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City of Bend seeks feedback on proposed code changes to allow homeless shelters in most areas of city

(Update: Adding video, comments from Bend city councilor)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The city of Bend announced Monday it is seeking public input on proposed code changes that will provide options for various types of shelters to be built in most city zoning districts.

The city has published an interactive online tool that explains the proposed homeless shelter types and asks for public feedback. The tool can be found at this link and is available in English and Spanish through Nov. 1.

Shelters can provide a bridge for houseless community members until they can get into more stable or permanent housing, the city said, adding that shelters are part of the City Council’s comprehensive strategy to provide safe housing options for people.

City Councilor Megan Perkins told NewsChannel 21, “We are really trying to show through these images and descriptions what these different types of shelters look like, what they are, and where they would be in our city.”

“Everybody knows that we have an increasing population of people that do not have any place to live, and this would enable more shelters to be built, more places for people to have a safe place at night,” Perkins said.

The proposed code amendments were developed with the help of a City Manager-appointed group called the Sounding Board to House our Neighbors, which has been meeting since April to develop recommendations on the size and type of shelters that should be allowed in each zoning district.

The Sounding Board is comprised of social service providers, housing advocates and designers, and representatives from the Bend Economic Advisory Committee, Neighborhood Leadership Alliance, Affordable Housing Advisory Committee, Planning Commission and City Council.

The type of shelter, size of facility and other recommended standards, such as screening and landscaping, vary by zoning district. The Sounding Board is recommending requirements for neighborhood outreach and on-site or on-call management for all shelters.

The board outlined four shelter types to help with the homeless problem: group, multi-room, outdoor, and hardship Shelters.

Group shelters like Shepherd's House will have one or more open sleeping areas that may be divided only by non-permanent partitions and furnished with cots, floor mats or bunks. The maximum number of shelter beds will be limited by the building occupancy maximum of the building.

Multi-room shelters would be located in a motel, apartment building or a residence. A local example a multi-room shelter is the Bethlehem Inn.

Outdoor shelters would consist of managed camps, with multiple mobile and/or permanent units that are located outside.

Hardship shelters would permit homeowners to accommodate a houseless person in need on their property with an RV or manufactured dwelling.

Perkins said hardship shelters were created after residents expressed a desire to be able to help out friends and families during hard times.

“We’ve heard from so many people that being able to take in someone in an RV on their own property would be incredibly helpful to (the person) and give them time to get back on their feet, to find a more permanent place to live,” Perkins said.

The Sounding Board will meet in November to review public feedback on the code amendments that is received from the interactive online tool and further refine its recommendations. A work session with the Bend Planning Commission is expected on Jan. 10, with a public hearing on Jan. 24.

Following those meetings, the City Council will be reviewing and making policy decisions on the proposed code amendments.

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Leslie Cano

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

Comments

71 Comments

    1. I think this will make it so they can put them anywhere in city limits. It dosent seem like they are really caring when they think about putting it next to schools

    2. I hope so because it’s the liberals that are passing these stupid laws. Homeless has only increased as the votes have become more liberal. Homeless people move to where ever is easier to get free living… Stop this madness!!

    1. Precisely. I wish there was a way to care for the homeless without encouraging more to come here, but I don’t believe there is. The more services provided, the larger the problem will become.

  1. WOW just WOW way to go City of lil Portland!!! How about all of these so called “officials” start by taking these “houseless” people onto their property and give them the shelter food clothing that they need and go from there??? I think you would hear crickets!!! What a joke when you go woke…

  2. The current city council doesn’t listen to those who are their bosses anyway…

    This is just “checking the box”…

    Welcome to Portland, Bend.

    1. I’m not sure what’s wrong with not wanting to incentivize homelessness, seeing how well that social experiment is going with our neighbors to the north, west and south.

    2. Yup. And if I ever did become homeless, I would not expect the city of Bend at a population of 90k+ to cater to my needs. We need to consider the 90k+ first. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.

