SALEM, OR -- Deschutes County hopes to get special permission to site a managed homeless camp outside the urban growth boundary, but the Governor seems unwilling to approve the plan in its current form.
County Commissioner Patti Adair told KBND News Thursday she asked to meet with the Governor, "As I would like to explain to the Governor tomorrow, if I get my meeting, we have people that will not go to the navigation center. They don’t want to leave their RV or their pet, they won’t go to the great places that we have now." Adair says a location for a camp is already available, "There is a property, almost nine acres. It’s EFU land, and per our land laws, we cannot site a camp on that land. We do need special permission from Governor Kotek." She added, "The people that own the property, I’ve walked the property, met with them, they are all willing to provide this as a location. It’s close to services and it’s convenient to the city of Bend, and yet it’s not actually close to a lot of houses."
At Thursday's bill signing, KBND asked Governor Tina Kotek whether she has a meeting scheduled with Deschutes County Commissioners. "I’m not aware that I’m meeting with them tomorrow," she responded. Kotek says county officials have not offered the state enough information, "They need to provide a plan that will explain how they will serve people in the locations they are suggesting. And I have not gotten the answers. And I think you can tell from the work I’ve done so far, money does not flow, authority does not flow until there is a plan and there are clear outcomes associated with those plans. And they have not produced those yet."
Kotek said she has communicated with the county, "I have written a response back to the Deschutes County Commissioners asking for more information." She added, "I think it’s important to provide as much shelter capacity within the urban growth boundary, and frankly, right now, I am not satisfied with the response." She thanked local leaders for their work on the issue but said, "I cannot move forward with giving them unprecedented waiver authority to go outside the UGB unless they have exhausted what they can do within the urban growth boundary. And I don’t think they’ve actually exhausted that yet."