REDMOND, OR -- Redmond City Councilors will discuss next week how to work with St. Charles Health System, in response to a proposal to close the Family Birthing Center at the Redmond hospital. Mayor George Endicott says he has drafted a resolution to apply pressure on hospital leaders, "Regardless of the organization, if there is enough of a public outcry, they are going to listen." He acknowledges it's unusual for the city to get involved in decisions made by private companies but, he tells KBND News, this is different, "Because it's a public good. The fact that - in this case, women - but families in general, want to have a place that they feel comfortable, that's close, that's convenient, that has a first-class quality staff to serve them. And, that's what this is all about. I mean, reducing services for such a critical issue is just unacceptable."
At a candidate forum hosted by the Redmond Rotary, Thursday, Mayor Endicott and his opponent in the November election, former Mayor and local attorney Ed Fitch, both fielded questions about the St. Charles proposal. Both agree the center should remain open. Fitch told the crowd, "From my perspective, I think we need to break the monopoly of St. Charles. My recommendation is that we start a discussion about getting the hospital here back from St. Charles, and partner with a regional partner, like Providence. We need competition in healthcare in Central Oregon." He was part of the legal team involved in the 2000 merger, when St. Charles took over the Redmond hospital. He says losing the birthing center violates the spirit of that agreement. Endicott and Fitch both say the community believed the health system would enhance healthcare in the community, not limit services.
The St. Charles Board is expected to decide before the end of the year whether to merge Redmond and Bend birthing centers at the Bend hospital.
BEND, OR -- Reconstruction of 14th Street, on the west side of Bend, is nearing completion and city officials want to celebrate. Work began last spring and featured a major road closure and numerous detours. Project engineer Garrett Sabourin says motorists will be allowed to drive on it by Friday afternoon, "A lot of people probably saw we were just paving last week, striping the road this week, and now we're just trying to finish up the landscaping and get as many workers out of the road before we start sending vehicles down there."
It’s the eighth project funded by a 2011 general obligation (G.O.) bond. Sabourin says everyone is invited to a party, Friday afternoon, "It's really to celebrate the completion of the Transportation general obligation bond, which encompassed several projects across the City, and the opening of 14th street, which is the final G.O bond Project." He tells KBND News, "It'll be a lot of the people who've been involved at the higher level of the project, kind of talking about some of the successes, and the people who've been involved throughout this process, and showing some appreciation to those, as well as the community that's had to deal with the impact that's inherently associated with these construction projects."
The party starts at 3:30 p.m. in the Parilla Grill parking lot near the 14th and Galveston roundabout. "At the end of the celebration here, a formal or official ribbon cutting, followed by pulling all the signs back and opening it up to traffic." Sabourin says a few final touches are still needed, "We'll be done, as far as most people will see. There'll be some small punch list items to still do, but once we open the road, it's open, though. We're not going to reclose the road, by any means."
PRINEVILLE, OR -- A Crook County man faces numerous sex abuse charges, after his alleged victim contacted the Sheriff’s office to report she had been assaulted, this month.
On Thursday, Detectives executed a search warrant for a home on NW Vista View Lane, north of Prineville, where she said the assault occurred. They also searched a neighboring property on Mint Lane. The investigation led to the arrest of 40-year-old Timothy Evans. He's accused of Rape in the first degree, Unlawful Sexual Penetration in the first degree, Sex Abuse in the first degree and a probation violation.
REDMOND, OR -- A fire that started in shrubs in front of a Redmond townhome caused about $500 in damage, Thursday afternoon. Fire crews responded to the home near NW 27th and Cedar Ave just after 4:30 p.m. and found two neighbors using fire extinguishers on the flames, which extended 20' into the air.
Firefighters were able to quickly knock down the fire and say it did not extend inside the two-story townhome. Redmond Fire officials say the investigation continues into the cause of the blaze.
LA PINE, OR -- La Pine Mayor Dennis Scott is not running for re-election, citing health issues. That means the city's top job is up for grabs. The two candidates running in November share a love of La Pine, but have different visions for its future.
City Councilor Connie Briese tells KBND News, "Paying attention to the values that La Pine was incorporated on, so keeping it small, even though we are going to grow, but keeping that feeling of we're still a small town." She says she wants to make sure, "What we do, when we grow, we are looking at all those things that are important to us." Briese says while on Council she's been working on the city's future, and wants to continue, "Part of what I intend on doing is just making sure that the projects that are currently going on keep moving forward at a good pace, and that we're paying attention to what our goals were in achieving those projects."
Businessman and Marine Corp veteran Dan Richer says growth is inevitable, but can be well-managed, "We really don't want to be a metropolis. We enjoy the type of lifestyle that we have here, but we also would like a few conveniences in our town." And, he says, he'd like to see La Pine become a destination point, "For events and for tourism, bring in some business as people pass through, it would be nice if they stopped and enjoyed our restaurants, shopped in our stores, visited our items that are just unique to La Pine." He tells KBND News, "It would be very nice to direct growth in a beneficial manner for La Pine. We don't need to increase our tax base, we have a very strong sense of community here."
Both Candidates took part in a breakfast forum, Friday morning, hosted by the La Pine Chamber at the Senior Center. Click HERE for more on the November Election.
REDMOND, OR -- A convicted sex offender is on the run and detectives are asking for the public’s help to find him. Redmond Police Lt. Curtis Chambers says Michael Bremont was indicted last year on new Sex Abuse charges, and ordered to wear a GPS ankle bracelet until his trial, which was set to start next week. "On Wednesday," Chambers says,
"Redmond Police were notified the ankle bracelet Mr. Bremont was wearing appeared to be tampered with." They recovered the bracelet, but not the suspect. "The investigation revealed that Mr. Bremont, who is now going by the name of Michael Tallman, may have fled the area or is about to flee the state." He's also known to use the name Jacob Straib.
Lt. Chambers says, "Mr. Tallman has been previously convicted of Sex Abuse in the second degree, after engaging in a sexual relationship with underage students at the Redmond Proficiency Academy; a school in which he helped found and directed." He served his time for that conviction, but was indicted on ten new counts last year after another victim came forward to report crimes that allegedly occurred several years ago. That trial was scheduled to begin Tuesday.
Anyone who knows where he is should call Deschutes County non-emergency dispatch at 541-693-6911, or their local law enforcement.
MILWAUKEE, WI -- The FBI in Oregon is asking for tips if anyone has information about the disappearance of Wisconsin girl. Jayme Closs has been missing since Monday, when her parents were found shot to death in their home in Barron, WI. She's 13 years old and has green eyes, blonde or strawberry-blonde hair, weights 100 pounds and is 5' tall.
The FBI doesn't have information that she's in Oregon, specifically, but they're distributing the missing persons alert nationwide.
BEND, OR -- The city of Bend is working to identify needs and priorities on issues like homelessness, housing and community development. Affordable Housing Coordinator Rachael Egan Baker says, "We’re looking for feedback to determine the needs and how to address them. And, results from this survey will help define funding goals for the next five years." Click HERE to participate in the survey.
It asks several questions like, "Are we in need of more emergency shelters? Are we in need of more different types of housing? Are we in need of more job training?" Egan Baker tells KBND News, "This source of money is available from many different kinds of opportunities and we need the community to help define or identify what it needs."
Creating a plan for future Community Development Block Grants is required by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Egan Baker says it's a lengthy process by design, "We’ll take those survey results and we’ll discuss them at our Affordable Housing Advisory Committee meetings and compile those results; then that will help identify, moving forward, the strategies and goals that we will draft and present to the public in the spring, in addition to the community meetings where we will also be gathering information." The online survey is available through November 30.
BEND, OR -- Bend's City Council has agreed to send a request to Oregon's Department of State Lands (DSL), asking for the release of hundreds of acres on the southeast end of town. Officials say it would be best used for a multi-use development, including single- and multi-family housing, public facilities, and commercial and industrial sites.
City Manager Eric King says sending a letter to the DSL is the first step in freeing the land from state control, "The City recently expanded its Urban Growth Boundary, which is the land that the city can urbanize; and we expanded our boundary by about 10% a few years ago. So, now we're in the process of bringing that land inside the city for needed jobs and housing units. And some of that land is under public ownership." He says, "This particular tract is owned by the State Division of Lands."
King tells KBND News, "One challenge that we, of course, have in Bend is that our housing prices are escalating rapidly. And one way to attack that is through increasing supply. So we need that land that's been in that expanded Urban Growth Boundary to be developed so it can take some of that pressure off."
He believes a formal request from the city is s the best way to get the state to take action, "Do your part getting this land more market ready. Most likely, it would be selling the property." The state doesn't typically develop infrastructure to create shovel ready lots, so releasing the 225-acre parcel from state control would allow local developers to get started, "What we're just encouraging the agency to do, they've got lots of inventory of land all over the state, and we want to make it be known that there's an acute housing crisis in Bend."
The state held land is located on Stevens Road, south of Reed Market Road, with frontage on 27th Street. Council approved the letter (below) at Wednesday night's meeting.
Subject: DSL Section 11 Land, Bend, Oregon (Stevens Road Tract)
Dear Director Walker,
Congratulations on your recent appointment. We want to provide an update on the City of Bend’s progress in implementing its recently approved urban growth boundary expansion (UGB). Further, we want to request your help with taking measures to see that the Stevens Road property is developed to meet our community’s growing needs.
In December of 2016, after a nearly 10-year effort, the City received approval from the Department of Land Conservation and Development to expand the UGB by approximately 2400 acres. As you are likely aware, approximately 225 acres of land owned by DSL was included in Bend’s UGB expansion. The DSL Stevens Road property is located on Bend’s east side with frontage on 27th Street.
The UGB expansion areas will provide room for Bend’s various land needs through 2028. However, not all expansion areas were created equal and some have better access to the necessary infrastructure than others. This is where the Stevens Road Property stands out. The DSL land is ideally situated because it has the essential off-site sewer and transportation infrastructure in place to allow development of the property quickly.
The City’s Comprehensive Plan policies has planned the Stevens Road property as a complete community with a mix of uses. The property is planned to contain a mix of single family, multi-family, public facilities, commercial and industrial lands. Specific to housing, the land is planned for 11% single family attached housing and at least 41% multifamily and duplex/triplex housing types, which is about 1,000 desperately needed housing units.
The Bend City Council is especially sensitive to our current housing shortage, which spans across the spectrum of home types – from affordable to work force to higher-end market rate housing. Any efforts to get land developed for a mix of housing is key to providing a solution to those needs and the DSL land provides a great opportunity for a mix of housing needed in Bend.
Please consider this letter as a friendly request to expedite DSL’s efforts to see that the 225 acres is developed in concert with Bend’s Comprehensive Plan polices. Further, be assured that our city staff is available to discuss options with your staff to best prepare
the property for its eventual development. As the fastest growing city in Oregon, DSL’s help in providing land for residential, institutional, and employment purposes will greatly benefit current & future Bend residents as well as the state’s Common School Fund.
Thank you for your assistance. Please contact our City Manager, Eric King with any questions you may have.
Mayor Casey Roats
on behalf of the Bend City Council
REDMOND, OR -- Redmond Police have seen a spike in reports of stolen cars, this month. One vehicle taken from Redmond earlier this week was recovered with two suspects asleep inside. Redmond Police Lt. Curtis Chambers says they’ve handled six cases already this month, "Five of which were stolen, one was recovered for another agency. That’s significant because we’re only halfway through the month where, on average, for the last 3.5 years, we’ve been at 6.5 stolen vehicles every month."
While it’s difficult to point to an exact reason behind the increase, Lt. Chambers says most are crimes of opportunity, likely involving unlocked vehicles, "Most individuals who are out stealing cars don’t want to chance breaking a window or taking the time it takes to wire up a car or use some other means, other than a key, to start the vehicle. Very few individuals are out targeting or trafficking stolen vehicles." The good news, he says, is that - unlike in the movies - many are eventually recovered with little or no damage, "Very rarely do we come across a stripped, burned out stolen vehicle; that does not happen very often." That's because many car thieves are either trying to get to another town, which leads to their recovery in other jurisdictions, or they want a joy-ride; in many cases, those vehicles are found disabled on the outskirts of town.
