City postpones decision to move homeless camp - KPTV - FOX 12

City postpones decision to move homeless camp

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After hearing more than five hours of public testimony, Portland Mayor Charlie Hales delayed a City Council decision to move the Right 2 Dream Too homeless camp from Chinatown to the Pearl District.

This comes after weeks of negotiations on what is now proving to be a rather heated and divided debate.

More than 100 people testified before the city council Thursday.

At times, the discussion grew so intense, Commissioner Amanda Fritz called the meeting the most memorable hearing she can remember.

For weeks, the city council has considered the legality of moving the Right 2 Dream Too homeless camp, which has racked up thousands of dollars in fines for not having the proper permits in its current location on NW 4th and Burnside.

The city says relocating the camp to a city-owned parking lot on NW Lovejoy might just be the solution, and it would put an end to a lawsuit against taxpayers in the process.

But at the meeting, neither side was willing to back down.

"If the camp is moved, if that happens, as a result of your actions, you should agree to resign," said one Portland resident. "It's simple. Picture that there are lots of parks there, and they are like sponges. What's going to happen when they see that?"

"I cannot afford to keep moving because the city refuses to address homeless problems," said another Portland resident.

"To the people here in that felt it was necessary to point, laugh and judge the homeless for having the courage to testify, you don't deserve to live here," said one woman in support of Right 2 Dream Too.

"People in Pearl District are talking about monetary values over humanity and are only speaking about bringing property value down," said Ibrahim Mubarak, a co-founder of R2D2. "And you know what? Maybe that's good. Maybe there would be more affordable housing."

In the final minutes of the meeting, Hales tried to calm the tension in the room, moving to postpone the vote for two more weeks.

His hope is that with more time, everyone can agree on a right decision.

"I think you could perhaps listen to the discussion today and see only polarization - and there has been some, it would be Pollyannaish to say there hasn't been - but I also hear things that also represent progress," said Hales.

Fritz said the issue must be resolved by the end of the month because of a settlement agreement the city signed pertaining to the lawsuit involving the camp.

The next meeting will be Oct. 16.

Hales said the council could vote on the existing proposal if nothing changes, but if new options come forward, they will accept more public testimony.

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