BEND, OR -- Bend Area Habitat for Humanity celebrates the completion of their latest project with a home dedication, Thursday. Robin Cooper Engle, with Habitat, says the family moving into the home on NW Huettl Lane put in a lot of sweat equity during construction, and is in awe that it’s actually happening. "Liz and her kiddos are constantly smiling. I think the whole process for them has just been pretty much incredible. So, to be able to move in before Christmas, it’s going to be such a gift for them."
She tells KBND News, the home has four bedrooms and two bathrooms, but is just 1300-square feet. "We got the lowest air exchange rating than we’ve had in probably six or seven years on this house, so it’s a super air-tight little house. It’s got in-floor radiant heating; it will be so efficient her heating bills will be extremely low. It’s a cute use of space; it’s definitely small but it’s kind of what Habitat does: simple, decent, affordable for the families."
Members of the Central Oregon Association of Realtors contributed the entire $75,000 needed for construction. "Many of the realtors were giving, when they would sell a house, some of those proceeds they would donate to the project. We’ve had title companies donating; and different offices related to the real estate community donating to this project, to make it happen. It’s a big deal. In all the years I have worked here, which is almost nine, we have not had an entity take it on at this magnitude." And, thanks to Ashley Furniture Home Store, it's the first time a local Habitat house is fully furnished for the new homeowners.
Thursday's home dedication is open to the public and begins at 11:30a.m.
SISTERS, OR -- Sisters City Councilors will discuss, next week, whether a Councilor-elect satisfied residency requirements to hold office. Richard Esterman owns a home in Tollgate, outside the city limits.
He rents a home downtown. However, city staff say the rental property had minimal water use and no garbage service, raising suspicion that he hadn’t lived there the required 12 months prior to the election. Esterman has denied the allegations.
Councilors will hold a hearing on the issue Thursday, December 15, at 6 p.m. to determine whether he is eligible to take his seat on Council in January.
BEND, OR -- There is more snow and ice in the forecast, which could pose dangers for those who have to work out in the elements. Oregon’s state-chartered workers’ compensation insurance company is warning workers and employers to stay safe in the cold.
Luke Betts, in Bend’s Saif Corporation
office, says one of the biggest hazards can be simply walking. "Try and think about a penguin and how it walks – shorten your step and point your toes slightly out, also turn very gradually. Keep your hands out of your pockets to avoid out of balance, don’t carry large loads and avoid distractions, such as cell phones; wear shoes with good traction and consider wearing over-the-shoe devices for better traction." Those include "yaktrax" and other traction devices. But, he tells KBND News, "Do keep in mind that while these devices provide better traction in the snow and the ice because they dig into the surface, they will also raise the shoes surface above hard surfaces, such as tile and concrete making them ice skates; so, make sure that when you come indoors you take those off."
"For employers, have an inclement weather program in place. That program should include designated walkways that are going to be cleared of snow and ice," says Betts. "If possible, consider delaying the workday or allowing employees work from home." He says slowing down is the best way to avoid injuries, whether driving or just walking.
Central Oregon remains under a winter weather advisory until 10 p.m., Thursday. More snow is expected over the weekend.
BEND, OR -- The Oregon Nurses Association is accusing St. Charles Health System of unfair labor practices. The union’s claims involve a new policy imposed this year, requiring all caregivers to either get a flu shot or wear a mask at all times while at work.
St. Charles officials stand by the policy, saying their highest priority is to protect patients and caregivers. They say the policy is modeled after similar rules in place at many other health systems across the state and the nation.
SCHS released a statement Wednesday, saying, "We have confidence the National Labor Relations Board will agree that this policy change is not subject to bargaining and will affirm our position and approach in protecting patients and caregivers."
CROOKED RIVER RANCH, OR -- A late night fire destroyed a Crooked River Ranch garage, Tuesday, but crews were able to save a nearby home. The homeowner noticed a "glow" outside and discovered her chicken coop and garage on fire, just before 11:30 p.m.
When firefighters arrived at the SW Quail Road home, the fire was fully involved and flames were threatening the home. It took crews over an hour to bring the fire under control; they remained on scene through the night to mop up.
The cause of the fire is undetermined and under investigation. It caused an estimated $100,000 in damage.
BEND, OR -- Frigid temperatures are expected to continue in the High Desert, at least for another couple of days; and local homeless shelters are doing what they can to help those forced to live outside.
David Notari, with the Shepherd’s House in Bend, tells KBND News generous Central Oregonians are giving needed items, but donations go out faster than they’re coming in. "Those sorts of cold weather items, they come and go really quickly. A lot of times a homeless person will need more than one jacket just because, in this kind of weather, a jacket will get weather and they’ll have to take it off and put another one on. So, it’s a whole management system that they have to negotiate; it’s really challenging."
Notari says they are limited in how many men they can house overnight, but they try to provide those who show up at their door with cold weather gear. "Jackets, blankets and then, if I were to add to that, it would be gloves and sleeping bags, even tents. Those five things, I think, are the most practical things for men and women who are just stuck and they need to be able to survive under a tree somewhere if they can’t find shelter. We do provide shelter, but we have limitations."
He says they’re feeding up to 200 people a day and try to help get them out of the cold, when they can. "It’s probably a bit of a transition for the homeless population because they’ve sort of been coping," says Notari. "But, now with the weather changing and the temperatures especially dropping, that’s when people realize ‘I can’t, literally, survive out here; I have to get inside.’ So, we will see an increasing number of folks knocking on our doors wondering if they can stay. We do our very best to get as many of them on a cot in a warm place with a meal."
BEND, OR -- Bend’s Urban Growth Boundary expansion plan received final state approval, Tuesday, following a required 21-day period without any appeals. The plan adds 2,380 acres of land for housing and employment to the city’s UGB and includes space for parks, open space and schools. Dozens of volunteers and staff worked on the plan over the last 12 years.
It will result in changes to the city’s Comprehensive Plan and Development Code, which will impact future development. City Councilors are expected to work with staff in February, during its goal setting process, to identify how to implement the new UGB plan.
CROOKED RIVER RANCH, OR -- A home in Crooked River Ranch was damaged by fire, Tuesday afternoon, and investigators say it was likely caused by a portable heater placed too close to a bed.
The resident, investigating the smell of smoke, discovered a bedroom on fire just before 2 p.m. They closed the door before evacuating, which officials say likely slowed the fire’s spread. Firefighters had it under control within 30 minutes.
The fire was confined to the bedroom, but there was smoke damage throughout the Geneva View Road home.
BEND, OR -- The Bend Fire Department received its fleet of new ambulances, this month. They should be ready to respond to calls once the agency receives licensing from the state.
Battalion Chief Dave Howe tells KBND News the six vehicles replace the current fleet, which were often in the shop with mechanical problems and he says at eight-years-old, maintenance costs were rising. He says the new rigs are much safer and more comfortable for medics and patients. "They have been crash-tested because they are a lighter truck with a modular box on top. So, they are a much smoother ride, they’re much safer, the brakes are better, the suspension is really smooth, they’ve got airbags all the way around, which the other ones did not have. There are four-point restraints that medics will be able to wear in the back while they’re working." Howe says the current fleet is eight years old and maintenance costs were rising.
It cost about $1.2-million dollars to replace the fleet, but Howe says the new rigs will save the agency money, down the road. The box on the back of the chassis is a modular unit and he says they can be reused when the truck reaches the end of its life.
Howe adds, "Two of them have new self-loading gurneys that are going to save our backs. We hope we can afford to buy self-loading gurneys for the rest of them; they’re extremely expensive. They can hold a 600-pound patient, and you can load it with one finger."
BEND, OR -- Rental housing is tough to come by in Bend, which can make it difficult for evicted tenants to find a new place to live. Bend City Councilors will talk Wednesday about a proposal to extend the amount of notice some renters get before being evicted from their homes. State law requires landlords to give 30 days notice prior to ending a month-to-month lease, if the renter has lived there less than a year; after a year, landlords must provide 60 days notice.
Councilor Nathan Boddie doesn’t think that’s enough time for tenants find a new place to live. "Bend has a vacancy rate for rental properties at or below 1%, and it’s been sitting there for really over two years, now, which is really stressful for a city to absorb that kind of rent stress; people being on the edge of homelessness, losing houses, struggling to find a place to rent."