The bad news, according to Lt. Chambers, is that stopping repeat offenders is now more difficult. In 2014, an Appeals Court ruled that prosecutors must prove a suspect knew they were driving a stolen car. Chambers tells KBND News that makes it tough to earn a conviction for "Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle" without a confession, "If we can’t hold people accountable for a felony level crime and see them be convicted, ultimately, it becomes more and more difficult to get them to change their ways or force them to change their ways." The state Legislature considered a fix during the last session but it never made it to a vote. Chambers is hopeful it will pass in 2019.
CULVER, OR -- Voters in Central Oregon's smallest incorporated city have a big choice to make in November. Two candidates are running for Mayor; an incumbent with years of experience or a concerned citizen new to politics. The Jefferson County town is home to fewer than 1,500 residents.
Mayor Nancy Diaz says she wants to finish what she started. She joined the City Council in 2009 and was elected Mayor in 2014. "There's things that Culver City Council has been working on, that I'd like to see through, says Diaz, "When I came on board, we were working on the storm water issue. I want to be able to, at least, finish that."
But challenger Ginger Gann says citizens aren't being properly represented, "It's what the people of Culver say. And that's one of the things that's been on the back burner for a couple of years." Gann tells KBND News, "I never expected to get into politics in my entire life, before this. This is one of those deals where I want the people heard."
In Central Oregon, La Pine, Bend and Redmond also have contested Mayoral races. Click HERE to learn more about the candidates.
BEND, OR -- Bend City Councilor Nathan Boddie has been officially sanctioned by his peers. Councilor Barb Campbell read a statement at Wednesday night’s meeting saying Boddie’s recent conduct on social media violates several Council rules, including maintaining the highest standard of ethical conduct.
The move to censure came after Boddie - currently running for Bend's state House seat - posted a statement to Facebook in defense of sexual misconduct allegations leveled against him. He reportedly then blocked some people and deleted their negative comments.
Campbell acknowledged the post was made on Boddie’s personal account, but she says because it’s frequently used to address city business, he can’t restrict public access. Councilors first discussed censure in July. But, at that time, they determined the allegations alone did not violate Council rules. Wednesday's motion was unanimously approved by the five other Councilors present: Campbell, Sally Russell, Bill Moseley, Bruce Abernethy and Justin Livingston. Mayor Casey Roats did not attend the meeting.
Full text of the Censure Motion:
The City Council believes that it should support and foster an atmosphere that is welcoming, non-discriminatory, respectful and non-sexist, and open to all viewpoints regardless of whether or not we agree. As local leaders, city councilors are expected to model the types of communication and civic engagement we wish to encourage in our community. In responding via Facebook posts in an aggressive and personally attacking manner to a complaint of sexual harassment by a female community member who regularly appears before this body, and allegedly engaging in viewpoint discrimination by blocking people or deleting posts on his personal website used, in part, to address City issues and Council business, Councilor Nathan Boddie crossed a line. Setting aside the merits of the past claim which is not before this body, the decision to respond as he did was his current choice to make.
Therefore, the City Council believes that Councilor Nathan Boddie violated the following Council Rules: Council members shall maintain the highest standard of ethical conduct and assurance of fair and equal treatment of all persons coming before council (Rule 1.040); Council members shall conduct themselves so as to bring credit upon the government by respecting the rule of law (Rule (1.050); Council members will not deny access to social media used in an official capacity to any individual based in whole or in part on content or viewpoint (Rule 2.105). These rules are all intended to hold Councilors accountable to each other and to the community we serve. This action is taken under Rule 2.110 to protect the integrity of Council and discipline the member with a public reprimand. It is not done lightly, but we believe it is important to express the Council’s view of an unacceptable response to a difficult issue and its desire to set a higher standard in Bend.
BEND, OR -- A Wednesday afternoon fire in southwest Bend caused about $170,000 in damage, but the home was spared.
The blaze broke out in an attached garage on Mount Hope Lane, at about 12:25 p.m. It destroyed two cars parked in front of the garage, but officials say the drywall between the garage and main house can resist fire for an hour and was key to keeping flames from spreading.
Two people and their pets escaped unharmed; the cause of the fire was undetermined.
BEND, OR -- A suspect is in custody following a several hours-long stand-off in a southeast Bend mobile home park. Officers initially responded to the home on SE Brosterhous at about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, for a reported roommate dispute.
They say the man – later identified as 37-year-old Tyler Scott – broke a window throwing things; at one point he came outside and threw a hammer at a police Lieutenant, narrowly missing the officer. Scott then quickly retreated to the home and refused to come out. Police helped a woman get out safely, and another man came out on his own.
Negotiators spent several hours trying to deescalate the situation, but Scott refused commands until the Central Oregon Emergency Response Team (CERT) sent chemical agents into the house. He was taken into police custody and went to the hospital for evaluation. Scott is accused of Menacing, Unlawful Use of a Weapon, Attempted Assault of a Public Safety Officer and Attempted Assault II.
Photo: Google Earth
PRINEVILLE, OR -- The Crook County School District is struggling to recoup $41,000 in unpaid lunch debt, accrued by 681 students. Finance Director Anna Logan says the district has warned parents they could be sent to collections, but so far, that's a threat with no teeth. She hopes there's another way to get the debt paid, "In talking with the collections representative, I just didn't realize the impact it would have on families as far as they will have their wages garnished, potentially, they'll have court costs, there are a lot of impacts that can happen."
Schools aren't allowed to tell the student there's no money in their account because of House Bill 3454, known as the "Anti Lunch-Shaming" law, passed last year by the Legislature. They can only talk with parents. And, Logan says, the debt continues to grow, "Some people just aren't going to pay their bills. It's a sad reality and it's not something I can fix. it's just the way it is."
It's a sticky situation, she says, because HB-3454 created unintended consequences, "Really, what happens is, revenue goes down if the money doesn't come in. So, when people don't pay, we have less money to work with. And, over time, we do have to start considering, 'what do we cut'?" She tells KBND News, "What it comes down to is, we're here to serve the student, and we don't want to inflict any emotional harm on students. On the flip side, we still have costs and we need to cover those costs."
Logan hopes the lack of funds won't result in a decrease of food quality or a reduction in staffing, "It's just a really hard situation to be in. We're not facing that today, but it's a potential that we could face it in the future." She adds, "We're going to have to revisit it because our balances keep growing; and if there's absolutely no recourse other than collections, that may have to be the direction that we go."
BEND, OR -- The water level of Mirror Pond, in downtown Bend, is a couple of feet lower than it should be.
Tom Gaunt, with Pacific Power, says an employee discovered a problem with a wooden panel inside the 100-year-old dam that helps form Mirror Pond, "A special little passage area – a gate – to allow ice and other things to pass through. It was sealed up 25 years ago, and after the passage of time and the river, more water was going through it; it had developed a leak." He tells KBND News, "The fix, which we have done all along the face of the dam over the past several years, is to insert some sheets of metal right up against the dam, so that it basically keeps any water from flowing through. And, obviously, it’s a lot more resilient than the wood that had been there. And, that’s going to take a little while to get going." Similar work was done in 2008, 2009 and 2014 after other small leaks were discovered.
PacifiCorps is working now to secure the proper permits for the job, which includes bringing in a crane to install those steel "sheet piles." Gaunt says it must be done, "You wouldn’t be able to regulate the real level of the dam, which is essential for Mirror Pond, and the reason the dam is there is to generate hydro-power." He says power generation would be impacted if the water level continues to drop, "It’s been about two feet below the level of normal; maybe four free, depending upon how things come and go."
He expects the work to begin in early November and last about four weeks. The dam is located near the Newport Ave. bridge.
BEND, OR -- Candidates for Deschutes County Commissioner, Position One appeared together Tuesday to discuss the big issues and their campaigns, with KBND News. Incumbent Republican Tony DeBone is running for re-election; he's served on the Board of County Commissioners since 2011. His challenger, Democrat Amy Lowes, is a political newcomer.
With pot measures on the Culver and Sisters ballot, this November, Marijuana is again a disputed issue among local candidates. DeBone says he's proud of the way he and his fellow Commissioners have re-evaluated county code, "I do support basically the package we’re finishing deliberating right now, so we did do that recently. We removed the MUA10-Multiple Use Agriculture 10 – zone from the opportunity and we changed some set-backs. So, there’s some changes and it is a little bit more restrictive." However, Lowes believes the county should wait to impose more restrictions, to see how legal operations work through the existing process. "A lot of the complaints that the Commissioners are currently hearing are actually complaints about illegal grow operations."
The success of a politician can often come down to "who you know." But, Lowes says it's time for new relationships to move the county forward, "The way that our government was set up to work was that one person doesn’t stay in one position too long. So, there tend be relationships that get built over time when people are actually serving each other’s interests rather than serving the interest of the people." DeBone believes his local, state and federal relationships benefit the county, "I was on the Park and Recreation District Board in La Pine and I had the relationships around Sisters, Redmond and Bend from that. That is exactly where I started, was those low-level community relationships county-wide."
With still nearly three weeks until the election, we already know the make-up of Deschutes County's Board of Commissioners will change, since long-time Commissioner Tammy Baney lost her Position Three primary in May. KBND News asked DeBone and Lowes whether they would get along with the full board, regardless of who wins. DeBone replied, "Absolutely; I’m currently a Commissioner. I’ve worked with a few now, but my style is ‘let’s get it done'." And, Lowes said, "I absolutely do as well. We’ve been asked multiple times if we think this should be a partisan role. I do not think that this should be a partisan role. I think we need to sit at the table, work collaboratively with each other and compromise in order to keep moving forward." To hear our full conversation with DeBone and Lowes, visit our Podcast Page.
Position Three candidates Republican Patti Adair and Democrat James Cook will join KBND News together, next Monday. And, DeBone, Lowes, Adair and Cook will participate in a candidate forum hosted by the Sunriver Chamber of Commerce, Thursday morning. Click HERE for event details.
BEND, OR -- The Central Oregon Community College student-run newspaper put out its last edition in early June; or so everyone thought. President Shirley Metcalf shut down The Broadside based on the findings of a task force, which showed student readership and involvement were down, making the program no longer cost effective.
She's now asked Director of Student and Campus Life Andrew Davis to lead a workgroup to take another look. He tells KBND News, "We'd like to reconsider this decision; take a closer look - or maybe a second look, if you will, to see if there are other options, maybe other methods that we could institute in order to help The Broadside restart and be functional moving forward." He believes the paper teaches students skills they'll need whether they go into journalism or not, "Hard and soft skills, showing up on time, listening to the direction of the supervisor, also being able to be free thinking, and figure out how to problem solve on their own."
Davis says the group will ask questions to get the big picture, "Is there a way to more closely align it with instructional courses that would be training students to work at The Broadside?" And, "Is there a way to structure this that would make it appeal to students? What's the feasibility of that? How could we implement it and then, how could we evaluate it?"
The task force will begin meeting next week, and Davis hopes they'll have options for COCC's Board of Directors to consider by the middle of winter term.
BEND, OR -- Two alleged thieves were found napping inside a stolen car, just outside Bend, Tuesday.
Just before 11 a.m., a witness reported a suspicious car parked near Highway 97 and Suzanne Lane. When Deputies arrived, they ran the plates and determined the Cadillac Escalade had been reported stolen from Redmond on Monday; while checking the car, they discovered two people sleeping inside.
Deputies performed a high-risk traffic stop and ordered 18-year-old Autumn Blundell, of Redmond, and 21-year-old Shawn Ison, of Crooked River Ranch, out of the car. Both complied and were arrested without incident. They're charged with Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle.
Redmond Police say the the Escalade was the fifth vehicle stolen this month. Coincidentally, RPD recovered a stolen VW Beetle in southwest Redmond, Tuesday, that had been reported stolen from the county on Sunday.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- The Bureau of Reclamation is releasing less water from Bowman Dam, due to conditions at Prineville Reservoir. Federal officials say reducing fish and wildlife winter flows from 65 to 50 cubic feet per second means less available Chinook and steelhead habitat. But, they believe it’s a necessary step to conserve water for the future.
The decision was made last week with coordination from the US Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA Fisheries, based on dry conditions experienced in recent months, which are expected to continue.
Arthur R. Bowman Dam is on the Crooked River, about 20 miles southeast of Prineville.
BEND, OR -- The race for Oregon's next Governor continues to heat up, with the most recent polls showing incumbent Kate Brown neck-and-neck with her challenger, Bend State Representative Knute Buehler. Buehler is pleased with his campaign's progress, "All the polls the last two months - eight weeks or so - have been always within the margin of error. Sometimes we're a little bit up, sometimes we're a little bit behind." He adds, "Over the weekend, we got a big endorsement from the Oregonian." He calls that decision by the Oregonian's editorial board to endorse him over a seated governor "unprecedented," and tells KBND News, "There is strong desire for change all across the state."
