By Associated Press • 

Deschutes leaders back off clearing of homeless

BEND — Deschutes County commissioners backed away from a proposal that would have allowed authorities to clear illegal camps on county land after giving a 24-hour notice.

The commissioners said Monday they worried about problems the move might cause, with homeless people having nowhere else to go, the Bulletin newspaper of Bend reported.

“We don't have enough resources to care for the folks,” Commissioner Tammy Baney said. “Somewhere we need to find a balance.”

Sheriff's Lt. Scott Shelton said complaints about an area east of Redmond led to the ordinance proposal.

He said deputies talk to homeless people living on county land, try to connect them with social services and figure out a way to help get them moved.

But in some cases, campers have been on county property for up to 90 days with no intention of leaving, Shelton said.

He gave an example of a homeless individual recently cited by deputies who had been living on county property for 80 days and had chopped down several juniper trees for firewood.

The commissioners said they must have further discussions on the issue.

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Information from: The Bulletin

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