The Redmond City Council and the Deschutes County Commissioners held a joint meeting at Redmond City Hall, Tuesday, discussing topics from homelessness, to the future of the fairgrounds, to a large emergency training facility.
The first topic discussed was the Runway Protection Zone and discussion over the dangers of homeless camping near the Redmond Airport.
“It’s an incompatible land use and in violation of airport sponsors federal obligations,” said the Redmond Airport Director Zachary Bass. “Which is a nice way for the FAA to say it needs to not be there.”
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With warnings from the Federal Aviation Administration and airport terminal expansion on the horizon, the group talked about possible ways to remove the large encampments of about 50 people.
“It doesn’t have to be a big, scary, monstrous thing,” said Deschutes County Commissioner Tony DeBone. “We really need some people not to be in specific places. Let’s figure out what to do, you know, to support them, support their needs. But we kind of need to move forward in a few of these things.”
“It just, to me underscores the need to find places where people can go,” said Redmond Mayor Ed Fitch.
Officials admit they will need help from local service providers, but a few organizations had concerns.
“We just want to make it clear that as service providers, we do not participate in or partner in camp removals,” said Redmond Safe Parking Program Director Sierra Hopper.
“We are hoping for a by-name census in these assessments, specifically identifying what are the needs of the individuals who will be displaced by these land closures,” said Shepherd’s House Redmond Director Andrew Hoeskma.
Another effort in the works is expanding the Fairgrounds 140 acres to the south.
“The addition of an additional 140 acres that’s been discussed a little bit today, we’ll actually make it the second largest facility in the entire country and give us a tremendous amount of opportunity for our future,” said Deschutes County Fairgrounds and Expo Director Geoff Hinds.
Unhoused campers will need to be moved for that future project as well.
The third big discussion a dedicated multi-agency coordination center for emergency operations called Core3.
As of Tuesday, 27 local and state agencies are working together on the $100 million Core3 facility, which would be used by fire, law enforcement, public safety and more.
“Phase one would include all the site prep and utilities, the emergency coordination center building, which also has an admin building, classrooms, etc., a fire training tower and burning building, an emergency vehicle operators course in the draft skills.,” said staff from the city.
There is a public meeting at Redmond City Hall next Monday, starting at 5:00 p.m., for the community to learn more about the Core3 training facility.
The city is hoping to break ground on Core3 by summer 2025.