Pearl neighbors gather funds for possible homeless camp legal fight
Right 2 Dream Toos homeless campers shouldnt pack their bags just yet. The Pearl District Neighborhood Association voted Thursday night to spend at least $10,000 to pursue legal action against the city of Portland, if necessary, to stop the move of Right 2 Dream Too to a new location beneath the Broadway Bridge.
Board member Joan Pendergast says that the association hopes legal action wont be required. If it is, the $10,000 is expected to be part of a larger sum that would include money contributed by Pearl District developers.
The new site for Right 2 Dream Too, part of an agreement negotiated by City Commissioner Amanda Fritz, sits next to a Pearl District affordable housing apartment building for seniors. Residents of the building expressed concern about the possible homeless camp and safety of elderly people who would walk by the camp each day.
Commissioner Fritz was not available for comment on Friday.
Fritz announced the deal this week to move Right 2 Dream Too from the controversial and highly visible site it had held for nearly two years on West Burnside Street, next to the Chinatown Gate. At Thursdays meeting, to which Fritz was invited but did not attend, Pearl District residents expressed dismay that they were not included in discussions about the move of Right 2 Dream Too before a final decision was made.
If a restaurant wants to put a sign up there's a design review for everything that goes in the neighborhood, says Pendergast. We're hoping that somebody will have some sense of realization that this isn't the way you operate. This is not the way Portland works.
Board President Patty Gardner says the neighborhood association is not certain what type of legal action might be taken, if it is needed. Possibilities include land-use appeals or a lawsuit in circuit court.
Gardner says she has spoken to Fritz about Right 2 Dream Too only once, and then only briefly. She had no intention of talking to us until this was done, she says.
In addition, Gardner says the city has not made clear how Right 2 Dream Too would fit into the zoning at its new site.
There are agencies set up, permits set up, there is a public process set up, Gardner says. How is (Right 2 Dream Too) able to avoid this? Is the city holding themselves up to a different standard than they would hold any private citizen to?