The closure and cleanup of the Hunnell Road area in Bend began Tuesday. Residents were told June 20 that Hunnell, Loco and Clausen roads would be closed and residents would be required to move out as of Tuesday.
Central Oregon Daily News asked City of Bend Communications Director Anne Aurand about what is next for Hunnell Road and what will happen to their belongings.
Is Bend connecting Hunnell Road residents to housing options?
“The city contacts service providers and lets the service providers know what our plans are so that service providers can provide any contact with the individuals living out there themselves. We are not a service provider. We have relationships and contracts with service providers, so we just make sure that they know what’s going on.”
What happens to the belongings taken off Hunnell Road?
“Anything that is taken off site today, we will store for 30 days. Small items that would maybe be in a tent are going to be stored in a different site. We are taking large vehicles to a piece of property out in Southeast Bend. We have an MOU (Memorandum Of Understanding) with Deschutes County for using a piece of Deschutes County land that’s all fenced in. It’s fairly secure.”
How do residents claim their belongings?
“If something was taken off site today, we post a notice that explains to an individual how, when and where they can get their stuff. So for example, if their RV was removed, they’ll go out there, they’ll find a piece of paper that says ‘Here’s where it is. Here’s the number you can call. You can make arrangements to go out there and pick up your stuff.’ We’ll store it for 30 days.”
In a follow-up answer, Aurand said after 30 days, RVs may be towed and go through a lien process by which owners could get them back.
How long is the clean-up expected to take?
“Because of the accommodation requests that just came through, our timelines a little less defined than it was before. I anticipate this is going to take a couple of weeks to finish. We had some people, we had about 23 folks given an exception for another week. They have a an extra week of time to move. So those folks aren’t even going to be asked to move until next week. So we’re looking at a couple of weeks.”
Will residents be allowed to return?
“After this cleanup is done, we’re going to clean the streets, wash it. We’re going to repaint, paint on bike lanes and all of that. We’re going to post it closed to no parking for 14 days, just sort of a rest period. And then after that, the camping code does allow camping in certain places with time, place and manner restrictions. So it’s not impossible to think that somebody could come back, but the camping will look very different. Time, place and manner restrictions would limit the number of people that can camp on a given block, for example, or how long somebody can stay in one spot on a city owned public right of way.”
What is the City doing to avoid a similar situation in the future?
“The camping code was developed since this camp first existed. So we now have a camping code that limits how many people can camp in a given spot, how long they can stay there and the manner by which they’re camping. So we have a new set of rules on the books now that, if enforced, will prevent this from occurring in the future. The camping code is really intended to limit the size of camps to something much more small.”
How is the work to clean up Hunnell being funded?
“Money for this would come through our general fund. General fund money is discretionary and we spend it on the priority needs of the day.”