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Tempers flare, one arrest during Emerson Avenue homeless camp cleanup in NE Bend

(Update: Adding video, comments from City of Bend, REACH)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- A scheduled homeless campsite cleanup and removal Wednesday on Bend's Northeast Emerson Avenue included some times of tension between police and protesters, and even a scuffle with police and arrest. 

A man asked to use the portable toilet on Emerson, but was told by police that he could not. He then proceeded to run toward the portable toilet, eventually being detained and arrested for trespassing by officers. 

"What the **** is wrong with you ******* people!” a protester shouted from behind police barricades. 

It was a question repeatedly asked by protesters during the operation.

The site in city right of way was determined to be a public safety and health hazard.

Assistant City Manager Jon Skidmore said there were a number of safety issues with residents and business owners that led to the cleanup.

"Sleeping on a street a few feet from delivery trucks is not safe,” Skidmore said. 

He said he does not yet know how much the cleanup has cost, but added, "It's a pretty big operation, and if you've been out there you've seen, it's a pretty big cleanup. It is not a cheap endeavor, by any stretch."

With two week's notice, and volunteers and social service agencies trying to assist the campers, byt the time the cleanup started Wednesday morning, there was only one person left at the campsite.

Stacey Witte, the founder and executive director of the organization REACH, still asks the question of, what’s next?

"Mainly, the most challenging is not having a place where we can direct people to go to,” Witte said. 

Witte said she and other organizations worked with many campers to gather what belongings they could carry and find a new spot before the cleanup started.

"What happens when you have a closure like this is that the community disperses,” Witte said.

She said the majority of people moved to Hunnell Road, Juniper Ridge or China Hat Road.

Skidmore says the hardest part of the cleanup is separating what is personal property, and what is not.

"Really going to err on the side of caution and probably going to retain more property than some folks might actually want to claim,” Skidmore said. 

All items collected will be held in large storage containers next to Troy Field for at least 30 days.

Skidmore said the city's working in many areas to create or find more places for people to go, including a Project Turnkey motel purchase and a managed campsite.

But Witte thinks more needs to be done.

"If we could get some infrastructure, where there are bathrooms and trash and people can have more responsibility about cleaning up around them and having a safe place where they're not going to be pushed out and moved, would definitely help the situation," Witte said.

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Noah Chast

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

Comments

126 Comments

  1. I dont understand. What do these “protesters” have to protest about? Those people need to make an effort to become productive or at least functional members of society. Instead they just take up residence any place they like and then get angry when they have to move.

  2. Mr. Chast, were you there to see it? The man who was “detained” for trying to use the Porta-Pottie was surrounded by at least 8 cops and thrown to the ground. City shuts down encampment lying about nonexistent sanitation; City arrests individual for trying to use a sanitary facility. Ah, the built in contradictions of a police state.

        1. UncleTifa,
          Anyone can figure out he accidentally left the ‘a’ out.
          “The area was”
          You need to have some common courtesy or drink less, Sir.

          1. You might want to read over your good ol’ buddy’s previous posts. Language is important. It looks like you may have needed a little longer stint in the halls of academia yourself, son.

    1. The video is right here; ‘don’t see anyone “thrown” to the ground. When you’re trying to take someone into custody who is resisting arrest, the more cops the better for the health and safety of the perp. One or two people can’t overpower a healthy adult without beating the crap out of him, 6 or more can. ‘don’t see anything wrong with how the Bend PD handled this.

    2. Police state….lol. It looked like he really, really had to go! He was not acting like a guy that just wanted to use the porta potty. Maybe he left something in it….just saying. His actions were not reasonable for someone that just “had to go”.

  3. So disgusting. What were the “protesters” whining about? If THEY personally have a home, each and every one of THEM should foster a homeless person or two. If they too are homeless, maybe California or New York City will be more welcoming to them.

  4. As much as I appreciate this area being cleaned up tackling and arresting someone who is just trying to use a toilet seems a bit excessive.

    1. Why the heck is there a port a potty for a homeless camp? Doesn’t that just kind of seem like someone is promoting this? Who pays for the port a potty????

      Also, I saw a video of the guy, blatantly ignoring police to stay out of the shut down area and running past multiple cops and refusing to obey orders.

      Hope these homeless folk realize it gets cold in the winter, will have to hitch back to portland or Seattle.

        1. Or in a proper sanitary facility provided by one of our many local churches. You know, right next to one of the areas where they allow them to “camp”.

