Sunday, June 21, 2015

MRG Foundation Funded!
   We recently applied for a grant from the good people at the MRG Foundation. And to that we would like to say "Thank You!" Your hard work is what makes our hard work possible. If you would like to give them kudos or have hard work your doing, MRG could help you!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Right 2 Survive Hosts 5th Annual Pitch a Tent Celebration

Right 2 Survive is excited to announce our 5th annual Pitch a Tent action June 5-6, 2015. This year's theme will be Right to Rest, Right to Dream. We will meet at the Right 2 Dream Rest Area on the corner of NW 4th and W Burnside at 9 am on Friday, June 5 and march up to SW 4th and Washington where we will set up tents along the parade route at 10 am. We will have food, friendship, and solidarity during the day and entertainment featuring Mic and Jenna Crenshaw among others from 7 to 11 pm. Be sure to camp out with us overnight on the 5th to get prime seats to watch the Rose Festival Parade on June 6th!
Right 2 Survive does this action every year for a few different reasons. The time leading up to the Rose Festival is also the time when houseless people are most likely to be targeted and swept as more and more people come to Portland to enjoy the festivities. This action serves to give as many houseless people as possible a safe place to stay the night before the parade. It is also used to educate and inform the public of the unfair laws and ordinances that make camping for survival illegal while there is a policy in effect that makes it perfectly legal to camp out up to 24 hours before a parade for recreational purposes. I repeat, it is legal to camp for recreation to get a prime spot for a parade here in Portland, yet it is illegal to erect a tent, or even cover yourself with a tarp or blanket to protect yourself from the elements if you are doing this for survival any of the other 364 days of the year!
Come join us in solidarity, stay for the entertainment and speakers! We are please to announce that Paul Boden from Western Regional Advocacy Project will be joining us again this year to give an update on the Homeless Bill of Rights. We look forward to seeing all of you there!

You can view the event page at

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Truth About the Sweeps 

by Zach 
      Recently there have been many sweeps in and around the Hawthorne Bridge area. Many people have reported that private security companies have engaged in these sweeps. Companies like Clean & Safe  and Pacific Patrol Services have been spotted at many of these sweeps. 

      Storing the belongings taken from the sweeps, and having private security companies do this, is against Oregon law. Specifically, ORS 203.079 Section 1) Part d) says "All unclaimed personal property shall be given to law enforcement officials whether 24-hour notice is required or not." "Law enforcement officials" as defined by this code would be referring to the local police— in our case Portland Police Bureau.           
      Therefore, if any private companies or "Rent-a-Cops" are storing any of your property after a sweep, they are violating state law. These hired security forces are not "law enforcement" and do not have the authority as outlined in ORS 203.079. 

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

R2S Goes to Tucson
By: Lisa Fay
       Earlier this month (March 2015), with the help of believers from GoFundMe and a grant from the MRG Foundation, Right 2 Survive (R2S) was welcomed back to Tucson, Arizona to work with leaders of Right 2 Dream Too, Tucson and Safe Park. While there, we engaged in meetings to discuss the next steps on their plans for making the future brighter for the houseless folks down there.
       We and local activists spoke at a meeting, held by the city of Tucson, to come up with solutions that would work for all of Tucson's downtown dwellers. Also present were local business owners, shelter heads, and the Diocesan Bishop. In that meeting, discussions around housing, as well as traffic of houseless in front of businesses, were of great concern. R2S shared a power point of five of the tent cities and rest areas in Oregon and of other working models from around the country—all of which are low cost temporary solutions to houselessness that can be implemented and maintained using self-governance, while alleviating costs to the city and surrounding businesses.

