Deschutes County Commissioners to Discuss Possible Location of RV Homeless Camp East of Bend

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(Update: Added video, resident comments)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – Like many ideas suggesting where and how to best help the homeless population, there is one that is becoming a matter of debate.

A preliminary proposal for a motorhome homeless camp on Deschutes County land along US Hwy 20 between Gosney and Gribbling Roads, in the 22000 block of Hwy 20, is at the County Commissioners Council meeting agenda Wednesday afternoon.

“The board recently expressed its desire to discuss this property as a possible location for a homeless service initiative that may include an RV park or associated uses,” reads a summary of the issue. . “Since the UFE zoning would prohibit such use, rezoning would be necessary.”

Lisa Baker is a resident of Bend who is open to hearing more about the proposal.

“I feel like it’s at least far from our schools, which has been my main opposition to a lot of it,” Baker said Tuesday. “It’s not in someone’s backyard. I think on a property this size you can provide a bigger buffer zone than in some of the other proposed areas. And I trust (commissioners) Patti ( Adair) and Tony (DeBone) to come up with a plan that is better than our community, than myself our city council.

Some Bend residents are applauding the idea, with the inclusion of septic service and some sort of shuttle service.

Because this location is east of town, transportation, among other resources, is a consideration that still needs to be addressed.

Strongly opposing voices have expressed concern about garbage pollution, forest fire risks, degradation of land values ​​and trespassing on agricultural land, as it is currently zoned for use. exclusive agricultural.

They also say homeless people are said to be too far from employment opportunities.

“I think the most important thing I hear is that people want the current laws to be enforced,” Baker said. “I haven’t heard anyone say ‘Let’s not help them at all’, but they want the homeless population to be discovered. They want the people who commit crimes to be treated, they want the drug addicts to be taken care of. load in some sort of treatment center, and they want people who are going through a difficult time to be helped. But by lumping them all into one category, it’s really hard for the community as a whole to see that happening. ”

Although no action is proposed on Wednesday, only discussion at this early stage, many people have already reached out to county commissioners to make them aware of their position.

The growing problem of homelessness in central Oregon is controversial and the path to solutions is complex.


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