Right 2 Dream Too—the thriving Old Town tent refuge for the homeless currently waging a legal battle against Portland over code violation fines—has posted its latest bill from the city's Bureau of Development Services.
The city, you'll recall, is treating the place like an unpermitted "recreational" campground—a characterization organizers, clients, and their attorneys vehemently dispute. But the city hasn't budged, and so the new unpaid total, as of this month, has hit $17,128.93. That's a sizable but steady bump since the last time organizers posted their bill, back in January. With interest and penalties, the monthly hit is now more than $1,500.
The well-run refuge opened in October 2011. Though cops anecdotally say it's helped, not hurt, crime, the site quickly annoyed groups like the Portland Business Alliance and has been blamed by developer David Gold for the failure of his heavily city-financed plan to redevelop the old Grove Hotel across NW 4th from the rest area.
It's even received the back of the hand from social services providers like Transition Projects Inc., which runs shelter beds and helps operate the city's multimillion-dollar homeless day center, Bud Clark Commons. TPI director Doreen Binder, who's also backing the PBA's attempt to tighten sidewalk laws and is close to Police Chief Mike Reese, called Right 2 Dream Too a "blight" in a recent piece by the Daily Journal of Commerce.
"It’s an unacceptable temporary situation,” she said. “It’s a blight on our visual, and it’s a blight on the statement about what we think about people and what we’re willing to do to help people. I don’t think it’s an acceptable way to live.”
Spokesman Ibrahim Mubarak, however, says the site, which rents its land for pennies a month, is soldiering on. Last month, he says, 11 people left for permanent housing while others took advantage of the chance for a quiet and safe night of sleep.
"We're meeting with our lawyers today," he says.