BEND, OR -- Food truck lots have popped up all over Central Oregon and another is planned for Bend's Old Mill District. The city's Colin Stephens says a site plan review was approved, "To, essentially, build a permanent structure, and then, I think, room for about three food carts on the site, and a parking lot."
But, after that city approval, a neighbor filed an appeal in opposition of the project on SW Mill View Way. Stephens says that's just part of the process, "We send out notice to surrounding property owners so they can comment on the application, and if they desire, after that, after the decision is issued, they can appeal it." The application was delayed a week to allow both sides to discuss parking and traffic concerns, "Staff met with both the applicant and the appellant Monday after the hearing was continued, and it's our understanding that they have come to terms on the issues at hand, which were vehicle circulation and parking." And, he says, that could mean they're close to an agreement, "If they do, they will withdraw the appeal, and the decision will become final."
Both sides will meet with City Council Monday, in an effort to find a resolution. If the decision is finalized, the project moves into its next stage. Stephens says officials see the area as becoming a popular destination, "That's kind of the actual physical center to the city of Bend, and it's sort of becoming the center of activity as well. So, [they're] adding yet another fun use to the area."
REDMOND, OR -- Redmond’s latest city budget includes two new law enforcement positions. Police Chief Dave Tarbet says one new patrol officer allows the department to maintain current staffing levels, given the city’s population growth. He tells KBND News, "In addition to that, the airport desired to have an officer out there fulltime." The new patrol position is paid for by the city's General Fund, while the airport officer comes from the airport's budget. Tarbet says, "With their funding [they] can fund an officer’s position."
The Redmond Airport has never before had a consistent police presence. But, given the level of growth, Tarbet says the position is now necessary to help his department maintain appropriate coverage across the city. "[The airport] continues to have more activity out there, and certainly the calls for service range from 200-300 per year. Those have been typically handled by officers out on patrol in the community, in general. So, when they get called out at the airport, it draws away from the community’s resources for law enforcement officers." According to the chief, calls at the airport are similar to those seen elsewhere in the city, "From intoxicated passengers that are disorderly and unruly on planes or in the terminal, we’ve had some thefts occur out there, some car break-ins over the years, we even, in the past year or so, had an attempted kidnapping out there."
Tarbet compares the position to a School Resource Officer, who is fully trained and sworn, but assigned to a specific location. He has already selected a senior officer to start July first, "To patrol the grounds and take calls out on airport properties, monitor the terminal activity, respond to TSA security violations, such as the dozen or so handguns that tend to get to the checkpoint and sent through the x-ray machine in checked baggage."
City Council also approved an additional patrol position for Redmond PD, but Tarbet says the department is still below the staffing he’d like. "Based on the population growth, we were trying to reach a level of 1.67 officers per thousand, or close to that. And presently, we are about 1.47." To get to that level, he says he’d need to hire three new patrol officers, then one a year if the city’s population continues to grow at its current pace.
BEND, OR -- Bend Fire crews have been kept busy by drying fuels and windy conditions. About four hours after extinguishing a small brush fire in the Hillside Park Neighborhood, Wednesday, firefighters responded to another blaze less than a mile away.
The fire near NW Juniper and Portland Ave. was reported just after 1 p.m. Arriving crews found juniper shrubs on fire, directly in front of the house. Neighbors were applying water from a garden hose, and firefighters quickly knocked down the blaze. Damage to the home was minimal, totaling about $1,000.
Like the fire earlier in the day, authorities say this one was human caused, although no further determination could be made. They note grasses and brush are drying out fast, and juniper landscaping bushes are especially flammable ... releasing significant heat energy when they burn.
BEND, OR -- Bend Fire crews battled their second small brush fire in as many days, after a passerby noticed smoke coming from below homes in the Hillside Park neighborhood.
The blaze was reported at about 11 a.m. Wednesday, just off Northwest 12th. Residents put water on the flames before fire crews arrived, helping to hold it at less than a tenth of an acre.
Fire officials say it was human caused, but could not determine the specific origin.