      We also attended a federal court hearing that ruled that sleeping in “pods” in a public space as a means of “Free Speech Protest” is a City matter and is to be determined by the City, not a federal judge. The City of Tucson responded swiftly. Within 3 hours of the ruling, the City had police officers posting eviction notices on all the sleep pods that lined the sidewalks in the Safe Park area. Folks were given 3 days to move their sleep pods and tents, or these would be confiscated. The police brought out the mental health task force to evaluate folks; and if they wanted, they could go into a mental health facility immediately, but (the mental health task force) couldn't provide any social service assistance.
      Sadly, for the estimated 3,000 unhoused residents, Tucson is considering adopting Denver's harsh sidewalk ordinances that strictly controls the houseless movements in their public areas, and infringe on their Civil, Constitutional and Human Rights. R2S spoke about the Houseless Bill of Rights Campaign with interested parties, and helped folks understand the need for protection from criminalization based on housing status. In Arizona, certain felonies prevent folks from receiving any type of public assistance (i.e. food stamps, health care, welfare and housing assistance). 
     R2S also used the time to do interviews for their radio show (that airs on KBOO 90.7fm), and video recorded some of the things they witnessed. The radio interviews will air on April 8th @ 6pm. The videos will take some time to edit and format. We will let everyone know when they are finished, and they will be found here: follow-up from the removal of the pods from downtown: Temporarily, they have a place, and folks can still stay protesting for their rights on the downtown streets of Tucson. Meetings, like the ones we participated in with community leaders, are still going on to find answers. Open dialogue is critical!
      Next stop: R2S’s Ibrahim Mubarak, Ptery Light, and Faduma (from Groundworks Portland) are off to Denver for a national conference on houselessness— to be attended by Activist and Critical thinkers from East to West coasts— with the intent to unify organizations across the country who are all doing similar work, and to create a national network that addresses the injustices that the houseless struggle with as a community.

Connect with Right 2 Survive

Friday, March 20, 2015

Imagine the Sheriff...

by Peter F.
     Imagine the Sheriff showed up at your door one morning,accompanied by a Portland police officer.  The officer proceeds to force open your door, without knocking, exclaiming "Police, time to
wake up!"  The officer immediately enters your home, putting on blue rubber gloves, as if you and your home were diseased.   No reason is given for their intrusion, and warrant is presented.

     The sheriff, one hand on his gun, waves his inmate work crew into your home, where they look around eagerly, waiting to be told what to do.  The officer walks through your home, pointing at each of your belongings, and the inmates eagerly grab them over your protests.  They take each item to a trailer, where they are tossed onto a pile to be thrown out. You watch in horror as your clothing, bedding, stove, pots and pans, family photos, passport and furniture are taken away.  The officer answers your increasingly desperate protests with a threat to arrest you for interfering with a police officer if you continue to object.

     You are told you don't need what has been taken, or that you cannot legally possess it. When you beg them not to return the next day, the officer tells you that if you leave and never return, the harassment will end.  But you know better.  Others wait in the neighboring communities, ready to do the same.  The uniformed officers leave as abruptly as they came, moving to your neighbor's house, and on down your block.  You know that as bad as this was, the next visit could be the one where your home could be torn down, and your remaining possessions taken from you.  If you are lucky, you will have 24 hours to save what you can carry.

This is not an imagined scenario.  

     It is happening every day on our streets.  It is the holocaust of the houseless.For the houseless, this unbelievable, illegal violation of both the law and their individual constitutional rights is an everyday occurrence. Laws against crimes like theft, and constitutional protections such as the fourth amendment right to be secure in your belongings and papers, or the 5th and 14th amendment guarantees of due process, do not seem to apply.  Conspiracy is not a paranoid delusion for these individuals, but brutal reality.

     The County Sheriff, local police and private security, backed by the money and influence of the PBA and other representatives of business interests, work together in a conscious effort to deprive the houseless of their safety, security, belongings, and protection from the elements.  Meanwhile, the City makes a public show of demonstrating its concern by convening commissions, committees and workgroups to end homelessness, while those sworn to protect and serve all citizens work daily to end homelessness by chasing the homeless out of Portland.

     The 10-year plan to end homelessness died a slow death, and it's heir, A Home for Everyone, in a bizarre incarnation of social triage, has already made the concession that there will be no homes for the single largest group of homeless individuals:  single men.  As if to sweep this truth away, the effort to clear the houseless from under every bridge, out of every doorway, off every sidewalk in the City is in full swing.  ODOT, the Portland Police, Multnomah County Sherriff, Portland Patrol Inc. and Pacific Patrol Services work together in this misguided mission.  Forced to move away from services that are centered on Old Town, the houseless are entering surrounding neighborhoods in large numbers, bringing fear and backlash against them from residents and businesses.

