Agreement to move Right 2 Dream Too may be in jeopardy

PORTLAND, Ore. - An agreement to move a homeless encampment from its current location in Old Town may be in jeopardy.

The city told an attorney for the camp that it wouldn't put written restrictions on the current property Right 2 Dream Too currently occupies if the camp moved to a new site. But on Tuesday night, the city sent a letter to that attorney, saying it plans to write up those restrictions anyway.

Michael Wright has allowed the camp to set up on his property at Northwest 4th and Burnside for nearly two years. It's been a long, hard struggle.

"I'm older. I'm broker, and I'm tired and still where I'm at," Wright said Tuesday. "I'm still fightin' so probably see you again next year."

The city forced Wright to tear down the adult bookstore he owned at the entrance to Chinatown in 2008. In 2011 he put food carts on the vacant property, but the city shut them down.

When he let Right 2 Dream Too set up camp, the city started levying fines that now total more than $20,000.

"As of today, the city has discussed waiving the fines that have been levied against the property owners - myself - for allowing the homeless to be there," Wright said. "And I will drop the lawsuit against the city, and the group that are there now, Right 2 Dream Too, will agree not to reoccupy that location."

The Right 2 Dream Too camp was supposed to move to a location under the onramp at the west end of the Broadway Bridge.

But late Tuesday night an email from Portland's city attorney re-establishing written limits on Wright's property once the encampment leaves, put the deal and the move in jeopardy.

"Still, the city has not allowed me to use my property," Wright said. "I'm still in the position I was after they destroyed my businesses and my building. So yeah, I still have plans. I'm getting old, but I'm still gonna try and fight a little bit."

The encampment has been controversial since it went up in October 2011. The city has declared it a campground and is in violation of a camping ban within city limits.

In an attempt to get around that label, supporters of the camp have called it a "rest area" and said it is a temporary place for those without a home to stay.

If the deal had gone through, the camp might have moved as early as Labor Day weekend or certainly within another month. Now the attorney for Right 2 Dream Too said that letter from the city attorney has set negotiations almost back to square one.