The City of Bend is again considering placing a managed homeless camp on Juniper Ridge.
Plans call for it to be farther from schools than earlier proposals, but still near a retirement community which is concerned about the safety of its older residents.
Crusher Site No. 2 is located about a mile north the north end of 18th Street in Bend.
It’s where rock was crushed as part of the North Interceptor Sewer Project.
The site has since been leveled and may be under consideration for a managed homeless camp.
“The reason that it’s being discussed as potential place for a camp or navigation center is that it’s rare that we find a location that is flat, is surrounded by trees, that is a decent distance from schools, neighborhoods, that kind of thing,” said Megan Perkins, Bend City Councilor. “That is why we have been talking about Juniper Ridge, however it is just one of many properties we have been talking about.”
As the homeless issue continues to grow in Bend, city officials are looking at several options.
In a letter to Bend City Council, Attorney David Schwarz said a homeless camp within a mile of the Cascade Village Manufactured Home Park would interfere with residents quiet enjoyment of their property, and pose health and safety risks to the senior citizens who live there.
“Because something’s new and we’ve never done it before, it’s really scary to a lot of people,” Perkins said. “I think we can show that we can do this successfully. This is a temporary thing we are talking about. We are saying 1 to 2 years maximum.”
December 9th is the deadline for vendors to submit requests to the city for proposals of locations and plans to manage homeless camps.
“Once we do the matching process, should there be a match, it is the role of the service provider to start the public engagement process with that community because the city is not going to be running this or operating this,” Perkins said.
“The city is helping provide a match and provide the land. So it will be up to them to start talking with the community around there and talk about what they want to do there, to get feedback and develop a comprehensive management plan.”
Perkins says getting homeless people away from highway on ramps and off of city streets is what’s driving the latest consideration of a managed camp on Juniper Ridge.
Perkins believes concerns about crimes committed by homeless people, fire danger and other hazards, will decrease if they are in a safe and managed environment.