BEND, OR -- Bend City Council hosts its first ever roundtable meetings this week. The meetings - on Tuesday and Thursday - focus on the proposed unsanctioned camping code. Councilor Megan Perkins tells KBND News, "It’s a real chance for us to talk with community stakeholders, as it relates to houselssness." She says that’s something not allowed at regular Council meetings.
The conversations will be specifically focused on the initial draft code, "We’re trying to achieve a sort of agreed-upon regulations about camping on our public rights of way. That’s what this camping code is. This camping code is not there to solve houselessness. It is not there to punish people for existing. It is to work together to really provide this set of rules for our community."
Tuesday, from 5:30-7:30 p.m., they’ll talk with representatives from a host of city commissions and committees. Then Thursday, from 10 a.m. to noon, the group includes people experiencing houselessness, service providers, business owners and public agencies, "This is a community thing that we all need to tackle together, not just the city of Bend. And it’s all intertwined," says Perkins, "So, we’ll have representatives from the Forest Service, and from the county, and from the school district and the parks department, and ODOT."
Councilor Megan Perkins says public comment will not be taken but both meetings will be livestreamed, "The public is invited to listen and watch. But, the only people who will be speaking are the people that have been specifically invited to the roundtable. When we do get to the point we have a public hearing, that’s one of the opportunities for the public to sort of have their say on the code."
To register to watch either meeting, visit the city's camping code webpage.