Dr. Buehler says, in the last three weeks of the campaign, it's coming down to specific issues for voters. Issues like vaccines. In a recent televised debate, Buehler said parents should have more latitude to exempt kids from vaccines. He says his view comes from his training as a physician, "I think people should get vaccines; they should get their kids vaccinated. But, I do not think that it's the role of government to force parents to vaccinate their kids." At the debate, Governor Brown said some parents are given too much leeway; and, according to OregonLive, three medical organizations want Buehler to retract his statement. But, he says he's firm in his opinion, "For me, it's never a good idea for the government to force people to do something. That's not the role of government, especially if you're forcing parents to do something to their kids that they don't agree with. That's not a sound policy." Current Oregon law allows parents to exempt their children from any or all vaccines.
He says Oregon hasn't seen a Governor's race this close in a long time and says his message of collaboration resonates with voters, "I just have a lot of people who are Independents and even Democrats saying, 'You know, I've never voted for a Republican before, but I'm going to vote for you'."
Ballots will be mailed Wednesday and should start arriving in mailboxes on Friday.
BEND, OR -- More than four months after Sara Gomez’s body was found 20 miles east of Bend, the state Medical Examiner says her cause of death could not be determined. But, her manner of death was homicide.
The 24-year-old woman's body was discovered in late May, wrapped in a tarp, comforter, blanket, foam mattress and an inflatable raft – secured by duct tape. The M.E. noted her body was in an advanced state of decomposition, which the Deschutes County District Attorney says reaffirms his belief that Gomez was killed by her ex-boyfriend in February. Bryan Penner was last seen with Gomez February 18; he was arrested four days later. Penner committed suicide while in custody in March.
D.A. John Hummel issued a statement Monday, saying, "The Medical Examiner's report brings this matter to a close for law enforcement: there is no doubt that Bryan Penner killed Sara Gomez. Of course, the closure of this case by law enforcement does not bring closure to Sara's family. They will live every day with the memory of the strong, smart and beloved member of their family who was taken from them. I hope they take some solace in knowing that Sara's spirit will live on in this community long after Bryan Penner is but a distant memory."
REDMOND, OR -- More than 50 people packed into a meeting room at the Redmond Library, Monday night, to discuss a proposal by St. Charles Health System to close the Family Birthing Center (FBC) at its Redmond Hospital. The Oregon Nurses Association hosted the event, providing a petition in support of the department and handing out flyers encouraging people to contact St. Charles President Joe Sluka and ask him to save the FBC.
St. Charles Chief Operating Officer Iman Simmons tells KBND News they're looking at several options that would lower costs for patients. But Kelly Telfer, a Labor and Delivery nurse in Redmond for five years, doesn’t believe it will save money, "If you go to the Redmond ER and you’re in labor, they’re going to call an ambulance and you’re going to get transported in an ambulance to Bend, and then have that additional expense." Telfer delivered all three of her babies at the Redmond hospital and is now pregnant with her fourth. She worries about the increased danger of forcing expectant mothers to drive to Bend or Madras, "The risk for having a baby in the car or the back of an ambulance, or delivering at home, increases exponentially the farther you have to drive, of course. And, the more babies you have, the more likely you are to have faster labors and deliver in a situation that isn’t ideal to deliver a baby in, which is what we want to try and prevent."
Nurse Amber Loredo has worked at the Redmond FBC for seven years. She also worries about the increased travel time, "If it is closed and then taken to Bend, there will be patients, like myself – I live in Culver, who would never make it to Bend; which then could put mom and baby at risk." She acknowledges the Madras hospital is an option, but says many Jefferson County moms choose to deliver in Redmond because of its excellent reputation. Telfer agrees the Madras birthing center provides good care, but it has struggled in recent years, including closing for six months in 2015, due to a nursing shortage. "I think that it’s going to take a significant investment to develop the Labor and Delivery program in Madras and get it back on its feet again," says Telfer.
Many of the nurses who spoke at Monday night's event talked about the unique care they provide patients. Loredo tells KBND News they're able to offer moms more options than the hospitals in Bend and Madras, "They do not have nurse midwives currently in Bend. They did have them when I was actually going to nursing school. But, shortly after that – I’m not sure what the logistics were – but, all the nurse midwives left St. Charles Bend." She says many expectant mothers seek out the Redmond hospital because of the complimentary partnership between the nurse midwives in the area and St. Charles OB/GYNs. She has heard talk the Bend FBC would reopen to midwives, but that hasn't been determined.
Both Telfer and Loredo say they're also worried about their co-workers, and the team atmosphere they enjoy at the Redmond hospital. St. Charles officials say if they approve consolidation, no jobs will be lost. But, the nurses say there aren't enough Labor and Delivery positions in Bend and Madras to absorb the 29 Registered Nurses currently working at Redmond's Family Birthing Center. They believe that means nurses will be asked to shift to other departments, for which they aren't trained.
St. Charles' Iman Simmons tells KBND News a final decision isn't expected until the end of the year and, if the Redmond center closes, it wouldn't shutter for months after that. However, the Oregon Nurses Association says a "private vote" on the issue is expected Wednesday. Lisa Goodman, with St. Charles Health System, says the Executive Team will meet Wednesday to decide which option to recommend to the Board of Directors. But, she says, the final decision can only come from a vote of the full board, which is expected at a later time.
Photos: (top) courtesy Deena Fitzpatrick. (upper right) Nurses recount their own birth experience, and what it's like to work at the Redmond Family Birthing Center.
LA PINE, OR -- More prescribed burns are planned for Central Oregon, this week. If conditions allow, the Deschutes National Forest will ignite 300 acres Monday, and another 743 acres on Tuesday, near Hole in the Ground, 22 miles southeast of La Pine. The operations will cause smoke that may be visible from the Fort Rock area.
Also Tuesday, the Ochoco National Forest expects to burn the 409-acre "Lunch 1" unit, east of the Highway 26-Country Road 23 junction, two miles up Duncan Creek Road. Fire crews plan to burn the "slash" leftover from a thinning operation.
Later this week, crews plan to ignite the "Canyon 20" unit, which is 371 acres, a half mile west of Walton Lake. That operation will likely occur Thursday.
All operations are weather permitting.
BEND, OR -- Several local builders are now working with Central Oregon Community College to develop a construction training program. Kirby Nagelhout Construction President Jeff Deswert says it’s necessary to address the shortage of qualified workers, "Coming out of the recession, the problem has just grown and so we’re all faced with it industry-wide." His is one of several companies now working with COCC and Continuing Education Program Manager Rachel Knox. She tells KBND News, "Really what we’re seeing is, employers coming to us and saying ‘we really want your help and we want to help you deliver the education that’s going to be the most relevant for our industry’."
The first class began earlier this month. Knox says they're starting with basic skills, "It includes everything from how to read a tape measure to how to actually show up on time for a job and be a really good worker." Deswert adds, "We’re saying that this is more of an apprenticeship program-leaning thing; although, that’s not the term we’re using for it. But, it’s a variation to going to traditional college." He says it's important to appeal to people who might not think they're able to attend traditional college, or who just aren't interested in spending a lot of time in the classroom. The new program is capped at 14 students so everyone gets hands-on opportunities, although Knox hopes it will eventually expand, "What we’re hoping to do is provide a higher bar for the employers so that when they’re hiring, they can say, ‘Yeah, we do want someone who we don’t have to spend as much time and money doing on the job training’."
Deswert says he never imagined he would be a college instructor. But, "Two weeks into it, it’s absolutely a blast," he says, "It’s much harder than you would imagine." SunWest Builders owner Steve Buettner is also teaching courses in the pilot program, and Knox says Griffin Construction, Hayden Homes and other local builders are involved, as well.
CULVER, OR -- Culver voters will decide in November, whether to lift the ban on marijuana dispensaries inside city limits. The City Council supports continuing the current moratorium on pot businesses, as does Jefferson County Sheriff Jim Adkins. But, Mayor Nancy Diaz says, "It's totally up to the voters."
However, even if voters do agree allowing the industry into the city, Mayor Diaz says, "Someone would have to find a place where it would fit, and off the top of my head and without a map in front of me, I can't think of a place." That's because there is only roughly one square mile for the small city to work with, and state regulations prohibit pot shops in certain areas, "In order to put a dispensary in Culver, and nothing in the residential area, is going to be very difficult to find a place that one will fit." And, there's the issue of schools, "We have the school district inside the city limits, and as you know, there can be nothing within, I believe, it's 1,000' of a school."
A "yes" vote on Measure 16-90 would keep pot businesses out of Culver. A "no" vote would lift the current ban and allow them to open in areas permitted by state law. Mayor Diaz tells KBND News, "If [voters] say, 'Let's have pot in Culver,' then that's going to happen, if someone can find a spot where it will fit. If they say, 'No, we don't want it,' then that's what's going to happen."
Culver is one of two local cities to consider lifting its ban on legal pot businesses. Sisters voters will decide a similar issue. For more coverage of the November election, click HERE.
TUMALO, OR -- The Deschutes County District Attorney has released some details of Friday's deputy-involved shooting, north of Bend, which sent a suspect to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
D.A. John Hummel says Three deputies and two recruits in training arrived at the property at about 10:45 a.m., "Deschutes County Deputies went to the Funny Farm, located between Bend and Redmond. They were there to serve a warrant on a suspect; they had a felony arrest warrant for a parole violation." That suspect, 33-year-old Brandon Berrett was reportedly staying with his father. Hummel says when deputies contacted Berrett, he tried to flee, "He hopped in his car and attempted to flee. An officer fired his service revolver, and struck the suspect twice. The suspect was immediately rushed to St. Charles Hospital." Deputy Chris Jones was later identified as the deputy who shot Berrett. He has 17 years of law enforcement experience and has worked for DCSO since 2007. Hummel says Dep. Jones is a trained instructor of defensive tactics, use of a taser and use of force.
A Bend Police forensic drone was deployed during the ongoing investigation, "We're fortunate that the surface area where this happened was dirt, but it was soft dirt, so there's lots of footprints," Hummel tells KBND News, "That helps the forensic team determine where everyone was standing at the relevant time. So we've taken the shoes from everyone who was there, every witness, every deputy, and then we can compare those to the marks on the ground; so that's going to be very helpful." He adds, "Numerous people were there and either saw or heard something, so I'm confident that we'll be able to figure out exactly what the facts were. And then at that point, once I know the facts, I'll conduct a legal analysis and make a decision."
The Tri-County Major Incident Team is conducting the investigation, led by State Police and in cooperation with the D.A.'s office.
REDMOND, OR -- A 34-year-old Redmond man was arrested fro drunk driving, Saturday night, after he crashed his pickup into a canal. Officers first saw the pickup on a section of Southwest Canal Boulevard currently closed for construction.
The driver sped away from police but the pickup was found a few minutes later, after it crashed into the nearby COID canal. When officers approached, they say the Anthony Castaneda was still trying to drive the truck, despite being partially submerged in the water.
Firefighters conducted a water rescue and pulled out the driver; it took several more hours to safely remove the pickup. Castaneda was evaluated by medics prior to going to jail.
BEND, OR -- The Deschutes County Sheriff's Office says a suspect was shot by a Deputy, Friday morning, but is expected to survive. Authorities say Deputies were at a home near Pleasant Ridge Drive, between Bend and Redmond, to locate and arrest a suspect on an outstanding felony warrant. The suspect was shot just before 10:45 a.m. and was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The Deputy involved was not hurt.
The Tri-County Major Incident Team is investigating, led by Oregon State Police. The northbound onramp to Highway 97, east of the highway remains closed due to the high number of emergency vehicles and drivers are asked to continue to avoid the area.
DCSO says further details will be released by the Deschutes County District Attorney's office, in coordination with OSP.
BURNS, OR -- The Burns Paiute Tribal Council is set to purchase the Oregon Army National Guard Armory in Burns, as part of a $250,000 agreement with the Oregon Military Department. The tribe plans to turn the property on Fairview Ave. into a community wellness center.
The Burns Armory has been vacant since 2013. According to the Military Department, "At that time, there were only eight Oregon Army National Guard soldiers living in Burns assigned to a 21-person engineer unit." The other soldiers in the unit lived in and around Bend. A year prior, the unit began training at the Bend Armory.
