Gloves come off over proposed move of 'Right To Dream Too' camp
PORTLAND, Ore. - Some people who live and work near the proposed new location of a controversial homeless camp are upset about how a deal to move it there was put together.
They've refused to meet with City Commissioner Amanda Fritz, who brokered that deal, until she can answer some tough questions.
They say moving the Right To Dream Too camp a mile from where it currently is on Fourth and Burnside to a parking lot under the Broadway Bridge is a band-aid on the homeless problem and doesn't do anything for Portland's image.
Shorab Vossoughi owns a design business in the Pearl District around the corner from the proposed site. The back of his office building looks into it. He says he wants to know about zoning of that site and rules and responsibilities for the camp.
Those are questions the city hasn't answered yet.
The Pearl District Neighborhood Association voted two weeks ago to set aside money in case they decide to sue the city over the plan.
The city is still working with Right To Dream Too to develop an actual user agreement for the site but many people think that's just a piece of paper.
"They're not going to be able to control the rest of the stuff that's happening, especially when you're putting them in a very obscure area where there is no, you know, where they can do all kinds of stuff without people seeing it," Vossoughi said.
Vossoughi says he knows Right To Dream Too is organized and clean, but he's worried that putting the camp under the bridge will attract other homeless people who won't follow the camp's rules.
He also says he's afraid that having the camp right outside of his business will harm his ability to get new clients, hire quality employees and lease out retail space in his building in the future.
The neighborhood association and the group of businesses feel they should have been asked about moving the homeless camp before Fritz announced it was happening.
But for Fritz it's a balancing act between the haves and have-nots.
No one is disputing Portland has a homeless problem, but what has people who live and work in the Pearl upset is that they feel Fritz didn't have her ducks in a row before she announced that Right To Dream Too is moving.
On Friday, the city will release information about zoning and rules for the camp. All of that will be discussed at a public hearing set for next Thursday.