The first people to score space on the Rose Festival parade route aren't determined suburbanites—they're members of local homeless advocacy group Right 2 Survive.

"This is the one day a year where it's legal to squat on the street," organizer Ibrahim Mubarak told me, as he helped set up tents along SW 4th Avenue during lunchtime. "You can squat on the street one day a year for pleasure, but not the rest of the year for survival."


As of 10am today it's legal to set up lawn chairs, tarps, and tents along the parade route. Right 2 Survive is taking advantage of this unique 24 hours by making a statement about Portland brushing its homeless problem under the rug. Volunteers are standing on the busy streetcorner next to the tents, handing out bright yellow fliers that declare, "The space under the bridges has been swept 'clean.' What you see is not real."

Summer homeless sweeps are a regular occurrence. Mubarak found housing eight months ago, he says, but this time last year, he was sleeping under a bridge downtown before the Rose Festival when police officers routinely came by and moved him along.

The group will be there all night. They've got plenty of snacks, but are asking people to bring tents or sleeping bags to donate, if anyone has an extra. They also look like they could use some delicious donuts (in my opinion).