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Bend councilors get earful from concerned neighbors, parents about proposed homeless camp

'It seems like roses, rainbows, and happy stuff' from the city, says one concerned parent

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Bend city councilors recently agreed to move forward with two possible sites for managed homeless camps. One of the locations, off NE Ninth Street, has been met with quick, strong opposition.

Much of that criticism was heard at Wednesday evening's Bend City Council meeting, as dozens called in to speak during the public comment section.

Several critics said they know the homeless emergency is real and that solutions are needed, but most said the proposed site is too close to two schools, the popular Coyner Trail and neighborhoods.

The proposed location is just north of Bridgeford Boulevard, between Bend Senior High School and Bear Creak Elementary.

That prompted more than 100 teachers and support staff at the schools to sign a letter in opposition, to city councilors, after nearly 50 current and former Bend High coaches did the same.

More than 30 people, including many parents and others, spoke during the council meeting's visitor section, most critical of the site choice and voicing their concerns with children's safety, like Gary Amundson, who has two sons at Bear Creek Elementary.

"The city has come through and given Bear Creek the chance to be first in line for something here -- and it's for a homeless camp, right behind the field where my kids get to play at recess," Amundson said. "This is an experiment and thus far everyone has been very supportive of it on the council."

Amundson says the city and council members need to take a step back and look at the possible downsides of this camp being so close to several schools.

"It seems like it's all roses, rainbows, and happy stuff (from the city)," Amundson said. "And it's all so good, good, good, -- but we have to consider the negative effects."

Many callers said they don't want a homeless camp where their children walk to school, while others are concerned it could cut off access to the Coyner Trail.

Many said they are also want solutions to the homelessness issues, but this is not the place for such a camp.

A few callers did support the proposal, saying it would have a positive impact, including some who accused the critics of acting with hate and bigotry.

Jon Riggs, founder of the local nonprofit Helpers, says he believes the city is doing its due diligence, when it comes to planning, but he believes residents near any proposed managed camps will be upset.

"It's funny to hear a whole bunch of people on here talk like they've been in on this issue so long. You know some of the things that people said they wished you guys had done, I know you guys have done," Riggs said. "I don't think anything you guys do there's not going to be folks jumping out and saying no, no, no." 

City Recovery Strategy and Impact Officer Carolyn Eagan says there will be a schedule, there will be order, and there will be rules to hold each other accountable. The city also promised they would have numerous safeguards, but residents and businesses say they want more answers and communication now -- not later, when it could be too late.

Before the visitors’ section, and after a statement from Councilor Melanie Kebler (you can read in full at end of this article), Eagan tried to ease neighbors’ and others’ concerns about the small, temporary sites, as the city criteria including public ownership, making the sites easier to control and set up services.

“We know that this isn’t an ideal site -- it’s in a neighborhood,” she said. “But we are trying to figure out how we can convert this site in the shortest amount of time into a place where people can stay.”

Mayor Sally Russell said councilors had received over 1,000 emails on a variety of issues. Eagan said they held the first stakeholder meeting Wednesday morning and heard a lot of concerns and questions: “We are as eager to mitigate as many of those concerns of the community has possible.”

Eagan said they plan to have a request for proposals out by the end of September, to be open for at least a month, to see what proposals are made, what safeguards would be in place. (That quick timeframe has opponents worried that it's a done deal, though the city says it's not.)

“Ultimately, we want structured housing, just like you do,” Eagan said. “Maybe someone will have a terrific idea how to bring more structured housing to the site. But we do have an emergency and an emergency need. There are clear provisions under state law to determine all the safeguards.” The city also will take part in an upcoming neighborhood association meeting, she said.


Councilor Melanie Kebler read this statement before the public comment section began:

"We have received many emails and phone calls about the proposed sites for solutions for our unhoused neighbors, and we hear your concerns, including the specific concerns of school parents, coaches, and school staff.

