The Bend City Council continued its efforts to manage campsites in public right of ways at its regular meeting on July 20. Over a month prior the City Council directed staff to establish a work group to tackle the time, place and manner restrictions that could be placed on campsites on City property; the decision at its most recent regular meeting reversed course and instead opted for a faster option that skips over the lengthier option of creating a work group.
- Courtesy WikiCommons
- Encampment on city street.
The policy would have to comply with Martin v. Boise, a federal case whose ruling means municipalities within the 9th Circuit cannot cite people for camping in a right of way if they have no other place to go. The City can't enact a broad camping ban, but can limit when, where and how people are allowed to camp if an individual camper can access shelter. This could mean restricting daytime camping, length of stay, the areas people can camp, structure types, camp sizes and regulations around untidy campsites.
Bend's only mechanism to evict a campsite requires certain benchmarks around fire hazards, trash, calls for police service and impeding roadways be met before the campsite can be declared unsafe and moved. The timeline the City Council approved expects a first draft in August, which then has a review process with stakeholders participating in a roundtable — replacing the working group — and a public community feedback meeting.
Codes could be finalized as early as October, though staff members said the timeline is optimistic and could change if more meetings are added as the process plays out. If the City appointed a work group like planned, its earliest implementation of the policy wouldn't take place until December.
A standing work session on managed camp codes is expected to be discussed at every City Council work session until it's finished. The first open house Q&A is expected in August and a meeting seeking community feedback is expected in September.