The City of Bend is executing a “clean up” on NE 2nd Street between Franklin and Greenwood avenues, meaning all of the homeless campers set up there had to gather their belongings and move out by Tuesday.
At least, that was the case until Monday.
“We made the decision to extend this closure for a couple of days,” said Anne Aurand, communications director for the City of Bend. “What became apparent was there are a few highly vulnerable individuals out here that need a little extra time and assistance to get connected to resources.”
This decision was influenced by Cheyenne Purrington, the new executive director of the Coordinated Houseless Response Office for Deschutes County.
“I would consider everyone out here vulnerable. I think how we assess vulnerability, typically we use the VI-SPDAT (Vulnerability Index – Service Prioritization Decision Assistance Tool) which is an assessment tool for determining who is vulnerable, how vulnerable they are, what those vulnerability factors look like and understand what supports would benefit them,” said Purrington.
Central Oregon Daily News spoke with River Wolfe, a 2nd Street camper, last week to see how she and other campers were handling potentially being forced to move.
Now, she’s in the middle of it, trying to help a woman who the campers refer to as “Mama.”
“She’s annoyed, she’s pissed off, she’s frightened, she’s tired, and you know this woman is in her late 50s and she’s had to do this so many times with her body and the way it is and the shape it’s in,” said Wolfe. “She still doesn’t have housing.”
Mama is one of the people being given a grace period for her medical conditions.
“If you have a high number of folks that are experiencing disabilities and the challenges that come with that they may have more challenges navigating services and housing,” said Purrington.
Wolfe what being moved meant for the un-housed living on 2nd Street.
“I think for some of them, it’s new beginnings. For some of them, it’s the same old same old,” said Wolfe. “For a lot of the older cats, the folks who’ve have been on the street maybe longer, they’re just tired.”
New beginnings, perhaps, and a new deadline. River, Mama and the other folks now have until Thursday to find a new place to camp.