REDMOND, OR -- A Redmond middle school student could be out for Mayor George Endicott’s job. Riley Latta, a 12-year-old seventh grader at Redmond Proficiency Academy, recently won the statewide “If I were Mayor” contest. Mayor Endicott tells KBND News, "Our winner at the middle school category – that’s an essay – he won in the city; that then went to the state and there’s then an independent board that looks at all of those essays." Endicott was impressed by Latta's submission, "I’ve never seen an essay like his. Most of them say, ‘well, if I were Mayor I’d do this; if I were Mayor I’d do that.’ He said, ‘I’m going to consider four essential characteristics a Mayor should have, and then I will show you how you could apply them to do a better job in Redmond’.”
Latta says his inspiration came from his own life. "I came up with a list of traits that I possess and that could be helpful as Mayor. From there, I chose ideas that would go into those ideas that would go in to those traits. Then, I wrote about those ideas and how we could accomplish them." Those traits were "Helpfulness, kindness, encouragement and being a visionary." His ideas range from creating a food pantry in partnership with area grocery stores, to providing incentives for acts of kindness and reducing the city's reliance on fossil fuels, "I want to have stores be able to provide free reusable bags, so we would save plastic in order to protect the environment. We could also find alternative ways to use solar and wind power in your own backyard; that would save having to use fossil fuels. We could be the first town to run on green energy and not completely rely on non-renewable resources."
He says he has considered running for office someday; after all, his grandfather was Mayor of Chillicothe, a small town in Illinois, for eight years. Latta was presented his first place award at last month's Oregon Mayors Association summer conference in Florence, Oregon. He received an Apple iPad Air2 and accessories, courtesy of Facebook.
Photo: (L-R) Redmond Mayor George Endicotte, Riley Latta and Tigard Mayor John Cook, OMA President
BEND, OR -- Deschutes County Commissioners are concerned with a new rule proposed for the state's Smoke Management Plan, which provides standards to help communities achieve and maintain clean air. The new proposal would prohibit prescribed burns that produce smoke for more than one hour, in areas near populated communities.
Commissioner Tammy Baney says 79% of Deschutes County land surrounding cities is mostly forested, which means fuels mitigation is especially important. She tells KBND News, "We need to be able to be allowed to do all the preventative work that's possible to be able to protect communities, and to protect our natural resources, which also, is critical to our economy." She acknowledges prescribed burns and other current practices aren't foolproof, but she says they do make a significant difference, "Will it make all forest fires go away? Absolutely not. But, do we know that areas that have been treated with prescribed burns or with other fuels management tools? Then the answer to that is 'absolutely yes,' we do know that that is an effective way to protect communities."
County Commissioners are drafting a letter to Oregon's Departments of Forestry and Environmental Quality, asking for the agencies to reconsider the proposed rule or allow an exemption so Deschutes County can continue thinning and prescribed burns in fire-prone areas, regardless of their proximity to communities. "The smoke management rules are, in some ways, restrictive in terms of our ability to do the types of management tools that we would like to do," says Baney, "Like introducing more smoke into the air where it is prescribed, but it is controlled, versus our forests burning up on their own." The letter is expected to be finalized and signed at the next County Commissioners meeting.
BEND, OR -- Three dozen Bend residents turned out to speak to City Councilors during Wednesday's Septic to Sewer listening session. The Southeast Septic to Sewer project aims to help nearly 600 homes connect to the city’s sewer system. But, many testified that the cost of the switch is out of reach and should be shared by the whole city.
County Commissioner Phil Henderson has lived in the area for 20 years. He calls it an expensive fix to a nonexistent problem, "Somebody testified that 'well, we don't want to be like La Pine.' La Pine and South County, the depth of the aquifer is much less, so you have a water problem, and a nitrogen loading problem - phosphorous. We don't really have that in our neighborhood."
Henderson says it would be cheaper for homeowners to maintain, and even replace, existing septic tanks. He asked Councilors to do more to help, "We're going to spend $50 million in our neighborhood, and $150 to $200 million for all this sewer. What have you done to lobby Salem about this rule? Because, I'm sure there are other cities, there are other people facing the same dilemma we're facing. And, it's extremely expensive to solve a problem that we don't really have." That led to a heated exchange with Councilor Barb Campbell who told the audience, "Ladies and gentlemen, this your County Commissioner. He is the person who will not give you a permit to replace your system. In the system, the county has to give you a permit in order to fulfill state law. Phil, are you lobbying the state to change the law so you guys don't have to enforce it?" He replied, "I'd be happy to lobby the state," as Mayor Pro Tem Sally Russell tried to regain control of the meeting saying, "This is not the time to have this conversation."
Bend City Manager Eric King talked in more detail about the Septic to Sewer Project and the controversy surrounding its cost, Thursday on KBND's Morning News. Click HERE
to listen to the full conversation. Another meeting on the project is scheduled for August 29 at the Bend Senior Center, from 6:30 to 9 p.m.
BEND, OR -- Bend Mayor Casey Roats says he will not run for re-election in November. In June, Roats said he looked forward to serving another term on City Council because there was more work to do. However, In a letter released Wednesday, Roats says he cannot commit to the rigors of a campaign season. See below for his full letter. He made the decision while away focusing on his health, family and business. Roats plans to serve out his current term and looks forward to getting back to public service in the future.
The field of candidates vying for his Position six seat is getting bigger. Sarah McCormick announced Wednesday she plans to run. She's an Oregon native who moved to Bend four years ago so her husband could join his family’s business. She says she’s running because she’s seen how city rules and regulations impact small businesses; and as a mom, she wants Bend to remain a place she’s proud to raise her family.
McCormick joins Ron Boozell, Brian Hinderberger and current Councilor Barb Campbell in the race for Position Six.
TERREBONNE, OR -- A 32-year-old climber was hurt in a fall at Smith Rock State Park, Wenesday afternoon. Aaron Clark, of Gresham, is reportedly familiar with the area and was traversing a traditional route on the north point trailhead with gear, when he fell about 25 feet.
Redmond Fire personnel responded at about 4:30, along with 22 Search and Rescue volunteers and two Deschutes County Sheriff's deputies. They used a rope-rescue system to pull Clark up in a litter. He was then taken by ambulance to St. Charles Redmond for evaluation and treatment.
REDMOND, OR -- A major land swap was approved Tuesday by the State Land Board, clearing the way for city and county officials to move forward with plans for what’s known as the South Redmond Tract. The project will bring 945 acres into Redmond's Urban Growth Boundary.
Officials say 140 acres of state lands will go to the county, for expansion of the Fair and Expo Center and 20 acres would be sold to the Oregon Military Department for a new readiness center. The remaining land would be designated as “large lot industrial” for future development.
Photo: (L-R) Vicki Walker, Director of Dept. of State Lands, Jon Stark, Senior Director of Redmond Economic Development Inc (REDI), Stanley Hutchison, Dep. Dir. Oregon Military Department, Governor Kate Brown and Redmond Mayor George Endicott.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- Prineville's St. Vincent de Paul Food bank will close at the end of this month, due to a lack of money. The last eight grants the nonprofit applied for were rejected, leaving the nonprofit without sufficient operating funds.
St. Vincent de Paul has been in Crook County since 1985 and runs its current operation out of a building on Court Street. President Jim Rodosevich says the loss to the community is significant, "Currently, we supply clients in Crook County, of which there are like 22,000 people. And [in 2017] we distributed 223,000 pounds of food to 9,600 people." The organization also has a social services arm to assist people with rent and utility bills, and a used clothing service sells up to 6,000 pounds of donated clothes per year to help with overhead costs.
He tells KBND News the bank account will be empty by September, but all hope is not lost, "We've simply got to close our doors and regroup. And, the plan, is to contract into a much smaller building and operate a food bank only. But, in order to get to that point there, we've got to relinquish this operation here." Rodosevich believes could take two to four months, "We've got to build those funds back up through, primarily, individual donations. And perhaps at that point, there may be some capital funds out there from grantors that would be able to help buy that building, but that would take time beyond leaving this location."
Rodosevich says food distribution will end August 31, and the doors will close entirely by the end of September.
BEND, OR -- Bend’s Police Chief says the county is getting closer to fixing ongoing problems with the radio system used by first responders, which has been plagued with problems since last year’s digital conversion.
Chief Jim Porter believes the problem started when the county contracted for a digital system rated 3.0, on a scale of one to five. Porter tells KBND News he recently learned that's not strong enough for radios carried by police and fire personnel, "And they’re also degraded by the fact the officer wears it on his hip. So, his body sometimes will shield the antenna, as opposed to an antenna on top of a vehicle. A 3.0 system, as I understand it, will function very well for those higher output radios, such as in a vehicle."
He says his department has wasted time and money trying to fix problems with those portable radios, when the issue was the overall system strength, "The 911 staff has had us reprogram our portable radios numerous times to try and get us where we need to be. When, in fact, some of the definitions of a 3.0 system says, ‘you will have to repeat your calls, if you’re using a portable'." Porter says if he’d known that a year ago, he would’ve raised concerns before the contract was signed, "It’s a non-starter, if you will; we can’t. Us and fireman do not have the ability, us and paramedics do not have the ability to repeat our calls in the situations we deal with."
Porter is a member of the E-Board that helped develop recommendations for the new radio system, and says he doesn’t know why the county chose to purchase a lower-grade system, "I really wasn’t there at that final stage. I was on the E-board and we recommended, out of the Sparling Report, a system that was 3.4 or better."
Given all the issues, Porter is encouraged by planned upgrades, "County Commissioners are hiring somebody
, hopefully by the end of this week, to help us with that – a technician. And we can get this system where it needs to be, because all the industry standards say ‘inside city urban areas require stronger signal strength.’ So you have to be at that 3.4 or better."
Deschutes County Administrator Tom Anderson tells KBND News there is money in the 911 budget to reach the 3.4 goal. He says the 3.0 contract was based on ODOT's agreement with Harris Radio, since the county was piggy-backing on the state system. But, he believes the intention from the beginning was to upgrade to 3.4 for the urban areas of Bend and Redmond.
BEND, OR -- Four Bend residents vying to become the city's first directly elected Mayor faced off in their first debate, Tuesday night, in an event sponsored by the Bend Chamber of Commerce. Current City Councilors Sally Russell and Bill Moseley took part, as well as Brian Douglass, an advocate for people with disabilities, and self-proclaimed President of Earth Charles Baer. They discussed topics like growth, tourism, dredging Mirror Pond, and the role of neighborhood associations in city government.