Boddie is driving the effort to consider changing city ordinance. He tells KBND News, "One of the things that we can do is give folks a little bit longer to find a place, when they lose a home. With that in mind, back in the summer, I started talking about extending the notice from 30 or 60 to 90 days; basically giving them another month, acknowledging that it’s really hard to find a new place to live in 30 days or 60 days in the current housing market."
Councilors will discuss two proposals at Wednesday's Council meeting. "One version would have the notice go from 30 days to 90 days, for anybody in a month-to-month lease, regardless of how long they’ve lived in the house. The second version basically leaves as-is the 30-day notice for month-to-month, for the first year someone has lived in a house, and then it extends it out to 90 days after a year," says Boddie. Or, Councilors could decide not to do anything. Bend's Affordable Housing Advisory Committee recommends against changing the ordinance. Boddie says the group prefers to see a change at the state level.
"The important thing to remember is that most landlords are already doing this; and that’s good," says Boddie. "So, really, this is not a tectonic change of any kind. This is sort of acknowledging that some folks aren’t doing this and need to. I think it’s just a matter of we’ve got to do what’s right for the citizens of Bend and make sure we don’t kick people out on the street without giving them time to find another place to live."
PRINEVILLE, OR -- Organizers of a proposed summer festival face opposition from neighbors in a rural Crook County community. Ann Beier, Assistant County Planning Director, says a number of Paulina residents have expressed concerns the influx of visitors will compromise their rural lifestyle. "The main concerns are with traffic on the Paulina-Supplee Highway, which is a fairly narrow two-lane road, concerns about noise and concerns about anything that might cause wildfire."
The “Lazy Rockin’ Stirrup Music Festival” is expected to attract more than 3,000 people, the weekend of June 29. Jeff Foxworthy and Larry the Cable Guy are slated to kick off the event.
The County Court gave preliminary approval to the "mass gathering" permit in November. Beier tells KBND News she will meet with neighbors again Tuesday afternoon and then make recommendations to Commissioners on Wednesday. "When this issue first came to the County Court in November, we had quite a few people from Paulina and it’s my sense that they’re interested enough and concerned enough about this to come again to the County Court meeting on Wednesday."
She expects the Court to continue to support the event, "What they’re wondering about, are there conditions that they could put on the festival that would address neighbors’ concerns. So, conditions like hours for amplified sound, requirements to have water on the site to make sure if there are any fires that they are controlled, requirements that there wouldn’t be fireworks, for example."
Tuesday's meeting at Paulina School begins at 1 p.m.
SALEM, OR -- State lawmakers have their work cut out for them when they meet in February. Governor Kate Brown announced a number of cuts when she released her proposed state budget, last week, to account for a $1.7 billion shortfall. If Measure 97 had passed, supporters say it would have brought in an additional $3 billion a year.
But, voters soundly rejected the measure, which would have increased corporate taxes in the state. Tania Hunt and her group Children First advocated for M97. She tells KBND News she's disappointed with the result but voters learned some important lessons. "I think voters did express deep concern for education funding in the state. And also, I think our voters in Oregon now understand that Oregon's corporate taxes are lowest in the nation, which is incredible considering our children are going without."
Hunt supports former Governor John Kitzhaber's call for businesses to help fund education. "I do think they will," she says. "Whether or not they will step to the table to posture and to defend, or whether they will step to the table to really be a part of the solution to the degree that's needed, is yet to be seen."
Governor Brown proposes increasing cigarette and liquor taxes to help raise revenue. Business groups met in Portland Monday to outline their own strategy.
TUMALO, OR -- Tumalo Community School reopens Tuesday, after a water problem forced the cancelation of Monday classes. According to the Redmond School District, Laidlaw Water needed to fix a leak in its main line, which supplies water to the school.
The water district is now testing samples to ensure water safety. Until those results are back, students and staff will be provided bottled water and a modified menu in the cafeteria. Bathrooms are usable, with alternate hand-washing stations.
Test results are expected back, Tuesday morning.
UPDATE: According to the school district, Laidlaw water tests showed no evidence of contaminants and the school's water has been deemed safe for consumption. In a statement, the district said, "We are thankful for their fast response and support to ensure that our water is safe. Safety precautions will be lifted and students will be able to utilize drinking fountains and faucets." Final lab results are posted HERE
PRINEVILLE, OR -- A Prineville man was arrested, following a brief weekend police chase. According to officers, 23-year-old Jeremy Steele refused to pull over on Northwest Fourth, and ultimately crashed on Ryegrass Road, northwest of Prineville.
He tried to run from the scene but was eventually caught and taken into custody.
Steele has felony warrants in Crook and Deschutes County, and now faces additional charges including driving while revoked and eluding police. He’s also charged with theft in connection with other open cases.
BEND, OR -- Governor Kate Brown released her proposed budget, last week, with cuts to close the $1.7 billion budget hole. One of the drags on state coffers is the $22 billion shortfall involving the Public Employees Retirement System, known as PERS.
House Republican Leader Mike McLane (R-Powell Butte) says Senators Tim Knopp (R-Bend) and Betsy Johnson (D-Scappoose) are looking at options. "Tim Knopp is an expert. He's going to lead with Betsy Johnson on what can get done; there are clearly things that can get done and we need to do them, now. It's going to take political compromise by the Democrats to get there. Tim will be our leader in doing that; he's done that in the past and I'm confident he'll get it done." McLane tells KBND News, "Knopp has been quite astute at being able to build coalitions to get PERS reform done, in the past. He knows more about the system, he knows more about the details, than anyone I know."
Courts have struck down previous PERS reform efforts, ruling them unconstitutional. But some lawmakers believe they could succeed if they change the way pensions are calculated, as a way to save the state money.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- The Crook County Sheriff’s Office is actively recruiting for Search and Rescue volunteers. Nigel Ballard became interested in working with the team shortly after moving to Prineville a year ago. "I wanted to meet people in the community, I wanted to get out and get some exercise and explore the Ochocos; and what better way than with a team of people who know how to read maps and use a GPS and have lots of communications equipment, and it seemed like a good fit. Now, nine months later, I’m a full member of SAR."
, Ballard says in a new Crook County video
, "If you love the Ochocos and you’re reasonably fit and you’re looking for something to give back to the community, have a sense of being a part of something that’s really good and is essential, than Search and Rescue really does fit that bill."
Division Commander Michael Ryan says there’s no experience necessary; the agency provides training. "You probably already own some rescue gear, camping equipment, things like that, that all our members are required to have. Those types of things, and some aptitude for wanting to go out and help your community, that’s all that’s really needed; we’ll teach you the rest."
Volunteers must complete a basic academy and receive certification. The all-volunteer unit provides search and rescue services for people like lost hikers and hunters and missing snowmobilers. Those interested in serving should contact the Crook County Sheriff’s Office.
BEND, OR -- According to a new nationwide survey, two-thirds of drivers have a general distrust of the auto repair industry. Marie Dodds, with AAA Oregon, tells KBND News many are concerned they’ll get ripped off. "They worry about things like possibly being overcharged, being recommended to get unnecessary services done, and poor past experiences. At the same time, we also find that 2/3 of U.S. drivers have managed to find a good auto repair shop that they can trust."
But, finding that trustworthy shop takes some effort. Dodds says, "AAA does want to recommend to drivers that you do your homework. You want to make sure that you look for a repair shop and you have one you like before your car breaks down, because you don’t want to scramble to find that reliable mechanic when you need work done right now."
She suggests asking friends and family for recommendations. "Find out the basics – things like how long they’ve been in business; check with the Better Business Bureau to see if they have any consumer complaints against them," says Dodds. "Then, make sure you visit the auto repair shop in person; find it if this is an outfit you’re comfortable doing business with."
BEND, OR -- Winter work begins Monday at Bend's Whitewater Park, managed by the Bend Parks and Recreation District. Access to the Deschutes River will close at 8 a.m. to accommodate crews.
Work includes modifications to the whitewater channel to improve wave features and safety. Crews will increase pool elevations by raising the shoulders of the drops. They'll also grout shoulders to eliminate entrapment problems and install a concrete "floor" to help stabilize waves.
Click HERE for more information.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- A Prineville area man was seriously injured in an explosion, Friday morning. The victim, identified only as a man in his mid-50s, suffered significant burns in the incident, according to the Crook County Sheriff's Office.
They say he was burning debris near a home on Willowdale Drive, at around 10 a.m. It flared up when he poured gasoline on the fire, causing the gas can to explode in his hand. The man was flown to the hospital for treatment of his injuries. There is no word on his condition. No property damage was reported.
