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ODOT evicts homeless campers by Bend Parkway as safety move before winter arrives

(Update: Adding comments from homeless camper, ODOT spokesman)

'They hear us but they’re not listening,' a homeless camper said.

BEND, Ore (KTVZ) -- The Oregon Department of Transportation is evicting homeless campers and clearing out all personal belongings from an area off the Bend Parkway at Colorado Avenue and plans to take the same action in a couple of days at the campsite by the Revere Avenue exit.

ODOT recently gave 10-day notice to the homeless campers, informing them of the cleanup and advising property still on the site would be removed.

They also informed campers there will be a 'no camping' policy on the ODOT properties, accompanied by 'No Trespassing' signs.

“As we get into winter weather, we’ll be clearing the highway,” ODOT Region 4 Public Information Officer Peter Murphy said Monday.

As winter arrives, he said, “There’ll be cinders, there’ll be gravel, there’ll be snow that can all get thrown down into this area, so we want to make sure people everywhere are safe.”

He estimated the cleanup will take two days.

“There’s one tent that has, I don't know, 50 bikes, or parts of bikes. You know, that takes a while to actually remove and place someplace,” Murphy said.

Several people were gathering their items and placing them into trash bags. One woman said she and her husband have been homeless for two years and it’s been a struggle to find a job.

“We stopped finding work, because nobody wants to take the both of us -- no one,” Grant said.

Aside from pressures in finding employment, Grant said survival is an all-around struggle.

“We woke up to fire. Someone burned out tent down,” Grant said.

After moving to Bend from South Carolina, Grant said it was frustrating trying to access resources, with some agencies sending her on a wild goose chase.

“They hear us, but they’re not listening,” Grant said. “These are people who had homes, had jobs, had family, kids. They ended up like this.”

Grant and her husband don’t know where to go next, but she says they’ll figure it out.

“Bend Oregon, Central Oregon needs to do better,” Grant remarked.

Murphy says the homeless campers will have 30 days to retrieve the belongings they leave behind from ODOT after the eviction, as social service agencies seek to help them find safer places.

He adds that the whole ordeal has become a big problem, from a fire safety hazard, to camps becoming more permanent, and it's important they take measures to reduce the danger.

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Bola Gbadebo

Bola Gbadebo is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Bola here.

Comments

24 Comments

  1. “We stopped looking because they won’t take both of us.”? Then get two different jobs. Bend doesn’t have to do better. You have to do better. It isn’t our job to take care of you. So sick of all the worthless excuses for these people that take and give nothing back.

  2. “One woman said she and her husband have been homeless for two years and it’s been a struggle to find a job. We stopped finding work, because nobody wants to take the both of us — no one,” Grant said.”

    She is complaining because nobody will hire both her and her husband ?
    Am I reading this wrong ? I hope so because not being able to work at the
    same place as her husband isn’t an excuse to not work.

  3. So the lady is saying that her an her husband Cannot find work. Kind of hard to believe That her and her husband are even looking for work. Everybody in this town is hiring. I have 20 positions open at my place of employment. I would easily hire Her an her husband if they came In an applied.

    1. Don’t hold your breath that they will come apply. They obviously have an Avenue of resources that allowed them to move from the Carolinas to Bend and keep in place for two years. There are plenty of jobs available thee as t would give them a weekly paycheck.

    2. Really? Are you hiring for part time and crummy wages like every other employer in town? You would hire someone without a physical address? I call BS on your statement because you don’t have to follow thru with it. I get the frustration that some homeless won’t even go half way with trying to work but Covid did put a spotlight on terrible jobs and workers have some leverage on crummy employers.

      1. “You would hire someone without a physical address?” I recall a while back of someone saying the same thing but they were able to use a church as a means to a physical address. “Are you hiring for part time and crummy wages” Two part-time jobs at 20 hours per job equals full-time employment. Two full-time employed people at $15.00 per hour equals $30.00 per hour. At over $64k per year it’s more than enough to rent an apartment and put food on the table. As far as medical goes, they may have to work on the weekends in order to afford that. At least until one or both can gain full-time employment at one job that provides benefits. I find it hard to believe one of them couldn’t clean themselves up enough to be able to get a civil service job. If they don’t like the selection of jobs or don’t qualify then they need to move to a place where the selection of jobs suits their expectations or their skill set.

  4. How about this: City of Bend increases number of homeless shelters, but ALSO outlaws panhandling and public camping in city limits?

    Further if your last physical address was in another State, you don’t qualify for any benefits in Bend/Oregon. The compassionate liberal Western States are turning into the promised lands for our nations homeless and the more services we provide the more homeless move here.

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