Commissioner Amanda Fritz has confirmed that she may decide to pull back Wednesday's scheduled vote on a city zoning letter giving Right 2 Dream Too permission to move onto a Pearl District parking lot owned by the city's urban renewal agency.
That possibility came up in reporting this morning by KOIN, the Portland Tribune, and the Oregonian, drawing from Fritz's comments at last night's meeting of the Pearl District Neighborhood Association. Fritz mentioned ongoing discussions between R2DToo and Pearl interests including developer Homer Williams on alternative sites for the homeless rest area to take over.
"They don't agree with the zoning confirmation letter," Fritz told me, talking about Pearl neighbors. "If the discussions are continuing, it doesn't seem wise to have the council vote on the letter next week if that's going to annoy some of the parties."
As of right now, the vote is still on for next week's agenda. Fritz filed for an official continuance of this month's hours-long hearing on R2DToo by last night's council deadline. But she can always pull it back. Fritz has meetings planned later today with Mayor Charlie Hales and also board members of R2DToo.
As the Mercury reported this week, Williams and R2DToo leader Ibrahim Mubarak had at least been emailing each other directly in hopes of getting together. John Mangan, a spokesman for Williams and others in the talks, wouldn't confirm if the two had met. He also wouldn't detail proposals under discussion. But he did say the group was still targeting Wednesday for bringing forward ideas on alternatives.
Williams persuaded Hales to back off on a vote October 3 after promising, during his testimony, to put money and resources into a potential deal.
"They went right to work and they've been working throughout the week," Mangan says. "The urgency is definitely there. They're assuming that by Wednesday they'll need to have ideas to present."
So far, those discussions have involved finding other locations for the site. Williams personally told me he wanted "roofs" to be part of the solution. But sources say those discussions haven't been as easy as hoped. Suitable buildings aren't plentiful or useable without zoning shortcuts—the same kind of sin opponents of R2DToo's Pearl move have accused the city of engaging in. (The city insists, for its part, that its proposal for moving R2DToo isn't a shortcut and is completely legit.)