BEND, OR -- Bend is getting all decked out for the holidays. Rod Porsche, Executive Director of the Downtown Bend Business Association, says he’s been stringing more lights the past few nights, "To make downtown look as good as it can, every year. We had 40 volunteers help out with more wreaths, more ribbon, last Saturday; it was just an amazing turnout. And, they lit a lot of the trees."
The festivities begin Friday evening with the lighting of a live tree near Drake Park, "We’ve tied our community tree lighting to the First Friday Art Walk special holiday edition, just because everybody’s downtown and we thought more people could enjoy the tree lighting that way," Porsche tells KBND News. "So, First Friday Art Walk is 5-9, as usual. But, there will be some special things; you can write letters to Santa at Leapin’ Lizards Toy Store, that sort of thing."
The lighting ceremony begins near the Mirror Pond south parking lot at 6:15 p.m. "Santa reportedly is going to come from the North Pole at about 6:50-ish and he will lead the tree lighting countdown at 6:59 and 30-seconds."
But, Porsche says that’s just the beginning; there are more festivities on Saturday. "The crown jewel is the Christmas parade; it starts at noon. You do have the Jingle Bell Run, just before that. For our organization, the Downtown Bend Business Association, we’re all about creating memorable moments. And, these parades, they just really create that experience for the families in our community."
Santa will visit with kids after Friday's tree lighting, and again Saturday afternoon, near Starbucks on Wall Street. Then, the Santa Hut moves to the plaza near Bellatazza for the Saturday afternoons of December 10 and 17.
BEND, OR -- A student-founded, student-run arts nonprofit hosts its first public event, Friday evening in Bend. The gallery showing will showcase artwork created by Redmond Proficiency Academy students and teachers, and raise money for NeighborImpact.
Teacher Adam Mendel says RPA junior Cheyenne Doescher helped create "Pollywog Arts" and the event. "Her mother is a preschool teacher at NeighborImpact, so she wanted to find a way to give back. We’re really lucky at RPA to have good funding for our arts program. And, through talking to her mom, she found that NeighborImpact could use a little support for younger artists in the community."
Mendel owns Willow Lane Artist’s Creative Space, in Bend, which is donating space for the event. "One of our big missions as a studio is to create and support community within the arts in Central Oregon. Our big deal is getting artists out of their garage and spare bedrooms and into a community space where we can give each other feedback. And, we love supporting young artists." He tells KBND News it allows students to get real-life experience showing and selling their work. The artists will keep 60% of their proceeds; the other 40% goes to NeighborImpact. "It’s just a really great opportunity to do a little holiday shopping to support student artists, both at Redmond Proficiency Academy and at NeighborImpact. There’s everything from a 3D ceramic sculpture to some fine art paintings, drawings and photography."
The show begins Friday at 6 p.m. at the Willow Lane studios on SE Second Street. Click HERE
BEND, OR -- A Bend woman remained in critical condition, Friday morning, after a deadly day on Bend roadways, earlier in the week. A 60-year-old transient was killed while crossing Highway 97 near Cooley Road, Wednesday morning. Less than 14 hours later, 62-year-old Carolyn Stanfill was struck by a car on Mt. Washington Drive, near the Riverhouse. She suffered life-threatening injuries.
Bend Police Lieutenant Clint Burleigh says it’s important everyone look out for each other, especially this time of year when there is less daylight. "I think the safety part of this - just generally - it's to constantly be aware on the roadway, whether you're a pedestiran, a bicyclist or driving a vehicle. Make sure you're constantly aware of what's going on because the roadways are made for everybody and we just need to make sure to keep the safety of that in mind while we drive down the road, or as we're walking or bicycling down the road."
Both of Wednesday's crashes remain under investigation.
SISTERS, OR -- Hoodoo Ski Area plans to open for the season, this weekend. It’s the earliest Hoodoo has opened since the 2005-2006 season. They’ll have the Manzanita and Early Rider lifts running from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday and Sunday. Other lifts and the Autobahn Tubing Park are expected to open later in the season, weather permitting.
Lift tickets are discounted to $35, this weekend, and those who bring two non-perishable food donations can buy tickets for just $20. Donations benefit the Giving Plate, in Bend.
SALEM, OR -- Oregon Governor Kate Brown released her recommended budget for the 2017-19 biennium, Thursday. She says the state faces a $1.7 billion budget gap over the next two years, which means significant cuts, "To higher education, natural resource agencies and programs for vulnerable populations. This is both unavoidable and absolutely unacceptable."
Brown says there are revenue increases in her plan. "It closes the budget gap through a combination of budget cuts and new revenue. The new revenue increases include increases in tobacco taxes, hospital and insurance company assessments to help pay for healthcare and fills other gaps by closing loopholes in the tax code. She calls this a short-term fix and a starting point while continuing to focus on education, health care and job creation.
In response, House Republican Leader Mike McLane (R-Powell Butte) says he's disappointed with her recommendations, and he blames Democrats in Salem for putting the state on an unsustainable path. He issued a statement saying, "There will be much debate over the next few months over how to address our budget situation. My hope is that before we consider asking our community employers and working families to make up for the lack of financial discipline in Salem, Governor Brown and legislative Democrats will commit to having an honest conversation about our state's unsustainable rate of spending. Until we are willing to have this conversation and address the root of our budget problems, we will continue to experience the same kind of budget challenges we are facing today."
Senate Republican Leader Ted Ferrioli (R-John Day) echoed McLane's message, saying the Governor's budget is a self-inflicted wound caused by years of Democrat overspending.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Oregon Congressman Greg Walden was selected Thursday to serve as chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Walden is the only Republican in Oregon's Congressional delegation.
The new role gives him oversight over federal departments in charge of consumer protections, food and drug safety, public health, environmental quality, energy policy and others. It also means he’ll be heavily involved in the ongoing debate over the fate of the Affordable Care Act.
Walden says he’ll focus on what’s best for consumers, on creating better paying jobs and providing patient-centered health care. To read more from the Second District Congressman on his new position, click HERE.
REDMOND, OR -- After a one-week delay due to warmer than expected weather, Redmond’s Community ice rink is scheduled to open Friday. The popular winter feature will open at 2 p.m. It's located across from Centennial Park, and is managed through a cooperative agreement with Redmond Area Parks and Recreation District.
The 4,000 square-foot rink will be open seven days a week, weather permitting, until March. For information on cost and scheduling, visit the city of Redmond's website
BEND, OR -- A pedestrian was struck by a vehicle, west of the Riverhouse, Wednesday evening. According to Bend Police, the woman was trying to cross Mt. Washington Drive when she was hit by an SUV driven by a Bend man, at about 8:20 p.m.
She was taken to St. Charles Bend with non-life threatening injuries; there is no word on her current condition. The investigation shut down a stretch of Mt. Washington Drive for several hours, overnight.
BEND, OR -- A 60-year-old man was struck by a car and killed on North Highway 97, Wednesday morning.
Bend Police Lt. Clint Burleigh tells KBND News officer responded to the crash just north of Cooley Road, shortly after 6:30. "The pedestrian was hit as they were crossing from the east side of the road to the west side of the road on Highway 97. The pedestrian was wearing dark clothing and unfortunately the pedestrian was struck and killed during the crash. The driver, at this point, is
cooperating." He adds, "It did close down Highway 97 for a short time, then we were able to open up one lane both north and southbound, right around Grandview on the north end of town; it was shut down for almost two hours – or limited, for almost two hours."
The driver of the involved vehicle has not been named. Lt. Burleigh does not believe he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. "Everything’s still being investigated. It’s an ongoing process, so those are things that we obviously look for; but I don’t have any information that would lead us to believe anything in that direction at this time."
UPDATE: Thursday morning, Bend Police released the names of those inovlved in the crash. The victim was identified as Richard Kurner, a 60-year-old Bend transient; Police say the vehicle was driven by 31-year-old Jesse Shaw, also of Bend. The investigation is ongoing.
BEND, OR -- St. Charles opened a new health clinic in Bend, this week, near Third and Badger Road, just north of Walmart. A grand opening was held at the new 18,500 square-foot facility on Tuesday.
St. Charles Medical Group President John Weinsheim tells KBND News, "We hired new Primary Care [physicians], so we'll have, in the clinic, four Family Practice providers, two Internal Medicine providers and two Pediatricians; as well as a new Immediate Care location for us." The Bend clinic also offers Behavioral Health, Physical Therapy, lab and imaging services.
