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Frustrated Bend auto shop owner says homeless man has threatened employees

DA says he will try to protect business -- but also get man help he needs

BEND, Ore (KTVZ) --Mike Leib says the man who lives at a homeless camp behind his business has been trespassing on his property and threatening his employees.

He said Thursday he’s called the police several times, to try get the man to stop, but he’s starting to run out of options.

“He’s been increasingly combative with my staff at the store,” Leib said.

The three-year general manager at Precision Body and Paint told NewsChannel 21 he knows the man and has had some conversations with him.

But Leib said the incidents have increased over the past few weeks.

“He’ll have some mental breaks, and he’ll show up on my front driveway screaming and yelling, threatening to kill us, threatening to stab my employees," Leib said.

"He’s called us Satanists and a bunch of other words your can’t really say on camera.” 

Leib said he is worried for his employees' safety and well-being.

“It’s scaring them,” Leib said. “We worry about in the darkness if he comes running around our gate at night. I don’t want one of our employees to be hurt.”

Leib said he's called police several times, including after an incident last Thursday, when he caught the man throwing a rock at his building.

Police issued the man a citation, then let him go.

Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel said he will be reviewing all of the cases involving the man. 

“It’s good that the business owner called me,” Hummel said. “There’s a chance that if he didn’t, these cases would have been viewed individually.”

Hummel emphasized he will try his best to protect local businesses, while also helping the homeless man get the help he needs.

“You could put him in jail, sure," he said. "But if the person gets out, and they have not gotten the help for their challenges, we’re going to be right back where we began.”

Holly Harris, program manager with Deschutes County Behavioral Health, said there are many programs and approaches available to business owners dealing with similar issues.

While she laid out many options, from police involvement to a visit to the county's new Stabilization Center, she stressed patience, even in such difficult, even frightening situations. 

“I think the important thing to remember is that it’s not a simple solution, and it often takes a lot of patience,” Harris said. “But I would just recommend that they reach out for support to the professionals that are doing this work, so that we can share with them all the resources that might be available.” 

Morgan Miller, a midwife at the Bend Birth Center, located behind Precision Body and Paint and the homeless camp, said the man hasn’t trespassed on their property or bothered them.

“I think the gentleman that’s there now is a different one that’s been there in the past," Miller said. "But I think it’s a location that people have found safety in, so it rotates who’s there at a time.” 

“But for the most part, people keep to themselves, and they’re just trying to get by,” she added. 

Leib said he has no issue with the man’s presence. He just wants him to leave his business alone.

“You know, I understand -- everybody has a right to live,” Leib said.

“But when somebody is suffering from either drug dependency or mental health, I don’t believe that everybody that is abiding by the law should pay the price.” 

Bend / Business / Central Oregon / Crime And Courts / Government-politics / Top Stories
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Noah Chast

Noah Chast is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Noah here.

Comments

61 Comments

  1. So the business owner just needs patience. Evidently the police and Hummell do not intend to do anything because jail is not the right place. (Did they ever think of transporting him to the stabilization center?) DC Behavioral Health has lots of resources for him. Just drop by.

    1. Is the business owner supposed to just wait patiently for the homeless person to move on or for something to happen? Isn’t this the type of thing that our city council is supposed to figure out a solution too instead of leaving on the business owner?

  2. He needs to be gone, period. He’s threatening people. Sounds like he needs to be put in a mental facility somewhere. He should not be left on the street to fend for himself.

    1. And then you’ll complain about the cost of those facilities to the taxpayer. Reversing deinstitutionalization is complicated and fraught with ethical issues.

  3. Sad to see anyone choosing to live on the streets. We in Oregon have given that demographic every opportunity to seek help and assistance but they are growing everyday and exploiting the generous programs available. Most of these so-called homeless are just laughing at you hard working people and your donations. I propose we let them camp on the public golf courses and allow them use of the restrooms and clubhouse, makes as much sense as what’s being done.

    1. BendAround, it’s obvious that this guy does not function well in society. I suggest that the business owner make a deal with the homeless guy. Take a couple hundred dollars and offer to buy the guy a new tent and sleeping bag on the condition that he relocates.

      1. Close but not exactly. A repair shop should have plenty of access to tools and products that would make someone want to stay elsewhere. The problem is these people think that it’s a problem that law enforcement is supposed to handle but it’s a civil issue. I’ve had great success in getting these people to move to better places but I’m a very DIY guy. None are camping near my house that behave poorly. Welcome to America people.

