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ODOT notifies homeless campers of ‘no camping’ policy, planned removals

Third site, by Revere Avenue, will get notices later in week

(Update: adding video, comments from ODOT spokesman, Shepherd’s House Ministries)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) --The Oregon Department of Transportation had a crew out Tuesday morning, serving homeless camp removal notices at two locations near the Bend Parkway.

ODOT said it plans to enforce a no camping policy on its properties.

More than a dozen tents could be seen in the area. The growth of the homeless camps has made it hard for ODOT to keep the areas clean and free of hazards.

“From safety to fire hazard, to permanence, it’s become a problem that ODOT has to deal with,” said ODOT Region 4 spokesman Peter Murphy.

Murphy, along with ODOT workers and a Bend police officer inspected tents at both the Powers Road and Colorado Avenue parkway ramps. They notified residents that they’ll be clearing the areas in 10 days. 

ODOT previously allowed campers to stay on their property, as long as no permanent structures or fire hazards were present, but Murphy said those terms were not met.

“Some of these camps start looking pretty permanent -- people putting in lighting, more permanent physical structures, like couches and beds,” Murphy said.

Safety concerns about the upcoming winter season were also factors.

“Some of these camps are really up adjacent to the highway, and what we’re worried about is when a plow might come by and be pushing snow over, cinders, or if a car spins out or something like that,” Murphy said.

David Notari, director of development for Shepherd’s House Ministries, says the organization will be on site on Saturday, Oct. 16 to help those having to relocate.

“We will provide transportation for them, if they need to go to a shelter, for instance the one we run in Bend or other locations. We will help them with services, any food or clothing that they need,” Notari said.

On Friday, Murphy said, ODOT will notify campers located along the Revere Avenue parkway ramps that they plan to clear the area there as well. Trash was cleaned from the area earlier this year, but plans to evict one camper were dropped.

Article Topic Follows: Bend

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Leslie Cano

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


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