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Deschutes County tackles N. Juniper Ridge health, safety code violations; sheriff seeks camping ban on county land

Deschutes County code violation 'pre-enforcement notice'  for county-owned north Juniper Ridge includes this photo
Deschutes County
Deschutes County code violation 'pre-enforcement notice' for county-owned north Juniper Ridge includes this photo

Exceptions for places commissioners designate, or during extreme weather, emergencies

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Deschutes County code enforcement officers have begun a formal complaint process regarding homeless campsites on county-owned property at the north end of Juniper Ridge, while Sheriff Shane Nelson is proposing a ban on long-term camping on county property, with few exceptions.

The county said Friday it had received a formal code enforcement complaint from its own code enforcement officers "for an unpermitted land use (camping), structures, on-site waste disposal, access, and wood-burning apparatuses as well as solid waste on county-owned property located in north Juniper Ridge. The complaint resulted in a Pre-Enforcement Notice (see below).

"The violations reveal extremely dangerous public health, life and safety conditions," the county said in a news release. "There are a large number of individuals experiencing houselessness living on the 50-acre site north of Bend."

On June 21, the county said, "commissioners will consider a remediation plan that includes outreach to individuals living on the property to offer services, provides a phased approach to immediately mitigate health and safety threats, and supports individuals residing on the property as they vacate the area."

The draft remediation plan will be available online when the Board agenda packet is published to the County’s website on June 16. While the June 21 board meeting is a public meeting, the item is not scheduled for a public hearing.

Meanwhile, county commissioners next Wednesday are taking up the sheriff's proposal to prohibit anyone from using county property "to camp or for camping or for the purpose of occupancy, habitation, or sheltering for survival in vehicles, automobiles, or recreational vehicles."

The proposal -- at this time up for discussion, not action -- does list an exception, saying commissioners could designate certain properties where "allowing camping or using vehicles for sheltering and/or sleeping may be allowed on a limited basis."

The proposal (also embedded below) lists another exception to the camping ban, saying it may be allowed "during periods of extreme weather or other emergency situations, as directed by county staff."

Article Topic Follows: Deschutes County

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Barney Lerten

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