Local News

SE Bend Neighbors Frustrated With Parolee Housing Plan

BEND, OR -- Neighbors in Southeast Bend are complaining to County Commissioners about a plan to convert a triplex on SE Wilson into transitional housing for people on parole or probation. 

"In just six days, over 500 petition signatures have been gathered in opposition to this," Ryan Rudnick told Commissioners Wednesday, "Not the idea of providing a solution, but in opposition to this as the location, given the risks that it poses to children." Rudnick owns a neighboring triplex. He says the risk to children is from convicted sex offenders potentially being housed at the location.

Rudnick also complained about the outreach done before approval, "Adjacent property owners were not notified and several of even the neighboring tenants were not notified. Only one of my three tenants was notified." He added, "There are families that live in the existing triplex that are being displaced to house felons and sex offenders. It just feels like a serious injustice to the neighborhood that’s there."

Last week, Commissioners approved sending state housing grant money to the nonprofit Free on the Outside to purchase the triplex and run the facility. The board said it will keep parolees from becoming homeless, and make it easier to provide supervision. "If the county is truly not concerned about this and the risks," said Rudnick, "It should stand behind this and officially accept liability for any damages, crimes or injuries that may result from establishment of the shelter here."

Commissioner Phil Chang responded to the comments, saying he’s worked a lot with the Kids Center and learned, "Almost all cases of child abuse and child sex abuse are committed by people who are close family relations to the child." He added, "The danger is not so much about physical proximity or distance. The danger is associated with your relationships to potential offenders." He also noted the courts decide who is a good candidate for parole, not the county.

To hold on to the state funding used for the purchase, the transitional housing program must open by January tenth.


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