Deschutes County commissioners on Thursday explained their decision this week to cease involvement in a city-approved managed campsite for the south end of Bend.
Deschutes County Commissioners tell Central Oregon Daily News they never officially approved their involvement during a Feb. 27 meeting.
“We did not take a vote on that at that meeting,” said Commissioner Patti Adair. “We did not vote.”
Commissioner Anthony DeBone, told us the same.
“Monday we just said ‘Yeah, let’s move this forward a little bit.’ Which, you know, kind of was a ‘yes,’ but we didn’t have more structure than that,” said DeBone.
This seemed to convince the City of Bend of the county’s solidified involvement in the project.
These are three separate comments made by the commissioners during the February 27 meeting.
DeBone asked Adair, “So Commissioner Adair, you’re supportive of contracting for the operation of this site?”
Adair responded, “I am.”
Commissioner Phil Chang said, “I am supportive of moving forward with the county taking on responsibility for the contracting of this one acre — the operation of this one acre site.”
DeBone then also showed his support. “Let’s just acknowledge the structure here so we know where it’s coming from and where we’re going, and I want to be supportive. Let’s do it.”
When asked about why she voted to dissolve the county’s support of the homeless camp, Adair had two reasons: alternative solutions and public feedback.
There are 10 acres in Redmond being looked at to place a city-approved campsite.
“The good new about those 10 acres, it’s combined with Oasis village. The City of Redmond seems to be going on with that program,” said Adair. “It is in the UGB of Redmond and it has an opportunity and it’s surrounded by county property.”
The public’s response was confusion and concern.
“I cannot tell you how many people I have heard from,” said Adair. “They are like, ‘Oh my gosh. Thank you so much for listening to our voice.”
This is what Commissioner DeBone said about his vote to cease involvement.
“It’s not right for the city to tell the county what to do at this time,” said DeBone.
Both commissioners say they will support other options as they arise for unhoused people, but stand by their decision to step away from the south bend homeless camp.
“It just got messy real quick,” said DeBone.