It's still a few days out, the Thursday afternoon Portland City Council meeting where city leaders will take up the fate of Right 2 Dream Too—debating a "zoning confirmation" letter released last week that appears to sanction the homeless rest area's move into the Pearl District by calling it an allowed "community service."
But prominent business interests fighting the move—controversially brokered by Commissioner Amanda Fritz—haven't been waiting to stock their quiver of counterarguments. Or threaten legal action.
John Mangan, a spokesman for Homer Williams and Dike Dame, and other businesses, including Hoyt Street Partners, says the consortium is prepared to formally challenge any vote that lets R2DToo move onto a city-owned lot beneath a Broadway Bridge ramp without a design review or any building permits.
"Yes," was Mangan's one-word answer when asked if a formal challenge was in the works.
Mangan says the group doesn't think the city is playing fair—especially by going back on parking agreements that appear to bind the lot Fritz has offered. He also says the principles—Williams and Dame are big political financiers and supported Mayor Charlie Hales—haven't gotten any traction in taking their case to city hall.
It's expected that Fritz can count on Hales to vote for the move—leaving just one other vote, from Dan Saltzman or Steve Novick, to pull it off. Commissioner Nick Fish, a former housing commissioner and R2DToo skeptic, will be at a small business conference Thursday.
"Yes, we have talked to the [Portland Development Commission]," which is overseen by Hales, says Mangan. "They agree with the move. And we have had no response from the mayor or the other commissioners."
"This isn't really about homelessness," he says. "There are other options."
"Why move this camp under a bridge ramp when there are facilities that might be available," he added specifically mentioning the Blanchet House.
Beyond his comments, Mangan provided the working outline of the business consortium's response to the city's zoning letter, taking it point by point and arguing that BDS director Paul Scarlett selectively overlooked other codes that prohibit a Right 2 Dream Too move. Interestingly, much of what Scarlett wrote comes from a similar offer made to R2DToo nearly two years ago, back when Saltzman ran BDS.
The list is after the jump.