There’s been a lot of talk about Right 2 Dream Too—a camp for the homeless located on 4th and West Burnside. By now you’ve probably caught pieces, or rumors, about it being moved to the Pearl, so let me take a brief moment to see if I can’t simplify some of this.
Michael Wright owns the land on which R2DT sits. In 2011, after the city-forced closure of his adult book store, Cindy’s Adult Book Store, Wright leased the lot out to R2DT for $1 a year. The city has fined Wright nearly $25,000 for having an unpermitted campsite. Wright in turn sued the city saying his campsite is not recreational and should not be subject to the fines. Wright and the city are still in negotiations—him wanting the fines dropped, the city not wanting to be sued. In a Willamette Week article, Wright said the city told him part of the deal was that he’d never be allowed to have another such camp on any of his properties. He didn’t like the limits imposed by that, so negations continue.
The City of Portland, and largely Amanda Fritz, wanted Right 2 Dream Too moved a long time ago. Fritz originally suggested the camp be moved to a city owned parking lot about a half-mile away, but that didn’t happen.
Recently the city has decided to move the camp to the Pearl District, under the Broadway Bridge. But, the Pearl District Neighborhood Association is now fighting against that, and approved the use of a $10,000 “rainy-day fund” to take legal action against the city if need be, however they admit they would like to avoid such a situation.
The Neighborhood Association president Patricia Gardner said that putting a camp on city property would violate zoning, fire, and public health codes. Gardner told WW, that it isn’t about it being a homeless camp; it’s about the silent process the city is taking. The PDNA sent Fritz this letter last Tuesday.
But wait, there’s more. KATU posted a story yesterday saying that the nonprofit in charge of paying for the R2DT camp may not actually be a nonprofit, which basically mean it’s not going to be easy to get them on city land. R2DT’s blog says they’re a nonprofit, but according to a letter sent last year by the IRS they aren’t.
So as things stand now, the city and Fritz want R2DT at a new, semi-permanent, location. Wright still owes money, and still has a lawsuit against the city. The PDNA hasn’t pressed charges, and have yet to been able to meet with Fritz and discus the situation. And R2DT probably isn’t a nonprofit “legally” speaking, so that’s something they need to get filed with the IRS before the city can find them a new home.
I hope that helps clear a little of this mess up. I’ll keep updates posted on Twitter or Facebook as things continue.