The Legislature approved the sale of the Burns Armory in 2017. The tribe will pay $225,000 up front, and then $5,000 each year for five years.
BEND, OR -- The Bend Neighborhood Coalition will host a forum for Bend's Mayoral and City Council candidates, this weekend. Steering Committee chair Bill Bernardy says every available candidate will be there, "This is the only forum that will focus specifically on the topic of livability. In fact the Theme, if you will, of the forum is posed in the form of a question, and that is: Will Bend Stay Livable As It Grows?" He says the City has grown about 20% in the last dozen years, and is expected to grow by another third in the next dozen, "A lot of the policies in Bend date to a time when there were literally only about 20,000 people in town, and as the city grows, we think it needs to grow up." Bernardy tells KBND News, "Our position has been that growth and livability are not incompatible,"
Running for Mayor are Councilors Bill Moseley and Sally Russell, local activist Brian Douglass, creator of Global Internet Government Charles Baer, photojournalist Joshua Langlais, and attorney and hemp farmer Michael Hughes. City Council Position Five candidates are Andrew Davis, Gena Goodman-Campbell, and Victor Johnson. And, Position Six candidates are lone incumbent Councilor Barb Campbell, Sarah McCormick and Ron Boozell, who won't attend because he's currently incarcerated. Bernardy expects everyone else to attend Sunday's forum, "We're planning to do two panels because there are so many people. The first hour, we'll put questions to the candidates for Mayor; there are six of them. And the second hour, we'll talk with the candidates for City Council." There will also be time before and after the debate for a "meet and greet" with the candidates. The only way to keep Bend Livable as it grows, Bernardy says, is to review the policies that affect how residents interact with one another, "We think if you care about the town and what it's going to be like going forward, voting for City Council is a good opportunity to have a say."
Sunday's forum starts at 3 p.m. at COCC's Wille Hall. It's free and open to the public. Click HERE for more information. For details of each candidate, visit KBND's Elections 2018 page.
BEND, OR -- OSU-Cascades invites the community to check out the Bend campus during its first every Discovery Day. Vice President Becky Johnson hopes to make it an annual event. "We are inviting the Community on to our campus to see what kind of research our faculty are doing, so there will be talks, there will be activities for kids, there'll be music, there'll be food, and just a chance to actually see the campus."
She says it's a fun opportunity to see how today's college student lives, "Maybe you've never seen what a modern residence Hall room looks like, or eat in our dining hall, and just experience the campus." She tells KBND News it all starts at 10 a.m., Saturday, "I think it's okay to just show up, but probably wouldn't hurt to go check out the webpage, and see what's up." Click HERE for full details.
REDMOND, OR -- Redmond candidates for City Council and Mayor met in a public forum, Thursday, hosted by the Central Oregon Association of Realtors. The six candidates discussed topics like growth, jobs, marijuana and affordable housing.
Incumbent Mayor George Endicott is pleased with the city’s application for a pilot program that could bring more than 480 housing units, if approved by the state. "It’s a 40-acre plot that’s out there on the northeast side of town; which, not only would be a piece of land that’s going to be 50% affordable housing and 50% market rate, it’s destined to be an incubator for the rest of the northeast part Redmond to develop." But, his challenger, attorney and former Mayor Ed Fitch, says the location isn’t right, "You put low income people way down on the northeast side, there’s going to be a problem. How are they going to get around?" He’d prefer to see more development closer to downtown, including improved sidewalks and more apartments.
The four candidates for City Council were asked what sets them apart from the competition. Incumbent Jay Patrick says his 20 years on Council have provided valuable experience, "I have been president of the Council quite often, so I can work with other people." Political newcomer Josefina Riggs believes her diverse background is an asset, while Councilor Jon Bullock says, as Director of Redmond Proficiency Academy, he’s the only one who has managed large, complex organizations. Krisanna Clark-Endicott believes her experience as a Sherwood City Councilor and Mayor will benefit Redmond; although, she confused her cities when presenting some of her ideas, "I’d like to bring a community garden to the city of Sherwood," she went on to say, "It’s a great way for us to be in community with each other."
Under current city ordinance, marijuana businesses are not allowed inside city limits. During Thursday's forum, Fitch stated the city has lost "approximately $60-$80,000 in revenue because of that decision," prompting KBND News to ask all six candidates to clarify their stance on allowing recreational and/or medical marijuana businesses. All would support sending the issue back to Redmond voters, but most are also concerned about future ramifications. Councilor Bullock said the city risks losing federal funding, "Particularly for the airport." That concern was shared by Councilor Patrick. However Fitch doesn’t believe it endangers federal money, "Portland has it, Salem has it, Eugene has it, Bend has it; not one of them have any issue with federal funding. I don’t use it, but I think it should be a choice. And, I do believe that that revenue will help with the police department." Mayor Endicott would rather the federal government regulate medical marijuana like a pharmaceutical, so dispensaries could be done away with; but he believes recreational pot puts the community at risk. His wife, Clark-Endicott added, "I think that it’s not only the actual financial cost, but also the cost with the exposure of recreational marijuana to our children."
For more coverage of the November mid-terms, visit our Elections 2018 page.
Top Photo: (l-r) Mayor George Endicott, Councilor Jay Patrick, Krisanna Clark-Endicott, Councilor Jon Bullock, Josefina Riggs, Ed Fitch
BEND, OR -- Two local animal welfare non-profits are joining forces. The Bend Spay+Neuter Project will become a program of the Humane Society of Central Oregon, under a new agreement announced Thursday.
Bend Spay+Neuter Board Member Marie Melsheimer tells KBND News, "It’s really the perfect partnership for us. We’ve had a very long term relationship with the Humane Society for many years. And, it helps to consolidate animal welfare services in our community and stabilize some of the programs that we offer." She says that stability is key to the organization's work, "We’ve had an interim Executive Director; no permanent Executive Director, we don’t have a Medical Director, right now. And so, just in order to keep providing our services to the community and low-cost spay and neuter and wellness for animals and their people, this just helps to stabilize our services for the future."
Melsheimer says there are no plans to change services, "Everything’s going to remain the same; we’ll still be operating out of our same location at the clinic, and we’ll just be a program underneath the Humane Society umbrella. With this merger, we are able to access all the resources from the Humane Society. It really creates this one bigger organization where people can come for all their needs, when it comes to their pets."
In a statement, HSCO officials agree low-cost animal care services, including spay and neuter surgeries, vaccines and wellness exams will continue at the current clinic on Wilson Avenue. And, "HSCO plans to continue other programs, such as specialty clinics in outlying communities," and they're exploring ways to merge the two organizations' pet food banks.
REDMOND, OR -- A Terrebonne man and his 32-year old son were arrested this week, in connection with a September burglary in Redmond. The Sheriff’s Office says there were initially no leads after the home break-in on Northwest Coyner; thieves took guns, ammunition, tools and credit cards. But, after the victim’s bank called to say the card was used at a local business, surveillance footage led detectives to Nathan Winningham.
The Street Crimes Unit conducted surveillance and obtained a search warrant for the Terrebonne home Winningham shares with his 55-year-old father, Melvin Winningham. Detectives found several stolen firearms, ammunition and paperwork for the burglarized home, along with drugs. The elder Winningham was arrested Monday. He faces several charges, including being a felon in possession of a firearm and meth possession.
The younger Winningham was taken into custody the following day, after a K-9 deputy found him hiding in a bathroom in a northeast Redmond home he was known to frequent. He's charged with burglary, theft, identity theft, fraudulent use of a credit card and violating his probation.
MADRAS, OR -- Jefferson County fire crews responded to two small grass fires, Thursday; and officials say they started with residential open burns that blew out of control in the wind.
The first occurred just after 1 p.m. in Willow Creek Canyon, northwest of Madras. It was contained at about 1.5 acres. The second was about two hours later on Rocky Lane (pictured), northeast of Lake Billy Chinook. Crews stopped it at about an acre.
Despite cooler temperatures and the official end of fire season, local fire officials say fuels are still very dry and the chance of a fire escaping is still high.
CROOKED RIVER RANCH, OR -- Crooked River Ranch voters will decide in November whether to spend 20 more cents per thousand dollars of assessed value to continue funding the fire district. "It's for staffing, and maintenance of equipment, and facilities. It also helps fund our capital improvements." Fire Chief Harry Ward tells KBND News, "There's been a perception that it's all about our staff, and because of PERS and other things went up. "That's a small part of it."
Ward says the district needs up-to-date, working equipment, "We need to have stuff that we can rely on, especially in those situations where somebody's life may depend on the equipment that we have." He says they'll need to replace one of its ambulances in the next 12 to 18 months. "Our current one is almost 10 years old and has almost 100,000 miles on it. With our replacement plan, we want to replace those every so often, so we always have a back up."
He admits people who don't call the ambulance very often may not think about what the district does with their tax dollars, "Sooner or later, I think all of us has had to call an ambulance or call for the fire department or the police department; and those services are here and I think we do a great job."
CRR property owners currently pay a permanent tax rate of $1.83 per $1,000 of assessed value. The current levy due to expire in June of 2019, adds $.69 per $1,000. The 2018 measure would replace that with an $.89 levy for another five years, creating a new total tax rate of $2.72 per $1,000 of assessed property value. "It's so we can provide the best services that we can. We're going to run more calls this year, probably, than we ever have."
For more on the measures included on the November ballot, visit our Elections 2018 page.
REDMOND, OR -- One candidate for Redmond’s City Council is an incumbent running his first campaign. Dr. Jon Bullock is the Director of Redmond Proficiency Academy, one of the state's largest charter schools. He was appointed to Council last November to complete Anne Graham’s term, following her resignation.
Bullock says he’s proud of what he’s accomplished in less than a year, "When I was appointed to City Council, the city was in the midst of a discussion about how to fund officers. We went into the budget process and what I was able to do is ask staff, as well as the budget committee, what their assumptions were relative to the funding and the expenditures. And, in that process, engage folks in a discussion that allowed us to add four additional officers through the budget process." He's pleased they were able to find that funding without imposing a new fee or tax.
He says the biggest issues now facing the city are all connected to the area’s rapid growth. "We need to look at the possibility of mass transit; we’ve got to find ways to move people around. We’ve got to look at housing and, while we’ve got to focus on affordable housing, we have to focus on an entire range of housing that is attractive, so Redmond can remain the best place in Oregon for people to live, to work, to raise a family and to retire."
Bullock is one of four candidates running for three open seats, along with fellow Councilor Jay Patrick, former Sherwood Mayor Krisanna Clark-Endicott and political newcomer Josefina Riggs. They're all expected to take part in a debate, Thursday afternoon, along with Mayor George Endicott and his challenger, Ed Fitch. For Dr. Bullock, this whole process is unique. "I’ve told people that campaigning has been equal parts invigorating and terrifying, and also terrifying and enlightening," he tells KBND News, "I enjoy listening to people, I enjoy talking to people; I’ve made my career out of talking and listening and trying to solve problems. But, campaigning is spending a lot of time and some of your own money to apply for a volunteer position." Thursday's candidate forum starts at 1 p.m. at Geno’s Italian Grill on North Highway 97 in Redmond. For more on the candidates, visit our Elections 2018 page.
BEND, OR -- A unique support program is now available to Central Oregon's new parents looking for "in the moment" support. Heart to Heart founder Sarah Guilfoy says the idea came to her when she felt isolated staying home with her young son, and sometimes struggling, "It is a support line for parents and they can call, text, or email in with any question at all, and receive support." She says grandparents can call too, because no one knows everything there is to know about parenting.
"Heart to Heart is a nonprofit, which means it's all totally free," Guilfoy tells KBND News, "And, we are happy to support parents with any sort of questions at all regarding their children birth to five [years], and that's also parents that are not necessarily biological parents; even grandparents can call in. We welcome any and all calls." She wants parents to reach out and understand they're not alone, "It's not so much only advice, but also support and an empathetic listening ear, which is really key because a lot of parents really struggle with feeling just supported." She says it can be especially difficult, with the inevitable exhaustion that comes with parenting, for a mom or dad to feel confident, "I created this program with the idea that there is no really right way. Let's just support each other, let's create a community for each other." She adds, "In parenting, it's an ongoing learning process. We never, ever get used to parenting and think, 'Okay, I've got this one in the bag'."
