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City of Bend drops controversial Ninth Street, Juniper Ridge sites for possible outdoor shelters

Proposed outdoor homeless camp site, now withdrawn
City of Bend
Proposed outdoor homeless camp site, now withdrawn

City manager declares Second Street 'unsafe campsite,' will decide with staff whether to order removal; NE Division Street shelter opens

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- In her regular update on the city of Bend's various efforts to deal with a rising number of homeless, City Councilor Megan Perkins announced Wednesday evening that the controversial Northeast Ninth Street and Juniper Ridge sites have been dropped from consideration for temporary outdoor shelters.

The Ninth Street site proposed last August had drawn intense opposition as a location near two schools (prompting an opposition letter by over 100 school staff) and a walking path used by children, among other concerns. The second proposed Juniper Ridge location -- after another disputed site was dropped in late 2020 -- also sparked neighborhood concern, dismay and objections.

Perkins did not elaborate on the reasons they were dropped from consideration, other than to tell the public, "we are listening to your concerns, and we hear you when you call into Council meetings and write us emails."

On a related note, at the end of the meeting, City Manager Eric King reported to councilors on the police department’s assessment of the Second Street homeless camp as an “unsafe campsite” due to numerous crime, public health and safety issues.

As a result, King said he has designated the area an unsafe campsite and is directing staff to consider the next steps to take, which may be to clear the area, much as Emerson Avenue was last year. The decision on what steps to take will depend in part on shelter capacity, and it was also announced that the Division Street shelter opened last week, making up to 40 more beds available.

The shelter “could house some community members, if that campsite is removed,” King said. “Our hope and plea as we work with the people in that area is to engage with the service providers and find options to be on a better path … get to a better place. That’s the goal.”

Here's Perkins full update:

"I want to start with a big thank you to the service providers who are doing the hard work to serve members of the community who are experiencing houselessness. In particular, sincere thanks to staff at NeighborImpact and Shepherd's House for all the work they’re doing to manage shelter facilities.

"Adding shelter capacity is part of the City’s strategy to address houselessness in Bend and will allow us to better manage camping on our streets and sidewalks.

"We have great news to share:  The Division Street shelter opened on February 7. Thank you to all the people who made this possible. The City bought this temporary shelter on Division Street with grant funds, and NeighborImpact is operating it. It will add up to 40 additional shelter beds. This additional capacity will help relieve pressure on the shelter managed by Shepherd’s House at 2nd Street. 

"The 2nd Street shelter, a designated permanent warming shelter, has capacity for 90 beds, and it’s been pretty full, despite what you might have heard recently. There were shelter beds open when the shelter first opened in June and over the summer. But, since December there have been more nights when demand for places to sleep exceeds the 90 beds that are available at 2nd street. There have only been six nights in the past six weeks with ANY capacity at all and that was just a handful of beds.  

"Developing shelter capacity has to happen before the City can remove camps on public lands. Due to federal court rulings, a city’s ability to regulate sleeping in its public places is related to a community’s ability to provide shelter for homeless individuals who might otherwise need to use public places to sleep. We are working toward having enough capacity that we can more effectively regulate and manage camping on public lands in the City.

"It is a false narrative to tell our community that we have the capacity to house all the people on our streets right now. Roughly 70 percent of our houseless population still remain unsheltered, based on the most recent data. We can and must do better for everybody by increasing shelter capacity.

"The City has a multi-faceted strategy well under way to increase shelter bed capacity and to collaborate with and support the providers who serve the community.

"Another piece of the strategy is to consider proposed development code changes to provide more options for various types of shelters to be built in most zoning districts around Bend. This code development is underway and is recently in the public input phase before the Planning Commission. The Planning Commission will be meeting again on Tuesday, February 22nd to discuss these changes.

"As you may recall, the City of Bend is looking into possible locations for temporary outdoor shelters for unhoused community members in Bend. Negotiations are still underway for a contract with service providers to operate outdoor shelters. 

"Please note: We don’t have the locations chosen, but I want to take this moment to assure you that we are listening to your concerns, and we hear you when you call into Council meetings and write us emails. I can tell you that the 9th Street location and the Juniper Ridge location are not currently being considered for this outdoor shelter proposal at this time. 

"Lastly, there are promising efforts underway to secure additional funding from the state to address needs:

"This past week, the legislation to fund the start-up of a Collaborative City/County Office on Homelessness was approved. It’s moving quickly through the committee process at the state legislature. This will provide $1 million of start-up funding for our community to launch the Strategic Plan developed by the Emergency Homelessness Task Force.

"Also, the mid-sized cities of Oregon, a coalition Bend helped to build during the pandemic, has organized an effort to get additional state funding to assist in responding to the homelessness crisis.  Those cities are seeking a total package of $50 million. If approved, this $50 million request would be apportioned by population and Bend would receive $2.96 million.

