Tents line both sides of NE Emerson Avenue near Second Street in Bend on Thursday.

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.

(14) comments

Smedley Doright

Low barrier shelter - experience in Louisville...why don't our so-called leaders learn from the mistakes of others? They are just confident enough in themselves to think they are better than the folks who've tried it before?


Smedley Doright

Funny how the city wants to clean up this particular spot. Let's add it up, shall we? Brooks Resources owns the old car dealership. Les Schwab is selling their property (after a code/zone variance by the city let them move to an unapproved site) the chamber of commerce strongarmed the city to back off the Rainbow motel....all in the name of redeveloping that area as an edge of downrtown.;...can't have those dirty people there. Got to relegate them to the outskirts where they will be out of sight out of mind.

Council should take a few each in their yards.


Interesting comment about the surrounding "shareholders" in that area. There is some buy in from Brooks to help (Habitat for Humanity for instance). It's the age old "money talks..." rule in play here it seems.


This editorial shows no evidence of understanding and thus can be dismissed without any argument. Essentially the author has only a superficial understanding of reality and appears to lay the faults of the individual at society’s feet completely. Should we tear our society apart when individuals play a significant part in their own misery? Can we care more about their health than they do?


Now replace "This editorial" in your first sentence, replace with "Skittish", and look in the mirror as you read it to yourself.


I will point out again how you don't give me credit for not acting immature by using silly taunts. But, for your edification, here is a link on how the rhetoric of how racist America is not backed by science. Actually, America is a great place for minorities, the racism that is here is barely even measurable and is easily overcome. There isn't any evidence of systemic racism. No matter one's skin tone, one can succeed here. The video is of Coleman Hughes and Wilfred Reilly, both who are well educated, articulate and, for your ease of mind, identify as black. Personally, I listen to anyone who can support their arguments well, no matter their skin tone. Let me know if you have trouble completing the video and/or if you are unable to learn anything.



Sure Skittish. There's no racism in the good old USA because it's not been scientifically proven. Your continued lack of understanding of the history of it in the USA makes me wonder if you're actually from the USA to begin with, or even living here. (See "Hacked" editorial cartoon).

If there's no racism here what's the deal with the KKK still here, the systemic attack on voting rights that hits minorities particularly hard. I don't buy youy schtick.


I thought you might like this video on "Critical Race Theory" by a light toned, heterosexual, euro-colonist named JP, but I guarantee you it is very funny.



Do tell, what is a euro-colonist? I couldn't find a definition anywhere. FYI, anyone on youtube that doesn't use their entire name lacks credibility and my respect.


I'll bet you even bought JP's "Dental Detox Kit!"


Right, right, and right again. Courageous editorial. Thank you for adding your mighty voice on putting things into perspective.

Thomas Who

How about considering it a personal failure of the criminals and drug addicts who would rather rob, steal, and panhandle than work at a regular job like everybody else, and who would put their desire for using drugs and getting high ahead of finding shelter, feeding themselves, and taking responsibility for their own personal safety.

Any city, or county funds allocated to nonprofit homeless organizations should be tied to a REDUCTION in homelessness.

The Bend Bulletin, like all corporate media, lies to us and only tells half the truth, while doing their best to help turn Bend into another cesspool city like Portland, or Seattle, or San Francisco.


One thought for you to ponder.....would you hire someone that smells and is dirty?

Gary Mendoza

The Bulletin wants Bend to do a better job accommodating squatters. Those cities that have followed that advice (LA, SF, Portland, DC, NY, Seattle) have seen the number of people living on the streets continue to grow.

Good intentions aren’t enough. Sometimes you need to face reality and deal with it.

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