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C.O. Irrigation District removes SE Bend homeless encampment

'It’s a total wreck over on that corner'

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Crews with the Central Oregon Irrigation District removed and cleaned up the site of a homeless encampment along a canal in southeast Bend Wednesday morning.

Shon Rae, deputy managing director of COID says crew members began removing piles of trash from the encampment early in the day.

“They’re out there cleaning up trash, hauling it off to the dump, and then the items that don’t appear to be trash are being held for 30 days at our property off of Brookswood (Boulevard),” Rae said.

Notices for the camp removal began last Friday. A second notice was given three days later before the removal began Wednesday.

The camp removal is significant to nearby businesses, as several said they have been dealing with one transient who's caused them constant trouble.

“We’ve had to call the police out, its been more than I can count, at least 30 times over this time frame,” said Mike Leib, general manager of Precision Body and Paint.

Leib said the transient has threatened his employees several times.

“He really in some need of some social services, for some mental health," Leib said. "He’s had some breaks to where he’s standing in front of my building waving machetes, telling us he’s going to kill us and he’s going to cut our heads off."

Leib added that the homeless encampment has been behind his business for the past four years.

Ken Corbin, a resident at the nearby Budget Inn, says having the homeless encampment there was not safe or healthy.

“It’s a total wreck over on that corner. I can’t wait to see when they get it all cleaned out, what it looks like,” Corbin said.

Leib said removal the of the homeless camp means his employees can once again feel safe.

“Its just safety of my staff," he said. "The thing that we have been fighting is, I have a lot of staff members who are afraid to walk to their car, and they’re not comfortable walking around our gated property, because he’s right next door and has threatened us.”

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Leslie Cano

Leslie Cano is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Leslie here.


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