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Bend City Council Wants Camping Ban Near Shelters

BEND, OR -- Bend city officials are preparing to clear some homeless camps near China Hat Road on the south end of town. City Manager Eric King says eviction notices have gone out to those living in that area. "It’s anticipated that some of those individuals will come into the city," says King, "And, what we want to do is create a safe place around the permitted shelters. So, creating a buffer zone where camping is prohibited - Just a policy to create a stop-gap until that more comprehensive code is developed."

City Council recently asked King’s office to develop that so-called buffer zone around sanctioned shelters, "There’s the Central Oregon Villages in the process of doing some outreach for an outdoor shelter – kind of some tiny homes," King tells KBND News, "There’s St. Vincent DePaul, a private organization; the Hero’s Foundation Veterans Village on the north end of town."
King says he would need to approve the policy before it could take effect, "Really coming up with better clarity around camping in the right-of-way. We do have unsanctioned camps in Bend, and outside of Bend, on forest land, etc. We can only control what’s in the city. But we feel it’s necessary to have better regulations in place." He adds, "There are federal and state laws that dictate what cities have the ability to do, in terms of regulating camping; what’s called ‘time, place and manner.’ Kind of the how, where and when camping is allowed. It’s really difficult to do just an outright ban on camping without ensuring you have a safe place for somebody to go." He says, essentially, the city can’t criminalize being houseless. 

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