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Bend city councilors OK controversial shelter codes; Gena Goodman Campbell sworn in as interim mayor

City seeks applicants for 2 council vacancies; council has 30 days to fill or they stay open until fall election

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- On a momentous, emotional night, Bend city councilors unanimously approved the controversial codes for homeless shelters, after some changes, and at night's end, they bid farewell to Mayor Sally Russell and Councilor Rita Schenkelberg's, then chose Mayor Pro Tem Gena Goodman Campbell to fill Russell's role until the fall election.

As with many council meetings lately, things got testy if not contentious early on, with some supportive and thanking the mayor and Schenkelberg for their work, and others critical.

There also was another round of citizen comments critical of what they see as an effort to put homeless who use drugs or are otherwise unsafe in residential areas.

Here's the city's outline of what transpired and the process to fill the vacancies:

Two Vacancies on Bend City Council

Councilors will appoint people to fill vacant seats for the remainder of the year

Bend City Councilors declared two Council vacancies at their May 18 meeting, triggering a selection process that is open to community members interested in being appointed to the Bend City Council for the remainder of this year. In separate announcements, Mayor Sally Russell and Councilor Rita Schenkelberg publicized that they both were resigning and that the May 18 Council meeting would be their final meeting.

During the May 18 meeting, Councilors appointed Mayor Pro-Tem Gena Goodman-Campbell as the new Mayor. Councilors then chose Anthony Broadman to serve as the new Mayor Pro-Tem. Goodman-Campbell will complete Russell’s Mayoral term (Council Position 7) which expires the end of 2022.

The move into the seat of Mayor created one vacancy for Goodman-Campbell’s seat, (Council Position 5), which also expires in 2022. The other vacancy is for Schenkelberg’s seat, (Council Position 4).

Both appointees will serve on the Council for the rest of 2022. Both Council positions will be on the ballot for the general election in November, at which time both seats need to be filled by election. The appointees will serve on the Council until the newly elected Councilors take office on January 4, 2023.

The person elected by voters into Schenkelberg’s seat will serve out the remaining two years of Schenkelberg’s term instead of a typical four-year term.

Community members interested in being appointed can apply at www.bendoregon.gov/council-application found at www.bendoregon.gov/citycouncil between May 19 and June 1. Appointees must be registered to vote in Oregon and must have resided in the city continuously during the twelve months immediately preceding the appointment.

If more than 10 people apply for the vacancies, a subcommittee of councilors (Anthony Broadman, Melanie Kebler and Megan Perkins) will convene to review the applications and suggest candidates for interviews. If fewer than 10 people apply, the whole Council will interview all applicants. Councilors will hold special public meetings in early June to conduct interviews. (Watch www.bendoregon.gov/councilagenda for meeting information.)

The City’s Charter says a vacancy in the council shall be filled within 30 days by appointment by the council but if the council does not fill the vacancy by an appointment within 30 days, then the vacancy gets filled at the next election, which would be in November.

For more detail, section 21 of the Bend Charter and section 9 of the City Council Rules explain the requirements associated with the process to fill vacancies.

More information about the 2022 Council elections can be found here.


Here is the city, and Councilor Megan Perkins' summary of the shelter code, the changes:

Councilors made the first of two votes needed to approve development code changes that would provide options for various types of shelters to be built in most zoning districts in Bend.

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

Here are Councilor Megan Perkins comments summarizing the shelter code update, prior to the vote:

SHELTER CODE

It has been a long process to get to the point we are at tonight. Councilors will make the first of two votes required pass shelter code changes. The proposed changes to the Bend Development Code would allow shelters for unhoused community members to be developed in most zoning districts in Bend.  

At the most recent, formal public input component of this process, a public hearing at the May 4 City Council meeting, more than 50 community members provided comments on the proposed changes, both in person and virtually. The record includes more than 700 other public comments on this code as well. The public comment period on the proposed code changes has closed.

In response to feedback we heard from the community, Planning Commission and Neighborhood Leadership Alliance, Councilors asked City staff to make three changes to the proposed code, which have been incorporated into the proposal we are considering this evening: 

  1. Remove on-call site management as an option for managing the shelters. This change would require any shelter operating 24 hours a day to have on-site management 24 hours a day, which could be provided by a shelter resident (as designated by the shelter provider).
  2. Remove hardship shelters from the proposed code. This removes the part of the proposed code that would have allowed the use of RVs for temporary shelter in private driveways in residential neighborhoods. There will still be an allowance for manufactured homes or similar structures for medical hardships, as is currently permitted.
  3. Require outreach and communication to the Neighborhood Association where the shelter will be located, in addition to adjacent neighborsAdding this provision will help neighborhood leaders stay informed about proposed new shelter locations in their neighborhood.  This outreach would be in addition to any notice that might be required by a development application for the proposed shelter.

