A Deschutes County Circuit Court judge has denied a request for a delay in the closure of Hunnell Road and Clausen Road in north Bend and the clearing out of homeless camps there. The city says residents who haven’t been granted extra time must leave, with their belongings, by midnight Monday night.
Judge Wells Ashby made the ruling at the end of a hearing Monday afternoon.
“The court is denying the plaintiffs’ request for relief in its entirety,” Ashby said.
Residents filed a request for the delay last week. They argued that the city has allowed homeless camping in the area for nearly eight years, at times providing water, trash collection and even portable bathrooms.
The plaintiffs also argued that they were not given sufficient notice of the sweep and that many of those living on Hunnell and Clausen requested reasonable accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The city announced the closure and clearing of Hunnell Road on June 21, nearly a full month before the closure was set to begin.
Ashby said the city followed its own rules and policies leading up to the sweep.
“The court is aware as well that families live there. That individuals live there. That this is not recreational camping. That people have formed relationships and connections there,” Ashby said. “Court’s role, however, today is to review the law, review the submissions and make sure that is followed.”
Nicholas Schinder, a pastor at Redemption Railroad Ministries and one of the plaintiffs, said there’s a bigger issue at play than a legal ruling.
“This is a question of conscience,” Schindler said. “Just because you can legally do something because somebody else in a previous administration or maybe those in this administration chose to make a decision that is legally binding by the law, doesn’t make it right.”
The city said it would grant one extra week for approximately 23 people with disabilities to move out.
Everyone else is being told they must leave before Tuesday morning.
“The City will proceed with the temporary closure and clean-up of the Hunnell and Clausen area beginning as planned on Tuesday, July 18,” the city attorney’s office said in a statement. “City personnel and contractors are prepared to begin work and will adjust as appropriate to account for specific individuals in the area who have been given additional time.”
Bend’s homeless camping code was approved in November 2022 and enforcement began in March. It says camping is prohibited:
- Within 1,000 feet from any permitted shelter use, including Safe Parking locations, Outdoor Shelters and the Navigation Center.
- On City rights-of-way where the City Manager determined it’s unsafe due to construction or other reason.
- In Waterway Overlay or Residential Zones.
- In City buildings, parking garages, parking lots, or on City property where property is used for utility facilities.
Homeless campers are unable to stay in one spot for more than 24 hours and are given 72 hours, once they have received notice, to move.
The city previously planned to clear Hunnell Road in March. That was delayed after what Appeared to be an agreement for a managed homeless camp in south Bend. But that camp ultimately did not materialize.