We ask the community to keep an open mind as we work through the process of evaluating these sites as a place for this type of emergency housing, which service providers are telling us is needed in our City.

Why are we doing this? Because our unhoused neighbors are just that – neighbors and people living in our community who all deserve a safe place to lay their head at night. They deserve safety and the dignity of having a place to call home.

Many of the comments we’ve received contain valid and important concerns about how solutions for our unhoused neighbors, like a managed outdoor community, could fit into the neighborhood, which we will absolutely take into consideration. But many of the comments have contained assumptions and misinformation that I’d like to speak to.

I want to encourage everyone listening tonight to consider that there is not one single type of person who is or can become homeless in our community. This population is not a monolith, and just like people who live in houses, they all have different needs requiring different types of shelter and services.

I have the privilege of never having had to live without shelter or a home. So I can’t imagine the trauma of not having a house to live in, having to live in my car or in a tent, having to continue to take care of my child or go to my job without a safe place to sleep every night. This City Council feels that the need to help people currently living on our streets to get into safer, more stable housing situations is an urgent need, and we are taking action accordingly.

For the community, I will echo the sentiment that the Bend Bulletin editorial board wrote this last week: The situation for our unhoused neighbors is not going to improve in Bend unless people start saying: How can we this make this work? Instead of: Not here.

I ask the community for compassion and patience as we continue to evaluate this site. We are at the very beginning stages of the process. We will continue to have conversations with community members and do public outreach as this initiative moves forward, to make sure that any proposal that is up for approval of Council addresses and mitigates community concerns. Thank you to everyone who is here tonight to speak to us. Carolyn Eagan, our Recovery Strategy and Impact Officer, will talk specifics about 9th Street site and the idea of a managed village, which we know many people are interested in."

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Alec Nolan

Alec Nolan is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Alec here.

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Barney Lerten

Barney is the digital content director for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Barney here.

Comments

93 Comments

  1. Let’s be honest, the fix is in! The City Council has already decided the 9th street by two schools full of vulnerable students will be the place. Never mind that every homeless “solution” in the last couple of years has been on the East side of Bend; not one on the West side (where the majority of city council resides). Plenty of space near the OSU Cascade campus that is years away from being developed that could be utilized, but council members are the ultimate NIMBYs on the homeless issue!

    1. Nah, they had to know this location would get this type of pushback. I think the plan was to deflect criticism away from the other site, and make it look good by comparison.

    2. Child safety was in the criteria the City used to close the Emerson Street Camp. So why is it suddenly okay to put a camp between two schools and a popular trail?
      Bend City Administrative Order 2021-001 says a homeless camp is unsafe when “campsites are located in rights-of-way near or used to access nearby school, daycare, playground, or other property providing service to children.”
      Follow your own good advice City leaders!

    1. the old mtn.bachelor employee parking lot behind the old corporate headquarters on century dr. entrance off of simpson. fully fenced with pit toilets.would be perfect

  2. An example of a lack of leadership, not understanding the responsibility of representing constituents, and being out of touch with reality.

    The vast majority of the increasing number of homeless people are new to the area, and are moving here because of the services made available. The % of homeless population in correlation to the % of national population demonstrates the nation’s homeless population is migrating to the west.

    A significant number of homeless are substance abusers, still fully involved in their addiction. They will be attracted to the area, but will not/cannot comply with rules established for an established homeless facility.

    Bend has attracted a five-to-ten fold increase in hard core homeless. When winter comes, there will be a disaster. City Recovery Strategy and Impact Officer Carolyn Eagan should be planning…right now….on where all these people will be sheltered when below zero weather hits us. Lives will be lost, people will truly suffer, and it is all very predictable and avoidable.

      1. Which leads to the questions – Where did those 20% come from? Why did they come here? If they were traveling to find a better location for their situation why did they stay here?

      2. Barney, stay of focus here please. The kids that use these schools and the educators that work there aren’t concerned with where these street people came from. Nor are the residents that are adjacent to the proposed homeless site.