"This could be used on things like:

  • Acquiring and rehabilitating emergency shelters and safe sleep sites
  • Operating emergency shelters and safe sleep sites
  • Removing debris from abandoned camps
  • Supporting services for individuals and families experiencing homelessness, including housing navigation, medical, behavioral health, and mental health care
  • Enhancing resources for cities and non-profit partners for houseless service provision
  • Culturally-appropriate programs that stabilize individuals and families through food assistance, supportive service information and referrals
  • Supporting community engagement and education

"This funding cannot be used to sweep homeless camps or for other law enforcement efforts related to houselessness.

"If you’d like to know more about the city’s comprehensive plan to address houselessness go to www.bendoregon.gov/houselessness.

"And thank you to all of you who care about this issue and have come to us with your solutions and opinions. Together we can get people off of our streets and into safe and managed shelter."

KTVZ news sources

Comments

63 Comments

  1. Hmm, too bad we can’t just drop these overpaid tone deaf careerist politicians like they drop the ball all almost every meaningful metric imaginable. Or better yet, let’s require as a minimum that before becoming politicians these high aspiring socialites have to live on the streets themselves with no outside support to speak of and no financial means to speak of either, for a year? And while they are panhandling, assuming this is the only they will manage to get by we will throw in the added stressors (because there presumably aren’t enough of those already) by having the police harass and harangue them throughout their one-year-long ordeal. We can “enrich” the authenticity of the experience by confiscating the little worldly objects they amass and throw them in jail from time-to-time on charges of “vagrancy” and “loitering.” Then, perhaps, although doubtful, these pampered, clueless, overly privileged politicos will only begin to get an idea of what it’s like to be dumped on by your own government, treated like trash and discarded like you are nothing. I can tell you without an ounce of reservation that I have far more respect for a homeless veteran wallowing on our streets than these undeserving careerist politicians that talk about homeless Americans as if they are lesser than. They are worth far more than all you “aspiring”, lying, thieving politicos combined!

    1. Homeless veterans wanting to move into a better situation, will. Those who are not willing to clean up from the drugs and booze to improve their lot in life, won’t. As for the bums who have shall we say “acquired stuff” and are not willing to part with it to live in one of the shelters, that is on them. Yes, I have lived the street life and know from experience being “homeless”. There are options to get out, one has to be willing to pay the price.

    2. There are so many opportunities for people in need. The problem is, you have to want to get out and follow the rules. Also, by worldly possessions, do you mean the trash heaps, needles, feces, bike parts and other junk left behind when they decide to vacate the area they are inhabiting illegally? Also, note that the areas in questions, specifically on 9th street was in between two schools. After cleaning up a lot of these camps, the people don’t exactly leave behind keepsakes.

  2. How about Troy Field downtown and the parking next to it as a temporary homeless camp. The area is out of traffic so it’d be safer, is fenced so their tents and belongings could be kept off the sidewalks and streets, is close to many services and providers, and is right across the street from City Hall so the Council and city staffers can just walk across the street to check on them. Lots of rooom for tents as well as RVs. It’s as valid a location as any neighborhood in the city.

    1. That my friend is one of the best suggestions on this post. Mc Menimans owns that property I believe the vacant lot has been used for many events in past. Let’s lease it now with transparency and public funds, not these non profits shipping non residents into our frigid climate to meet their agendas. Also we need rewrite city and county laws to reflect the quality of life for all effected. Closing comment…I was driving north on 97 and took the 20 exit. This not road worthy rv was dumping gallons and gallons of raw sewage as it struggled to make the small incline and turn. Check it out for yourself. Lots of it there for the skeptics out there to check out. I knew better than to run it over. I watched a car slide on it behind me.

  3. This is a win for the tax paying citizens of Bend. Camping on our streets is not safe for anyone. None of the councils proposals would have prevented rogue camping. We need a serious plan to enforce no camping laws. Provide minimum services and beds. If they don’t want to get help or services they need to leave. Triage the services based on need and get the drug addicts and dealers to services or jail. Not left to live as they want on our dime.

  4. Good on the city for dumping Ninth Street site. The Juniper Ridge site could’ve worked. Too bad there was no explanation for JR being dumped; so much for ballyhooed transparency. Looking forward to that NW Bend location or Discovery Park!

    1. Perhaps because it was next to two schools, a park, and multiple neighborhoods and businesses? You need to work on reading comprehension if you didn’t know that.

