The Pearl District neighbors and businesses working to head off Commissioner Amanda Fritz's plan to move homeless rest area Right 2 Dream Too beneath a ramp of the Broadway Bridge have filed a formal appeal with the state Land Use Board of Appeals, a spokesman for the group has confirmed.
But the Pearl group also has put the appeal on hold, spokesman John Mangan tells the Mercury.
The group, led by developers Homer Williams and Dike Dame, has been working directly with R2DToo leaders on coming up with a different location than the one Fritz selected and—very important—memorialized into a legal settlement with the group that's supposed to take effect by the end of the month.
That mediation effort has been led more directly by Mayor Charlie Hales. Williams, a key Hales political supporter, persuaded the mayor on October 3 to hold off on approving a zoning letter that wold have cleared the way for Right 2 Dream Too to move out of its current spot on NW 4th and Burnside. The Oregonian reported Friday that Fritz is meeting with R2DToo and other parties today to talk "alternatives." A vote has been on hold to let those discussions—which have proven more difficult than the parties may have expected—play out.
Sources say the Pearl group has promised R2DToo that the move is strictly procedural, and not a sign they want to stop serious discussions.
The zoning letter Fritz's Bureau of Development Services produced in September wasn't billed as a final document, because it was headed for a council vote. But those documents almost always are final and don't require council approval—hence, Fritz could legally pull back a vote altogether and let the move proceed over the heads of her colleagues and over the objections (and likely court claims) of the move's opponents. The Pearl group wants to make sure, if there's any confusion, it doesn't miss its window to file a LUBA appeal.
Mangan, in a statement sent to the Mercury, explained the decision as such (emphasis mine):
"The Zoning Confirmation Letter (ZCL) was issued on September 26. The ZCL states that it is not a final decision. There is a 21 day appeal period to LUBA for final decisions. If anyone who participated in the hearing makes an argument that the ZCL was a final decision, an appeal of the decision would be due on October 17, 2013. So we filed only a precautionary appeal because we agree with the City that there is no final decision on this matter. The City and The Pearl Group together filed an immediate stay of that same appeal so we can continue our constructive conversations on solutions. It is our hope that after our further discussions we can simply withdraw that appeal."
I'd previously asked Fritz's office and BDS to confirm the appeal. Fritz's office hasn't responded yet. BDS replied and said it was checking. Neither Mangan nor LUBA has replied to a request for a copy of the appeal. I've also phoned a spokesman for R2DToo, asking for comment, and have yet to hear back.
Update 11:38 AM: One reason why some of those people haven't gotten back to me? The O just tweeted the outcome of that meeting today. Fritz says R2DToo and presumably the others in their lawsuit, including attorney Mark Kramer, have agreed to extend the timeline for a move out some 60 days. That's what Hales had told the O he wanted last week.
Update 12:20 PM: Fritz's office announced that the site's current landlords, led by Michael Wright, will "receive compensation" from private investors in exchange for their agreement to extend the settlement's moving deadline for an additional 60 days.