          1. Just to stir the pot a touch, they can say they are from anywhere they want, who is to dispute them? Just going past the bum camps, there are out-of-state plates, if it is 20 percent or more, I do not know. I still think it would be interesting for the cops to run VIN numbers and compare them to the plates on the rigs.

      3. Yeah Barney who took the surveys I don’t believe in polls or surveys
        Hey Barney suggest
        In your neighborhood I always notice liberals are only compassionate when it regards other people’s money or resources

      4. Barney, the point in time count is purposefully completed in late January early February in order to ONLY count more permanent residents. So of course the data will reflect a high rate of people from the area, because it’s designed to do so. In order to get a real idea of how many people are transitory, a mid-summer count should be completed as well.

      5. 80% of the people on Hunnel Road are not from Bend. I don’t dispute that 80% of people who qualify as homeless are from Bend, but they are not truly “homeless”

        I am referring to people living in tents, old dilapidated RV’s, unemployed. I am not addressing people who are sharing living arrangements, no name on a lease, with no permanent address other than a PO box….people who want their own place but cannot pull it together at this time. Those “homeless” have resources and employment options.

        I rent a room to a person that, according to “the survey”, is homeless, and has been for all the years he has informally rented the room. Many of the temporary workers that staff the ski hill will qualify as homeless.

        The “show me a survey” position is a straw man argument. You that, and throwing that our there does nothing to address the problems…it’s more of a “my position is more righteous than yours…. and you should recognize the dangers of attracting vulnerable people and encouraging them to live in and area like Bend, where it will, sooner or later, be below zero for several days.

        Here is a blurb from an article that is based on the kind of “survey proof” requested..

        “homelessness has declined 14.6% nationwide over the past decade, while at the same time increasing dramatically in major West Coast cities, such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle.”……

        Article by Christopher F. Rufo is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute
        https://www.dailysignal.com/2020/02/24/whats-really-driving-the-homelessness-crisis/

        I’m sure you know how to pull up sources for the article.

    1. East Or guy, thanks for highlighting an overarching concern here – a government that does not honor it’s duty to represent it’s constituents. Bend will not cure or control homelessness, but lets hope we can change a city council that participates in situating a homeless camp between schools and a neighborhood – a neighborhood that will become more blighted and worn….this entirely predictable..

    2. RECOVERY STRATEGY and IMPACT OFFICER. I think that tells you what our city is about. More managers doing something that we never needed doing. I’ve been threatened with hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines for illegal parking cars on my private property but we are expected to embrace these terrible ideas. Did I read the other day that the number of city employees has doubled in ten years? Help me Barney.

      1. Yes. Noting that Ms Eagen stated the camp was “temporary” at the last City Council meeting, I asked what criteria the City had that would trigger the closure of the 9th Street Camp. None given.

  3. My main objection to any homeless camp is that the Bend City Council has demonstrated no understanding or knowledge of what they are dealing with. The issue isn’t whether or not the public has an open mind. If Keblers letter is how they intend to gain public cooperation, they won’t succeed. Information is needed on the demographics of the homeless, the specific needs they have, the resources available, specific goals and metrics for determining success and failure and how they will screen them. Before starting a complicated “solution” let’s have an idea of what is needed and if we are truly willing to pay the price before starting off. Homelessness is not a problem that can be solved.

    1. Skitt, it’s clear our council lacks qualifications. Civics immediately comes to mind. But all the studies we could spend money on wouldn’t justify this site location or the way the council has treated that neighborhood.

    2. But “compassion” will fix everything! If you have compassion you will see the light! If you disagree then you dont have compassion for other humans…see how they frame it?

  4. Let’s hope the Larkspur neighborhood association and the greater east side use this as a catalyst for getting someone elected to the City council. There was no meaningful outreach to the affected schools and neighborhoods before money was already spent beginning site prep and survey. The arrogance of that approach to local governance is on par with Trump’s arrogant abuses of office. The east side is long overdue for direct representation on the council by one who call it home.