On Appropriate Representation:
Brian Douglass supports changing to a ward system for city elections, "We need to put our councilors into districts, geographical districts, so they can be accountable to the residents who live in those Districts, and those residents know who to go to when they have a problem." Current City Councilor Bill Moseley says residents wanting to effect change should start in their own neighborhoods, "Is the Bend City Council actually representative of the City? My experience is that might be questionable at times. The neighborhood associations are a legitimate form that gives people a chance to participate." Charles Baer thinks hearing from the public won't always be pleasant, "If I was mayor, I would use eminent domain to create parking structures downtown, now that neighborhood association would be pretty upset, but you know, sometimes you gotta do things, make tough calls as mayor, and that's what I'd do. And, Mayor Pro Tem Sally Russell stands on her record of being accessible to the public she's served as a City Councilor since 2012.
On Tourism and Affordable Housing:
Baer, who wants to ban cars downtown, believes preserving Bend's character is important, "We don't need to say, 'Hey, Bend's great, come here!' Everybody already knows it." He says, "If I was Mayor, every place that we can make a park within a 10-mile radius of Pilot Butte, I would make that a park before they turn them into apartments or shopping centers or whatever." Moseley believes there's too much emphasis on providing housing for tourists, and not enough focus on residents, "Right now, 10% of our housing is taken up in the form of second homes or short-term rentals - 10%! And in a community that is suffering a housing crisis." Russell agrees Bend is great as it is, but she believes it can get even better, "I know that working together, we can create choices that people need to thrive in our community." She added, "We're really changing the face of Bend and we're actually lowering the price of rents; 30% of the housing we've brought in in the last 14 months is multi-family, and we know that rents, according to some rental agencies, have dropped significantly." Douglass says La Pine offers tremendous opportunities for people to purchase land and build homes not too far from where they work in Bend.
On the Septic to Sewer Project:
One heated exchange took place when an audience member asked about the southeast sewer project, requiring homeowners to pay to connect with city infrastructure, which could be cost-prohibitive. Councilor Russell says the sewer system was originally built with federal funds, and that money is no longer available, "In some ways, it's not our problem to solve, but because they're our residents, we've taken this issue on. It's State law, the County enforces the septic, but these are people within our City, and I'm hoping that we find a solution that really works for everybody in this area." Douglass disagrees. "You know, Councilor Russell, I'm amazed at your answer," said Douglass, "To say, 'Well, It's not our problem, It's their problem,' The hell it's their problem; it's our problem. It's everybody in this community's problem!" Councilor Moseley says the City Council has come up with a plan to try equalizing the costs, but he acknowledged there's no perfect solution. Baer suggests if you don't want to pay to tie in to city services, you should not buy a home with a septic system.
Photo: (L-R) Bill Moseley, Brian Douglass, Sally Russell & Charles Baer take part in Tuesday's debate, hosted by the Bend Chamber of Commerce.
TUMALO, OR -- A horse was rescued from a Tumalo-area cattle guard, Tuesday morning, thanks to help from Bend Fire, the Sheriff’s office and Bend Equine Medical Center.
When the first team arrived at the cattle guard on High Mowing Lane, they found the horse had three legs trapped. They sedated the animal, and crews used the jaws of life to get the horse out. At last report, it did not appear to have any obvious fractures.
Bend Fire officials call the incident an example of the "broad spectrum of emergencies that Bend Fire and Rescue meets everyday." They thanked Bend Equine Medical Center for their teamwork and their "prompt and professional response."
Photo Courtesy of Bend Fire.
BURNS, OR -- Eight people were killed in a two-vehicle crash in Harney County, Monday morning. According to Oregon State Police, a 1999 Toyota 4Runner was westbound on Highway 78 at about 10 a.m. when it veered into the eastbound lane and collided with a 2016 4Runner.
The driver was the sole occupant of the first vehicle and was pronounced dead at the scene, as well as all seven people inside the second SUV. The investigation is ongoing and authorities have not yet released the identities of those involved.
OSP was assisted at the scene by the Harney County Sheriff's Office, Hines Police Department, Harney District Ambulance, Burns Fire Department, Range Land Fire Protection Association and ODOT.
UPDATE (08/15/18): State Police released the names of eight people killed in Monday morning's crash in Harney County. They say 48-year-old Mark Rundell, of Prairie City, OR, was driving the 1999 Toyota when it veered into oncoming traffic. He hit a 2016 Toyota driven by 29-year-old Erika Boquet, of Tacoma, WA. Also in her vehicle were 28-year-old Kyla Marie Brown, of Olympia, 11-year-old Isabella Boquet, eight-year-old Elisabeth Boquet and six-year-old Tytis Boquet; as well as 10-year-old Arianna Brown and two-year-old Xavier Johnson.
CROOKED RIVER RANCH, OR -- A manufactured home in Crooked River Ranch was destroyed by a Sunday night fire that killed the homeowner's dog. When fire crews arrived on Shad Road at about 11:30 p.m., they found heavy fire coming from the home, spreading to brush. They quickly extinguished the wildland fire.
Firefighters remained on scene into Monday afternoon to make sure the blaze inside the home was fully out. The operation was complicated by a roof collapse and a "man lift" was brought in to help crews get above the blaze and extinguish it (pictured).
The resident says his dog woke him up, allowing him to safely escape. The dog, however, did not survive. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
BEND, OR -- Bend’s annual Veterans Day parade is now in the hands of the Central Oregon Veterans Outreach (COVO). The Bend Chamber of Commerce took over the annual event in 2014. But Robin Rogers, with the Chamber, says the business group never intended to run the event, long term, "The decision was, when we took the parade four years ago, was to really jump in and help bring it back where it needed to be. And, we always had the idea that at some point we really wanted to pass it over to one of the veterans’ organizations."
The Bend Chamber made the decision official Monday, leaving just a short window to raise the required funding before the November 11 event. COVO Executive Director J.W. Terry says there is some help available, "A former Bend police officer, who has since passed away, left some money that was for permits only," Terry says, "We’ll have to do some fundraising to put on the rest of the parade." He's confident the community will step up, as it always does. Rogers says sponsorships are a necessity, "Because there is absolutely no government funding, whatsoever, to help produce that parade. So, they’ll be pursuing that now and we will still be helping, as well."
Bend boasts one of the largest Veterans Day parades in the state. Terry looks forward to carrying on the tradition restarted by Mike Dolan, in 1999. "Bend had stopped doing the Veterans Day Parade and he was frustrated and grabbed an American flag and marched down Wall Street by himself to reinstitute a Veterans Day parade. And since that time, it’s just continued to grow." He tells KBND News it's a big honor, "I feel very excited; I feel very proud. I also – as a veteran – I feel very humbled with this responsibility."
BEND, OR -- Bend's new elementary school under construction near Cooley Road still doesn't have a name. Its new Principal, Kevin Gehrig, says the school board will make the final decision based on suggested names submitted by the public. But first, he needs to form a naming committee, "The people that would be on that team are the Principal - me - future staff members, future parents, and then some community members; [it's] kind of a broad base of people in Bend that help name that school."
The school board is expected to agree on the official naming process at Tuesday night's meeting. Gehrig tells KBND News names suggested by the public should fit into one of three categories, "People that made contributions to the community, recognized, historical places or geographical landmarks - points of interest - and then also, it could be themes - something that reflects the culture and the historical character of our community." The naming committee will then narrow the list of possible names to two or three before submitting them to the board for final approval. Gehrig hopes that will happen by winter break.
School Construction Projects Underway In Bend
As the first floor of the school takes shape, construction is on track, including nearby infrastructure, "There's a local road that goes through the property, on the edge of the property," says Gehrig, "That's completed and they're already diverting traffic to that local road so they can make improvements on O.B. Riley road and add those pedestrian walkways and those bike lanes." That local road is also without a name. "And they already were starting to work on the parking lots, even the light poles in the parking lots. So, they're moving along pretty quickly." The school is expected to open by Fall 2019.
BEND, OR -- Bend’s first ever Mayoral debate takes place Tuesday evening. Jamie Christman, with the Bend Chamber, will co-moderate the event. She acknowledges there was some controversy after the initial announcement that only City Councilors Bill Moseley and Sally Russell would take part. And then other candidates came forward. "You’re definitely still going to see Bill and Sally and you’re also going to see Brian Douglass," Christman tells KBND News, "And then, now, Charles Baer came into the office and requested to be a part of it. And thus, we’ll have those four.
She says it was difficult to determine who was serious about running, given we're still two weeks ahead of the candidate filing deadline for the November election, "They came in stages for us, as I learned about different PACs maybe, that they responded to, how serious that they’d taken some of the questions out there – some of their media responses. That really matters when you’re this early on."
Christman says she and the other two moderators will only guide the conversation, "It gets to be quite a bit when you have a lot of people up on that panel, but we’ve done it before." She expects growth will be a big focus, but topics are really up to the audience, "It’s heavily reliant on the Q & A from the audience, particularly where we have more candidates, like this, versus just two, we’ll kick it out to the audience even earlier. So, I encourage people to really start thinking now and be prepared. I will be very strict about people making sure they have a question versus just an opinion."
The debate starts at 5 p.m. at the 10 Barrel East Side Pub. Tickets are available through the Bend Chamber. Click HERE
for more information and to register.
BEND, OR -- A Bend man faces numerous charges after a small fire and evidence of drug use was discovered off Benham Falls Road, in the Deschutes National Forest. That fire, near the Lava Lands Visitors Center was about a quarter-acre. A U.S. Forest Service officer contacted a suspect, Monday afternoon, who initially gave a fake name before fleeing the scene.
About 90 minutes later, 911 took a report of a domestic disturbance inside a car, near Third and Franklin. The car's description matched the suspect vehicle in the reckless burning case. Bend Police and OSP pulled over the car and arrested 43-year-old Benjamin Osborn. He and his passenger, a 28-year-old California woman, were evaluated at the hospital for possible drug use.
Osborn is accused of DUII, Heroin possession, failing to register as a sex offender, as well as an outstanding warrant from California and other charges.
BEND, OR -- A Bend man was injured in a single-vehicle crash, early Saturday morning, near the intersection of Butler Market Road and Wells Acres. According to Bend Police, 38-year-old Christopher Stenkamp was eastbound on Butler Market when his pickup left the road and struck numerous trees and rocks. His truck came to rest upside down.
Officers responded after someone reported hearing a crash. Emergency crews located the roll-over crash with Stenkamp still inside, but searched the area for more occupants or victims. They later determined he was alone in the vehicle.
