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Bend considers safe overnight parking locations for homeless residents

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."

Central Oregon / Government-politics / News / Top Stories
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Leslie Cano

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



  1. A considerate thought process –

    Question not asked and hence not answered –

    What liability do those who offer up their parking lots assume?

    And after just one civil suit is filed by someone and is won … that will bring a swift end to the city council’s “considerate thought process”.

    1. Here is a thought process… Have tax paying Bend residents vote on if they want Bend turned into a tent city.

      Bend is a resort town like Park City, Aspen, or (insert other ski town here)

      Not everyone gets to live in a resort town.

      1. You do realize there are homeless people here who were present before this became a “resort town?” Are you saying that people from other areas have more rights to be here than those who have been here for multiple generations, just because they like the area and are better off financially?

        1. Yup. Retired 3rd-4th-nth generation get forced out all the time because they can no longer afford their property taxes. It’s been happening all over the Mountain West – Telluride, Jackson Hole, Durango – for years. People who can afford to pay their property taxes have the right to stay in their homes. Those who cannot, do not. Are you saying we should subsidize those who cannot? Does everyone get to live in a resort town?

      2. Seriously that is probably the most egoistical comment about bend and the ridiculous gentrification of this hillbilly town….”not everyone gets to live in a resort town”!?!?!? Good grief

      3. Economic reality. Aspen buses their help in from Carbondale, Basalt, Glenwood Springs. Because not everyone can afford to live in a resort town.

  2. How about they park in LaPine? The city needs to start taking care of the people that pay to live here. Social spending can be done by churches etc. I’m sick of my tax dollars subsidizing a blight on our community. This is ridiculous. I’m sorry for those that are in a tough spot. I have volunteered at soup kitchens. This is not the answer. It is unconscionable to take taxpayer dollars and give it to those that are drains on the system. Look at a crime map of Central Oregon. Look at the trash these people leave behind. Our leaders spend others money with reckless abandon. It is time for new leadership.

    1. Lets get real though. How many of these “un-homed” people are really in dire straits and aren’t just van-lifers?

      How many of us would have bought expensive af homes here if we knew we could live and camp free here with facilities permanently by screaming that we couldn’t afford to live here??

      If it wasn’t encouraged and supported, the “unhomed” might move on to cities with the resources already in place from our state tax dollars to support the homeless who are truly in need.

      Discourage people from coming here and take care of the underpaid people who already live and work here who support this resort town.

  3. There is a nice pond, plenty of flat grassy spots, public restrooms and good street parking at Discovery park in Northwest Crossing.

    1. That actually sounds like a good idea. There are obviously no businesses downtown open all night, so the parking wouldn’t be needed then.

  4. “The goal is really to start down the process of finding a safe place for everybody in our community to sleep”

    So we will invite more criminals into town…… can’t make this up.

  5. What is the City’s definition of resident? Who qualifies anyone as such. So many folks coming here with or without jobs or a plan on where to live or stay or how to sustain themselves. Why is not having a plan or being able to the care of yourself the City’s problem and then the residents of the city’s problem. This city is backwards from how it has always been. Don’t forget how it was, this was the reason people wanted to come here in the first place.

    1. What about the people who have been here for generations, who are being forced out because others want to live here, and keep driving up the cost of living? Are you suggesting that someone better off financially from another area have more rights to be here than those who have never lived elsewhere?

  6. Some of you people commenting are the epitome of good Christians.. disgraceful the lot of you.. funny part is all proposals temporary, Band-Aids,because this is a symptom of a problem in the structure of our system.. it’s collapsing folks.. I’ll be lol watching you “not in my backyard” type people in a panick frantically trying to escape the inevitable.. poor excuses for human beings..

    1. Separation of church and state pal. This should be (and it appears from the other, better post that it is) the churches and other social outfits dealing with this on their property. The trash and squalor does not belong on public property.

  7. Some of the comments here are astounding. The city council decides there should be dedicated spots for the homeless community, rather than finding some random spot. But you’ve got people here acting like doing this is taking money from themselves, or that all homeless people are criminals or deviants. Perhaps instead of worrying about where the homeless will stay, worry about yourself. Keep your judgmental comments to yourself, or move somewhere else if that’s too difficult.

    1. It does not take much legwork to figure out that homeless squatters camps are centers of violence, rubbish, and crime. You want that I. Your neighborhood? Feel free to let people live in your yard.

  8. Disgusting greedy self-centered people.. “it’s mine!!!”… But really it’s not.. theres at least 5000 people living im tents and cars in and around bend… There’s some what like 40,000 homeless in los angelas county alone.. if you think it’s fixable your wrong so maybe get real and take an honest look at the problem before it’s late.. honestly just how long do you think it’ll be before they decide they’ve had enough…and they start coming for you and yours in the Middle of the night?

  9. Why do you assume that a homeless person here came from somewhere else without a plan? Do you not realize there are people from this area who experience hardships that result in homelessness? There are some whose parents, grandparents, etc. are from this area. Are you saying that they should be forced from the area because people with more money liked the area, so decided to move here, which has resulted in a much higher cost of living?

  10. I came here from Seattle and I’ve seen this play out before. Bend will continue to decay and be a terrible place to live in a few more years, it happens very fast. I’ll be selling my home to a CA transplant soon and Bend will have one less conservative voter and one more Democrat. Good luck.

  11. first thought those living in their cars the city who close off the butte at night could allow like dozen to go up there and stay the night up there as there is a bathroom up there and there’s room for those in tents to be up there. have to put about half a dozen trash cans up there but would they leave at 8 in the morning for those who walk the butte daily

  12. The city council should partition off two parking spaces outside City Hall…

    And designate these ad “Safe Sleeping” zones for the Un-Homed.

    Lead by example.

  13. If they didn’t treat their parking and camping spots like garbage dumps people would be much more open to allowing these people to camp out. ( And yes I’m aware it’s not ALL of them) Just take a look where they congregate. Go for a walk out east of town. Garbage everywhere. Stolen shopping carts. Fires. Dumped waste water tanks from RVs. Just because you are homeless or poor is no excuse to leave your garbage laying around. They packed it in, they can pack it out.

  14. Maybe all the encampments on the Parkway ramps could help alleviate the housing demand problem in another way. It looks really terrible and might deter people from wanting to move here. Maybe we could pay the Frank Lloyd Tarp designers to spray paint “Bend Stinks don’t move here” in prominent locations. We could even have a junk drive to make the areas more cozy.

  15. Put them on a bus just like Rajneeshpuram did. Many of the homeless here are the people that Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and Ma Anand Sheela brought into vote during the 1984 elections, now we have their kids too. Bus them back out.

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