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Friday, January 13, 2012

City Fines Homeless "Rest Area" in Old Town $640 a Month

Posted by Sarah Mirk on Fri, Jan 13, 2012 at 12:14 PM

Apparently dreaming costs $641 a month.
  • Apparently dreaming costs $641 a month.
Since the Right 2 Dream Too "emergency rest area" sprang up in October, the tent city filling a vacant lot on NW 4th and Burnside has provided rather orderly shelter to at least 50 people every night. It's outlasted the Occupy Portland campsite by two months—but, finally, it looks like city code may have finally caught up to the site.

Right 2 Dream organizer Ibrahim Mubarak sent out a press release this morning announcing that while Right 2 Dream has provided "shelter, food, referrals, and community for 50-70 people a night at no cost to the city," the Bureau of Development Services (BDS) issued the group a notice on January 1st that they would be subject to a $641 monthly fine for violating the city camping ban. That fine could potentially increase to a daily fee after three months. While several Old Town businesses have come around to supporting the tent site, there have been complaints about code violations to BDS.

The group could appeal the fee, but the appeal fee itself is $1,215. "We're homeless people, how are we going to come up with money like that?" says Mubarak. The group could also go through the process of applying to make the lot a legal campground, but Mubarak says looking at the site as a camp site is a misnomer. "This is not really a camp ground, it's a place for people to rest who would otherwise be sitting on street corners and in doorways," says Mubarak.

Right 2 Dream organizers are hoping the city will waive the fee for appealing the code violation fine, or waive the fine entirely. The appeal money is officially due to the city on Monday, January 16th, and Right 2 Dream plans to join Sisters of the Road for an MLK-inspired march.

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