Council tackles Mount Tabor, rideshares, R2DToo

The 3 issues have been discussed for months

Portland City Hall (KOIN 6 News, file)
Portland City Hall (KOIN 6 News, file)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Portland City Council met Wednesday to discuss 3 of the city’s most controversial issues: the Mount Tabor Reservoirs, relocation of the homeless camp Right 2 Dream Too and a rideshare pilot program.

“We just kept talking until we found some common good,” John Laursen with Mount Tabor Neighborhood Association said.

The neighborhood group worked out a deal with the city to keep water in its reservoirs. The plan passed 4-1, with Commissioner Steve Novick the lone voter against it. The compromise also involves restoring and maintaining the historic reservoirs after they are disconnected.

“Very happy with the decision, it was the right decision,” Laursen said. “The right decision to take care of these historic structures which are an integral part of Mount Tabor Park. The park and reservoir structures were designed to work together a century ago.”

The decision will cost $4 million over the next 4 years, with the price going up to $5.5 million if the city decides to replace non-historic lighting.

Next on the council’s agenda: discussion of relocating the Right 2 Dream Too homeless camp to a site in Southeast Portland.

The city — which has committed to moving the camp from its original Chinatown location — agreed Wednesday to spend $254,044 to purchase land near OMSI. But Mayor Charlie Hales told KOIN 6 News moving the camp there isn’t guaranteed. Regardless, the city wants the land.

“In my world I’d like to be in a better spot where we can have eco gardens and where social services can come meet people there and people can use us as a stepping stone to get into housing,” Right 2 Dream Too co-founder Ibrahim Mubarak said.

Some worry the city has already made up its mind regarding Right 2 Dream Too’s relocation. But camp leaders said a lot will have to happen before they agree to move.

Switching gears, the council took up the issue of rideshare services Uber and Lyft, which are currently operating under a pilot program in the city.

KOIN 6 News learned in the month of May, Uber and Lyft took 43% of rides, while taxis were down to 57%. One of the biggest areas of concern is still how these services can provide rides for the disabled.

“Everyone has been on best behavior and I hope they don’t slack off,” former chair of Portland commission Joe VanderVeer said.

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