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REDMOND, OR -- On Monday, Commissioners from the four counties that make up House District 59 will appoint a candidate to finish out the remainder of Representative John Huffman's term.

 

Robert 'Bob' Perry of Redmond, who is known for being the founder of the Redmond Patriots and active in the Deschutes County Republican Party, explained the replacement process, now that Huffman has resigned. "Precinct committee folks of the Republican Party, from everyone in District 59, which is the northern part of Deschutes, Wasco, Wheeler, and Jefferson Counties, they got together on November 11 and they selected three people who could be considered by County Commissioners from the four counties, and the County Commissioners are actually the ones who are doing the voting or selecting one person from the three applicants."
 
Perry withdrew his name from consideration yesterday and expressed his hope that the Commissioners will appoint Daniel Bonham of the Dalles, who along with Mae Huston of Jefferson County, remains in the running to represent District 59. "I've decided to support Daniel Bonham of The Dalles. I believe that Daniel will provide a fresh voice for this District in the legislature, I'm very impressed with his moral compass and his ability to communicate. Now, Daniel is 40 years young and I see that as a real benefit for the Republican Party and the legislature needs some youth and vigor to more effectively communicate our common sense conservative message."
 
According to Perry, the Commissioners who are tasked with naming the alternate will be making their decision soon. "On Monday, the County Commissioners from the four counties that are involved in District 59 will sit down at 11:00 in the Jefferson County Courthouse and they will make the final selection of who will fill out the rest of John Huffman's term."
 
He says making the decision on Monday is paramount. "If they don't come up with a decision, what happens is, Kate Brown, our Governor, will make the decision for us, which I don't think anybody wants to have happen."
 
Whomever is chosen to take over Huffman's term, will serve until November of 2018 when they will be eligible for election to the post.

 



REDMOND, OR -- Redmond officials continue to discuss the possibility of imposing a six dollar monthly public safety fee, "To bring on board six officers," says Mayor George Endicott, "So, some would go on patrol duty, some would be specialized into things like some of our task forces."

 

Endicott believes adding the additional charge to monthly utility bills, the Redmond Police Department could help an understaffed police department. He tells KBND News, "Our crime rates are not the best in Oregon, and a lot of that is drug driven. So, some of these folks that are the new officers that will come on board will be dealing with that project in particular. We also don’t have enough officers on duty during the day for traffic and those sorts of things, so we’ll add an officer to each of the shifts if Council goes ahead and approves it."
 
The first of a series of public meetings took place this week, which drew about 40 people. Mayor Endicott says there was, "A lot of input, a lot of interest – as you’re always going to get, a couple of people want no fee- no tax. Overall, I think that staff did an excellent job – and Lt. Chambers from the police department – in talking about the need and why it’s a fee instead of property tax, that sort of thing." So far, the fee is still just a proposal, "That’s what we’re trying to decide. I’m not sure we really have the answer yet. I mean, I don’t want to pay it either. We just have to keep watching and, is it so necessary that Council is willing to vote in the fee?"
 
Two more community feedback open  house sessions are scheduled:
  • Tuesday, December 5 at 5:30 p.m.
  • Monday, January 22 at 5:30 p.m.
Both take place at Redmond's City Hall and include a presentation and question/answer session. Mayor Endicott expects Council will vote on the proposal by spring. 


BEND, OR -- Bend voters could be asked in May to renew an operating levy for the fire department. Deputy Fire Chief Bill Boos told City Councilors this week a recent survey of 600 residents showed broad support for the department, "60% of those people said, ‘yes, we do excellent service;’ 21% just below excellent. The one piece I think we were kind of shocked about, only 1% said we did a poor job. If you think about government, we thought it was going to be higher than that."

 

Voters approved a five-year levy in 2014, imposing a property tax of 20 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. City Manager Eric King says a approval of a new ballot measure would extend the levy another five years, "What’s being proposed is to keep that levy at the same rate it is currently. So, there’s not an increase in taxes or anything; it’s just to continue to maintain it." He believes there is community support throughout the fire district, "So, as part of that survey, we asked the very question that we would ask of voters, and the result was over 70% in the rural district and over 80% approval in the city." He tells KBND News, "Voters approved that levy to provide additional staffing and that additional staffing helped to improve response times and ultimately resulted in a major improvement in cardiac survivability. So, we went from 20% chance of surviving cardiac arrest, to 70% chance."
 
King acknowledges the current levy doesn’t expire until 2019; but, he says it’s important an extension request be sent to voters a year early, "In case it doesn’t pass, we want to have a year to plan through that." He expects City Councilors will decide on a ballot resolution in mid-December.  

 

To listen to our full conversation with City Manager Eric King, click HERE or visit our Podcast Page



BEND, OR -- Four candidates vying for the top job at one of Bend’s new small high schools will take part in a community forum Friday afternoon. The educators applying for the principal job at the school slated to open next fall are:

 

  • Michael Franklin, assistant principal at Bend's Mountain View High School,
  • Brad Linn, principal at Clackamas Web Academy,
  • Linda O’Shea, former principal at an arts and tech school in Eugene and
  • Dr. Phillip Pearson, principal of Corbett High

 

Friday's forum starts at 4:15 p.m.  at the Bend-La Pine Schools Education Center at 520 NW Wall Street. Attendees will see presentations from and interact with each candidate.



BEND, OR -- Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel launched a new countywide initiative Thursday, designed to help low-level drug offenders get addiction treatment instead of jail time. Hummel calls it Goldilocks, "We're going to find the intervention that's just right for each suspect. We're not going to be too hot or too cold."

 

Hummel says trying something new can be risky, but he feels the county has nowhere to go but up because the current system isn't working. "Somebody who's suffering from addiction, how do we get them into treatment? With 15 court hearings over a year's time; it took too long to get that person into treatment. Now with a drug dealer, at the end of a case when they only get 30 days in jail, we say, 'that wasn't tough enough.'" He says Goldilocks does away with the typical criminal justice response that treats all suspects the same. "Anyone who wants to defend the status quo needs to look at those recidivism rates. Because, with some exceptions - the family drug court being a notable exception - we need to do better. And, I'm confident that the medical system know how to improve people's health better than the criminal justice system."
 
He says eligible offenders are given the option participate in a diversion program and in some cases could receive addiction treatment at a local community health center. Law enforcement will help identify eligible suspects who will be offered a chance to attend an orientation for the "Clean Slate" level of the program. "If they show up, their court hearing is removed from the docket and at that point, the person is in the medical system; they're out of the criminal justice system. When they're in the medical system, they have to participate in their care and not get arrested for a new crime. If they participate and don't get arrested, at the end of a year, the case is gone for good. If they pick up a new charge, that person has indicated that they need a little more incentive to get the help they need. So, we will then prosecute." That traditional prosecution model is the second level of Goldilocks. For the third level, Hummel says he will seek the maximum sentence for those charged with a commercial drug offense or for selling to a minor.
 
Goldilocks is a collaborative effort between the D.A., local law enforcement agencies, drug treatment centers and community health clinics in Bend and La Pine. Hummel says for now, it's just a trial program, "If we see a significant reduction in recidivism rates, meaning people who go through this program re-offend at a significantly lower rate than people who go through the criminal justice system, than it's a success; then we're going to keep doing it, then we're going to look to expand it, then we're going to hope other communities also adopt it. If it doesn't work, then we're not going to keep doing it." Deschutes County received a grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation's Safety & Justice Challenge, as well as funding from the Bureau of Justice Assistance and the Association for Prosecuting Attorneys. Grants are for six months, but Hummel would like to try Goldilocks for at least two years before determining whether it's successful. 
 
Photos: (top) Deschutes County D.A. John Hummel explains the Goldilocks program, with Sheriff Shane Nelson
(right) Eligible offenders are given a "Clean Slate" card explaining the program. 


PRINEVILLE, OR -- A Prineville man faces charges of Luring a Minor and Online Sexual Corruption of a Child, following a month-long investigation. Prineville Police received information in October that 31-year-old Patrick James Adams was sending explicit photos and trying to lure girls from the Prineville area, through social media.

 

Officers executed a search warrant on his home this week and found items linking Adams to the crimes. Investigators believe he may have had multiple online interactions with underage girls. Juveniles who have had contact with Adams are encouraged to contact police at 541-447-4168. 



BEND, OR -- Central Oregon Irrigation District plans to begin piping 3,000 feet of its main canal west from the Brookswood Bridge, in southwest Bend. 

 

COID's ShanRae Hawkins says this move will not only benefit the ecology of the Deschutes River, but also the residents of the area. "Piping canals is a really important part of the irrigation system. When we have open canal systems, we lose about 50% of the water that's coming in off the Deschutes River to evaporation and leakage. And so, by piping the canals, we're able to conserve a significant amount of water and all of these conservation efforts directly benefit the wildlife." But, conserving five cubic feet of water per second won't be the only benefit of the piping project, according to Hawkins. "The pipe is going to be buried, and we're going to build trails over the top of it, we're working with Bend Parks and Rec, and so people won't even realize that they're walking over the top of a piped canal. And so, aesthetically, it's going to be very appealing, and it's a great partnership between Bend Parks and Rec and Central Oregon Irrigation District and we're excited to have a great new trail system that really hasn't existed in the past."

 
Hawkins tells KBND News, "The projected start date is December to January. The process of getting the contractor lined up and getting the pipe in will really dictate when we start the process. Certainly, if we have a really heavy snowfall this winter like we had last year, it could slow the process down, but the project will be completed by the end of March of 2018 because we have to have the system back up and running in time for irrigation season which starts in April." During construcition, stock runs will not take place, and COID is working with local agriculturalists to ensure they still get the monthly water they require.
 
Piping this portion of the canal will cost approximately $5 million, with funding provided by a grant from the Bureau of Reclamation, a loan from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, and in-kind services and cash contributions from COID.

 



REDMOND, OR -- As the holiday season approaches, more people will be using the Redmond Airport to travel, and parking their cars for long periods could lead to a parking shortage.

 
The Redmond Airport Director, Zach Bass, says while they await the completion of their expansion plans, they have a solution to assist travelers with their parking needs. "On the FlyRDM website, every thirty minutes, we're going to be posting how many parking spots are currently available in the parking lot. We'll be doing that for 24 hours a day during the holiday season. And so basically, you click on it, you see that there's 150 spots open, you probably should feel pretty good about having a parking spot, but if you see 20 or 30, depending on the time of day, you may want to make alternate ways to get to the airport."
 
There will also be a priority line to help those who are Pre-TSA and some other members to move more quickly through the screening line.

 

Bass says more people travel during the holidays, which can make for longer wait times and some frustration. "What we're seeing, and what we have seen for the last few years, is pretty exponential growth each year and when we built the terminal and we built the parking lot about ten years ago, we built for growth, but we're starting to see that we're meeting that capacity. We are expecting or anticipating to run out of parking spots."

 

Bass is also suggesting travelers arrive at the Redmond Airport two hours before their scheduled flight during the holiday season, instead of the more typical hour and an half.

 


BEND, OR -- A Bend man is accused of stealing at least 10 coats since 2015; police say 51-year-old Mark Mahoney admitted to taking the coats for sexual gratification.

 

Bend Police began investigating the thefts after receiving a theft report from a Central Oregon Community College student, November 7. She said someone stole her coat from inside the Barber Library. Police contacted COCC Public Safety, which reported thefts from the library had been taking place since November 2015. Some cases were reported to BPD, some to COCC, and some were reported to both agencies.

