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Bend sets April 6 City Council work session, May 4 public hearing on shelter code changes

After years of scrambling to site and open a winter warming shelter, Bend located a permanent site for a low-barrier shelter in 2021.
KTVZ file
After years of scrambling to site and open a winter warming shelter, Bend located a permanent site for a low-barrier shelter in 2021.

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Bend City Council will hold a work session at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, April 6 on controversial proposed code amendments that would increase the availability of shelter beds by providing updated standards for group, multi-room and outdoor shelters.

This work session is an opportunity for councilors and the community to review the proposed code and hear the recommendations from the Bend Planning Commission. Work sessions do not include a public comment opportunity, officials said Wednesday. 

Numerous residents have voiced objections to and criticized the proposed changes, expressing concern that it will bring increased crime and health issues and diminished safety to their neighborhoods. City councilors and officials have said the main goal is for managed facilities that get more homeless off the streets.

The proposed “Shelter Code” was first developed by the city manager-appointed Sounding Board to House Our Neighbors to define standards for where and how development of different types of shelters and transitional options can take place in Bend. The proposed code includes recommendations for three types of permanent shelters, as well as two types of temporary shelters.  

In February and March, the Bend Planning Commission reviewed the proposed Shelter Code and deliberated changes based on community input. The commission’s recommendations will now move on to City Council for consideration.  

To view the most recent draft of the proposed Shelter Code amendments and for information on accessing the work session, visit the Shelter Code Changes webpage. You can also review the Shelter Code Quick Reference for further background on these amendments, including what changes the Commission recommended and answers to frequently asked questions. 

Following the work session, the City Council will hold a public hearing at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 4. The public hearing will provide community members an opportunity to provide public comments on the proposed code. Visit the City Council Agenda webpage for information on how to attend the public hearing. 

The city said the proposed code amendments are one part of a comprehensive set of strategies identified by the city and community partners that include finding ways to keep people in their homes, providing temporary transitional housing, and increasing the availability of affordable housing in Bend, including shelter beds. 

City Council’s 2021-2023 biennium goals include a Housing goal to “create housing or facilities to house 500 homeless individuals on a temporary or permanent basis.” 

Article Topic Follows: Bend

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