Bend took its next step in crafting a code for unmanaged homeless camps on City rights-of-way at a work session on Oct. 27. City staff gave the Bend City Council a first draft of the amended code changes on Sept. 21, and since then Council has given input during work sessions.
The latest draft establishes the time, place and manner in which campsites are allowed to exist. The proposed new code allows campsites to be evicted once it's in the same place for a 24-hour period, after which residents could be given a 72-hour notice to leave. The camper would have to move at least a block or 600 feet and can't return to where they were evicted from for at least 72 hours. Once a camp is removed the City may decide not to allow any camping in the area for up to 14 days. Enforcement of these rules could be suspended if an individual doesn't have access to shelter and is engaged in case management or services.
Under the proposed code, camps would be prohibited in residential areas or if the camp impedes into a sidewalk or road and within the Waterway Overlay Zone, which is a buffer by the Deschutes River. The new draft would also restrict camping within 1,000 feet of any homeless shelter or safe parking program, or in areas that are deemed unsafe for camping by the City Manager due to conditions like construction.
The City is also restricting camp clustering, mandating that a group of three camps may not be within 150 feet of another group of camps. Camps aren't allowed to be larger than 144 square feet, and behaviors like trash accumulation, open flames, dumping of wastewater and connecting to utilities could result in a removal.
The City will look at its camping code policy at its work session on Nov. 2, and a first reading is expected at its Nov. 6 regular meeting. Bend removed its third campsite this year on Oct. 27, where 13 people had set up tents on Second Street. Current City code requires the city manager declare the camp is unsafe according to a rubric that measures public safety hazards.