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Advocate for the homeless charged with identity theft while working for Oregon city

A Multnomah County grand jury indicted Kevin Dahlgren on Oct. 31 on 19 counts, including identity theft, theft and misconduct.
Like Many U.S. Cities, Seattle Struggles With Crime And Homelessness During Pandemic Era
Kevin Dahlgren removes broken glass from a car window after it was burglarized in Seattle in March 2022. The car belonged to Andrea Suarez, the executive director of the nonprofit group We Heart Seattle, which was staging a trash cleanup at a homeless encampment.John Moore / Getty Images

An Oregon activist and former president of a homeless outreach organization has been accused of identity theft and misconduct.

Kevin Dahlgren, 53, is a vocal figure who frequently posted on X and YouTube about the homelessness crisis and was a homeless service specialist for the city of Gresham, a suburb east of Portland.

Dahlgren is accused of stealing property and committing identity theft from July 2020 to July 2022 while he was working for the city, prosecutors announced last month. He has pleaded not guilty.

He was indicted by a grand jury on Oct. 31 and charged with 19 counts: seven of first-degree theft of property valued at $1,000 or more, five of identity theft, two of aggravated identity theft and five of first-degree official misconduct, the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office announced last month.

Dahlgren “did unlawfully, with intent to deceive and degrade, obtain, possess, transfer, create, utter and convert" the personal identifications of four people, the indictment said.

The four alleged victims testified before the grand jury. It's not clear how Dahlgren may have known the victims or gotten their personal information.

Gresham city spokesperson Sarah Cagann said city staff members discovered “suspicious activity” by an employee in March. Dahlgren was placed on administrative leave, and Gresham police notified the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office about the activity.

Like Many U.S. Cities, Seattle Struggles With Crime And Homelessness During Pandemic Era
Kevin Dahlgren visits an encampment to speak with residents about moving to a homeless shelter in Seattle on March 12, 2022.John Moore / Getty Images file

Dahlgren resigned a short time later, on March 30, the city and the sheriff's office said.

“Public service is at the heart of this organization, and we want to assure our community that anyone whose actions could cause harm to Gresham will be held accountable,” Cagann said.  

Dahlgren was arrested Oct. 31 and released on his own recognizance the next day. A plea of not guilty was entered for all of the charges on Nov. 1, online court records show.

His attorney could not be reached, and Dahlgren declined to comment Wednesday.

An investigation continues. In announcing the indictment, the district attorney's office said that “additional victims have been identified but not located.”

The charges shocked some in the advocacy community.

Dahlgren described himself as “disrupter of the Homeless Industrial Complex” and a “Homelessness Consultant” on X, where he frequently posted videos and interviews with people experiencing homelessness.

He was also the president of We Heart Seattle, a nonprofit group that cleans up homeless encampments in Washington state, for about a year and formally resigned from the board early this year, said Andrea Suarez, We Heart Seattle's founder and executive director.

Suarez said in a statement that the organization learned about Dahlgren's charges from news reports, saying, “We are heartbroken to hear about the possible violations of individuals’ rights and hope that these matters will be resolved equitably for all involved.”

“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,” Suarez said. “These allegations were previously unknown to the We Heart Seattle Board.”