Stenkamp was taken to St. Charles Bend where he was admitted for injuries.
BEND, OR -- Bend Police plan to open a new downtown substation, later this year. It would be a place for officers to "Write reports, take a second to collect themselves, make phone calls, do follow-up investigations, possibly meet someone down there for an investigation or if someone has a concern," says Lt. Clint Burleigh, even get out of extreme weather, "The downtown police officers are walking around in 106-degree heat. We do allow them to wear shorts in downtown patrol, but they still have their vests on. I think everybody knows the heat just drains you."
Burleigh tells KBND News the new substation won’t be staffed 24-hours a day, so emergencies should still be reported to 911. But, he believes it will help the department better serve downtown businesses, residents and visitors, "Presence is very important in a lot of enforcement and crime deterrent." It's part of a citywide effort to improve safety and livability
in the downtown core.
The small office-space is on Oregon Avenue, on the ground floor of the parking garage, and includes a dedicated parking space. Until now, Bend Police substations have only been inside fire stations. "The buildings are owned by the fire department and the rural fire district. We were able to operate out of those; they’re a little bigger, they have some more rooms. But, as we’ve progressed," says Burleigh, "working with the community, working with the Downtown Bend Business Association, working with City Hall, this just became the right plan for us."
The new downtown substation still needs to be outfitted with IT infrastructure, so computers can connect with the department's network; it should open later this year.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- Crook County Deputies say they’ve solved a rash of burglaries in the small community of Post. After a three-week investigation, the Sheriff’s Office determined two homes were broken into, with the stolen goods - like food, electronics, firearms and ATVs - stored in vacant location.
They executed several search warrants, late last week, on a home and two vehicles in Prineville, as well as residence in Post. Josef Taylor (right), a 37-year-old from Post, and 39-year-old Daniel Hibbits of Prineville face a number of charges, ranging from Trespassing and Burglary to Tampering with Evidence.
The investigation continues, and more arrests are possible.
BEND, OR -- A 28-year-old Bend woman faces multiple charges, including Driving under the Influence, following a collision on the Bend Parkway.
Police say Hannah Baker was driving northbound in the southbound lanes, early Saturday morning, and collided with a semi truck. Investigators say the truck driver tried to swerve, but was unable to avoid hitting Baker’s car. Both drivers were evaluated by medics at the scene but did not require medical attention.
A portion of the Parkway was closed for about 90 minutes for the investigation.
SISTERS, OR -- It was a busy weekend for local fire crews. A brush fire east of Sisters destroyed two homes and several other buildings, forcing evacuations and the closure of Highway 20. The Cloverdale Fire broke out Saturday afternoon. By Sunday, crews were mopping up, and most area residents were allowed to return home. The blaze was mapped at about 75 acres and firefighters continue to patrol for hotspots.
A few hours before the Cloverdale fire was spotted, a La Pine fire destroyed a vacant home and led to a one-acre brush fire (right). It also prompted the closure of Burgess Road, west of Highway 97, for several hours.
And on Sunday, a fire in Bend caused significant damage to a home on Northeast Brightwater Drive (below). Neighbors called 911 just before 5 p.m. and arriving firefighters found an active fire spreading to the attic. No one was home at the time, and the cause is under investigation.
Firefighters also responded to a new start nine miles east of Clarno and the John Day River. The Porcupine II fire is about 25% contained, at a little more than 500 acres; investigators believe it was human caused.
UPDATE (08/14/15): Fire investigators have determined the blaze on Brightwater Drive, in Bend, started in a child's bedroom. They believe a lithium-ion battery pack was plugged in to charge, and likely overheated. The investigation is ongoing, as they work to determine whether the product had been tested in a lab and listed to meet specific nationally recognized safety standards.
REDMOND, OR -- Redmond Planning Commission Chair James Cook is running for Deschutes County Commissioner, in November, against the local Republican Party Chair, Patti Adair. Cook, a web designer and Commute Options board member, has lived in Central Oregon for eight years. He tells KBND News he first got involved in local government when Redmond was updating its Master Plan for the Dry Canyon.
Cook is running on a platform of what he calls good, strong, moderate leadership and is critical of his opponent, "I think Patti has been a lot more divisive and ideological in her politics. Her goals, at least from what I've seen, are not necessarily to do what's best for Deschutes County, but I think it's to do what fits her ideology."
He's concerned about the region's rapid growth and lack of affordable housing. Cook says decisions made now will affect residents for years to come, "We are going to continue to grow, and the growth we're looking at down the road 10, 20, 30 years, is going to be shocking compared to the growth we've had for the last 10 or 20 years, and that's really what we need to be concentrating on." He adds, "I've got two grandchildren, and in 18 to 20 years, my hope is that they would be able to afford to live in this area and Deschutes County would remain the special place it is and be a place they would want to live."
Cook also would like to see future County Commissioner elections be non-partisan; he hopes an initiative will be on this year's ballot. He believes a small minority of voters are currently choosing nominees.
REDMOND, OR -- A 25-year-old Bend man is accused of trying to grab a three-year-old at the Redmond Airport, Thursday. The child was holding his father's hand when Arnulfo Maldonado Lopez allegedly tried to grab the toddler. He let go after the father threatened the suspect.
While Redmond Police were enroute to Roberts Field, Maldonado reportedly attempted to pass through a TSA check point. Police say he ran around the airport erratically, yelling and screaming, before he was detained by security. They say the man bit a Redmond Police Sergeant on the hand when he attempted to get away from officers. He was restrained using the "WRAP" system. He was later taken to St. Charles Redmond and evaluated before he was booked at the jail. He faces multiple charges, including Kidnapping, Assault of a Public Safety Officer, and Disorderly Conduct.
Investigators say Maldonado did not know the family involved and the child was unhurt. He was also arrested July 28 for allegedly taking a Bend Police officers phone. The man called 911, and while officers tried to help him by using a "language line" service, he took the officer's phone and ran off. He was later caught and the phone returned.
REDMOND, OR -- Redmond Schools will roll out a new program this fall, in an effort to better meet the needs of students with behavioral problems.
Karen Mitchell is the program supervisor at Edwin Brown Education Center
. She says "StepUp" will provide flexible services, "We wanted to look at how can we better support our students, with what's going on in their lives - socially and emotionally - that causes the behaviors. Because it's not 'what's wrong' with the kids, it's what happened to the kid; so that we can help them better themselves and be able to then be successful in society." According to Mitchell, a team approach helps determine the appropriate services for each student, instead of applying a one-size-fits-all solution.
She tells KBND News, last year's pilot program was very successful, "We had some students that were not only at Brown, but also at their home campus with support from our staff. And, they were very successful. We started the year with one class, then added classes and by the end of the year they were half-time on each campus."
StepUp encompasses the district's Transition program, Expulsion program and Behavior-Emotional-Social Support program. Mitchell says those kids need a tailored approach to their education, "Sometimes, they're just not ready to be on their home campus, or they're ready for a blend - and that's where this allows us to be a lot more flexible in that. Previously, it was either you were with us or not, or you were half and half, but there was no blending. For example,we might have a student only accessing StepUp for an hour a day."
While the facility will continue to be known as the Edwin Brown Education Center, the overall program name is now called "StepUp," with a theme of #be, which Mitchell says represents their core values: Be brave, be amazing, be inspiring, be unstoppable and be the difference.
BEND, OR -- Bend City Councilor Barb Campbell announced, Thursday, she plans to run for re-election to Position Six.
She believes there is still work to be done to increase affordable housing, improve transportation options and mitigate the negative effects of tourism. She says she’s also focused on helping residents who need to pay to convert properties from septic to sewer.
In her announcement, Campbell's campaign says she "has removed barriers and created incentives to open the market for varied housing types. 'We need housing that is affordable for our current citizens and workforce,' said Councilor Campbell recently. 'Attracting more wealthy, educated people who can afford our housing, attracting more industris which pay nice fat salaries does not help our cooks, carpenters, day care givers and auto mechanics. It simply means we need more of them'."
Campbell is a local business owner who is finishing her first term on Council. A majority of Bend City Councilors are now campaigning: Sally Russell and Bill Moseley are vying for Mayor, Nathan Boddie is running for Bend's House District 54 seat, while Campbell and Casey Roats both plan to run for re-election.
REDMOND, OR -- Housing Works and NeighborImpact are working together to increase affordable housing options in Central Oregon. The two nonprofits' new combined entity, called "Housing Impact LLC," was recently awarded a large grant for two new projects, "Home Partnership, which is a federal grant program that's administered through the state, we applied for a little bit over a million dollars from that program," says Housing Works Executive Director David Brandt, "And then we applied for $200,000 in money that the state derives from state recording fees; so in total, it's a little over $1.2 million grant."
Brandt expects construction to begin on Redmond's Liberty Lodge (pictured) early next year, "We've done all the pre-development, so now we go out and we do the final development of the project, final architecture and all that, and get a contractor to build the house. And then we draw on these funds, and some other funds we have, to complete the project." He hopes it will take only 10 months to complete.
Liberty Lodge will be built as a two-story eight-plex near job opportunities, shopping and recreation, "We're directing it toward some of our neediest residents in the Redmond community, and it's a small project: it's eight units for intellectually disabled, low income residents," says Brandt, "This is a great little project, and I think it's going to do a lot of good in the community."
Funds were also awarded this month to Canal Commons, a 48-unit affordable housing project planned for Bend.
MADRAS, OR -- A Jefferson County shop was destroyed in a Thursday evening fire that spread to nearby grass and brush. When firefighters arrived on NW Elk Drive, about eight miles west of Madras, their first priority was to protect nearby structures. A wildland fire unit was second on-scene and contained the grass fire at less than an acre. The third truck then focused on extinguishing the fire in the pole barn, as well as salvage and overhaul.
Crews worked for more than three hours in 100-degree heat. The fire was initially reported by the homeowner at about 7:30 p.m.; its cause is under investigation.
SHANIKO, OR -- A new wildfire near the Highway 97/Highway 197 interchange, north of Madras, prompted Level One evacuation warnings in the small communities of Shaniko and Antelope, Thursday afternoon.
The all-volunteer Ashwood-Antelope Rangeland Fire Protection Association quickly responded, along with a Bureau of Land Management team and air tankers. The Wasco County Sheriff, State Police and ODOT were also on-scene by late afternoon.
As of Thursday night, the Cow Canyon Fire was estimated at 200 acres and crews had stopped its forward progress.
REDMOND, OR -- Operations were back to normal at the Redmond Airport, Thursday morning, after an internet and phone outage forced flight cancelations, Wednesday evening.
