Right 2 Dream Too ask for hardship waiver against looming penalties for Fourth and Burnside camp

Members of Right 2 Dream Too at a recent meeting to discuss their appeal with the city.

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

One response to “Right 2 Dream Too ask for hardship waiver against looming penalties for Fourth and Burnside camp

  1. The city should waive the fine and kick in some resources to support the good work being done by Right 2 Dream Too. It makes no sense to punish others for doing a job the city has failed to do. If the city does not llke the
    six foot high fence, they should either relax the code, allow a variance,
    or send someone down with a scroll saw to remove whatever excess
    height they may deem appropriate.

    The Portland Alliance stands in support of Right 2 Dream Too. The city of Portland has neglected its responsibilities for too long. It is refreshing to
    see everyday people take it upon themselves to find creative ways to do
    the right thing out of the goodness of their hearts.

    It is not difficult to make the case that homelessness, during our current economic crisis, at the beginning of winter, is an appropriate circumstance for providing a hardship waiver. It is long past time for the administration of this city to step up to the plate and do right by the good people of Portland.

    in solidarity and best regards, Tim
    associate editor of The Portland Alliance Newspaper

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