The Bend Humanity Coalition was started less than a month ago to combat the houseless crisis in Bend.
They said their goal is to get the City to employ equal use of its laws, such as littering and illegal camping, to help their community become safer.
“Really with the City Council, what we’re asking them to do is enforce their adopted policy 2021-2 which allows them to clear right of way or clear homeless camps,” said Tim Baggs of the Bend Humanity Coalition.
In a letter to the City of Bend, the coalition said the shooting – in which nobody was injured – emphasized the need for Hunnell Road to be cleared out.
Residents along the road said they are concerned for their safety if they are forced out.
One resident we talked to, who requested to go by the name “Key, doesn’t have a license and due to a disability, and cannot drive his RV or find work.
“Well, I don’t have anywhere to go. I know a lot of people would be in hot water if they were told to leave,” Key said.
Other campers are simply angry about being moved from place to place, and said recent media attention might have sparked the recent drive-by shooting in the area.
“I’m not going anywhere, I’m not being pushed any further,” said Glen Jordan, another resident of Hunnell Road.
City of Bend officials are currently organizing with nonprofits to try to address the situation.
“Instead of coming from on high and saying ‘we want you to do this’,” said Megan Perkins, a Bend City Councilor. “We decided as a city to really go with an approach of working with those service providers.”
The City made efforts recently to clean the road and sidewalks, but debris and trash continue to pile up.
“What we need is the City Council to approve of a property for us to be on instead of playing games,” Jordan said.
“You can’t just create little pods of encampments with no laws or properly managed you have to set up boundaries,” Baggs said, “You have to enforce those boundaries, and you have to make sure no one else is backfilling those camping spots that they came from to fill-up these encampments, otherwise we’ll end up with double the homeless problems and no rules and a giant party.”
For now, those organized camp properties are still under development as folks from every side grow more frustrated.
“The most important thing is nothing can really change now, by law, until we have more shelter options,” Perkins said.
While residents of Hunnell Road just hope hardship doesn’t continue knock on their doors.
“And even if I do go back to work, where can I put my trailer? You know, there’s no real place that I can go,” Key said.