Troy Field appeal possible

Troy Field in downtown Bend. The parking lot is on the right. (Ryan Brennecke/Bulletin file photo)

Would the Troy Field parking lot be a good place for a homeless camp?

The city of Bend has been looking at property it owns for possible homeless camps. With the weather swiftly getting colder, the city is trying to move swiftly to find solutions where people can safely park and camp in more controlled settings with management, support and facilities.

The city is not land rich. It owns a few plots here and there. Most have buildings on them. Others just would not be suitable for the kinds of camps it is envisioning.

Everyone, or most everyone has heard about the possible location on Ninth Street, near Bend Senior High School. The city has also discussed again last week possibly doing something out at Juniper Ridge. It would be on the site called of all things Crusher Site No. 2. Most of what the council discussed at its meeting Wednesday night were ways to possibly get that moving faster.

Something new, though, was: Possible use of the Troy Field parking lot for a safe parking area homeless camp. Not the field itself, which is owned by the Bend-La Pine School District. The parking lot. Troy Field is on Bond Street downtown near city hall and McMenamins Old St. Francis School.

The parking lot is technically right of way. And generally you don’t put things in that block rights of way. The city would have to find some way of dealing with that issue.

People with homes and businesses near the lot may have the kinds of concerns you would expect. One might be: What will keep the houseless people from expanding the area themselves on to Troy Field? Under the law, it’s not a simple matter of telling people to leave if they have no other place to go.

But remember there is a fantastic example in Bend of how well a safe parking program for the homeless can work. That’s run by Reach Out Central Oregon.

When the school district put Troy Field up for sale in 2014, some in the community protested. There were efforts to get the field declared historical. The district was hoping to use the sale of the land to help pay for new school construction. It eventually abandoned that plan. The property is now not for sale.

Will people have a similar intensity of feeling for the adjacent parking lot? We may soon find out.

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(7) comments

ABK

This is a great idea! Right across the street from city hall where staff and council can keep a close eye on things. Given their concern, it's a perfect location!!! Also, it's just a shot walk to one of the many parklets where homeless can shelter at night. This is a win win!

Smedley Doright

The city should partner with Parks and Rec. Ariel Mendez and Anthony Broadman are biking buddies, so that's a plus. Anyhow, Discovery Park should be on the table if Troy field is. Discovery has plenty of parking, nice restrooms and a covered area that could easily be converted to shared cooking. The flat, grassy area would be ideal for tents. If BMPRD is really good people, using our tax dollars, they would be happy to give up Discovery as a temporary site.

The people in NWX are generally kind, caring and generous, so they could even help out!

Skittish

If I were homeless, that would be a great place to be. Second, a homeless camp there would not affect me at all. Third, this is in the heart of Bend, and the City of Bend would get a real quick idea of the impact a homeless parking lot would be. This is the best way to test the waters and demonstrate our folly versus unfounded fears. So it would be an experiment that would most directly affect those wishing for it. I say charge right on ahead, with no holds barred. I would love to see how it turns out, for better, worse or unexpected. But again, it wouldn't affect me at all so perhaps I shouldn't say anything.

Gary Mendoza

When I first read this, I thought it must be an April Fools joke.

In what world does it make to bring the homeless squalor into the downtown business district, next to a school and adjacent to one of Bend’s many nice neighborhoods?

Has the City Council not noticed that, as Bend accommodates homelessness, the homeless problem continues to metastasize? What’s next, homeless camps in Drake Park?

Bend needs a complete reset of its homelessness policy. We should focus on those deserving of help (Veterans, women fleeing abuse, people fully prepared to get off the street) and take all necessary legal steps (e.g., regular clearing of camps, strict enforcement of litter laws) to encourage the rest to move on.

Bend needs to end its compassionate pursuit of dystopia. It wouldn’t hurt if Bend developed the reputation as one of the least accommodating places for the undeserving homeless.

jlsrunner1

Seriously? Yes, put parasites downtown near businesses. Great way to drive people away and kill businesses. Everyone wants to see homeless wandering around downtown. Sure.

74069

You are the dumbest city government I've ever seen! You should consider placing

this facility next to every one of your houses, of course, that will not happen.

Kit Bopar

Great idea! Out of the way of high speed traffic, close to services, transportation and groups wanting to help these folks, and the City staff and City Council can walk out their door on a daily basis to check on them. If the camping program is such a good idea, start with this one This should be implemented immediately!

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