Man in a van chronicles recession

A Eugene man drives across the country to write about the recession in America.

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After being laid off from his paint store job, Eugene’s Aaron Heideman packed up a van and drove across the country, collecting recession stories from Americans that he plans to enter into an art contest at his final stop in Grand Rapids, Mich.

Heideman sold his pickup and bought a van, donated most of his possessions to St. Vincent de Paul in Medford, bought a mattress from a guy in Lorane for a six-pack of beer, and launched his own cross-country journey from the Maude Kerns Art Center in Eugene on July 1. Almost two months later, he arrived in New York City on Monday, his orange van with “Tell me your story” painted on the side and the “How has the recession affected you?” sign on top covered with writings — along with a 50-yard scroll — from Americans from sea to shining sea…

“I knew that there were a lot of stories that people wanted to express,” Heideman said from his cell phone Monday, having finally found a parking spot at the corner of Greenwich and Hubert streets in the Tribeca neighborhood of Manhattan, and taken a seat in a little Italian bakery, before heading to Times Square to collect more stories. “And I thought this would be a good way to give that to people.”

Read the full story at the Register-Guard.

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