    2. Perfect idea, you’re a genius. “Attention” Free Open campsites at all our local Golf Courses. I bet the situation would absolutely get taken care of when you start cutting into t-time. Hubble won’t want his golf game troubled.

    3. Agreed but please keep them off of and away from my private country club. Its been a mild winter and we’re ready to start play.

      Or maybe we could get the property owner where the idiot is camped to have the cops remove him.

  4. So what happens if someone is hurt or killed? Does the business owner sue the city for not acting on a threat? The solution is “There are no easy solutions” is half-assed and passes the buck. Don’t even bother calling the Bend PD because of Covid they don’t do much of anything.

    1. Not true , I know for a fact they are actively hot on the trail of 2 or more hooligans. These hooligans have been writing bad, bad things in the dirt and grime on cars up at my bachelor.

      1. ” Not true , I know for a fact they are actively hot on the trail of 2 or more hooligans. These hooligans have been writing bad, bad things in the dirt and grime on cars up at my bachelor.”

        Huh ? Up at your Bachelor ? Are you saying that there are homeless people hanging out
        up on the mountain ?

      2. Yep you guessed it. LOL All the homeless hooligans hike up to the sky resort with the sole intention of defacing people’s cars. Then after a 50mi round trip hike they harass property owners before getting a good night’s sleep.

        Some of these comments are more entertaining than the comics section.

    2. There may not be easy solutions, but passive enforcement certainly isn’t going
      to fix the problem. I think if anyone complains multiple times about someone that is threatening to kill people, and the city doesn’t do anything, they should be held liable
      if someone is killed, or even just seriously injured…

    1. Back when I was still driving truck, I went through Portland a lot,and I watched the rapid transformation of homeless camps, especially along I-5 in the Coliseum area, and in sections of 205 and 405 as well. I remember thinking that Portland was starting to resemble certain
      areas along I-5 in Seattle. It wasn’t that many years ago that you never saw a tent set up
      right off of the freeway…

  5. The one by empire up on north end of town was starting to resemble a shanty town till they were rolled out of there. Haven’t been in that area during daylight hours to know if they came back or not.

  6. If Hummel’s staff was not able to link the various police reports at this location on their own until the owner had to be proactive in calls to his office; 1) his staff is poorly trained or 2) it takes a photo op for Hummel to get to work. When this or another business owner or even a regular taxpayer has to defend himself from this assaultive behavior, then Hummel will suddenly get interested in solving that issue and money at a local brewery that it will not be to charge the harassing homeless individual.

    1. Oh you have the solution to dealing with mentally ill people? Please do share.

      I drove past this individual on Wednesday. He was standing on the corner of 3rd and Greenwood shouting at stopped vehicles, general nonsense for the most part. I think I caught him looking at me and shouting “MARMOTS KILLED MY BIKE.”

      So apparently this guys mental disorder is the product of Liberalism in Bend? You have a solution to this? Juniper Ridge camp was a no-go. Police already said they cannot help this man because he needs mental assistance. What do you propose?

      1. If the state had not made the shortsighted decision to close viable options like Fairview, Dammasch and Eastern Oregon Training Center, there would have been significant numbers of beds for treating mentally ill on a large scale basis. And while yes, the federal administration pushed to cut federal funding for such facilities in the 1980s, the hierarchy of social workers at the state Dept of Human Services and across the state proclaimed that the residents of those facilities would be so much better if mainstreamed into group homes (hear that same refrain at a number of meetings in Salem as I was working at one of those facilities at that time). However, those in power at the DHS at that time chose not to invest in group homes nor provide funding for tracking the “success” rates for the few facilities they did fund. It was a massive on both leadership in both parties that led us to this outcome. Large scale institutions can provide economies of scale and a safe and secure environment for treatment, but no one wants to revisit this very viable option.

  7. Exactly why I bought pepper spray. My coworkers have been threatened by a homeless man on a bike. He tries that with me he will get a mouthful. I get the mental illness part, but threats need to be taken seriously. It really is a shame we had to shut down all of our mental institutions. It caused as many issues as it solved.

