Portland homeless camp gets new spot just before eviction

Associated Press

PORTLAND, Ore. — A prominent Portland outdoors camp for homeless people is moving to a less-conspicuous location after spending more than five years on prime downtown real estate.

The tent community known as Right 2 Dream Too has been located near the entrance to Chinatown since 2011.

Recently served with an eviction notice, it will move to city-owned land between the Willamette River and the arena that’s home to the Portland Trail Blazers, Mayor Ted Wheeler and camp representatives said Thursday.

Wheeler said the move will be completed within 60 days. The camp will stay at the new location for up to two years while the city looks for a longer-term solution.

Attempts to move the camp from its current spot have failed for years. Wheeler thanked the homeless residents and city leaders for not giving up.

“Solutions around locating R2DToo have eluded the city for years, and it was unclear if this time would be any different,” Wheeler said.

The camp was established in October 2011 during the Occupy Portland movement on a vacant lot where the landowner allowed the homeless to lease the property for $1 annually.

Each night since then, scores of people have been sleeping in tents that are shielded from traffic by a wall of colorfully painted doors.

The effort to find a new home for the encampment gained urgency in February, when developers renovating a hotel across the street filed a lawsuit against the landowner to remove the camp. They said the tent community violates Portland’s zoning codes and impedes redevelopment by reducing neighborhood property values.

Representatives of Right 2 Dream Too in a statement praised their current landlord and the city, saying previous attempts to move the camp were thwarted by people and businesses who refused to accept its presence “out of ignorance and fear.”

“We will recreate a safe, secure, humane and functional space where people have the right to rest, to sleep, to dream,” the statement added.

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