      1. Appreciate the vote of confidence my friend, but I’m not a resident of that part of town. However, I’d sure be willing to campaign for those from the Larkspur community who’d like to pursue a position on the council.

  5. NYMBY is part of the issue here. However I still say if the city council wants to make homeless camps let’s look into which city park is closest to their home or city hall and put them there.

      1. Barney, are we no longer allowed to say ‘ass’ or ‘boy’ or ‘homeless camp’? I didn’t call anyone a ‘true california piece of ****’ so just wondering why my comment was removed but sandman’s is allowed. Please clarify your TOS rules of the moment.

  6. Simple answer –

    Citizens file for an injunction against the current proposal –

    And if the proposal goes forward and any citizen or child is harmed the sue the City as well as the councilors who voted for the camp(s).

    Kebler is motivated by her “peacekeeper” friends Michael Satcher and Luke Richter, the duo on their respective FB pages threatening to dethrone her and any other “progressive” councilor in the next election cycle.

    And this is what you get in Portland when these loons are “in charge” –

    https://www.koin.com/news/civic-affairs/old-town-voices-concerns-portland-unsafe-collapsing/amp/

  7. As someone who was houseless only 7 months ago, I commend the council for trying numerous avenues. It’s time to bring folks in and stop pushing them out. Love thy neighbor, remember? You could always introduce yourself and your kids and talk to them about houselessness and what they can do to help. It’s as simple as being nice and accepting them for who they are, not their current struggles. ✌🏼

    1. That’s fantastic! Very happy for you! Here’s just a couple of interesting questions. No judgment either way. Does this serve homeless families best? How does the district deal with homeless children? Is there going to be issues with people not being able to reside in such close proximity to a school? If someone has an indecent exposure charge for relieving themselves in a public venue which one would think to be more common among this population, would that preclude them from living there?

  8. A quick search of Tax Assessor Records (Deschutes Dial) shows Bend Parks and Rec has a ton of ground all over the city and county. It is public property, and some is undeveloped. Perhaps some of that land meets the City Council’s criteria for a camp. Or is it somehow off limits because it is for recreation?

  9. The City Council is certainly to be commended in its attempts to resolve a growing humanitarian crisis in our region–one that is sure to be exacerbated by recent Supreme Court rulings against eviction moratoriums. Tempering this harsh act of vindictiveness by one branch of government has been a dawning realization by Congress that help can and should be provided. As a result of ARPA funding, Bend will have as much as $7 million to dedicate to our local crisis of the unhoused. Of immediate concern should be the provision of life-saving shelter for the thousand or so people who would, otherwise, be forced into survival mode this winter. Thanks to the City of Bend and amazing partners, we will have additional warming shelter space this winter, but only for about ten percent of those in need. There are profound issues of trust that need to be resolved before proceeding with a managed camp on 9th; personally, I have experienced absolutely no fear of endangerment when I volunteer to be a helper for the unhoused. One great Realms High School senior was recently acknowledged in the news for her year long involvement in bettering the lives of the unhoused. But, first things first: Winter is upon us; there are lives to be saved.

    1. Bill, our community is no doubt better for you being your brother’s keeper. Thanks for making a difference. And there is money to be spent for sure. If you spend time listening to the students, educators, and residents of the Larkspur community I expect you’ll come away knowing there has to be a better place for it to be used helping the homeless.

    2. The issue is not the use of tax-payer funds to resolve an issue, but the continued placement of all homeless camps/sites/villages only on the East Side of town. There is significant undeveloped property on the OSU-Cascade property that could just as easily be used for this temporary site and the benefits at that site would clearly out-weigh the risks at the 9th Street site. Yet, the City Council has already pre-ordinated another site only on the East Side. Thus with the majority of the City Council residing on the West Side, this is the ultimate NIMBY decision. Time for Bend council members to be elected by ward/district, not on a city wide basis that benefits only certain parts of the city (just look at the decision of Sparrow Bakery to close its East Side location and relocate to “trendy and safe” West Side.