 Homeless in America

by Mike S.
     Imagine if you will, a world where it is illegal to sit down.  Could you survive if there were no place to fall asleep, to store your belongings, or to sit or stand still?  For homeless people across America, these circumstances are an ordinary part of daily life.  In America people are criminalized on a daily basis for just trying to survive.  Sitting, standing, sleeping, and eating in public in many cities in the US are illegal.

  Norwegian Art depicts what they must think of the US.
     According to the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty, homeless people are criminally punished for being in public, even when they have no alternatives.  Homelessness is caused by a severe shortage of affordable housing, and fewer emergency shelter beds than homeless people.  Despite a lack of affordable housing and shelter space, many cities have chosen to criminally punish people living on the street for doing what any human being must do to survive.  In Portland for example, there used to be a "sit/lie" ordinance, that made it illegal for people to sit or lie on a sidewalk.  There is still a law that makes it illegal to cover yourself if you are lying in a park, or public space.  Other laws affecting homelessness include: camping in public, sleeping in public, laws against panhandling, sleeping in vehicles, and food sharing. These laws are against the very constitution that everyone has, and against peoples basic human rights as afforded by the UN.

     In 3 states, a Homeless Bill of Rights has been passed.  These states are Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Illinois.  Rhode Island was the first state in the nation to pass a homeless bill of rights, ensuring that no one is discriminated against based on their housing status. For the first time, basic rights; such as the right to vote, to access gainful employment, or gain housing; can't be denied because someone lists a shelter or a street corner as their address.

    Oregon is trying to pass a very similar law that will allow people to shelter themselves, cover themselves, and sleep in a vehicle that is legally parked.  Our bill is Senate Bill 629, and is backed by Senator Chip Shields.  If you are interested in learning more about, or want to support us, please feel free to attend our meeting that are held every 1st, 3rd, and 5th Friday of the month at 11:30 am.  The address is 2249 E Burnside in Portland.

    One conclusion that could be raised is criminalization laws are ineffective, expensive, and violate the civil rights of homeless people.  Both the federal government and the international human rights monitors have recognized criminalization of homeless as a violation of the US human rights obligations.  One example of the expense, criminalization.  The Utah Housing and Community Development Commission found that the annual cost of emergency room visits and jail stays for an average homeless person was $16,670.  While providing an apartment and a social worker cost only $11,000.  By providing housing to its homeless population, Utah has been able to reduce its rate of chronic homelessness by 74%.

     Some solutions to this problem could be:
 1.  Governments investing in more affordable housing.
2.  Local governments dedicating resources to ending homelessness in their cities.
3.  Communities should adapt a housing first model, which is premised on the idea that pairing
     homeless people with immediate access to their own apartments is the best way to end their
4.  Communities should improve police training and practices.
5.  Every state should enact Homeless Bill of Rights legislation.
These are just a few of the ideas that could help become a solution to the problem of homelessness.  There are probably as many solutions to the problem as there are homeless, but another temporary solution is more rest areas like Right 2 Dream Too.  To get involved with R2DToo, come by our rest area at 4th and Burnside.  All help is appreciated, and all donations are gladly accepted.  You should also go to city council and speak out for your rights, homeless or not.  If enough voices are heard on this issue, it will eventually make a difference.  If not for yourself, then possibly someone you love.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Dreamer Spotlight

Willow Frost is a Dreamer.  She stayed at Right 2 Dream Too from February of 2012, until July 2014, when she secured housing.  
Willow loves tea!  So yesterday, we met up at R2DToo and went out to have a tea, chat about her life, and talk about how we could let people know what an important resource we have in Right 2 Dream Too.


Willow was helping Mike cover the security desk for a sick community member when I came to meet her yesterday.

What do you love?
I love tea!  Ever since I was a teenager I have loved tea.  I began drinking it because I couldn’t drink coffee anymore.  Tea comes in so many varieties, even something like mint tea (the chosen tea for our chat) - the process of making it, makes it different every time.  Tea is cheaper than coffee and you can get more enjoyment from it.  It can calm you down, help with digestion, even prevent cancer.  I love tea because their are so many uses, and tea is so diverse.