REDMOND, OR -- Deschutes County Commissioners are expected to approve a bargain and sale deed for Brightside Animal Center, at Wednesday's meeting. Several years ago, the county loaned money to the Redmond shelter, "The county helped us, they gave us a loan to keep the shelter running and to do some upgrades and different things that we needed to do for the shelter," says Brightside's Patricia Bowling. At that time, the shelter's property was used as collateral.
She says they've since satisfied the terms of the loan, "Someone willed us property. It was sold, and the proceeds from the property were used to pay off this loan." Commissioners are now ready to return ownership to the nonprofit, "We were able to pay the entire loan back to the county," says Bowling, "What they're doing is releasing any encumbrance to Brightside."
Brightside is celebrating the milestone with a $100,000 capital campaign, to upgrade the facility's outdoor kennels. Bowling tells KBND News she's so glad to be part of a community that supports their no-kill, high-save mission, "The animals that come through our receiving door, get the best care, and are put back out into the public for people who want to adopt."
REDMOND, OR -- Allegiant Airlines returns to Redmond, this fall, after a seven year hiatus. Allegiant's Bud Hafer says, "Year-round Las Vegas service will begin October third, and that twice weekly service will run on Thursdays and Sundays. The year-round Phoenix-Mesa service will begin October fourth. That service will be twice weekly, as well, and will operate on Fridays and Mondays." The low-cost airline left Redmond in 2012, after five years of service, citing poor demand. But Hafer tells KBND News the company is ready to recommit to the region, "We're bigger in the area; bigger in Oregon, itself - we've grown in both Eugene and Medford - so we know there's a bigger demand. More population [means] more of a demand we can see throughout the system."
Hafer says Tuesday's announcement is not in response to Sun Country Airline's decision to offer seasonal flights from Redmond to Vegas, starting in September. But, he notes, competition is good for passengers. Mayor George Endicott says there's room for both, "There's a recognition, obviously, by these two airlines that we're continuing to grow, continuing to offer opportunities. They know there's a pent up demand, so they're trying to satisfy it."
Mayor Endicott says the return of Allegiant should be a boon for Roberts Field, "We figure this is going to add about a 7% increase in the number of passengers that we have going through Redmond." With United Airline's new new seasonal flight to Chicago, which started this month, and the new Sun Country and Allegiant services, Endicott says, "We're estimating that by the end of the year, we're going to pass a million mark for Redmond. So, we continue to grow." And, he tells KBND News, those increases in passenger and airline landing fees will benefit the airport, "The more activity we have, the more money, the more growth."
Redmond Airport Director Zach Bass tells KBND News construction now underway on new "aprons" - or parking spaces - for larger mainline planes is paid for by those fees. Allegiant plans to use an Airbus 319, which seats about 150 passengers, for the Vegas service. Phoenix flights will use a 319 or 320, capable of seating up to 186 passengers. Bass says those larger planes will use the new aprons. Currently, the airport has only one overnight parking spot for mainline jets.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- The Rainbow Family is again moving through Central Oregon. The group hosts its annual five-day regional gathering in the Ochoco National Forest, starting Wednesday. Two years ago, about 12,000 members gathered in the Malheur National Forest; many traveled through Crook County to get to the national gathering. Last year's regional gathering was held off Highway 22, near Santiam Pass.
While the event isn't actually in Crook County, Prineville is the closes city to this year's event. Officials say past Rainbow Family events brought an increase in vehicle traffic, hitchhiking or loitering, petty crime and panhandling. The group has no official leader and is said to be committed to principles of non-violence, communal living and community building.
Patrick Lair, with the Ochoco National Forest, doesn't think things will get out of hand, but the Forest Service is working with others to mitigate concerns, "It's basic courtesy to other government agencies, we let the hospital know, we let the Chamber of Commerce know, 'Hey, there's a potential for some more people coming through town, for you to see some different activities here that you might want to know about'." He tells KBND News, "Our role is really trying to manage the environmental impacts of a group gathering."
Lair says, any time there's a large group of people camped somewhere, even on public land, there's bound to be some impacts, "We developed an operating plan, and we're managing things like parking, and campfires, and water, and trash, and human waste, and all those things." To hold a large gathering in the National Forest, a permit is required for more than 75 people. Lair says no one from the Rainbow Family will actually come get a permit.
