The City of Portland has reached a deal to move homeless camp Right 2 Dream Too from Old Town to a property under the Broadway Bridge, says the camp's lawyer.
WW reported last week that City Commissioner Amanda Fritz was trying to broker a deal with the camp and Old Town property owner Michael Wright to lease a Portland Development Commission property under the bridge.
"We have reached an agreement," Mark Kramer, the attorney for Right 2 Dream Too and Wright, told WW this evening.
Kramer says the camp and Wright agreed around 7 pm to the most recent terms presented to them by the city. "The last part was Michael Wright saying yes," Kramer says, "and he said yes."
Fritz sent out a tweet saying the City Attorney's Office "has not yet confirmed to me that we have a settlement with Right to Dream Too. We'll know Monday."
She tells WW she hasn't heard if the deal is final.
Negotiations had bogged down last week over Wright's demand for complete freedom over how to use the empty lot at Northwest 4th Avenue and Burnside Street where the camp now sits. The Pearl District Neighborhood Association wrote Fritz to complain about locating the camp nearby.
Kramer says Wright has agreed not to place another homeless camp on his lot—with the hope the PDC will buy it from him.
"He can't use it for camping," Kramer says. "And hopefully PDC will buy it."
The deal's terms include the city dropping nearly $25,000 in outstanding fines for illegal camping in return for Wright and the camp dropping its lawsuit against the city. Kramer says both sides agreed to leave open the question of whether the camp should have been legal.
"That's a fight for another day," he says.
Earlier today, Pearl District Neighborhood Association president Patricia Gardner said the neighborhood association had not met with Right 2 Dream Too organizers.
"We have only had correspondence with City Council on the subject," Gardner wrote WW. "It has been a fairly one sided dialogue with council. Not actually a conversation at all."
UPDATE, 9:30 pm: Michael Wright confirms he agreed to the city's most recent terms.
In 2011, Wright began allowing the homeless camp to lease the site for $1 a year after former Commissioner Randy Leonard forced the closure of his business, Cindy's Adult Bookstore.
"I don't know how I'm feeling yet," he says. "Really, my position hasn't improved a heck of a lot. It's been many, many years of trying to do something on that property, and it's been difficult."
Wright offered the site to homeless campers as a way to defy city officials who fined him for setting up food carts. He now says his motivation has changed some.
"I don't think that I started this quest with any burning desire to help homeless people," Wright says. "But I kinda once in a while ended up feeling pretty good about what happened down there.
"Babies were born there," Wright continues. "Couples lived together. There was really some good there. I don't know—maybe I'm becoming a homeless advocate."