The closure of Hunnell and Clausen roads, one of the largest congregations of homeless residents in Central Oregon, began Tuesday morning. Where people could once drive up and down the road, there are now barriers and road closed signs in place.
Residents were told to be out by midnight, but some of them could be seen Tuesday morning working to pack their belongings. Multiple RVs were also still parked along the road. Several residents have said over the course of the past few months that their trailers and motorhomes are unable to move.
Also at one of the road entrances Tuesday: three crosses — put there by advocates for the homeless community in a sign of protest.
“Repent and do better, Bend, Oregon!” yelled one of the men holding a cross. “I make this appeal standing before His throne!”
The city announced nearly four weeks ago that it would be closing and cleaning up the Hunnell area starting at midnight on the night of July 17. In a last-ditch effort to stop the closure, residents filed a motion to delay the shutdown saying, among other things, that the closure was rushed.
After hearings over two days, Deschutes County Circuit Court Judge Wells Ashby determined that the city had followed its own regulations and policies in properly giving notice to the residents of the City’s plans. He denied the plaintiff’s request.
The City is accommodating about two dozen people who asked for extra time due to disabilities. The City said it has granted those people one more week to move out.
Bend’s homeless camping code was approved in November 2022 and enforcement began in March. It bans unhoused people from camping in residential areas, city property and public rights-of-way. These include sidewalks, roads and roundabouts. Homeless campers are unable to stay in one spot for more than 24 hours and are given 72 hours, once they have received notice, to move.
The city previously planned to clear Hunnell Road in March. That was delayed after what Appeared to be an agreement for a managed homeless camp in south Bend. But that camp ultimately did not materialize.