UNSANCTIONED CAMPING CODE

You may have also heard about a camping code in the works. I want to clarify that a camping code is a separate body of work from the shelter code we’re considering tonight.

As part of its overall strategy to address houselessness, the City will next work on comprehensive Municipal Code provisions to regulate camping and sleeping in public places.

Introducing a new code related to unsanctioned camping after the shelter code changes currently being discussed is not coincidental timing. Creating additional shelter options lays the groundwork for a code that regulates where, when and how individuals can camp or sleep in public places.

I do want to point out that State law says any City regulations on sitting, lying, sleeping or keeping warm and dry outdoors on public property must be objectively reasonable as to time, place and manner for people experiencing homelessness.

While this may not allow every city to prohibit all camping in public places at all times, the City will be considering its options under the law as the project proceeds.

The City Council expects to start discussing an unsanctioned camping code this summer, following our decisions regarding the proposed shelter code. 

You can find this information on City Council agendas going forward. (www.bendoregon.gov/councilagenda)

Thank you to all that gave feedback, asked questions and brought ideas to this process. We look forward to engaging you further as we move on to the next piece of this comprehensive work.

-Megan Perkins


There were few small issues on this night. They began a work session with a return to another controversy: short-term rentals, and whether to more strictly limit their placement (a larger density buffer) and require proof of its use for that purpose at least once a year to keep its license.

Then they got an update on the water situation, hearing about recent declines in groundwater levels in the region, due to climate trends and years of drought.

Each councilor explained why they were voting for the shelter codes, with Broadman noting that it’s a “land use decision” and that “it’s important to be doing something to help people and places that routinely graduate people out of homelessness.”

Councilor Barb Campbell said, “It hurts my heart to hear some of the comments” people have made, but most she talks to “say they are human beings, and the situation we have now is intolerable.”

She said it’s clear why so many people are afraid of living next to something that grows to be like the homeless camps on Hunnell Road and Second Street.

“That is not what we are trying to create,” she said. “Those places represent the problem we’re trying to solve.” And she spoke of her own personal issues – “I’m an alcoholic,” and how she had help find “a place for me in rehab.”

The city-ODOT intergovernmental agreement was approved 6-1, with Broadman opposed, saying not enough is in the plans yet to show it will be truly multi-modal: “I want a better project.” But Region 4 Manager Gary Farnsworth said the work to make the new Third Street extension better will continue, and Campbell acknowledged while “it’s not perfect,” the plans and partnership are a big step forward: “To me, it represents a sea change for ODOT.”

Under the current schedule, final design work begins next month and construction on the Highway 20 part of the project this fall, completed by the end of 2023, with the Highway 97 part to be complete by the end of 2024.

The departure of Russell and Schenkelberg also brought tears from Campbell and heartfelt words from several colleagues.

When it came time to choose an interim mayor, Campbell nominated Goodman Campbell, seconded by Broadman, and no one else was nominated. Colleague Melanie Kebler announced her run for mayor a month ago – and was endorsed by five colleagues, hours before Russell’s initial announcement that she would not run for re-election. Former councilor Chris Piper also has declared he will run for mayor this fall.

Goodman Campbell said before her swearing in ended the evening, “It’s going to look different, having a mayor who is a mother of a small child and has a full-time job. Change is a constant.”

She said the city is “obviously facing some daunting challenges. We have laid out an inspiring work plan.”

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Barney Lerten

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

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Kelsey McGee

Kelsey McGee is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Kelsey here.

Comments

35 Comments

  1. Glad to see Rita’s woke politics heading out the door. Could not care less about her ethnicity, sexual orientation, or any other personal aspects.

    1. You got that right. She was there because she was a Bipoc female with an alternative lifestyle. I watched her at meeting and she was as clueless as they come. So Bendites Peacekeeper Luke Richter is mulling a run. Now there’s a keeper…NOT!!

  2. And then there were 5. The current CC road in on the woke wave and were going to change Bend for good. What they didn’t account for was taking responsibility, working hard, and owning their failures. So with that they’re getting ready spend $5.8 million, which is just a down payment on solving the homeless problem. We’ll see whose left in 6 mos.

