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Begging for a chance

Posted: Thursday, May 29th, 2014

Kylie Strampe has carved out small pieces of turf at busy Newport intersections to make ends meet. While embarrassing and sometimes dangerous, panhandling is one way out of the poverty that led her to sleep at night in the city's parks.(Photo by Rick Beasley)

NEWPORT — Wednesday marked the last day as a beggar for a diminutive former Newport High School student who is determined to work her way out of poverty.

“Begging is embarrassing,” reflected Kylie Strampe, 20, whose shock of red hair and pixie grin were barely visible behind her poster-board plea for help at the entrance to the Fred Meyer store. “It really sucks, just like the weather. It’s either super-rainy and you’re soaked, or it’s hot and you’re sunburned.”

For the past couple of months, Strampe has carved out small pieces of turf at busy Newport intersections where she seeks handouts like a salesman asks for an order. She has accepted empty bottles, food, small change, the occasional $10 bill and no small amount of abuse.

“It’s a job, flying my sign a full eight hours a day,” she contended, describing her daily goal of $40 as a hard-earned wage. “That’s how I look at it because that’s what it takes to live.”

For the complete article see the 05-30-2014 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 05-30-2014 paper.

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