 

Campus Public Safety identified Mahoney as a suspect in all of the thefts. He was contacted at his southeast Bend home on November 8, where Bend Police recovered several stolen coats, including the one reported taken November 7. Another coat was reported stolen from OSU-Cascades in April. Officers also say Mahoney stole two coats from the same victim, on two separate occasions, while she was inside Barber Library.

 

Mahoney was arrested and charged with Theft II, and Criminal Mischief II. Bend PD asks other potential victims or anyone else with information in the case to call 541-693-6911. 

 



BEND, OR -- An inmate in a Georgia prison is accused of posing as law enforcement in a scam targeting Deschutes County residents. Since late 2015, The Sheriff’s Office has investigated reports of calls threatening victims with arrest, saying they failed to appear for jury duty or had an outstanding warrant. 

 

Investigators say 42-year-old Jay Baron Wright, and possibly other inmates, used a contraband cell phone inside Jimmy Autry State Prison. They allegedly accessed websites to identify contact information for potential fraud victims, then called them, posing as a Deschutes County Deputy. 
 
The Deschutes County Sheriff's Office says several residents fell for the scam and provided account information for pre-paid cash cards to pay "fines." Wright then allegedly turned the information over to two South Carolina women, who laundered the money and transferred it back to Wright and possibly other inmates. Jay Baron Wright (pictured, left) who is now at Georgia's Calhoun State Prison, 24-year-old Christine Wright (center) and 43-year-old Barbara Lynn Clayton (right) were indicted Wednesday for Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud. 
 
During the investigation, Detectives found additional victims in Colorado, Kentucky and Virginia. Local investigators from DCSO and State Police worked with law enforcement in South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, Kentucky and Colorado, due to the complexity of the case. The investigation is ongoing and more indictments and arrests are expected. Victims of the "warrant" scam who have not yet reported a loss are urged to call Sgt. Kent VanderKamp at 541-693-6911. 


BEND, OR -- Oregon State University released its Master Plan for expansion of the Bend campus, Wednesday night. Christine Coffin, with OSU-Cascades, says it’s the result of two years of talking with area residents and students about how the school should grow. 

 

Coffin tells KBND News public feedback revealed a desire that matched that of school leaders: a campus that's less traditional and more integrated into the surrounding area. "So, that means, in terms of the natural areas that the campus might provide – the trails to walk and bike through, meeting spaces that might be offered as part of the campus, and gathering spaces for the public; dining facilities that would be open as restaurants for community members, too."  It also includes recreation fields and parking, as well as academic residential and research space. Coffin adds, "One additional aspect of the 128-acre campus is the Innovation District area. It would integrate commercial, retail and industry partnerships; so it might be where some of our faculty researchers partner area tech companies to advance their work – both the company’s work and the faculty researchers’ work. And, it’s an opportunity to engage students in that work."

 

The plan outlines development of the former pumice mine and demolition landfill adjacent to the existing 10-acre campus, to reach the goal of eventually serving as many as 5,000 students. "It’s a campus that we hope will be here for a century or more to come, and it’s going to be a slow process to build it out," says Coffin. "The next thing that community members will see will be the preparation of the land. Those are two very interesting sites – the pumice mine and the landfill – so, there’s a lot of work to do on the remediation of the landfill and some filling of the pumice mine, too." She expects another academic building and a student success center will be the next facilities built. 

 

OSU-Cascades continues to gather community input, "We’ll have an online feedback form where community members can contribute their feedback up through November 29. By the end of the calendar year, the plan will get submitted to the city of Bend, and the city of Bend will then start its Master Plan process, which includes a public comment period, also." Click HERE to view the full Master Plan presentation and to submit feedback.

 


BEND, OR -- A lawyer, an economist, and a businessman will take on the topic of immigration in Central Oregon, Thursday.

 

COCC Economics Professor Jon Wolf believes that America and Central Oregon benefit from having immigrants as part of the community. "Interestingly enough, in Central Oregon, our total immigrant population is less than 10% of our community, and yet, from a policy perspective, we have jobs to fill, and jobs that aren't being filled by our local community. Then one perspective is, we'd be better off having an influx of a large number of individuals from any location."
 
Wolf joins attorney Micaela Guthrie of the Bend Immigration Group and JELD-WEN Vice President Wallace Dale Corwin at Thursday's City Club of Central Oregon forum.
 
Wolf says that from an economic standpoint, having immigrants in the workforce gives all residents more choices. "If you can choose to do one job or another, and that leaves a job vacant, then I think that the business industry has to understand that they have to look for alternatives. If the job that's available is beneath somebody's skill set, it may not be beneath somebody else's skill set, so we find the labor necessary to do the work."
 
Thursday's City Club luncheon takes place at the Riverhouse on the Deschutes Convention Center from 11:15am to 1pm. 

 



BEND, OR -- Three healthcare experts answered questions at a forum Tuesday evening about the current medical system, possible changes, and the importance of dialogue.

 

Joe Sluka, President and CEO of St. Charles Health System, Dr. Stephen Mann, President of High Lakes Health Care, and Lindsey Hopper, VP of Medicaid Programs for Pacific Source, made up the panel.
 
After brief introductions, the panelists answered questions submitted by the audience that ranged in topic from increasing costs and appropriate allocation to the current chaos of repeal and replace. When asked to explain one of healthcare's main problems, St. Charles' Joe Sluka said, "So, healthcare is too expensive. It's 28% of the federal budget. Now, to put it in another perspective, the highest cost raw material of a car made in Japan is steel, but the highest cost raw material of a car made in America is health care."
 
The evening's moderator was long-time Bend resident and health care expert, Jim Lussier, who likened the need to reform healthcare to growing up in the sixties and America's success at being first to reach the goal of walking on the moon. "When we have a focus on something, we're able to pull it off, in America. We're not that focused on healthcare, and it's going to take a lot of small steps, but it's going to take some big ones, as well."
 
Dr. Mann, a Primary Care Physician, made a case for a long-term relationship between doctors and patients. "The areas in multiple studies find that the more money that is put in primary care, in any health system, the better the access, the higher the satisfaction for the patient, and the higher the satisfaction for the professionals who are caring for them."
 
He says In Central Oregon, only 8% of overall medical funding is spent on primary care, as opposed to up to 30% in other nearby markets.
 
Medicaid expert, Lindsey Hopper, says that without conversation and attempting to find solutions together, no one will be adequately served by the healthcare system. "We also need to talk about how we get to be where we are in life, and how that changes how we use the healthcare system and what we expect from it. So, when it's highly expensive and it's really personal and it's really polarizing, it's hard to have a dialogue that gets us to a place of compromise."
 
Tuesday night's event was hosted by the Bend Chamber of Commerce as part of their "What's Brewing?" series.
 

 



PRINEVILLE, OR -- The Great American Smokeout is Thursday, to encourage smokers to kick the habit. It's also the day a new rule takes effect in Crook County, requiring tobacco retailers to post the contact information for the state’s quit line. County Tobacco Prevention and Education Coordinator Kris Williams says the timing is purely coincidental, "The County Court passed the ordinance in August – August 16th, actually." Unless deemed an emergency, ordinances take effect 90 days after approval, which puts it on November 16.

 

Williams tells KBND News the new rule is in response to public feedback, "We had done in our community a couple of surveys, recently, and one of them was of adult tobacco users. And, 50% of those smokers indicated that they were interested in quitting." She says most businesses reported they would to voluntarily post the information. However, "We found that there were a few retailers who were parts of chain stores that were not able to post anything in their stores unless it was a law."
 
There are about two dozen tobacco retailers in Crook County. The cessation help information will be posted with new state issued signs at the point of sale. "Currently, the state of Oregon requires tobacco retailers to post a sign that says, ‘the sale of tobacco products, smoking instruments and inhalant delivery systems to person under 21 years of age is prohibited by law.’ Just as part of that posting, we also put on there the Oregon Tobacco Quit Line information." Oregon's "Tobacco 21 Law" limiting sales to those over 21, goes into effect January first.
 
More than 60 Crook County residents die each year as a direct result of tobacco use. 

 



BEND, OR -- The Bend-La Pine School board got an early look at the proposed location for the district's new elementary school at Tuesday night's board meeting. The new 600-seat school could be built near the intersection of O.B. Riley Road and Cooley Road on the north end of Bend.

 

District officials have said the new facility is needed to balance enrollment and ease overcrowding in existing schools.
It's set to open as early as fall 2019. 
 
Renderings are conceptual and are meant for illustrative purposes only.


REDMOND, OR -- A section of Downtown Redmond is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Community Development Director Kate Porsche says the district includes 43 buildings mainly along SW Sixth Street, between Forest and Cascade avenues. "We’ve got this really great collection of historic buildings in the downtown core; many of them from the ‘30s." Porsche has worked on the designation request since spring.

 

The area is said to reflect the economic and commercial growth the city experienced from its founding in 1910 to 1960. It was formally listed by the Keeper of the National Register on October 30 and is Redmond’s second historic district. The registry is managed by the National Park Service. 
 
Photo: SW Sixth Street, looking south from Cascade Ave.


BEND, OR -- Democrats hoping to unseat Congressman Greg Walden in 2018 took part in a forum Monday, in Bend. Eric Burnette, Jamie McLeod-Skinner, Jim Crary, Michael Byrne and Tim White are vying for the Democratic nomination for the Second Congressional District. A sixth candidate, Ross Wordhouse, withdrew from the race during his opening statement Monday evening.

 

Candidates covered a wide range of topics, including federal land use and taxes. When asked whether Rep. Walden should feel safe because District Two is traditionally Republican, Jamie McLeod-Skinner said, "It's about holding Greg Walden accountable for what he hasn't done. He's going to lose on the healthcare issue because individuals across the district, including Republicans who have never voted for a Democrat, have told me to my face that they will not vote for him again."

 
Michael Byrne, a former Mt. Hood Mountain Rescue Volunteer, answered questions about healthcare. He told the crowd, "When I'm elected, the first thing I'm going to do in Congress is co-sponsor House Resolution 667, and get the ball rolling. The models are already out there. Whether you look at Japan or you look at Germany, which is a mix of private and public health systems." Eric Burnette, of Hood River, agreed the system needs to be fixed, "The litmus test for me is not 'Medicare for all,' it's 'Healthcare for all.' Any discussion we have has to start with that. We can't leave anybody out."
 
Jim Crary, a veteran and avid hunter from the Ashland area, was asked about the Second Amendment. "I don't call it gun control, I call it gun safety. I am not adverse to somebody owning a firearm for self defense, or for hunting." Tim White of Bend also addressed the issue, "It's not so much about rights. It's about a 14 billion dollar a year industry, okay? The NRA consists of about 5 million members. Why does 5 million people get to set policy for the other 295 million people?"
 
Monday's event was hosted by Indivisible Bend, the College Democrats of Oregon, and Vocal Seniority. It was moderated by Bend City Councilor Dr. Nathan Boddie, who is also campaigning for higher office as a Democrat in 2018. He plans to run for the Oregon House District 54 seat currently occupied by Dr. Knute Buehler (R-Bend). Buehler is giving up his seat to run for Governor. 