      1. The geographic ‘equity’ issue was brought up last night. City staff assured all quadrants of the city are being reviewed for such managed camps, these were just the first proposed. They are trying to use publicly owned property at first, for a quicker process, but city manager also said last night that private property owners interested in being involved should contact the city.

          1. Watch Megan Perkins closing statement yesterday. She is comes off as racked with guilt from what she described as her living a privileged life. Typical liberal attempting to appease a guilty conscience with her savior complex.

            1. I believe it was Megan Perkins who earlier referred to the proposed site as “low hanging fruit”. That didn’t sit well with people in the Larkspur neighborhood that will have to live with the blight and safety issues this siting will result in.

        1. So if publicly owned property is the first criteria, then the area of the OSU-Cascades expansion which is already owned by the government should have jumped to the front of the list as other quadrants of the East Side of the city already have homeless sites on them. Hard to believe the gullibility of some citizens/media members not to see the very obvious NIMBY approach by the West Side city council members during the discussion last night. One person referred to this as a new “redlining” by placing this only on the East Side; a spot on assessment. And any private property owner who is paying taxes on their property has zero incentive to be part of this plan.

  10. Just change the building codes to allow ol hickory/Tuff sheds in peoples backyards for “temporary” living. Create an app like VRBO where people who want to help the “houseless” direct. No need to bother anyone else. Be proactive, take control of your own emotions and desire to help your fellow Bendites. Make sure have the house rules set and your good to go.

  11. In a video recorded in the early 1960s, Archbishop Sheen lectured television viewers about what he called “false compassion” for criminals, prostitutes, drug addicts etc.” “False compassion, which is gradually growing in this country, is a pity that is shown not to the mug, but to the mugger; not to the family of the murdered, but to the murderer.” It is the “social slobberers,” said Sheen, who “insist on compassion to the mugger, the dope fiend, the throat-slashers, to the beatniks, to prostitutes, to the punks, etc so that today the decent man is practically off the reservation.” He reiterated, “This is a false compassion.”

    A former professor of theology, the archbishop identified the origins of false compassion. “It started in literature,” he said. It was in the work of William Saroyan and John Steinbeck (both socialists), for example, “where pity was extended through their novels to the good-natured slob.” It is in such novels that pity is shown, he said, “to every kind of pervert and degenerate.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ip7pKqfhWeo

    1. Ross, The nature of Steinbeck’s compassion could be debated, but to label it false is a bridge way too far. The depression and dust bowl devastated thousands of hard working people who through no fault of their own were left with no choice but to migrate in destitution. We can also be compassionate to those on the street – even in cases when it was their own lousy choices that put their lives on a descent. The money is already allocated, lets use it in a way that respects our children, their educators and coaches, and the residences that will see blight develop in their neighborhood.

      1. UndertheShadeTree…..With regards to your opinion about Steinbeck, you are right, it could be debated depending on what side of the political spectrum you stand. There is such a thing as false compassion especially in today’s world among liberals. As for the depression, I am aware of the cause of the depression, and its devastation since my father and his parent lived through it. Oh, and you bet I understand that hard working people during that era were left in a dire situation of homelessness through no fault of their own, and that they had no choice but to migrate in attempts to find jobs, however; I would never compare the people of that era to the majority of homeless youth of today, who through poor decisions, drug use, and sense of entitlement have placed themselves in the position they are in. No way would I compare them to the people of the Great Depression. The work ethic, moral compass, and integrity of those people was by far more prominent than we see in the youth of today. I do not include homeless vets in my opinion. We should do everything to help them. Oh I know that in the homeless we see here in Bend, there are people with such a work ethic but they are far and few between. It says a lot when three weeks ago there was a Job fair here in Bend, and only 16 people showed up, and please do not even attempt to say it is due to the covid, since many of these homeless do not even social distance in their camps. !6 people of the many homeless we have here in Bend. I remember listening to a youth from San Francisco who has come to Bend say he did not want to work, but he came here, because the welfare benefits are much better.

