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Business group fights R2DToo move


PORTLAND TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO - The Right 2 Dream Too homeless camp is scheduled to move from its current Old Town location by the end of October.A group representing inner Southeast Portland businesses is planning to appeal the City Council’s decision to relocate the R2DToo homeless camp to their neighborhood.

No one from the Central Eastside Industrial Council was available to comment on its notice of intent to appeal the move, filed with the state Land Use Board of Appeals on March 10. But the group’s lawyer, Christe White, testified the move would violate city zoning policies before it was approved on Feb. 24.

Commissioner Nick Fish was the lone vote against the move, which is intended to relocate the camp from Old Town to a city-owned lot at Southeast Third Avenue and Harrison Street by the end of October.

Members of the Central Eastside Industrial Council and some area residents argue the new location is unsuitable for camping because it is on industrial land next to a company that handles hazardous materials, and is far from social service agencies.

"Locating the project within an industrial district creates an incorrect precedent for a residential use on industrially-zoned land within an industrial sanctuary (where emergency shelters and short-term housing of any type are

prohibited in industrial zones)," the CEIC said in a statement after the appeal was filed.

You can read the full statement here.

The Portland Development Commission has purchased the camp’s current site at Northwest Fourth and Burnside for redevelopment.

The city purchased the new site from the Oregon Department of Transportation and will pay for such improvements as showers, toilets and laundry facilities with around $900,000 paid by developers who sought to provide an earlier alternative site in Old Town.

Commissioner Amanda Fritz, who headed up the city’s negotiations over the move, says she is hopeful LUBA will uphold the council decision.

“We are continuing to move forward on planning improvements at the new rest area, and on inviting interested stakeholders to participate in a Good Neighbor Agreement process,” Fritz says.

At the time of the council vote, Mayor Charlie Hales argued the relocation of the R2DToo homeless camp is not a solution to homelessness, but a safer sleeping option for those without homes.

“Until we reach our goal of having a permanent home for all Portlanders, our short-term approach is to balance the need for people sleeping outside to be safe, with the entire city’s need for health, safety and livability,” Hales said.