CRESCENT LAKE, OR -- Vandals are blamed for a widespread power outage in the Crescent Lake and Odell Lake areas, south of La Pine. An outage was reported around 2:30 a.m. on June first. Teresa Lackey, with Midstate Electric Cooperative, says crews went to the Mowich substation to investigate and immediately discovered what was wrong, "It had been shot. We had about 17 bullet strikes." She tells KBND News, "Mowich substation is off of Highway 58, and we had approximately 970 members that were without power. We looked at what had happened, and then we rerouted the power to get those members back on."
Lackey says, "At this point, we're not sure exactly what occurred, we do have the Klamath County Sheriffs and federal agencies that are investigating." The investigation, though, is being hampered by a lack of security footage. " We do have cameras onsite on a lot of our substations, and we did have cameras there, but they were not operating for some reason. But we are working with local and federal agencies and are investigating this illegal activity so that, hopefully, it won't happen again." She says there have been no further incidents.
File Photo: Mowich Substation
BEND, OR -- A small brush fire northwest of Bend, Tuesday morning, could have been much worse. Bend Fire says defensible space created by the property owners helped keep the fire’s spread to a minimum. And, employees from nearby stables acted quickly, using a portable water tank to attack the flames before firefighters arrived.
The blaze was reported on Bull Springs Road at about 10 a.m. It was kept at just over a tenth of an acre; the cause could not be determined.
BEND, OR -- Mt Bachelor plans a number of upgrades for the upcoming winter ski season. The mountain's Drew Jackson says a new Woodward Mountain "Start Park" will feature three venues for Learning, Experiential and Performance, "At step one, it's learning; so we're investing in a new chairlift and two new carpets. And then, for the 'Experiential' part, we're adding adventure trails." He adds, "The 'Performance' aspect is more of our traditional terrain parks."
Jackson tells KBND News, "We really want to create a new way for our guests to experience on-mountain fun. We think it's time to change it up and add some spice, and add some variety, and to inspire the next generation of winter sports enthusiasts." He says the changes will offer families a chance to enjoy Mt. Bachelor together, "We want a family to be able to ski down one of these Woodward Mountain Park zones, and allow maybe the youngest and most adventurous to play around on these new sculpted features while Dad, or even Grandma, just casually skis alongside on a traditional groomed surface. And the whole family can stay together that way." Jackson views the project as a big improvement, "The idea behind Woodward Mountain Park is to introduce as many fun things on our mountain, not just for kids, and not just for learners, but for multi-generational families." The Start Park will be open seven days a week, this winter, as conditions allow, and won't require a special pass or extra fee to use.
Work is also planned to provide a facelift for Sunrise Lodge, and expand parking by 50%. Mt. Bachelor also no offers an annual "Outplay 365" pass, which - if purchased before June 30 - allows unlimited access to winter lifts, the summer Mountain Bike Park, and rafting on Big Eddy Thriller.
Pictured: Woodward's Start Park at Copper Mountain, outside Denver
BEND, OR -- Deschutes County Commissioners approved a resolution Monday that dissolves two local library districts originally formed in the mid-90s. County Assistant Legal Counsel Chris Bell says the Sisters and la Pine Districts were created in 1994, but they never officially got off the ground, "Nothing was really ever done to really do anything more than just approve the new districts, to actually make functioning districts, and/or physical libraries out of anything." He adds, "There's really been no activity. No board was ever elected, no taxes, I believe, were ever paid. They were basically just 'zombie shells' or 'zombie districts;' they were there in name only."
Bell tells KBND News the Sisters and La Pine library districts are now covered by the Deschutes County Library District, created in 1998. "So, just for efficiency purposes, we're just making a paperwork correction to get rid of them, knowing we have a very vibrant and functioning library district in Deschutes County right now and it's serving its purpose well."
The Sunriver Library District was also created in the mid-90s. It dissolved a few years ago. These dissolutions allow the Assessor's office to remove the districts from tax statements and the County Clerk can take them off the special district election records.
File Photo: The Sisters branch of the Deschutes Public Library, as seen during the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- Construction of Crook County’s new $17 million dollar jail is behind schedule. "We’d hoped to be in there – have inmates in by July first," says Crook County Sheriff John Gautney, "Obviously, at this point, that’s not going to happen." Originally, he says, officials hoped construction would be complete by late May; then it was pushed to mid-June. Now, he says it won't be ready for inmates until July.
