BEND, OR -- Deschutes County Commissioners voted this week to push back enforcement of the new camping code to the end of March, because there is still no identified location for a managed homeless camp. Enforcement was supposed to begin November 21st.
Commissioner Phil Chang says it’s the right call, “I think having this ordinance is helpful for us to keep us laser focused on establishing the authorized planned managed, structured, regulated outdoor shelter opportunities that our community needs and that we need in order to ask people to leave, unauthorized encampment. I'm glad that we can inch the date out a little bit farther so that we maintain our sense of urgency and focus.”
Commissioner Patti Adair notes more indoor shelter is becoming available, “Good news is that the City of Bend in the month of December will have the capacity up to 600 beds.” And, she believes the reopening of Bethlehem Inn’s Redmond facility will help while noting campers are already living in some locations under consideration, “In fact, one of the tent areas was state property that I'd looked at about three weeks ago for a camp within the city of Bend.”
Board chair Tony Debone says the county needs guidance from the state, “There's just not an extra green space in the city of Bend that easily points to a place where we want to put this... a camp or whatever place for people is going to be. So, it's just, we're in that same situation. We've been there all year.”
The commissioners also signed an agreement Wednesday with the Governor’s Office and the cities of Bend and Redmond to locate and establish areas for authorized camping.