BEND, OR -- Deschutes County commissioners granted final approval this week for ban on unsanctioned camping on county owned land in unincorporated areas.
Commissioner Phil Chang tells KBND News he has reservations about the viability of the new ban, “Some people say, 'well, just tell people they can't be here and then they'll go away,' but we actually know that if you kick people out of one unauthorized location and they don't have any place to go, they will end up somewhere else.”
The county still has a hurdle to get over. “Within 90 days, now that we've passed that camping code revision, we need to have alternative sites for people to go so that we can actually enforce the camping code,” Chang says, “that urgency that we need these sites within 90 days to actually enforce our camping code, I'm hopeful, will spur some creativity and some really focused effort to get us there.” Otherwise, the ordinance is likely to face a court challenge. “We need to understand that four one-acre sites (are) just as good as one four-acre site. Might take more human resources to manage it. But you can put the same number of people in four one-acre sites as you could in one four-acre site.”
One site east of Bend is under consideration, but is outside the UGB and needs state approval , which, so far, appears unlikely.