        1. Ross, it could be said the drug epidemic is the dust bowl of this generation. Fundamental social difference being that many, if not most, homeless people voluntarily participate in it, whereas your folks had no choice in being subject to the depression. Keep fighting the good fight.

      2. Consider the intersection of the City siting a homeless camp on 9th Street and the coming implementation of HB 2001, the Oregon law allowing infill housing on any single-family lot. Well, any lot not protected by CC&Rs.
        Let’s say the Council succeeds in siting the homeless camp in the NE 9th Street neighborhood. Perhaps the hope is that in degrading this longtime neighborhood, homeowners in the NE may be more readily persuaded to sell, allowing developers to scoop up and tear down those older ranch houses on big lots (and with no CC&R protections like other areas of Bend) and build out the 2,3,4-plexes, townhomes and cottage clusters with mostly no off-street parking that the City’s proposed HB2001 policy will allow. 

        And then, voilà, the NE 9th Street homeless camp, having served its purpose, will be deemed suddenly “untenable” for all the reasons it is today and it will be closed, dismantled quickly, “an emergency” like on Emerson St., just in time to charge higher rents and home prices on newly-built middle infill housing. Right on the edge of the also soon-to-be developed BCD. 

        Coincidence?
        Hmmm

  12. Tyler S. Farley

    As I’m sure many of you are already aware, Progressive run cities are experiencing an explosion of homelessness. Cities like Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle, and San Francisco are all at record homeless levels. In Los Angeles alone the homeless rate is up 50% since 2018.

    So how can Progressives who often claim to be the most empathetic people in politics allow such misery and suffering in their own cities? The truth is because it’s all by design and there is history of this among Progressives.

    For decades, Progressives have created victim classes. They do it through their policies or simply by declaring a certain group to be a class of victims. The welfare system and government aid programs of the 70’s and beyond is a perfect example of this. The welfare system created an entire vicious cycle of victims that Progressives could the pretend to fight for. Any attack on the welfare system was instantly deflected as an attack on the people receiving the benefits. This is how Progressives frame themselves as saviors of the victims they themselves created.

    The homeless epidemic is no different and follows the same playbook. Countless failed policies in Progressive cities have caused the current homeless crisis. But instead of reversing or changing any of those policies, Progressives have instead doubled down, adding fuel to the fire. And just like the welfare debate, any attack on Progressive polices causing the homeless crisis are instead deflected as an attack on homeless people themselves. Simply pointing out the homeless problem as being a Progressive problem instantly gets you labeled as uncaring and hostile towards the homeless, the mentally ill, and those with drug addictions.

    Progressives are always creating victims and creating fake enemies to fuel their need to be the saviors of the downtrodden. In this case they create the victim class, pretend to be their protectors, but instead continue the policies creating the victims in the first place. On the other hand, they’ll create fake enemies they can pretend to fight against to bolster their support among the ‘victims’. Currently it’s males, straight men, or white people who are the chosen enemies of Progressives. They label these people as the root of evil in society, then claim to be fighting the good fight by pushing back against them.

    For Progressives, it’s all a show, a mirage, and rhetorical slight of hand. They take their own misdeeds and failed policies then make it look like their enemies are the cause. They pander to the victims they created while continuing to fuel what caused those people’s suffering in the first place. It’s a truly twisted and sick manipulation of the truth, and it’s one Progressives have mastered.

