Not tonight. Not tomorrow. Not any day should people in Bend find the only place to live is on the street.
It’s failure that people with no houses live around the west end of Emerson Avenue in Bend. They deserve to be able to eat and sleep in peace. They deserve a place to stay without wondering when the announcement will come that their government is removing them. That knock on the tent flap is coming to erase their passage and drive them out.
Health and safety are the justifications given by city government. And there are health and safety concerns. Trash. Crime. Fire violations. Building code violations. People using the outdoors as a bathroom.
That is what happens, though, when the safety net cracks open. People try to survive how they can. That is what happens when a city, a community fail to take adequate care of those with no good place to call home.
The failure on Emerson should be a shock. A tear in our comfort and complacency. It should create a rush to insist the city, the county, the state do more. It should create a line of people backing up the organizations such as Reach, Shepherd’s House, Family Kitchen, the Homeless Leadership Coalition and more that are trying to help.
Most of our lives carry on unchanged. Air conditioning or fans strain to keep us cool. The dog stretches out on the couch. The cat is stroked on the windowsill. Streams of bits beguile.
Is it fair to remove the people living on Emerson? Not for them. Not tonight. Not tomorrow. Not any day unless a better place is found for them.