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BEND, OR -- Public health officials are encouraging families to make sure students are up-to-date on their immunizations, after three cases of whooping cough were recently confirmed in local high schools. Morgan Feld is the Emergency Preparedness Coordinator for Deschutes County Public Health. She acknowledges getting the vaccine may not provide 100% protection, but it's the best option, "The Pertussis vaccine is about 80 to 90% effective, and the vaccine actually wanes over time, and that's why we do things like booster shots." Feld tells KBND News, "For people who have been vaccinated for Pertussis and still contract the disease, it is generally less severe, so they have a less severe and significantly reduced illness duration. So, the vaccine is the best way to protect our community and reduce harm."

 

Deschutes County has four confirmed cases so far in 2019. The three most recent were found in Summit and Bend Senior High schools. "We especially worry about schools because kids are in close proximity, and a lot of kids have either contact in their family that are younger, or are in contact with pregnant women," says Feld, "And we really worry about the infants and young babies in our community." On average, half of all infants who contract Pertussis have to be hospitalized. But Feld says Whooping Cough doesn't seem dangerous at the beginning, in older kids, so many parents may still send their child to school, contagious. "If you have cold symptoms, especially runny nose, sneezing, and most of all, the severe cough, you do want to be seen by a doctor. If a doctor diagnoses Pertussis and prescribes antibiotics, you still actually need to wait another five days after starting the antibiotics to go back to school."

 

According to Feld, about 95% of Deschutes County students are up to date on the most common vaccinations.



REDMOND, OR -- Redmond hasn’t had youth club soccer in nearly a decade. Currently, Redmond kids too old for Parks and Recreation, but not yet in high school, either participate in out of town leagues or don’t play at all. But, Ridgeview High School head soccer coach Jimmy Kim wants to change that. He believes not having a high-level middle school soccer program in town puts Redmond’s high school teams at a competitive disadvantage. He acknowledges "It is a bit self-serving," because he wants student athletes better prepared before they get to ninth grade. But, he tells KBND News, "I’d like to compete for state titles, you know. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s giving these kids something, but at the same time, preparing them for high school, so we can have a higher level of high school teams."

 

Kim is working to launch a soccer club for fourth through eighth grade boys and girls, this summer. "Most of those kids haven’t played in middle school because middle school soccer isn’t available unless you’re playing club. And, that’s part of what I’m trying to do is just bridge that gap, so the kids in our community have an opportunity to continue to play and play at a higher level." He says the only club options for Central Oregon kids are in Bend or Eugene. And, he says high fees and extra travel time puts those teams out of reach for many families. His Redmond club, he says, will be more cost effective, "It’s going to be a low-cost, affordable club. We’re not doing this as a business. We’re trying to fill a need. We want to provide this for the community because the community needs it."

 

Club soccer has been tried in Redmond, before. RYSA - the Redmond Youth Soccer Association - lasted just a couple of years but folded nearly 10 years ago. Kim believes this time will be different, "We’re going to try to start out and do it the right way, to begin with." He tells KBND News, "We’re going to get a board in place; we’re going to become a corporation, be a nonprofit and then we’re going to be a OYSA [Oregon Youth Soccer Association] sanctioned club, so that we have all the possibilities, as far as the different types of leagues we can enter." He also wants to attract players from Prineville, Culver, Madras and Sisters, as well as from across the Redmond area. 


Families interested in the yet-to-be named Redmond soccer club are invited to an informational meeting Saturday at 3 p.m., at the Ridgeview High soccer field. Kim says the response to his idea, so far, has been "fantastic." But, the meeting will help him better measure community interest and get people excited. He hopes to hold try-outs on June first. 



BEND, OR -- Bend’s City Council appears ready to make a financial contribution to restoring Mirror Pond. They’re working on a resolution that would designate funding, "To put some community dollars aside from the general fund, towards work and to put together a joint resolution with Bend Parks and Rec," says Mayor Sally Russell. Parks and Recreation is being asked to lead the project. Russell says the city will contribute $300,000 a year for ten years, to total no more than $3 million.

 

"Care of the pond and the area around it is a priority that has been expressed by many people. A lot of people are concerned how it’s going to get done – asking a lot of environmentally directed questions," Russell tells KBND News, "And then, the question of whether or not we can actually put some fish passage on that dam, even though no steelhead or salmon actually come to the upper part of the Deschutes."

 

She would like to see the project include more than dredging, "We wrote the resolution in a way to look at opening the opportunity to explore fish passage, once more. Silt removal is one element of what we’re looking at on Mirror Pond." The resolution also specifies the city would have no ongoing or future commitment to operating or maintaining the iconic pond. 

 

Also at this week's meeting, the City Council approved a letter to be sent by the Mayor to the Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council asking the agency to address neighbor complaints regarding Hawthorne Station. "We just needed to make them aware of the issues and the concerns that some of the neighbors have around the transit area." Mayor Russell says she and the Council recognize there are things the city can do to help with things like traffic congestion and loitering. But, she says her letter asks for COIC to take an active role. "We’re trying to do our side, but we need you to partner with us more completely in addressing the issues that have been brought up by the neighbors."


