Wheeler ‘not convinced’ R2DToo will move by April

Right 2 Dream Too camp supposed to move by April 7

The Right 2 Dream Too homeless camp in Old Town in Portland (Portland Tribune, file)
The Right 2 Dream Too homeless camp in Old Town in Portland (Portland Tribune, file)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Right 2 Dream Too, the temporary homeless camp now in its 5th year at NW4th and Burnside, is supposed to be gone in exactly one month.

But right now it doesn’t look like that will happen. Leaders with the camp told KOIN 6 News they meet weekly with City Hall leader and that moving day is not on their calendar.

Ever since the tent camp set up with permission from the landowner in 2011, city officials have searched and failed to get a permanent spot for the 70 people at R2DToo.

The City of Portland wants to buy the private property and the Portland Development Commission already paid the owner $300,000. Mayor Ted Wheeler knows the deadline is looming.

Asked if the city is prepared to lose the money and the property, Wheeler told KOIN 6 News, “I’m doing my best to find an alternative but I’m being honest with people — I’m not convinced we will.”

Wheeler is adamant a permanent solution is needed for the homeless, which is why he rejected a temporary move to a site along SW Naito Parkway.

And he realizes the property owner could decide after the April 7 deadline to sell to a private developer. A time extension is a possibility, but the city is still in a bind: the developer of the hotel across the street from R2DToo is suing the city to get the campers out.

However, some people in the area where the camp is have accepted it.

Katen Bush credits R2DToo for watching out for the block and chasing away drug dealers. But even if R2DToo is relocated, that’s not a solution.

“I think the homeless issue is a bigger, long-term issue than just R2DToo,” Bush said.

Mayor Wheeler agrees but isn’t giving up trying to find another place for those campers, despite the long odds.

“We’re burning up the phones but I’m not convinced we will have a solution between now and April 7,” Wheeler said.