City OKs R2DToo money-move plan

Homeless campers set up the 'Right to Dream' site on Burnside in Portland (KOIN 6 News,. file)
Homeless campers set up the "Right 2 Dream Too" site on Burnside in Portland (KOIN 6 News, file)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Portland city leaders OK’d a plan to give nearly $900,000 of private money to help move the Right 2 Dream Too camp currently on Burnside.

A developer building a hotel next door to the camp offered the money to help find a different spot. Right 2 Dream Too has been in the location for more than two years, but the camp is violating city code. And city officials wanted to move the to a lot in the Pearl District.

For quite a while, the city has fined the land owner for allowing the camp on his property. They could disperse the camp, but that would just send around 100 homeless people back into doorways and entryways of downtown businesses.

City Commissioner Amanda Fritz said Right 2 Dream Two has been worth the time because it is an inexpensive way for the city to deal with a tough problem. Getting the homeless out of doorways and underpasses is made easier through organized spots like R2DToo.

“These people are Portlanders,” Fritz said. “They live here. This is their home. They just don’t have a house.”

Pushing them out just because their circumstances are tough “doesn’t jive with who I believe a majority of Portlanders are and what they care about.”

Support for this complex deal that provides private Pearl District money to relocate the homeless camp was not unanimous. Commissioner Dan Saltzman walked out of the meeting before the vote.

His point: The Pearl had a developer to fork over the money. But what happens when the camp wants to move to someone else’s neighborhood?

Fritz said she thinks the camp has been “a good influence.”  She said the camp organizers have been good neighbors, have maintained a strict policy of no drugs, alcohol or weapons. And in the two years they’ve been on Burnside, Fritz said, there has not been a single police call for service.

As for the next spot, Fritz said they will be prohibited from being in a residential area.

“It’s not like it’s going to show up in an empty lot next to your house,” she said. “And if it were to show up near a place near my home I would welcome it because I know these people are good-hearted Portlanders trying to get their act together and trying to get their lives back together.”

The City of Portland will manage the money on behalf of the homeless camp, which will be used to find a new location. If there is any money left over, it will go toward helping the homeless.

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