    So make no mistake, Progressives are obsessed with using the poor and weak to help themselves feel like the elite saviors they wish they were. And like most people who pretend to be something they’re not, they leave a path of destruction and unkept promises wherever they go.

    https://theculturechronicles.com/index.php/2020/02/21/homelessness-in-progressive-cities-is-no-accident-progressives-have-always-worked-to-create-new-victim-classes-so-they-can-pretend-to-be-their-savior/

    1. Ross, I’ll see your “theculturechronicles” link and raise you https://www.urban.org/urban-wire/homelessness-blame-game. Even a 2019 Trump White House report notes that homelessness is fundamentally a housing problem. And no place in the country–either with liberal or conservative leaders–has enough housing for people at the lowest end of the income ladder. I disagree with your socialist-bashing (increasing numbers of young people–especially–yearn for a system that better addresses human needs), but I kind of agree with your suggestion for a managed camp adjacent to Discovery Park.

    2. Totally agree rosspoldark and it’s the truth. But just wait they are still gonna blame trump for the way they are, because I’m sure they won’t have a response to what you said except ahhh it’s trump’s fault and your a racist for saying that stuff

    3. When we were raising our children, they called it “tough love”. It worked, bet it still works! Most people/families just aren’t strong enough to follow through.

  13. Barney fife won’t print the truth people don’t want the homeless around the schools no do we want the bend city council or the Mayor either They are a big ass joke

  14. To the left of Discovery Park in Northwest Crossing, is a massive empty lot. Much more massive even than those proposed. It would house every single homeless person, and of course if it is built more will come, so it could house even more new comers. The city council should really look into that piece of land. The homeless would have everything they need there. Close to shopping and clinics. I am sure the community in that neck of the woods, being as progressive and open minded as they are, will welcome with open arms a homeless camp there.

    1. Are you suggesting that the “progressives” on the West Side should actually interact on more than the 30 seconds they usually spend walking past the homeless in our downtown on way to their Orange Theory class or coffee shop fix? That quadrant is not slated to get a homeless site until at least 2029 after all of the government land on the East Side is filled…oh wait, the current Deschutes Cty landfill will close that year, so the city council will simply place homeless sites there. Wow, the West Side dodged that potential bullet!

    2. Progressives always want someone else to foot the bills for their grand visions. We do need more housing as that is no doubt one of the contributing factors.

  15. An interesting exercise for an enterprising journalist would be to overlay a map of the current city council and staff’s homes with the proposed locations of the low barrier shelter, the newly acquired hotel on Division and this camp.

    Any bets of how that map would look? With three of seven councilors in NW Crossing, and two near Drake Park, is it any wonder that there are no proposals in their backyards?

      1. The case for precinct type citizen representation in Bend has long ago been made. Question is: will the powers of money and politics in this city ever allow that change to happen?

  16. The city council should be doing its due diligence and researching what other states/communities are facing with these “homeless camps” –

    And drop the name-calling of those who are in many cases far more educated and experienced in the challenges and realities of the homeless population than they are, both individually and collectively.

    For example –

    A News 4 viewer recently sent in a video from August 5. In the video, you can see a man being beaten and dragged inside the encampment for over a minute. We’re told that violence inside the camp has skyrocketed in the last week, with multiple assaults, beatings and even a shooting. St. Louis police tell us they’re working to patrol that area, but witnesses refusing to come forward is halting their investigation and resources to help that area.

    “In the past, we’ve had small encampments that have three, five, up to 10 [people], but we’ve never had something this large and this problematic,” Anthony D’Agostino said.

    https://www.kmov.com/news/downtown-residents-voice-concerns-over-rise-in-violence-at-homeless-camps/article_4a9e939c-fa4a-11eb-9f3f-b37d61f3de73.html

    We have long time and seasoned experts locally who have been working with the homeless issue for years and it is they who need to be consulted, and in a public hearing setting, regarding the true reality of this situation – to include the new converted motels and villages being consttructed/funded/staffed that can and will actually manage the vetted occupants, to include their drug/alcohol, mental health, and other challenges.

    As for the “loud voices” who have to revert to calling folks “bigots”, and “racists” and whatever other trigger word is today popular – two of the loudest have, at most, a high school / GED education and do not own the homes they live in, nor do they have anything but entry level, minimum wage jobs (if and when they choose to work).

