No final decision has been made about the city of Bend’s proposed managed homeless camp near Bend High School.
No decision about how many people might stay there.
No decision about what people might be qualified to live there.
No decision about what structures people might live in.
No decision about how security might work.
No decision about if there will be a camp there.
No decision about who might run the camp for the city. In fact, it has not completed the request for proposal to help select who would operate the camp. That may still be a few weeks out. And only after that selection has been made will we have a clearer picture of any camp.
The city has been trying to move quickly to look for land that might be suitable. The city’s economic development advisory board, or BEDAB, talked about it briefly on Monday. It’s a city committee that gives advice to the city and the Bend City Council about business and economic growth. For instance, a lot of the discussion Monday was about how the city’s permitting worked. But then it turned to homelessness.
The members of that board have seen what most everyone has seen. Go out to Lowe’s and look down Hunnell Road. That wasn’t designated a homeless camp. It became one. And when people don’t have any place to stay, camps like that can form.
How many of those does there have to be before we as a city do things differently? How many more camps, such as near the entrance to the Bend Parkway off Revere Avenue? The camps aren’t going to go away by themselves. The camps are going to grow. The camps will come to more places and more streets.
What if the first city-managed camp was only a place for families with children? What if the first city-managed camp was a place where people were not allowed to consume alcohol or do other drugs? Are those two conditions enough of a starting point to make it acceptable at the location near Bend High? Perhaps not for anyone who lives near there. If not, it’s hard to see how any managed camp could be located anywhere in Bend. And then unmanaged camps will continue to grow.