While delays are common on such large projects, Gautney says he didn't anticipate completion of the jail would depend on electricians' availability, "Some of the issues that’s holding us up, just most recently, is the electrical work. We have a shortage of electricians in Prineville, right now, due to other construction projects going on, and so that’s put us in a little bit of a crunch to get that done." Much of those other projects are connected to data center construction in Prineville. The facility features the latest security and communications technology, "And, obviously, in order for them to get the electronics and the doors to work, and the cameras to work, we’ve got to have electricity," Gautney tells KBND News.
Despite the delay, Sheriff Gautney says deputies are already training in the new jail. "We’re on schedule to be in there sometime in July. I can’t give you a date at this point, obviously, but we’re hoping to have inmates in and operating before the end of July; hopefully by the middle." The specific date of the inmate transfers won't be released to the public, for security reasons. But, Gautney says it will be a gradual process, "We will start out with the ones that are in the Prineville jail now, because that’s the one we want to get them out of. Our other inmates that we have, that we’re renting beds in Jefferson County [for], we’ll move those at a later time. And that’ll be based on, once we get the Prineville inmates in and get everything situated and see how that’s working out, then we will bring the other inmates over by what we call classification; one classification at a time."
An open house and public dedication scheduled for Saturday, June 22, is still on. It starts at 4 p.m.
Photo: Construction of the Crook County's new jail, behind the existing facility, in May 2019.
REDMOND, OR -- Allegiant Air announced early Tuesday morning it is returning to the Redmond Airport. The airline will begin twice weekly flights to Las Vegas and Phoenix, starting in early October.
In April, Sun Country Airlines announced direct service to Vegas. That twice weekly seasonal flight starts September fifth and runs through December. Allegiant's new service is expected to be year-round. Direct service to McCarran International Airport (LAS) begins October third. Service to Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport (AZA) begins October fourth.
Allegiant left Roberts Field in 2012, after flying to Las Vegas, Phoenix and the Bay Area over its five-year run in Redmond. Airline officials cited poor demand when they discontinued service seven years ago.
This is a developing story and KBND News will have reaction from Redmond officials, Wednesday on the KBND Morning News.
BEND, OR -- Police warn smart phone users a group text making the rounds in Central Oregon is a scam. In the message, the sender claims to be a woman living in your neighborhood, looking for sex. It includes a link promising a photo of the woman. But, Lt. Juli McConkey says don't click on it, "People can get your cell phone information, who providers are, all sorts of things, to defraud the person who's clicking the link; [they] try to get all the personal information." She adds the sender can even, "Get your log in name, password, credit card info, things like that. It's really an attempt to defraud people."
She says scammers can even learn important information when the recipient replies. McConkey tells KBND News you should instead, "Block the number, don't click on the link, and then don't respond to the text at all. Just delete it entirely. If someone were to text back to say something to the effect of 'Leave me alone,' or 'I don't want anything to do with this,' that just confirms that the number is valid, and they might start getting more scammers trying to reach out."
Lt. McConkey says the majority of these kinds of "sexts" are sent from a computer. In this most recent rash of messages, the sender is using a Google Voice number, which she says makes it extremely difficult to track. And, it can take just one person falling for the message to make it worth the sender's time, "Sometimes, people are curious. People can get defrauded all sorts of ways. Unfortunately, where there's a will, there's a way," says McConkey, "All we can do is hope to educate."
Images: Two parts of the group "sext" message hitting smart phones in Central Oregon, in the past two weeks.
BEND, OR -- With warmer weather comes an increased danger for young children: open windows. More than 3,000 kids in the U.S. are seriously injured in falls from windows, annually, according to the National Safety Council. Eight die each year. "We’ve seen about 15 children in the last two years, here in Central Oregon, at St. Charles Medical Center, who have been injured in a window fall," St. Charles Trauma Surgeon Jennifer Watters tells KBND News. She says her Emergency Department treated a four year old and a child under the age of two, in May. "When we had our hot week, we saw a couple of kids. They both did alright." But, she acknowledges, not all are so lucky, "With window falls, the injuries can be highly variable. Probably the most common injuries with window falls are broken bones, especially arms, wrists, and head injuries such as concussions."
