Council approves moving controversial R2DToo homeless camp to inner Southeast Portland
After years of discussion and delays, the City Council approved moving the Right 2 Dream Too homeless camp from Chinatown to Southeast Portland on Wednesday.
The vote was 4 to 1, with Commissioner Nick Fish casting the lone "no" vote. The relocation was approved after the council adopted a restriction proposed by Commissioner Dan Saltzman that no one under 18 could spend the night at the new camp.
The Portland Development Commission has bought the camp's current site at Northwest 4th and Burnside for redevelopment. The new location is a parcel purchased by the city from the Oregon Department of Transportation at Southeast 3rd Avenue and Harrison Street.
Resolutions approved by the council say the new camp can accomodate up to 100 people at a time for as long as 10 years. The city purchased the site and will pay for such improvements as will pay for showers, toilets and laundry facilities with around $900,000 from developers and others used to buy an earlier alternatives location in Old Town.
The vote was delayed from last week after Commission Steve Novick unexpectedly said he needed more time to consider it. Novick said he did not have an alternative site before Wednesday's vote.
The relocation is suppose to happen by the end of October, at the latest. It supported by homeless advocates and opposed by many businesses and residents near the new location, including the board of the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. The Central Eastside Industrial Council also opposes the move and may challenge it in court. Board President Brad Malsin previous testified the move would violate city zoning codes and future council-approved plans for the area.
"As we've been saying consistently, we don't think outdoor camping is the right solution for people who are sleeping on the streets and we'd rather see more focus on increasing indoor shelter capacity," Sandra McDonough, President and CEO of the Portland Business Alliance, said after the vote.
The relocation was approved the same day Mayor Charlie Hales' office announced a website for centralized information about the city's evolving homeless and affordable housing efforts, including a link for reporting problems with campsites.
My office has received countless phone calls, e-mails, and social media messages from Portlanders who want information about our efforts to manage livability in the City, Hales said. We heard them, and we responded with an easily accessible warehouse of information.
The website is titled the Homelessness Toolkit. It is at www.portlandoregon.gov/toolkit.
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 citys need for health, safety and livability, Hales said.
KOIN 6 News, a Portland Tribune's media partner, contributed to this story.