Heart to Heart has partnered with Healthy Beginnings to offer the service, and Guilfoy is looking for volunteer advisors. All that's needed is experience as a parent, cell service, and three hours per week of availability. For more information or to apply, email Heart to Heart. Learn more about the program HERE.
BEND, OR -- Dozens of horses seized from a Terrebonne property in March are now ready for adoption from the Deschutes County's rescue ranch. The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office launched a special website Thursday with photos and biographies of the 40 that are available.
Sgt. William Bailey tells KBND News, "Due to the high interest in the horses, we’ll be performing a lottery-type draw system to determine the selection order of prospective adopters. Adoption applications will be accepted through October 19 at 5 p.m. and you can visit our website to download a livestock application." Then, "The week of October 22, we’ll be performing background checks on the applicants. And, on October 26, a lottery draw will determine the order for prospective adopters to select horses from the available horses at the ranch." And, for those not interested in participating in the lottery process, "After November second, any remaining horses that we have available will be open for adoption."
The Sheriff's Office initially seized 83 horses; five had to be euthanized in March. Linda Stream and her daughter Christina Hart pleaded No Contest to animal neglect charges, in September. They now await sentencing. The end of the criminal investigation and prosecution means the remaining 75 animals are no longer considered evidence. Sgt. Bailey says 15 of the horses are headed to an Arabian rescue in California.
Submit completed adoption applications via email or fax them to 541-389-1928. Completed application can also be dropped off during business hours at the main Sheriff’s Office (63333 Highway 20, Bend), or at La Pine and Sisters Substations.
Photos: (top) One of the horses now available for adoption.
(upper right) The condition of some of the horses seized in March.
BEND, OR -- Two Redmond men were taken into custody, early Thursday morning, after a police chase at speeds over 100 miles per hour. The incident started at about 2:30 a.m. when a Bend Police officer attempted to stop a car for a traffic violation, but the vehicle sped away. Once a Sheriff's Deputy was in position to assist, they began to pursue the vehicle.
The Deputy reports the car was westbound on Knott Road, heading toward Deschutes River Woods, when it hit 90 mph. They continued into Deschutes River Woods at speeds varying between 25 and 65 mph, eventually traveling down Baker Road then to the end of Riverwoods Drive. The vehicle turned around and went back toward Highway 97, at one point avoiding police spike strips near the Deschutes River Woods store.
They continued on Highway 97 at speeds in excess of 105 mph, to just south of Cottonwood Road. That's when additional Deputies and officers from Sunriver Police successfully used spike strips to stop the car. They arrested the driver, 23-year-old Jesus Alvino and 29-year-old Bryan Jayson Escobedo. DCSO says both had outstanding warrants for their arrest.
BEND, OR -- Two Bend teens were arrested Wednesday in connection with a convenience store burglary. The US Market at NE 27th and Butler Market Road was broken into late Friday night. Bend Police say surveillance footage showed two males break a window, go inside and take off with merchandise.
A citizen recognized one suspect seen in the video and notified police, Wednesday. That teen was arrested and a search warrant executed, which led to the identity of the second teen and the recovery of the stolen property.
BEND, OR -- Voters’ pamphlets will hit mailboxes as early as Thursday, including information on the candidates, state and local measures, and a list of official ballot drop sites. But, County Clerk Nancy Blankenship says an error slipped through the cracks, in the Deschutes County version, despite their best efforts. "We do have one small discrepancy; I’m not sure how it happened, but for the Sunriver drop site, it reflects the May dates." She tells KBND News, "The drop site in Sunriver will open on Wednesday, October 31 – Halloween, so that’s a day to kind of remember. And, will be open 24/7 until 8 p.m. on Election Night."
Drop sites in La Pine and southwest Bend also open October 31. Southeast Bend and downtown drop sites, along with those in Redmond and Sisters, open on the 19th. A corrected list of the Deshutes County sites and dates is available HERE. Crook County drop sites can be found HERE. And, a list of Jefferson County locations is available HERE.
"Next Tuesday, October 16 is the deadline to register to vote if you are not registered in Oregon." Blankenship says new Oregon voters relying on a recent visit to the DMV to get registered through the “Motor Voter” program should consider filling out an online registration card, just in case, because the DMV can take up to three weeks to process. And, she says, once you fill out your ballot, make sure it’s in by 8 p.m. November sixth. "To cover everyone, if you haven’t mailed your ballot by Wednesday, October 31, take it to a drop site and we open more drop sites on that date."
REDMOND, OR -- Redmond's longest serving City Councilor says he's not done, yet. Jay Patrick is a network administrator for the Education Service District. He's been on Council for 20 years and says it's his way of serving his community. "I've lived in Redmond for most of my life, and I love Redmond. I love the City, I love the people. They treated me great when I was a kid, going to high school and grade school, and this is my way of just giving back to the community." He tells KBND News, "I'm running again because I like to be part of the solution, rather than just sit on the sidelines."
Patrick is proud of his accomplishments, so far, "Centennial Park; I think that's been a fantastic deal for the community, for both kids and parents. We had that water park put in, and the sprinklers, and the kids just have a great time. And number two, I would say, would probably be City Hall." Patrick was part of the Council that approved renovations at the historic Evergreen School, which became Redmond's City Hall in early 2017.
But, he believes there's still more work to do. Patrick says he's heard recently from citizens frustrated about regulations that are burdening potential business owners. "When somebody starts a business, they don't get only help from the city through Urban Renewal, and that type of thing; but we can find out what the issues are, what issues they're having, and try to help them there. It's mostly in regulations."
In addition to Patrick, Jon Bullock, Krisanna Clark-Endicott, and Josefina Riggs are running for three openings on Redmond's City Council. The top three vote-getters will earn a seat. The candidates are expected to take part in a forum, Thursday, hosted by the Central Oregon Association of Realtors, along with Mayor George Endicott and his challenger, Ed Fitch. That public forum starts at 1 p.m. at Geno's Italian Grill on North Highway 97.
For more on the candidates, visit our Elections 2018 page.
BEND, OR -- Deschutes County Commissioner Tony DeBone will take part in a White House meeting, this week, along with Crook County's Brian Barney and Commissioners from 11 other Oregon Counties. DeBone tells KBND News, "I think there’s going to be about 20-30 Commissioners from the state of Oregon at the White House on Thursday."
DeBone expects they’ll talk about infrastructure investment at the federal level that could be used for water, sewer and road projects. "Also, forest policy. I mean, think about how well that fits into Deschutes County’s issues of living in smoky summers; and it’s the forest policy at the federal level. So, the Department of Agriculture, Department of the Interior, the Forest Service, BLM – Let’s figure this out, let’s make sure we’re working in a positive direction." He tells KBND News, "The agenda is to be finalized by the office of Intergovernmental Affairs, but it’s been mentioned that there could be the top cabinet members, like the Department of Interior, Department of Agriculture, Department of Transportation; the Vice President has been available and joined in on some of these meetings, also." The Administration is meeting with county leaders from across the country, this year. DeBone believes Oregon is one of around 10 states left. "It’s really connecting with the top leadership in the United States of America to hear about the local issues in the counties around the country. This is the first time I’ve seen anything like this."
The trip is organized by the Association of Oregon Counties and includes a federal policy briefing at the National Association of Counties office.
DeBone leaves Wednesday and will return Friday. He is running for re-election but says that wasn't a factor in his decision to attend. Commissioner Tammy Baney turned it down since she's at the end of her term, and Commissioner Phil Henderson had a scheduling conflict.
BEND, OR -- Four candidates for Bend City Council debated the issues at a forum hosted by the Chamber of Commerce, Tuesday night.
Though she was unable to attend, Sarah McCormick taped an opening statement where she said she's running for Position Six because she's worried about Bend's safety and affordability, "To be honest, I'm most worried about the incumbent in our race because she is so concerned with national, hot button political issues, that she walks out on City Council meetings. I will never walk out on the City of Bend." Barb Campbell, also running for Position Six, is the only incumbent in the race. She says the City Council needs her experience, "Since I'm the incumbent up here: I moved to town in 1981. I started my business nine years ago; I first ran for Council 6 years ago, and I was elected four years ago, when my opponent moved to town." She says she views her job a little like a gardener, "For four years, I've been working so hard on this little garden; and the hardest thing to get re-elected to be gardener again is that so much of the work is little seeds that you can't even see are there yet. And then you can't see the weeds that have already been pulled and thrown away." Ron 'Rondo' Boozell, the third Position Six candidate, did not take part in the event; he is currently incarcerated at the Deschutes County Jail.
Position Five candidates were asked about dredging Mirror Pond. Andrew Davis told the crowd, "Dredging Mirror Pond for me, is a partnership between several entities and the City is one of them. I think Parks and Rec also has a piece to play in that equation, and I also think the homeowners along that stretch of river have some obligation." Gena Goodman-Campbell disagrees, "I think it's important to acknowledge that the land underneath Mirror Pond is privately owned, and it falls to those private land owners to fund the dredging, or decide how they're going to gather the funding for that."
The third candidate for Position Five, musician and preschool teacher Victor Johnson, says the state needs to do more to help people, "Affordable housing is maybe one of the biggest priorities, creating more green space and affirmative solutions to transportation. We need more quality childcare and the state could really help with that."
BEND, OR -- Beginning next fall, start times for Bend-La Pine Schools will change, with younger students starting about an hour earlier, and older students an hour later. "Elementary schools will start at approximately 8 a.m. and end at 2:30; and our middle and high schools will begin at approximately 8:45 and end at 3:45," Superintendent Shay Mikalson told KBND News shortly after announcing the shift at Tuesday night's School Board meeting.
According to Mikalson, the change is in the students' best interest, "A substantial body of research shows that the teenager would biologically benefit from later start times. All of our secondary schools currently begin before or at 8 a.m., which the American Academy of Pediatrics says is too early." In fact, he says some secondary schools in the district start as early as 7:30 a.m. "Specifically, the AAP says shifting back middle school and high school schedules is an effective countermeasure to chronic sleep loss and has a wide-range of potential benefits, in terms of academic achievement, physical and mental health, and safety. Solving sleep-deprivation issues with our students is not as simple as recommending earlier bedtimes." Mikalson says there is evidence that teens' circadian rhythms make it difficult for them to fall - and stay - asleep when they try to go to bed earlier.
He says the decision wasn't made lightly, "Because our students’ physical health, emotional wellbeing and academic success is our priority, we’ve decided to make this change. This decision comes after nearly two years of staff, student, parent, union leadership and community engagement efforts."
Bend-La Pine Considers Change to School Starts (04/12/2018)
Doctors Back Proposal to Shift School Start Times (05/23/2018)
Mikalson says districts across the country are making this shift, in light of the research. Most of Oregon's largest districts all have secondary start times of 8:30 or later, including Portland, Hillsboro, North Clackamas, Eugene and Medford. He says announcing the change nearly a year ahead of time will allow everyone to plan accordingly.
REDMOND, OR -- Krisanna Clark-Endicott is running for City Council in Redmond because she believes in public service and wants to serve her new community, "I'm excited about serving and about bringing great things to Redmond." She adds, "I think that, when you're an elected official, you should be supportive of your community. The way that you can really learn about the great things that are going on and the things that maybe could use some help, is be of service."
She's a fourth generation Oregonian and tells KBND News, "I used to be the Mayor of the city of Sherwood. I served two terms as the Mayor of the city of Sherwood, and two terms as a City Councilor." She met Redmond Mayor George Endicott at a Mayors' Conference and they were married in August of 2017. She and her children moved to Redmond a short time later, and she was eventually appointed to the Urban Area Planning Commission. Mayor Endicott is running for re-election in November, as well.
Some question whether the couple should serve together on Council, and not be a united voting bloc. She responds, "Do you know that I do not know one married couple that agrees on everything? So, I fully expect that Mayor Endicott and I will agree on some things and will disagree on other things." Clark-Endicott says she has her own ideas and feels called to the work, "I love to serve. It's been a passion of mine since I started in service. My late husband, Del, passed away and he was a City Councilor at the time, so I ran to replace him in his seat. But then I found that I actually love the work; and so, I feel that people who can serve, should serve, and that's why I'm running."
Clark-Endicott is one of four candidates running for Redmond City Council, along with Jon Bullock, Jay Patrick, and Josefina Riggs. The top three vote-getters will fill the open positions. The Central Oregon Association of Realtors will host a Redmond forum on Thursday, with the candidates for Council and Mayor. It starts at 1 p.m. at Geno's Italian Grill. For more on each candidate, visit KBND's Election 2018 page.
