BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) --The Bend City Council was introduced Wednesday to two proposals that would permanently allow safe overnight parking protections in designated areas for people experiencing homelessness.
Elizabeth Oshel, associate city attorney, said as of now, the city is allowing cars to park overnight in public areas through Oregon’s COVID-19 state of emergency declaration, but that protection is only temporary.
The two new proposals would permanently add those protections to the city's municipal code.
The first proposed concept would allow RVs, stationary vehicles and tent setups to safely be stationed overnight at participating religious facilities, private businesses, public entities and nonprofits.
The facilities would need to provide sanitation stations and access to restrooms.
The second proposed concept, entitled Transitional Overnight Parking Accommodations, would include all the key points from the previous concept, except it would allow up to six vehicles to safely park overnight.
The services in the safe parking lots would be free of charge.
“The goal is really to start down the process of finding a safe place for everybody in our community to sleep,” Oshel said. “We know that there are insufficient number of shelter beds and permanent housing for people experiencing homelessness in our community. So this is part of the city’s strategy, to take some short-term action to help provide safe places, or help allow others to provide safe places.”
For those wondering how the vehicles would get selected to park at the safe locations overnight, Oshel said, “That would be up to the organization providing the space, how to select individuals to come and park."