BEND, OR -- With more snow in the forecast for this week, Mt. Bachelor announced Tuesday it would open for the 2017-2018 winter season on Saturday, November 18. The ski hill's Drew Jackson says, in addition to new runs and different activity sites this year, there's also new technology available, "It's real important to check our website conditions page before you head up; you can see what the actual weather is doing. There's a web-camera there, so you can see for yourself. And, new this year, ODOT has installed a camera along Century Drive, just close to Mt. Bachelor. So, for the first time ever, you'll be to see what the road conditions look like before you come."

 

Jackson tells KBND News, there will be plenty of new runs and old favorites for snow enthusiasts, this year. "If you haven't been to Mt. Bachelor in a while, you're certainly going to notice the new CloudChaser lift and all the new runs and terrain around that, over on the east side of the mountain, the weather-protected side of the mountain. It opened last winter. We've made improvements this winter, though, so even if you skied it last year, some of the runs will still feel new and different this year."

 
This fall brought over seven feet of snow, condensing to a base depth of 24" to 36". Jackson says the deeper-than-normal snowpack is leading to the resort opening sooner than the typical Thanksgiving weekend start. Conditions permitting, Pine Marten, Skyliner and Sunshine Accelerator lifts will operate from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nordic trails are also scheduled to open this weekend. 

 



REDMOND, OR -- Redmond Fire crews were kept busy Monday, with two gas line breaks caused by excavation equipment. The first occurred at 8 a.m. near NW 23rd and Hemlock. Cascade Natural Gas quickly contained the leak. However, a few hours later, the same crews were called to a much more serious leak.

 

The second incident, near SE Deschutes and Franklin, forced the evacuation of several homes and businesses and roads were closed for four hours while the gas company worked to restore service to 30 customers. The area reopened at about 5 p.m.



BEND, OR -- The calendar may say winter is more than a month away, but the Oregon Department of Transportation started winter operations, Monday, in the High Desert. ODOT Assistant District Manager Jim Scholtes says traffic cameras are now outfitted with infrared capabilities so road conditions can be assessed at night, even in the most remote locations. "We may only have one truck that’s going to take care of Highway 20 from Brothers, all the way to basically Burns. So, which way does he need to go? So, we’ve got cameras that are up on Horse Ridge, if he has to come back and go west, if it’s snowing there. Or, we have cameras all the way out to Hampton. So, that way, he can make an informed decision on which direction he wants to go." Crews are now scheduled for near round-the-clock coverage, and they've already been out de-icing chronic trouble spots, like Lava Butte, over the past couple weeks.

 

ODOT has expanded its Incident Response program in Central Oregon, just in time for winter. Incident Response Specialist David Moyer tells KBND News they help drivers stranded on the side of the road, whether from a crash or simply needing help chaining up. It’s work that used to be done by snow plow drivers. "So, it keeps that snow plow on the road longer, so they’re not having to be outside their vehicle. Maybe if it’s a crash, we might be there for two hours. Well, if that snow plow guy is sitting there for two hours, that’s one loop of 12’ of highway that’s not getting plowed."

 

Moyer says last winter's extreme weather taught crews a lot about the importance of being prepared. "You have to anticipate the long days. Last year, it was just day after day after day after day after day; and, you know, making sure everyone gets the rest. That’s the biggest thing with our folks, is trying to get them rested because they’ll go and go and go and go." He adds, "I’m not ready for another one. But, I mean, who is – right? I think people are more prepared this year; I’d hope that they’re more prepared, just because of what happened last year. It’s one of those things – Mother Nature is just going to throw at us what she throws at us and all I can say is, please take the time to be prepared." He says that preparation includes winter tires, extra windshield wipers and be ready to slow down when things get slick.
 
 
Last year, ODOT spent about $4.5 million on winter operations, including plowing, de-icing and trucking out the massive amount of snow that crowded Central Oregon roads. Jim Scholtes says this year’s budget is again $2.7 million, which is what the agency plans for each winter. 

 

PHOTOS: (Top) An Incident Response crew assists at a crash on Highway 97 in Bend.

(Right) ODOT Dispatchers monitor traffic cameras around the region. 



PRINEVILLE, OR -- Crook County investigators say they recovered a stolen ATV and other evidence linking a Prineville man to multiple thefts, following a two-month investigation. 

 

Law enforcement executed a search warrant Monday at a home on NW Edwards Road, north of Prineville. Along with the ATV, they found stolen car parts connecting 25-year-old Tyler Shinkle (left) to crimes in Prineville and Redmond. Shinkle was already in custody on unrelated charges. In 2010, Shinkle was arrested for passing counterfeit money in Bend, when he was 18. 
 
William Wilson (right), who lives at the Edwards Road home, was arrested for his alleged involvement in a September police chase. The 34-year-old is accused of operating the stolen ATV during a chase with an Oregon State Police Game Trooper. The Crook County Sheriff's Office says 23-year-old Kayly Smith and her child were home at the time of Monday's raid; she was cited for forgery and coercion. 


BEND, OR -- While Veterans Day signals a long holiday weekend for most, it hasn't typically been a very busy time for tourists in Central Oregon.

 

Kevney Dugan, CEO of Visit Bend, says this year was different. "Late August, early September, just the smoke and wildfires, I think it just put a damper on things for awhile and I think people just kind of changed travel plans and we felt that impact through the beginning of October, and so it's nice to feel that rebound happening. October performed pretty well and we're starting to feel that happen again. The hope is that people are getting excited about winter and skiing coming upon us and early snows and things feel good."
 
Dugan says, in addition to the activities enjoyed over Veteran's weekend, this November is Bend's Ale Trail Month, with several runs and events for residents and visitors to enjoy. "This time of year has always been a little bit of a weird one. What is the weather going to be like and what's going on? The whole month of November is Bend Ale Trail Month, which gave us a new campaign to kind of go out there with some sort of programming and we're starting to see growth in Veteran's Weekend and that's been good to see."
 
In addition to the runs and events taking place later this month for Bend Ale Trail, Dugan says the number of visitors to Central Oregon will continue to rise as the snow falls.

 



BEND, OR -- The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says there’s a high likelihood a La Niña weather pattern will persist through winter; a warning that has many Central Oregonians bracing for another year of heavy snow.

 

Marilyn Lohmann is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Pendleton. She tells KBND News that Central Oregon's climate is deeply impacted by water temperatures off the west coast of South America. "When there’s a warming of those temperatures, it’s called an El Niño; when there’s a cooling of the temperatures, it’s called a La Niña. And, a lot of people are concerned because if you look back last year, we were in somewhat of a La Niña pattern and everyone remembers what the winter last year was like – a pretty brutal winter that we hadn’t seen in quite a while." However, she says it's not typical for La Niña, "Each one of them is different. If we review a lot of the years, there’s no set pattern. A lot of the times, on the west side of the Cascades, the patterns are much clearer; but east of the Cascades, not so much."
 
"Based on the La Niña alone, we can say that there’s about a 65% chance of near to above-average snowfall," says Lohmann. "We should be looking for cooler than normal temperatures, and that’s especially indicated through the months of December, January and February – actually, more into the first part of the year; and, somewhat wetter than normal conditions, and those are general in the January-February timeframe, as well." Which means early 2018 could be similar to early 2017, although she stresses that's note a foregone conclusion. "In a La Niña year average, Bend itself gets 33” of snow. Snowfall in the past can range anywhere between 8.5”, in 2012-2013, up to the 63- almost 64” we saw last year. So, there’s kind of a difference sometimes in the amount of snowfall we get in any given La Niña." The good news: We're unlikely to experience drought conditions. 


BEND, OR -- Special Olympics Oregon has announced the cancellation of this year's Winter Games in Bend. CEO Margie Hunt tells KGW-TV the nonprofit needs to save money after several years of explosive growth. In 2003, Special Olympics Oregon served 1200 athletes; today, Hunt says the number is closer to 14,000.

 

Winter Special Olympics include alpine and cross country skiing, snowshoeing and snowboarding. The organization pays to get about 200 athletes to Bend and covers food and lodging. 
 
Special Olympics Oregon called off its winter games in March 2015, due to heavy wind and rain on Mt. Bachelor. It was the first time the event was forced to cancel, after 25 years in Bend. 


REDMOND, OR -- A Redmond retiree active in local politics is seeking the appointment to the District 59 House Seat, vacated last month by long-time State Representative John Huffmann (R-The Dalles).

 

Bob Perry spent 40 years in marketing, retiring as Director of Marketing for the Gillette Company. He served one four-year term on the Redmond School Board, beginning in 2011. And, since 2004, he's been a Precinct Committee Person for the Deschutes Republicans; he was elected Chair in 2015. In 2010, he founded the Redmond Patriots, serving as Chair for the last seven years. 

 

The House seat Perry hopes to fill came available at the end of last month when Rep. Huffman resigned to take a position with the Trump Administration, within the Department of Agriculture. County Commissioners from Deschutes, Jefferson, Wheeler, and Wasco counties are charged with filling the open seat by the end of this month.

 



BEND, OR -- While most people honor veterans this weekend for their service, criminals focus attention on vets and their families for a different reason. "Unfortunately veterans and active-service military members are one of the most highly targeted groups by scammers," says Stephen Mayer, with the Oregon Better Business Bureau.

 

Mayer tells KBND News, "There’s many scams that scammers use to try to rip off veterans. One is, they’ll call you and say, ‘Hey, we’ve got to update your military file.’ They claim to be from the Department of Veterans Affairs and really what they’re doing is just phishing. They’re hoping you’ll give them you address, your Social Security number, you know, as much information as they can get."

 

He says the best scams have some truth to them; one claims that the victim qualifies for a lower VA mortgage rate, "They’ll call and say, ‘Hey, interest rates are incredibly low right now. We’d like to guarantee you a new interest rate. We want to refinance that loan for you.’ And, the second you hear the word ‘guarantee,’ that is a huge red flag.” 

 

Criminals even pose as staff from the Veterans Choice program that helps connect rural vets with medical services, "Scammers have really exploited human error, and they’ve set up these fake telephone numbers that mimics the phone number used by this real program – the Veterans Choice Program. So, you think you’re getting a call from a legitimate organization, when in fact, you’re not. You’ve got to be really cautious with caller ID, these days." And, Mayer says false charities often try to take advantage of people’s emotions, around Veterans Day. He suggests checking Give.org to make sure a nonprofit is legit before making a donation. 

 

To hear our full conversation with Stephen Mayer from the BBB, visit our Podcast Page or click HERE



BEND, OR -- This is the last weekend to visit two popular scenic areas by car - at least until spring. Access to Cascade Lakes Highway and Paulina Lake Road will close for the winter next Wednesday. 

 

Deschutes County road crews will close Cascade Lakes Highway west of Mt. Bachelor, between the Dutchman Flat and Deschutes Bridge snow gates. Paulina Lake Road will close at the 10-mile snow park gate, restricting access to Paulina Lake and East Lake. 
 
Both roads typically reopen by Memorial Day, weather permitting. 


REDMOND, OR -- Deschutes County Commissioners heard from numerous neighbors, during a Wednesday public hearing, concerned about a marijuana operation proposed for the outskirts of Redmond. Evolution Concepts LLC wants to develop a 56-acre property near Highway 126 and Helmholtz, which would include four greenhouses and a processing facility.