  8. This is exactly what defund the police is referring to. To funnel money out of places with huge police budgets into services to deal with these kind of things, instead of just dumping yet another area of responsibility on them. The police can only deal with the short term solution of arresting, citing or whatever. But then they might be out there again, risking their life to deal with this. When people trained to deal with this kind of person at every level would be better for everyone, including police.

    1. Maybe we can have walk up mental health kiosks near all homeless camps in town. No more than 15 or so should get the job done. We can fill them with specialists that can really get through to the problem. Maybe a free needle program, free dope etc. Pats on the back, hugs and blankets for all. OR lets do the right thing and move them all to your neighborhood.

      1. Man you are delusional. I don’t even know what your suggesting, outside moving all them to a neighborhood being the right thing to do? Wow, novel idea.

        I love all the suggestions from stupid people like you. Just move them. Yeah, so you can pass the buck on to someone else?

        Come up with solutions to treating mental illness, being an ignorant turd on the internet and suggesting we just dump them on someone else just shows how incredibly stupid you are and how little thought you’ve actually put in to this.

        1. That is very hurtful because I live in a tent along the parkway. Obviously sarcasm is way above your pay grade so let me ask what is your solution? I say that the overwhelming majority of these people, (or let me give some liberal speak) “folks” are on drugs or nuts, or just plain to lazy to get a job and not down on their luck. Where oh where and what oh what should we do? All you liberals want to do is coddle these “folks”, really, what is your solution?

        2. Please Oopsie, whats the fix? Raise taxes to fund another non profit that will tell us how bad it is? If we start one I’d like to be the executive director, I need at least $100k per year. Need to supplement my PERS, SSI and military pension. A cool million isn’t what it used to be.

  9. I support what ever decision you Mike come up with. You deserve far more respect from our City. You pay their rediculis taxes just so you can make an honest living. You sir should file suit against the city.

  10. Parts of central Oregon have response teams to assess for need to place someone in a director’s hold, if needed. These are done through mental health establishments, like Youth Villages and Best Care to name a few. The police will dispatch to them to get the assessment done. This is not the same as the CERT team. I’m shocked the police have not done this yet, as it seems this person could be a threat to others. A director’s custody means the person may be committed to a state hospital until they are stabilized.

    1. No, they did not. Aside from having all rights taken, women were forced to get hysterectomies into the 80’s, electro shock was used to discipline, and many lost their lives in addition to other tortures they endured. There is no easy answer for those whose minds work differently, but institutionalization is not a cure or always what is best.

  11. I wonder why homeless people don’t camp out at the court house? or at the police station? I really think the city should reconsider the plan to house the homeless at Juniper Ridge. Placing them there, or on Hunnel road is sort of sweeping them to the side. Perhaps we should buikd a big homeless camp in Drake Park? Or maybe the steps of the Court House? Maybe adjacent to Tetherow or N Crossings? I am concerned that the homeless will feel pushed around or left out, and hey, everyone deserves to live on the water…..Drake Park, the Whitewater Park, or Farewell Bend Park would be great places to build a giant homeless camp. Maybe Juniper Park? Or one of the empty schools or gyms? We as citizens of this great city shuld do something. Do not let the city push the camps to the edge of town, they need to be right in the middle of it.

    1. All the absolute imbeciles and floor lickers on here were chanting “if you build it they will come” to the homeless shelter… but in the same breath suggest simply moving people to another place and completely dumping the problem on someone else.

      Maybe if you build it, the people that need help will have more access to the help they need. They’re coming whether you like it or not, and planting your head in the sand and passing the buck on trying to come up with solution for AMERICANS who have had their lives utterly dismantled by addiction and disease to at least live in some form of decency.

      Nah, that’s all too much to ask these days. We can observe problems, but we don’t want to solve them. And I know the addicted and the nefarious that take advantage of other humans will be attracted to situations like this, but none of the nefariousness of humanity deserves a response that deprives people that want and need help of a solution just because the solution isn’t perfect.

  12. I hope this man gets help. I met the DA once a few years ago. He and his staff were very nice. While I don’t always agree with his decisions on matters. He and his staff deserve some respect.