Emergency crews responded to a report of downed power line off Veterans Way, just after 1 p.m. But, when they arrived,
they discovered it was actually a CenturyLink fiber optic cable cut by a contractor. That line provides network service to Roberts Field. Crews worked into the night to restore service and by 7:30 a.m., airport officials reported things had returned to normal.
Those with morning flights scheduled are encouraged to confirm departures with your airline.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- Prineville’s newest affordable housing development is expected to be ready for tenants by October. Housing Works Director of Real Estate Keith Wooden is excited about the Ochoco School Crossing project, "It’s one of the coolest developments I’ve ever worked on because it’s so unique and so many different pieces put together." But he admits repurposing a school built in 1947 has had its challenges, "Probably the biggest, that we’ve faced so far, would be the water/moisture content in the flooring of the school – which we didn’t anticipate – it was high and we had to seal everything up and do crazy drainage, and stuff like that, that we just didn’t anticipate."
The 29 housing units are a mix of studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments with rents starting at about $415. Wooden tells KBND News the complex includes some unique features not typically available in new construction, "We had these cool ceilings, and we had these high ceilings and sloping lines and hexagonal windows that we were able to keep." But, the property will have more than just housing, "It was a six-acre piece of property; we chopped it up into three. So, one of the unique features that’s going to be offered, as well, is we gave to the Parks and Rec Department some of the school field." So, Wooden says, it will become a truly multi-use development, "You’ve got a park, you’ve got a Head Start school, you’ve got this kind of back ‘orchard’ kind of food bank program, and then you have these affordable units. And, what’s really cool is that the gym was in immaculate condition and the Parks and Rec’s going to run a lot of the city center programming out of that gym and a stage. And so, all these amenities got kept." Two Head Start classes opened in September
, in what used to be the Ochoco Elementary cafeteria.
Between Monday and Thursday, next week, Housing Works will accept applications for the Ochoco School Crossing waiting list. For more information, or to download an application packet, click HERE
. Qualified applicants will then be entered into a lottery to determine who will get to move in once units are ready in the fall.
BEND, OR -- A local woman has been told by the state to halt private swim lessons at her home, until she can comply with state rules governing public pools. Mary McCool has taught swimming in a custom pool at her property east of Bend for a number of years. She says her pool is only used by clients accepted into her program, not the general public, and therefore should not be considered a "public" facility. She sent a letter to clients, this week, outlining the situation and explaining that a variance to continue operations was recently denied by the Oregon Health Authority.
Letters supporting McCool and her swimming school poured in to state and county officials this week, after she went public, prompting Deschutes County Commissioner Tony DeBone to ask that the issue be added to the agenda for Wednesday's work session. He tells KBND News, "The community’s engaged, there’s some history here; people aren’t happy with the results from the state."
McCool's unique pool and teaching approach were featured in the Bulletin, in October. DeBone says problems arose when county code enforcement responded to an inquiry, "Last fall, it started – maybe somebody asked the question, ‘oh, are you a publicly certified pool?’ And then we look at the rules and regulations. It went right back to the Oregon Health Authority; a variance was requested and the variance was denied for the existing pool- the existing structure."
At Wednesday's meeting Commissioners acknowledged the variance denial was issued by the state not county. However, DeBone says they are supportive of finding a solution, "If it’s a gray area, where somebody at the state level needed to make a decision and they went one way, and they’re justified because of the statutes and the way the law is set up, maybe this is going to end up in a Legislative session."
In a letter to McCool's supporters, a representative from the OHA says, "We would certainly like Mary to be able to continue providing swimming lessons, and are actively looking for a ways [sic] to make this happen."
BEND, OR -- The canal piping project near Bends' Brookswood neighborhood is now in the beautification stage. Federal officials toured the site Wednesday, along with representatives from the Central Oregon Irrigation District.
COID has finished piping a 3,000-linear foot section of its main canal, in a joint three-month project with the Department of Reclamation. Parks and Recreation will soon develop biking and recreational trails in the area. During Wednesday's tour, Congressman Greg Walden (R-OR) and Department of the Interior Senior Advisor Alan Mikkelsen learned about the project and the effort to conserve water. "From fish and frogs to farmers and recreators, it all comes together right here in these types of projects," said Walden.
COID believe piping this this section of canal will save up to five cubic feet of water per second and will stabilize water levels in the Deschutes, benefiting riparian habitats for spotted frogs, salmon, and steelhead. But they say it costs roughly a million dollars per cubic foot of water saved to pipe the canal; estimates indicate the project could cost several hundred million dollars to complete over the next two to three decades. Walden says it's worth the cost, "The importance of piping these canals, what it means for the environment in Central Oregon, what it means for water management; and then you get a recreational trail out of it, as well, which for Parks and Rec, or people who want to walk or ride a bike, gives them a new opportunity in an urban setting for recreation and exercise."
Mikkelsen has toured the Klamath Basin nearly a dozen times, but this was his first trip to see Central Oregon’s system, "The Deschutes is an example of how things can and should work when people engage in collaboration and cooperation." Walden says teamwork between local, state, and federal policy makers is even more important as we learn more about the demands on our water, "They come together in the Oregon way to collaboratively figure out how to protect the environment, protect agriculture, and enhance the places where we live."
REDMOND, OR -- The Redmond School Board unanimously approved a resolution, Wednesday night, to put a nearly $70 million bond measure on the November ballot. Talk of a bond started last year, when the board considered sending it to voters this past May. That plan was scrapped when, the Superintendent says, they determined there wasn't enough time to effectively educate voters.
And, some worried a proposed citywide public safety measure would make voters hesitant to approve two tax increases in one election. City officials decided in late July not to pursue a November tax measure.
The package would fund safety and security upgrades at nearly every school, including security cameras and secure school entrances. It would also pay for construction of a new school to replace the aging Lynch Elementary, at SW 15th and Kalama.
For more details on the district's plan, visit the new school bond website. Voters will get the final say, November 8th.
REDMOND, OR -- Seven people face drug-related charges, following an investigation in northwest Redmond, by the Sheriff’s Office Community Action Target (CAT) Team. The eight-person team began looking into suspected meth and heroin possession and sales at a home on NW Oak Avenue after neighbors complained about suspicious activity.
This week, the CAT team arrested the seven suspects during traffic stops conducted as they left the targeted area:
Andrew Johnston, a 33-year-old Redmond man, is charged with Meth possession and delivery, Heroin possession, supplying contraband, Felon in possession of a restricted weapon, Driving while suspended and an outstanding warrant for a parole violation;
Shawna Parck, age 37, from Eugene, was arrested for Meth and Heroin possession;
Breanne Peters, age 26, of Redmond, is charged with Heroin possession and violating her probation;
Jacob Richter, a 20-year-old Culver man, is accused of possessing, manufacturing and delivering Heroin, providing false information to police and an out of county warrant;
Milo Cross, a 37-year-old Redmond man was cited for Heroin possession;
Cameron Shelby, age 29, of Terrebonne, was cited for Meth possession;
Kayla Monson, age 26, of Prineville, was cited for Meth and Heroin possession.
The Sheriff's Office says the investigation continues into unlawful possession and sales of controlled substances in the area of NW Oak.
BEND, OR -- There are about a dozen major fires burning across Oregon, but our tri-county area has – so far – escaped a large-scale wildfire. Several local fires have been held at fewer than 30 acres. But, Kassidy Kern, with the Deschutes National Forest, says others aren’t so lucky, "We feel like, ‘well, our fire season’s not been so bad. We’ve been sucking some smoke from southwest Oregon, but not too bad.’ But, we have to remember that our neighbors to the east, here, have had a pretty rough fire season and it gets pretty taxing."
Kern tells KBND News
other areas within the Central Oregon Fire Management Service have seen a lot of activity, "We have public lands from the Cascade Crest, all the way over, basically to the John Day River and up to The Dalles. A lot of that is BLM land and unfortunately that river corridor – the Maupin/Dufur area – has gotten hit extra hard." That area has seen three consecutive fires in the past month – the Substation, Long Hollow and South Valley fires have collectively burned over 100,000 acres.
While local resources are stretched, she says our area remains protected, "We always have a contingent of individuals here, for what we call ‘initial attack.’ Because, the way we can keep our community safe, keep costs down, limit exposure and risk to firefighters, is to keep these fires small. And so, our lookouts are scanning the skies, we’re getting dispatched out to fires quickly, and so far, we’ve been able to get on them."
Crews held the Allen Creek Fire northeast of Prineville at 27 acres; it was discovered Sunday and reached full containment Tuesday morning
. Tuesday evening, Bend Fire responded to a blaze near 27th and Stevens Road, at about 8:30 Tuesday night. It was stopped at a tenth of an acre and its cause is under investigation.
Public Use Restrictions increase Thursday on federally managed lands across Central Oregon. As of midnight, open fires, including charcoal briquette fires, will be prohibited in all local wilderness areas within the Prineville District of the BLM and the Ochoco, Deschutes and Willamette National Forests. Campfires and barbecues are still allowed in designated campgrounds. For specific details on all fire restrictions, click HERE.
Photo: The South Valley Fire near Dufur (pictured Aug. 2, 2018) is now 80% contained, at 20,026 acres.
MADRAS, OR -- Sahalee Park in Madras was updated in 2009, with a pavilion, memorial, and realigned parking. But the initial $250,000 grant was not enough for a planned spray park. The project now appears to have the funding needed to move forward.
The city applied for a federal grant and that's when Public Works Director Jeff Hurd says the Oregon Parks and Recreation suggested a change, "We want to conserve water. Have you thought about putting in a collection system to collect the water and irrigate the park with?" He says they asked. "And I said, 'Yeah, I did, but we were going bare-bones, so I didn't put that in there. We thought we could do that down the road.' And they said, 'Oh. If we were able to give you some additional funding, would you be able to put in the cistern and the ADA stuff?' and that's when I went, 'Uh...yes...'." He tells KBND News, "Kids will come and use the spray park," and a 20,000 gallon tank underneath the splash pad will collect the runoff. "And at night, the guys will irrigate the parks with that water that's collected in the tank. So basically, we're getting another cycle out of the water before it goes away. So, it's going to be really awesome."
With Oregon Parks and Rec involved
, the $250,000 National Park Service grant was doubled to $500,000. Hurd says the community still has to raise matching funds, "We're about $10 to $15 [thousand] short to hit the $500,000 mark, but we're so close. One way or another we'll find that; that shouldn't be an issue. So, pretty much, we're saying we're fully funded, ready to go, so if there's somebody out there that's willing to kick in a few bucks, that would be great."
