Bend City Council is trying to figure out a way to determine when to remove campsites on public property.
Code changes were put in place to help the city council decide which campsites are a risk to public safety.
“Rights of way are what you think of as public roads or sidewalks, sometimes paths,” said Bend Assistant City Attorney, Elizabeth Oshel.
Camping in those rights of ways is currently against Bend city code.
The council is looking to spell out their procedures for removing or managing established campsites on the city rights of way.
“This would set out much more clearly in code, where, how or when camping is or is not allowed in the right away and on public property,” said Oshel.
The policy is intended to be used to remove those established campsites on city rights of way that are having the greatest impact on public health and safety.
“We do need to weigh safety issues and I think there are certain situations where we need to address them and that is what the policy outlines and so it is weighing and balancing those things, but there is no imminent plans for any kind of large scale camp removal at this time,” said Bend City Manager, Erik King.
Policy analysis for closures and removals include things like safety concerns, environmental impact, increasing amount of trash and several others.
“This is what it looks like to have the city managing unmanaged encampments right,” asked Bend City Councilor Melanie Kebler. “This is why we are working hard on other solutions including actually managed encampments where all this stuff is taken care of and there is an actual service provider in charge and it is a much better situation for everyone.”