Depending on the point of view, Portland’s most visible homeless encampment has become either a terrible eyesore, or an innovative way to house the unsheltered, with nonprofit status, a board of directors and even a makeshift computer lab.
But now, after 5½ years of controversy that have tested the patience of even this famously progressive city, the encampment known as Right 2 Dream Too is moving.
Portland officials announced Thursday that it reached an agreement with board members to move the camp inhabitants onto land near the Moda Center, where the Trail Blazers play basketball.
R2DToo, as the camp is known, is a funky amalgam of tents, pieces of wood and plastic sheeting, with about 80 or 90 people sleeping there each night. It’s survived partly with aid from local charities and restaurants that donate food and other services.
The agreement brings to a close R2DToo’s stay on a 7,762-square-foot plot of vacant, private land across the street from a “boutique” hotel development. Three times, a relocation site was identified but opposition prevented a move. Details are still being worked out, but the move is to occur within 60 days.
Yet the announcement doesn’t change the thorny underlying issues for which the group has become a lightning rod. The West Coast has seen an uptick in homelessness even as national levels have declined slightly, a report released in November shows. Portland declared a homeless “state of emergency” a few days after Los Angeles in 2015, and last year extended it through October 2017.
“We think that homelessness and housing is far and away the No. 1 issue for people in Portland,” Portland Business Alliance President Sandra McDonough said.