Right to Dream Too set to move to Pearl District in deal - KPTV - FOX 12

Right to Dream Too set to move to Pearl District in one-year deal

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

The city of Portland has settled a lawsuit with Right to Dream Too and the owners of the property the encampment occupies.

In turn, the city is dropping more than $20,000 in fines levied against the property owner for violating anti-camping ordinances and moved the group to a city-owned parking lot in the Pearl District for one year.

Commissioner Amanda Fritz announced the settlement at a Monday afternoon press conference.

She said a date will be set for the move after details of the use agreement are worked out, which will take around 30 days.

Members of Right to Dream Too say it is not a homeless camp, but instead a temporary refuge for people experiencing homelessness.

People staying at the site must follow a code of conduct, which bans drugs, alcohol and violence. It features a kitchen and a computer with internet access for people to search for jobs and homes.

Kirstin Everett and her boyfriend have stayed in tents at the overnight shelter since May, after ending up on the streets when a job fell through.

"We wanted to do well and we walked in and we were given nothing but support and love to get ourselves back into the world again," said Everett. She found a job and is still staying at Right to Dream Too.

"Now we're in the process of saving money, getting ready to have a cushion so we don't find ourselves out on the street again," she said.

Many Pearl District residents have concerns about the new site, a parking lot underneath the Lovejoy on-ramp to the Broadway Bridge.

"First, they're being asked to move from a fairly decent area into a garbage area," said Barbara Weerth, who lives a half-block from the new site, which she describes as icy cold in the winter and noisy from traffic traveling onto the bridge.

"We haven't yet figured out, how do we tell which are the ones that are living here and which are the ones that are just the hangers on," said Weerth. "How is that making us safe?"

Fritz commended the nonprofit organization for the work they've done over the past two years.

"In a community that cares about individuals as much as we do, I believe when you have a safe place for people to be in a rest area, that is an appropriate alternative other than doorways and sidewalks," Fritz said.

She added there have been zero police calls to the current Right to Dream Too location since the group moved in two years ago.

"If I thought that this group was not safe, I wouldn't be suggesting to move it," she said.

Fritz said a public comment hearing will be scheduled to give neighbors a chance to share their opinions.

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