December 4th, 2013 2:53 pm | Aaron Mesh News | Posted In: City Hall

Hales Wants Right 2 Dream Too in This Old Town Warehouse

UPDATE: Camp likely to reject offer, its lawyer says.

frontage_photo.cfm320 NW Hoyt St. - Portland Maps

UPDATE, 5:30 pm: The lawyer for homeless camp Right 2 Dream Too says the camp is likely to turn down the warehouse site offered by Mayor Charlie Hales today.

"It does not appear that the Hoyt Street option is a viable option," Mark Kramer says. "It would put Right 2 Dream Too out on the street in 15 months."

Kramer tells WW he'll meet with the Right 2 Dream Too board tomorrow, but that he still believes the location picked by City Commissioner Amanda Fritz—a parking lot under the Broadway Bridge called "Lot 7"—is better, even though that lease is only for 12 months.

"Lot 7 is still public property," Kramer says. "We would hope to stay after a year."

But Hales made it clear during his afternoon press visit to the warehouse that he does not consider the Lot 7 parking lot a viable option—he's offering Right 2 Dream Too the choice between moving to the 320 NW Hoyt St. location or staying in its current spot.

ORIGINAL POST, 2:53 pm: Pearl District developers Homer Williams and Dike Dame have found Mayor Charlie Hales an alternative location for homeless camp Right 2 Dream Too: a warehouse in Old Town. 

"Go outside today and tell me that living in a tent in Portland, Oregon in the winter is a good solution," Hales told media gathered outside the warehouse at 320 NW Hoyt St. "Here's a bird in hand. Here's an opportunity to get 80 people inside."

The Portland Mercury first reported on the location earlier today and Hales' office officially confirmed it to reporters this afternoon. It is not a permanent location for the camp, which has drawn controversy at the Chinatown gate; instead, the city would lease it for 15 months.

Hales' office says Right 2 Dream Too leaders have toured the site. But they have not agreed to the offer of a 15-month lease.

"We certainly would urge them to take this deal," Hales spokesman Dana Haynes says. "We have a limited window. The property owners told us they are looking at other offers."

The vacant 29,100-square-foot warehouse, located at 320 NW Hoyt St., was last sold in 2011 to Seattle's Alco Investment Company for $2.2 million. It is located a block from the Blanchet House of Hospitality, which offers free meals to people in need. 

The city would pay the $10,000-a-month lease on the building, Hales' office says. But the agreement with Alco expires Dec. 16.

Hales agreed in October to halt a deal brokered by City Commissioner Amanda Fritz to move Right 2 Dream Too from its location by the Chinatown gate on West Burnside to a parking lot beneath the Broadway Bridge. Dame and Williams, who both develop condos in the Pearl District, asked Hales for time to find another location.

Fritz, who has been skeptical of Hales' delay, says the mayor has told her little about the warehouse.

"It hasn't been agreed to by Right 2 Dream Too and by me," she tells WW. "If there's a different location, Right 2 Dream Too needs to agree that's what they want." 

Hales aide Josh Alpert agrees the decision now rests with the camp.

"If they want to move to a site inside, we have a site for them," Alpert says. "We were hopeful that when we met to discuss these terms, that we would come to an agreement. We did not."

Hales says he's talked to the Old Town/Chinatown Community Association, hoping to persuade them and the homeless camp to agree to his suggested location, then start working on a permanent site.

"There's no place in Portland where you can offer to locate 60 to 80 homeless people and there's a spontaneous cheer," Hales says. "This is a good short-term deal for everybody. I hope no one snatches defeat from the jaws of victory here."
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