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City of Bend delays 30-day eviction notices at Juniper Ridge

But says construction on sewer line project will continue

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The city of Bend said Monday although COVID-19 has made it more challenging to ask homeless people to leave Juniper Ridge, construction on the North Interceptor sewer line project will continue.

Due to the pandemic, the city has decided to push back the 30-day notice period for homeless campers to leave the city-owned property. The 30-day notice period originally was scheduled to begin the week of March 16th. It was then moved to the week of April 27th.

As of Monday, the city says it is pausing the notice period until city councilors decide on a new schedule at their meeting on May 6th.

Juniper Ridge is an area in northeast Bend zoned for light industrial use, meaning the land can be used for anything from warehousing and manufacturing, to offices and business headquarters. The city hopes it will bring growth in business.

The city said it is working with Deschutes County to coordinate health and safety efforts for homeless people. The efforts would include adding hand-washing stations, billboards and outreach to all camps across the area.

Jamie Gomez-Beltran, the city's property manager, said as of Monday, there are still about 20 to 25 homeless camps in Juniper Ridge.

“We’re constantly monitoring the site, between three to five times a week, depending on the circumstances,” Gomez-Beltran said. “Not just to monitor the property, but also to stay within reach for folks out there that may need additional resources, that may be completely out of touch or may not have the means of communicating their specific needs.”

Gomez-Beltran said the city is not in the position to relocate the homeless people, but they will continue to help them find resources and service providers to minimize the impact of the evictions.

James Cook, the co-chair of the Homeless Leadership Coalition, said the organization appreciates the delay in sending out the 30-day notices for evictions.

“We welcome the additional time, so our service providers can concentrate on pandemic response and are hopeful good news will come out of the City Council work session on May 6, when land feasibility options for long-term managed camps will be discussed,” Cook said.

The city said staff will continue to monitor Juniper Ridge periodically and any new camps identified within the zone will receive a 24-hour notice to leave.

The city said it will also be posting updated information around the zone and flyers with details for those in and around the property.

For updates on Juniper Ridge, visit the city of Bend’s website.

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Rhea Panela

Rhea Panela is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Rhea here.


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