A group of Pearl District neighbors and developers working to put off homeless rest area Right 2 Dream Too's planned move to a city lot beneath the Lovejoy ramp of the Broadway Bridge issued a statement today confirming recent reports on the painstaking progress of their talks and touting Mayor Charlie Hales' "leadership" of the process.
"We have met with the City and Right to Dream multiple times in these last 12 days. Based on those meetings we have gained a clearer and better understanding of the program needs of Right to Dream," it says. "Working together, we have identified several sites that may be able to accommodate the camp and its proposed operation over the next year. We have looked at several housing solutions. These options involve roofs, not just tents."
The statement, by spokesman John Mangan, comes the same day the Portland City Council had been scheduled to vote on a zoning letter okaying R2DToo's move. That vote, however, was formally pulled back yesterday by its frustrated sponsor, Commissioner Amanda Fritz, after Hales asked her to let the talks with developers keep playing out.
That delay was the second since Fritz announced she had a plan to move Right 2 Dream Too. During an initial hearing October 3 on Fritz's proposal, developer Homer Williams beseeched Hales for more time to work up alternatives.
Williams and his partner, Dike Dame, have said the Bureau of Development Services misinterpreted city zoning code and taking shortcuts in approving the Lovejoy site. They also said the lot in question is covered by a parking agreement signed as part of a development deal with their company. Other opponents said the idea of tent camping is an inhumane solution to homelessness—never mind that waiting for a more substantial solution would take years and millions of dollars that would do little for helping the 1,700 people sleeping outside every night right now.
As I reported in Hall Monitor this week, Fritz has had some pretty harsh things to stay about the talks, whereas Hales' office was bullish. A spokeswoman for Hales said the talks had begun to allow for the possibility of some tent component.
The full statement is after the cut.