PORTLAND, OR – The City of Portland is in negotiations to purchase a plot of land in the Central Eastside that could become the new home for the Right To Dream 2 rest area.
The site is owned by the Oregon Department of Transportation. It is 9,073 square feet at Southeast Third Avenue and Harrison Street.
For almost four years, R2DToo has provided shelter on Burnside Street at Northwest Fourth Avenue, at the entrance to Old Town/Chinatown. An estimated 70 people per night stay there, and organizers say more than 200 people found housing while being supported at the site. The rest area for Portland’s houseless population has proven to be an effective model for a self-governing operation. However, the land upon which it sits is under contract to be sold.
Staff for Mayor Charlie Hales and Commissioner Amanda Fritz have been seeking an alternative site for well over a year. Issues under consideration include the size of the property, proximity to social services and to transit, and the impact on neighbors.
“Right to Dream has proven that it can be a good neighbor,” Hales said. “Our Central Precinct police officers confirm that the site is well managed. But it cannot stay at its current location, and we need to find them a new home.”
The purchase of the new site is pending. A timeline for a move is not yet known. A purchase agreement could be ready for City Council consideration by the end of May. Funding provided by the Pearl District Investors, for a 2014 property sale, will be used to pay for the new property.
“I’m happy the city has worked with Right to Dream Too board members to review many options for new locations, and that we’ve settled on this one,” Fritz said. “Right to Dream Too provides a valuable community service, keeping people living outside safe and sheltered.”
In seeking the site, staff for Mayor Hales and Commissioner Fritz have spoken to the leadership of the Central Eastside Industrial Council, Hosford Abernethy Neighborhood Development and surrounding businesses.
While R2DToo has proven effective, Hales emphasizes that Portland – like all cities in the nation – will continue to struggle with issues of homelessness.
“We have made Housing one of our top budget priorities in 2013, 2014 and again this year. It is a priority of Multnomah County. And yet, on any given night, we may have 1,700 homeless people living unsheltered in our city,” Hales said. “Homelessness is a crisis at the city, state and national level. Any aid we can provide for people who are houseless, or who are at risk of becoming houseless, will remain our priority.”
(Press Release from Portland’s Mayor’s Office 4/29/2015)