REDMOND, OR -- The head of Redmond Proficiency Academy says it’s time for charter schools around the state to join forces. Dr. Jon Bullock says he helped form the Oregon Coalition of Community Charter Schools because it can be difficult to access resources they need to be successful. "Myself and some other charter school leaders from around the state recognized that there was a need to support and advocate for charter schools, particularly community-based charter schools. And, of the 125 charter schools in Oregon, most of them are small charter schools that are simply trying to fill a niche in the market; and we have a number of those in Central Oregon."
Bullock says they've hired an Executive Director, and the coalition officially launched Monday, "We’ve got about 20 member schools, to start with. And, our focus is going to be on supporting those schools, helping them develop and developing an advocacy network for charter schools. But, also an accountability system where we want to be able to help police our own schools, as it were," He tells KBND News, "Because, one of the criticism of charter schools is that they have lots of freedoms, and sometimes people don’t do a great job with those; and we want to make sure that we do that. RPA’s taken a lead in that, because we’ve become one of the largest, most successful charter schools in Oregon. We believe it’s our responsibility to help the charter school world and to help education in Oregon, by taking lessons we’ve learned and sharing those."
He expects the group will eventually engage in lobbying activities to influence educational legislation. Bullock believes state lawmakers should support options and opportunities for all students, regardless of what school they attend.
BEND, OR -- An Idaho man is accused in a Monday night burglary, north of Bend. Deschutes County Deputies were dispatched to Destiny Court, just after 9 p.m., after a man returned home and saw someone in his house.
The victim called 911 and started to leave in his car when another vehicle came from the back of the house and nearly hit him. He allowed it to pass, then followed the suspect and provided updates to the dispatcher.
Deputies caught up with the suspect vehicle and pulled it over at Third and O.B. Riley, and arrested 36-year-old Robert Lee Tyson, of Pocatello. A woman with him in the car was released without charges.
Deputies say they found several items belonging to the victim inside Tyson’s car. Tyson is charged with Burglary I and Aggravated Theft (over $10,000). His car was impounded for not having insurance.
BEND, OR -- Four people were arrested Monday night after a car chase, crash into an embankment and foot pursuit in southeast Bend. A Deschutes County Deputy noticed a suspicious car in a parking lot near Third and Wilson, at about 8:40 p.m.
When the Deputy tried to conduct a traffic stop, the car sped down Miller, eventually getting stuck at the railroad embankment. All four people inside ran in different directions. The driver, 29-year-old Lonnie Fosburg, of Bend was arrested after a brief struggle; he was found with user amounts of drugs. Fosburg was taken to St. Charles Bend prior to the jail, for a medical evaluation.
Authorities say 44-year-old Michael Dorazio, of Texas, 20-year-old Cheyenne Porter, of Bend (right), and 39-year-old B.J. Moody of Prineville (below), were taken into custody without incident.
Investigators found a pistol in the car that was reported stolen from a Redmond home in May.
REDMOND, OR -- After several months with an interim Chief, Redmond Fire and Rescue has selected a new Chief to lead the district. Ken Kehmna is in Redmond this week, visiting with staff and getting to know the district; he starts next month.
Redmond Fire's Traci Cooper says the Western Fire Chiefs Association helped conduct the nationwide search, "For a qualified chief that had all the credentials, as well as somebody that was going to really be a good fit for Central Oregon, particularly Redmond Fire and Rescue, our staff and our community, was really the goal." She says Kehmna brings more than 30 years of experience, most recently as Chief of Santa Clara County Fire, in California. "His history shows that he’s moved through the ranks. He even has had a little bit of experience even being a Fire Marshall, which is what I do – which is kind of rare for a Fire Chief. So, he’s kind of ‘been there and done that’ in all the different positions, and has an understanding of the fire service, I think, really, truly in depth."
Cooper tells KBND News everyone is anxious to move forward. "He and his family are excited to start this process, get moved up here and get going. November first will be his first official day with us. He’ll be floating in and out, trying to learn about us. And, we’re excited about what the prospect is for the future of Redmond Fire and Rescue."
Kehmna replaces Chief Tim Moor who retired last summer to take the Fire Chief Job in Sunriver. He will earn $140,000 a year to oversee the fire district and its nearly 80 personnel.
POWELL BUTTE, OR -- Nearly a thousand runners and walkers took part in the first ever Hood to Coast High Desert relay, Saturday. Hood to Coast CEO Jude Hubber says the organization brought the popular relay series to Central Oregon because people were asking for it, "We have a radius of Hood to Coast, where there’s a certain volunteer base that lives in Portland. So, to be able to get outside of that – we took one up to Washington, we did one in Pacific City; now we’re going to Texas, and Hilton Head, and China, and Amsterdam. So, it’s been kind of fun."
Hood To Coast High Desert Coming This Fall (01/17/2018)
Running teams started at Brasada Ranch, while walking teams began at the Powder House Cove Boat Ramp. Both finished back at Brasada, "The first teams took off at 4 a.m. and we sent them out every 15 minutes until 6 a.m.," Hubber tells KBND News, "And, the walkers had one wave at 5 a.m. It was raining when we got up." But, the chilly, wet weather didn’t dampen the spirits of the six-person teams that took part. Meg DuMez, a blogger for Run Oregon, came from Portland to participate, "All of the legs that I was part of, easy navigation – not easy legs! I went up a hill that I was not expecting; said bad words going up the hill I was not expecting. And now I have a lovely, shiny medal to take home with me."
The course took the 163 teams past ranches, rivers and mountains, even up the Prineville Grade and past the Facebook data centers. Prineville runner Mark Rhoden has participated in over a dozen relays. But, he says, this one was special, "To be able to be by your home and then you get done at a major exchange, and you can go into your local store in the town you’re from; it never happens that way." He says his all-male team had a great time, even if the weather wasn't ideal, "It was pouring rain, this morning; I was running in the rain and was just soaked."
Unlike Hood To Coast – known as “The mother of all relays” – Saturday's High Desert event was just one day. Hubber calls it a huge success and is already looking forward to next year. "First place team was an all-female team out of Seattle. That’s our first race that we’ve had where there’s an all-female team that’s first place overall, so it’s kind of a big moment for us."
A total of 147 running teams completed the course, along with 16 walking teams. Click HERE for complete results.
Pictures: (top) Runners head through the Crooked River Gorge (courtesy Hood To Coast Relays);
(top right) Runners in the first wave wait at the starting line, at Brasada Ranch (Heather Roberts);
(upper right) Course markings dotted the landscape in rural Crook and Deschutes counties (Meg DuMez);
(above) Heather Roberts (far right) with her Run Oregon Team at the finish.
BEND, OR -- A bicycle advocacy group is upset over the loss of bike lanes on Purcell Boulevard at Butler Market Road. Bend Bikes says the new "Bikes On Road" signs show the city is not interested in providing safe bicycle routes and is not committed to promoting alternate modes of transportation, which encourages more people to drive.
Principal Engineer for the city, George Franklet, says the intersection sees a lot more traffic now that Empire is closed for reconstruction, "But, the other big piece of it is concern about left and right turn hooks: vehicle and bike conflicts that really were an inordinate share of the car/bike conflicts in Bend that were identified in a 2012 crash study." He says with so many cars going through that intersection right now, there’s a much higher risk of a turning vehicle hitting a bike going straight.
While future plans for Purcell and Butler Market have not been finalized, Franklet doubts the bike lanes are gone for good, "The city really recognizes the importance of the Purcell corridor for multi-modal transportation, particularly for bikes, and being able to accommodate that is important. So, I think that’s very unlikely that that’s going to be a permanent situation." And, he says more bike lanes are coming to northeast Bend, "Bike lanes are included on the Empire extension itself. And, some of the things that we know are going to happen for the improvement of Purcell is, one of the big pinch-points along Purcell is the bridge over the North Unit Canal; we are planning on widening that bridge so pedestrian and bike traffic can be accommodated on that bridge without having to enter the traffic lane."
The Empire Corridor Improvement Project is expected to take several years. Empire Avenue, between 18th and Purcell, closed in early September and should reopen in mid-December.
REDMOND, OR -- Josefina Riggs is running for Redmond City Council because she wants to give immigrants and the LGBTQ community a voice in local government. She says her work with special needs students and as a caregiver is what prompted her to run for the Council, "I think, with my experience working in the different areas in the community, and how the people in different areas - make myself a voice for the people in the community." She tells KBND News, "If you can prioritize the things that people needed, you can do the best job. And I want to do that."
Riggs believes many remain under-represented, "I am [an] immigrant. The immigrants need to have a voice. Not only the immigrants, [but] the LGBT groups; different people that have different backgrounds. I want to support that people." She wants to make supporting those outside the mainstream a priority, "I [am] going to support Measure 105, because that is not okay; they are going to target the people, the way they look."
She says, "I want to be part- not like regular people who work for the government. I want to [be] more friendly, and I want they can count with me."
Riggs is one of four candidates vying for three open positions on Redmond's City Council. Jon Bullock, Jay Patrick, and Krisanna Clark-Endicott are also running. The top three vote getters in November earn a seat on Council. The Central Oregon Association of Realtors will host a public candidate forum Thursday, for the four Council candidates and two running for Mayor. It starts at 1 p.m. at Geno's Italian Grill. Click HERE for details. For more information on the local candidates running for office in November, visit our Elections 2018 page.
BEND, OR -- The Republican and Democrat running for Oregon's Second Congressional District participated in their first, and perhaps only, debate Friday night, broadcast on KTVZ. They covered topics ranging from health care and forest management, to gun safety.
When asked about her goals for health care, challenger Jamie McLeod Skinner detailed Rep. Greg Walden's record, saying he voted against coverage for pre-existing conditions and held the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) hostage, in protest of the Affordable Care Act, "When I talk about health care, I talk about ideas. It's things like making sure everyone has access to a full range of physical and mental health care. It's making sure we manage costs, making sure there's a high quality of care, care for the caregiver, covering pre-existing conditions and preventative care.
Walden points to his record battling opioid addiction, fighting for care for veterans, and helping allocate funding for local dependency and mental health programs. "I don't know what she's talking about because I've consistently supported children's health insurance programs. And, in fact, I lead the way in the Congress as Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, to hear from all sides about how we can improve and expand children's health insurance." Walden says, because of his efforts, CHIP is funded for a full 10 years, for the first time.
The two also differ on the economy. Walden says cutting taxes and lifting regulations have created a "rip-roaring economy." He told McLeod Skinner, "When you've had your own capital on the line, you understand that less regulation and more money means more jobs, greater investment. This is the strongest economy we've had since 1969." She replied that growth is happening nationally, but not locally, "Half the people in our district are still at or near the poverty line, and that's because people are now working two jobs and still not able to put food on our table and a roof over our head." She says there are new jobs, but they're low paying. Walden argued that since the individual tax cuts were made permanent, more people are taking home more money.
During the 60-minute debate, each candidate was allowed to ask the other one question. Incumbent Congressman Walden asked McLeod Skinner why she doesn't support the Forest Resiliency Bill. She answered that it would benefit the fossil fuel industry, to the detriment of renewable energy. "We have opportunities throughout our district- good paying jobs in all sorts of renewable energy: wind, solar, geothermal, biofuel. We should be helping to, instead of subsidizing the fossil fuel industry, subsidizing and incentivizing those businesses so that private sector can grow."
McLeod Skinner's question was a simple, "Where's Walden?" She challenged him on what she called his unwillingness to debate and asked him to commit to two more public forums before ballots go out, "What I'm hearing throughout the district, and what I'm seeing as well, is you're not showing up' you're not listening." He replied, "We're here debating. This is where we should be talking about the issues. I don't think we're going to do any more debates, if that's the answer. McLeod Skinner interrupted, "So, You're saying 'no.' It's a yes or no question." He responded, "If I could continue - We have an opportunity tonight to talk about the issues, and that's where we should be focused." Walden says constituents know he's working for Oregonians, "My history in office has been to work together, find solutions, and pass them into law. That's how you get things done. That's how I've passed more legislation than any member of the Oregon delegation."
Independent Mark Roberts was invited but unable to attend the debate due to illness.
