The Peacekeepers team have just sent the following letter to all members of the Bend City Council. We need community members to follow up by writing their own letters, asking Council to direct Bend Police to not participate in this next round of camp sweeps. With the the drop in temperatures, these sweeps could cost lives.
This letter is written in desperation, because a crisis is coming in a little over a week.
Starting on October 16th, ODOT will start destroying houseless encampments on their properties. With help from the Bend Police Department, they have already issued notices of this new round of sweeps. When these camps are destroyed, dozens of Bend residents are going to be left without any safe or reasonable place to sleep and take shelter from the weather. This is being done just as temperatures are becoming dangerously cold.
This crisis is a product of inaction by the City of Bend. These people are camping on ODOT property because the City of Bend has not provided any safe alternative. There is no safe place for an unhoused person to camp in Bend without fear that Bend Police will eventually come and destroy their home.
When this City Council voted to destroy the Emerson road camp, you did so immediately before a record heat wave. Less than a week after your reckless and cruel massive eviction, a man was dead. You could argue that you didn’t know the heat wave was coming. That argument is absurd, because you should have been able to predict that driving people out of their only shelter at the beginning of summer was dangerous. Regardless, you must know that destroying shelters just as fall temperatures are falling will put lives in danger.
If you allow these sweeps to happen, you are very likely going to kill people. Again.
There is absolutely no point to these sweeps. The campers are harming nobody, and they simply have nowhere else to go. You do not have the option of just blaming ODOT for these actions, because without participation from law enforcement they can’t destroy these camps. It is in your power to direct the Bend Police Department to not participate.
Please. For once do the right thing. Save these people’s lives.
- The Peacekeepers