PORTLAND – Supporters of a homeless camp intend to sue the City of Portland for what they call illegitimate fines, and both sides went before a Multnomah County judge Thursday.
“Right 2 Dream Too” is a collection of tents and outhouses on a vacant lot at Northwest 4th Avenue and Burnside Street. The encampment is home to between 60 and 80 homeless people each night.
The city argues that it’s a recreational camping spot, which is not allowed on that plot of land. The Bureau of Development Services is fining the property owner every day, and the total has reached $25,000.
Organizers call Right 2 Dream Too "transitional housing" and want the judge to rule that the fines are illegal.
“There's a need for transitional housing accommodations for people who either can’t fit into the shelters or can’t meet the shelter’s requirements,” argued Right 2 Dream Too’s attorney Mark Kramer.
The city wants the case thrown out.
“The plaintiffs needed to proceed through a certain process prior to availing itself of the judicial system,” said city attorney William Manlove. “And because they failed to do that, the judicial system court lacks subject matter jurisdiction."
The judge will decide within a couple weeks whether the suit can proceed.