  3. It was disappointing to see Rita make a speech opening the council meeting explaining her, Megan and Gena’s refusal to stand for the pledge of allegiance as their right to exercise of freedom of speech. But, when one citizen very briefly mentioned the three should spend less time on pronouns and more time on city business, Rita, Megan and Gena objected and wanted the testimony stopped in shouts of protest. Yes it can be hard to be a civic leader, yes people will take cheap shots, state non-truths, and become very emotional when stating their beliefs, but regardless elected officials take an oath to protect EVERYONES rights, including those you disagree with.

    With that said, Rita deserves credit for recognizing she is not well suited for public office and having the will and strength to resign and step aside.

    1. Oh please, she was horrible and used the office for trips and personal gain. She got what she wanted and id bailing before she gets investigated

      1. You know, often people don’t understand what civic leadership entails, especially those who are driven by strong motivations. Ya, I agree she was not effective, and did not represent a broad based vision, and I find this refusal to stand to the allegiance insulting to all those who have fought, served and died to keep the flag flying.

  4. Thank you to the council for trying to address the problems and growing pains Bend has. It seems to be a thankless job with many vocal armchair critics. Hang in there and continue fighting to make Bend a better place.

  5. Apparently Rita thought she would get the last word stating that is was nice that people could protest outside and the council could protest inside by not standing for the pledge. She obviously misses the point and this demonstrates why she isn’t fit to serve on the City Council. She has a duty to represent and serve the people. This does not give her the right to use her position during official meetings to protest and demonstrate her personal views. She can protest all she wants on her own time; protesting during council meetings destroys her credibility. She has demonstrated she is not able to put the interests of the people above her own. The other two members of the council who refuse to stand should also be gone. And Ms Kebler, who used to sit, is now standing because she is running for mayor. Vote no on all these clowns.

  6. They have become so bold that they are now disregarding the wide majority of the citizens they work for and set their own agendas. Even in the middle of an election year. Vote them out people.

  7. If they build more beds on the Eastside, then they can prevent people from camping in public places, especially in places they live and frequent. CC should be ashamed of themselves, but after attending the meeting 2 weeks ago, it is clear they have no shame

      1. That’s the nice part of town, duh. You think these council members like stinky hobos any better than you? They like the stinky tramps in your neighborhood peasant.

  8. The city council has slid so far left into the swamp of wokeism that they are no longer capable of listening to the voices of the community. If they can’t make decisions based on what the citizens of Bend want, it’s time to vote them out.

  9. Concerned Bend residents should demand, yes demand, full access to any and all background information related to anyone who wishes to be considered for the vacant council seats.

    To include a certified resume reflecting their education level, professional training and experience in those areas required for a council member to carry out their duties in a competent manner, criminal background check to include whether or not the applicant has a juvenile criminal record – and if so – what the violations or charges were for, and a drug & alcohol test.

    In addition, and since the Central Oregon “peacekeepers” have been successful in making the public information option available to a wider group of people, concerned Citizens and groups should consider submitting public records requests to the City (the form is online) and asking, for example, any and all emails between council members to date and going forward that may be between applicants and the council member or members / pro tem mayor. Transparency is key here.

    To date, council members are not employees of the city and are therefore not held to the city’s employee hiring criteria or policies regarding their behavior. This per a past note from the city’s legal counsel.

    In short, the residents / voters in Bend must continue to hold the current council members both accountable, transparent, and honest as this process moves forward. It is THEIR council, not the other way around.

    1. You say that like it’s a bad thing to be like Portland.

      Portland is one of the most livable metropolitan areas in the nation. It’s not perfect but have you ever lived in Denver? Now that’s a wasteland.

  10. so kebler says she is running for mayor and says the whole council endorses her . then sally says she is not running . then sallys quits . then rita quits . then the make goodman cambel the mayor and broadman pro tem . now , at the council meeting on june 15 we find out who the two appointments are . then in september we find out who is running against who . well , my name is charles webster baer and I am going to spend next month in redmond oregon usa getting 127 signatures to put me on the ballot for mayor of redmond and I encourage everyone everywhere to run for public office .

  11. Keep voting for all your tax increases people. You are causing the houseless problem yourselves and you don’t even know it. Pricing your own community members out of house and home and for what? To increase your bank accounts or net worth? This is California thinking that spreads like a cancer infecting everyone in its wake while destroying your own communities. You do it daily as well by not shopping at small local community stores. Instead you buy China goods at corporate stores killing your own communities. The liberal ideology is the biggest threat to this Country that we’ve probably ever seen.

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