Russell’s letter suggests adding signs to show where people can park while waiting to pick up or drop off transit users, creating strategies to reduce congestion, and working with the police department to crack down on substance abuse, trespassing and other crimes in the neighborhood. 



BEND, OR -- A Bend Police officer was allegedly assaulted by a theft suspect, Thursday night. Authorities say police responded to a report of a naked, intoxicated man who had fallen in the parking lot of the 7-Eleven at 8th and Greenwood, just after 10:30 p.m. Officers detained 35-year-old Tony Williams in handcuffs after a brief theft investigation. 

 

They discovered a 10-inch kitchen knife in his waistband and, they say, at that point, he became uncooperative and kicked an officer in her head. Others worked to control the suspect who they say actively resisted arrest by flailing around and trying to pull away. He was eventually restrained with the "WRAP" system and transported to jail.

 

The WRAP restraint device is designed to immobilize a person safely, in police custody. 


Williams is accused of third degree Theft, Resisting Arrest, Assaulting an Officer, Interfering with Police, Harassment and Attempted Unlawful Use of a Weapon. 



SISTERS, OR -- A Sisters-area yurt was destroyed in a Wednesday afternoon fire. Firefighters from the Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire District were initially dispatched to a brush fire that quickly escalated to a structure fire. The first units arrived at the home on Black Crater Avenue in time to witness an explosion and fireball that extended 10-15' in the air.

 

They discovered the main fire burning in debris on the ground, which turned out to be the remnants of a 16' diameter canvas yurt. Investigators believe the explosion was caused by an oil-filled heater that over-pressurized, due to contact with a flame. The initial cause of the fire is under investigation. It also destroyed a trampoline and part of a nearby fence. 

 

The manufactured home and detached garage on the property were not damaged. The family reports the yurt was primarily used for homeschooling their six children. The owner was outside, discovered the fire and called 911 at about 3 p.m. Wednesday. 

 

 



BEND, OR -- Toxin-producing bacteria are a concern every summer in Central Oregon lakes and reservoirs, and the Oregon health Authority is working to educate the public on signs the water may be dangerous. OHA Natural Resource Specialist Rebecca Hillwig says Cyanobacteria is naturally occurring and beneficial, except under certain conditions. When weather, sunlight, water temperature, nutrients, and water chemistry are ideal, the bacteria blooms. "It's really when they get what they need that they start multiplying into a colony that we call a bloom, when it becomes a problem. And, they can start producing toxins that are at a level that could, potentially, be harmful." She tells KBND News, "They don't always produce toxins, and not all genera cyanobacteria can produce toxins. But when they do, they can produce at a high enough level to be harmful."

 

Only a handful of bodies of water around Oregon are officially monitored, so Hillwig says it's important recreators pay attention to conditions. Visitors should avoid water that appears discolored, foamy, thick or scummy. She says the danger comes when that water is ingested, "Swimming, and things like water skiing, wakeboarding - where you could fall in and gulp water - and whatnot, are the activities that we're the most worried about. Also children and dogs are the most susceptible because of their size and level of activity." Dogs double their exposure by licking rocks, their own fur after a swim, and drinking the water.

 

Hillwig urges people to follow the OHA's summer motto: "if in doubt, stay out." For more information, including a link to current advisories, visit the OHA's harmful algae bloom website.



REDMOND, OR -- Industrial space remains hard to come by in Central Oregon, especially in Redmond. The latest survey found the city’s industrial vacancy rate dropped another half percent in the first quarter. And, Redmond Mayor George Endicott says the market will only get tighter without more land. "If you go back, in 2013, coming out of the recession, we had a 21% vacancy rate. Today, we have 1.4%. Now, the good news is, there’s 400,000 square-feet of rooftop either just finishing or under construction, as we speak. That will help a lot." But, he says, "A lot of that is already spoken for."

 

Endicott believes some easing will occur when nearly 950 acres comes on line just south of the city limits, near Juniper Golf Course. "We have over 2,500 acres of industrial land available, once we get that other 900. Our big job is to urbanize and make sure that we have land ‘shovel ready,’ if you will, available for development."

 

He tells KBND News the state Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) approved expanding the UGB for the first 160 of those 950 acres, just this week. "The Urban Growth Boundary has been approved, so now we can go forward and annex it and bring it in. Of the 160, 140 goes to the county for potential future extension of the fairgrounds, and the other 20 is going to the Oregon Military Department for what I call ‘armory,’ they call training center." He expects another 790 acres to eventually be brought in to the city, as well, for large-lot industrial development.



BEND, OR -- In a recent sweep of Central Oregon construction sites, the Construction Contractors Board (CCB) found 38 builders working without the proper credentials. The five-day operation spanned 151 work sites. "This latest sweep covered a good share of Central Oregon: Black Butte, Sunriver, Redmond, Sisters, Madras, and of course, Bend," says CCB Enforcement Manager Stan Jessup. They determined several builders were working without licenses, but others had licenses that weren't up-to-date, or they failed to provide workers' comp insurance for employees. "We do these concentrated sweeps just about every month, or every other month. We find a variety of different violations. What they're primarily looking for are contractors that don't have a license; and this is all part of making people understand that you need to hire licensed contractors because that's what gives you the protections." 