Hurd hopes to get final approval of the federal grant in October. He's optimistic the new spray pad will open by next summer.
BEND, OR -- Congressman Greg Walden (R-OR) met with local healthcare and law enforcement officials Tuesday, to discuss the ongoing opioid epidemic. He says finding ways to combat widespread addiction has to include determining how it started, "In a bipartisan effort, we sent letters to three of the major opioid pharmaceutical companies demanding to know what they knew, when they knew it, and what they did about it. This is part of our ongoing investigation. We're now focused on those who made the drugs, did they know they were addictive?"
In Bend on Tuesday, Walden was joined by Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb, who says the FDA is trying to address new addicts, whose problems often start in the doctor's office, "Make sure that when prescriptions are written, they're written for a legitimate medical purpose, the patient really needed an opioid, duration of use comports with the clinical rationale for writing the prescription in the first place." He believes his agency is uniquely qualified to help combat the crisis with a three-pronged approach, "One is: efforts that we're doing to try and cut the rate of new addiction; two is: efforts that we have underway to improve the technology both for treatment of pain as well as the treatment of addiction; and three is: efforts we have underway to improve our enforcement footprint."
Rep. Walden chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has been working with the FDA and other agencies on the issue, "We've passed 57 bills, 53 were unanimous. The others were a little more controversial, but bipartisan and eventually, big votes." The House voted to combine the bills into one, for ease; it's currently with the Senate and is expected to be debated this month.
Photos: (top) Congressman Walden and FDA Commissioner Gottlieb talk with officials from Mosaic Medical.
(above right) Talking with Deschutes County Sheriff Shane Nelson, Bend Police Chief Jim Porter and County Commissioner Tammy Baney.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- The Crook County Fair opens 5 p.m. Wednesday, in Prineville, and the predicted triple-digit temperatures are forcing changes to the schedule.
David White, 4-H Extension Educator, says swine events were supposed to start at 8:30 Thursday morning, "We actually moved their market class to earlier in the morning; so we’re going to start at 7:30 and hope that we can wrap that up before the heat becomes too much of a problem." He says most other animals at the fair, like poultry, lamb and cattle, can typically handle the heat, "Swine don’t sweat, so you’ve got to figure out a different way to cool them off. So, we’ve got misters; obviously we’ve got fans there and I think the real key here is to make sure that we get those shows started early and ended early."
It's the first time anyone can remember having to adjust events at the Crook County Fair, due to heat, "I can’t tell you that I know when it’s too hot – you know, when we should make these kinds of exceptions," White tells KBND News, "This just seemed to be the reasonable and prudent thing to do to make sure that we could ensure the health of the animals. If we were in the mid-90s, we might not be doing this. But, when we hit that century mark, I got a little bit concerned." He adds, "Obviously our concern, in terms of animal husbandry, is to make sure that we take care of all the animals here. And, quite frankly, at the same time, we’ve got to take care of the kids, too."
Crook County 4-H program coordinator Katy Joyce hopes the change - and the heat - don't keep people away, "Aside from the livestock, we have a carnival this year, and there’s going to be all sorts of different events – some magic shows, and each evening there’ll be some sort of live performing music on the main stage, here in Crook County."
This year’s fair theme is “Summer Days and Country Ways.” Admission and parking is free throughout the Crook County Fair, which runs through 10 p.m. Saturday.
SISTERS, OR -- Quick-thinking hikers near Three Creek Lake are credited with helping a 17-year-old who suffered a medical emergency on the Park Meadow Trail, Tuesday morning.
There were no witnesses to the incident. But, his mother and a separate hiking group, consisting of several off-duty medical professionals, took swift action. The Deschutes County Sheriff's Office says the group improvised a stretcher and were carrying him down the trail when they were met by a Search and Rescue team.
SAR evaluated the teen and called for LifeFlight. He was then flown to St. Charles Bend for further treatment.
REDMOND, OR -- High temperatures, low humidity and wind fueled a fire that destroyed a Redmond home, Tuesday afternoon. Firefighters were called to Northwest Rimrock Lane at about 3 p.m. Other regional resources also responded, as flames spread quickly into nearby brush and sent smoke towering above the neighborhood.
Three people home at the time the fire started got out safely and neighboring homes were evacuated as a precaution. The house and its contents were a total loss; several out buildings and some equipment stored at the site were also damaged.
The cause of the fire is under investigation and the Red cross is assisting the family.
SALEM, OR -- Oregon's Kid Governor has produced a video on civics. Fifth grader Dom Peters was selected as Kid Governor and sworn in earlier this year.
In the video, he tours the state Capitol, describes the Legislative branch and meets with Governor Kate Brown to learn what she does. He also meets with the Secretary of State, State Treasurer and Head Justice at the Oregon Supreme Court.
Capitol Tour & Civics Lesson with Oregon's Kid Governor
Peters wrote an anti-bullying book titled "Pippin and the Super Kind Friends Club." He'll read it at the state fair.
Oregon is the second state to have a Kid Governor program. Registration is open for next year's Kid Governor, on the Secretary of State's website.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- Firefighters working the 27-acre Allen Creek Fire, 12 miles north of Prineville, report they achieved 100% containment, as of Tuesday morning. Two 20-person crews will continue mop-up activities throughout the day.
Monday, they focused on hot spots and maintaining the perimeter; in some cases, they were able to work 100' into the fire line. With extreme temperatures expected this week, managers are now focusing efforts on making sure the fire does not rekindle or move outside current lines.
The blaze was reported Sunday at about 11:30 a.m. and burned primarily grass and brush on steep and rocky terrain near Allen Creek Road, in northwest Crook County. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- The Department of Environmental Quality is giving Prineville $10,000 to clean its air. The city's Planning Director Joshua Smith tells KBND News, "90% of the time, our air is very good. There's a few times a year when we get inversions in the winter, that kick us over the limit. In the wintertime, there is a strong argument that it's caused by woodstoves. But, we're also in a caldera here in Prineville, so we get a lot of smoke from outside the community."
Smith says they've gotten smaller grants from the DEQ in recent years, and that has helped educate the public about how smoke from wood stoves impacts the community, "In an inversion, if you have a separate heat source, please use it. We recognize that not everyone's going to have that ability. It's expensive to run your electric heaters and maybe it's your only heat source- wood stoves. It's not about eliminating the burning of wood stoves, it's really more of a voluntary action." The DEQ limit for particulates in the air is 35; Prineville has scored higher, but since it began working with the DEQ, Smith says they've managed to stay below the limit, "We've controlled our outdoor burning quite a bit now, really ramped up that level; and the DEQ has provided us a grant to do a lot more cleanup and yard debris days. And since we started that in 2015
, we've seen our numbers drop significantly."
The city has a new "call before you burn" number that Smith says appears to be helping, as well, "We're actually under the line. We're just trying to stay under the line." The new grant will go toward public awareness initiatives about outdoor burning, more signage, and the addition of yard debris disposal days.
MADRAS, OR -- Water levels are low and getting lower, and local irrigation officials are concerned there won't be enough to satisfy customers' needs through irrigation season.
Mike Britton is Chair of the Deschutes Basin Board of Control and General Manager of the North Unit Irrigation District in Madras. He tells KBND News Wickiup Reservoir started the season full - maximum capacity is 200,000 acre feet. But, "There is a reduced natural flow component to the river this year, just simply because the previous winter didn't really result in much snowpack- or much snowpack that carried over. And, although North Unit started with a full reservoir up at Wickiup, I think the prior two or three years of dry winters affected this year's natural flows." He adds, "We had the historical winter of 2016 with all the snow, and I think a lot of people thought that was going to cure the multiple year dry spell, but we're seeing that it's really not - at this point - quite enough."
According to Britton, the lowest Wickiup has dropped in recent years is 13,000 acre feet and the lowest it is allowed is 8,000 acre feet, "At that point, we're done for the season," he says, "I mean, there's no other water to work with." Wickiup Reservoir currently measures at about 47,000 acre feet, and that needs to last through October. "For our patrons, they're concerned about the ability to make it through the balance of the irrigation season, then that could affect their operations. We're keeping our fingers crossed that that won't happen, but we're watching it day by day and measuring every drop of water that comes on to the land."
REDMOND, OR -- Oregon fire crews are getting a little help from Down Under. A group of 85 firefighters from Australia and New Zealand arrived at the Redmond Air Center Monday, and are preparing for deployment across the west.
Queensland Station Officer David Sealy is headed to Southern Oregon. He says it’s taken time to adjust to the sheer number of fires burning across such a large area, "We might have fires burning in New South Wales, [and] fires burning in Queensland or Victoria. But, nothing on that scale as to what we’re going to face here in the U.S. At last count, there were 14 states or something, within the U.S. that have active fires."
Dan Barwick, a Deputy Captain from New South Wales, says he’s prepared for the challenging conditions. He tells KBND News he’s already learning how our different trees burn, and the importance of creating fire lines. "We don’t have the duff layer that you guys have here. We don’t need to dig at home. It’s a totally different firefighting in that regard, whilst we found out you do a lot of digging here!" David Sealy, a Station Officer from Queensland, says the accent could prove challenging, as well, "Especially on radios; face to face is not too bad. But, just – it’ll be the accent and different terminologies."
They’ll work as safety officers, task force leaders, crew bosses and other positions over the next six to eight weeks. "The first couple of days will be a challenge," says Ken Murphy, who's ready to be deployed to the 40,000-acre Taylor Creek Fire, "Just understanding the fire behavior over here, understanding the topography, and just getting our head around how the incident is managed; even though we look at these very similar, in how we manage the incidents." Murphy is a Chief Superintendent from New South Wales. He says he’s here to learn, pass along his knowledge to American crews, and assist in any way he can. "At the end of the day, the whole firefighting fraternity across the world is a really big family and we’re just here to help our mates."
Australia and New Zealand are said to be key partners for U.S. Forestry crews and were last mobilized to the area in 2015, during a similarly active fire season.
BEND, OR -- A home east of Tumalo was destroyed by fire, Monday. Firefighters arrived at the home on Mira Circle at about 10 a.m. and found the back deck fully involved, with flames quickly spreading into the house. No one was home at the time, and a neighbor rescued a dog from inside.
Investigators believe the blaze started with a carelessly disposed of cigarette. The homeowners hosted a wedding over the weekend and guests were smoking outside. Losses are estimated at about 500,000 dollars.
