Nonprofits say they were not made aware of this deal before the contract was already in place. But the county disagrees.
“It kind of caught all of us a little bit by surprise,” said JW Terry executive director of Central Oregon Veterans Outreach. “Believe it or not, we heard it (for the first time) from our some of the people we work with out at Juniper Ridge.”
Terry visits the Juniper Ridge encampment often.
“I’ve been doing this 10 years going out to the camps,” he said. “I’ve never felt threatened out there, I’ve never felt scared out there, so I’m really not sure what they’re trying to do.”
The community expressed frustration to Terry about why the new security is necessary. He says he spoke with other nonprofit organizations and none heard from the county before the deal was done.
The county disagrees, saying they shouldn’t be surprised.
“We met with the service providers before we sent out the notices and then we put notices for the people living there so they knew what to expect, what services would be coming to the area,” said Erik Kropp, Deputy County Administrator for Deschutes County.
The county says contracted security guards were always part of the mediation plan for the area, approved two months ago.
“The security firm will be going to Juniper Ridge two times per day,” he said. “They’re not there to be law enforcement, it’s more patrol services.”
Assets include portable toilets, drinking water and handwashing stations. The armed guards will cost the county up to $25,000 as written in the current contract.
“I think at times we are heard, I think at other times there is decisions made without that give and take,” Terry said. “This is all gone really quick.”
The armed guards will begin daily after the contract is finalized, which the county anticipates will happen within the next week.