 

Marijuana-related businesses are not allowed inside Redmond's Urban Growth Boundary (UGB); the proposed property is just west of that line. Redmond City Councilor Tory Allman says the business doesn't fit the values of the community. "This is located right at the western gateway to our community. I understand that right now it’s outside our UGB; it does border our Urban Reserve, so currently it’s governed by the county. But some of that land is scheduled for later residential development. We do not feel this would be an appropriate location for an operation like this at all." Mayor George Endicott also submitted a letter opposing the operation due to its proximity to churches and private schools.

 
Other neighbors testified about concerns over increased traffic, odor and water usage, including how the business' water needs could impact neighboring irrigators. Outside the irrigation season, the business plans to truck in water. Kay Sanborn has lived in the area for more than 40 years. She’s worried about how those water trucks and others connected to the business could bring more traffic to an already busy highway. "I have to make a left turn when I’m going west, to get on to our road. And, the speed limit is 55; people do not go 55. I turn my blinker on at approximately where that site will be, where they want to be, and I many times have to pump my brakes and I’m still afraid I’m going to get rear-ended." Monica Piett echoed that concern, saying it will increase congestion in an area known to be dangerous. "Alfalfa continues to be an excellent example for the traffic impacts, as well, to residential areas, and the safety as well as the increased traffic accidents. So, this particular site in Redmond, there’s been at least one fatal accident, already, as well as numerous other accidents."
 
Other neighbors told Commissioners the operation will decrease property values and complained the owners are from out of the country. An attorney for the applicant assured the Board of Commissioners that they are local and want to be good neighbors by satisfying all land use and permit requirements. 
 
Also Wednesday, Commissioners voted to allow a marijuana production facility on Goodrich Road, north of Highway 126 in Sisters. The Board said the applicant, Norma Tewalt, complied with all applicable sections of the county's code and asked staff to prepare the final approval documents. 


PRINEVILLE, OR -- Prineville Police say they've caught a prolific car prowler, possibly responsible for a string of break-ins. Officers received seven reports of car break-ins, September 14, with more coming from outlying areas.

 

Evidence linked 53-year-old Martin Hollowell to the crimes, as well as to similar activity reported in Deschutes and Jefferson counties. The Bend man was arrested on an unrelated charge and car break-ins around Prineville dropped off.

 

After Hollowell was released on October 31, at least half a dozen more cars were broken into over the next two days. Again, evidence led investigators back to Hollowell. 
 
He was arrested during a Monday traffic stop, and his car seized. Police executed a search warrant on the vehicle, Wednesday and discovered evidence connecting him to crimes in Prineville and Redmond. Hollowell faces dozens of charges in Crook County, including 13 counts of Unlawful Entry Into a Motor Vehicle and Meth Possession. 
 
Anyone with additional information in these cases could contact Prineville PD at 541-447-4168. 


SISTERS, OR -- Volunteers from the Sisters Rotary are teaming up with the Oregon Liquor Control Commission to help victims escape human trafficking.

 

Rotarian Hal Reitmeier says they'll stuff more than 12,000 envelopes Thursday, with letters and "Freedom" stickers that will then be sent to every Oregon business with an active liquor license. "They are encouraged to place the stickers on the interior of the bathroom doors, or the toilet doors. Those are the areas of privacy where the folks that are caught in this situation are by themselves, and they can see the sticker, which gives them a hotline number which to contact that can assist them in helping them get out of their situation."
 
According to Reitmeier, the "Freedom" sticker campaign is a joint project with the OLCC and has been successful, but human trafficking is far from being a thing of the past. "It is a major problem here, it's a major problem in the United States, but it's also a problem here locally, in Central Oregon. The [Highway] 97 corridor is a major route for trucking and other traffic, which unfortunately, is being used to convey young ladies that are trapped in situations they can't get out, and they are used for sex trafficking."
 
Reitmeier says the "Freedom" stickers, provided by the Bend-based nonprofit, In Our Backyard, are written in both English and Spanish, and carry the phone number for the National Human Trafficking Hotline, as well as other life-saving information.

 



PRINEVILLE, OR -- The Crook County Court unanimously approved a controversial Natural Resources Plan, Wednesday, following two days of public testimony.

 

Many of those opposed to the new policy were frustrated the latest draft wasn’t released until Friday, giving them little time to review the large document before the first hearing. Judge Seth Crawford disagrees, "The plan’s been out there pretty much in its current form for at least a year, so I don’t agree with the fact that they didn’t have time. The changes that we made were very minimal; it just was changing some slight wording and legalese." He acknowledges some people were against the policy, but he tells KBND News it’s necessary. "The biggest thing I heard [at the public hearings] was that we were ‘taking over federal lands.’ And that’s not accurate at all; that’s not something that we’re trying to do. All we’re trying to do is work with the federal government and try and get to a place where we have healthier, more robust forests."
 
Judge Crawford has supported the Natural Resources Plan since it first came to a vote, last year. It was voted down by the previous County Court; Crawford was the only "yes" vote. He says it's now time to move forward. "We’re going to work to find a coordinator that would be in charge of a committee that will review information and give ideas to the Court of which direction to head. There are a lot of questions about what’s that going to cost? And, what we need to figure out is, can we find somebody in a volunteer position that’s willing to do that? Or do we have to pay them? I’d like to spend the least amount of money as possible, but we also need to have a good product." He says that committee will then oversee the plan's implementation and develop priorities for future discussions with the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management. 


BEND, OR -- Wildlife biologist Lauri Turner says visitors to local forests often don't realize the impact their presence has on the animals that live there.

 

She'll talk about that negative influence today, as part of the "Greatest Good" lecture series, at OSU Cascades. "Recreation use is increasing quite a bit. We are starting to see increased impacts out there. Most people think that because they're not in a motorized vehicle or snowmobile or motorcycle, that they don't have impacts, and so we're just trying to start the conversation, and educate people that, in fact, we all have impacts out there."
 
Turner believes it is possible to balance recreation and wildlife safety and says determining how best to do that starts with communication and education, because the impacts are so varied. "Displacement, habitat avoidance, trampling, garbage, dogs off leash, things like that, but most people don't see the animals, the animals may leave before they approach them, so they don't get to see what kind of impact they are having."
 
Turner uses Ryan Ranch Meadow as an example where recreation has caused the native elk to change their patterns, and believes, if we don't find a balance between recreation and wildlife needs, the results could be dire. "Many of our wildlife populations will suffer and it could lead to reduced populations, reduced reproductive success, and eventually, more species being listed as endangered or threatened and so we want to try and avoid that and provide for recreation while providing for the wildlife resource, as well."
 
The Wildlife Impact Lecture begins at 4 PM in Tykeson Hall at OSU Cascades, as part of the Discover Your Forest series, presented by Deschutes National Forest. It's free and open to the public. 


MADRAS, OR -- The Jefferson County District Attorney has cleared two officers involved in last week’s shooting in Madras.

 

Investigators say 18-year-old Christopher Sweeney, of Sunriver, walked away from the J Bar J Youth Ranch, November first, six hours after he arrived. He was placed in an independent living program at the ranch after having been paroled from a youth correctional facility for an unrelated matter.

 

His grandparents were out of the area, but grew concerned he might burglarize their Deschutes County home. A family member checked the property and discovered two vehicles were missing. The two cars were later spotted on Highway 97, near Lava Butte.

 

One was stopped on the north end of Bend, and 19-year-old Corey Gallagher was arrested. The minivan continued to Madras where it crashed. Sweeney got out of the car and allegedly pointed a gun at officers and fired. A Jefferson County Deputy and State Police Trooper returned fire, hitting the teen. He is recovering at St. Charles Bend

 

The gun allegedly used by Sweeney was recovered at the scene with a damaged bullet casing indicating a malfunction. 



REDMOND, OR -- Airbnb, one of the largest community driven hospitality companies in the world, will now be responsible for collecting eligible transient room taxes and paying them directly to the City of Redmond.

 

Before November 1st, the individual proprietors of the Airbnb rentals in Redmond had been responsible for paying the taxes to the City for their establishments, resulting in a lot of extra paperwork. Jodi Burch, with the City of Redmond, says this new procedure will ease staffing pressure for the City, as they will now receive a single monthly payment directly from Airbnb, which will also make things easier for each host. "We have seen an increase in the number of properties listed on Airbnb through just casual checking of their website, which is great news for the tourism industry in Redmond and the local businesses that benefit from that. So now, Airbnb will collect and remit on behalf of all hosts."
 
Burch says this agreement makes things much easier for individual hosts to collect the 9% tax from their lodgers and pay it to the City. "The responsibility for collecting the transient lodging tax was on each individual host to register with the City of Redmond, and to collect the tax and remit directly to the City. Airbnb is now collecting on behalf of the hosts, all hosts, that rent rooms within the City of Redmond and remitting those taxes directly to the City."
 
Redmond joined 20 other Oregon cities with similar agreements with the hospitality giant. Airbnb began collecting the transient lodging tax on all eligible bookings in the Redmond city limits on November 1st, and will be making single monthly payments to the City, going forward.

 



MADRAS, OR -- The Madras Aquatic Center will continue to receive steady funding. More than 68% of voters approved the five-year operating levy, in Tuesday's special election. The measure continues the current property tax rate of 40-cents per thousand dollars of assessed value. MAC Director Joe McHaney has said the funding was necessary to maintain current athletic and recreation programs.

 

in Crooked River Ranch, Jefferson County voters overwhelmingly defeated a measure to increase Sheriff’s Office patrols, Tuesday night. Only 14% voted for the formation of an enhanced law enforcement district, which would have raised property taxes for residents. 


BEND, OR -- A Bend man faces criminal charges after police say he filed a false robbery report to cover up his own crime. Billy Showen told police he was robbed Monday afternoon, in the Bend Albertsons parking lot. The 39-year-old claimed he had a bag of cash from the 7-Eleven where he worked, and was on his way to make a deposit at the bank inside the grocery store, when someone hit him and took the bag of money.

 

Bend Police Lt. Clint Burleigh says around 90% of the officers on patrol at the time immediately responded. "In general, when we have a robbery call, obviously that’s a pretty high risk, high elevated event for our department – or, I think any department. It typically involves some sort of threat being posed to a citizen. They’re responding with lights and sirens, trying to get there." Lt. Burleigh says Showen provided a vague suspect description and officers spent the next hour searching the area. "We had our K9 out that tried to track the reported suspect where we were told he went, we had officers making perimeters for that K9 track. There’s a lot of interviews being done, checking for evidence throughout the area; especially in a busy business area, there’s a lot of people to talk to."
 
But, he says Detectives soon realized Showen's story didn't add up, "There are certain things you should see or hear, or people should hear or see. And, when you start putting those facts together, you start kind of understanding that maybe things aren’t exactly how they’re reported." After he was re-interviewed by Detectives, Showen admitted he’d made up the story. The bag of cash was later recovered from his southeast Bend home.
 
Lt. Burleigh says not only was the investigation into a robbery that didn't happen a waste of time and resources, it also put officers at risk, "Just imagine at 3:30 in the afternoon in Bend, responding lights and sirens, traffic is pretty tough to get through. So, there’s an increased, or a raised concern for just responding to that area."
 
Showen is charged with filing a false report and aggravated theft. 


BEND, OR -- A Eugene teen is believed to be responsible for last week’s bomb threat at Mountain View High School. Bend Police say the 14-year-old boy sent the threat through the school’s website, last Wednesday, saying a former student would blow up a math class on Friday. By Monday, school district IT staff and the FBI were able to track the IP address of the sender and agents contacted the suspect at his Eugene home.

