Right 2 Dream Too is appealing to the city to waive penalties against its camp at the corner of Fourth Avenue and Burnside while it works to address code violations issued by the Bureau of Development Services.
Right 2 Dream Too, which has operated an orderly camp at the entrance to Chinatown for more than two months, submitted its appeal to the BDS today. The group was cited in November for establishing an unpermitted recreational park-campground and for having a fence greater than six feet in height, also without a permit.
The document is as much a statement on the condition of homelessness in Portland today as it is an argument against the pending penalties, which could amount to nearly $600 a month.
“We’re trying to cooperate to the extent that we can,” says Michael Moore, one of the site’s organizers. “It’s not like an official waiver. The Director of Planning has the ability to (waive penalties) in special circumstances and we’re making the case that these circumstances warrant these consideration.”
In its appeal, the group says it believes the code being applied is overbroad, and that their site isn’t a “recreational” camp at all, but a facility for sheltering people who are homeless. The group says it is willing to work with the city to begin the permitting process on bringing the fence under code or finding a variance.
Unlike other tent cities of years past, Right 2 Dream Too has signed a one-year lease with the owners of the property at Fourth and Burnside, and since early October, the site has been home to approximately 70 people living in tents, supplied with a portable toilet and water, and bordered by a fence constructed of used doors.
“The extent and severity of the economic crisis that has led to a severe shortage of affordable housing and shelter space warrants consideration for a hardship waiver while we undertake this process. We have achieved more than many of us expected in terms of the impact we are having on the lives of Portland’s most disadvantaged and disenfranchised residents, those whom BDS’s mission to “Maintain safe and livable neighborhoods” is failing. We ask that the Bureau work with us to help extend this mission to all of Portland’s residents.”
Street Roots left a message for comment with Michael Liefeld, section manager for the BDS who has been handling this case, but he was not immediately available.
You can read the complete Right 2 Dream Too appeal here
Posted by Joanne Zuhl