REDMOND, OR -- St. Charles Health System is considering how to address the rising cost of giving birth at the Bend and Redmond hospitals, and decreased efficiencies. Chief Operations Officer Iman Simmons says a group of experts has studied the issue for the last 10 months, "The task force is charged with how to provide those services in a higher quality way, a safer way that also reduces the cost of care to the patient. And, they came out with three proposals; one of those proposals includes combining the Redmond and Bend birth centers." One of those options would close the Redmond Birthing Center, but keep the St. Charles women’s clinic in Redmond for out-patient services; a second would consolidate both departments into Bend’s. The third option would keep the birthing center, but only for low-risk deliveries. She stresses that none of the proposals involve any lay-offs.
Last year, about 500 babies were born at the Redmond hospital, but she says Redmond and Bend birthing centers are consistently less than 50% full. According to Simmons, a big contributing factor in the reduced efficiency and rising cost of deliveries is that fewer babies are being born, despite the rapid growth of Central Oregon’s population, "If you look at the demographics, it’s not families of child-birth age that are growing; it’s an older population. Births are going down nationally, and I believe the data for Central Oregon is that our births are down 9%. We love babies and we would love for more to be born." She acknowledges it would be a loss to the community, but for patients looking for a more intimate birthing experience, Simmons says the Madras hospital is still an option, and its birthing center could be enhanced through the shifting of services.
Simmons says a final decision on which direction to take the Redmond facility is still months away and likely won't impact current pregnant moms, "At this stage of the game the recommendations are just proposals, and we are going to be studying them and then moving forward with a final recommendation as soon as we can do the serious contemplation and studying of what are the implications of those proposals."
PRINEVILLE, OR -- a late-night crash in Prineville is blamed on a drunk driver. Prineville Police say 47-year-old Todd Robinson was seen running from the crash near N. Main and NE 13th Street, just before 10:30 Sunday night. He was found and arrested without incident.
According to investigators, Robinson was southbound on Main when he hit a fence and a power pole support wire, causing a localized power outage for several hours. Officials estimate the crash caused several thousand dollars in damage to the fence and pole.
After Robinson's arrest, his blood alcohol level registered at .16%, twice the legal limit in Oregon. He was booked for Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants and Failure to Perform the Duties of a Driver.
BEND, OR -- A La Pine man faces multiple charges, accused of stabbing a Bend man at a bar, early Sunday morning. Bend Police say 24-year-old Adam Richardson and 29-year-old David Simmons were involved in a confrontation outside the M and J Tavern, on Greenwood.
Simmons went inside, but came out a short time later and says he found Richardson trying to stab his car's tires. When Simmons said something, Richardson allegedly stabbed him in the hand. Police responded just after 1 a.m. and identified Richardson as the suspect. He was arrested at his La Pine home, Sunday morning, without incident.
He's charged with assault and criminal mischief. Police say the knife used in the altercation was found in his vehicle. Simmons was treated at St. Charles Bend for non-life threatening injuries.
BEND, OR -- Oregon Congressman Greg Walden met with officials from Mosaic Medical Thursday, in Bend, to celebrate a new grant aimed at addressing the opioid epidemic. "These health centers do amazing work for people in the community to provide great access to health care; and now," says Walden "Really, are doing more and more in providing services for mental health services, as well as for substance abuse treatment."
Walden says the $212,750 grant is part of a larger $17 million coming to Oregon to help caregivers in rural populations, "They serve a quarter million people in Oregon, and it helps them enhance their efforts to bring behavioral health together with physical health, and then help people who have addiction or mental health issues get access to the care they need. So, it's an important, important program."
Mosaic's Director of Behavioral Health Kim Swanson says the funds will improve access and save time, "It offers one stop shopping for our patients. That's where they want to receive services, so the more robust resources we have in primary care, and the more comprehensive, the more patients are going to engage in care." She says the money will allow patients to have better access "to medication assisted treatment by hiring a full-time physician in primary care and implementation of telepsychiatry to increase access to psychiatric services."
Nationwide, $396 million has been awarded by Health and Human Services for community health centers and rural health programs through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). At Thursday's round table, Walden said the money will help rural communities where specialty care may be scarce, "We're trying to build resiliency around the healthcare framework in our communities, and these community health centers are a big part of that," adding, "For me, it's important to know that, when we appropriate this money, does it actually get to the ground? To the people that are on the front lines? So that's kind of exciting."
Oregon will receive $6.7 million in HRSA funding, including $2.2 million for Oregon’s Second Congressional District. Some of the money will also go to fund the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), for 10 years.
BEND, OR -- Oregon’s gubernatorial candidates have released plans on how they would address the state’s homeless crisis; the Homeless Leadership Coalition of Central Oregon now wants to hear from those running in local races. The HLC will host a forum, Friday morning, with nearly a dozen candidates.
John Lodise, with Shepherd’s House Ministries, serves on the HLC's Advocacy Committee, which organized the event. He says homelessness is not a political issue with an easy solution, "Homelessness is a matter of circumstance of the individual. It is not really a category of a certain type of person; it can affect anybody. One of the things I think would surprise people is how many different stories comprise the issue of homelessness." He tells KBND News some politicians only talk about how they would pay for solutions to housing, addiction and mental health problems, but says, "It’s not a dollars and cents question. A lot of the reason people become homeless is they have simply lost trust in the civilization that’s support them, of which they’re supposed to be a part. And usually, that lack of trust comes about through some trauma; and then that trauma can tend to manifest itself in addiction issues, and it becomes a mental health issue."
Friday's forum begins at 8 a.m. at the Bend Elks Lodge. It's free and open to the public. "We have most of the candidates from the Oregon House and Deschutes County Commissioner race, so there will be a broad base of representation there," says Lodise, "Each candidate will have five minutes, openly, to state whatever position they wish to state on the issue of homelessness and/or affordable housing. Once that’s over, the audience will have 15 minutes to ask questions of any candidate on the panel." House District candidates Jack Zika and Eileen Kiely are expected to attend, as well as Cheri Helt, with HD 54, State Rep. Mike McLane and a representative for his District 55 challenger, Karen Rippberger, and District 59 candidate Darcy Long-Curtis and incumbent Rep. Daniel Bonham. Deschutes County Commissioner candidates Amy Lowes, Patty Adair and James Cook also say they will be there.
BEND, OR -- For the first time, the number of Non-Affiliated Voters (NAV) in Deschutes County has exceeded those registered with any one party. As of October first, there were 41,786 NAV voters in Deschutes County, 41,744 registered Republicans, 40,383 Democrats and 8,053 registered with the Independent Party.
County Clerk Nancy Blankenship says it's likely the result of Oregon's "Motor Voter" law that took effect January 1, 2016. "The end of December 2015, the Non-Affiliated voters- we had 24,093. In September of 2018, we have that 41,786. That’s an increase of 73%." With Motor Voter, Oregonians are registered to vote through interactions with the DMV. The person must then respond to a mailing to select their party affiliation. Blankenship tells KBND News, "I think it’s typically because people are automatically registered to vote and they just don’t take the time to either change a party, if they’ve always been affiliated with one. Or, they’re happy to be non-affiliated." She sees a similar shift occurring statewide, "Maybe not to the extent we’ve seen it here in Deschutes County. I mean, that’s a pretty significant growth – 73%; when the others only, the Dems grew by 28% in that same time period, the Republicans grew by 15% and Independent grew by 11.8 [percent]."
OSU-Cascades political science professor James Foster isn’t surprised by the latest numbers, "The primary motivation factor is deep-seeded alienation from both political parties." He tells KBND News voters aren't happy with traditional party politics, especially with issues like housing, minimum wage and healthcare, "People are hurting for a variety of reasons. And, the other side of it is they’re not seeing either the Republican Party or the Democratic Party being responsive to those concerns." Foster adds, "People are very angry. Couple that anger with feeling pretty impotent and not having their voices heard. So, people are in the process of voting with their registration, if you will, against both parties."
So, how do politicians and candidates adjust to this shift in voter registrations? Oregon Congressman Greg Walden is in Bend, this week, and says it doesn’t change how he campaigns, "I just try and do my job and put the product out there and let the people judge on accomplishment and results. I think most Oregonians look beyond their party registration to say, ‘who’s actually getting the job done?’." Walden and his Democratic challenger Jamie McLeod-Skinner will face each other in their first – and, so far, only – debate Friday night. They’ll be joined in Bend by Independent Party nominee Mark Roberts in an hour-long debate at 7 p.m., on KTVZ-TV.
SISTERS, OR -- Firefighters and law enforcement quickly attacked a grass fire northeast of Sisters, Thursday afternoon. The blaze was first reported at about 3:10 p.m., along Sno Cap Lane, near Vista Ridge Drive.
Crews from the Sisters-Camp Sherman Rural Fire Protection District stopped forward progress at about 1.5 acres. While the fire burned near a residential area, no structures were lost.
BEND, OR -- One candidate for Bend's City Council says she will approach governing with logic and a cool head.
Sarah McCormick is running for Position Six against Ron Boozell, who's currently in jail for allegedly failing to pay child support, and incumbent Councilor Barb Campbell, whom McCormick describes as 'having a poor track record.' McCormick tells KBND News, "This is a nonpartisan race, and the issues of Bend are nonpartisan; and she keeps bringing it back to her grievances about Trump and the administration, and it's wasting the time of the people of Bend. She needs to be there for them." She says it's fine to have opinions about national politics, but when discussing Bend's issues, there's no room for distraction, "My main focus is going to be Bend, and I vow I will not walk out on any City Council meetings because I can't handle the content of them. I vow not to walk out on the City of Bend."
McCormick says she wants to meet with people from the business community and other sectors to learn different perspectives on Bend's issues, "I want to make sure that I'm not just speaking from my own brain, that I'm actually supporting it with people who are either faced with a specific problem or who are in the businesses of fixing that problem." She says she would fight to lower the System Development Charges (SDCs), to make it easier for daycare providers to open facilities, because she believes the lack of affordable childcare goes hand in hand with Bend's housing crisis. Homelessness is also on her mind and she says she's already meeting with local law enforcement to help determine possible solutions.
She believes her global perspective would help the city to face some of its more pressing issues. McCormick says living places other than Bend and serving on several national and international boards of directors has informed her viewpoint on how smaller cities can solve big problems, "This city is in a time of really important growth; and I think that the right people in key positions, working together, is the only way that we're going to get anything to happen in a timely manner that's going to be cost effective."
City Council candidates will take part in a forum hosted by the Bend Chamber, October 9. Click HERE for details. For more on the candidates running for office in November, visit our Elections 2018 page.
BEND, OR -- St. Charles nurses rallied again, Wednesday evening, to protest ongoing staffing shortages at the Bend hospital. Caregivers have been working under the terms of an expired contract since July and the Oregon Nurses Association is currently negotiating with hospital administrators. Nurses held a rally in mid-September to draw attention to contract negotiations and various issues they say impact patient safety.
Surgical Nurse Sara Land says negotiations are going well, but the lack of permanent Operating Room (O.R.) staff remains a huge problem, "As of a couple months ago, we were short 27 people. We have a hard time retaining new staff members because the hospital doesn't pay very well, so people move to other hospitals in other areas where reimbursement is better."
St. Charles Chief Nursing Officer Debbie Robinson admits they've lost staff, but says they're working to rebuild their roster, "We have a variety of either permanent replacement staff or what we've referred to as 'travelers,' who can fill holes quickly. But, our desire is to have a fully staffed operating room with permanent staff." Travelers are trained nursing staff employed by a contract agency, who move from hospital to hospital, as needed. Land says that makes it tough to form a team atmosphere, "We don't have enough staff currently, and we're trying to just have a baseline of staffing. We're struggling to keep up with that. We hope to get permanent staff and fill our gap with people that want to stick around here." Robinson calls staffing issues 'Dynamic' and says they're working to address issues, "We're constantly evaluating that. We staff based on what we anticipate, and then we have to flex, looking at what the needs are and matching the resources."
In 2017, nurses filed a staffing alert against St. Charles Bend, sparking an investigation by the Oregon Health Authority (OHA), which exposed hundreds of additional staffing violations. Robinson says the hospital has since corrected those issues. Then last month, nurses notified the OHA that repeated staffing shortages in operating rooms means the hospital is unable to meet its designation as a Level II Trauma Center. The OHA is expected to visit the facility on Friday. Dr. Jennifer Waters, Medical Director for Trauma and Acute Care Surgery, says they maintain state mandated staffing levels at all times, and any state inspections are routine, "On the day of our visit in 2017, October fifth was chosen for our next routine visit; and the visit has absolutely nothing to do with our nursing staffing."