    3. Not certain I will never be homeless, but I am certain that I wouldn’t become a squatter accumulating massive piles of garbage. There is a huge difference between people needing temporary assistance to get back on their feet versus people who “choose” this as a way of life. Those “choices” should not be the responsibility of the community to fund. And those “choices” should not negatively affect the majority of the community who work hard to have a nice place to call home. I do not wish ill will, but I have rights too!

    4. You are correct, I am absolutely certain it will never happen to me. And for good reason. Failure as a lifestyle is not an option for me. That said, I have had many failures and learned from them. Some people who become temporarily homeless also choose not to live the lifestyle and get themselves out. The bulk of homeless people are that way for a reason and have burned many bridges. They are willing and able to play the hapless victim role and take advantage of the do-gooder city councilors.

  3. This is a horrible idea! Move to Portland if you love to see homeless take over public spaces. The more you give, the more they show up from other cities.

  4. And again I ask…. what are the Seniors getting? Worked and payed taxes all their lives and now cannot afford to live in the town that they worked and payed taxes. No little planned affordable villages for them? No sliding scale for rents? Nothing. Thanks City Council.

    1. Seniors vary between being either the 1st or 2nd wealthiest age group depending on when you ask. If we’re gonna be handing out freebees based on age, I wouldn’t want it to be that group. ‘don’t see why some boomers living on Awbrey Butte and driving His and Her Porsche Cayennes should be getting extra tax money just because they managed to stay alive.

        1. Then give it to people that need help, regardless of their age. Not because they happen to have lived a certain amount of years. And BTW, I’m 60+ myself (but live on the east side and don’t own $$$$ cars).

      1. I think your figures are incorrect. Most seniors live on a meager social security check. Hardly wealthy. You need to check your “facts”. Try Politifact. LOL, they seem to be a certain favorite of certain people on here.

        1. Why does anyone deserve free money? Socialist Security is out of money and should be eliminated. Let the seniors who made poor choices fend for themselves and not burden hard working Americans. This is not china yet.

  5. Look at Bend’s interactive survey on houseless shelter options (link in the article). The City included a section asking demographic information from respondents. The survey asks participants to volunteer information on income, area of residence, age, race, gender, education, and so on. We live in a time when inclusion and acceptance is paramount. Prejudice, bigotry, bias, and profiling of any description is considered unacceptable. Demographic questioning on this topic only furthers the social divisions that permeate our society.

  6. I think it’s important to recognize where we all have common ground regarding the homeless situation in Central Oregon. I think we all wish that everyone had a safe place to live. Also no one expects this to happen overnight, but likely some of those in this vulnerable population need just a minimum of assistance to get them on their feet again. Local businesses are desperate for workers. Every summer Sunriver goes out of its way to provide housing for employees, could St Charles start doing this? At the other end of the homeless spectrum likely are individuals who need much more assistance, with everyone else somewhere in between. Why not start by designating some “Needs levels” then use the communities limited resources to move people up through the levels till they’re independent. At least then it would be clear that some goals were being achieved.

    1. Should also be asking why has the houseless population doubled if not tripled in Bend. Hard decisions need to be made. The reality is equal outcome for everyone doesn’t work.

      1. About 5 years ago the City changed the parking near Drake park on Riverside from unlimited to 4 hours max – this policy forced the homeless hippies to move on. Next the city changed the sitting on the sidewalk law to allow 6 feet, the baggers had to move on. But this city council now is all open arms for homeless, and spending money they don’t have to help them. Homeless population has exploded because of it. The next election can’t come soon enough, I hope we have a city left to save. Yes Bend is becoming Portland, I hope the people living here realize it. Those moving in from elsewhere, there is a reason you came here. I bet it wasn’t to fund homeless shelters all over town.

  7. I’ll believe the “we’re all in this together” rhetoric when I see homeless shelters on the west side of town! Putting a camp on the southern entrance to Bend (by Les Schwab) is a great welcome mat to tourists, right?

  8. For anyone who thinks they have a say on the outcome of this proposal is facing a serious let down.This has been in motion since at least April. Asking for feedback is just a way to make community members feel as if they have a say, when you don’t. I agree with a prior post, asking and acquiring answers to the interactive survey only divides further. In what universe does my income level, education level, race, age or gender have anything to do with my feedback or opinions on this subject. Inclusive Bend…only if you’re housless.