BEND, OR -- A Bend man was killed when his motorcycle crashed into a tree along Deschutes Market Road, early Monday morning. A passerby called 911 just after 6 a.m., when they found the rider lying near the shoulder of the road, unresponsive.
Despite life-saving efforts by first responders, 55-year-old Robert Kragness was pronounced dead at the scene. It's not yet known why the 2013 Harley Davidson motorcycle left the roadway near Pioneer Loop. Anyone who may have witnessed the crash is asked to call the Sheriff's Office at 541-693-6911.
MADRAS, OR -- Madras officials are trying to figure out what to do with 200 tons of baled recyclables, now that China won't take it. With such a backlog and an exhausted recyclables market, Madras Sanitary Service President Melanie Widmer is asking the City Council to allow her company to dump the recyclables in a landfill, "The best option, unfortunately, at this point, is to dispose of the materials that we currently have." She tells KBND News it's a one-time request, "Just for the backlog that we have. And then after that, we will continue to take them to processors."
Local Recycling Bins Under Scrutiny
The DEQ allows this practice, but Widmer says she only wants to do this once, "It's kind of a worst-case scenario, our last option. We never have thrown away recycling before, and we hope not to have to do it again in the future." Local recycling centers will take it but, "They just are charging us to accept the material right now because they may, in some cases, have to pay to get rid of that material." And, she says, those inside the Madras city limits will pay 3% more, "We will be implementing a rate increase that will offset the additional cost of the recycling program, going forward."
City Council meet August 28 to and officially decide whether to allow the dumping of recyclables, and weigh in on Madras Sanitary's future options.
REDMOND, OR -- Redmond Police arrested six people for Driving Under the Influence, during the five days of the Deschutes County Fair, including a 24-year-old Redmond man who rolled his vehicle, Saturday evening.
An off-duty officer reported the pickup speeding north on Highway 97, at about 5:30 p.m. It then went down SW 61st and Canal Blvd, at times going 80 miles an hour. As Redmond PD, the Sheriff's Office and State Police responded, the driver lost control and the pickup rolled several times.
Yosef Valdivia-Perez and his passenger refused medical attention after the Saturday evening crash. Hes charged with DUII-Alcohol, Reckless Driving and Criminal Mischief.
SISTERS, OR -- The Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire District is warning residents about a letter suddenly showing up in local mailboxes. The letter from the Volunteer Firefighter Alliance starts with the headline “Sisters Area Volunteer Firefighter Drive” and describes how agencies face a crisis because of too few volunteers.
Deputy Fire Chief Tim Craig tells KBND News, "Printed at the bottom, there’s a little tear-off with check boxes, indicating whether or not someone is interested in becoming a volunteer with a local fire department. But, it’s also got some check boxes soliciting donations." It also includes a postage-paid return envelope. The problem is, according to Craig, the Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire District is not in dire need of volunteers, and they only recruit a couple times of year, "We only solicit for volunteer firefighters on kind of a prescribed basis, based on when we can put on volunteer recruit academies, and that sort of thing." And, he says, they alert the community through local media, their own website and social media; not direct mailings.
"I honestly don’t know anything about the organization that’s putting this out," says Craig, "I’ve never heard of them before." He says officials learned of the mailing by accident, "We found out about it when this letter was addressed to the spouse of one of our long-time volunteer fire captains."
KBND News attempted to contact the Volunteer Firefighter Alliance, which has a Tennessee mailing address and claims to be a nationwide nonprofit. However, an outgoing voice mail message says the "extension is unavailable" and does not mention a company name. Dep. Fire Chief Craig is worried some residents could be misled to believe donated funds benefit the local fire district, "We just want to make sure that it’s very clear that this did not come from the Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire District and that this is not something that we have sanctioned and not something that we participate in."
PRINEVILLE, OR -- A Prineville man reported missing Saturday, was found dead Sunday morning, of an apparent accident. Prineville Police believe 56-year-old Jim Heggie slipped or fell into a steep portion of Ochoco Creek. His body was discovered in an area difficult to access and covered by vegetation.
Heggie was last seen leaving a bar Friday night, and alcohol and/or medical complications may have been factors in his death. Police say there is no evidence of suspicious or criminal activity.
The Prineville Police Department thanked the Crooked County Sheriff's Office, Search and Rescue and citizens who worked to provide information on the missing persons case.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- A small wildfire 12 miles north of Prineville prompted level one evacuation warnings, Sunday afternoon. Resources quickly attacked the 24-acre Allen Creek Fire from the ground and air and it was fully lined by last night. Evacuation warnings were lifted after about two hours.
Near Dufur, The South Valley Fire, is now about 40% contained at just over 20,000 acres. Firefighters will spend the next few days mopping up and attacking hot spots.
In southern Oregon, more state resources are headed to the Sugar Pine fire, east of Grants Pass. The Governor declared a conflagration Friday for the blaze that's now nearly 9,000 acres. And, more National guard firefighters are working the 38,000-acre Taylor Creek Fire, which has been especially tough due to rugged terrain; it's now 38% contained.
CULVER, OR -- Five people were injured in a head on collision near Culver, Saturday evening. The crash occurred at about 5 p.m. on Highway 97, near Iris Lane.
Four people had to be pulled out of one car; two were flown to St. Charles Bend, another was taken by ground ambulance to Bend and the fourth went by ambulance to the Redmond hospital. The only person in the second car was taken to the hospital in Madras.
The highway was blocked for more than an hour as emergency crews worked to clear wreckage from the southbound lane and shoulder. State Police are investigating the cause of the crash.
UPDATE: Oregon State Police say the 35-year-old Madras woman driving the second car was northbound when, she told investigators, she swerved into the northbound shoulder to miss an animal and lost control. OSP does not believe she was intoxicated or otherwise impaired.
All four people taken to Bend and Redmond hospitals have undergone surgery. They are all from the Portland area and are expected to recover.
BEND, OR -- Two local high school athletes are being recognized by the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame for their work on and off the field.
Bend High grad Jenavieve Lustyik plays volleyball and tennis, and is very involved in the community, including with the rotary's Interact Club, Ted-X, Bethlehem Inn, and St. Charles. She'll attend U of O in the fall. She tells KBND News that growing up with a single mother taught her the importance of teamwork, "Sports really helped me out, making friends and getting involved in high school, and keeping me focused on my grades which helps benefit me, getting into college."
Cole Little, Culver High's valedictorian, is on the football, baseball, and wrestling teams, and will attend Oregon Tech. He designed a website to educate teens. "My website is about how texting and driving can take away the lives of people too early. I wanted to bring awareness to that so people would get off the phone while they're driving."
The two will be honored, along with four other students, by the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame at its annual induction ceremony, in September, with awards delivered by former Blazer announcer Bill Schonley. They also each receive a $3,000 scholarship from the MacTarnahan Family Trust. Joel Roth, with the Hall of Fame, says it's not easy to earn this type of recognition, "They have to go through quite a process to submit all the information about themselves, including financial need, and a list of all their accomplishments in the classroom, on the field and in the community."
BEND, OR -- Rev. Franklin Graham brings his Decision America Tour to Bend, Friday night. He says his message of salvation is available to everyone for free, "We're not coming in at any cost to the local community or local churches. We're not asking for any money, we don't take up any collections; we're coming in to present the gospel."
Graham's father, the Reverend Billy Graham, was internationally known for his crusades, preaching to crowds in more than 185 countries. Rather than live in that long shadow, Graham wants to reflect his father's legacy, "This is different from what my father has done in the past. But, we certainly are giving a gospel invitation, giving a gospel message. People will get saved, and so we hope and we believe there will be hundreds of people who will put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ." Unlike his father, Graham encourages his audience to get involved in politics, "I think what's happened in our country, Christians have stayed home, and they've taken the attitude, 'well, my vote doesn't count.' Votes do count! I don't tell people how to vote or what party to vote, I encourage them to pray before they vote and ask God how they should vote."
Graham says America is polarized and impassioned speech is often considered hateful. He hopes people will come hear a message of God's love. "We're not coming to preach against anybody, but I think as Christians, we have a right in this country for our beliefs to be heard." Especially, Graham says, when those beliefs can help others live lives of purpose, "They're looking for happiness, and they're looking for peace and joy and they're not finding it. God created us in such a way that we have a vacuum in each one of our hearts that can only be filled by God."
Decision America begins at 7:30 p.m.
with performances by Jeremy Camp and other well-known Christian bands, followed by a short salvation message. It's outside at the Bend Christian Life Center Amphitheater; people are encouraged to bring chairs and blankets. Decision America began in Southern California in May. Bend is one of Rev. Graham's final tour stops.
BEND, OR -- Fire lookouts are credited with catching several recent wildfires in Central Oregon before they grew out of control, but the smoky haze from southern Oregon and California fires is making their job more difficult.
Kassidy Kern, with the Deschutes National Forest, says lookouts can typically see 20 to 60 miles, depending on their position, "The visibility has been limited to, in some cases, five miles. And in some cases, it’s not at all limited and we’re in that 15-30 [mile] realm where maybe we would’ve been 20-60." She tells KBND News, "Obviously, that is compromised when we start to get smoke in. But, what they’re doing is, when they’re in that same spot all day, every day, they know when something changes."
Kern says there are several ways to detect new wildfires, including technology that predicts where lightning will strike and recon planes that fly over an area after a storm. But, the old-school way is often the most reliable, "We look at all the tools in the toolbox and one of our best tools still, and always, is going to be lookouts because the recon planes sometimes get grounded because of the smoke. Well, our lookouts are there all the time."
The lookout on Lava Butte is credited with spotting last month’s Bessie Butte fire, in southeast Bend
, "The lookout called the firefighters first and then he called dispatch and that gave them three to five extra minutes to get mobilized and going before they even got the order," says Kern, "When you have a fire that is close enough to Bend that it’s going to make the hair on the back of your neck stand up, those minutes are really critical."
There are seven federal lookouts in the Deschutes National Forest, "You really cannot look at what they do on the ground and over-sell the importance of that. It is critical."
Photo: Green Ridge Lookout, as photographed by Fred Fost
BEND, OR -- The Democrat challenging Congressman Greg Walden wants to debate the Republican several times before the November election.
Jamie McLeod-Skinner made the request in person, during a recent parade in the small town of Joseph. She approached Walden's car as he rode along the parade route (pictured above), and said, "I’d like to challenge you to at least three debates within the district; I’d be happy to debate you in every single county, if you’d like." He responded with, "I look forward to a schedule." McLeod-Skinner continued, "I’d like do southern Oregon, Central Oregon, eastern Oregon, as well, so everyone can hear us debate. Would you be willing to debate me?" Walden replied with, "I look forward to debating you."
