Plan set to remove hundreds of homeless from Oregon land

REDMOND, Ore. — State and local officials in Oregon have come up with an agricultural land management plan that involves removing about 200 to 400 people living in homeless camps located on private and public property.

The plan for the 3 square miles (8 square kilometers) of land east of the city of Redmond in central Oregon addresses illegal activity, such as dumping and cutting trees, The Bend Bulletin reported on Sunday.

"The goal was a plan to manage the impact on the land," Deschutes County Property Manager James Lewis said. "It's not just a homeless problem; it's true land management. It will make the land safe for legal use of the land, like hiking or biking."

Members of the Homeless Leadership Coalition are working on the plan with Deschutes County, the Central Oregon Irrigation District and the Redmond School District.

The plan begins with restricting access by vehicles, which have created numerous illegal dirt roads. Road closures begin Aug. 15 and will continue through late October, Lewis said, giving the area's homeless residents time to start making plans in months with better weather.

After the initial notification phase is completed, transients will be considered trespassing on private property and enforcement would be overseen by the Redmond Police Department and Deschutes County Sheriff's Office.

The Central Oregon Irrigation District plans to sell the nearly 200 acres (809,000 square meters) it owns in the area — land that was recently priced at $8 million.

Irrigation district communications consultant ShanRae Hawkins said the goal is to offer help to those illegally camping on the land.

"Our goal is to connect people as much as possible," Hawkins said. "Our strategy is to offer the resources for services and shelters available. It's not just this massive push, but we want to help them."

© 2017 Associated Press


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