Questions raised about Right 2 Dream Too's nonprofit status

PORTLAND, Ore. - Problems with a deal to move a homeless camp from near Chinatown to the Pearl District have emerged after the group in charge of paying for a new camp on city land may have misled city leaders about its nonprofit status.

Last week a deal was struck between the city of Portland and the Right 2 Dream Too camp, currently at Fourth and Burnside, to move it to underneath the Broadway Bridge near Union Station.

But it is unclear whether the nonprofit that's supposed to run the camp is actually a nonprofit. A letter the IRS sent Right 2 Dream Too over a year ago says it's not a nonprofit. Clearing up the status of the camp is one piece of the deal that still has to be worked out before the camp moves.

City Commissioner Amanda Fritz has worked for years to find a more permanent home for the camp. She worked a deal to move it from its current location a half mile away to a city-owned parking lot where water and electricity would be set up.

"It would need to have a hookup, and probably the Portland Development Commission would be supplying the hookups, but then following that, the use agreement will say that Right 2 Dream Too will be responsible for paying the utilities - doing garbage service, doing porta-potties the same as they have on their current site as well as liability insurance," Fritz said Monday.

She said the camp probably won't pay rent to the city at the new site.

Right 2 Dream Too's blog says current monthly costs average $1,500 a month and it pays bills with donations.

It hasn't filed any annual reports with the state. When asked whether she had checked into the financial status of the camp, Fritz said she hadn't.

Fritz also said she didn't know that Right 2 Dream Too is not listed as "tax exempt" with the IRS.

"Just as we are making sure that everything that we need to do will be done, then I would expect that Right 2 Dream Too will do everything that they need to do," Fritz said.

Right 2 Dream Too's leader, Ibrahim Mubarak, wasn't at home or at the camp on Monday. By phone he told a KATU News reporter that "I don't want to talk about (our funds). It's our business how we pay our bills."

Fritz said the city will pay around $3,600 to fence the old site for six months when the camp moves to under the Burnside Bridge. She said there is no timeline yet when that might happen.