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‘It’s gonna be the new Hunnell’: NE Bend residents worry about growing encampment on Watt Way

(Update: Adding video, comments from neighbors, city of Bend)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ)-- East Bend resident Rick Rankin has been living in the area for 11 years, but says recently, he's noticed an increase in RVs campers, and tents behind the Safeway store.

As the warmer weather returns, more camps are likely to begin to pop up, a trend seen last year.

Some residents in northeast Bend are frustrated over a growing homeless encampment along Watt Way, near Safeway and Costco.

"It's dangerous over there," Rick Rankin said Thursday. "It's hard to park, and it's hard to drive around it. And it's three blocks from my home, and I don't want it there."

Both sides of the street are crowded with parked trailers and RVs, along with construction in the area.

Residents of the Cedarwest Apartments across from the encampment say every night is dangerous.

"The residents here are beyond frustrated," Danny Kern said Thursday.

"People going through the garbage, people going through people's automobiles, stealing anything that's not nailed down - cans, bottles, bicycles," he said. "This was super low crime over here, and that's just not the case any more.

Kern says his daughter has picked up used needles on the nearby sidewalk.

One resident who has experienced homelessness herself said she feels those in the encampment should use resources available in the city.

"I understand people wanting to have a safe place, but this is just not it," Barbara Klaudt said.

The city of Bend now uses the program 'Bend Works' to receive complaints involving camping in the rights of way.

City Public Information Officer Jacob Larsen said, "We have actually staff dedicated to managing camping in the right of way. And they are applying the camping code that the city council approved."

You can also download the Bend Works app on your smartphone.

A petition was started just last week to clear the encampment after an elderly woman was almost struck on Watt Way due to congestion. That petition has six signatures so far.

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Isabella Warren

Isabella Warren is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Isabellahere.


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