Smokey, an unhoused man who lives on Hunnell Road, has called his trailer his home for years.
Central Oregon Daily News has been covering the process of Title 4 — the camping code — through the Bend City Council for months. The council passed it Wednesday night by a narrow 4-3 majority.
The new code bans unhoused people from camping in residential areas, city property and public rights-of-way. These include, but are not limited to, sidewalks, roads and roundabouts.
Smokey has always been willing to speak with us about how a camping code would impact him and others on Hunnell Road. He told us, even if he’s forced to move his trailer, he will not live in a shelter.
“I have stayed in a shelter only under mandatory necessity. I won’t stay in a shelter,” said Smokey. “I don’t want the guy next to me snoring. I want to sleep in my own bed. I want to sleep where I’m comfortable.”
Living without adequate shelter means comfort is a rarity.
What little comfort Smokey does have is in his trailer, and he can’t move that trailer until it’s fixed.
“With things disappearing and stuff and tools being taken, it’s been a struggle, and I’m not leaving until it’s finished,” said Smokey.
But the new Bend code also means homeless campers won’t be allowed to stay in one spot for more than 24 hours. They will be given 72 hours, once they have received notice, to move.
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We asked Smokey if he would be able to move his trailer every 24 hours.
“No, you can’t even live that way,” he said.
One of the main concerns brought up during the meeting to approve Title 4 was enforcement. The police forcing people to move could lead to arrests and people would likely move right back to where they were camping, according to Smokey:
“We’ll be an empty road and the jails will be full, overpacked, and then they’ll be back to the same old crap,” Smokey said.
The city did pass a resolution along with the camping codes. It states the city is not trying to criminalize homeless people and forcing people to move will be a last resort used only after first working to connect people to service providers and trying to find shelter space.
The camping code will not be enforced until after March 1, 2023.