And he says the new clinic provides more options for residents of the south end of town. "Bend has grown so much. There's been a lot of growth on the south side of Bend, so I think the time has just come. And, you'll see that, as the area continues to grow, our investment will grow, as well."
The grand opening comes just days after St. Charles announced plans to close its women's health center in Bend. Weinsheim says they are working to open a small clinic in La Pine by this time next year.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- Crook County Commissioners hope to recruit a number of qualified candidates to fill an upcoming vacancy on the County Court. As KBND News reported Tuesday, supporters of Jason Carr are advocating for the outgoing Prineville City Councilor to get the seat. Carr lost to Commissioner-elect Jerry Brummer in the general election. But, Judge-elect Seth Crawford says he and Brummer will consider all options. "We’re getting letters from all people in the community about all kinds of different people. And, what I’m trying to do is just keep an open mind and try and find the person that will best work to make Crook County a better place."
Crawford says he and Brummer will treat all applicants equally. "What we’re asking people to do is, if you’re interested, turn in an application to the County Clerk’s office. And then, in January, once myself and Jerry are sworn in, then we’ll look at all those applications and find the right person." According to county ordinance, the County Clerk cannot technically declare a vacancy until Crawford is sworn in as Judge, opening up his Commissioner seat. Clerk Cheryl Seely tells KBND News Crawford and Brummer will be sworn in December 30, effective January second, and then nominations and applications will be accepted through the end of January.
Qualified candidates must be registered Crook County voters. Crawford says he's looking for a well-rounded person. "It’s important that we have somebody that is knowledgeable about budgets, about natural resources; I think it’s important that we have somebody with a lot of energy. I think that’s really key." He adds, "It’s an opportunity to really professionalize the county; I think it’s something that’s been missing for a long time. And by saying that I’m not saying we don’t have great department heads and great employees. We just need somebody at the top leading the county. And, I think myself and Jerry Brummer and whoever we pick in the third [position] will do a really great job of that." Crawford and Brummer have until the end of March to appoint a third Commissioner.
To hear our full conversation with Judge-elect Seth Crawford, visit our Podcast Page or click HERE.
BEND, OR -- Bend's homeless problem is not improving, and the need exceeds the supply of beds at area shelters. The Bethlehem Inn is looking to expand its current facility, in an effort to meet the growing need.
Bethlehem Inn Executive Director Gwen Wysling tells KBND News the nonprofit has already raised $4 million. "We are looking to, by March, raise a total that we need, which is $4.5 million. And, that's going to help us rebuild and expand services for our families, add a a commercial kitchen, dining area and really the services that are needed for those who come to the Bethlehem Inn." The Bethlehem Inn bought its current property off Third Street from Deschutes County, earlier this year.
She says families struggling with homelessness have very few options in our region. "The need continues to grow. The housing market is just so tight, and we only have five family units; those are the only five emergency shelters for families in all of Central Oregon. So, by increasing that capacity, we're going to be able to serve 60-75 more families a year." She adds, "Our family units are on one side of the property and our kitchen is on the other - it's not really a 'kitchen.' But, they get their food and bring it back to their dining area in their building. So, the family units are going to be in the same building where the kitchen and dining room is, so there's a real nice flow for the services; and a kitchen will serve both the singles and families in one location."
Construction is slated to start as soon as the final funds are raised, with completion expected by the fall of 2017.
BEND, OR -- "Giving Tuesday" marks the beginning of the year-end philanthropic giving season, and one local nonprofit hopes the generosity of Central Oregonians will lead to the purchase of an important piece of equipment.
Lynne Ouchida, with the Humane Society of Central Oregon
, says a digital X-ray machine would allow for the immediate treatment of animals with common injuries, like those hit by cars. "When we don’t have equipment, like an X-ray machine, on hand we’re letting that animal suffer in pain; we don’t really know what’s going on, so it’s a huge diagnostic tool that we desperately need. We have some money already. We are in need of – it sounds like a lot - $25,000; but we’re hoping the community can come forward. Whether it’s a $5, $100, $50 or $20 donation, it will all go towards our goal of getting this digital x-ray machine within our shelter."
She tells KBND News, "We have animals literally coming in weekly that could use an X-ray machine. If you can imagine “Fluffy” (pictured) who had a severe fracture in the leg and when you see the X-ray, it’s painful. But, it took a few days to get that appointment at a veterinary clinic to get that x-ray done. If an animal comes in injured, immediately, regardless of whether it’s a stray or owner release, we want to make sure that medical care is treated." Ouchida says transporting injured animals to vet clinics for X-rays also leads to unnecessary pain.
The total cost of the machine is estimated at more than $50,000. Click HERE to learn more about what the Bend animal shelter needs, and to make a tax deductible donation. Last year, Americans donated nearly $117 million to nonprofit organizations on Giving Tuesday.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- The Crook County Court will look different, after the New Year. When Commissioner Seth Crawford won election to the top spot, this month, he was only halfway through his term. Judge-elect Crawford (pictured: left) and newly elected Commissioner Jerry Brummer (right) are expected to name a third member to the court when they take their new positions in January, leading to speculation over who that Commissioner will be.
Some people have rallied behind former Prineville City Councilor Jason Carr. He lost to Brummer in the general election by an 11% margin. "A number of my supporters - people who supported me when I announced, last year - have started an online petition," Carr tells KBND News. "I know a few folks have actually written letters to Seth Crawford and Jerry Brummer asking that I be considered as the appointee." He adds, "I'm certainly flattered by that; I appreciate everyone's support, at least those that have reached out to do that. Certainly, I ran for the office; if Mr. Brummer and Mr. Crawford choose to appoint me, I would certainly appreciate that."
Crawford replaces retiring Judge Mike McCabe; Brummer takes over for Commissioner Ken Fahlgren who ran unsuccessfully for Judge in November.
BEND, OR -- Deschutes County will roll out an extended 911 service in a couple of weeks, with the launch of Text To 911. Director Steve Reinke says, "Text To 911 is a valuable resource if somebody is under duress or in a situation where they can’t call 911," he tells KBND News, "Or if they’re in a very fringe area that cell service isn’t working but a text can get through."
The service rolled out across eight agencies in Portland, Salem and Astoria, last summer. Reinke says it took extra time to bring it here. "We’re a little behind the Valley in getting Text To 911 service because we had to wait for the replacement of our 911 phone system. Our old system was about eight-years-old and at the end of its life; and we received funding earlier this year to replace the system, and that just got completed a couple of weeks ago."
It'll go on line in Deschutes County December 12, but Reinke says some mobile carriers may take longer to activate the service. "What we really want people to do, if they decide to use this service, is to text us their location and what service they need with that first text, if at all possible." He says that will help emergency crews respond quickly.
Even with the new technology, the agency
stresses that talking to a 911 dispatcher is still preferred, using the mantra "Call if you can, text if you can't." Reinke says, "It’s much more efficient to handle 911 calls in an emergency situation, especially, over the phone with two-way voice conversation. If people do text 911, we will send a request or a question ‘can you safely communicate with us by voice?’ And, if the answer is yes, we will transition to a 911 call as soon as possible."
The network is not digital, so Reinke asks users to steer clear of sending photos, videos or emojis.
BEND, OR -- St. Charles Health System plans to close its Center for Women’s Health in Bend. In a letter to patients, St. Charles Medical Group President John Weinsheim said the suspension of services would happen "incrementally over the next few months."
He said the decision was necessary due to “unforeseen staffing changes.” Weinsheim apologized for the inconvenience and suggested patients seek treatment at the Center for Women’s Health in Redmond, which has certified nurse midwives and five OB-GYN specialists.
The Bend clinic opened last year.
REDMOND, OR -- Students in Redmond schools have taken notice of a change, this year: Chocolate milk is no longer a lunchroom staple. "We used to have chocolate milk everyday for lunch; we went through a lot of it, obviously," says Keith Fiedler, head of Redmond School District Nutrition Services. "But, you know, we don’t really need chocolate milk to sell our program. We still have it once a week, and I look forward to it every Friday and enjoy it. But, we didn’t need that to bring them into our program."
Fiedler tells KBND News Redmond-area cafeterias are now preparing better food, and no longer need to use the treat everyday to entice kids. "And that’s been proven since we’ve gone to [providing chocolate milk] just once a week. We haven’t seen any reduction in students’ participation; in fact, it’s still increasing." He says students now enjoy more variety in the lunch line, with many meals prepared using local ingredients.
