On March 1, 2023, two significant events will occur in Bend that will affect the lives of all residents.
First, the city of Bend has mandated that the entire unhoused community on Hunnell must vacate the area. Having been a service provider to these folks for the last year I can tell you that this is a diverse and active community of over 8 years. A significant portion of Hunnell is made up of seniors who are financially unstable, live in motor homes that don’t run, and manage their lives on their extremely meager monthly social security check. The city of Bend has mandated that all leave with a public acknowledgment that they have no plan as to where residents should go, and they will end up on the streets. The city has a waiting list of over 200 unhoused people with no plan to purposefully relocate them or the 80 additional people from Hunnell.
Secondly, the ill conceived Bend camping law goes into effect. Those camping on the street will have 24-72 hours to vacate, and Bend officials will have the right to confiscate their personal possessions as they force them to move, which puts them in serious danger in freezing temperatures. No options and no resources are being provided. It is unsafe and unethical. The legality of confiscating personal belongings and forcing someone to move every 1 to 3 nights is questionable, and these policies should not represent the values of our community.
It’s time for a time out.
First, we need to delay the Hunnell relocation and the implementation of the egregious camping code until at least May1,2023. There is no reason this extension cannot be accommodated.
Reasons to delay:
1. There is a parcel of land in the works that could provide a place off the streets where Bend can support an encampment. As a law-abiding location it would provide protection for residential users and a safe environment for the unhoused, where local nonprofits and service providers can provide services like water, toilets, trash, food and health services, all very basic human needs.
2. The governor has committed $130 million to keeping people housed and there is a possibility that her actions will include expediting approval of a site while dealing with local zoning and land use codes. This gives the city of Bend and Deschutes County time to search for a parcel. A perfect parcel now in the pipeline does exist.
a. A parcel of approximately 9 acres is being offered by a private individual as a permanent encampment site for the unhoused. The parcel has been processing for two years and is ready to be approved by the county or mandated by possible governor action.
b. There is no residential or commercial property close to the site.
c. Bus service can be made available.
d. Traffic issues do not threaten the safety of the residents which is not the case on Juniper Ridge.
3. The weather will change by summer which will lessen the danger in relocating for unhoused community members
4. The camping ordinance is unsafe for the unhoused and not ideal for our housed citizens who will suddenly see an influx of unhoused on the streets when there is nowhere left to go. It’s unethical and renders the camping code legally suspect and subject to a lawsuit. Given some extra time the stakeholders and the city of Bend can revisit the camping ordinance and come up with something that is humane and fair to all parties including homeowners, commercial property owners, and the unhoused.
A move forward on the available parcel would mean a safe and legal place for the community members of Hunnell to go.
These problems will not go away with no solution provided.
Sign up for our Daily Headlines newsletter
Success! An email has been sent to with a link to confirm list signup.
Error! There was an error processing your request.
Jim Tudor has been providing help to the unhoused on Hunnell Road for the past year, including espresso.
Why not use the old campground at Cooley and Hwy. 97? It has been for sale for years and nothing has happened. I am sure it already has electricity, plumbing, and sewer because of its previous use. 38 acres could provide a location for tiny homes, campers, group kitchen, laundry, and be managed by local nonprofits. The time has come to stop kicking the can down the road. How much has been spent cleaning up and moving people around town over and over again? The issues with homelessness aren't going away anytime soon. The Governor is putting up funds, so why not put them to use.
I'm sympathetic, and a short delay maybe needed next week, but think the drug bust there in December changed the calculus for the city. We've got concentrated poverty right next to the fentanyl highway. That confluence needs to be broken up, even if all that happens is that it is people move around for a bit and come back at a future point in time, when we will likely have more resources form the state.
Give them free stuff and they will come.
Welcome to the discussion.
Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.