Tensions between the housed and their unhoused neighbors in Bend continue to grow.
A Bend woman, who does not want to be identified in case her unhoused neighbors retaliate against her, said she walked out of her home next to China Hat Road and had two bullets fly by her head.
“As soon as that first bullet went by me and I knew exactly what it was, my heart started racing,” she said.
Wondering if she will be shot by stray gunfire is her new normal after almost being hit twice.
“When the second one… that’s when I thought ‘I have to hide here,’ and I’m really close to my house. I have a right to be safe in my own home,” she said.
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She explained that gunshots off of China Hat Road are common, but this was the first time she was almost a victim to it. She is certain the unhoused people living across the street from her are the source of the closer gunfire.
“I have no doubt whatsoever,” she told us.
Reporter note from Morgan Gwynn: I also heard gunfire going off throughout the interview but did not see any shooters or feel threatened.
Bullets flying by are not the only things China Hat neighbors are concerned about.
“Pretty regularly there are trash fires out there,” said another neighbor who wished to not be identified for the same reasons.
During our interview, a trash fire started right across the street, smoke filling the air.
“It’s scarier for us is in the summer time,” the neighbor said. “There are fires out there pretty consistently, even during times of burn ban, and there was a fire that got up into the canopy of the trees and required a pretty serious response from the local fire department.”
He told us the police frequent the area, and, in extreme cases, he has prepared to defend his house and his pregnant wife.
“Just had my gun close to me and turned on all our exterior lights; started calling the neighbors and letting them know what we were hearing,” he said.
The two neighbors said if moving out of the neighborhood was an option, they would take it.
“If I had won the lottery, I would be moving. I would be selling this house at a loss and I would move,” the first neighbor who encountered gunfire said.
The neighbors explained they want the City of Bend and Deschutes County to take action and take their worries seriously.