City considers moving R2DToo site near OMSI

Plan to buy land from ODOT on Wednesday agenda

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The City of Portland will consider buying a new site for the Right 2 Dream Too homeless camp that could cost more than a quarter of a million dollars.

As reported by the Portland Tribune, the city council will consider spending up to $254,044 to buy surplus property from the Oregon Department of Transportation for the camp at SE 3rd Avenue and Harrison Street.

The camp currently sits at the gateway to Old Town. Business owners near the new site told KOIN 6 News they aren’t thrilled by the idea.

“It’s right next to industrial businesses and warehouse businesses,” Debbie Kitchin, president of the Central Eastside Industrial Council, said.

The CEIC is comprised of hundreds of east Portland businesses, and many have already come forward saying they’re against the new proposed R2DToo location.

“A lot of concerns about public safety, the impact on businesses surrounding there,” Kitchin explained. “It’s about 2 blocks from OMSI, we heard there were many issues at OMSI and along the east bank esplanade.”

KOIN 6 News reached out to OMSI to get their reaction on the proposed R2DToo location. They responded with this statement:

“The proposed project does not address the needs of the already-present homeless encampments located throughout the Central Eastside community, nor does it provide a sustainable and comprehensive solution to address the wider issue of homelessness throughout the Portland area.”

But parents visiting OMSI on Monday said they didn’t think their children’s safety would be compromised as a result of the homeless camp.

“I feel like the kids that are going to be with their parents, they are going to have this really great supervision,” parent Mair Blact said. “It’s the people unsuspected walking around and kids that aren’t with anybody that it might be a little more of a problem.”

It’s the latter that has several neighborhood associations concerned. The president of Southeast Uplift said they are not for or against the project, but would just like more public involvement.

R2DToo co-founder Ibrahim Mubarak agrees. He said, at this point, he’s still skeptical of the location because it’s not as centrally located as the Old Town spot.

“I don’t think they are going to come because they are in that area for one specific reason,” Mubarak said. “That’s where all the social services are at, that’s where the food is, that’s where the shelter or mission is.”

The Portland City Council has a hearing scheduled for Wednesday to discuss the purchase of new property for R2DToo. KOIN 6 News will continue to follow this story.

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