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Proposed Central Oregon Villages Shelter Continues To Face Opposition

BEND, OR -- Bend City Council continues to hear concerns about a planned homeless shelter at the Desert Streams Church, near 27th and Bear Creek. Former Police Chief Jim Porter is President of the Board for Central Oregon Villages – the nonprofit proposing the shelter.

He says he understands why people are worried, "People were envisioning Hunnel Road moving into their neighborhood – unmanaged camping. And, what we’re trying to do is put managed camping in place, so you don’t see the drug abuse, you don’t see the crimes, you don’t see the victimization, you don’t see the uncontrolled camping spreading out all over." He adds, "It’s controlled camping where people are required to, number one: assist in the cleaning up of the camp. There are going to be 24-hour management on site. It’s going to be a separated, fenced in area to protect the campers as much as protect the neighborhood because we don’t want unsanctioned people sneaking in at night trying to stay at the camp." He tells KBND News because the camp would be on private church property, management can kick people out who cause a problem; something not possible on public land. 

A group opposed to the plan recently launched a website claiming people will be living in “plastic boxes.” Porter says Central Oregon Villages is modeled after what he calls a succesful managed camp in Eugene and says these tiny homes have been used successfully in other communities, "They have [a] heating source in them, an air conditioning source in them. It’s one unit. They have plug ins for recharging anything you need to recharge, they have fold-down beds, and you can fold them up and put them together in about three hours. They’re weatherproof, they’re insulated and you can break them down and move them to another location if you want to."
Porter says he saw the problems associated with unmanaged camps, during his law enforcement career and believes a public-private partnership is needed to start providing solutions. They plan to start with 10 structures serving women and children. 
Rendering Courtesy Central Oregon Villages

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