March 8 Commissioners

Deschutes County Commissioners at a March 8 meeting.

A managed camp for the houseless near the Les Schwab at the south end of Bend is not dead. Without support from the county, Bend Mayor Melanie Kebler told us it could be.

There is a chance the city could get money from the Legislature to be able to afford to operate it. There is a chance other partners could step forward. We will have to wait and see.

Sign up for our Daily Headlines newsletter

(7) comments

Long and Variable

The county tools clearly have political support, which is more important to them than public health or the difference between organized and unorganized camping. They city needs leverage. I'm not seeing where that would come from rn. But it will come.


Thank you for the insightful editorial. A clearheaded attitude includes realization that something must be done--and soon--to provide the means for people to escape the harsh conditions on Hunnell Road and elsewhere.

For a brief shining moment it sure looked like our elected officials from the City and County were on the same page and about to embark in a coordinated effort to build and staff the kind of managed site in Bend that could transition people out of homelessness.

But, then--and inevitably--social media kicked into high gear and misinformation hijacked the narrative.

The courageously rational Phil Chang writes today: “With the right support services and places to temporarily live there are many people in our community who can transition out of homelessness – youth and families with children, working people who can’t afford rent, seniors with chronic illnesses, and veterans. The vast majority of our local homeless population are long term Central Oregonians. If we dramatically reduce the number of unsheltered homeless in our community by providing real pathways out of homelessness, the remaining homeless population will be much easier to deal with.”

Phil cites a Medford facility as a model we could emulate. “This facility offers basic sanitation, dry sheltered tent sites, and is fenced and gated. To be allowed to stay at Medford Urban Campground, people go through screening, agree to follow site rules, and sign up for a progress plan. 24-7 site managers and a range of service providers help residents move forward with their progress plans and to take steps out of homelessness. The site managers ensure residents are following the rules and keep the camp safe.”

To learn more about this facility--and its 62% success rate in moving people out of homelessness--go to

I think we should not give up. If it becomes apparent that these two County Commissioners remain adamant in refusing to support proven solutions, then we could engage in direct democracy.

My understanding is that with 6581 valid signatures gathered by Aug. 9, a referendum would qualify for the Nov. ballot that could give voters the opportunity to overturn the March 8 County Commission vote that led us to this impasse.


In the BCC motion to purchase the 1.6 acres for $45k, it states, “Prior to any final decision being made on how to use the land, the City intends to involve neighbors in the discussion. Those will likely be conversations for the next Council to have in 2023.“

Well, that didn’t happen.


The reason they said "no" was that the city was trying to get the county to take full responsibility, including liability for the camp AND pay for it. Also, there was no cohesive plan for the camp with regard to finances, security, addmissions, management. It was a proposal, not a plan. The city did not do their homework and proposed a half-baked plan for the county to deal with. If they want to show some leadership... do your homework!


The public did not want the homeless camp at the 3rd ave exit. Two of the commissioners listened and said no. That was the right thing to do. The city came to the county with a half baked plan on how to fund/run it. That was the wrong thing to do.


The County doesn't have a plan either and they're the ones in charge of health services in the area!


The County has a Pilot Program in the works, see this website:

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
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.