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Concerned parents protest outside Bend City Hall over proposed homeless camp

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- A proposed managed homeless camp in southeast Bend near two schools, has stirred backlash among parents, some of whom gathered at Bend City Hall for a protest Tuesday afternoon.

Roughly a month ago, Bend city councilors agreed to move forward with further examination of two proposed sites.

One is off northeast Ninth Street, between Bend Senior High School and Bear Creek Elementary School, but some parents are up in arms about the proposal.

NewsChannel 21 spoke live at 5 p.m. with a concerned Bear Creek Elementary parent and protest organizer Julie Connell to learn more.

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Alec Nolan

Alec Nolan is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Alec here.



  1. Only in Bend can I find two news articles on the same page, the first headline reading; “Bend welcomes Homeless cats and dogs.” And then the next one down “People of Bend protest homeless camps”.

    I am homeless. What is it about me that is a threat to your children? Is it the reality that not everyone has the same quality of life? The majority of homeless people suffer from mental Health problems, and substance abuse issues, in turn can then cause a criminal record. Does everyone understand what it means to try and get a job, a vehicle, a place to live when you have a criminal record, PTSD, or some other crippling mental health disorder? Unfortunately we are judged. The same way these protestors are. If you don’t want homeless hear, than create homes for them. Every night there are enough empty beds around the u.s. for every homeless person to sleep, and they stay empty. It’s insane.

    1. I am sorry you are homeless, but can you please answer a question? There are literally “help wanted” signs in every single business in town – can you not get employed? I’m a bit dumb founded right now given the severe labor shortage and am seeking to understand.

      Thank you!

      1. Oh you just asked bad questions. There are plenty of programs out there for them to get jobs and access an address so you can get one. Its always excuses and playing the victim.

    2. Studies and data shows the the majority of homeless camps come with drugs, substance abuse, littering and defacing of public property to name a few things. Bend does need more options for the homeless community, but it is hard to justify putting a defenseless child in or near that situation. Our business donates nearly 500$ in food a week to shelters, so we try to do our part as best as we can. Mental illness is a tragic disease that us adults need to come together to help overcome. But children should be abundantly protected at all costs. I just haven’t seen the data where a homeless camp near proximity of an elementary school has benefitted the school.

      1. Red herrings all over your comment. There’s an auto detail shop between Bend High and Bear Creek Elementary. How has it benefited either school?

        Are those campus in these supposed studies managed or are they like the free range ones at every parkway off-ramp?

    3. “majority of homeless people suffer from mental Health problems, and substance abuse issues” Exactly the problem and the reason why parents should be worried about having a homeless camp near schools.
      Do you want to work for a home? Because I am tired of giving giving giving only to be begged to give more at every street corner.
      If you want to get healthy, and work for your home, then I am all for helping you get off the street. For the majority of the rest… I shouldn’t have to give another dime for entitlements they seem to think they deserve. Its time our “blue” governors to realize what they are doing isn’t working and its time to find another solution other than to give give give

    4. What is about the homeless people fear? How about unsanitary conditions due to urination and defecation, substance abuse and associated rise in petty crimes, sale of those substances to kids or providing access to those substances, discarded drug paraphernalia, acts of violence either between homeless folks or homeless folks and residents, and that nothing is more permanent than a temporary camp.

      What do folks fear? Hunnell Road and what was on Second Street and what’s on China Hat Road.

    5. If you are homeless, why is this MY problem? Plenty of opportunities for homeless individuals to get help, if they want it. Plenty of job opportunities for the homeless if they comply with the rules of places like Shepard’s house. Why do we see a tent and piles and piles of junk that are collected by “homeless” individuals? Why do we see broken down campers with added on pallet rooms with lawn chairs and tarps? Surely these folks should have to comply with the safety and building codes as the rest of us. Yes, mental health is an issue but that’s beyond this epidemic of people just not wanting to change their situation. Also note in the article, it’s not opposition to a homeless camp, but opposition to having one between two schools. Plenty of property out East. Why are we making it convenient for homeless people but not helping those individuals making minimum wage and barely making it?