The district also began using a new milk provider this year; however, Fiedler says, "The biggest difference in the taste was it wasn’t chocolate anymore. But, of course, every brand of milk is going to have a slightly different flavor. People grew up with Eberhard’s here, so they did notice that it’s different. Of course, often the biggest difference in taste is the temperature." He says the district looked into all comments and complaints over the taste of the milk and discovered some schools didn’t have refrigerators set for the optimal temperature. That has since been corrected. According to Fiedler, the change in brands was due to cost. And, limiting chocolate milk is an effort to improve the overall nutritional content of school lunches.
BEND, OR -- The search for a missing Plainview-area woman came to a sad end, last week. Nickel Bird was reported missing Tuesday, touching off a search effort by family, friends and the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office.
Friday morning, family members reported finding a mountain bike less than a mile from their home, near BLM land. Detectives followed footprints from the bike to a small camp where the 24-year-old woman’s body was found.
The Medical Examiner is working to determine cause of death, but investigators do not suspect foul play. They say the use of prescription medication and exposure to the elements were likely contributing factors.
BEND, OR -- A Bend man was killed in a Thanksgiving crash, west of Bend. According to Oregon State Police, 56-year-old Blake Payne was westbound on Innes Market Road, when he lost control of his pickup on a corner and struck a tree.
A passing driver came upon the crash just after 4 p.m. and called 911, but was not able to get to the man. The OSP Trooper was able to break a window and tried to provide medical assistance, but Payne was pronounced dead at the scene.
Both airbags deployed but investigators say He was not wearing his seatbelt and his head hit the windshield.
BEND, OR -- Bend Police continue to seek information on a robbery reported at the Dollar Tree on South Highway 97, Wednesday night. Two women were working at the time, and say a man entered the store, said he had a weapon and demanded money. He took off after getting an undisclosed amount of cash.
Multiple law enforcement agencies responded, including K9 units, but were unable to locate a suspect. He’s described as a white man, about six feet tall; at the time of the robbery, he was wearing a dark brown Carhartt-type jacket with black Carhartt-type pants and a black hoodie.
Bend Police are asking for the public's help in identifying the suspect. Anyone with information on the case should call non-emergency dispatch at 541-693-6911.
REDMOND, OR -- The Redmond School District is looking for parents, students and other members of the community to take part in a new advisory committee. Kelly Jenkins says it’s part of the district’s goal of increasing involvement. "This is a committee that would report to Mike McIntosh, our Superintendent. And, we would bring a number of things to them from policy to maybe some nutrition services menu ideas, different things that we might want to get community feedback. It’s really an important lens for us to look through as we look at our diverse community; we want to ensure we’re including everyone’s feedback in some major changes we make through policy."
Jenkins tells KBND News the new committee is part of a renewed effort to engage the community in decisions that impact local kids. "We spent some time this summer researching how could we reach out and get more feedback from our families and from our community members. We worked with some folks at the state level and also across the country to look at models that will work, and developed a model for a District Advisory Committee." She adds, "With School Board meetings, the community has an opportunity to come and give a three-minute discussion. With this parent, district advisory committee, we have the opportunity to go really in-depth with families and community members and really discuss issues at the core."
Volunteers will serve two-year terms and are expected to meet at least three times during the school year. Those interested in serving on the committee must apply either at the district office or online at the district's website.
BEND, OR -- A La Pine man was arrested Tuesday morning, following an alleged road rage incident on Highway 97.
State Police investigators say 25-year-old Brandon Kern was tailgating and otherwise driving aggressively near Lava Butte, when he rear-ended another vehicle, just before 6 a.m. The two vehicles pulled over, presumably the exchange information. Kern reportedly charged the other driver and punched him several times in the face.
He then left the scene and was later arrested at his place of employment. The other driver, a 24-year-old Sunriver man, sustained minor injuries.
OSP asks any witnesses to the incident to give them a call at 503-375-3555.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- Shortly after voters approved a jail bond, two weeks ago, Crook County officials were moving fast to get the project underway. Sheriff John Gautney is encouraged by the early progress. "The county has put out an RFP – a request for proposal – for contractors to look at. We’ve had a pre-proposal meeting, where contractors came and met with the county. And, now we’re waiting for them [RFPs] to come back in."
He expects to have a contractor selected by mid-December, "There’s got to be design work done. And then there’s got to be some infrastructure work done; sewer lines and water lines and things like have got to be moved and reinstalled. We’ll get that done ahead of time, I believe, and then preparation of the property." Sheriff Gautney says site prep and infrastructure will take several months. Actual construction of the $17 million facility is scheduled to begin next October.
With the election of Seth Crawford to County Judge
, the County Court will be short one Commissioner, come January. Gautney says that shouldn't impact the progress they've made. "Hopefully they can get someone – that third Commissioner – appointed soon, that way they can move forward with the things they need to do. But, I know both the new County Judge and the new Commissioner, Jerry Brummer and Seth Crawford, have been very supportive of the jail."
Crook County voters passed the $10 million bond in the November general election, 60-40%. Gautney says, "We’re very happy that it passed and I just wanted to say that it would not be possible had it not been for the community getting behind it and realizing that we needed to move forward with this project." Crook County’s 76-bed jail will be built just east of the Sheriff's Office on Northeast Second Street. It's slated to open October of 2018.
BEND, OR -- The Deschutes County Sheriff’s race was perhaps the most contentious in the region, during the November general election. Allegations and complaints were leveled against both Sheriff Shane Nelson and his challenger, Deputy Eric Kozowski.
Sheriff Shane Nelson tells KBND News, "We have personnel investigations on some level that occur all throughout the year. But, right now, there are several investigations that are going on involving the other candidate for Sheriff." He would not say just how many complaints involving Deputy Kozowski are being looked in to, but says, "One of the claims that was made about his use of uniform: that’s against policy. He did not follow orders; he did not follow policy and procedure by wearing his uniform and campaigning in his uniform. Accurate information is important, and that’s why those that don our uniform, it is assumed they speak for the office; and that’s why that piece is important."
Due to the timing "We asked outside agencies and outside investigators to look into those, because I feel that’s the right thing to do. Our office should not have been looking into those because it was occurring during an election. But, everyone will be held accountable."
Nelson says overall morale at the agency is good, following the election.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- Oregon State police continue to investigate a fatal crash that occurred just west of Prineville, Monday evening. According to OSP, a Plymouth Neon was turning eastbound onto Highway 126 from Highway 370 (O'Neil Highway) when it was hit by a westbound SUV.
The driver of the Neon, whose identity has not been released, was pronounced dead at the scene. The SUV driver, 23-year-old Jessica Bean, of Prineville, refused medical attention.
Highway 126 was partially closed for more than two hours to allow for that investigation.
**UPDATE** OSP identified the driver killed in Monday's crash as 24-year-old Stephen Poole, of Prineville. The contributing factors in the crash are still being investigated.
REDMOND, OR -- A Portland climber was hurt at Smith Rock, Monday afternoon, prompting a technical rescue. The 31-year-old woman rappelled past the end of her rope and fell about 25 feet to the ground, in an area of the State Park known as Cocaine Gully.
Deschutes County Search and Rescue arrived just before 4 p.m. and used a rope system to lower her down to the trail. The rescue operation took several hours and continued after sunset, concluding at about 9:30 p.m.
Meghan Austin was eventually taken by wheeled litter to medics, who transported her to St. Charles Bend with serious but non-life threatening injuries.
ONTARIO, OR -- An Idaho driver survived a crash that sent him off a bridge into the Snake River, Monday. According to Oregon State Police, 34-year-old Steven Arrasmith stopped to help another driver who had hit a patch of black ice and crashed near the Oregon border.
Arrasmith was outside his vehicle when another car lost control and hit his Jeep, sending him over the guardrail. He tried to hang on, but was injured and fell 50 feet into the river. He was able to take off his heavier clothes and swim to an island.
He started yelling for help and was eventually rescued. Arrasmith was taken to a hospital in Ontario where he was treated for non-life threatening injuries.
BEND, OR -- Fire destroyed a Bend motorhome, and nearly everything inside, Monday morning. A woman and her dog escaped safely just before the RV went up in flames on Northwest Florida avenue, just after 7 a.m.
Firefighters quickly extinguished the flames, but not before doing more than $7,000 in damage.