The risk is even higher in the Pacific Northwest, Dr. Watters says, because so many homes don't have air conditioning. Older homes built before building codes required safety measures, can be especially dangerous, "Current building code requires windows to have installed safety devices if they are greater than 72 inches from the ground," says Dr. Watters, and after-market window-stop guards are available, "Bottom line is that device needs to limit the window opening to four inches or less, and be removable or openable by an adult in case of emergency." She says re-arranging furniture so curious kids can’t climb up to a window, will also help, "Making sure that the bookcase doesn’t sit underneath of the window, or the toy box or dresser that a child might climb on, doesn’t sit directly under the window." And, Dr. Watters suggests parents check with friends and grandparents, to make sure homes kids might visit are safe.
LA PINE, OR -- The search continues for 29-year-old Michael Mead, who is presumed to have drowned last week at Wickiup Reservoir. Deschutes County dive teams continued through the weekend to look for the Bend man in a 17-acre area around where his canoe capsized. Sergeant William Bailey says Mead disappeared in difficult conditions, "It was dark – two in the morning. The surface temps and air temps may be warm; we’re up in the 80s and 90s during the day; surface temp on the lake is running around 60. But, down below the surface, down near the lake floor, it’s much cooler – in the 40s. So, a person can become very exhausted quickly, and succumb to those cold temps." A Klamath County Sheriff's Office team arrived Friday with special sonar equipment. "We did recover some gear from the canoe when it capsized," says Sgt. Bailey, "But visibility in the water is pretty low, with inches up to a foot or two at times."
The day after the Wickiup incident, the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office says a man appears to have drowned in Lake Billy Chinook. He has not been identified and his body has also not been recovered.
Mead and 24-year-old Daniel Ganley were in the canoe with a dog, when the boat overturned at about 2 a.m. Thursday. Ganley and the dog made it back to shore; Mead did not. No one was wearing a life jacket, which Bailey says could have helped save Mead, "The old day and age of the bright orange, square foamed life jackets, you know, just aren’t the case anymore. There’s lots of options that are very comfortable. There’s auto-inflating life jackets that are very slim and low-profile that don’t encumber you when you’re out on the water recreating. They can save your life if you end up in the water unexpectedly." And, Bailey tells KBND News, alcohol appears to have been a factor, which can make it more difficult to survive cold water and frantic conditions. "Hopefully someone hearing this story thinks twice and wears a life jacket when they’re out on the water, thinks about use of alcohol when recreating and being out on the water," says Bailey, "And save a family from a tragic ending."
For now, Mead is considered a missing person. He's a white male, 5'6" tall and 170 pounds, with brown hair and blue eyes and tattoos. He was last seen wearing black pants or shorts, with no shoes or shirt. Anyone with information is asked to call the Sheriff's Office at 541-693-6911.
CULVER, OR -- Jefferson County authorities searched through the weekend for a man presumed drowned at Lake Billy Chinook. It was the second apparent drowning in as many days in Central Oregon.
According to the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, a man jumped from the top deck of a pontoon boat, at about 4:20 p.m. Friday. Witnesses say his head struck a railing on the way into the water and he sank out of sight.
His friends searched the area, along with Jefferson County deputies and a Search and Rescue team from Deschutes County, but his body has not been recovered.
His name has not been released, pending next of kin notification.
UPDATE: (12:00 p.m.) The Jefferson County Sheriff tells KBND News the victim has been identified as 52-year-old Patricio Pineda, from Oregon City. He went into the water in an area that's about 275' deep. JCSO marine patrols continue, and Sheriff Jim Adkins says he's requested help from outside agencies with specialized equipment.
REDMOND, OR -- For the third time in four days, Redmond Fire crews had to extricate a driver trapped in a vehicle, Friday morning (above). The crash occurred on Northwest Way, near NW Euston Lane, at about 7:15 a.m. Authorities say the vehicle rolled several times and hit a juniper tree. Firefighters stabilized the vehicle, removed the roof and freed the driver, who was the sole occupant. The victim was flown by Life Flight to St. Charles Bend.
