PORTLAND -- After two years of negotiations, a deal has been reached with the city to move the controversial Right 2 Dream Too homeless camp to a new location under the Broadway Bridge.
In the settlement, the City of Portland will retain authority over the regulation of opens lots, the lawsuit over camping on private lots will be dropped and fines against the previous landowner will be waived. In addition, the current camp site in Chinatown will be fenced off for six months after the move.
“Right to Dream Too has demonstrated the value of a new model in our community’s ongoing challenge to provide safe shelter for people experiencing homelessness,” Commissioner Amanda Fritz said. "I believe moving R2DToo to the new location will increase safety for both housed and houseless people living and working nearby."
The Right 2 Dream Too camp is currently located at Northwest 4th Avenue and West Burnside Street. It will be moved under the Lovejoy ramp to the Broadway Bridge in about a month. The new space is owned by the Portland Development Commission.
“The site under the Lovejoy on-ramp to the Broadway Bridge has many positive aspects,” said R2DToo Executive Board member Trillium Shannon. “Services and buses are within walking distance and the overpass will provide excellent protection from the elements.”
Some people were not so happy to hear about the move. Eric Lorentzen lives near the new location and feels it will hurt he neighborhood.
"I'm angry. I think it was underhanded politics," he said.
On a given day, an average of 60 people live in the Right to Dream Too camp. The battle over the camp's right to exist has been going on since it opened inside Chinatown two years ago. That property owner had been fined a total of $25,000 for allowing the camp at its current site and a lawsuit was pending.
"Although the lawsuit filed by R2 and the property owners will also be dismissed, all parties acknowledge that the issue is still open as to whether houseless people, with the permission of a private property owner, have the right to sleep safely on private property without interference by the city," explained Right to Dream Too attorney Mark Kramer. "That is an issue that will be fought in the future in a different case."
People who are against the idea will have a chance to share their concerns with the city and possibly help create a one-year use agreement.