The Old Town/Chinatown Neighborhood Association, one of the groups pressuring the city to oust Right 2 Dream Too's homeless tent refuge from NW Fourth and Burnside, has scheduled what looks to be a lengthy summit on the issue for Wednesday morning.

The guest list includes city officials, including Housing Bureau Director Traci Manning. But it also mentions that Right 2 Dream Too's board members has been invited. Last week, Right 2 Dream's president, Mike Dee, told me the group was looking forward to speaking with the neighborhood group. It's set for 11:30 AM to 1 PM, at Central City Concern, 232 NW Sixth.

What's interesting is the conciliatory tone struck by Old Town/Chinatown president Howard Weiner in an email sent out to association members, obtained by the Mercury:

Good Morning Folks, We are having a joint meeting with our land use and public safety/livability committees. This meeting has only one agenda item which is the development on 4th and Burnside Right 2 Dream too. I have invited the board of this project to speak at our meeting and hopefully they will join us and be part of the discussion. I’ve invited both the Bureau of development to speak about their role and the bureau of housing to speak to the cities efforts in regards to homelessness. My hope and desire is to get a better understanding of the needs of these folks and help them find a more suitable and sustainable location or locations as this is a city/county wide issue that should be addressed by our elected leaders.

Meanwhile, I spoke with Ross Caron, spokesman for the Bureau of Development Services this afternoon. He says the owner of the private lot where the camp has received a one-year lease has yet to respond to a city letter sent earlier this month seeking more information. The deadline, after 10 business days, also happens to be Wednesday.

Update 4:10 PM: Occupy Portland this afternoon once again is using its soapbox to weigh in on a specific, tangible issue. It has issued an open letter to Mayor Sam Adams and other city officials, urging them to suspend city laws "currently used to criminalize homeless people." Like the city's anti-camping ordinance. The full text is after the cut.

This open letter from the General Assembly of Occupy Portland affirms our solidarity with the homeless people in our city. We ask that City ordinances currently used to criminalize homeless people be suspended until new solutions are found. This request is in accordance with the official Bill of Rights for Children and Youth as adopted by Portland and Multnomah County: “Shelter: We have the inherent right to shelter. The City of Portland and Multnomah County should continue their efforts to provide adequate shelter to those who need it.”

The number of unhoused people living on the streets of Portland has steadily increased over the past ten years in spite of good intentions to reduce homelessness to zero. Instead, Portland city officials are now cracking down on the efforts of a nonprofit homeless organization, “Right to Dream Too” (R2DToo) to open their self-help site, a rest area for those forced to live outdoors (located next to the Chinatown gate on Burnside Street). Their goals are modest and very basic: “The right to rest, the right to sleep, and the right to dream, too.”

The Occupy Wall Street movement is calling attention to the increasing inequality and economic injustice across the country. One frequent grievance is the rise of evictions due to home foreclosures, a trend which has been exposed as caused by banks’ irresponsible manipulation of loans. Many more Americans are now on the precarious edge of living one or two paychecks away from joining the homeless. This is a state of economic emergency which calls out for extraordinary action by governments.

We encourage you to open dialogue with alternative solutions — such as the R2DToo rest area, which is legally leased on private property, and is run by experienced volunteers with support from the community. Such efforts in self-determination and bootstrap self-help cost the City nothing, as they are funded by charity and managed by the hard work of volunteer organizers. Such projects are in the American vein of self-reliance and also strengthen community bonds. We invite you to help such grassroots solutions.

Finally, The Bill of Rights for Children and Youth can be found prominently displayed on the reception desk of Mayor Adams’ office, and is also online at the County website. It affirms what Occupy Portland also affirms: the inalienable right to survive, which requires shelter. Families and individuals who cannot live indoors, for whatever reason, should not be swept out of sight and mind. They deserve the human dignity to be seen and to exist in our city.

Thank you for considering this appeal, and we welcome your response.

Occupy Portland, General Assembly