SISTERS, OR -- Over the past several months, Sisters Country Horizons has talked with residents, met with community leaders and conducted several online surveys in an effort to develop strategies that will improve livability in the area. They'll release their results and the top-scoring strategies at a summit, Thursday evening.
Sisters Mayor Chuck Ryan says it’s been years since city leaders have received this kind of information, "Things have changed so much, macro- and micro-economically, we felt it was time. There are just so many things that everybody wants us to look at, whether it’s affordable housing, or economic diversification, or an ice skating rink – it runs the gamut." The first Sisters Country Horizons survey, completed by nearly 500 residents last spring, showed people value most the area’s natural environment and small-town feel.
Ryan says the process to get to this point has taken a while, but it's been very deliberate, "We don’t want it to go on the shelf, so we’re making sure we try to do this the right way. We’ve got consultants involved, we’ve got the county involved, we’ve got organizations like COIC involved. We’re just trying to take it one step at a time and not have to do this over again in a year or two years."
At Thursday's meeting, the group will also formally launch a Vision Action Team, made up of 32 people from various sectors. "This team’s going to meet four or five times over the next couple of months and come up with action plans that will be achievable over the next couple of years," Mayor Ryan tells KBND News, "We’re trying to strategize what’s important for the city and how we execute those strategies over time and try to do things the right way, and not rush into things, and not over-plan and under-execute."
The Vision Summit will be held at Five Pine Lodge & Conference Center, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.
CROOKED RIVER RANCH, OR -- Dozens of animals were seized from a property in Crooked River Ranch, Wednesday afternoon, after the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office executed a search warrant. Undersheriff Marc Heckathorn says 37-year-old Jonothan Vance and 35-year-old Melody Barnes were arrested for outstanding warrants; both were on probation for a 2013 animal neglect conviction.
The Three Rivers Humane Society in Madras is caring for the six dogs, four cats, two snakes, four rats and 20 fish taken from the home on Cinder Drive. Deputies remained on scene into the evening, and Heckathorn says the investigation is ongoing. He expects the couple will face additional criminal charges related to the search warrant.
Photos: (top) Courtesy Jefferson Co. Jail; (right) Courtesy John Stevens
BEND, OR -- Elk Meadow Elementary in southwest Bend was evacuated, Wednesday morning, just as students were arriving at the school. Bend Fire Battalion Chief Dave Howe says the principal discovered a natural gas odor, at about 8:45 a.m. "She went to investigate, couldn’t find anything, got some other coworkers to come corroborate. There was a smell of gas inside and outside the building, so at that point they got the kids out; they were very organized. I think they did a great job."
Howe tells KBND News they later discovered there was no emergency, but he says it turned out to be a good drill for everyone, "Bend Fire and Cascade Natural Gas both arrived on scene, kids were already evacuated out on to the playground. They had some school buses there, so they loaded some of the younger kids into the school buses, just to keep them warm." He says when firefighters and Cascade Natural Gas arrived, just before 9, they could not find a leak or break in any gas lines, "It was probably just a little gas system ‘burp,’ that sometimes happens with those bigger systems and we found no readings of natural gas concentrations in the building. So, the kids were all back in the classroom by about 9:20."
Principal Kelle Hildebrandt and Assistant Principal Frank Hanson sent a letter to families, Wednesday, following the incident:
Elk Meadow Families,
This morning, prior to the start of school, our staff noticed what they believed to be the faint smell of natural gas in and around our building. Emergency responders investigated and deemed the smell a result of a gas ‘burp’. The Bend Fire Department says gas lines include a safety mechanism which blows out excess pressurized gas, resulting in a ‘burp’. Officials say that this issue was isolated to a single location and that there was no threat to students or staff as a result of the ‘burp’.
As emergency responders investigated the source of the smell, we used our evacuation protocol to move students and staff out of the building and to safe places. Our youngest students were boarded onto buses to keep them warm, while our older students moved to a play field a safe distance away.
All students and staff returned to class at about 9:20 a.m., after emergency responders deemed the school ready to re-enter. While today started with some excitement, we are already back into our daily groove and students and staff are having a great day.
All Bend-La Pine Schools, including Elk Meadow, practice evacuation/fire drills every month (ten a year). You might like to talk to your student tonight about what they learned during this event. This could be a good teachable moment and opportunity to talk about natural gas, your home fire alarms, your evacuation plans, or where you all will meet if you ever need to leave your home due to gas leak, fire, or another emergency.
Again, we want to thank our staff, students and volunteers who were inside the building before school for doing an amazing job of following our evacuation safety protocol. And a huge thank you to parents who showed great patience as we changed our drop off procedures during the event.
Thank you for your continued support of Elk Meadow Elementary School.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- A Prineville man faces multiple charges, including Second Degree Kidnapping, after a high-speed chase through Prineville, earlier this week.
Tuesday afternoon, an officer tried to pull over a car near NW Beaver Ave. for reckless driving, but it refused to stop. As the driver sped south on Crooked River Highway, officers reported seeing a woman try to get out. She later told investigators she feared for her life during the pursuit.
The car eventually stopped and 36-year-old Lawrence Stroud was arrested. He's charged with Attempt to Elude, Reckless Driving, Kidnapping, Parole Violation and Reckless Endangering.
CRESCENT, OR -- A Bend couple was killed in a crash in northern Klamath County that led to the closure of Highway 97 for several hours, Tuesday afternoon.
According to State Police, 56-year-old Marcia Myers was southbound when she pulled on to the shoulder near milepost 188, at about 2:15 p.m. She attempted a u-turn, but pulled in front of a semi-truck, driven by a California man. The truck hit Myers' Toyota Yaris on the driver's side, sending it off the northbound shoulder.
Marcia Myers and her passenger, 60-year-old Larry Myers were pronounced dead at the scene. The truck driver was not hurt. Highway 97 was closed for about five hours.
TUMALO, OR -- The Deschutes County Sheriff's Office was busy with two separate incidents on either end of the county, Tuesday. A woman's body was discovered near O.B. Riley and Tumalo Reservoir Road, Tuesday afternoon. Sheriff's Deputies responded to the area at about 3:20 p.m. and say her death does not appear to be the result of foul play. The investigation is ongoing, and the woman's identity has not been released.
Later that night, DCSO Deputies helped search for a woman reported missing about 3.5 hours after she left for a bike ride with her dog, in La Pine State Park. Bonnie England's husband called authorities just before 9 p.m. from the park's campground. The 69-year-old woman did not have a cell phone, food or water with her. After a 2.5-hour search spanning about five miles, they found England and her dog. She did not require medical attention and was reunited with her husband.
MADRAS, OR -- The Madras Aquatic Center Recreation District has a new leader, known for his high energy and wealth of experience in helping organizations renew and maintain their strategic goals. James Weyermann was officially named Executive Director at Tuesday's meeting of the MAC Board.
An interim Executive Director has led the district since Joe McHaney was fired in June. Board Chair Jinnell Lewis says Weyermann takes over immediately, "He's real excited to get going. It happens to be that our interim Director, Gary Barth, was just finishing up his three months next week, so Jim offered to start right away." She tells KBND News, "He seems like a really big go-getter, who moves into places and accomplishes a lot, Sets goals and makes them happen everywhere he has been in the past, so we're hoping he can do that here, too."
Lewis says operations at the pool and around the district have continued uninterrupted through the transition, but everyone is ready to move into a new chapter, "He definitely brings a lot of energy and enthusiasm, which we're really looking forward to. he has just a tremendous amount of experience in a lot of different things." Weyermann is most recently of California, having worked for the Golden State Warriors, but Lewis says he's also built stadiums, worked for city mayors, and overhauled children's programs, "He has a pretty broad range of things that he's done, working with different organizations, and so we're hoping to bring all that experience in and really move things forward with our recreation district."
Lewis would not comment on the ongoing investigation by Oregon's Department of Justice into the former Executive Director, nor would she confirm rumors he was fired over alleged financial improprieties. However, she hopes the DOJ inquiry will wrap up by the end of the month.
BEND, OR -- With the increased chance of rain and cooling temperatures, the fire risk across the High Desert is dramatically lower than it was a week ago, "We’re going to see a lot less fire activity. We might see a couple of escape campfires if people aren’t diligent about putting those out, we might get a grass fire; but, we’re not going to see a large timber fire," says Kassidy Kern, with the Deschutes National Forest, "So, I would say – equivocating a little bit – but, we’re very likely out of fire season."
The Forest Service lifted public use restrictions this week for the Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests, Crooked River National Grassland and Prineville BLM. But, Kern tells KBND News
, says campfire restrictions remain in some areas, like along the Crooked and Deschutes River and Lake Billy Chinook, "Often we post signs but, just in case someone has torn them down or you blow by them, just know before you go. Make sure you know if you’re allowed to legally have a campfire. But, if you’re disperse camping – I know a lot of folks are hunting, even a lot of our staff is out hunting right now – and, it’s a good time to have a campfire. It’s getting pretty chilly at night and we wanted to be responsive to that."
With the end of the wildfire season comes fall prescribed burns. An 800-acre unit just north of Little Summit Prairie is planned for the Ochoco National Forest, Wednesday, and two burns are scheduled for near Sisters and Camp Sherman Wednesday and Thursday. A 1,400-acre unit is planned for near Hole in the Ground, 22 miles southeast of La Pine, Thursday, as well. Kern says with some areas still extremely dry, fire managers are aware danger remains, "We have to be responsive to the conditions. And, if we don’t get the conditions we need to make the burn do what we need it to do, and actually restore the ecosystem, we don’t want this to turn into a wildfire." All burns are subject to favorable weather conditions.
BEND, OR -- Candidates for House District 53, Jack Zika and Eileen Kiely, and one candidate for District 54, Cheri Helt, debated the issues at a Bend Chamber forum, Tuesday evening. Helt's Democratic opponent Nathan Boddie did not attend. The candidates were asked about corporate taxes, Central Oregon's wildfire problem, funding higher education and PERS.
Kiely and Zika disagree on how to reform the Public Employee Retirement System (PERS). Kiely told the crowd, "We are already making the cuts that we need to make, but without increasing revenue, we'll keep cutting the vital services that we're looking for." Zika responded, "So, unlike my opponent, I do not believe we need to raise taxes. I believe that we have more revenue now coming to the state than we've ever had. There are cuts that can be made."
The two also disagreed on whether to increase corporate taxes. "I think businesses already pay their fair share," said Zika, "You don't want to burden businesses with regulation and taxes. We're already burdening them enough." He thinks Cap and Trade is a hidden sales tax that will close area businesses, but Kiely calls it capitalism, "It provides an investment fund for small businesses to make the clean up so they can stay competitive."
Both agree affordable housing is a huge problem, but not on how to fix it. Kiely says, "The first thing we need to do is pass Measure 102, which will actually help the local governments raise money for these kinds of projects." But, Zika says, "If you tax people to make affordable housing, you're creating unaffordable housing for everyone who's paying that tax! that is a horrible idea! I don't know why anybody would support that."
District 54 candidate Helt, who has served for eight years on the school board, says she has worked toward finding solutions for the affordable housing crisis by helping construction companies qualify for grants. "It would be nice if we had a quick, easy fix to fix our affordable housing crisis, but I think it's really important that we work together as a community to solve our affordable housing crisis." Helt says she's looking forward to being Central Oregon's next independent-thinking and inclusive representative, because she knows that only by working together will things improve, "It's really important that we're here and we're listening, and this is how we're going to get the change that we want."
BEND, OR -- More than 90 mature pot plants and 55 immature plants were seized from an illegal marijuana grow discovered at property southeast of Bend. Deschutes County deputies and the Central Oregon Drug Enforcement (CODE) team also found nearly six pounds of dried pot and 4.76 pounds of Butane Honey Oil product, as well as two BHO labs. They destroyed 50 pounds of "shake," which are leaves and stems that contain THC and are used to produce BHO.
Detectives believe 34-year-old Andrew Ledford and 40-year-old Jennifer Jones were illegally exporting pot out of state, hidden inside decorative wall art. They discovered a large quantity of product hidden within shipped packaging, inside a removable back panel (pictured: right). They also found a "substantial amount" of vaping inserts containing THC. They say the investigation is ongoing and more arrests are expected. Ledford and Jones face numerous drug-related charges.
A search warrant was executed at the property in early September, as part of a joint effort between CODE and the new Sheriff's Office proactive marijuana enforcement detective, authorized by County Commissioners.