The public had a chance Wednesday to voice their support or concerns on a proposal for a new Deschutes County camping code. Dozens of people gathered at the county services building for a hearing.
It comes after Sheriff Shane Nelson presented a proposal to the Board of Commissioners last month. It would allow homeless people to camp on county land for 24 hours before they have to move to a new location. It would also ban camping within one-mile of private property and the urban growth boundary.
Many in the crowd who support the proposal spoke about their own experience with the nearby homeless population.
“Those of us living nearby live in constant fear of catastrophic wildfire developing because the amount of illegal campfires, RV explosions, gunfire and drug use occurring every day,” said one person.
“We have roads where there was once forests; outhouses framed and feces in piles under them; dozens of disabled vehicles and RVs leaking toxic fluid into the ground,” said another.
County commissioners pointed out that before the county passes a new code, it will have to find alternate sites where people would be allowed to camp.