More teachers at Bend High and Bear Creek Elementary have joined the growing chorus of voices opposing a proposed managed homeless camp of NE 9th St. in Bend.
More than 120 teachers at the schools signed a letter to the Bend City Council and Bend-La Pine School Board asking both agencies to reconsider the plan.
“If the City chooses to set up a homeless camp in Bend, we ask the first-ever homeless camp experiment NOT be located next to 1,995 children as its neighbors,” the letter reads. “Please invest in protecting our students by operating a camp in another location for several years and working with schools to determine what resources we all need to have a camp successfully placed next to any school in Bend, Oregon. From our classrooms, this feels like the City’s due diligence.”
Last week, more than 100 current and former Bend High School coaches signed a similar letter.
The city has identified the 9th Street location – across from the Bend High baseball field and next to a church parking lot – as one of two proposed managed homeless camps.
City officials have said the camps will house 15 to 25 people and include sanitation services, water, and quiet hours.
Social service agencies would partner with the city to run the camps and they wouldn’t look anything like the homeless camps that have popped up around town in recent years.
Still, community members in the area say it’s too close to the schools.
“We would like to invite Mayor Sally Russell and Bend City Councilors to tour the proposed 9th St. site with a group of teachers, students, and support staff from our two schools,” the letter states. “We want to share our safety and school environment concerns with you.”
The proposal is still under consideration and city and county officials planned to meet Thursday to talk more about it.
The teachers’ full letter is below:Bear Creek Elem. and BSH Letter Addressing Proposed Homeless Camp