The owners and tenants of the Right 2 Dream Too homeless camp in downtown Portland filed suit against the city Monday.
Right 2 Dream opened on a plot of vacant land last year, at about the same time the Occupy movement took over two Portland parks. Occupy was forced out, but Right 2 Dream remains. On any given day up to 80 homeless people can be found there.
The city says Right 2 Dream is operating as a recreational park and needs meet minimum standards for things like grey water disposal, lighting and spacing between camps. The city has imposed fines of more than $5,000.
Right 2 Dream resident Steven Brandkamp said the city’s being shortsighted.
“We don’t have fresh water or sanitation out here on the street either,” he said. “At least there we have a tent over our heads, we have sleeping bags. We’re not on the street. We’re not sleeping in doorways, we’re not trespassing, we are on private property down there.”
The lawsuit asks a judge to dismiss all fines, order the city to participate in a good faith dispute resolution with the land owners, and stop the city from defining the space as a recreational park — meaning it wouldn’t be subject to permit requirements.