Activists say it’s about human rights, not money
The City of Portland sent a $12,592 bill last week to Right 2 Dream Too, the organization that provides sleeping space for people without housing at Northwest Fourth Avenue and Burnside Street.
The invoice accounts for violations of city codes related to recreational camping.
Right 2 Dream Too leaders say this is the first time they have received a bill from the city. Previous notices have been sent to the private landowners who donated the space for use as a refuge for the homeless, Michael Wright and Dan Cossette.
Activists at the site continue to maintain that the conflict with the city is a human rights issue, not a zoning code dispute.
“We are not a recreational campground. We have provided urgently needed shelter for 60 to 90 people every night since we opened in October 2011,” says Ibrahim Mubarak, who helped start Right 2 Dream Too.
“The fines should be waived and the city should work with us not against us. In the meantime, with temperatures dipping below freezing at night, R2DToo will continue to provide essential housing services at no cost to the taxpayer,” Mubarak said.
In the past six weeks, there has been renewed attention focused on the site, a gravel lot filled with tents. The Grove Hotel across the street is slated for conversion to a youth hostel with the help of millions of dollars of public money.
Late last year, Grove Hotel owner and developer, David Gold, initiated a public campaign aimed at gathering complaints against Right 2 Dream Too.
In early December, Portland Business Alliance published a letter to City Commissioner Saltzman that called on him to increase pressure on the Right 2 Dream Too advocates. On Dec. 10, Human Rights Day, the activists and landowners filed suit against the city.
On Saturday, supporters in the 20th annual Sisters of the Road Martin Luther King Day March included a stop at Right 2 Dream Too.