Thursday afternoon, crews responded to Highway 126, a couple miles east of Redmond. In that case, they were also forced to remove the vehicle's roof to get the driver out (below). That person was taken by ground ambulance to St. Charles Redmond.
On Tuesday, a 75-year-old woman reportedly pulled out in front of an oncoming vehicle on Veterans Way, causing a T-bone crash. Both drivers suffered only minor injuries, but Redmond firefighters had to use a hydraulic rescue tool to get one driver out.
BEND, OR -- Deschutes County will conduct a phone survey, over the next two weeks, to get more input on where local trash should go, once the Knott Landfill hits capacity. One proposal would truck the county’s garbage to a landfill in the Columbia River Gorge. Another option is to create a new landfill in an unincorporated part of Deschutes County.
Solid Waste Director Timm Schimke says County Commissioners learned a lot from recent listening sessions, but they want a statistically valid survey of residents to help guide their final decision. "The feedback we’ve gotten so far is from people who are interested, who are aware. There’s a whole lot of people in the community who don’t think about their trash at all; as long as it disappears out there, off the curb, that’s all they care to think about. So, we’re trying to reach out and get the opinion of some of those people." He adds, "When those results come back, then the board [of County Commissioners] will be ready to make a decision. I expect that decision to happen sometime in the month of July."
Schimke says, at the county’s current rate of growth, the Knott Landfill has about decade left. He tells KBND News, "2029 is kind of what we’re looking at. I mean, if we grow faster than anticipated, that’ll be a shorter timeframe." And he says, it's important to decide now how to proceed because it takes about 10 years to develop a new facility, if county leaders choose that option.
Regardless of whether they build a new landfill or decide to truck the county's trash to a facility in the Gorge, prices will go up, "Knott Landfill, being so close to the community, has been a real financial benefit to the community. So 180,000 tons go into the landfill a year; probably 75% of that kind of shows up at the gate. We don’t have to transport it. But, once that landfill is full, we’re picking up all 180,000 [tons] and taking it somewhere else - maybe 30 miles out, maybe 130 miles out."
BEND, OR -- Central Oregon Community College honors the class of 2019, Saturday. U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) will deliver the commencement address. COCC Director of Student Life Andrew Davis says Wyden is the first Democratic politician to speak at graduation, "Commencement is really, totally apolitical. It's about the graduates, and it's about what's next for them. And for us, we've had politicians speak at commencement before, it's just about somebody who's got a powerful message that they can deliver." Davis tells KBND Congressman Greg Walden (R-OR) and former State Representative Knute Buehler (R-Bend) have spoken at past graduations.
Senator Wyden says, "I was asked a number of months ago to be the commencement speaker at Central Oregon Community college, and I'm really looking forward to it." He adds, "The college does so many things well and, in that sense, mirrors the community. And, I'm going to make this a speech that really makes that case." About 700 students are in COCC's class of 2019, although Davis says only about 300 will take part in Saturday's ceremony. It starts at 10 a.m. at Mazama Field, and is open to the public.
Also Saturday, Wyden will hold his 29th town hall of 2019, in Prineville. "I think there are going to be a host of issues that come up," says Wyden. "I expect to talk a lot about recreation, we have our R&R bill - 'Recreation not Redtape.' I think we'll be talking about essential services, such as schools, and roads, and law enforcement. I also expect, in Central Oregon, there will be a lot of questions about holding down health care costs." He also wants to talk about the Secure Rural Schools program that's brought millions in funding to Central Oregon. It's expired, and he's working to replace it with the Forest Management for Rural Stability Plan, "I think it will provide stable increasing in reliable funds for county services in Central Oregon." The town hall takes place at Crook County Middle School and begins at 1:30 p.m., Saturday.
OSU Cascades will graduate 331 students on Sunday. It's the largest graduating class in the history of the Bend campus, and is distinguished by record diversity and first-generation grads.
