MYNORTHWEST NEWS

Former president of PNW homeless outreach group charged with identity theft

Nov 23, 2023, 7:00 AM | Updated: 12:19 pm

we heart seattle identity theft...

(Photo from KIRO 7)

(Photo from KIRO 7)

The former president of We Heart Seattle, a volunteer group that picks up trash and provides resources to the homeless, is facing several charges, ranging from identity theft to stealing personal property, according to a recently filed indictment in Multnomah County.

We Heart Seattle’s former president, Kevin Dahlgren, became a controversial figure in the Pacific Northwest through his series of YouTube videos that documented his visits to homeless encampments, occasionally stating a political opinion that was critical of the local governments’ efforts toward fixing the region’s homelessness crisis both in Seattle and Portland.

More from We Heart Seattle: Volunteer group says it has cleared 1 million pounds of trash in Seattle camps

“We learned about the allegations in Oregon when they were reported in the news earlier this month,” Andrea Suarez, the president and founder of We Heart Seattle, told MyNorthwest. “We have no direct knowledge of the facts surrounding the charges against Kevin Dahlgren in Oregon, and we are confident that the Oregon judicial system will resolve these matters equitably and fairly.”

In April 2022, Dahlgren was named the president of We Heart Seattle and launched a Portland chapter where it conducted similar work. According to Suarez, Dahlgren stepped down in “early 2023” to focus on his work in Gresham, a city 30 minutes east of Portland.

“We are heartbroken to hear about the possible violations of individuals’ rights and hope that these matters will be resolved equitably for all involved,” Suarez said. “I personally have not spoken to Kevin in over a year so have no ability to weigh in. These allegations were previously unknown to the We Heart Seattle Board.”

Suarez told MyNorthwest Dahlgren has not stepped foot in Seattle in more than a year.

More on We Heart Seattle: Volunteer group lambasts King County Regional Homeless Authority’s ballooning budget

In the indictment filed in Multnomah County, Dahlgren now faces seven counts of first-degree theft of property valued at $1,000 or more, seven counts of identity theft and five counts of official misconduct. The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office stated that the charges stemmed from Dahlgren allegedly stealing the identities of the unhoused. According to Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB), Dahlgren used the identities of several homeless people to defraud the city of Gresham in 2020 and 2021.

“This population that Mr. Dahlgren was supposed to be serving and advocating for is a really vulnerable population of people,” Deputy John Plock told OPB. “It’s really disheartening and it really chips away at our ability to assist and help these people.”

Shortly after the indictment came down, Dahlgren’s brother started a crowdfunding page asking for $50,000 to cover “legal and living expenses,” according to KIRO 7.

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Former president of PNW homeless outreach group charged with identity theft