- Kevin Dahlgren, 53, has been charged with 19 counts of theft and identity theft
- Prosecutors say he used his position at Gresham Homelessness Services to get money from the city
- Dahlgren was an outspoken anti-homelessness activist who criticized Portland’s homelessness crisis
A Portland activist has been accused of stealing the identities of homeless people to defraud thousands of dollars while working as an outreach worker.
Kevin Dahlgren, an outspoken critic of the city’s homelessness policy, is facing 19 charges related to identity theft and abusing his position with the city of Gresham, a suburb of Portland.
The 53-year-old has been accused of stealing the identities of five people and the investigation focuses on his use of a city purchasing card, Oregon Live reports.
Dahlgren was put on leave from his $80,000-a-year position in March after employees of the city’s homeless response team noticed “suspicious activity.” Shortly afterwards he resigned.
“For someone who has presented himself as an advocate and a counselor, someone who is supposed to help these people, to in turn use them to commit crimes and victimize them, that’s quite disheartening,” said Police Chief John Plock of Multnomah. Koin.
Portland and its suburbs are notorious for their problems with homelessness, with thousands of drifters with substance abuse problems moving to the city and causing associated spikes in drug abuse and crime.
Kevin Dahlgren is facing 19 charges of theft, identity theft and official misconduct related to his time as an outreach worker for the city of Gresham
Prosecutors say he stole the identities of five people between 2020 and 2021 to defraud thousands of dollars
Prosecutors allege the activist defrauded thousands of dollars between 2020 and 2021.
He was released without bail Tuesday, according to Multnomah County Sheriff’s booking records.
The full charges against him allege theft, identity theft and official misconduct. Of the 19 on the list, 14 are crimes.
Dahlgren made a name for himself as an outspoken critic of Portland’s homeless policies.
He posted viral videos criticizing the city as an “enabler” of the homelessness epidemic, which has reached a fever pitch in recent months, with the number of unhoused people in the area rising by nearly 1,000 to 7,480 by the end of January.
Dahlgren describes himself as “a disruptor of the homeless industrial complex” and campaigns for “ending homelessness through empowerment, not enablement.”
He made headlines earlier this year when he interviewed an unhoused woman named Wendy who bragged that homelessness in Portland is “a piece of cake.”
Wendy said Portland’s drug policies are causing more tents to pop up on the streets, with residents relying on the city’s plentiful free handouts to make ends meet.
Dahlgren has been an outspoken critic of Portland’s handling of the homelessness crisis in his viral videos
Wendy, a homeless woman, opened up 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 give you three meals a day and you don’t have to do any sh***, just stay in your tent and party,” Wendy told Dahlgren.
Other videos show Dahlgren “urging the people in charge, the people with all the money, to be accountable” as he wanders through a homeless encampment under a highway.
In addition to his 25,4000 online followers, Dahlgren has gained access to the city’s top officials.
He appeared alongside Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler as a public speaker at an event in March, with which he was photographed
Multnomah County Commissioner Sharon Meieran in June and had lunch with Portland Commissioner Mingus Mapps.
And in July, he signed an $18,000 contract with the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office to provide homeless services there. It is unclear whether the contract will remain in force.
A spokesperson for the city of Gresham told Oregon Live, “Public service is at the heart of this organization and we want to assure our community that anyone whose actions could harm Gresham will be held accountable.”