Emerson Avenue in Bend had around 40-50 homeless campers living in the area earlier this week.
On Friday, it was completely empty. Abandoned. No one in sight.
On Tuesday, the day before the eviction, I talked with Timothy Garside about where he would go.
“Yeah, pretty much just down the street,” Garside said.
I caught up with him again Friday, just down the street on the other side of the train tracks.
“I got a hotel room for a couple days from Deschutes County Behavioral Health,” said Garside about where he’s been staying since the eviction. “I was a little sick. Then I moved over here to the ODOT property on Colorado by the Highway.”
More tents popped up around Colorado Avenue this week as other former Emerson campers had the same idea.
“Yeah, I have seen over a half a dozen,” said Garside.
Others no doubt headed to various homeless gathering spots around town like Hunnell Road, the cloverleaf at the Parkway and Revere Avenue and others.
Colleen Thomas, the Homeless Services Coordinator for Deschutes County says there aren’t a lot of options for people experiencing homelessness.
“In my experience, a lot of folks decided to go to other places of congregate areas,” said Thomas. “A lot of folks are accessing the emergency shelter that opened with Shepherd’s House just down the street from here.”
Shepherd’s House Ministries says they’ve had 10-15 more people at the shelter since the Emerson eviction, but Thomas knows not everyone uses official shelters.
“Some folks that were on Emerson and having to be relocated, there is fear of wherever they are now to leave their belongings in worry of, will it be stolen, will be picked up by a landowner or something like that,” said Thomas.
Cooling shelters open Saturday across Central Oregon to help people get out of the scorching heat.
Thomas says there’s also a big push from outreach programs to make sure homeless campers receive water, Gatorade, and ice.