Investigators believe the fire started when combustible materials were placed too close to a heat source. The Red Cross is helping the owner with recovery efforts.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- Prineville is earning accolades for efforts to involve citizens in decisions surrounding marijuana regulations. Planning Director Phil Stenbeck says City Councilors and staff spent months holding workshops and public meetings before setting land use rules.
But, he believes it's an online survey that drew the attention of state officials. "It was security coded. So, it was anonymous and it was logged in so it couldn’t be copied or repeated, say, by an interest group that had one interest or another in terms of trying to affect the survey. What was really interesting about that particular survey, it provided anonymity for a subject many consider taboo. So, 550 homes in Prineville responded with their comments that ranged both for and against." Stenbeck tells KBND News, "Involvement in other communities, in terms of development of the marijuana regulations that many communities have put together probably didn’t have that much involvement. When you involve 15% of your population in creation of land use regulation, that’s noteworthy. Usually you do not have that level of participation."
The input led to rules for medical dispensaries, and a decision to maintain a ban on recreational pot unless and until the drug is legalized at the federal level.
Last week, the city was given the STAR award for citizen involvement from Oregon’s Department of Land Conservation and Development. Stenbeck says, "One of the important pillars of Oregon’s land use programs is involving citizens when you’re creating or changing your comprehensive plan or your zoning ordinance. In this case, we changed our comprehensive plan and we created medical marijuana regulations and recreational marijuana regulations, and we outreached in a manner that hadn’t been done before."
POWELL BUTTE, OR -- Tensions continue to run high across the country, even nearly two weeks after the election. Protests continue in some parts of the area, although things were quite in Portland over the weekend.
State Representative Mike McLane (R-Powell Butte) says tells KBND News, "I understand that it's been a divisive year, and there's a lot of people on both sides of the partisan aisle that aren't happy about 2016. But, the tradition of our country is that we do come together. And, we recognize that first and foremost that we are American; and we have a lot more in common than that which divides us." He believes both parties will be able to come together for the sake of the country.
McLane was selected by his party last week to remain as Oregon's House Republican Leader. He is prepared to go to Salem in February and says he plans to work on the budget shortfall and a transportation package. He's hopeful the Legislature will be able to work across party lines.
BEND, OR -- A 63-year-old man was stabbed - allegedly by his son - at the Bend Senior Center, Friday afternoon. Police located the suspect near Admiral Way and Rockway Terrace and took 38-year-old Ryan Unverzagt into custody.
He was taken to the Bend Police Department where officers say he tried to escape.
Unverzagt was caught without incident.
His father was taken to the hospital for injuries to his neck; he was treated and released.
BEND, OR -- Two people were arrested Saturday night, following a brief car chase and ground search on the south end of Bend. A Deschutes County deputy attempted to pull over an SUV just before 8 p.m., on suspicion of DUII, but the driver accelerated. After about a half mile, the chase was discontinued due to risk to the public.
The suspect vehicle was later found parked in a driveway on Borden Road. Police established a perimeter and brought in a K-9 unit to help with the search.
The driver, 31-year-old Andrew Folk, and his passenger, 51-year-old Michele Wade, were located in the backyard and arrested. A firearm was recovered from the scene. The pair allegedly attempted to break into the home through a window; no one was home at the time.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- A northeast Prineville home was damaged by fire, late Saturday night. The resident was awoken by smoke detectors just before 11:30 p.m. and evacuated.
When firefighters arrived, they discovered the fire in the crawl space under the house. They believe it started in the forced air heating unit. It took about an hour to bring the fire under control.
There were no human injuries, but two cats were rescued and suffered smoke inhalation. They were resuscitated by firefighters and appear to be OK.
FRIDAY PM UPDATE: Jeffrey Appelt was arrested just before noon, Friday. He was the passenger in a vehicle stopped by police near Philomath. He's charged with Unauthorized Departure, and was booked at the Benton County Jail.
SALEM, OR -- A 28-year-old psychiatric patient walked away from the Oregon State Hospital in Salem, Thursday. Jeffrey Appelt is considered dangerous. Anyone who sees him should not approach him and call 911 or Oregon State Police at 1-800-452-7888.
Appelt was admitted to the State Hospital October third, as a civil commitment from Linn County. He was transferred from the state Department
of Corrections after being convicted of felony in possession of a firearm and other firearms-related crimes.
He was last seen Thursday at about 3:30 p.m. Two hospital staff members assigned to Appelt lost contact with him when he went to the restroom and didn't return. He's described as 6' tall, 272 lbs with brown hair and brown eyes. He was last seen wearing a blue sweatshirt, khaki shorts and black/yellow sneakers.
BEND, OR -- Bend city officials received word this week that the latest proposal to expand the Urban Growth Boundary was finally approved by the state. But, City Manager Eric King says the dozens of meetings and years of efforts were just the beginning. "Actually, a lot of the work starts now, and starts in a big way." King tells KBND News, "Because, it’s not just about a line on a map to where Bend is going to grow; it’s a complete overhaul of how we are managing land inside the current Urban Growth Boundary. And, there are many, many sites slated for redevelopment, and there’s a lot of development pressure." The proposal can’t be finalized until after the appeal period, which ends in early December.
"The task at hand is how do we prioritize the expansion areas versus the opportunity sites – those are sites for infill and redevelopment," he says. "And, where does it make the most financial sense to invest, to put infrastructure into those areas; how do we do that with private developers, so what’s the city’s role in that?" King was surprised but pleased at how quickly state officials approved the proposal, which he didn't expect for another month.
He says there's "A lot of further refinement plans and a lot more work to do." But, there are some things that could happen sooner rather than later. "Right away, people can take advantage of what the plan identified, in terms of how to use land. Some land was rezoned, like Third Street. Really, it’s setting the table for the private market. Soon after the first of the year, there’ll be folks that could use that land more intensely, that’s been rezoned for mixed-use and things like that. Now, there’s some that’s really ripe for redevelopment, but others need a lot more work and infrastructure."
To listen to our full conversation with City Manager Eric King, visit our Podcast Page or click HERE.
BEND, OR -- Mt. Bachelor has nearly completed work on its newest lift. "We’re still on track to have Cloudchaser opening in December, in time for the Christmas holiday," Drew Jackson tells KBND News. "We had a little setback in October with a big snow storm, but nice weather in November allowed us to catch up a bit."
Jackson says the new $6 million lift will provide access to more than a dozen newly-named runs, totaling 635-acres of new skiable terrain. "Some of the names include 'Jet Stream,' 'Sun Dog,' 'High Pressure,' 'Low Pressure,' 'Bluebird,' 'Convergence Zone;' we’ve also sprinkled in a couple names that describe the character of the trees in that area, as well.
Resort officials had hoped to open for the season next Friday, November 25, but Jackson admits the weather isn’t cooperating. "We received 3-4” of new snow a couple nights ago; it’s gotten colder, which is nice, so we’re making some snow. But, we need another set of storms to come in to really get us where we need to be in terms of opening." They need another 18-to-24" before the ski hill can open.
Jackson expects Cloudchaser to open in mid to late December.
SALEM, OR -- Oregon State Parks started taking reservations, Thursday, for campsites during next year’s total solar eclipse. But, Chris Havel says they sold out in record time. "We started making availability online for state park reservations shortly after midnight, and by about 1 a.m. they were all gone."
Campers can still reserve sites at a limited number of parks just outside the path of totality - like Nehalem Bay on the coast, and Wallowa Lake in Eastern Oregon - where they can experience a partial eclipse. And, Havel says the agency is still working on making reservations available for campgrounds that don't normally take them. They also might open areas for dry camping. Click HERE for more information on availability.
The August 21 total eclipse starts in Oregon, so there's expected to be a crush of visitors in the state. In the High Desert, the "path of totality" includes Warm Springs, Madras, Sisters, Redmond Prineville and Mitchell.
LA PINE, OR -- A pickup was destroyed by fire at Gordy’s Truck Stop in La Pine, Thursday afternoon.
The truck, owned by a La Pine couple, pulled in to the pump area for gas when a fire started in the engine compartment, at 2:20 p.m. Attendants were able to push the truck away from the fuel pumps and buildings, after failed attempts to put out the fire.
La Pine firefighters arrived on scene and quickly extinguished the flames. No injuries were reported.
BEND, OR -- St. Charles Health System will require every health care provider to either get a flu shot or wear a mask, during the peak of flu season. Kari Coe, St. Charles’ Director of Infection Prevention and Caregiver Health, says most hospitals have already adopted a mandatory flu mask policy and it’s now a standard for the industry.
