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KTVZ News Channel 21
Two-story structure built on wheels along NE Bend street sparks concern over what city allows — and why
By Kelsey McGee,
( Update: Adding video, comments from neighbors, city of Bend)
City representative says they've 'interacted' with the builder, are working on plan to address code violations
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – A two-story mobile structure built by a homeless man along a busy NE Bend street is raising questions about what the city deems acceptable.
Rachel Munford lives across the street from the two-story structure that's currently parked along Northeast Mary Rose Place.
"Every couple of days, I would just see growing and building until I realized: He's building a house," she said Wednesday. "He's got steps. He has a window. So if this guy starts doing this, others are going to try to do this?"
She's watched the progression for a month and recently sent us a video.
In it, she said, "Right now, here, like he's going to live here. Yeah, this is the guy."
Munford said plywood, wood pallets and sheet metal have been used to build it.
Across the street is a senior assisted-living community where residents pay from $5,000 to $10,000 a month.
Prestige Senior Living resident Catherine Damoth said, "Everybody's curious about about that man building -- where does he get his materials, if he's homeless and doesn't have any money? Where does he get the materials?"
Clark Peterson, the community relations director at Prestige Living. said the two-story shelter and other vehicles parked in the area are a hindrance for business.
"We feel for them in their situation, what they're going through," he said. "But unfortunately, it's a not only an eyesore to our current residents and also potential residents, but also a worry for current residents just going out."
Peterson said the parked encampments also hinder ambulances' emergency response time coming in and out of their entryway.
He said management at Prestige Living has contacted the city.
"We would love to chat with city officials, if they'd be willing to speak with us and understand why the regulations don't don't seem to take into account the businesses' point of view," Peterson said.
We reached out to Bend Mayor Melanie Kebler and members of the city council and were sent a statement from city Communications Director Anne Aurand.
"The City is aware of the structure on NE Mary Rose Place," she wrote. "City staff have interacted with the person there about violations of City code, and staff are developing a plan to address what appear to be ongoing code violations. We don’t have a time frame or specifics yet."
Munford said, "I understand the homeless issue. I feel for them, but it's also something I don't feel like I need to look at every single day when I'm going to work. And just trash is bad enough, but this guy's building a home, so it doesn't look like he's planning on going anywhere any time soon."
We asked the city of Bend for clarification on what the violations were for the man who built the structure. They said he violated the time limitations under the parking code and put the structure in the right-of-way.