bud osborn

bud osborn.png

first intro’d to Bud via Johann Hari‘s chasing the scream

(upon Johann recommend) reading Travis Lupick (@tlupick)’s fighting for space.. and adding Bud – while watching down here


down here (doc)

6 min – what’s diff now than ever before is i do have a community of people who care around me.. and that has made all the diff

hari addiction law

7 min – i decided to commit my life to the political offense of gentrification


unauthorized home less ness

11 min – my efforts began around the woodwords building.. empty.. and if that building went for the needs of the people who were poor.. vulnerable.. huge.. could have been 400 large suites of housing.. detox.. childcare.. et al..

iwan baan ness and empty buildings

12 min – (on funding being independent).. i think people interacting w other people in the community is most important to us

15 min – same situation here is all around the world.. poor people being driven out of their land..

16 min – guy evicted after 60 yrs living there.. few weeks later died of starvation.. this is just one story..


19 min – the battle for woodwards is a battle for the downtown eastside

22 min – we can’t afford to lose even that crappy housing

24 min – change the system.. a serious widespread social problem

society has to have someone to blame.. and so are blaming the drug addicts

29 min – housing has to be a part of this

it would save in the long run

30 min – the need increases and is more on a crisis level than ever

31 min – people saying they want mixed communities.. but development doesn’t want that.. goes for high end.. govt goes for low end.. nothing in middle

32 min – i wanted to be a part of the new eastside.. where everyone is welcome (someone who moved in to new high rise)

33 min – the noise from this place is astounding (same guy in new high rise)

39 min – when you look at what the police can and can’t do.. most comes under.. can’t do..

40 min – if you want to get off the dope it’s not the perfect place to be

41 min – 150 more police will not do it.. because if you’re an addict and you need the drugs it doesn’t matter how many cops there are

45 min – the cheapest thing is just to demonize them and consider them not part of our community and get rid of them and do it w a good conscious because look at all the problems they’re causing

46 min – if you talk money loss.. people listen.. but if you talk about community.. they don’t get it.. they’re just shrinking the space



wikipedia small

Bud Osborn (4 August 1947 – 6 May 2014) was a poet, community organizer, and activist in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Following his prolonged struggle with heroin addiction and alcohol dependency, Osborn became a founding member of the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users and advocated for the creation of a legal supervised injection site. His poetry commented on poverty and homelessness in Vancouver

injection sites

home less ness


Osborn was born as Walton Homer Osborn III in Battle Creek, Michigan to Patricia Osborn (née Barnes) and Walton Homer Osborn II. He spent his childhood in Toledo, Ohio, where his father, who had been a pilot and German prisoner in World War II, was a reporter for the Toledo Blade. Walton Osborn committed suicide when Bud Osborn was three years old. His mother, who also served in the US military, reportedly married seven times. As a child Osborn saw her get raped by a stranger whom she brought home from a drinking establishment. At 15, he attempted suicide by taking Aspirin.


Osborn remarked that he was an athlete in high school. It was there that he began to read and write poetry. He entered Ohio Northern University but dropped out after two years. He married and had a son. They moved to his wife’s hometown, New York city, but the marriage failed. He started using hard drugs. In 1969 he left the U.S. and moved with his family to Toronto in order to avoid draft for the Vietnam War, His wife Julie and son Aeron later left for Oregon. He would be estranged from his son Aeron for three decades. In 1970 he published his first chapbook of poetry by the Toronto Coach House Press.

In 1986 he moved to Vancouver with his new female partner Cuba Dwyer, who eventually moved back to the United States. They ended up in the Downtown Eastside. Osborn got arrested for stealing books to support his heroin addiction and on one occasion almost died of a drug overdose. Years later, with the help of a Roman Catholic priest he overcame his heroin and alcohol dependency. In 1997 he met Ann Livingston, with whom he had a romantic relationship, and who was involved in running an illegal supervised drug injection site. Together they founded the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users.

Ann Livingston

In 1998 Osborn was appointed to the Vancouver/Richmond Health Board, where he advocated for legal safe injection sites, working closely with MP Libby Davies. He and Livingston organized the display of thousands of white crosses in Oppenheimer Park, representing the people who were dying in the Downtown Eastside. Insite, the only legal supervised injection site in North America, was opened in the Downtown Eastside in 2003.

After Insite was opened, Osborn shifted to opposing gentrification of the Downtown Eastside. He died on 6 May 2014 at the age of 66 after being hospitalized for pneumonia and a heart condition, and was remembered at a street memorial attended by 200 people.


unauthorized home less ness