She says the policy is designed to encourage every employee to get vaccinated. "Our goal is, as is every hospital’s goal, is to reach 90% employee or health care worker vaccination rate. We have been just hovering around 74-75% at St. Charles Health System for about the last three years."
Coe tells KBND News the new rule applies to caregivers, independent providers and students working in hospitals and clinics. "You either have your flu shot and then your receive a little sticker that you where on your badge identifying that. Or, for those who do decline, whether it’s by choice or by actual medical reason, then they must wear a mask at all times while they are at work, from December first through March 31st."
The federal goal is to get 90% of medical workers, nationwide, to receive an annual flu shot by the year 2020. "Overall, it’s to help protect our patients and actually our caregivers, and even visitors. So, it’s kind of a round-robin effect." says Coe. "This is all about making a healthier community."
REDMOND, OR -- Warmer than anticipated weather has delayed the opening of Redmond’s community ice rink.
City officials had hoped to open the rink near Centennial Park by Friday (November 18), but say recent temperatures have made it “less than ideal” for crews to make ice.
They don’t know when the popular downtown feature will be ready.
BEND, OR -- The Deschutes County District Attorney says he will seek the death penalty for Edwin Lara, accused of killing a woman while working as a security guard at Central Oregon Community College, in July.
D.A. John Hummel says he reached the decision after talking with Kaylee Sawyer’s family, law enforcement and reviewing the facts of the case. That trial is scheduled to begin next October.
Lara was also indicted Wednesday on federal charges for carjacking, kidnapping and brandishing a firearm, related to crimes he allegedly committed while on the run
, following Sawyer’s murder. He's accused of kidnapping a woman in Salem and taking her to California. Lara faces additional charges in California, including attempted murder and assault.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- Three people were hurt in a crash just east of Prineville, Wednesday night. Emergency crews arrived at the scene just before 8 p.m. and found two girls pinned under the minivan. The driver, 35-year-old Nathaniel Purdy was also ejected during the crash. (Click image to enlarge.)
The Crook County Sheriff’s Office says Purdy left Highway 26 for an unknown reason; the minivan rolled several times and was airborne for about 80 feet before landing in the irrigation canal, with the front-end embedded in the ground.
Alcohol may have been a factor in the crash, but the investigation is ongoing.
SISTERS, OR -- A Sisters home was damaged by fire, Wednesday morning, but officials say it could have been much worse. The homeowners spotted smoke in the garage, just after 9:30 and threw water on the flames after calling 911. Fire crews arrived at the N. Maple Street home within five minutes and extinguished the fire, although smoke and flames damaged much of the garage. The living area also suffered smoke damage.
The call was dispatched during the Sisters-Camp-Sherman Fire District’s monthly staff meeting, and the Chief says six units responded. Chief Roger Johnson said in a statement, "We were fortunate to have the station full of people at the time of the fire. Every fire engine rolled out the door full of firefighters." Five emergency vehicles, with 14 firefighters, responded from Sisters. Black Butte Ranch and Cloverdale fire districts also sent resources.
The Red Cross is assisting the family of five.
BEND, OR -- Bend-La Pine Schools officials received results Tuesday from the final round of drinking water tests. The district took 529 samples from facilities built after 1980, in late October, checking for lead and copper.
Results show all are within levels deemed safe by the Environmental Protection Agency. Click HERE
for the district's testing rundown.
SALEM, OR -- State Representative Mike McLane (R-Powell Butte) will remain Oregon's House Republican leader. He tells KBND News, "I'll serve two more years as the House Republican leader; I've already done that for four years, so I was certainly pleased to continue in that capacity." State GOP lawmakers held a caucus in Salem on Monday. "The Deputy Leader this year will be Greg Baretto from La Grande area, and Jodie Hack, who is a legislator from the Salem area," says McLane.
He believes the upcoming session will be busy. "Oregon has put itself in a very difficult position, because we over-spend. We grew state government beyond the capacity of our economy to sustain it. That was a mistake that the majority party made. We're going to roll up our sleeves and try to right that ship."
The session begins February first. McLane expects lawmakers to tackle a transportation and infrastructure improvement package, as well as revenue sources for the projected budget shortfall.
SISTERS, OR -- State transportation officials closed McKenzie Pass, Tuesday. The seasonal closure was prompted by winter weather expected to hit the region, this week.
ODOT’s Peter Murphy tells KBND News, "We were told there would be probably about 6-12” of snow by the time this storm is over. That’s kind of our trigger: when there’s 6” of snow and it’s snowing, game over. We’ll have to say goodbye to McKenzie Pass this year and hope for it next year."
Historic McKenzie Pass, also known as Highway 242, has closed as early as mid-October. The scenic and winding roadway is scheduled to reopen the third Monday in June. "People come from all over the country to go there," says Murphy. "And if we can say ‘well, at this point in time it will be open,’ it helps everybody plan."
REDMOND, OR -- The Redmond Boys and Girls Club will soon be known as “REACH” as it completes its transition away from the Boys and Girls Clubs of America (BGCA). Executive Director Jenny O'Keefe says the shift will bring stability to the local nonprofit. "One of the things that we noticed that we were organically doing was creating these life experiences for kids, which create self-awareness and are helping them with their social relationships. We really wanted to explore that and go deeper into those programs to help kids find the connections in their lives that they need to be healthy adults."
"REACH" stands for Redmond Experience Activity Connection Hub. O'Keefe tells KBND News, "Although it is similar in nature to the Boys and Girls Clubs’ philosophy, our mission is creating connections for youth to thrive in our community through meaningful, fun, real world experiences. And, it so reflects what we’ve been doing for the last two years. It just gives it more structure and better organizes how we are going to proceed to meet the needs in our community."
Since the division of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Oregon about two years ago, O’Keefe had been pursuing a local charter with the national organization. But, she says the board decided the funding model required by BGCA is not sustainable in a city the size of Redmond. "There have been reports in the community that this was based on a lack of funds- and that simply is not the case. Fundraising will always be an ongoing part of our nonprofit. However, moving forward, the board recognized the need to start looking at more long-term, sustainable and self-sufficient options. And, that really wasn’t in line with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America strategy."
Read more about why the Redmond club is reorganizing away from BGCA.
According to O’Keefe, the nonprofit maintains the same board, staff and membership fees. Two years ago, they served about 30 kids in the after-school program. Now, daily attendance averages around 150. For those kids, O’Keefe says not much will change except the name and logo.
BEND, OR -- It’s taken nearly a decade, but the state has finally approved Bend’s urban growth boundary. The city’s proposal to grow the UGB by 2,380 acres is much smaller than a version rejected by the state in 2010, and expands the boundary in small portions on the west, north and south, and northeast and southeast edges of the city.
click above image for details
This effort is the result of years of work
and more than 70 public meetings to create a plan that could gain final approval. It’s a blend of infill and expansion to accommodate projected growth in housing and jobs.
Oregon’s Department of Land Conservation and Development received four objections but found the proposal satisfied all applicable state laws. There is a 21-day appeal period; appeals are due by December 5.
BEND, OR -- Road crews are gearing up for snow and ice, which could move into the High Desert this week. At the Oregon Department of Transportation compound in northeast Bend, Monday, Maintenance Manager Tim McGinnis was preparing their fleet. "We have, basically, six trucks set up: plows and sanders; then we have two more magnesium chloride trucks and then two heavy plow trucks that we try to keep on the mountain; and a couple graders in there, if it gets that bad."
McGinnis tells KBND News winter operations are now officially underway. "We mainly have seven trucks and they’ll be on the road all the time. But, our main priority is [Highway] 97, Bend Parkway, and we’ll keep the mountain clean; but we want to let everybody know Lava Butte will be taken care of."
Bend ODOT plow operator Mike James asks commuters to have a little patience. "We’ve got a lot going on inside the truck, so we have to be paying attention to everything around us. We really appreciate the public giving us a little bit of room. And also, we know that when you’re following a plow, that’s not the funnest thing. But, we do have areas where we try to get out of their way and let them
around." He adds, "We’re doing 35 at the max, so it’s not like we’re holding you way back. You’re going to lose a little bit of time, but give us a little bit of space and let us do our job so that we can get out of your way." ODOT covers more than 600 highway miles in Central Oregon.
Oregon State Police Lt. Don Wagner says the most important thing drivers can do in winter weather is slow down. "You might have a clear driving condition for several miles, and then you hit a shady spot where you’re not expecting to see black ice or snow on the roadway. Lt. Wagner says the mountain passes are the most common places drivers slide off the road because they get impatient and go too fast."