 

He reportedly believed he was threatening the school of a former online girlfriend. Police confirm the girl does not attend Bend's Mountain View High School, but may attend a school with the same name in another state.
 
The Deschutes County District Attorney will determine what, if any, criminal charges will be filed against the boy. Bend-La Pine Schools Superintendent Shay Mikalson said in a statement, "Our partnerships in Central Oregon are second to none and I applaud all of those who work diligently to keep our schools safe." He added, "Threats to our schools will not be tolerated and we will work hard to find their source. We support the prosecution of those who make threats to our schools to the fullest extent fo the law."


REDMOND, OR -- Redmond's newest City Councilor is a familiar face around town. Tuesday night, City Councilors approved the appointment of Jon Bullock to the vacant seat created by the August resignation of Anne Graham. The appointment is effective immediately. 

 
Dr. Bullock is the Executive Director of Redmond Proficiency Academy and has worked in Oregon’s public school system for more than 20 years. 

Prior to helping create the charter school, he served as Principal of Redmond High School. Mayor George Endicott says Bullock has a keen understanding of how public finance works, as well as policies that guide it. "He works with Redmond students and their families every day, bringing with him a unique and valued perspective to Council," Endicott said in a statement.
 
Bullock will complete Graham's term, which ends December 2018. 
 
Photos: (top) Jon Bullock/Submitted Photo 
(right) Dr. Bullock is sworn in by Mayor Endicott, November 7, 2017/Courtesy Councilor Ginny McPherson


BEND, OR -- The Deschutes National Forest will start selling Christmas tree permits Thursday, about a week earlier than in past years. "According to our folks that deal with the Christmas tree permits, people are buying them earlier and earlier every year," says Jean Nelson Dean, with the Forest Service. "You don’t have to go out and get your tree, but we’re selling them November ninth at all of our offices and then our vendors. Some of our offices are also going to be open on Saturday, so people should check. And then, of course, we have the Cascade Lakes Welcome Station that is open on the weekends and they will be selling the tree permits."

 

The $5 permit is require for each tree cut down on National Forest land, "Don’t go out and think ‘Ok, I have a permit to cut as many trees [as I want].' When you get your permit, there will be information attached to it to talk about the height of the tree you need to get. We prefer people to get trees that are in crowded conditions; it helps create a healthier forest." There's a five tree maximum. Click HERE for more information on size and location restrictions, as well as vendors where the permits are available. 

 

For our full conversation with Jean Nelson Dean, visit our Podcast Page or click HERE.



BEND, OR -- Fall 2017 enrollment for Oregon State University across the three campuses grew 1.9%, and a lot of that growth was at OSU Cascades.

 
Steve Clark of OSU, says OSU Cascades isn't just for Central Oregonians. "We're also seeing more enrollment coming from throughout the state. We want to grow that. We think as we grow the enrollment that there are academic programs at OSU Cascades that are going to be a real strength for all of Oregon and the opportunity to educate Oregonians in the Bend area is not only good for the culture of Central Oregon, but for the economy of Central Oregon."
 
Clark says their emphasis for enrollment is on First Generation students, students of color, and students with GPAs in the top percentage of their high school classes. "Really high achieving, highly productive students have come to Oregon State throughout its 149 years, but what we're seeing, more and more each year, is that the best and brightest, and most productive students, are saying 'i want to go to Oregon state in Corvallis, I want to go to Oregon State in Bend'."
 
Clark says the most popular undergraduate majors are computer science, business administration, mechanical engineering, biology and kinesiology and that OSU Cascades is what's known as a 'Destination School,' with a growing enrollment of students coming from outside Central Oregon to study those programs. "I think what's really important for Central Oregon, and really the state of Oregon, is that OSU Cascades continues to grow. We see that there's 300 First Generation students that have enrolled at OSU Cascades that have the chance to get a college education for the first time of any member of their family. That's outstanding."
 
Clark says Oregon State manages their student enrollment, trying to maintain a slow and steady growth, to ensure each campus meets the needs of its individuals.

 



BEND, OR -- Representative and Oregon Gubernatorial Candidate Knute Buehler has sent a letter to Governor Kate Brown asking her to join him in getting to the bottom of the Oregon Health Authority's money problems.

 

Representative Buehler says Oregon used to have a proud tradition of innovation and bipartisanship when it came to health care, but on Governor Brown's watch, the Oregon Health Authority has wasted a tremendous amount of money. "The first thing we want to accomplish is, if the $74 million was paid inappropriately, we need to get it back to Oregon taxpayers as soon as possible. And she seems to want to ignore that, doesn't want to take responsibility for it, and it's really occurred under her watch, and we need to know, as legislators and the public, why that money hasn't returned to the State of Oregon."
 
According to Buehler, repair and renewal is needed in Oregon's Health care programs, and Governor Brown's office has shown no interest in getting the wasted funds back to taxpayers. "We propose an Independent Council to look into if this money is truly unaccounted for and paid inappropriately, and if it has, the Governor needs to demand that it's paid back, and if she's not willing to do that, I will try to pass legislation in the 2018 session to legally require the repayment from these providers."
 
One of the worse parts of this scandal, Buehler says, is that the Oregon Health Authority and Medicaid have wasted hundreds of millions of dollars that, now, isn't available to provide health care or promote better health for Oregonians. He reveals that the problems with the Oregon Health Authority were actually made public by the OHA itself, with Governor Brown's office keeping silent at the time, and still refusing to get involved. "So far, we're being ignored by the Governor's office, and it's astounding to me because we've already had the Cover Oregon fiasco, where $300 million in websites, computers, and failed enrollment technology went right down the drains, so it is hundreds of millions of dollars wasted through this state agency and I just find it unacceptable."
 
Buehler contends that Brown knows the details concerning the missing and wasted funds, or if she doesn't, she should be trying to learn them, and then share them with Oregon taxpayers, while working to return their money. He acknowledges that the problems with the Oregon Health Plan, Medicare, and Medicaid started while John Kitzhaber was Governor, but Brown was Secretary of State, and as such, was responsible for auditing government programs, which he claims she failed to do.

 



BEND, OR -- The Athletic Club of Bend is garnering a lot of attention from prospective buyers despite a nearly $37 million price tag. Jay Lyons, with Compass Commercial Real Estate, says they started getting phone calls as soon as the group of owners decided to list the property on Century Drive. "[It’s] Truly unique to Bend, in a sense that it’s kind of been iconic and served the community for a long time – since the early 90s. They don’t intend on shutting the business down. They want to just find a new operator for the business and purchaser of the real estate and also the land that kind of surrounds the property." Lyons says the owners would consider splitting the parcel and selling separately the property available for development, but they would prefer to keep everything together. 
 
The iconic nature of the business and its location are attracting a lot of attention, "We’ve had a few tours of the facility, already," says Lyons. "I mean, we can’t go into detail about who those individuals or parties are. I think it’s a unique opportunity and when it came on the market, we definitely received a number of phone calls right off the bat."
 
Lyons acknowledges the asking price is steep, but says there are many factors to consider, including the value of existing facilities, the business and potential future earnings, and the value of the developable land, "What we’ve found is there’s a number of different ways you can calculate or determine the value of the property and each individual party that we’ve spoken to has their own way. And, I think it’s going to be interesting to see how the parties come together and ultimately determine what the value is." He tells KBND News the ownership group hasn't set a timeline, "They’re in their 60s and 70s and just want to simplify their lives and kind of go their separate directions with the proceeds of the sale." 
 
Click HERE to listen to our complete conversation with Jay Lyons of Compass Commercial, or visit our Podcast Page

 



PRINEVILLE, OR -- Crook County officials are asking residents to start thinking about getting ready for winter weather now, by considering lessons learned last year. County Judge Seth Crawford says long-term forecasts predict another cold winter with above average snow pack. "It’s looking like a bad winter, so get prepared. If you live on a non-county maintained road in Crook County, come up with a plan. There are a lot of people that have plans, but if you don’t have a plan, start working on it today."

 

In January, a number of rural communities found themselves cut off after massive snowfall left eight to 10-foot drifts in some areas, and no plows were available to dig them out. Crawford tells KBND News it's not too early to start planning so the problem doesn't occur again, "Sit down with your neighbors, talk to a contractor and get them out there. Because, the county does a really good job of maintaining our county-maintained roads, but we do not have the resources to go out there on the non-county-maintained roads and take care of those roads, and I want to make sure everybody is safe and ready for this winter."

 
A Winter Weather Awareness and Preparedness meeting will be held November 20 at 6 p.m. at the county building in Prineville (320 NE Court St., Courtroom "C"). Residents can also sign up to receive emergency notifications, HERE
 


SISTERS, OR -- A Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire Captain injured six months ago in a 40-foot fall is now back at work. Capt. Thornton Brown was rappelling in Death Valley with two other firefighters when fell; he spent the night in a remote canyon and had to be air lifted out the next day. 

 

Firefighters Rally To Help Injured Captain

 

Injured firefighters must pass a physical abilities test before returning to work. Officials say Captain Brown “breezed through” the process and reported for duty this past weekend. 


MADRAS, OR -- It’s election day, and Jefferson County voters have two tax levies on the ballot. 

 

The first would renew funding for the Madras Aquatic Center. The original five-year operating levy was narrowly approved in 2013. MAC Executive Director Joe McHaney says the money allowed for exponential growth in both programs and participants. If approved, the levy would continue the current property tax rate for another five years. 

 

Residents in the Jefferson County portion of Crooked River Ranch will also decide whether to fund an increased law enforcement presence. The "Enhanced Services" measure would fund patrols by two Jefferson County Sheriff's Deputies dedicated to the Ranch.
 
 
Crook and Deschutes counties do not have ballot measures this election. 


REDMOND, OR -- Redmond’s Airport Director has been named 2017 Oregon Airport Manager of the Year. Zach Bass has led the airport since January 2016.

 

The honor, from the Oregon Airport Management Association (OAMA), is in recognition of a high level of service to the aviation community and the traveling public, as well as improving safety. Bass says the award is a testament to the hard work, dedication and professionalism of all airport employees and stakeholders. At the OAMA annual banquet, Bass said, "Over the past year, the RDM team successfully managed the $18 million construction of the airport's main runway and subsequent three-week closure, construction of a new USFS Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center, reconstruction of taxiway Bravo, added a new direct flight to Phoenix and five daily flights to existing destinations, as well as multiple customer service initiatives. 



REDMOND, OR -- A Redmond barn was damaged by a Saturday morning fire, on NW 39th Street. According to Redmond Fire and Rescue, crews responded at about 8:30 a.m. and found fire on the outside of the building, with the interior "fully charged" with smoke and heat. 

 

Firefighters ventilated the 1200 square-foot building, extinguished the blaze and checked for hidden hot spots. The property owner was able to salvage numerous tools and equipment from inside. The blaze left about $22,000 in damage. 

 

Investigators believe the fire started with an electrical short caused by heat tape. Redmond Fire reminds everyone that "Artificial heat generating equipment or devices can be very dangerous and could potentially cause a catastrophic fire if not properly installed or used as per the manufacturers' recommendations," the department said in a statement. "With temperatures recently dropping significantly, extreme caution should be used when trying to keep pipes, rain gutters/down spouts or stock/pet water tanks from freezing by means of such devices."