  5. It is appalling that how much funding $$$ is being received to help the homeless (houseless, come on) and how much more is being asked for. How about helping the farmers, who are suffering for a third straight year of drought? Unlike the “unhoused community members” this article mentions, these farmers are actual community members, who pay taxes and contribute to the community…unlike the homeless. The homeless population continues to grow in Bend and somehow as it grows, this group continues to be catered to, yet once removed from a disgusting, illegal camp, they will not go to a shelter.

    1. so much money but it’s not going where it should, frankly. there are nights we don’t have food to serve at the shelter. a couple of crackers and water?? yup. AND the beds aren’t full. many in the shelter will likely get out of their situation – some are mentally ill, those who only come in when weather is bad – on drugs.

    1. bend already has shelters that aren’t being used to capacity. WTF do the council people think they are going to do differently to help those who may not want it?

  6. How did the ninth street location even get considered? The saddest part however is that the people that would apply for and be accepted into these camps aren’t the second street gang members. The council’s failure to draw that distinction is largely to blame for the difficulty in finding an acceptable place.

  7. Bend’s residents, businesses, and truly thoughtful / professional experts on the multi-faceted challenges and issues of providing do-able, sustainable, and long term funded and staffed programs to include shelters are to be commended for their efforts to date.

    And Bend’s city council continues to need to be carefully and closely monitored and held accountable to include, if necessary, by legal means and consultations as to date this approach is the only one that has prevented the same mega disaster of similar city council missteps as seen (daily) in Portland, Salem, and Eugene.

    For example, the question of Ms. Perkins’ acumen in the areas of homelessness, mental health, drug & alcohol, crime, and so on – all of which apply to the homeless populations around the country – has been raised in meetings and in the media.

    A quick check of public records information shows Ms. Perkins has lived in now 18 different areas of the country before landing – for now – in Central Oregon / Bend.

    Further, her professional background offers her having been the council director for “Girls on the Run” in Santa Fe, NM (2016); President of Femfessionals LLC DBA FemCity® (2016); Owner of “Parties for Peanuts” (2015); Megan Marie Perkins Consulting, LLC
    Title Consultant – All things Marketing, Social Media, Events, and the Web (2012);
    and “JLH Media”, marketing specialist (no date given).

    Ms. Perkins offers on her LinkedIn account she has a BA in political science and attended Georgetown University for two years where she studied “campaign management”. Neither – if accurate – would qualify her in the areas of homelessness, drug and alcohol, crime, and so on and her career path to date appears to be marketing and party planning and catering.

    If the other council members self-identifying as “progressives” aka Social Democrats possess similar backgrounds – then Bend’s city government and residents/businesses need to even more so baby-sit and otherwise hand-hold these folks – or face what Portland/Salem/Eugene are and will continue to suffer from for decades to come.

    1. Alaska man, we need more people like you to do the “hand-holding” you speak of. The councils intentions are better than their qualifications. Keep you eye on the ball and stay involved with the council.

  8. Thank you Ms. Perkins, you took on a job that was truly a no win preposition. You took time to listen to the community and have taken actions based on facts and existing law to tackle a difficult problem. Know that the mostly silent majority are out here rooting for you.

  9. I keep saying….there is some nice open land by the Knott Landfill that could easily be set up as a homeless shelter. Lots of space. Once set up, police can then clear out ALL other homeless camps because now they have an alternative place to go, by law. The law does not state the location or amount of amenities the alternative place has to be, just that there is one.

  10. Lewlew,
    You are correct about politicians
    Not all homeless are veterans
    And you and I both are using the wrong politically Correct term. Those politicians changed
    “Homeless” to “Houseless” and all the idiots are jumping on board.

  11. A more accurate description of the change of venue when it comes to the homeless camps…..

    City council decides to move the homeless camps proposed locations to poorer neighborhoods that are less able to defend themselves politically.

    This is a form of redlining no doubt.

    Sick of this yet Bend? Think before you vote next time. Elections have consequences.

  12. The title of this article should end with “FOR NOW!” or “AT THIS TIME” ” I can tell you that the 9th Street location and the Juniper Ridge location are not currently being considered for this outdoor shelter proposal AT THIS TIME.”
    This means that they will revisit it in the future!!
    We just can’t have any of those “Low Barrier” camps in Bend neighborhoods, PERIOD!

  13. @realworldman, But if we stop giving handouts, how will the Politicians get along? It’s the endless tide of federal money (taxpayer) money that they spend so recklessly and without accountability that props up these so-called “representatives.” They are representing something alright, the rank-file-American however, not so much. And considering it’s taxpayer money these career politicians are forever asking for and spending, you’d think spending on the taxpayer for the taxpayer would be the logical/practical thing to do, not to pocket themselves along with their corporate buddies who are knee deep in vanishing taxpayer cash. When you receive taxpayer money for the homeless or for Covid or whatever, then that’s what the money should go toward, not a new marble inlaid town hall or whatever current spending spree these politicians’ hearts desire.