She followed up that exchange with a written request to meet in debates and town hall-style events over the next several months, specifically asking about an event in Umatilla County on August 31, and two in October, in Jackson and Deschutes counties.
LA PINE, OR -- The man stabbed during a domestic dispute near La Pine, Monday night, is now under arrest.
According to the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office, 53-year-old Martin Adler, of Bend, drove his live-in girlfriend out to Paulina Lake Road, ignoring her requests to take her home. They say he tried to strangle the 23-year-old woman and, fearing for her life, she pulled a small knife from her pocket and stabbed him in self-defense.
She was able to flag down a car for help; the driver allowed her to call 911 and took her to the Sheriff's Office substation in La Pine to meet Deputies.
Adler was later found at a La Pine home and flown to the hospital with serious injuries. On Wednesday, he was taken into custody on charges of Coercion, Strangulation and Assault IV.
DUFUR, OR -- A new wildfire is growing quickly with strong winds, in Wasco County. The South Valley Fire was first spotted Wednesday, and spread five to seven miles over a four hour period. As of Thursday morning, it's estimated at 15,000 acres and just 5% contained. Governor Kate Brown Wednesday night declared a conflagration, clearing the way for more resources to attack the blaze.
Stefan Meyer, with the Oregon Fire Marshals Office, says, "The Oregon State Fire Marshal's Office has been deployed to this fire. We brought an Incident Management Team, as well as three task forces that came in last night. We have three more task forces that are on the way; those are coming from several counties throughout our state." He adds, "We are going to be focused on saving structures that are in the line of the fire, as well as life safety, out here."
The fire is burning in oak, ponderosa pine and wheat fields. Mandatory evacuations are in place, and Meyer says 80-100 buildings are threatened. "We do know we've lost structures. We don't have an exact number of how many have been effected, as well as whether they were dwellings or outbuildings."
ODOT shut down a portion of Highway 197 overnight, Wednesday, due to low visibility and firefighter activity. It reopened early Thursday. There have been no reports of injuries. The fire was human caused, but the source has not been revealed.
Photo: Courtesy KPTV FOX 12
BEND, OR -- Mid Oregon Credit Union is banking on the generosity of visitors to the Deschutes County Fair, Friday. They'll collect school supplies at the Mid Oregon booth. Kyle Frick, with the credit union, says it's part of their month-long effort to help the Family Access Network (also known as "FAN") in local schools, "That's a great group of people that really do reach out to people that are in need."
Donations can also be made at any Mid Oregon Credit Union branch through the end of August, "We collect a bunch of different school supplies; they go to the communities were we collect them," Frick tells KBND News. They'll take everything from traditional items, like pens to binders, to more tech-related supplies, "More recently it's been backpacks and calculators and earbuds - so, a lot of kids now in schools are using iPads and so they can do their lessons with their iPads, but they can listen to that through their earbuds."
On Wednesday, a Redmond bus driver donated 140 backpacks filled with supplies and hygiene kits to the Redmond branch, to kick off the effort:
BEND, OR -- The Deschutes County District Attorney has ruled that an officer involved shooting that occurred last month during a traffic stop near the Bend Lowe’s, was justified. D.A. John Hummel says the Medical Examiner determined Timothy Bontrager died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, But, the D.A.'s office still had to investigate whether it was appropriate for Officer Timothy Williams to use deadly force.
Hummel says Williams believed Bontrager was driving under the influence and called for back-up. Williams repeatedly asked the suspect to submit to a field sobriety test and present proof of insurance, while Officer Kevin Uballez observed. Then, Hummel says, Bontrager lunged for his glove compartment, "Uballez is standing in that cover position, looking through the window. He sees the hands; where do the hands go? Right to that glove box and a gun comes out. He grabs the gun, ‘here’s my proof of insurance.’ Uballez yells, ‘gun!’ Immediately Bontrager put the gun to his head and pulled the trigger." Hummel says Williams returned fire, thinking the man was shooting at police, "Williams, who was backing up, didn’t see the hands, hears, ‘Gun! [bam],’ sees the muzzle. He thinks Bontrager is shooting at him or Uballez. He returns fire, ‘bam, bam, bam, bam, bam.’ Seven shots into the car; struck Bontrager twice." The Medical Examiner found that Bontrager was dead before he was struck by the officer's bullets, and reports that Williams' shots would not have been fatal.
The full exchange was captured in a police audio recording. Click HERE
to listen to the full recording. A warning for sensitive listeners: it could be difficult to hear.
Both officers were placed on leave after the June 26 incident. Bend Police Chief Jim Porter says Officer Uballez is already back at work and Williams is expected to return this week.
Hummel says there is no way to know why Bontrager took his own life, or why, after a relatively polite exchange with police, he suddenly grabbed a gun. However, he says the man admitted to Officer Williams he was sleeping in his car and others report Bontrager had strained relationships with several family members.
Photo: At an August first press conference, D.A. John Hummel points out drone footage of the scene, taken just after the June 26th shooting.
BEND, OR -- Bend City Councilor Nathan Boddie sat mostly quiet during Wednesday night's Council meeting. It was his first public appearance since allegations surfaced that he groped a woman at a bar in 2012. While Boddie's comments were limited to voting on routine matters, he listened to others openly condemn his response to the accusations; he has said the woman has a substance abuse problem.
During the citizen comment period, Bill Caram said, "In the face of an allegation, Councilor Boddie decided to attack her character and accuse her of having substance abuse issues. I was appalled and disgusted by this response. I understand that the Council cannot censure Dr. Boddie. But I would expect you to, in some way, make it clear that attacking and demonizing the victim, as well as medical and substance abuse issues, does not represent the views of this Council." Aaron Jeffers asked the rest of the Council to take a stand and protect women, "We believe that our community deserves better, especially from our Council members. Bend is having a 'me too' moment; we are not supporting the women of our community. Mr. Boddie, please step down and let our community begin to heal. Please withdraw from the House race and let us vote for a candidate who can better represent all of our citizens. To the rest of the Council: Take action, make changes, show the women you represent they have your support." Officials say Boddie cannot be forced out
of office, nor out of his House race
. He would have to voluntarily step down.
Boddie skipped the last City Council meeting
, when fellow Councilors discussed a possible censure. The City Attorney said then the allegations do not meet the requirements for such action.
REDMOND, OR -- The Deschutes County Fair opens today at 10 am, and visitors can expect animal and crafted exhibits, an amateur talent show, major concerts, vendors, a rodeo, and even a watermelon eating contest. With so many fun events on tap, the Redmond Police Department is preparing for the increased traffic and activity in the City between today and Sunday.
Lieutenant Curtis Chambers says it's a good idea to plan ahead, and know that as the day progresses, the crowds will grow. "Most people arrive at the Fair during the afternoon and into the early evening, and stay late, especially when it's so hot."
Chambers says traffic is always heavier during fair week, but he's expecting some extra challenges this year. "To complicate things even worse this year is the closure of a good portion of SW Canal Blvd, meaning everyone will be redirected onto the Highway." He adds, "Do not anticipate just a quick, 20 minute drive to the Fairgrounds." He says you'll keep your frustration level down, and have a better time at the Fair, if you expect to spend more time on the road than usual. "Plan ahead. Arrive early. Carpool if you can. Pack some water in your car. Take the time, enjoy the trip, and arrive in good spirits."
Dan Despotopolous, who has managed the Deschutes County Fair and Rodeo for 18 years, says transportation can be free, fun and easy. "Mom and Dad and the kids could take the bus from Sisters, Redmond, and Bend, drop off right out front, don't have to deal with all the traffic." The Fair Shuttle is free and a schedule can be found at the Deschutes County Fair
Despotopolous adds that Thursday, kids 12 and under get into the Fair for free, and if they bring a can of food for donation, they'll receive a ticket for a free carnival ride, which should be even more fun this year. "We have a whole new carnival area. We'll still have the main carnival, but one's going to be more focused on the younger kids, called Familyville, so we're going to have double the rides."
BEND, OR -- The Commissioners shared their perspectives last night on the State of Deschutes County.
Tammy Baney, Phil Henderson, and Tony DeBone discussed marijuana regulations, budget highlights, managing for growth, capital projects, and the future of solid waste. DeBone says they've done some hard work through the Great Recession, and the future looks bright. "Deschutes County is dialed in, it has been dialed in for a long time. The tax rate, the services, all the employees, the professionalism. I am proud to represent the citizens and to work with all the staff in Deschutes County."
Commissioner Henderson says he'd had several careers before running for office, and he did it because he wanted to teach his children that civic involvement is important. "We're only as good as the people who are involved in our government. And, I worry a lot. How do you pass on the civic culture that has made our country what it is, our state what it is, our community what it is, and so you all need to be involved in this thing."
Commissioner Baney says one reason we're going strong now is because Deschutes County partnered with Economic Development for Central Oregon during the Great Recession. They took an existing fund from HUD and added money when the County had little to spare. "And the hope was to be able to retain and attract businesses during one of the most dire times of our history." The program created nearly 1,300 jobs by offering loans to businesses that could be turned into grants. "They make a commitment of staying, and we make a commitment of funding, and we create jobs together." Tony DeBone said the program not only kept businesses in the area, it allowed the County to effectively manage the growth they knew would come as a result of its success.
All three commissioners had a point of pride -- for Henderson it was the reduction of property taxes by .06 per $1,000 assessed value over the last two years, Baney expressed satisfaction with the Commissioners' creative and successful attempts to build the economy and maintain growth, and DeBone says they've responsibly managed the rapid change of the area with an eye toward whatever comes next.
The event was hosted at 10 Barrel East by the Bend Chamber.
BEND, OR -- Bend City Councilor Bill Moseley wants to look into how the high number of special events taking place downtown impact local businesses and the greater community. He says it’s time to evaluate whether it’s more important to cater to visitors or locals, "Most of the downtown businesses would actually prefer a pretty stable business from serving Bendites – people who live here year-round."
He says as the Council liaison for the Downtown Bend Business Association (DBBA), he's heard from business owners that they lose money during events because visitors shop and dine at event booths and others stay away due to the constant crowds. He plans to ask city staff at Wednesday's Council meeting to look at potentially limiting the number of event permits issued each year, "Over time, if we change our focus from being event after event, after event, Bend might not be quite as hot of a tourist destination. All I can say right now is, I think most people would say, ‘thank goodness.’ We’re having a hard enough time keeping up with just our regular growth." He tells KBND News, "Right now, the city just has an open permitting process where, if you apply and you meet the criteria – you’re able clean up after yourself, and that sort of thing – then they’ll let you have as many events as you want. No one has really looked at this before until some of the businesses started asking this question."