BEND, OR -- It's been a year since marijuana land use regulations have been enacted for Deschutes County, and as promised, the Commissioners are reviewing the rules' effectiveness. 

 

Matthew Martin, Senior Planner for Deschutes County, says they want to hear from all impacted parties. "The intent of the regulations is to address the impact of, in this case, production or growing. To address lighting, odor, noise and other related impacts. So, the effort was to mitigate those impacts, and what we're interested in hearing from the public is how those regulations are working, and if they're not effective, what are suggested changes to make them more effective?"
 
The County has a survey section on their website ... deschutes.or/marijuana ... that Martin says is open for public input until November 30th, and the findings will be presented to the Board in early December. "So, we've just kicked off this evaluation process. The Board was recognizing that this is a new industry, and a new set of regulations. So, with both being at the infancy of implementation, now's the opportunity to check in and determine how it's going. What's working, and what's not."
 
Martin says because these rules are still largely untested, now's the time to improve them. "Well, it's important to hear from all interested parties, and impacted parties, as to how the rules are working and as we compile the feedback that we receive, we'll report to the Board of County Commissioners in early December on our findings, and see what direction they provide at that point."
 
The County's Community Development Department will also be conducting stakeholder interviews and focus groups with both marijuana representatives and their neighbors.

 



LA PINE, OR -- Two people and their two dogs were able to safely escape a fire inside their La Pine mobile home, Sunday morning. The residents called 911 after finding the ceiling around the woodstove pipe on fire. They tried unsuccessfully to put it out on their own, with a fire extinguisher.

 

Arriving fire crews found smoke coming from the eves of the 140 square-foot double-wide mobile home. They were able to quickly knockdown the fire and stayed on scene just over an hour. The cause of the fire is under investigation. 



BEND, OR -- State Representative John Huffman (R-The Dalles) resigned a week ago, to pursue a job with the Trump Administration. Commissioners who represent the vast area in his district are now responsible for choosing his replacement.

 

Deschutes County Commissioner Tony DeBone says there's a procedure for an event like this, but he's never been part of the process before. "What it is, is a partisan appointment, as in, he's a registered Republican that's in office that has resigned, so the Republican party in Deschutes, Jefferson, and Wasco and Wheeler counties are the four involved, so the commissioners will get proposed appointments from the party, and then, if there's multiple people, I think that's where the decision will happen."
 
Huffman officially resigned Saturday, October 28, and the Commissioners from the four counties affected by his leaving have thirty days to appoint his replacement. DeBone tells KBND News, "Every once in a while, somebody will just do this, mid-term, resign for whatever reason, and there's a process to do this. And it's a positive situation, if he's finding a career to serve on the federal level, then we'll find the next person to get appointed to his seat to finish the term."
 
He says Huffman won't be easy to replace. "[I] want to thank him for his representation in the state legislature, the terms he's been involved. He's seen the evolution of the Governor's office and the majority being the Democrats in the last couple of sessions and really having to figure out how to do good things for the citizens from the east side of the state. It gets pretty partisan when you're in the state legislature."
 
Representative Huffman is currently unavailable for comment.

 



PRINEVILLE, OR -- The first of two public hearings will be held Monday evening for Crook County’s latest draft of a Natural Resources Plan. County Judge Seth Crawford says it's necessary to better manage local public lands.

 

Barbara Fontaine worked for the Forest Service for 30 years, and plans to attend the meeting. She worries the plan would jeopardize the county’s relationship with the Forest Service and BLM. "It’s putting forward this inflated idea of coordination that isn’t a real thing. They’re expecting that the county will then have a relationship as ‘government-to-government,’ with the federal agencies that manage public lands."

 

Fontaine is a member of “Citizens in Support of Public Lands” and says the County Court is rushing to vote on the plan. "It’s a pretty important idea and concept, and there hasn’t been broad – or, basically any – public review of the particular policies that are included in the plan." The latest draft wasn’t released to the public until Friday morning, when it was posted to Crook County's website. "People don’t really get a chance to review it; they get three days to review it before the first public meeting." Fontaine admits the latest version is better than previous drafts, but she'd like to see it be fully vetted by the public before it goes up for a vote by the County Court. Click HERE to download the latest draft.
 
She says others are also concerned about about the Political Action Committee that created the plan, and what the document could do. "They have a problem with this small special interest group that’s pushing the plan forward; they have problems with the actual contents of the plan; they have problems with what the county relationship, going forward, might be with the federal agencies that manage the public lands in our county."

 

Monday's public hearing begins at 6:30 p.m.; a second is scheduled for 9 a.m. Wednesday just before the Court is expected to vote. 


BEND, OR -- The FBI and local law enforcement continue to investigate a bomb threat made last week, against Mountain View High School. Principal Katie Legace told families in a Thursday night email that someone had threatened to "blow up a math class."

 

Julianne Repman, with Bend-La Pine Schools, says Friday’s attendance was down by about 15%. But, those who did show up, felt safe, "What we’re hearing from students is that they do want to be here, that they do want to learn. They’re disappointed that there’s this type of disruption to their learning environment." Bend Police Lt. Clint Burleigh says they stepped up patrols at all schools in the district, and there were periodic sweeps of Mountain View throughout the day, Friday. "It’s our hope that we can find the people responsible for this and hold them accountable, because this just continues to make our families uneasy with the schools, and that’s the last thing we want." Repman says the person responsible for last week’s threat could face federal charges.  
 
Lt. Burleigh says the FBI and State Police bomb squad were consulted right away. "We got this information on Wednesday. So, we sent the better part of two days utilizing multiple staff members from both the police department and the school district, as well as getting some advice from other agencies that have dealt with this more often than we have, to make sure we did this the right way. And make the school safe and make the environment safe for our kids to get their education."

 

The school was also the focus of a rumored planned shooting, October tenth. "There’s no indication that this is related to the incident last month, but certainly possible that you would see copy-catting; that’s something we anticipated," Repman tells KBND News.  Lt. Burleigh says all threats are taken seriously, "The percentages on these threats are fairly low, on how legitimate they are. But, that doesn’t take away from how much time we put into them."



MADRAS, OR -- A Sunriver man shot by police in Madras after a car chase remains hospitalized. Investigators have released more details of last week's shooting. According to the Jefferson County District Attorney's Office, Deschutes County deputies noticed two stolen cars traveling northbound on Highway 97 near Lava Butte, south of Bend, late Thursday. They pulled over the SUV near Robal Road, on the north end of Bend, and arrested 19-year-old Corey Gallagher of Portland (pictured). 

 

However, the minivan led police through Redmond, running over several sets of spike strips. The driver lost control and the pursuit ended at “L” Street, in Madras at about 11 p.m. The Jefferson County D.A. says 18-year-old Christopher Sweeney got out of the van with a pistol, and confronted officers. A State Police Sergeant and Jefferson County Deputy each fired their weapons. Both officers are now on leave, which is standard procedure after an officer-involved shooting. 
 
Sweeney was airlifted to St. Charles Bend where he was listed in fair condition, Monday morning. 


PRINEVILLE, OR -- The city of Prineville and Crook County's Air Quality Committee will provide four giant dumpsters, Saturday, to help residents clean up their yards before winter. City Planning Director Phil Stenbeck says the "100 Yards of Yard Debris Challenge" is designed to get rid of stuff that would otherwise be burned. "There's a lot of folks that will possibly rake up leaves and these kinds of things, and then burn them in their yard and put smoke in the air," Stenbeck tells KBND News, "And so what the committee is aimed at doing is reducing the amount of particulate, and this is one of the ways we do that. Just to make people breathe cleaner air, nicer air. Prineville has good air, but we're still making an effort to eliminate particulate when we can."

 

Saturday's free event is first come, first served, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Four dumpsters will be located next to Davidson Field. Stenbeck says they'll accept most yard waste, "So, it's leaves, branches, cornstalks; things that you might consider burning in a small pile in your yard or in a burn barrel, to clean up the yard for company at Thanksgiving time."
 
Last year, nearly 100 people took part in the challenge. They collected 20,000 pounds of yard debris in 2017.

 



PRINEVILLE, OR -- Crook County Commissioners will hold two meetings next week, to gather public input on the latest draft of a county Natural Resources Plan. The plan has become a controversial topic for some residents, but County Judge Seth Crawford says it simply lays out guidelines for working with the federal government to manage forestland. "The Forest Service and BLM are not policy organizations. They’re there to do a job that they get rules from Washington, DC that they’re asked to follow. The county, though, it’s our job to look out for the best interest of the citizens. What I see is us working with the Forest Service to show them what the best use of our forest is, for our citizens, and come together and come up with a plan."

 

A previous version of the plan was rejected in August 2016. Then-Commissioner Crawford was the only member of the County Court to vote for it. The other two who opposed the draft are no longer on the Court. Crawford tells KBND News, "My conversations with people from the Forest Service is, they’re not going to say it publicly, but they’re not happy with the way things are being managed. I mean, look at all the smoke we had in our communities all across our state and the western United States, this year. There clearly needs to be a different way to manage our forests." Click HERE to listen to our full conversation with Judge Seth Crawford, or visit our Podcast Page.

 

The first public hearing starts Monday at 6:30 p.m. at the County building on Court Street; the second takes place during the regular County Court Meeting, Wednesday at 9 a.m.


BEND, OR -- Bend’s Equine Outreach has agreed to shut down after a lengthy investigation by Oregon’s Department of Justice. The DOJ investigation began when the entire board stepped down, last year. Investigators closed the case after the current board agreed to sever ties with the nonprofit’s co-founders who own the ranch where Equine Outreach keeps nearly 70 rescued horses. In a letter to attorneys dated October 25, 2017, the DOJ says it closed the investigation despite lingering concerns about how finances were managed by co-founders Joan Steelhammer and Gary Everett. 

 

Bill Inman is the board President of Equine Outreach, but he says the nonprofit’s current leadership has only been together a short time. "The prior board resigned en masse in October 2016 and we came together out of concern for the horses. Our hope was that we were going to be able to get through it, and the DOJ investigation would be quick and we could move on. Unfortunately, it dragged out and that made fundraising more and more difficult." Inman tells KBND News, "We finally got to the point where, with winter coming, we knew that we should make the hard decision to start toward shutdown, because we didn’t want to be having this conversation in the middle of winter. It’s already closer to winter than we would’ve liked."

 

He acknowledges it will be difficult to find new homes for all 67 of the remaining horses at the ranch, "Most of the horses are older or have either illness or lameness issues that make them essentially what we refer to as 'pasture pets.' So, they’re not ridable. Some of them have training; some of them might be able to be ridden by a lightweight rider like a child, but not any serious riding."
 
Inman says the only way the nonprofit could continue operating is if a new location can be found, "A new location or the same location under new ownership. We would love Equine Outreach to continue to be a resource for the community; that would require an angel or angels to step up and are willing to purchase the property or have a property, or purchase a different property."
 
In the short-term, Inman says Equine Outreach will continue to care for the horses until they are adopted. But, he's hoping the community will help provide donations to help, "The horses that we have are going to continue eating and as that number diminishes, the ones remaining are going to continue to need feed and farrier care, and potentially vet care." Click HERE to contact the ranch. 

 



SISTERS, OR -- Two people were killed in a crash on Santiam Pass, Thursday afternoon. Emergency crews responded to Highway 20, just east of the Santiam Summit, at about 1:15 p.m. 