BEND, OR -- Police agencies across the country continue to respond to hoax calls, known as “SWATting." That’s when a false report leads to a large law enforcement response. Bend Police is no exception. Investigations continue in to two recent "SWATting" incidents. The first involved a reported hostage situation at Sal’s Barber Shop on South Highway 97, June fourth. Deputy Police Chief Paul Kansky says the second occurred the following day at Bend High, "That call was of a bomb threat, which is – really, when Swatting or these hoaxings started, bomb threats were very common; that was one of the common themes. In that case, the people that were left at the school had to be evacuated, so it caused quite a disturbance, and again a lot of police resources that had to respond to that."
Those two recent incidents now make three in the past six months, "One from December, we never solved; that’s still an open case. Sometimes, without solving them, we don’t know if it’s truly just ‘a thrill’ thing or if there was some other motive, to damage a business or whatnot," says Kansky. "The current ones are very recent and still under investigation."
Kansky tells KBND News, determining the motive can help lead investigators to a suspect or suspects. There are typically two reasons why someone calls in a hoax, "One of them is to – just the thrill, I guess, of deceiving law enforcement. A little bit of that has been connected to trying to get that on video, whether it’s the news or some live stream. And then, we’ve also seen where it’s a personal vendetta or personal extortion, if you will, some sort of thing where they’re trying to get something from somebody." Suspects could face local and federal charges, if caught.
PORTLAND, OR -- Pacific Power plans to take aggressive steps, this summer, to prevent electrical lines from causing wildfires. Last year’s devastating fire in Paradise, California is blamed on PG&E transmission lines.
Pacific Power crews are expanding the amount of vegetation they cut around power equipment and inspecting lines for trees that could cause lines to come down. Senior Vice President Scott Bolton says they may have to do even more, "In high-risk fire areas of the state, even proactively de-energizing or shutting off power." But, he says, "It’s a measure of last resort when we see extreme conditions around high wind, high temperatures, very low humidity and potential for a fire to ignite."
Bolton says the utility is also looking at ways to strengthen their grid, "How do we improve the safety and resiliency of the grid today and what are the types of measures we can take in the future?" He says they plan to work with local governments and emergency service agencies to develop plans for when the power might be cut. They'll also launch a public awareness campaign later this month in areas where shut downs are most likely. He believes Southern Oregon is most at risk.
BEND, OR -- Bend Police officers and Fire inspectors will team up this summer, to crack down on illegal fireworks. The task force will patrol areas in the city with a history of a high number of illegal fireworks calls. They’ll also respond to fireworks calls, as they’re able. Targeted patrols are scheduled for June 27 and 28, and July third, fifth and sixth.
Fireworks enforcement was identified as a City Council priority, this year, as part of a comprehensive wildfire resilience plan. Last year’s Fourth of July fire on Pilot Butte is blamed on illegal fireworks.
In Oregon, fireworks that explode, fly more than 12 inches in to the air or move laterally more than six feet are illegal to possess and use. Click HERE for more information and safety tips. Last month, Bend Fire launched a series of public service announcements urging people to use only legal fireworks.
TERREBONNE, OR -- An injured hiker was rescued from Smith Rock State Park, during a three-hour operation, Thursday evening. Redmond Fire Medics responded the park at about 6:30 p.m. They hiked to the top of Misery Ridge and stabilized the victim until 10 Search and Rescue (SAR) volunteers arrived.
Deschutes County Sheriff's SAR personnel established a running belay system and brought the victim down the trail in a basket. The hiker was taken to St. Charles Redmond with undisclosed injuries.
BEND, OR -- A Bend man is presumed dead after his canoe overturned at Wickiup Reservoir, early Thursday morning. According to the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office, two men were disperse camping near the Davis arm of the reservoir. They were in the canoe with a dog, when it overturned at about 2 a.m.
A 24-year-old man and dog made it to shore; the 29-year-old did not. Because his cell phone and vehicle keys were in the canoe at the time it tipped, the survivor had no way to call or drive for help, according to DCSO, and he waited in camp. Just after 9 a.m., he discovered an out-of-service cell phone in his friend's camp items and called 911. A DCSO drone responded and a dive team located gear from the boat on the lake floor, in about 20 feet of water; but the victim was not found. The search for his body continues Friday; his identity has not been released.
Neither man was wearing a lifejacket and alcohol is believed to have contributed to the incident.