  13. the covid is messing with their system, homeless people quite often act up just so they can go to jail. it’s safe, warm, and they get fed 3 times a day. now they are starving and cold just like all the winters before, but instead of 3 hots and a cot all they can get is a ticket. if that’s the case maybe try feeding the guy daily, getting him a winter sleeping bag and some warm clothes, pay him 15-20 bucks a day to sweep the shop floor or keep an eye on the place at night. show some compassion, treat them like they are useful human beings. the homeless guy might be pissy for a reason, there might be someone whos treated them badly and now they are acting up. you’ve tried complaining to the cops, the d.a., and the z, why don’t you try a bag of mcdonalds, warm socks, and some kind words to see if that helps

  14. To those who said they should have tried to offer the man food and help, they did try that first. I know people at the shop and the manager is a very compassionate person. Unfortunately, the man continued to be belligerent. Nothing was helping. It had been going on for several months. The safety of the staff was beginning to be an issue as they were feeling threatened. Sometimes, when someone is in that state, the authorities have to step in, but I agree, with others, that we need better communication between social service, police and the courts. We are a small community and I know we can be a model of change. And, for those who were around, I was a food stamp worker in the early 70’s , and I personally saw how badly things degraded after Ronald Reagan shut down metal health facilities and made it harder for people to get aid. I had to quit because my job went from issuing food stamps to people who needed it, to figuring out how to deny applicants. We need to rewind and reform from that fiasco. IMHO

  15. Having worked in large homeless camps for years, sadly, meth addiction was the problem with 90% of those that were in the camp. I noticed many would go into fits of rage, paranoia, and want to kill others after having been up for days on end. Some did get killed or died by overdose… in their donated sleeping bags and with donated food in their stomachs. An endless stream of resources from churches, city workers and NPs ever-present..all the while without equal, if any, attention to dealing with addiction recovery needs. Thus creating an enabling effect and removing motivation for change,which, increases the chances of their further decline and death in some cases. Never will an addict go into recovery while high, that I’ve seen, and that is when they are most dangerous to others/themselves and are enraged with “The Haves” and blame them (shop-owner) for their problems.

    By far, they were more open to recovery after they spent their GA checks and had no money for drugs, out of resources . They were more humble, non violent and ready for change.

    Proposed Solutions:

    A) Offer more programs that offer a mandatory lock down during their highs with a detox focus, as they are a danger to themselves and others. Offering temp pharmaceutical solutions to help them calm down and sleep. This would be a strong deterrent for those that want to harm others that don’t want recovery and help them moderate behavior as there would be consequences. It would be a lifeline to those that DO want recovery. Win win.

    B) Offer more program beds with short, long term recovery options on tiered system paired with level of their addiction.

    C) Aftercare: Job help, resources …hand up not hand out.

    D) Using a rewards system tied to working and recovery would motivate them to earn attractive, valuable resources and benefits on tiered basis as they climb ladder to success.

    I personally have seen this work more than any other methods and have implemented them myself with success.

    I have developed a detailed plan and proposed it to government leaders, including a mobile application. I would like the opportunity to be part of the solution here in Bend.

    Any resolve needs to deal with the pink elephant in the room first.. and that is meth addiction primarily. The millions/billions of dollars being thrown at this problem should be directed towards different solutions that actually solve the root problem, which would, over time, cost far less and save taxpayer dollars.

    Meth addicts mirror the same symptoms of those with mental illness but it is self induced, self harm. When they come down from high those symptoms go away and they normalize. We need to care about them enough to help them deal with the real issue and possibly save their lives.

    Our help should not hurt them by enabling or ignoring threatening behavior. Helping them in the right ways will decrease the chances that they will hurt others and themselves.

    Hope this helps. Thanks for reading.

    I dedicate this to my brother Stevie, runaway – died in the streets because he could not get detox program bed.

  16. I am in full support of this business owner’s rights to have the individual moved from his property, arrested and assigned to whatever social service he needs. I have heard this story multiple times from other business owners in Bend. Drug addicts shooting up in doorways, threatening owners, defecating and leaving their things on private property are just a few examples of the complaints I have heard. Business owners should not have to take these matters into their own hands to their own risk of safety. The advice of Ms. Harris of the Deschutes County Behavioral Health for this owner to be patient and reach out to professionals is absurd! No business owner or private property owner in Bend should have to become a social worker, cop or ultimately victim because our police cannot enforce law and order over unruly individuals. This city needs to get its priorities straight and start enforcing private property rights with unruly, homeless, drug addicted and mentally unstable individuals and their drug dealing enablers. Get them to jail and get them services they need from there. Don’t expect property owners to take matters into their own hands or tell us to “Just be patient”

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