Bend City Councilors must tackle homelessness crisis.
You’ve seen them. The tents, ramshackle structures and broken-down vehicles on and near Bend streets and highways. Bend has a homelessness crisis, and the city’s response to it does not serve Bendites, housed or unhoused, well. The good news is, there’s something you can do about it.
The truth is, the homeless camps that have sprung up in and around Bend are dangerous to the people who live in and around them. This summer, two people living in the camp on Hunnell Road, at the north end of Bend, died. There have been stabbings, other violent crime and illegal drug use. Allowing people to camp on public property is not accepting and it’s not humane. It’s dangerous, and the City Council’s current hands-off approach serves no one well.
The Bend Humanity Coalition is a group of concerned Bend residents – parents, small business owners, and just plain normal people – who refuse to accept that Bend must become like Portland or Seattle, where in the name of acceptance, city government fosters a dangerous and unhealthy way of life for people experiencing homelessness. The Bend City Council is spending millions on providing new living options for our homeless population, but this is inadequate.
The provision of services and housing options must be accompanied by a fair and loving but resolute enforcement of the law. City Councilors have at their disposal the legal methods to remove camps that pose a danger to those living in them and those who find themselves near them. There are laws against littering, public urination and defecation, possession of open containers of alcohol in parks and other public places, and drug use. When those activities occur, whether in homeless camps or elsewhere, the city must enforce them. We cannot allow our streets to become the site of chronic lawlessness. We’ve seen how that ends up in other cities. No one wants that for Bend.
To help, please click on the action button above and send an email to your city councilors, urging them to take a more humane approach to homelessness in Bend. It takes five minutes or less, and our community will be better for it.