  5. I went to Les Schwab yesterday and made the mistake of driving down this road. Had a couple of people standing in the road not wanting to move for me and what a trash dump. If I was a business owner nearby I would be furious and as a homeowner in the city I am appalled that this dump site would be allowed. My wife stopped shopping in the area due to the known problems that Bend PD is having with this group. No wokeness for me!

    1. If you were the gentleman with the camper, then I apologize. I was driving that red truck and helping some of the folks relocate to other camping spots. I tried to move out of your way, but the truck was a bit unfamiliar and I had some difficulty releasing the parking brake. Not a dump site–just people living their lives the best they can under unfortunate circumstances. Many people from the community over the months have been pitching in to assure trash pick up, sanitation, hygiene, food, and other assistance. It has made me proud of Bend to see such compassion at work. It did not have to be shut down; the Emerson Road community was the very best and safest alternative for many people. To throw them out with no equally safe and supportive place to go represents government at its cruelest.

      1. Safe place? How do you explain that one of them were arrested a few weeks ago after firing a gun! A manager at Binary told us this. Bill, you may mean well but you’re very misguided.

      2. After reviewing hours of video of the camp from yesterday, there is not one frame with a red truck. What kind of nonsense are you trying to pull here? Well done Troll! You are catching on!

      3. Billblake,
        I agree with you and thank you for helping.
        It amazes me when people have such little compassion, especially since the majority of the homeless are our veterans who have fought for our country and get ‘less than’ care from our government. The majority of care for our veterans comes from volunteers.
        And, we have the mentally ill, who also don’t get the care they need. It’s close to impossible to get someone the care and medication they need, even when they are in crisis.
        Then, there are the drug addicts and alcoholics who are self medicating over the issues above.
        It’s wonderful that the people criticizing others less fortunate, because they haven’t known a veteran with PTSD, a mentally ill family member, someone they loved commit suicide, or a drug-addicted/alcoholic family member…but if they did, they’d be first in line crying for help. It makes me sad and angry at the same time.
        I have two rental properties in Bend, that I rent to recovering addicts and homeless men from the shelters. The rent is 500/month, for a two-bedroom, and a three-bedroom It has never been raised.
        They are beautiful homes and kept in perfect condition by people who appreciate the help they are offered. I have the same people living there for well over ten years. The conditions of the homes are impeccable, always repaired by the tenants, who had good jobs before whatever circumstances happened in their life. The landscaping is stunning.
        And, to the ones criticizing, they MAY be your neighbors.

      4. No offense, but while there may have been some decent people just trying to survive, there were definitely some who did nothing but cause problems. As soon as the warming shelter opened, shoplifting increased dramatically. Besides leaving waste everywhere, which forced the need for trash collection and temporary restrooms, but would hang out in the road, effectively turning 2nd St. into a one lane road for two direction traffic. Many women have been harassed by men, my wife included, simply because they walked down 2nd. I am in no way saying that people don’t have the right to try and survive. But camping on a city street is not the answer. They need to understand that they will need to find a more discreet town, and deal with the fact that the places they want to go are a little further away.

  6. The man who was “detained” had built up a reputation for kindness, looking out for his neighbors, distributing water, and caring for other campers’ pets.

  7. Good! Now the employees and businesses near there can feel safer. It was riddled with drugs, trash and bums that were harassing people.

  8. The Emerson Refugees are already taking up spaces downtown. Nothing is being done about it.

    Just get some scrub land, fence it off, put in dumpsters and porta johns and let it be patrolled by reserve cops and cadets…yes, it’ll cost tax dollars but it’s better than letting them fill our streets and neighborhoods.

  9. Great idea Foster a homeless person. Each one of the protesters should go on over to the homeless shelter and offer to foster someone! Offer up a spare bedroom, garage, side yard or backyard. Just need to get a website up and running http://WWW.Fosterhomelessperson.com so the next time the protesters start protesting we can match them up with someone.

    1. Anyone can help. I talk to homeless regularly, one human to another. In the 20 years of being an empty nester, my 2 spare BRs have offered comfort and security to a couple dozen homeless drug, smoke and alcohol free people I met in the streets, including at least a dozen families with children. They always pitched in to help with chores without asking. All had been hard-working and lost jobs and homes due to differing circumstances. Most stayed 1-3 weeks, until they got their feet under them and have stayed in touch. You don’t need any website to be humane.

