PORTLAND, Ore. – A contentious homeless camp prominently located on W. Burnside Street will move now that the property owner and city leaders have worked out a deal.
The "Right 2 Dream Too" homeless camp and associated property has long been a point of contention between the city and Michael Wright, who owns the land at 319 W. Burnside.
As part of a deal announced Monday, Wright will drop a lawsuit he had filed against the city about his property and the city will waive around $20,000 in fines levied against Wright.
The Right 2 Dream Too camp will also move from the Burnside location to a spot under the Broadway Bridge near Union Station. Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz helped broker the deal and called the solution a “pilot” program.
The deal for the camp to operate in the Pearl District only lasts for one year. Fritz said the goal during that time is to work out a long-term solution.
She also said camp organizers and city officials will meet with concerned residents over the next month. Camp officials said they want any concerned Pearl neighbors to have an open dialogue and get to know how the camp operates.
The move will not happen immediately, Fritz said. Right 2 Dream Too organizers will have to get the proper permits for the new site.
Those details will be worked out over the next 30 days. They will continue to pay for utility and bathroom costs, plus will have to have liability insurance.
“There are guidelines in place and we’re going to do everything possible to make sure if the move does happen it will be a safe, healthy and successful thing for everybody,” said Right 2 Dream Too spokeswoman Amber Dunks.
Fritz said she is not expecting there will be any issues with getting the proper permits at the new site. The city owns the parking lot where the new camp will be located.
Right 2 Dream Too board president Ibrahim Mubarak called the camp a “rest area” and said during the past two years 71 people have used their services to find permanent housing and work.
Dunks called Right 2 Dream Too home herself for 17 months when her life crumbled.
"It helped me get ready in a non-hostile environment that worked around what I was going through to be able to get to that next step," she told KATU.
That next step was landing a job and moving into an apartment last month.
For the "dreamers" who live in Right 2 Dream Too, the place is more than a camping location. Dunks says it's a place to get back on your feet.
"We look after ourselves and we look after the neighborhood."