  2. What is wrong with people? This is a horrible idea. Where do the people live who initiated this? I would be curious to know. Where do their family members attend school? Probably by the Jail would be better. Seriously.

  3. We drove by the protest today. I would say the biggest fear of homeless camps being near a school is what Locals Only spoke of. The combination of mental health issues and substance abuse. That frightens parents, as it should.

    1. I agree, and with those 2 issues comes the criminal portion. Drove down hunnel yesterday, why and how would a homeless person get 40 tires? Or a stack of plastic pallets?

  4. Hopefully this extremely poor siting choice is a catalyst for us to elect new leaders. Councilor Perkins hasn’t demonstrated she’s capable of representing her constituents or applying good judgment while promoting this site.

  5. Those who oppose should have ideas for better placement. There are homeless families who deserve to have safety and access to local schools. Being placed in the vicinity is very helpful and access to education can help to prevent continuing homelessness. Not all homeless are bad. Not all homeless fit the stereotype, especially with the escalated cost of living. I have a high degree and work in my field. I still qualify as falling below federal guidelines of poverty. I’m not the only one. More tension does not equal resolution.

    1. I have a great solution, put the camp at Discovery Park? or Compass Park? or in your neighborhood OpenEyes. If you are the tolerant and compassionate type, lets put the camp in your neighborhood?

        1. You are one of the few Bendites speaking up for these folks here. I share your compassion and tolerance.

          What is going on is folk devilism by an increasingly xenophobic community and whipping it up into a full blown moral panic. “What about the children?!” They say…

          Yeah what about the children from broken families who experienced abuse and trauma that lead to their homelessness? Does anyone care about those kids? If one were to read these comments it would seem Bend is a very callous, uncaring community that just wants to see the homeless as pests to be swept out of town for the next community to deal with because Bend is such a pretty place…

    2. Plenty of area East of Bend and bus them in if they need to. Agree that homeless families need assistance and there are plenty of options. Why is this my problem and why do homeless people need 20 pallets, multiple bike parts and junk lying about? If they were truly trying to get out of the situation they are in, they’d follow the rules of law instead of acting like they’re a priviledged victim.

      Reality is, we’re being force fed this epidemic when the solution is to create a tiered program. Tier 1: You want to live in the camp, here are the rules and you can’t have drugs or alcohol. Tier 2: Want to continue living in the camp? Here are the steps to hygiene and how to get a job. Want to get out of poverty, here’s the last step, take responsibility, show up to the job, make a difference by being an example to the other homeless people in your camp.

      Funny that none of the opposition has had a solution, just rhetoric about how bad homelessness is.

        1. Plus it’s ridiculous to presume that putting people further away from their resources and developing a bussing system in and out of town would be a cost effective way of addressing the issue.

  6. City/county leaders look the other way with regard to the homeless who are in violation of city codes, while also excusing minor crimes….not because of some social justice forgiveness effort, but because there is simply no money for enforcement. The rest of us risk fines/penalties when we disregard local rules, but that’s because we have something to lose. Can you imagine an additional 20 or 30 trespass arrests or another 100 or so city code violations per month to deal with? Our courts would be overwhelmed, attorneys would be appointed at taxpayer expense, and no fines would ever be paid. Then there’s the cost/problem of incarceration for those unwilling to comply (hint- there’s zero jail space for misdemeanor offenders in a covid world). I fully support these organized “camps” (properly located and managed of course) because the only success I’ve seen nationwide is when all services are cut off except for those provided in camps controlled by the city. The homeless will locate wherever services are provided because they have to, as long as it’s difficult to get services anywhere else. While I support helping those in need, it’s time the people providing that support call the shots of when/how it’s delivered. Most importantly, the practice of people just setting up camp or temporary homes anywhere they choose has to end or it will not end well. If you depend on others to live, then it’s the others who get to choose where you can safely live.