Moseley believes it is possible to find a balance, "We have a charming downtown; it really is the heart of our community. And there are a lot of events that occur that I think people really do appreciate. But, we’re getting to the point that almost every single weekend seems to be scheduled with an event that looks almost identical to the previous event."
Permits have already been issued through the end of this summer, and he says those would still be honored, "If there were any changes, we’d be looking at it through the rest of this fall and winter, then implementing something for next year."
UPDATE (08/02/18): At Wednesday's Council meeting, Moseley asked the DBBA and BEDAB (Bend Economic Development Advisory Board) to look at the frequency of downtown events. Economic Development Director Carolyn Eagan says there is a limit to the number of event allowed, but that there is a need for event space.
BEND, OR -- A damaged plane blocked an active runway at the Bend Airport, Tuesday afternoon, after a "hard landing."
A 75-year-old Bend man had just taken delivery of the 2018 Cub Crafter FX280 in Hood River earlier in the day. When Michael Herzog tried to land his new plane, the strut failed and collapsed, causing the wing and tail to hit the runway and pushing the plane into a “ground loop.” It came to rest in the middle of the runway, with a collapsed wheel strut, resting on its left wing tip and leaking a small amount of fuel.
Citizens and other pilots helped move the damaged plane out of the way. No one was hurt and the incident is under investigation by the NTSB and FAA.
BEND, OR -- There's a new parking spot lined in blue paint at the main Sheriff’s Office in Bend. Sheriff Shane Nelson says it's designed for people who need a safe, public place to meet, "Law enforcement is known as the 'thin blue line,' protecting our community. The Sheriff's 'Blue Line Safety Zone' provides a safer, video recorded, public area for parent exchanges of children, as well as in-person transactions following online sales."
Sgt. William Bailey says the area is under 24-hour surveillance, "Although we do not monitor the location 24-hours a day, we are available, should the need arise, through either recalling video surveillance or investigating incidents there." He tells KBND News the location in front of the Sheriff's Office should make criminals think twice, "Our hope is that those that would do harm or attempt to defraud our community members are less likely to do that in a location like our parking lot."
Sgt. Bailey cautions that meeting strangers to complete an online transaction comes with inherent risk and should be done carefully and in a public place. The Blue Line Safety Zone is not specifically patrolled but Deputies are always available in an emergency, by calling 911.
MADRAS, OR -- Two children have confessed to starting a fire that destroyed four homes inside the Tops Trailer Court in Madras, Tuesday afternoon. The fire started between two trailers, just before 4 p.m. and quickly spread to two others.
There were no injuries and the Red Cross is helping the 17 people displaced by the blaze.
The Jefferson County Sheriff says the two kids, seven and ten years old, are friends who live in the area. They admitted to starting the fire and said it quickly “got away” from them. The two were cited in lieu of custody.
BEND, OR -- Speed limits will change next month on Bear Creek Road, from 27th Street to just east of Dantili Road.
Bend city officials say reducing speeds from 45 to 40 miles per hour is in response to citizen input and staff concerns, given traffic levels and recent development in the area.
Orange warning flags will be posted above the new speed signs for several weeks, to draw attention to the change.
LA PINE, OR -- A 53-year-old man was reportedly flown to the hospital Monday night with multiple stab wounds. According to scanner traffic, he was conscious when he was taken from a home on Center Drive, north of La Pine, at around 9:30 p.m.
The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office says Deputies are investigating a domestic dispute where a man was stabbed; he is expected to survive. No arrests have been made and the investigation is ongoing.
KBND News will provide more information when it becomes available.
UPDATE: DCSO now says Deputies initially responded to a reported stabbing in the area of Paulina Lake Road. Investigators believe it started as a domestic dispute between a man and a woman. Both parties were contacted in other locations, after the incident occurred. A 53-year-old Bend man was transported to St. Charles Bend with serious but not life-threatening injuries.
BEND, OR -- The Democrat challenging Deschutes County Commissioner Tony DeBone in November is a political newcomer who says she always knew she’d run for office at some point. Amy Lowes had no opposition in the primary; she kicked off her campaign in earnest, last week.
Lowes says her platform is based on the big issues she’s hearing are important to voters, "And what keeps coming back repeatedly is increased access to mental health and addiction services, as well as intelligent management of our growth, protecting our natural resources; and it’s all linked together with affordable housing, which is a big issue for a lot of people that I’ve spoken with."
DeBone was first elected in 2010. He was re-elected in 2014 with a 10% margin over his Democratic challenger. Lowes admits she has a tough fight ahead, but believes her experience as a hospice nurse provides a unique and valuable perspective. And, she says the Board of County Commissioners would benefit from her healthcare background, "I’ve been a resident of Deschutes County for 21 years, and my experiences as a nurse, going out into the community has really helped me understand the culture of our county – not just Bend and Redmond and Sisters, but the rural areas, as well. And, I’ve also learned how to really advocate for the needs of the people that might be different from the people in the cities."
Lowes was raised in Washington, D.C. by Republican parents. She tells KBND News growing up around different perspectives in a highly political area taught her the importance of listening to all sides. She says she is most closely aligned with Democrats on healthcare issues, "I registered as a Democrat originally so I could vote in primaries. But, I will say that I do not vote along party lines; I’ve multiple times voted for Republican candidates."
Her campaign signs include the Venus symbol, to highlight her gender, along with the phrase “Time for change.” Lowes says being a woman doesn’t make her more qualified to be a County Commissioner, but she believes it’s time the board was more representative of the community, "Fifty-percent of the population is made up of woman and we’ve only had about 19% of us having a seat at the table."
PRINEVILLE, OR -- A second School Resource Officer (SRO) is coming to Crook County schools. Prineville Police Chief Dale Cummins says the community requested the additional officer, to better protect students, "We negotiated with the school district and found a way to get it into both of our budgets to help pay for the officer. It allowed me July first, to start looking for an officer to hire." He tells KBND News he's first hiring three new patrol officers for the department, "Once they get trained up and they're able to be released out on patrol, then I will open up the School Resource Officer to all my senior officers."
Chief Cummins says the expense of doubling SRO staffing is worthwhile if just one school attack is prevented, "If we can build some avenues of trust, then we have a better chance of getting a student who sees something that he doesn't think is right, to say something. If we can even accomplish that, that's the big win." He adds, "With officers in the schools, it gives our kids an opportunity to meet officers, to talk to officers in a non-police way, and it allows them to engage with the students and the students to engage them; it helps them knock down some of these perceptions they can get by watching television."
While there has not been a mass-casualty incident in the community, Cummins says there was an "unspecified threat" at Crook County High School last April, "When they come up now, more often, it just solidifies our perception of the safety of the schools and even if Crook County is a relatively small county, there's still those concerns." Cummins hopes to have a new SRO in place within the year.
BEND, OR -- The Oregon State University Board of Trustees has approved a new nursing degree at OSU-Cascades. In the fall of 2019, the Bend campus plans to launch a part-time, fully online program aimed at licensed Registered Nurses seeking to advance their careers while continuing to work.
The plan still needs approval by the statewide Public Universities Provosts Council and the state Higher Education Coordinating Commission.
OSU President Ed Ray says the program will cost half the price of many Bachelor of Science nursing programs in Oregon.
REDMOND, OR -- A proposal to boost Redmond's property tax rate by 64-cents per $1,000 dollars of assessed value, from $4.41 to $5.05, to pay for parks and more police isn't likely to make the November's ballot. The additional $1.2 million in city revenue was to be used to hire three more full-time Parks Department employees, parks capital improvement projects and hire four more police officers.
City Manager Keith Witcosky plans to recommend City Councilors drop the idea, at Tuesday's meeting. He tells KBND News a recent poll of 240 residents shows it's not the right time for such a ballot measure, "What we found out is that about 48% of the people thought it was probably a good idea and they would be willing to raise their taxes, and a lot didn't; it would basically be a coin toss to have it pass this fall. But, that coin toss would've cost $150,000 to flip, because we'd have to raise that much money privately, in order to fund the campaign."
In the survey, participants were asked what they thought was Redmond's most important issue. Witcosky says nearly 18% said it was "growth and managing growth; 13% is traffic and congestion, 11% is affordable housing, 5% is Education, 4% is crime and public safety, and 2.6% is parks and recreational opportunities." Also noted in the survey, 55% of respondents believe the city already has enough or "the right amount of officers," and nearly 86% rate the city's 26 parks as "excellent" or "good."
There are no plans to revive the issue of parks funding in the near future. Witcosky says, "I'm not going to say, 'Oh! 2020 might be,' because we don't know. But, we just know right now, the polling just doesn't support it at all." Although, he says the city may still look at ways to increase revenue to increase police staffing.
BEND, OR -- The OSU-Cascades bike share program is expanding, with two new stations opening Monday in Downtown Bend.
The university partnered with Zagster, a company that provides community bike sharing programs, along with Visit Bend, the Old Mill District, and G-5, to launch the program a year ago. Casey Bergh, OSU-Cascades Transportation Program Manager, says the rentals are popular, "Since we opened it to the community last June, we've seen a significant increase in ridership this year. We see a lot of tourists riding, but we also see local residents just taking advantage of a convenient way to get around, maybe bypass traffic, and have fun getting where they're going." It now boasts 55 rental bikes, 1,800 member riders, and has recorded nearly 5,000 user trips since June of 2017.
Bergh credits two new sponsors, 10 Barrel and SELCO, with the opening of two new stations, taking the total number of Bend rental stations to eight, "We had six stations: there're three near OSU-Cascades, we had one in downtown, one in Drake Park, and one in the Old Mill. And, the two new stations are launching on Galveston Avenue and the north end of downtown at the corner of Newport and Wall." And, he's excited about plans to grow even more, next year, with a dockless system, "We'd like to expand Bend's system so that we could have up to 20 stations, and any ride that you make could be ended at any public rack. So, it dramatically increases the number of destinations you could take on a bikeshare bike and really opens up the system to the entire city."
The university will celebrate the low impact, safe, and fun way for students, residents, and tourists to get around town and the two new stations with a ribbon cutting Monday at noon, "We're going to have some representatives from Commute Options and other partners." He tells KBND News, "Come out, and we'll just be out to promote the program and share with folks how they can get access to bikes." The ribbon cutting is on Galveston, between 12th and Federal.