 

State Police Investigators say it appears an eastbound Ford van crossed into oncoming traffic and struck a Subaru head-on. Both drivers died at the scene; their identities have not been released. There was no one else in either vehicle. 
 
The incident closed Highway 20 for more than an hour before one lane opened for alternating traffic. It was about three hours before the highway fully reopened. 


BEND, OR -- The FBI and local law enforcement are investigating a bomb threat made against Bend’s Mountain View High School. Principal Katie Legace emailed families Thursday night (below), explaining the school would open Friday as scheduled, although sweeps of the property will continue throughout the day. The district is also increasing the police presence at Mountain View and other schools. 

 

A person threatened to “blow up a math class,” and Legace says authorities are working to track down from where the threat originated so the person responsible can be “prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.” 
 
The school was also the target of a shooting threat, October 10. Legace says a student was disciplined for participating in that incident and the case has been referred to Deschutes County's District  Attorney's Office for criminal charges.
 

Mountain View High Families,

 

I am writing you tonight to share information about a bomb threat received by our school and to ask that you help us identify the person, or persons, responsible.

 

Our school is committed to the safety and education of all our students and we want to clearly communicate with parents about safety issues when they arise. At this hour, we are working with local law enforcement and the FBI. They have an open investigation underway, and are allowing us to share that the threat came from a person threatening to blow up a math class at school tomorrow. Further details are being withheld to allow law enforcement the ability to properly interview and prosecute anyone found to be responsible.

 

We will not tolerate this, or any continued threats to our students, staff and school and will work diligently to find those responsible and to ensure they are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

 

Further, sweeps of our school will take place between now and the start of school tomorrow morning, as well as at undisclosed times on Friday. We will have increased law enforcement at Mountain View on Friday and the law enforcement presence around schools throughout the district will be ramped up as well.

 

We will have school tomorrow and Mountain View High School will continue to be a safe place to learn.

 

We wanted you to have the facts so you can discuss them with your student and emphasize the seriousness of this issue. Students may face discipline for making verbal or written statements, even if perceived to have been in jest or in an effort to avoid a class/test, etc., if the statements cause a disruption to the learning environment. Additionally, the perpetrator will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, which could include restitution for the sweeps of our school and law enforcement efforts.

 

I want to reiterate that we take threats to our safety very seriously. Though we do not share specific discipline information sanctioned against our students for threats to school, I do want to let you know that we disciplined a student for their participation in the October 10 threat shared with you last month, law enforcement pressed charges and referred the case to the District Attorney’s Office and a threat assessment was completed.

 

If you discover anything that can assist in the investigation, please contact us immediately or call the non-emergency police phone line at 541.693.6911.

 

Thank you for your support, Cougar community.

Katie Legace

Principal, Mountain View High School

 



MADRAS, OR -- The Central Oregon Major Incident Team is investigating an officer-involved shooting in Madras that shut down Highway 97, overnight. According to the limited information released by the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office, the incident began as a car chase in Deschutes County, involving a vehicle reported stolen. The pursuit ended in Madras, near 'L' Street.

 

When law enforcement attempted to make contact with a person inside the vehicle, at about 11 p.m., shots were fired and the victim was taken to the hospital. No officers were injured. Investigators closed Highway 97 just north of the south "Y" and established a detour.


REDMOND, OR -- Travelers using the Redmond Airport will soon have another option to entertain themselves. The Airport is partnering with the Deschutes Public Library to provide reading material at the airport "Flybrary."

 
The Library's Todd Dunkelberg believes the program will add flexibility to people's lives, especially during what can be a chaotic time. "Flybrary is creating a space for travelers to basically have a collection of books they can grab at the last minute and take with them on a flight, or if they have a book they've finished, and they want to donate that to the next traveler, they can leave that on the shelf of the Flybrary."
 
The shelves are still being built at the airport, but Dunkelberg hopes to have the Flybrary up and running in time for the holiday travel season. He tells KBND News it will offer several options, "Get a physical book that's sitting there, and we'll have information at the Flybrary about how to download free books from the library, because we have close to 50,000 electronic books and we have over 140 magazines that people could download to a tablet for their flight. Or use your smartphone and download an audio book."


BEND, OR -- Deschutes County Health Services began tracking the flu in October, and this year, they have confirmed cases a little earlier than usual. Heather Kaisner, with County Public Health, tells KBND News, "We get weekly reports from most local labs and they let us know how many flu tests they've performed and how many of those were positive. In the last couple of weeks, we're definitely seeing an uptick in cases, which means flu is here in our community."

 

She says getting the vaccine is the best way to make sure you don't contract the flu. If you have vacation plans, you want to think about getting it sooner rather than later, "The flu vaccine, once you get it, can take up to two weeks to build an immune response so you're protected, so if folks are traveling over the holidays, going on planes, that can cause germs to spread pretty easily, you want to think about getting your flu vaccine soon."
 
Because the vaccine has a time delay, following a few simple rules can help: "The big one is really good handwashing with soap and water." Kaisner also suggests covering your nose and mouth with tissue or your elbow when you cough and sneeze, not touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, disinfecting surfaces, and just being considerate. "All of us I know have trouble staying home when we're sick and getting enough rest. And really, we shouldn't be going back to work or school until 24 hours after our fever subsides."
 
A flu shot is especially recommended for people with chronic medical conditions, pregnant women, people regularly around babies under six months of age, and all health care workers.

 



BEND, OR -- Every year, Bend firefighters and paramedics respond to cold-weather related emergencies, and they’re asking the community to help, before winter returns, "We are collecting warm clothing, hats and gloves that we’ll gather up and then donate to various organizations in town that will help distribute those items to people in need," Firefighter Mitch Webb tells KBND News, "To try and mitigate the amount of cold weather-related issues that people in Bend experience."

 

Webb says, "Every year, we respond to multiple cold-weather related emergencies. We usually see first-hand the effects of people who aren’t warm enough with the clothing that they have." He adds, "Hypothermia would be the common one. Those cold nights that you and I are at home, bundled up, there are some citizens that don’t have the means to heat their house properly. Other citizens that we see that recently relocate to Bend from warmer climates that simply aren’t prepared and don’t have the financial means to get the entire family coats. Then, there’s also some of the population that is without a home."

 

Donations of all shapes and sizes will be distributed through local service organizations, including the Bethlehem Inn and WIC. For the first time, the fire department is also collecting professional clothing. "Suit jackets, sport coats, things like that," says Webb, "and we’re donating those to Bethlehem Inn, as well, to try and give those people that are trying to get jobs and trying to get back into the workforce, give them a chance to go into an interview feeling prepared for it and feeling properly dressed." Donations can be dropped off at any Bend Fire station through November 10. 



BEND, OR -- A local maker of outdoor gear for dogs needs to expand its Bend facility and aims to help other start-ups in the process. Ruffwear President Will Blount says over the last decade, the company has seen consistent growth at its building near Summit High. "We have roughly a 20,000 sf facility here that used to house all of our warehousing and distribution. We outgrew that in March 2016, and so we saw an opportunity to open up this space and invite other outdoor-oriented companies to co-habitat, if you will, with us."

 

He says they’re finalizing plans to add a second floor, in effect doubling the building’s square footage and creating enough room to open a new co-working space. Blount tells KBND News, "There’s a lot of small start-up companies that are really looking for flex-space; as they grow, they’re not quite sure how much space they’re going to need. And so the nice piece to the co-working facility is, if you just need a one-person desk, then we’ll have that available – up to about a 6-person desk facility." He hopes the new space will also create a collaborative atmosphere where Ruffwear can help impart wisdom on fledgling businesses, so they don’t make the same mistakes. 
 
Blount expects the project to cost around $4 million. With the help of Business Oregon, the company has secured a $250,000 forgivable loan from the Governor's Strategic Reserve Fund, "Outdoor apparel industry is one of the state’s kind of targeted sectors, and so they saw this as an opportunity for us to really create some collaboration amongst the industry. And, that forgivable loan is tied to job growth as well as infrastructure around the co-working side of it."
 
He hopes to start construction in early 2018 and says the entire project will take about a year to complete. 


BEND, OR -- Deschutes County Commissioners Wednesday approved the permit for the 2018 Four Peaks Music Festival, with an additional requirement for extra security measures. Neighbors had complained the event brought too much traffic, dust and noise to the area when it moved from Tumalo to Stevenson Ranch off Knott Road, this past summer. 

 

Commissioner Phil Henderson expressed his lingering concerns at Wednesday's meeting. "I think that this location may not be the best for this kind of festival; we’ll see how it goes. If it really is true that they intend to grow it to 5,000, I don’t know, I see a lot of impacts. I just don’t know; we’ll see how this year goes."
 
Commissioners, though, noted they are required to approve permits if organizers agree to mitigate concerns. When the Board approved the mass gathering permit, it also required a security plan. Commissioner Tony DeBone says the event is allowed under current code. "Now, this is the land use process. It is a large Exclusive Farm Use parcel that has the opportunity for this application for events every 90 days. This is one event that’s gone through the whole process and getting authorized."
 
The four-day music festival takes place in mid-June.  


BEND, OR -- Snow is expected to return to the High Desert as early as Friday morning, and the city of Bend is working to make sure those without permanent housing will have a warm place to sleep, this winter. City Manager Eric King told City Councilors at Wednesday night’s meeting, "I will be declaring an emergency – weather emergency that allows for temporary shelters to be opened, later this week." That declaration is expected to be made Friday. "We’ll come back to Council at the next Council meeting for you all to ratify that," King told Councilors.

 

In the past, declarations have specified that temporary shelters are allowed to open when temperatures dip below 25-degrees, and only in approved locations. King said Wednesday, "There will be some information coming out later this week about what’s the process to get certified. Traditionally, it’s been churches that have stepped up, but there’s other organizations that can offer assistance to those needing to get out of the cold and offer up their place for shelter, as long as they meet basic safety requirements."



REDMOND, OR -- A 75-year-old bicyclist was hurt in a hit and run crash south of Redmond, Tuesday afternoon, and Deschutes County Deputies are now searching for the suspect vehicle. According to the Sheriff's Office, Robert Thomas was riding northbound on S. Canal Blvd., north of 61st, when he was struck by a white "dually pickup" towing a white utility trailer. Investigators say the Bend man was side-swiped by the trailer at about 3 p.m.

 

State Police, Redmond Paramedics and DCSO responded to the crash. Thomas was treated at the scene and taken to St. Charles Redmond with non-life threatening injuries.

 

Despite a check of the area, Deputies were unable to find the pickup and trailer; the driver is described as "an older male." Anyone who saw the incident or has any information on the case is asked to call non-emergency dispatch at 541-693-6911.



BEND, OR -- Snow returns to the forecast this weekend, and for many Central Oregonians, it’s too soon.

 

Gretchen Woodruff, owner of Northwest Quality Roofing in Bend, says all the attention paid to roofing problems during last winter’s extreme weather led to heightened awareness and a backlog of work. "A lot of people in the community wanted to be pro-active and have their roofs inspected this year; also, there were a lot of people with repairs and/or re-roofs needing to be done, which caused a high volume for all of us roofing contractors." According to Woodruff, the promblem is compounded by a shortage of qualified workers. 