  7. It never fails to amaze, how people make assumptions and dig in so deep they start believing their opinions are facts! No one, not even the city council knows what this will look like, who will live there, who will monitor it and how safe it will be. Yet, so many people just assume it’s all drug addicts and felons! when actually, they will most likely be screened out by whoever runs the camp. Do you really think any agency wants the liability of allowing a sex offender or felon living in a camp they manage?

    1. Never, the focal of the issue isn’t camps themselves, it’s the appropriateness of siting it in a residential neighborhood next to schools. If you’re correct and not even the city council knows how safe it would be, why in the world would a site next to schools even be considered???

          1. Waiting for all the information to come out and make an informed decision makes sense to me. I guess you’d rather just make decisions based on your assumptions. You have no idea how the process even works and you’re up in arms.

  8. The homeless situation in and around Bend is gross. I moved out of state. The irony is, there is a staff and budget to enforce zoning and ordinance violations on property owners. You cannot put a fence post in the ground without completing an 18-page application and paying a fee. If you put said post in the ground without a permit, you are sure to be sniffed out and fined. But, eighteen thousand people can build tarp cities around you and use public rights of way as their toilets. I sincerely miss Oregon, but the government is ruining it.

  9. Y’all do realize that kids all over the world are exposed to the homeless on a daily basis? Maybe teach your kids not to pick up everything shiny they see? Not to talk to strangers perhaps? Are you so insecure in your parenting to believe that a “bum” can ruin it all in a few minutes?

    1. This is a good point too. Kids today are bubble wrapped and everything is Nerf, soft and plush so no one gets hurt. I was a paperboy while kids were getting snatched up and getting put on milk cartons. My mom just taught me to be aware of my surroundings and trust my instincts.

      1. You make such an excellent point. The kids that were kidnapped while you were a kid are the problem. I’m assuming and feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, but your mom also willingly didn’t put you or fought for you to not be near a harmful situation. I’m also assuming and correct me if i’m wrong again- that you don’t have a kid that will be going to this school so it essentially doesn’t apply to you which really doesn’t give you a place to provide a legitimate argument.

  10. As expected, the “peacekeepers” indeed showed up at this public protest.

    It is interesting to note the founders of this outfit, listed on their FB page as being a small business, are at best high school graduates with no professional training or background in the multiple issues surrounding the issue.

    In fact, at least one “peacekeeper”, Mr. Richter, has announced on their FB page that he visits Portland with “supplies” for the agitators there to continue the downward spiral of that city/community into Chaos.

    That said, Portland has recently axed a similar homeless camp project to remove a homeless camp near one its schools –

    And is in the process of removing additional camps for the safety of their occupants and the communities at large.

    Bend’s city council should be paying attention to these actions – and adjusting their position and thought processes accordingly.

    1. Yo Gluten, Actually they are complaining for their children. If you have a problem with with parents actively advocating for the heath and safety or their kids then your priorities and values need a tune-up pal.

      1. Hey, under the shade… Did you know that a lot of the lifers who you think just want to be homeless drifters were abused kids and come from broken homes where they learned not to trust authority figures? I mean if you’re going to play the “what about the children?!” safety card then at least know that the likelihood of becoming chronically homeless increases exponentially given trauma sustained during childhood. #ACEs

  11. OK lets cut to the chase. The more so called ” managed camps” that pop up will not reduce the problem. They are not stupid. The word is already getting out that Bend and even Redmond are opening these camps and will draw additional homeless from other areas. It already has and will continue.

  12. Please contact the city council and share your concerns regarding this poorly thought out decision to locate a homeless camp adjacent to residences and schools. Email links for the council are here: Carolyn Eagan, employed by the citizens, displayed such substandard judgement in selection of this site that she should disqualified from any future employment by the city of Bend. Council member Megan Perkins, by initially approving this proposal without reasonable community outreach should wrap up her work here and resign.

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