  9. The city selling this as some way to address affordability of housing is ridiculous. I hope no matter how you feel about this serious questions need to be asked. The city should telling us why the population of houseless is doubling, How will they hold the houseless accountable and participate in society? Our soft hearted policies are not working..

  10. Wow! I propose that the Bend city councilors should first start a 1 year pilot project on their own personal homes before proposing a code change…!!!??? I mean come on what is Bend becoming!

    1. Becoming? It has already “became”. Bend “became” Little Portland a years ago. It started with the onset of the internet and a little website named “Visit Bend”. They came, they saw, they moved in and stayed. And the homeless population followed them after the onset of free Obama Smart Phones.

  11. I fail to see why the overlords even put out the idea that there is a choice for the peons to have or not have anything, the overlords have already decided what they are going to do and will do despite objections from the working class. Now we just wait for the signs to change from “Bend” to “Potland East”

  12. Do we have any actual footage of the day the clown car showed up to drop off your new city councilors? I’d love to see it.
    This city is being run by actual clowns… Get ready for mini Portland /San Fran/Seattle. Remember if you piled the amount crap on your property that you own that these druggies pile on our public right of ways you’d be getting fined by the code enforcement. Bend is becoming almost as big a national joke as Portland….

  13. Why did ODOT have to kick them out of the bypass on/off ramps? Now they’re going to be dispersed all over the city. How are social services going to be able to chase down these folks to get them the help they need if they are scattered all over the city?

  14. Megan,

    You, and people that think like you caused this problem. Deep down you think you are helping them. You are not. You are enabling them while destroying this city.

    You are free to move here just like anyone else, but you and the rest of the council will make this a worse place to live. Go visit Portland or Salem or Eugene, and then ask yourself if that is what you want Bend to look like.

      1. State supported mental illness treatment with housing. State supported job training with housing. State supported drug treatment with housing. Local cities can’t afford it and most cities don’t have the infrastructure to support it. Cities can ban camping on city property and arrest violators and send them on their way to which they came. Able bodied people can work and contribute to society. Tough love needs to make a come back. Stop enabling a worthless life style.

        1. Court rulings, as we and others have reported many times, have strictly limited what cities can due regarding the homeless population. (And we’ll see if state lawmakers can round up the votes for such major investments.)

      2. Most homeless are chronic. We can’t help them more than they are willing to help themselves. Many don’t mind the lifestyle, have given up, have mental health and drug/alcohol addiction or are broken. It’s just a matter of how much money do you want to throw away before realizing they won’t help themselves.

        However, I do like the option of allowing RV’s on private property if it is kept to a minimum and doesn’t overly disturb the neighbors. At least the landowner will likely screen them and have some standards.

  15. If the high cost of housing is behind all this homelessness, then why wasn’t this happening during the big boom that Bend experienced prior to the recession of 2008? Bend was the most overpriced housing market in the country… Yet we didn’t have homeless camps all over?? It isn’t housing prices causing this… It is liberal policies and lack of enforcement of laws.

  16. Not a good idea Bend is already looking like a Dump This town has gone to the dogs These counselors want it so bad let the Homeless live in there yards

  17. Can anyone get a count on how many homeless have been sheltered at the council members homes? They care so much I assume they are front line helping by offering up their space to the needy.

  18. How about we go the opposite direction. The cities that provide more services for homeless have more homeless. The vast majority of homeless in Bend are recent transplants. They are not our neighbors who are down on their luck. They have moved here recently, because they heard we provide good services and will make their lives easier.

    This is a huge mistake.

  19. I have spoken to Anthony Boardman and Sally Russell regarding this issue. The number take away from our conversation: The city and city council do not care what the people who elected them think. Sally Russell says it is the responsibility of volunteers to deal with the homeless and clean up after them, she is too busy. These were actual words, I am not making it up. Anthony Boardman, well, he is just an obtuse liberal elite guy who knows nothing about the homeless or their situation. It would be comical if it weren’t a serious situation.

    1. This is how she makes up for her misplaced guilt: by making others pay the price for her self aggrandizement for championing the chronically homeless.

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