities to scam thousands of dollars while working as an outreach worker.
Kevin Dahlgren, who has been a vocal critic of the city’s homelessness policies, faces 19 charges relating to identity theft and abuse of his position with the city of Gresham, a suburb of Portland.
Dahlgren was put on leave from the $80,000 a year role in March after staff in the city’s homeless services team noted ‘suspicious activity’. He resigned shortly after.
‘For someone who presented themselves as an advocate, and an outreach worker, someone who’s supposed to be helping these people, to in turn use them in the commitment of crimes and victimize them, It’s pretty disheartening,’ Multnomah Police Deputy John Plock told Koin.
Portland and its suburbs are notorious for their issues with homelessness, with thousands of vagrants with substance abuse issues moving to the city and triggering related spikes in drug abuse and crime.
Kevin Dahlgren has is facing 19 charges of theft, identity theft and official misconduct relating to his time as an outreach worker for the city of Gresham
Prosecutors say he stole the identities of five people to scam thousands of dollars between 2020 and 2021
Prosecutors claim the activist scammed thousands of dollars between 2020 and 2021.
He was released without bail on Tuesday, according to Multnomah County Sheriff booking records.
The full charges against him relate to theft, identity theft, and official misconduct. Of the 19 on the list 14 are felonies.
Dahlgren made a name for himself as an outspoken critic of Portland’s homeless policies.
He posted viral videos blasting the city as ‘enablers’ of its homelessness epidemic, which has reached fever pitch in recent months, with the number of unhoused people in the area jumped by almost 1,000 to 7,480 in late January.
Dahlgren describes himself as ‘a disrupter of the Homeless Industrial Complex’ and campaigns for ‘ending homelessness by empowering not enabling’.
He made headlines earlier this year when he interviewed an unhoused woman named Wendy who bragged that being homelessness in Portland is ‘a piece of cake’.
Wendy said Portland’s open-air drug policies are bringing more tents onto the streets, with occupants relying on the city’s plentiful free handouts to get by.
Dahlgren has been a vocal critic of Portland’s handling of its homelessness crisis in his viral videos
Wendy, a homeless woman, was candid about the benefits of living on the streets in Portland, Oregon. The city’s nearly open-air drug policy has led to more tents on the streets, she said
‘They feed you three meals a day and don’t have to do sh*** but stay in your tent and party,’ Wendy told Dahlgren.
Other videos feature Dahlgren urging ‘the people in charge, the people with all the money to be accountable’ as he wanders through a homeless camp beneath a freeway.
As well as his 25,4000 online followers, Dahlgren has gained access to the city’s top officials.
He was featured as a public speaker along with Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler at an event in March, was photographed with
Multnomah County Commissioner Sharon Meieran in June and lunched with Portland Commissioner Mingus Mapps.
And in July, he signed an $18,000 contract with Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office to provide homeless outreach services there. It is unclear if the contract remains in place.
A City of Gresham spokesman told Oregon Live: ‘Public service is at the heart of this organization, and we want to assure our community that anyone whose actions could cause harm to Gresham will be held accountable.’