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  • 20 Oct 2014

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Council postpones homeless camp vote

The Right 2 Dream Too saga continued Wednesday, as the Portland City Council met to discuss whether to accept over $1 million from developers that would be used to help find a new home for the controversial homeless camp – but also ensure that home is not under the Broadway Bridge in the Pearl District.

The commissioners decided to review the proposal and postpone the vote to next week. Even if the City Council accepts the money, it would still have to undergo the process of finding a new home for the camp.

Last week, the Portland mayor’s office announced that hotel developers had offered to pay the city for the rights to purchase Lot 7, a parking lot underneath the westside ramp to the Broadway Bridge. That lot had been slated as the new home for R2DT before receiving significant backlash from Pearl District residents and businesses last year.

Under the proposal, the developers would pay $1,038,000. The city would receive $846,000 and the Portland Development Commission would get $142,000, which is the appraised value of the property. $50,000 would go to REACH, a nonprofit affordable housing development company.

REACH currently has the rights to Lot 7. According to the city, the $896,000 would serve as a payment in exchange for terminating that REACH lease and freeing up developers to do as they wish with the property.

The R2DT camp started in October 2011 — immediately following the Occupy Portland movement — when the city shut down an adult bookstore that was located on the lot. In response owner Michael Wright said he would allow anyone to lease the property for essentially free. Ibrahim Mubarak, organizer of R2DT, took him up on the offer, and the encampment has existed ever since.

In September 2013, the city announced that it had brokered a deal to move the camp from its current location at Northwest 4th Avenue and West Burnside Street in the Old Town Chinatown neighborhood to a new site under the Broadway Bridge.

However, that decision received considerable protest from Pearl District businesses and residents. The city dropped that plan.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday afternoon the PDC is scheduled to officially authorize the sale of Lot 7 to the hotel developers.