In the ongoing quest to address the homeless issue, Redmond City and Deschutes County officials are considering developing a below-market RV park.
An affordable RV park could be an extension of Redmond’s Safe Parking Program which has shown some early success in addressing the homeless crisis.
“We serve a lot of people in our Safe Parking program that’s free and accessible to people living in cars and RVs,” said Rick Russell, executive director of Mountain View Community Development, a spin off from Redmond’s Mt. View Fellowship Church. “What we’ve seen is a lot of our people have capacity to get into an RV park. They have income, but they can’t afford $700, $800, $900 a month.”
We visited one of three safe parking areas in Redmond where registered participants park without fear of tickets or harassment.
“A lot of their RVs are too old to qualify for existing RV parks,” Russell said. “We think there is a helpful point on the housing continuum for people who can’t quite afford that full RV park experience. We are trying to figure out how we can operate something underneath that market rate scale.”
Mountain View Community Development, the City of Redmond and Deschutes County are studying the feasibility of developing a low income RV park along Highway 126 just east of Redmond.
It may be located next door to Oasis Village, a planned development of tiny home shelters .
“There’s land available for discussion on the east side of Redmond,” said Tony DeBone, Deschutes County Commissioner. “Some of the parcels, some of the land mass is in the Urban Growth Boundary of the City of Redmond. The land use authority is under the city council. We are a great partner on the east side of Redmond and ideas are floating right now.”
Russell says two-thirds of people who use Redmond’s Safe Parking program move on to more stable housing.
He believes a low income RV park could be another way to help the homeless move on to better living conditions.
“I think it’s going to have to be subsidized to some extent. What we are talking about is marrying a market rate RV concept with homeless and case management services. I think it’s possible the RV park operations could be self sustaining but I think the case management, navigation help we are going to have to find additional income for.”
Commissioner DeBone says next steps are to figure out who might operate the low income RV park, how much it will cost, what services could be provided and whether it will pay for itself.