  14. How about we bring our jobs back from China, Mexico and the other slave labor markets? That way we wouldn’t have so many homeless people to begin with. And while we are at it, how about we make some affordable housing available because not everyone can afford million dollar ocean front property. There’s a reason there are more homeless Americans than ever, because this country’s politicians have crawled into bed with big multi-national corporations and took this country’s blue collar jobs abroad. Politicians don’t dare speak about it, let alone doing anything to change it because their career is on the line. So the American people get shafted because our representatives have become big businesses representatives. For the corporation by the corporation at the Peoples’ expense. That sums up this new global trade scheme. The quality of life of the average American has gone steadily down while the fantastic wealth of a very small elite has gone through the roof. These fantastical rich and powerful people do not care about the fortunes of the vast majority of their countrymen and women, they are doing just fine thank you very much.

    1. Trump was doing that. Now we have open borders Joe in charge. Fentanyl and meth are flooding the USA as a consequence. The blame is on those who voted for Ol’ Joe.

      1. No Trump was pretending to do something, all he really did was hurt our businesses and farmers. His ‘trade war’ was an abject failure using any metric.

          1. I don’t understood the term TDS. Who is deranged? It’s confusing because DJT himself spouts crazy non stop and surrounds himself with other shady buffoons , sad Giuliani, my pillow guy, kraken lady, pedolphile pals.

    2. #1 – every single business in town has a help wanted sign.
      #2 – trump was bringing everything back that helped generate jobs
      #3 – there is no ocean front property in bend, in case you don’t know
      #4 – can’t afford to live somewhere, don’t move there – yup, just that simple
      #5 – the increase? due to china’s fentanyl that is pouring into the US via the open southern border

  15. CBS: In Dem-Run Portland, “Growing Homelessness, Staggering Crime, & Tax Burden Many Can’t Afford”

    I’m sure the Liberals of Bend, are smarter than the Liberals in Portland. Right?

  16. It’s not clear why the council won’t consider Discovery Park or Compass Park, both in NW Crossing. They have large, flat areas, plumbing and covered areas that could be used for community kitchens. Both also have nice, easy bike access (green transport, the current councils’ dream!) to downtown and the services there.

    Get a bus route in there, and there would be a perfect scenario.

    Is this NOT considered because a couple of councilors LIVE near those parks? Are they the ultimate NIMBY’s? Or are they afraid their neighbors won’t invite them to the cool people cocktail parties if they allow the riff-raff to sully the perfection of NW Crossing?

    Tough decisions, councilors, but try to be a little less obvious that you are so biased and hate poor people so much you want to relegate them to the deplorable areas of town.

    Out of sight, out of mind, right?

    1. Local Civics lesson 101

      “It’s not clear why the council won’t consider Discovery Park or Compass Park, both in NW Crossing.” Either you don’t live in Bend, or haven’t read the breakdown of a property tax statement for those that do live in Bend. The Bend City Council doesn’t have any say of what goes on in the Bend Parks & Rec district. They also can’t force the owner of the old KOA to turn it back into a campground. Sure they could implement eminent domain and buy the old KOA, but Walmart paid $30M for that land a while ago .. so fair market price would have to used in any evaluation .. how much do you want your taxes to go up to buy some bare land from one of the nations largest companies?

  17. The answer is former “KOA campground” corner of Cooley and Hwy 97. Right in front everyone making critical $ decisions on new location for homeless camp. Acquisition cost is a steal compared to other options and it’s ready for immediate occupancy.

    1. that is a great idea and location. right by popular begging spots, near some stores, etc. then people can poop in the target parking lot as the butte moms take their babes shopping for deals.

    2. Eleven, who do you think owns the former “KOA campground”? “Acquisition cost is a steal”, what do you think that piece of property is worth?

  18. I’ve been a frequent critic of Councilor Perkins, but she’s deserving of a shout out here. She claims she’s listened to all the people of Bend who spoke out and made their voices heard. I’ll take her at her word for that. Many thanks to all that got after the council in opposition to a camp near schools or residential neighborhoods, and keep fighting the good fight.

  19. We need to address the law that says cities must provide shelters if we want to keep people from sleeping on our streets. That sure seems like an unfunded mandate by a judge who over stepped his authority. Laws are made and can be changed. That one is driving the issue.

  20. This was so much easier when we only had to deal with “Rondo” as the only homeless guy who refused to work and took advantage of local leadership’s naivety and State welfare benefits…. Now we have a village of em’

  21. When les Schwab on greenwood moves to their new location on third how about turning the building into a shelter when it’s empty or would that 🐝 too obvious? Hopefully somebody won’t freeze to death with the artic temperatures Monday thru Thursday this upcoming week.🦅

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