Our recent stories on Opportunity Village, the homeless community in Eugene raised a lot of questions.
To answer a few of them we invited Jim Porter in to the Central Oregon Daily studio for an interview.
Porter is a former Bend Police chief, now helping to run a new non-profit called Central Oregon Villages.
The group wants to build and manage communities for the “unsheltered” that would be patterned after Opportunity Village.
“We’ve adopted their model because of their proven success,” Porter said.
He says the basic plan is to provide people with shelter, a safe place to live, then begin working on the problems that have put them on the street.
He describes the current homeless situation as a “public health crisis” that demands time, attention and resources from local police and fire agencies.
And while he admits the 30 to 40 homes the two planned villages could eventually provide is hardly enough to solve the problems in and around Bend, “we have to start somewhere.”