          1. I don’t respond to Wishy, Kate Clown or Humper because I believe they are the same person and Humper is a self professed troll who says he gets paid for each reply, so…

    1. With the cost of rent in CO I don’t know if I agree with on the 50% assessment, but I do agree if you are saying that clearing out the mental institutions was a bad liberal decision.

        1. Yup. They were largely closed in response to an exposé that revealed the horrible conditions at one institution in New York. By a young TV reporter named Geraldo Rivera; that’s what made him famous. Reagan closed them down. He also promised that small neighborhood facilities would replace them, but that never happened.

            1. That is correct! Once he pulled himself up, he realized that Democrats are racist elitists that only want to keep the poor, regardless of race or creed in chains!

  10. Can they now start to get rid of the big encampment south of town in the wooded area of 13 acres just across from the overpass near Albertson south? The campfires that are set within the woods there are truly scary in this severe drought season.

    1. I’m concerned that may be where some will relocate to, making it even more dangerous back there. That area is right behind my house, and I have already had to call in two fires (both large) and a domestic dispute.

  11. The protesters, local so-called “Peacemakers” are nothing but instigators, and more accurately, Peacefakers. They were the ones yelling at police today and shouting obscenities. This is the Peacefakers’ regular M.O. They thrive on discord and crave attention under the leadership of wannabe mayor, Luke Richter, who the Dems are rooting for.

    1. “Book ’em, Danno!” –

      Per Ms. Michelle Morrison in a recent email regarding organizations such as COPK and their legal standing –

      “You are correct that these types of organizations do not fall under our jurisdiction, so we do not have any recourse for compliance and rely on law enforcement for this. The public can look up the status of any private security or any other DPSST certified individual to include law enforcement in IRIS. Access to IRIS is available on our website and it is very user friendly, requiring no login. If you locate a certified individual that you may want additional information on, you would have to submit a public records request. I am not aware, at this time anyways, if there has been discussion on regulating these types of groups.”

      Michelle Morrison
      Certification and Licensing Background Investigator
      Department of Public Safety Standards and Training
      Private Security/Private Investigator/Polygraph

  12. Thank you Bend Police Department for handling this very difficult situation. Your officers are doing a fine job and most of Bend’s citizens appreciate you.

  13. Where are all the bleeding heart liberals like thestoner, nevertrumper, keyser, and that worthless piece of garbage Eric in Redmond? Since you are all so tolerant and want to help everyone out why aren’t you here offering to help? That’s right because you are all a bunch of worthless hypocritical bigots. Cowards all of you!

  14. If you want to read some truly ignorant, on many levels, diatribes on this situation…

    Dial up “peacekeeper” Mike Satcher’s FB page or the COPK FB page he contributes to.

    Satcher, who is white, gores the city council to include some who have in the past been COPK supporters…rails against the city manager…excoriates Bend PD (understandable as he’s been arrested/cited on multiple occasions beginning in 2010)…and from his comfortable home in Sisters offers “it ain’t right” about, well everything.

    Meanwhile in Portland the love affair with the unsanitary, often violent, and predatory “houseless” in that city is over.

    The worst “camps” are being cleaned up, closed down, and alternate locations properly funded and managed being created.

    Salem did same now 2 years ago when their love affair went sour…as has Eugene.

    Thankfully the “peacekeepers” have self-immolated with the Powers that Be in Bend and elsewhere in Deschutes and Crook counties.

    And with the tax payers, as well.

  15. Sounds like a difficult day all around, especially for those who have no place to go to the bathroom in private or put trash and for police officers tasked with removing them. Of course tensions would be high in such circumstances. Thankfully, protesters have freedom in this country including nonviolent participation in protecting vulnerable and traumatized people, whether a nuance or not. Cities and coastal states seem to have high numbers of people experiencing homelessness. I don’t see that trend reversing, especially as climate drives migration to certain areas and affordability decreases. Deaths of despair include drugs and alcohol. May each person know you did your best today, with the knowledge and resources you had at the time. Everyone can learn a little and love a little more.

  16. Another issue not mentioned is the increasing presence of young, violent “homeless” groups coming over to Bend and setting up shop in the camps.

    They then terrorize the perhaps more docile / hapless camp dwellers while vandalizing, stealing, assaulting and otherwise gutting the community at large.

    A number of these thugs are reported to be coming from Portland where the camps there are being shut down.

    Welcome to Portland, Bend.

    1. Rainbow family has a name for these young and violent folks, they call them the Drainbows.

      They show up for our Family gatherings and take, never contribute. They don’t understand the good of a socialist utopia only works when we are all equal givers and receivers.

