Shannon Johnson no longer has to change where she lives every few days, but that doesn’t mean she’s better off.

The last time Johnson shared her story of homelessness in Bend, she described to The Bulletin a life made busier by finding a new place to park her maroon 1989 Dodge van every three business days. It didn’t make for stability, but the roof and solid walls of a vehicle gave her a sense of safety.

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Reporter: 541-617-7814, zdemars@bendbulletin.com

Special Projects Reporter

Zack Demars is The Bulletin's special projects reporter. He grew up in the Pacific Northwest and was a reporter in Eugene and Coos Bay before joining The Bulletin. Outside the newsroom, Demars spends his time looking at mountains and smelling pine trees.

(2) comments

Jerry Atrik

I’ve been asking the city and county to create a safe parking area for houseless to park their tents and RVs for 14 years. There are hundreds of aceras in Juniper Ridge and along the highway where public services could be provided, including a patrolled safe environment.

RTCC

Juniper Ridge has tons of very flammable juniper trees and also a CHEMICAL PLANT located close to neighborhoods. "Safe parking" in this area is not safe at all. Ask the residents who lived nearby about their evacuation in 2020 due to an RV caused fire from a houseless camper. It had to be fought aerially because firefighters had no way to get in. Even if a camp has a road into it, the risk of fire spreading is huge. Low barrier, "safe parking," and unsanctioned camps there pose a very real risk to Bend residents, both housed and houseless. Neighbors did not buy with the expectation of this use. The city and county would be wise to notice that they are well aware of these dangers and could potentially be held liable should a tragic fire occur.

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