ODOT recommends keeping an emergency kit in your car in case you do get stuck and visit Tripcheck.com for the latest highway conditions.
BEND, OR -- Deschutes County’s Road Department will close two popular roads for the season, on Thursday.
The agency will close snow gates on Cascade Lakes Highway, west of Mount Bachelor at Dutchman Flat and Deschutes Bridge. Paulina Lake Road will close at the 10 Mile snow park gate, restricting access to Paulina and East Lakes.
Both roads usually reopen by Memorial Day, weather permitting.
BEND, OR -- Bend City Councilors met in special session, Tuesday, to look ahead to future transportation projects. People packed the Bend Municipal Court for an update on ongoing projects and learn how road projects are funded.
Bend's Growth Management Director Nick Arnis says this is just the start of the discussion. "Council will start goal-setting in January or February. That'll be about when you'll start hearing more about if this is a priority for them. It's really a priority around 'Do you want to try to figure out different ways to fund transportation?' Transit, these big projects, street maintenance; we have a lot of fragmented funding sources. Is there a better way to do this?" Arnis adds, "We have a priority list for safety projects, we have a priority list for walking and biking projects; we have an old priority list around the major projects in the city- Empire and Murphy. Oddly enough, they're the same priorities we've had over the last 10 years. So, I think, really, it's 'if these are still the priorities, let's find a way to fund them.'"
He tells KBND News, "We have a number of projects that we already have funding for; they're what we call Corridor Projects: Wilson Street, 8th Street, Newport, a number of safety pedestrian crossings along Third Street." However, he says work on the Empire and Murphy Road extensions are currently unfunded and Councilors are expected to look at possible stable funding sources to complete the work.
BEND, OR -- A Bend transient is accused of setting four small fires, early Monday morning.
The first was reported after 1 a.m. near Sawyer Park. About an hour later, a small fire was spotted near Empire and Jamison, then a fire started in the median of the Parkway near Butler Market Road; the fourth fire was reported at about 2:30 a.m. near the railroad tracks south of Empire Ave.
Prior to the fires, police believe 64-year-old Lynn Merle Mowry called 911 from two northeast Bend motels, but did not have a true emergency.
Mowry was arrested following a 90-minute search by officers, including a K9. He was evaluated at St. Charles in Bend prior to being booked at the jail.
Mowry faces multiple counts of Arson and Misuse of 911. He's due in court Tuesday afternoon.
Mugshot provided by DCSO is of Mowry following a prior arrest, last week.
BEND, OR -- An Oregon cannabis security business is branching out to armored transport. Noah Stokes, owner of Portland-based CannaGuard Security, says the idea came from his work installing cameras and other tech at marijuana businesses. "Major concerns that people had – how do I transport it? How do I store it? Now that I’m licensed- OK, great I have a big empty building and I’m going to put plants, product, people and potentially cash in it, if they don’t have a bank account. What then?"
Most pot businesses don’t have bank accounts
, and Stokes says they often move money and product across the state, unprotected. His new fleet includes state-of-the-art technology from panic buttons to coded lock boxes, with armed guards and bulletproof glass. He tells KBND News, "They’re unassuming Ford transits. So, the intent is it doesn’t look like a big scary armored vehicle coming down the road. The general idea is that it isn’t drawing any attention at all." Those custom vehicles will soon travel to recreational pot businesses around the state and to the company's secure storage and distribution center in Portland.
Stokes has hired military veterans as drivers (pictured). "They just typically have better training, better experience; it’s more applicable. A lot of the qualities of people who have gone and served in our military are the exact qualities that we want. And, we also want to celebrate that; we’re able to pay these guys well and have a job that’s directly applicable to their training."
He says there are several layers of security, including not providing drivers with access codes for the cargo. "If someone were to say ‘open these lock boxes,’ the driver can’t. We want to take that ability out of the drivers’ hands so that someone doesn’t think, ‘I just need to take the driver out and take the keys, and I’m good.’ They happen to be highly skilled, trained, armed, licensed veterans that you don’t want to mess with. But, still, people are people and, in that scenario, we want to make this as uneasy of a target as possible."
, in Bend, plans to utilize the service. Stokes expects others in Central Oregon to follow as more recreational pot businesses are licensed.
SALEM, OR -- Oregon State Senator Mark Hass (D-Beaverton) says he's not surprised at the failure of Measure 97, the tax on large corporations opposed by voters in the general election. He says it had too many flaws.
Hass says the state still faces a massive hole in the budget and lawmakers need to find a solution. "If we don’t do something, we’re choosing to keep the system we have now. Which, not only doesn’t work very well, but in the coming year it’s going to mean some pretty serious cuts to education funding, which is about half of the state general fund budget."
He says 97's failure could help move the process of change forward. "Maybe that fight got us closer to where we need to go to do something reasonable about trying to fix one of the most volatile tax codes in the country."
Hass proposed a compromise similar to M97, but with a tax that was 1/10 the sized. There wasn't enough Legislative support last session to move it forward. Governor Brown says she'll meet with several groups before the end of the year to come up with a proposal the Legislature can consider.
BEND, OR -- More than two-dozen women attended a special personal safety class, Saturday, at the Bend Municipal Court. Bend Police Sgt. Liz Lawrence and Angel Lotito, with Deschutes County Parole and Probation teach the free class a couple times a year, focusing on self-defense, security and awareness. "There isn’t a lot out there, besides going to a dojo or training in karate, that offers something about self-defense," Sgt. Lawrence tells KBND News. "And, I thought, wouldn’t it be good to have women come into an environment where it’s just women and they’re going to be comfortable asking questions and participating."
She says the ladies-only model is important to help empower women. "First of all, women learn differently. And, what can you do if you’re not that type of person to go to karate three times a week. What are some things that you should look for and know? And, be responsible for your own safety. Don’t always assume that somebody else is looking out for you."
Melanie Guinan, of Bend, took the class to learn how to get out of dangerous situations. "I’ve lived in NYC and I’ve spent a lot of time in DC and I’ve been in situations before where I definitely realize ‘I shouldn’t be here.’ And, your radar goes on and it’s just nice to know what you actually can do." She says she learned a lot during the weapons discussion. "The stun gun only annoys people; that it doesn’t really do anything. You think from the movies, you take them out, they’re down and they’re unconscious for like 10 minutes. And, the idea that you’re really only getting somebody annoyed with you, that’s the part that’s really surprising to me."
Rio attended the class with her mom, "To get bet a better knowledge about what you can do to help yourself in case of any dangerous situation. I just love hearing all the stories of the different things you can do to actually help yourself, and weird situations and how to prevent those." She was also surprised to learn about stun guns, "The tazers – the ones you actually touch to people – that would just aggravate them instead of actually helping you more."
Attendees also practiced simple self-defense moves and discussed the best ways to avoid dangerous situations. They ranged from 14-years-old to women in their 70s.
BEND, OR -- Protesters took to the streets of Bend, this weekend; although, the anti-Trump demonstrations were much calmer than what was seen in Portland. In Bend, hundreds gathered in Drake Park Saturday afternoon, before marching through downtown chanting, "Not my President," and, "A country divided will never be divided."
One protester tells KBND News it was important that she have her voice heard. "I feel it’s important to stand up against the hateful and discriminating things that have been said in this campaign. I am pro-woman, I am pro-immigrant, I am pro-Hispanic, I am pro-disabled and I am pro-room for everyone."
Some marchers held signs saying “Not my President” and “No war on migrants.” And, one simply advertised free hugs.
In Portland, city officials allowed demonstrators to express their First Amendment rights and voice opposition to Donald Trump as President. But, Mayor Charlie Hales called for an end to protests, over the weekend. "Don’t come participate in a protest in downtown Portland. It has been taken over by people who simply want to fight with the police." So-called anarchist groups have mixed with demonstrators causing vandalism; some have thrown objects at the police.
Thursday night's riot caused a million dollars in damage to businesses. Friday night, police arrested 17 in connection with demonstrations; then, 71 more were arrested Saturday night. Sunday protests were mostly peaceful.
Click on the link for the latest conditions on the mountain passes.
Construction at 27th Street and Bear Creek Road and 27th near Medical Center Drive. Single lane 6a – 10p.
Lane Closure on Riverside Blvd. >< Broadway St. and Louisiana Ave 8am – 5pm (12/5 & 6)