      1. Gross, you’re part of the rainbow gathering? You guys destroy every place you descend upon. I took one of you in for a night, twenty years ago. When I woke up, the guy was gone and he stole a bunch of stuff.

  17. It’s sad that our police need to be involved in this. It’s not their job and I mean that in a way of respect to them. Let the pathetic city leaders get out there and clean up the mess that their policy make in our town.

  18. it was staged just to get attention, take the theatrics back to ptown. nobody is that anxious to use a blue room on a hot day.

  19. WOW – I read through the comments and am amazed and then not. For all of you toxic souls – may you never hit a rough spot in your life. Seriously. If you own a home in Bend, consider yourself lucky. And if you are not aware – check out rental costs – apartments, homes etc. They are ludicrous. AT best. Fact – most single women cannot afford to live in Bend anymore. I have had multiple friends (all ages) have to leave the region due to the exorbitant cost of rent. Is that their fault? I don’t think so. And for the record – they all work in different fields. From minimum wage all of the way up to higher compensation packages.

    And by the way – in case you don’t know – IF you are homeless, it is hard to receive mail (REALLY!) And the challenges are REAL. A high percentage of homeless individuals don’t have a driver’s license and again, hard to manage securing ID if you don’t have a mailing address. Let alone securing a birth certificate. It is easy to judge if you have not walked in another’s shoes. But perhaps for all of you toxic souls, you should give it a whirl. Yes, there are those that are so enmeshed in their tribulations and they continue on in the quagmire. There are also many who would like to escape from the hell they are trapped in.

    Also, for those of you who choose to think this is a “liberal” issue, you might want to re-think that one. This is a community problem. Whether you think so or not. Tossing humans to the curb or into the gutter is not an option. But to many of you – you believe that they are trash already so why worry or care.

    Lastly, may those of you who think you are above it all – or cast judgement so easy, I wish you peace on your journey. You will need it – as much as the troubled souls you speak so ill of.

    1. breath much? these aren’t our homeless they are instigators, a homeless guy doesnt have a film crew and protesters following them around. if the guy is homeless he should get a job instead of floating the river working on his tan all day. i was homeless myself a few times and worked my way out of the hole so it can be done. i moved to where there was work when i had to, and took whatever jobs i could get. once i had a job i could be fussy and look for a better job if i needed to. i’ve commuted 100+ miles a day when i couldnt afford to live where i was working

    2. Hey Frog. Life, being a human being is not easy. Life is about decisions and consequences.

      Responsibility is a personal choice.

      Most good people want to help the needy and mentally ill.

      We are however disgusted by the freeloaders and drug addicts. Welfare and drugs have no place in a civilization. Period.

      Hard working, tax paying people are fed up with the liberal nonsense.

    3. Lastly, the souls you need to worry about are not the productive members of our society.

      It is those who chose drugs, laziness, and crime.

      Do not blame us for their decisions.

      Hopefully you understand this last statement. It is grace. Not your works.

  20. You should have seen the “peacekeepers” running around the Chipotle parking lot recording and yelling at anyone who had any sort of differing opinion from them. They were by far the most aggressive faction in the area all afternoon. It’s like they want to create tension. They should go back where they came from cuz no one wants them here anyway, aside from the bums who are also out of state rainbow family “folks.” Lol. I’m a democrat and even i hate this ****!!!

      1. You should have seen the Oathkeepers, Threepercenters, etc., urinating and spreading feces on walls in the Capitol. Recording, taking selfies and using flagpoles, tasers and bear spray on LE. They were by far the most violent faction for hours. Creating tension? I think just wanting to lynch VP Pence qualifies.

        Maybe you should rethink being a Republican because what I described is exactly what your party has become and is a far greater threat to our nation than a handful of protesters in a Chipotle parking lot.

  21. I knew about the ordinance to clear these bums out but was not aware of the blockade or the protesters until I left Five Guys and tried to go to Bi-mart…

    At one such blockade, I saw a bunch of 20-somethings, some wearing patches and lanyards saying “Press”. They saw me and I simply asked what was going on to necessitate a blockade, and had wondered if I could just zip through to get to the pharmacy. Some of them asked the police if I could get through, even with an escort if need be. The police did not respond, then I discovered why.

    On not being IMMEDIATELY acknowledged, they started antagonizing the police, pointing out my American colors which were on my mask and hat band. They DEMANDED I be let through, I even called out to say I wasn’t a transient.