 

She says crews can typically work through the winter, but that wasn't possible last year; and they're still catching up. "For someone to come take a look at your roof and give you a free estimate and/or an inspection, we’re the last week of December; and that’s, of course, weather permitting. And, right now for repairs, we’re January/February. And then, re-roofs are currently being scheduled into spring." Woodruff tells KBND News, many of their current jobs are for repairs to damage caused by last year’s ice dams - and the fixes some homeowners attempted themselves, "People tried to take axes and hammers just to get those suckers out of there, so it would eliminate the melting into their homes, and that caused a lot of damage. But, I think people were so desperate, everyone was so busy, not all of us contractors could get to them. So, they kind of just did what they thought was best at the time."

 

With schedules full through spring for most roofers, Woodruff's company is fielding 20-30 calls for new jobs a week; she's also hearing from homeowners asking for do-it-yourself advice or the name of another contractor. "Obviously, when we all get desperate, we just want someone there now. But, I always tell them to look on the CCB and make sure the people are licensed, bonded and have experience. Because, the last thing any of us want is for them just to hire somebody just to get it done, and/or someone maybe who doesn’t live here. Because, if something happens and they need them to come back, that might not be an option for them and then they’re really in trouble."


REDMOND, OR -- Brightside Animal Center in Redmond has a plethora of pit bulls available for adoption. Kennel Manager Emily Rucker says they can be a difficult to get into permanent homes due to their bad reputation, especially when histories are unknown. "A lot of the ones we have right now were actually owner-surrenders, so we know a lot more about their history than if they would have come to us as strays. Then, one of them came to us from a high-kill shelter in California."

 

They currently have six “bully mixes” and Rucker says while their numbers can fluctuate, this is more than normal. "They’re all very friendly; they’re all very adoptable and they do tend to take a little longer to find homes for because of the stereotype and just the difficulty of owning one of the dogs, in terms of if you rent, home insurance, things like that."
 
Pit Bull is not a breed; it refers to a category of dogs that includes various bull terrier breeds. Rucker tells KBND News, "They are very affectionate with people; the majority of the ones we have are also very playful with other dogs, some of them are cat friendly and some of them are not. But, overall, I would say that just the general zest for life that pit bull-type dogs tend to have: They’re super energetic, they’re just always happy to see people, they want to go out, they want to do things. I have a pit bull mix myself, and he’s the most loyal, loving dog that I’ve ever had." Icey and Attila have been at the shelter more than a month and Rucker hopes they can stay together, "The pair that’s been with us the longest, we are trying to adopt out together, so that’s going to take a special home."
 
Hartley, Attila, Icey, Patty, Spike and Jimi Hendrix are all available at the Brightside shelter in Redmond. 


MADISON, WI -- TDS Broadband Service LLC, the parent company of Bend Broadband, has completed its acquisition of a second Central Oregon cable provider. The Wisconsin-based company, operated by TDS Telecom, purchased Crestview Cable, which serves more than 21,000 homes in Prineville, Madras, La Pine, Crooked River Ranch, Culver and Metolius.

 

In a statement issued Wednesday, TDS Telecom COO Jim Butman says the company will make significant investments in Crestview's network and infrastructure, "to prepare these communities for long-term growth." TDS had previously announced plans to further expand fiber-to-the-home services in the La Pine area. It also plans to accelerate broadband speed upgrades along with modernizing video products and services in Jefferson and Crook counties.

 

"We welcome the employees from Crestview to our team," says Butman, "They will be working closely with their fellow employees in Bend, helping to create and implement expansion plans while continuing to serve customers as they do today."

 

TDS purchased Bend Broadband in 2014. 



BEND, OR -- Studded tires are legal on Oregon roadways, starting Wednesday.

 

Local Tire Shops Already Busy

 

According to the Oregon Department of Transportation, studded tires cause $8.5 million in damage to roads, and ODOT wants drivers to consider using alternatives. Those options include chains and studless traction tires. For tips and information on winter driving, visit ODOT's website HERE
 
Studded tire season runs November first through March 31. 


TERREBONNE, OR -- Three people were hurt in a four-vehicle chain-reaction crash in Terrebonne, Tuesday afternoon, and investigators say it was caused by a driver distracted by his cell phone. 

 

According to the Sheriff’s Office, three cars were stopped on Lower Bridge Way at about 3:10 p.m., waiting for a school bus to drop off kids. A 46-year-old Eugene man driving a delivery van received a text and looked down at the phone attached to his dash. When he looked back up, he realized too late the cars in front of him were stopped. 
 
The van crashed into a Jeep Wrangler, which was pushed in to a Chevy Tahoe that then hit a Ford F150 pickup. A Crooked River Ranch couple in the Chevy and a 66-year-old Terrebonne man in the Jeep were taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries; all three vehicles had to be towed. Don Caruso, the van driver, was cited for following too closely.  


BEND, OR -- The weather is turning colder and leaves are falling … and falling. Cindy Jeffers, with LandSystems Nursery in Bend, says it’s important to rake all those leaves off your lawn while the skies are clear, to keep the grass healthy. "If we get a lot of snow or a lot of rain, it just mats down. And, it’s a great place for little critters to crawl, which we had a lot of last year." But, she tells KBND News, there are other areas where the leaves are helpful, "As far as in the beds or the garden, you can leave them on; it does help insulate plants." And, she says you should feed your lawn before it goes dormant for the season: "Use a winterizing fertilizer; don’t use something that’s real high in nitrogen or fast-release nitrogen. Use something that’s a slow-release so it’ll last all winter and it’ll help keep your lawn green, and it’ll help protect it from the real cold, too."

 
Jefferson says it’s also a good time to add evergreen trees and shrubs to your yard, "You can plant, as long as the ground is not frozen – which it’s definitely not frozen at this point, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to be for a little while. So, do plant; but remember to water those plants throughout the winter." That winter watering needs to be done by hand, though. Jeffers says irrigation systems should be blown out soon. She suggests hiring a professional to make sure all of the moisture is removed from the lines.

 

For more tips and to hear our full conversation with Cindy Jeffers, visit our Podcast Page or click HERE



BEND, OR -- Deschutes County is moving forward with plans to sell the former demolition landfill to OSU-Cascades for expansion of its existing Bend campus. County Commissioners agreed to a sale and purchase agreement Monday.

 

County property management specialist James Lewis explained the deal to Commissioners: "The sale price of the property would be $1. And, the $1 sale price is based on the fact that the estimated remediation cost is substantially more than the appraised value; to the tune of approximately $13 million." He said, after a letter of intent was signed by the county and university in August 2015, experts began researching how much it would cost to clean up the property. "They came up with a cost for remediation, an estimated cost of $43.3 million. During that same period, there were two appraisals that were done for the property – one by Oregon State University and one by the county. The higher of the two appraisals was $30 million. So, there was a $13.3 million gap between the estimated cost for remediation and the appraised value." The 72-acre site was used for the disposal of construction material and Commissioners said keeping it would soon create a liability for the county.

 

Commissioner Phil Henderson opposed the sale agreement, citing concerns about the property's future if Oregon State University doesn’t receive needed funding from the Legislature to expand the Bend campus. Commissioner Tammy Baney voted for the deal, saying it supports the region's only four-year university, "This is an opportunity for us to also partner with businesses to be able to have a skilled workforce, to make sure that intellectual capital stays in our community."  Commissioner Tony DeBone said this was the best possible outcome for an otherwise unusable parcel, "I know at one point we were looking for, ‘let’s find examples of repurposing a landfill in the west or in Oregon,’ and they’re just not out there. So, we’re doing the best we can with the information we have."


BEND, OR -- Central Oregon’s economy continues to grow, but there are signs things are slowing. Experts will discuss what to expect in 2018 at Wednesday morning’s Economic Forecast Breakfast, hosted by the Bend Chamber.

 

The panel includes Damon Runberg, state economist for the Oregon Employment Department. He tells KBND News, "We have seen just a rapid expansion for the last 2.5 years; employment levels today in Deschutes County are 14% higher than they were back before the recession. We are in this real hot economy mode. You know that’s not going to stay forever, and that’s not to say we’re going to have a recession coming on, but we’re no longer going to see the levels of growth that we’ve seen in the last three, four, five years." He tells KBND News, "One of the things I’m going to focus on is trying to encourage business owners to think about where we are today, in kind of a different light."

 

Runberg says forecasts can be tricky so he doesn’t want to sound too optimistic; however, he believes the region won't experience a serious downturn anytime soon, "Although, it can happen at any time, I suppose. You know, no one ever saw the Great Recession coming; or only a handful of people really projected that one. But, there are no signs locally that we’re going to see that happen." 
 
Local unemployment rates are slowly climbing after a year of steady declines and some have blamed last winter’s extreme weather and the summer’s wildfire smoke and haze. But Runberg doesn’t expect those to cause long-term impacts. "I think, in general, some of these weather events can often be over-stated – their impact on the employment outcomes, as well as the impact you have on production, like Gross Domestic Product." He says the Professional sector is driving the region’s continued expansion, not Leisure and Hospitality, which saw the deepest impacts from this year’s weather. "We normally see a drop in our Leisure sector of about 6% in September; we saw a drop of about 8.5%. But, ultimately those jobs were seasonal and a lot of them were parttime and were going to be lost anyway, whether we moved into later September and October."
 
The Economic Forecast Breakfast at the Riverhouse Convention Center will also look at business lending trends and how Bend’s planning decisions influence the economy. It begins at 7 a.m., Wednesday. Click HERE for ticket information. 
 
Photo: 2016 Economic Forecast Breakfast, Courtesy Bend Chamber of Commerce


BEND, OR -- A downtown Bend cafe is set to reopen Tuesday, after a grease fire forced the evacuation and closure of the restaurant on Monday.

 

The blaze broke out at about 10 a.m. at Mother’s Downtown Kitchen, next to the Oxford Hotel. Bend Fire Battalion Chief Dave Howe tells KBND News an employee was heating up a large pot of cooking oil when a small amount of water caused a big problem. "When you heat cooking oil, it gets way, way hotter than water – you know, it’s 400 to 500-degrees.  And, any foreign material or any water that happens to fly in there and hit will make a certain amount of the oil vaporize. The flame underneath the pot ignites that and the whole thing ignites. A ball of fire came roaring out from underneath the hood."

 
He estimates it caused about $30,000 in damage, but he says it could've been much worse, "The sprinkler system went off and put off a lot of water. The water’s been sitting in that system for years, so it’s basically probably contaminated all the food that was out, so there’s lost revenue." He adds, "It was starting to burn some of the papers that were taped to the hood. Without the sprinkler system, the fire would’ve basically gone unchecked until we got there."
 
For Howe, it's the perfect example of how sprinkler systems are supposed to work. "They put water on the fire in 1/10th of the time it takes the fire department to put it on there and really busy everybody in the building time to escape or do something; and buys us time to get there and actually make a difference."  The sprinkler head in the kitchen put water on the blaze, while the range hood extinguishing system activated and took care of the oil still burning in the pot. Howe says 911 was notified of the blaze by the fire alarm system, as well as a couple of customers. 
 
Employees tell KBND News Mother's Downtown Kitchen will reopen for regular business hours, Wednesday. 

 

 


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Traffic

 

 

  • Click on the link for the latest conditions on the mountain passes.

 

  • Purcell Boulevard Northbound lane between Neff Road and Full Moon Drive (West side of the hospital) is closed until December 20th.

 

  • Nels Anderson Road between Nels Anderson Place and Brandis Court, single northbound shoulder closure will be in effect, two-way traffic to be maintained. Project completion expected December 2017.