Bend Metropolis Council tries wrapping up proposed tenting code

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As the election looms, Bend city councilors continue to debate details of the proposed camping law

(Updated: added video, comments from Mayor Pro-Tem)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – Bend City Council has been wrestling with the details for a proposed camping code since June. The code would outline rules and regulations for unauthorized camping on city property and in places like sidewalks and underpasses.

A new memo from prosecutors on Wednesday night’s agenda summarizes a variety of details on the review, including the code’s structure, definitions, enforcement, violations and more.

For example, after 24 hours a campground would need to be moved at least one block or 600 feet and not return for 72 hours.

But the deadline would actually be 96 hours, as the city must give 72 hours notice of such removal, except in the case of “extraordinary emergencies or criminal activity.” Once a camp has been removed, it may be closed to camping for up to two weeks.

Mayor Pro-Tem Anthony Broadman says the code is important because it brings clarity.

“We just don’t have a law on the books that gives clarity to the community about where people can and can’t camp,” Broadman said.

Despite public criticism, Broadman believes it was a quick process.

“With the government’s pace, this was quite efficient and quick,” Broadman said. “Especially considering that no previous Council has addressed this issue.”

Last week the City Council was split 3-3 over code specifics regarding timing. While council members have conflicting opinions, they agree that a code is needed.

“I think you have a majority of council members who agree that to bring clarity to this community, we need to have a code,” Broadman said. “It’s part of an orderly situation that anyone can do.”

“We all need to know the rules,” Broadman added.

Next week’s election means the proposed code will be handed over to a new council – with three of the seven seats and the mayor on the November 8 vote.

“No previous council had the political will to move forward with this initiative and I’m glad we did and I don’t think the election is relevant to the pace of this work,” Broadman said.

Broadman believes a vote could take place by December and would take effect shortly thereafter.

“My expectation is that once service providers, the city and our code enforcement staff let uys know they’re ready — you know we’ll have a code that’s ready for implementation,” Broadman said.

Here’s the note: