BEND, OR -- Bend City Councilors took the first step, Wednesday, in its plan to create an unsanctioned camping code, including time, place and manner regulations. At the Council meeting, they agreed to a public engagement plan they believe will provide more opportunities to hear directly from the public. The city's Joshua Romero told Council that city staff will work up a draft for the code in August, "Later in the month, we’d hold a hybrid community education open house with Q&A opportunity for community members to really help the community understand the legal framework we’re working in to develop a code like this. Then, in September, once there is a draft code available, there will be an opportunity for community feedback."
The development plan also involves a newly available option: A Council roundtable, with City Council’s advisory groups. Romero said, "That would allow us to compress some input from council’s advisory groups, plus some of the diverse perspectives Council asked us to consider in the development process for the code."
Mayor Gena Goodman-Campbell believes it will provide a better opportunity for direct conversations with the public. "Hopefully that’ll also help the community understand ‘what’s the universe we’re working within? What are the decisions we actually are making and can make?’ Rather than the community coming back and saying, ‘we want you to do this,’ and we’d say, ‘we legally can’t do that. The courts have said we cannot do that."
It’s still going to take time. The earliest possible Council could vote on the new code is October.