PORTLAND, Ore. -- After more than five years at its longtime home in the heart of downtown Portland, the homeless camp Right 2 Dream Too is leaving this weekend.
Saturday morning, campers were packing up their belongings and loading them into cars, vans and a U-Haul truck, parked along Northwest 4th Avenue.
They estimate they’ll have the Chinatown property cleared by the end of the day Wednesday.
Photos: Right 2 Dream Too on the move
Prosper Portland, formerly the Portland Development Commission, has long planned to purchase that lot for $1.2 million.
The camp, which houses 12-15 permanent “members” and up to 88 short-term campers, is moving to an empty lot across North Interstate Avenue from the Moda Center.
Campers and volunteers were working on the site Saturday, assembling raised, wooden structures.
Members will also get to live in one of ten tiny houses, built and donated by kids at Benson Polytechnic High School.
The new site, owned by the Portland Bureau of Transportation, was the last in a series of candidates, suggested by city leaders, homeless advocates and others.
Last year, a months-long attempt to move the camp to an industrial site near OMSI was thwarted because of a zoning conflict.
Earlier this year, a city-owned parking lot along Southwest Naito Parkway was also suggested, and then rejected.
Campers were warned they had to vacate the Chinatown property by April 7, a deadline set by Portland Prosper to facilitate the long planned sale.
One of the property’s owners, Michael Wright, told KGW in December he was drafting eviction papers for the camp, arguing the city was taking advantage of his generosity by keeping the camp there longer than promised.
April 7 came and went, with a two-month extension granted to campers in the meantime.
Organizers Saturday cheered the city for sticking to its promise to help the camp find a new home.
“We’re seeing people from all backgrounds ending up on the streets,” said Trillium Shannon, a board member. “We’re in this crisis. The government can’t provide what we need alone, and so finally they’re recognizing that there are solutions.”
Gordon Bergquist has been living at Right 2 Dream Too since October 12, 2011, two days after it opened.
He said the move was bittersweet.
“It’s going to be different, you know, because it’s so close to a lot of the services around here,” he said of the camp's longtime downtown spot. “But I like it over there. It’s a lot quieter.”
Campers and organizers are asking for volunteers this weekend to help with carpentry, cleaning and moving.
They say anyone interested should head first to the camp’s current home at Northwest 4th Avenue and Burnside Street.
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