Drive-by shooting at Hunnell Road encampment raises concerns of violence in the area
'There seems to be an increased sense of insecurity, feeling of danger'
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- A feeling of uneasiness has increased for those living along Hunnell Road in Bend Monday, after a drive-by shooting over the weekend.
Four people were in the parked vehicles that were hit around 9 p.m. Saturday, but police say no one was hurt. Officers released the description of a pickup that drove through the area.
However, people are starting to feel the danger.
Evan Hendrix is a project share coordinator for Shepherd's House Ministries and makes frequent trips to Hunnell Road.
“There seems to be an increased sense of insecurity, feeling of danger, feeling of -- I think a real sense of recognizing where they’re currently at is not where they want to be,” Hendrix said.
He said with a recent increase in the transient population and drug use, people staying there are starting to have a wake-up call.
“I think for some people it was like, 'Yeah, this is only a matter of time before things like this start to happen,'” Hendrix said. “I think for others it was more a sense of, ‘God, I didn’t realize it was getting this bad’.”
It's not just the people living on the road who are ready for a change.
Day Wireless Systems decided to put up a barbed wire fence six months ago, after they found people using their outlets and Dumpster diving.
Communication sales employee and Bend native Garret Winter says with things like car fires and now a shooting incident, it's beginning to feel more unsafe.
“Drive by it every day, and some strange activities are going on for sure,” Winter said Monday. “Would like to see them get help, but I would also like to utilize that road and not have to keep my guard up. Bend is a pretty safe place, typically.”
Hendrix recommends people living on Hunnell Road try the Bend shelter on Second Street, or seek addiction and mental help from other services, like REACH and Deschutes County Homeless Services.
Yet he also challenges Central Oregon as a whole to recognize houselessness as a societal issue, and work together to solve it.
“Bend is our community, Central Oregon is our community, so we need to take responsibility for it,” Hendrix said. “It doesn’t mean just trying to get rid of the problem or the people that don’t fit, but I think really taking a hard look at ourselves, and a hard look at where we live and how we live, and saying, 'What does it look like to make this a safe and welcoming place for all people?'”
Police say the shooter may have been driving a gray or similar-color pickup truck, but have not narrowed down any suspects.