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Homeless Portland man now has an unorthodox way to raise cash, having gone from Intel to tech startup to street

PMG PHOTO: JOSEPH GALLIVAN - 'I'm trying to make money the only way I can.' Portlander Mark Moseley buys water with his food stamps, dumps it out and claims cash for the bottle deposits.

Mark Moseley was sitting outside Safeway on Northwest 13th Avenue on a cold November morning, emptying fresh bottles of mineral water onto the sidewalk.

He buys 12 packs of bottled water using his SNAP card (aka food stamps), which he gets because he is low-income and lives in the Doreen's Place homeless shelter. He spends $4 a 12-pack, plus $2.40 in bottle deposits. He pours the water out and takes the bottles back to get the $2.40 in cash from whichever bottle redemption plan is nearest.

"I'm going to do this four times and I'll have $9.60, and I can go buy the marijuana I need to calm myself down," Moseley said.PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP - Being homeless in Portland

"I'm trying to make money the only way I can. We live in interesting times, where different political positions are canceled. It started with JK Rowling …" He veers off into his position on trans rights, child mutilation and the difference between sex and gender.

"I have PTSD, maybe? I'm also mentally ill. I am bipolar. I have borderline personality." Bipolar disorder features extreme mood swings that range from extreme highs (mania) to extreme lows (depression). Moseley takes the prescription medication Seroquel for it.

He also "cans" or collects cans and bottles from trash bins for their deposit, but that is harder than pouring water away. "I don't have time, because you have to be at the right time in the right neighborhood."

He gets $150 in food stamps on the first of the month and another $100 on the 15th and says he doesn't need the money for food. "If you're hungry in Portland, it makes no sense at all. There's free food everywhere. There's Blanchet House, there's where I am, Doreen's Place (610 N.W. Broadway), there's City Team. There's a whole guide at Transition Projects Inc., (telling you) if you go here at this time, you get good food."

Moseley is clean and neatly dressed in a Nike sweatshirt and beanie. He likes Doreen's Place. "I would describe it as a four-star shelter." They don't force him out during the day, except once a month when they spray for bed bugs.

Moseley says he has been marginalized for his political opinions and walked out of a job at Wendy's after a year for that reason. He spent 17 years as a software developer in manufacturing for Intel and other companies — this checks out on LinkedIn.

"I was a Grade 8 at Intel, I was a manager of management and won the Intel Achievement Award in 1989 and 1992. So, I'm a productive person. If you're willing to deal with my political opinions at work."

Moseley quit Intel in 2007, with $3 million in stock options, to start his own company. It was "to make a factory manufacturing application that runs strictly in RAM," not on hard drive memory. The startup made no money in its two years. "I'm not a marketing person," Moseley explained. "It never made any money. I was just goofing off."

PMG PHOTO: JOSEPH GALLIVAN - Portlander Mark Moseley buys water with his food stamps, dumps it out and claims cash for the bottle deposits. He used to be in management at Intel; now he lives in the shelter Doreen's Place.

Plato's retreat

With no investors, he burned through his money, got divorced and lost his house. Moseley has a daughter, age 20, whom he talks to. "She goes to PCC; she works at Victoria's Secret. I have raised a productive member of society. She's very supportive. She understands the difficulty of being politically canceled in a progressive town."

He says check out his Twitter account, @yodabay3. "Plato said 2,000 years ago, 'If you want to find the most hated man, it's he who tells the truth.' And that's what's happening."

Moseley expects to get back into secure housing again. He is going to apply for Social Security disability. "That might take a year or two, but I can defend the idea that I am disabled, and I cannot work."

Moseley has no problem with being supported by the state.

"Yes. You know why? Because Intel is the company they are today because of my blood, sweat and tears. I've done my bit for king and country. I've been contributing to Medicare and Social Security all that time. And I just feel like I deserve it based on what I've done. So, I have no problem sucking off the teat of the public welfare system. I have no problem whatsoever. Although, again, I will work if I'm offered a job."

Moseley says he would do any job if offered one, but when asked what he would do, such as manual labor, he replies, "I'm almost 56. Now I'd prefer not to, but if somebody offered me a job, I would definitely give it a shot."

Moseley says he would rather teach philosophy at the University of Portland. He would like to work at Safeway as a checker, and he can write code, or better, manage coders.

"I've applied for jobs, like just in a sandwich shop. I was transparent about what was going to happen, because it's very possible that they would be picketed, because I'm the most hated man."


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