REDMOND, OR -- With just a few days before eviction notices are due to be posted at a large transient camp east of Redmond, the property’s owners plan to meet with homeless advocates and the Sheriff's Office Friday, to discuss the action. Earlier this week, the Homeless Leadership Coalition said they hoped to ask for an extension to the Tuesday deadline.
With 124 acres in the area, the Central Oregon Irrigation District is the largest stakeholder. Shon Rae, COID's Deputy Managing Director, says the district hasn’t yet received a formal request for a delay. "There’s a lot of moving parts, so I think that any movement of anything is going to have to be a group decision. We’re doing this as a group – with the county and the Sheriff’s Office. There’s been a lot of planning involved, so I’m not sure what the outcome would be if they asked us for that extension." The county and Redmond School District also own parcels in the area.
There have been three fires on the property in the last month, and Redmond Police say they frequently respond to calls in the area. Rae tells KBND News problems are growing, "They are not disposing of their trash, they don’t have toilets out there so they’re just going to the restroom on the land. So, there’s a huge expense to just clean that property up and we can’t even start that process until they’re off."
She says pre-eviction notices were posted after the group of owners decided they couldn't wait any longer to take action. "On Monday, the Sheriff would go out and post the eviction notice. After that, if they haven’t left the Sheriff goes back out and starts issuing citations for basically trespassing. And, after that, if they haven’t moved then it would be like an eviction; I believe the Sheriff would then actually physically remove them from the property." But, she hopes it doesn't come to that, "Because it's a lot of man hours; it's just a lot of work for a lot of different people. It's not an easy solution."
Various property owners have tried to clear the site before, but campers always come back. This time, Rae says, they’re looking at more permanent solutions, "We are exploring potentially clearing the land, so getting rid of the underbrush, limbing up trees so there’s no place for them to take refuge; no place for them to hide, if you will." She acknowledges it’s a delicate situation with no easy solution for those living outside, "[They] go off our property, they’re going to go on someone else’s property."