    Hardly “experts” in anything other than gaslighting and playing the eternal Victim.

    Truth.

  17. Actually the citizens of Bend are speaking loudly and clearly to the Bend City Council telling them that none of us want them in our neighborhoods not even the leaders of the homeless movement. I think all city councilors should fill their backyard and front yard with homeless people for a year and then come back to us with solutions that they think are feasible. There is no question that the incidence of crime including theft, burglary, drugs, and violence related to drugs is higher among this population and none of us want to live around it. We, as tax-paying citizens supporting the city services and employees, have the right to make this very reasonable request. The other option would be to give them all a bus ticket to San Francisco whose downtown is already a cesspool of homelessness due to this idiotic concept that they need to be welcomed.

  18. This is all about the redistribution of wealth. We pay taxes so that people who made bad choices can move into your back yard and be your ‘neighbor’. Do they pay taxes?

    1. Whether you agree with the funding or not, it’s already been granted to the city for this purpose through the Deschutes County commissioners. The city council, qualified or not, has to decide how to apply it. Please continue to contact them by email and phone to let them know this is a poorly thought out idea. They won’t ever own that, but if enough people are outraged at least we can work together to replace them during the next election. It’s the only way forward that will make a difference to the place we call home.

  19. When will people open their eyes?!! This is only encouraging them to set back & let someone take care of them….. not all homeless, just about 98% of them. And yes make sure it’s on the east side of town. The west side wouldn’t want to have to smell anything bad.

  20. When it was over 100 degrees this summer I saw lots of people bringing cases of water, ice, and coolers to Hunnel Rd. and other homeless camps. When it comes to the lives of fellow humans there is a lot of compassionate people in this town. I find it insulting for the councilor to suggest otherwise just be because people do not want a homeless camp between two schools.

    Also, where are the endless meetings, city managers, and special task forces concerning the clean up and permanent removal of all of the tent camps through out the city. I would be much more in favor of a legal camp if all of the illegal camps were being actively shut down.

      1. That is indeed my understanding of the rulings but seems to imply the courts are mandating cities are primarily responsible for housing anyone and no one should ever be homeless. I don’t believe homeless will ever be managed well, much less eradicated. by the time someone becomes chronically homeless, a lot of damage has already been done. I can’t fix my own family members, and certainly a city to solve homelessness. We could certainly do a better job allowing adequate construction of housing units though.

  21. “We know that this isn’t an ideal site — it’s in a neighborhood,” she said. “But we are trying to figure out how we can convert this site in the shortest amount of time into a place where people can stay.” That a direct quote from Melanie Kebler. I’m looking forward to contributing to and campaigning for whoever runs against her in the next election, and I hope it’s someone from the under-represented Larkspur neighborhood.

  22. Yes. Councilor Kebler is not listening or does not care. The fact that she cannot see that this is a horrendous location is grounds enough for removing her at the next voting opportunity.

  23. These city council members + the mayor don’t give a rats **s what anyone has to say. They have their agendas. They also don’t want their problems showing up in their neighborhoods. So push them out to the other side of town… out of sight, out of mind. Except, where they want to put them is now in the sight of school kids, making it the most dangerous place for children ever.

  24. I am beyond words and thought how this Council and Eric King can twist themselves to still consider this location as viable. Should they continue with the location, then this, this is the moment that Bend jumps the shark. And it’s under Eric’s watch. This is such a horrendous idea on so many levels that if they cannot move on from it, then Eric should step down. This should never have gotten beyond the staff consideration level. If he cannot hear his citizens, the children, our educators, those interested in equity, then he has grown too out of touch to remain effective. I utter these words after supporting him for well over a decade.

    Our houseless need substantial shelter not a tent in fall and winter temperatures. There are several other well better options. You need to look at existing buildings that can provide actual shelter, or a relocation to areas where fall and winter temps will not cause death by exposure. Leaders, I challenge you to do well better.

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