Right 2 Dream Too denied waiver by city

by Joanne Zuhl, staff writer

Right 2 Dream Too has been denied a waiver from the city for its rest area for the homeless at the corner of Northeast Burnside and Fourth Avenue and now owes the city $641 for code violations.

The group has until Jan. 16 to file a formal appeal to the citations levied by the city’s Bureau of Development Services. In December, the group sent in an administrative review request to the city to waive the fines and allow the camp to continue. It now has until Jan. 16 to file an appeal, which comes with a $1,215 appeals fee.

Ibrahim Mubarak, one of the organizers of Right 2 Dream Too, said putting fees and charges on a group of homeless people is typical America.

“We’re sleeping on a gravel lot, in tents, and they’re trying to extract that much money from us?” Mubarak said.

Instead, the group will be meeting tomorrow to consider other ways of compelling the city to allow the camp to remain on the property, for which it has a year lease. Mubarak said they want to rally supporters to appeal to the BDS, the bureau’s supervising commissioner Dan Saltzman, and Housing Commissioner Nick Fish. The city recently started a pilot project waiving enforcement against car camping on designated parking lots, and Mubarak wants the city to do the same for Right 2 Dream Too.

“We’re going to try to get them to waive the fines and try to have this be a better place where people can come and stay,” Mubarak said. “Because we don’t have that type of money.”

Right 2 Dream Too began leasing the vacant lot at the entrance to Chinatown in October, and has established a peaceful camp, or rest area, that accommodates about 70 people experiencing homelessness. The organization is in the process of becoming a non-profit, and operates with a board of directors and management rules. The site has a portable toilet and a fence constructed of doors along one side.

For all intents and purposes, the city says the organization is operating a recreational campground and is in violation of city code for not having the required permits. The organization is also in violation for the fence, which exceeds 6 feet in height. The fines will be assessed monthly for as long as the site is in violation of city code.

In his response letter to Right 2 Dream Too, Mike Liefeld, section manager with the BDS, said permits are possible, and suggested the city was willing to work with the group if it wants to either bring the operation into compliance, or pursue channels into housing for people using the site.

“It is possible to pursue legalizing the operation by obtaining the required permits for this type of development,” Liefeld writes. “If you are able to obtain issued permits for the Recreational Park-Campground development and receive final inspection approvals by April 10, 2012 (which is six months from the date the Bureau originally contacted Right 2 Dream Too representatives regarding the campground), the Bureau will consider reducing the amount of the monthly code enforcement fee assessments. I would also encourage you to contact the Portland Housing Bureau to further explore other housing options and alternatives that relate to issues raised in your Dec. 20, 2011 appeal letter.”

Mubarak said relocating the camp isn’t on the table at this time.

“It’s going to be raining soon, and moving people in the rain and the cold — it’s the wrong time. Unless they have some place for us to go.”

6 responses to “Right 2 Dream Too denied waiver by city

  1. What is the city’s rationale behind “legalizing” R2D as a recreational camp? On the issue of R2D staying there, it seems that the city should be happy with just getting out of R2D’s way, or asking R2D what the city should do differently. But it seems like the city is trying to be a control freak, and harassing R2D instead. This tells me they have their own ideas in mind for R2D, which are different from R2D’s ideas.

    I think that the city has brought forth the complaint………….so therefore, the city must prove it’s allegations. The burden of proof is on the complainant. The city should prove that R2D is a recreational camp. They seem to be basing their authority on this unproven allegation. Why allow them to continue down that path? Hold their feet to the fire. The city shouldn’t have opened their mouths and complained, what can I say.

    In reality, the city should be fined, a lot, for harassing R2D. Period. The current dynamic of their calling the shots is just plain wrong, for all peoples. Our relationship with the city is not complete slavery where we do anything they say, even the most ridiculous things like forcing homeless people to lose what little stability they have scraped together.

    Why doesn’t R2D tell the city that R2D is staying there until the city comes up with solutions favored by R2D?! Does this not seem perfectly natural?!! The people of this city will protect R2D from the police. Just keep publicizing info about this on indymedia, etc., and keep at it, never lose your connection to the public.


  2. Seriously, the city believes fining the houseless is an appropriate measure to take on leased property for a place that someone can pitch a tent to sleep? I’m sure they believe that the R2D site is an eyesore because of the location. Sorry that you see the fence and the people as an issue that you fail to address in this city. I believe it is the perfect location because it reminds people each and every day that there is a whole population of people who have been hit hard by the 1% and other socioeconomic issues. The city needs to step it up and work with developers to develop appropriate housing for the houseless and low incomes population. It’s ridiculous that we don’t take care of our citizens in this country.

  3. Join R2DToo and supporters at City Hall on February 1 at 8:30am. Tell the City’s Bureau of Development Services to waive the fines!

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  5. I was able to find good information from your blog articles.

  6. I ride both sides of the fence on this one. I think that the organization itself is a great one…helping many of the homeless population; myself included, however at the same time, this organization does need to go through the required permits and red tape to occupy land, just as any other business or organization does. Just because we are homeless does not give us the right to disregard city, state and federal laws, regardless of the business intent. In fact, disregarding the laws and requirements isn’t making city and state officials feel all warm and cozy about the presence of R2DToo.

    What about creating actual public awareness and campaigns…fundraisers? The money that the city is asking is not a lot and definitely do-able if some actual work is put into it.

    I’ve seen how R2DToo operates and the volunteering and level of rules and enforcement. It works and well. Here is where I am going to flip tables a bit. To the committee/staff at R2DToo, how would you feel if a city official came onto the site and started breaking the rules of the area and when confronted, the person tells you they are a city official and they can do what they want. How well would that go over for you?
    The chances of that happening is probably 0, but you hopefully see the point I am making.

    Not wanting to follow city rules and requirements is making the homeless look that much worse and let’s face it, we are not anyone’s favorites as it is. I know we are homeless, but unfortunately, that does not exempt us from following city rules and regulations.

    Get the permits you need, fundraise to get the money. If little kids can sell candy to strangers to pay for school stuff, then we can raise money too.

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