Local News

Bend Mayor: Rainbow Motel "Bridge" to Long Term Homeless Solution

The City's purchase of the Rainbow Motel as a "low-barrier" homeless shelter is not sitting well with the Bend Central District Business Association and Chamber of Commerce. The term "low-barrier" essentially means easy access by removing as many obstacles as possible to get homeless people off the streets. Mayor Sally Russell tells KBND News the City views the Rainbow Motel only as a "short term" solution to Bend's growing homeless problem. But concerned about frightening off potential developers, the Bend Central District and Chamber of Commerce want to know exactly what "short term" means. They requested a statement of clear intent for the motel and whether the City is committed to its original vision for the Bend Central District. Bend Chamber of Commerce CEO Katy Brooks admits the City’s hands are tied due to the strict state laws protecting people living on the streets. She said more shelters and services will ultimately allow the City to enforce restrictions on the sidewalks or other areas the city is having trouble.

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