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Bend City Council, police chief discuss Measure 114 impacts; councilors vote 4-3 to adopt camping code

(Update: Adding mayor's comment on 'no' vote)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Bend city councilors met Wednesday night with a packed agenda, starting off with Measure 114's updates and implications, later holding a public hearing and and a split 4-3 vote to adopt a controversial camping code to regulate and limit unsanctioned campsites on city property and rights-of-way.

Measure 114 recently passed during the election to establish a Permit-to-Purchase Program, limits magazine size and additional requirements for gun sales.

Measure 114 has four steps for the Permit-to-Purchase Program and the permit lasts for five years. The permit is issued when people meet the needed qualifications of the program. The qualifications include: getting a Photo ID, fingerprints, reasonable fee, background check, training course, and fitness evaluation.

Police Chief Mike Krantz told councilors, "When you talk about the implementation on the Permit-to-Purchase (Program), that's a little bit more complicated."

"There's a lot of unanswered questions, it's a poorly written measure with a lot of ambiguity," Krantz added.

Nearing the end of the agenda, councilors heard from the public on the Camping Code. It relates to time, place and manner -- where people can camp, when, and how they can camp.

 Bend residents each were given three minutes to speak on the issue. 

"Great thought went into fine-tuning and hammering out the details on how this can be accomplished with the camping code. But they're just empty words without enforcement," said Erin Woods.

Beth Brady said, "To demand people from the most vulnerable population to leave their fragile community and provide no other option is treating someone less than human." 

After hearing from the public, councilors were able to express their concerns. 

"Just knowing how complex systems are, I'm just really concerned with how fast this has been going," Bend City Councilor Mo Mitchell said. "Really from the beginning, I was asking for a time-out, can we slow down?" 

"This community should have started this work two decades ago," Mayor Gena Goodman-Campbell said. "We should have been finding places for people to go twenty years ago -- more. this crisis has been building and building and building. 

The camping code was passed with a vote of 4-3.  Councilors Melanie Kebler, Anthony Broadman, Megan Perkins and Stephen Sehgal voted yes. Councilors Barb Campbell, Mo Mitchell and Mayor Gena Goodman-Campbell were opposed.

The accompanying resolution, "outlining the city's intent to provide support to people who are unhoused and sheltering on city rights-of-way and other city property," won unanimous approval.

Goodman-Campbell talked about her vote toward the end of the evening, saying while the final draft was better, not outright prohibiting camping, that "when you say, 'You can't be here,' we should be able to tell them that "you can be over here."

She said the problem has been building for many years and she was "disappointed that in my time on the council it wasn't able to find more places … for people to camp."

Stepping off the council in coming months, Goodman-Campbell said she hopes the next council will continue working on that issue, in partnership with Deschutes County.

Goodman-Campbell told NewsChannel 21 on Thursday more of the reason for her vote, which she described as a difficult one"

"Up until just before the vote, I was undecided, as I was working hard to listen to all sides and make a compromise work, if I could," the mayor wrote. "Ultimately, I decided that going from the current situation, with no rules related to the amount of time someone can shelter in the right of way to restricting it to 24 hours, was too big of a jump for me to support." 

In other action, councilors also voted unanimously to reopen the record on the Gateway North Master Plan, after developers submitted a revised proposal to add more bike parking and reduce the requested variation for more parking spaces for a new Costco.

Here's the full presentation on Measure 114:

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Kelsey McGee

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


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