    Still no reply from the officers, these people stared calling out stuff like “What are you going to do, tackle and arrest a disabled man? Do you get paid? Do your job!” blah blah blah. At that point I told these people that the police officers deserved better than this, and that they deserved more respect than this vitriol.

    I told them that if they want to protest, verbally attacking officers just doing their job isn’t the way to do it. One woman with shaved sides of her head and purple hair (because of course she is. Everyone respects a clown) even went so far as to tell me the officers were “harassing her friends”, which is utter garbage.

    Let me ask you something, “friend”. If someone smears dog mess all over your front door, are you going to just prostrate yourself and whimper and comply to whatever the smearer asks? No. You’d want to do what you are legally allowed to do to stop the smearing.

    Well, you people were doing just that, throwing your antagonism at the officers. Not peacefully, either. The officers have every right to warn and arrest you for your behavior.

    Political viewpoints on the homeless removal ordinance aside, flinging insults and threatening officers is not going to achieve your goal. Take it to the police HQ and -respectfully- ask to discuss the matter with someone in charge.

    Just because a few cops in this country got overzealous and crossed the line (which many are rightfully taken to task for). Does not mean ALL cops deserve your hateful disrespect.

    Officers don’t sign up to abuse their power, for whatever reason, which I’ve heard it all before. They sign up to ENFORCE THE LAW.

    Don’t like it? Run for public office. Attend city council meetings and be civil and let your voice be heard where it matters. Propose changes to local law. Throwing fits over a barricade is going to accomplish nothing.

    Do you really think the cops are going to cower and whimper and say something like “We see the error of our ways! Go ahead and break the law and we won’t object!” These men and women do what you would be to cowardly to do. Risk their lives, risk being assaulted, attacked, shot and killed, just to protect people like YOU.

    Are you willing to put your life on the line to maintain the peace? Are you willing to be potentially killed just trying to keep our streets clean? NO? Then shut the heck up and go back to your feel-good groups.

    Whatever you’re called (these ‘peacekeepers’), my backside.

    ALL PEOPLE DESERVE HONORED RESPECT, until they prove, through word or action, otherwise. YOU people lost mine. And I am just a peaceful disabled man, willing to cooperate with those who deserve it, which you don’t.

    People in glass houses should not throw stones.

    Peace.

    1. It is statistically more dangerous to be an intrepid janitor or a selfless landscaper than it is to be a police officer. You can look this up. It is a fact. That said, I agree with you about the “protestors”. I’ve found that the best way to get people to be reasonable is rarely verbal or any other type of assault. You can have the most reasonable and intelligent point but once you throw it at me accompanied by epithets I’m unlikely to hear it.

  22. A reminder to watch our city council for their preference to these new bills and laws allowing safe parking and camping on all of our streets. Watch who you’re voting for next election. We can’t even get our city council and mayor to meet with us in person to hear all of these comments. Time to stop hiding behind Zoom and meet us in person. This faction of shaming and fear mongering by mobs calling themselves peace anything needs to be exposed in person in front of council. Enough already!

  23. Can someone get Draft a medal please. This is clearly about him, not about the people. He is starving for attention, and need to be recognized in the worst way.

  24. Personally I would love to help people who are actually down on their luck with food, blankets, etc.

    Lesson #1 NEVER give them money. Shelter business cards, food, jackets, whatever is fine.

    The thing is, it’s difficult to tell who genuinely needs it, and who is a crazy babbling junkie loser.

    To offer shower and laundry services, foodbanks, low income housing would be good after a bit of screening, but most importantly, job seeking assistance.

    It blows my mind just how MANY homeless people there are here, and yet at the same time, there are “Help Wanted” signs literally EVERYWHERE… I figure those who are genuinely down on their luck would try to work, to get back on their feet… yet these jobs are going unfilled. What’s wrong with this picture?

    I say, we get rid of the space wasting bums to managed camps… and yet, also help those who GENUINELY need it. If only there was a truly effective way to sort them apart.

    and no, i do not consider drunks and tweakers and junkies as ‘crying out for help’. That’s just far leftist enabling. These people want to starve just to get their next fix? Why should we help those who refuse it? And no, I am neither right nor left.

    Help the genuinely downtrodden down on their luck… but boot the space wasters who only care about harming others and themselves.

  25. between the the Cities of Bend/ La pine / Redmond and others you & the County of Deschutes need to run these homeless out of here & get this back like it was years ago safe & sane

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