I also love reading.  I enjoy fantasy novels, historical fiction, poetry, sci-fi… mostly the fiction genre.  Again, it’s all about diversity.  If it’s well written, I’ll read it.  Of course, whether something is well written or not is in the eye of the beholder.

Tell me about your education.
My education is spotty and full.  I got expelled from a bunch of schools.  I wasn’t big on the school structure.  I didn’t understand the rules and I couldn’t conform to them.  I made it through high school.  
At the first high school, I started taking German language.  Then there was a multilingual gathering, with all the different language departments.  That’s where I met the Japanese teacher.  I found out that Japanese is a very structured language.  There are rules, and if you break the rules in Japanese, then you are just talking nonsense.  
I studied Japanese throughout high school.  I got good enough at it that I was elected for the extended exchange trip.  I spent 6 months in Japan where I learned so much and had an amazing host family.  I would go back to visit if I could.
I tried college.  The first time, I lasted 2 weeks.  I tried a different college and lasted 1 week.  I decided to get an education through living.  I did that by talking to people who were intellectuals or had something they could help me learn, and by traveling the U.S.
I got an Associate’s degree from PCC and continued my education at PSU in psychology and Japanese.  But a lot of my learning came from the people I met.
You can learn a lot from homeless people.  Homeless people come from all walks of life.  I learned a lot about philosophy from a homeless guy.  He had a Master’s degree and the field he was working in sort of dried up.  He had been on the streets for four years.
I learned a lot about resourcefulness from a guy named Tank in New York City.  His house was the maintenance room of a subway station.  He broke the lock and rigged the electricity.  He had two five gallon pickle tubs, which he used for his shower.  The room was the size of a small studio apartment.  He had a cot for guests.  I stayed there for 3 weeks.  I learned about electronics and I learned how to pick a lock.
I learned a lot about debate from the Occupiers in New York.  I can hold my own in an argument.  I also learned how to talk to the police (or not talk to the police), both from Occupy New York and Right 2 Dream Too.  They employ different methods, but they both taught me.

Why should people support Right 2 Dream Too?

R2DToo actually saved my life, I think.  The February that I came, I had just got back from Michigan, where I was staying in a mission.  There was no where to stay, I couldn't get services, no shelter.  I had been up for 4 ¾ days because I couldn’t sleep on the sidewalk.  It scared me too much.  My friend Jessica told me about Right 2 Dream Too.  I slept for 16 hours the first night.  If I had been up another night, I may have passed out in the road and been hit by a car.

Right 2 Dream Too is doing a service that no one else in the community is doing.  A lot of organizations say that they are using money to help the homeless, but they are not, because a lot of organizations are using the money they get to pay their employees.  R2DToo is all volunteer run.  The volunteers are homeless members, formerly homeless people, and supporters.  That’s why we don’t need as much money as other organizations.  Also, the people who are working understand the people who use the services.

Right 2 Dream Too needs the help!  I volunteer at Right 2 Dream Too because I am needed.  We need money, because our operating expenses - laundering the sleeping bags, port-o-potties, garbage service and basic supplies - are all covered by donations.  We also need volunteers.  I figure if I can help a bit during check in, or relieve someone from security duty who is sick, then they will have a chance to get better and have the time to better their lives.

I go to the Sunday community meetings, to stay in the loop.  I also support Right 2 Dream Too by going around town, talking with homeless people, friends and people I don’t know too.
I tell them Right 2 Dream Too is a safe place.  It is a place to get in out of the rain.  

Willow sings at R2DToo’s Kaustic Karaoke fundraiser in June

Thank you Willow - for spreading the word about Right 2 Dream Too and for continuing to volunteer with us!  
Donate to Right 2 Dream Too by clicking the Donate button on the right side of the screen -or- send a check or money order to our office address: 4635 NE Garfield Ave. Portland, OR 97211. You can also stop by the rest area have the security folks drop your donation into our safe. We have buttons, bracelets and t-shirts for sale too.
We appreciate it! -Trillium Shannon, co-founder and R2DToo board member