City threatens fines for Occupy, homeless camps
Entrenched protesters and Right2DreamToo found to be in violation of state laws and local rules
Portland's Bureau of Development Services is cracking down on the owners of two downtown properties being used for camps: the Occupy Portland camp on Portland Parks and Recreation property and the Right2DreamToo camp on private property in Old Town.
On Tuesday, the bureau sent letters to the parks bureau and the private owners notifying them of numerous problems with both camps, including violations of Oregon laws, Oregon administrative rules, the city code and various building and sanitation codes.
The letters give the parks bureau and Old Town property owner Michael Wright 30 days to correct the problems or face daily fines.
It could be the first time the Bureau of Development Services has threatened sanctions on another city agency. The bureau routinely fines private owners for violations on residential and commercial property.
The Occupy Portland camp was set up Oct. 6 in Chapman and Lownsdale squares following a downtown protest march. The squares are owned by the city.
The letter to the parks bureau identified seven separate violation with the camps. They include: establishment of a community service use in an open space without a permit; establishment of a recreational park-campground without obtaining required permits; and human waste and waste material on the ground around portable restrooms, including used toilet paper and plastic containers containing urine.
Parks Director Mike Abbate forwarded the citations to Occupy Portland with a letter saying that no permits would be issued for the camp.
'Please move to correct these violations,' according to the bureau's letter.
The Right2DreamToo camp was set up a few days after the Occupy Portland movement began. It is near the intersection of Northwest Davis and Burnside streets on property owned by the families of Wright and Dan Cossette. It formerly housed Cindy's, an adult bookstore that was demolished after being repeatedly cited by the Bureau of Development Services and Portland Fire and Rescue for building code violations.
The letter to the families only identified two violations: establishment of a recreational park-campground without obtaining required permits and construction of a fence six feet in height without the required building permit or Historic Design Review approval.
Potential fines at both locations are based on the number units found to be in violation. They range from $233 per unit for one to two units, up to $583 per unit for 20 or more units.
It is unclear from the letter how units would be identified. Both camps have tents and other structures.
The parks bureau and the private property owners can both appeal the Bureau of Development Services' findings through an administrative review process. One or more hearings would be held before an administrative hearings officer, whose decision could be appealed to the City Council.