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City announces new plan to relocate homeless campers

by: TRIBUNE PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - City officials have come up with a new plan to relocate the people staying at tRight 2 Dream Too homeless camp in Old Town .

The Portland City Council and the Portland Development Commission will take up a new plan to relocate the Right to Dream 2 homeless camp next week.

No new location has been determined. But the PDC and council will consider selling a previous alternative location to private developers, and then use that money to relocate the campers from their site at Northwest 4th and Burnside.

According to a Thursday afternoon press release from Mayor Charlie Hale's office, the PDC is expected to authorize the sale of Lot 7, a parking lot under a ramp to the Broadway Bridge, to Pearl Hotel investors on Wednesday, Feb. 12.

The property will be sold subject to a parking lease on the property to REACH Community Development, which develops and maintains affordable housing for people with low incomes.

Earlier that day, the council is scheduled to consider an ordinance that would acquire the parking rights to Lot 7 from REACH cancel the lease in exchange for the organization's assistance in finding a permanent location for the homeless camp.

“The sale means the City of Portland will receive over $800,000 to assist Right 2 Dream Too in their model of providing shelter and community for people experiencing houselessness,” Commissioner Amanda Fritz, has has been the council's point person in the negotiations, said in a prepared statement. “This is another step forward as we seek partnerships to reduce the impacts of the lack of affordable housing in Portland.”

The campers had sued the city to be allowed to stay. developers and neighborhood activists had threated to sue the city to block the move to Lot 7.

According to the announcement, the selling price for Lot 7 will be $142,000, the appraised value subject to the REACH lease, which will be paid to the PDC, the owner of the property. As a result:

? The Pearl Hotel investors will acquire the property subject to the parking lease.

? The lease will be terminated upon receipt of $896,000 from the investors.

? Of that, $50,000 will go to REACH.

? The City will receive and will allocate $846,000 of the money paid by the investors to assist the homeless camp relocate.

That money will assist some of the estimated 2,000 people experiencing houselessness in Portland.

“We’ve been searching for a way to assist Right 2 Dream Too and this is a great step forward,” Mayor Charlie Hales said in the statement. “My staff has been working with Commissioner Fritz and her staff for months on this. It’s a high priority for both offices, and for the whole Council.”

The homeless camp has been at Northwest Fourth Street and Burnside for more than two years, but that location is not permanent.

R2DToo Board members have agreed to the concept in principle, subject to the resolution of issues that they hope can be worked out between their lawyer, Mark Kramer, and the City Attorney. The R2DToo Board will convene an emergency meeting this Saturday to discuss and vote on the solution being considered on Wednesday.

“It is important to note that the money paid by PHI will assist Right 2 Dream Too in resolving homeless issues in the city,” said Ibrahim Mubarak, co-founder of R2DToo. “No taxpayer money is being spent on our model. This funding has the potential to assist Right 2 Dream Too in resolving one of our biggest challenges, a stable site for R2DToo. We provide safe shelter and a sense of community for hundreds of people experiencing houselessness, at no cost to the City. We are hopeful that the proposed solution represents a good faith effort on the part of the city and private interests to work with us for immediate solutions to the unmet needs of unhoused Portlanders.”

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