By HANNAH SIEVERT
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS
The City of Bend owns 1,500 acres of land in the northern part of Bend off of Cooley Road.
At Wednesday’s city council meeting, officials proposed turning six of those acres into a temporary transitional shelter site, where homeless individuals and families could safely camp this winter.
“We expect that we’ll be able provide some medical services,” Carolyn Eagan, economic development director for the City of Bend, said. “We expect we’ll be able to provide some other services and hoping that that will help our community will get through the winter, along with the warming shelter and along with some other sites across town.”
The proposed plan would be implemented in three phases. Phase one would create a transitional shelter site where people could set up RVs and tents.
Phase two would come next year and create a more established campground.
Phase three would construct longer-term housing.
“We asked council to agree to a model that said in the very near term, between now and the spring, we’re going to put a couple sites in place for transitional shelters,” Eagan said. “Next summer, we’re going to look to build a campsite.”
City Council gave officials permission to more forward and explore the feasibility of the plan.
Councilors also supported the idea of creating an emergency homelessness task force, which would help the city and its partner agencies collaborate on the site’s design.
The changing weather is a motivator to get the project started.
“We would love to see this temporarily transitional shelter site come online before the worst of the winter,” Eagan said.
Eagan said they will explore the idea and have more information on whether the idea will actually happen within the next few weeks.