Since 2011, shortly after Occupy Portland claimed space in the downtown area, the homeless camp Right 2 Dream Too (R2D2) established itself on a vacant lot in one of the most central and most visible spots in the entire city. The camp is at the base of the lion gate statues at SW 4th & Burnside, the de facto entrance to the Old Town/ Chinatown neighborhood and business district.
In the years since, the city and R2D2 have agreed to look for another location — and a sizable private fund was established along the way for this purpose. Other possible sites have fallen through, but now the city has high hopes for its latest proposal: a centrally located site in an industrial southeast neighborhood. Ibrahim Mubarak, the co-founder and board president of Right 2 Dream Too says compared to the group’s current location, the SE Portland location puts people who use the site far from needed services.
“I was looking at the location and how far the new site is away from social services … and was wondering how would they get back and forth?” he says.
Mubarak is also concerned about potential harassment of R2D2 residents on public transportation. Ultimately, he’d like to see a central Right 2 Dream Too area, and other satellite locations in various parts of the city.
“If we can build an eco-village compound where we can have on-site social services there. Anywhere we can dictate our own land and follow-up on our own rules.”
The city has said that staying at the lot at the Old Town/Chinatown gate is not a viable long-term option. Mubarak declined to give another specific alternative R2D2 would prefer over the proposed southeast site.
“Where we at now would be the best spot,” he says.