 

Improper licensing can lead to misdemeanor criminal charges and violators are fined between $1,000 and $5,000. Jessup says if a homeowner gets taken by an unlicensed contractor, there's really no recourse, "We can certainly cite the contractor that's unlicensed, but there's no mechanism for recovery. Of course, they could go to court, they could sue the contractor if they had damages or improper work, but trying to recover that is nearly impossible."


Contractors are required to provide their license numbers on all advertising, signage, and contracts. Visit the CCB's website to to look up a number and access up to 10 years' worth of history. "If people have any questions about a license, they can always call us," Jessup tells KBND News, "And we'll go through the license history for them."

 

File Photo



BEND, OR -- Robert Maxwell is being remembered in a very public way, near one of his favorite places. The Medal of Honor recipient passed away Saturday in Bend, at the age of 98. A billboard honoring Maxwell and his service is now up near Jake’s Diner, where he often met with the Bend Band of Brothers. It sits along Highway 20, which is designated as Oregon’s Medal of Honor Highway. 


A memorial service is planned for May 31 at noon, at the Deschutes County Fairgrounds, followed by internment with full military honors at Terrebonne Cemetery. The day before, May 30, a vigil time for viewing and paying respects will be held at the Niswonger-Reynolds Chapel (105 NW Irving Ave., Bend), between 1 p.m. and 6 p.m.

 

Maxwell was a pillar of the community. Central Oregon Community college Extended Learning Dean Jerry Schulz pursued a "Medal of Honor College" designation for COCC, in Maxwell's honor, last year (Maxwell pictured right, with a COCC automotive student in 2018). Schulz told KBND News then, "He was instrumental in helping launch the automotive program for Central Oregon Community College, way back in the late 50s or early 60s. And, he taught for our school for many years."


On Pearl Harbor Day last year, Maxwell told KBND News his story: On September 7, 1944, he was serving as a wireman, maintaining telephone wires near a battle's front line, when their command post was attacked by Germans. "A grenade came over the wall that we were behind, and fell in my vicinity, and the only alternative I had was to try to smother the grenade's explosion in order to keep from getting my comrades killed." Maxwell kicked the grenade and it exploded against the wall. He was injured, but his battalion was able to defend their position. "I'm very proud to have at least done a small part to help in the war effort, and above all, to have been privileged to join in the liberation of France." He added, "I'm very proud to have served my company, and the medal is just something I'd have never dreamed of ever having, and I don't know if I deserve it or not." Click HERE to listen to our full 2018 conversation with Robert Maxwell. 

 

On Monday, Oregon Secretary of State Bev Clarno and Oregon Congressman Greg Walden were among those who expressed their regrets at Maxwell's passing. "His bravery, his heroism, were only matched by his kindness, his warmth, and his sense of humor," said Walden, "He was inspirational to all who met him, and he was an incredible human being." The Congressman also spoke about Maxwell to the full U.S. House, Thursday:

 



BEND, OR -- Deschutes River Canyon residents are again being warned of a cougar in the area. Oregon Fish and Wildlife says a big cat was seen near the canal behind Fred Meyer on May sixth, and then a deer was found dead in a subdivision on the east rim of the Deschutes River canyon. ODFW confirmed Wednesday the animal was killed by a cougar. 


Because of the cougar’s continued presence in a populated area, ODFW and Bend Police believe it is a public safety threat. Officials are now taking steps to hunt and kill the cougar.

 

If you encounter a cougar, the Sheriff's office says don't run. Move slowly, keeping the animal in view as you get away from the area. If you live in an area where a cougar has been spotted, don't walk your dog at night, and supervise pets and kids while outside. Click HERE for more information.

 

Last month, a cougar was seen in southwest Bend, upstream from the Bill Healy Bridge, and another was reported on Agate Road, in Deschutes River Woods. 



SISTERS, OR -- A 73-year-old Sisters man faces dozens of charges relating to child pornography. The Deschutes County Sheriff's Office received a tip from the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) that George Staab possibly possessed and was distributing child porn. 

 

On Tuesday, detectives served a search warrant at his home on Cayuse Drive, and say they located a large amount of child pornography. Based on that evidence and statements Staab made during an interview, he was arrested on 30 counts of first degree Encouraging Child Sex Abuse and 20 counts of second degree Encouraging Child Sex Abuse. The investigation is ongoing and officials say more charges could follow. 

 

ICAC is a national network of 61 coordinated task forces representing over 4,500 federal, state and local law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies. 



LA PINE, OR -- A local financial institution is taking a high-tech approach to helping teens understand how to manage their money. Mid Oregon Credit Union hosts a Financial Reality Fair at La Pine High School on Friday.

 

"Through our partnership with Bend-La Pine Schools, we were able to put our Financial Reality app on the student’s iPads," says Mid Oregon Credit Union CFO Kevin Cole, "They’ll be able to go and are randomly selected with a job that gives them a certain amount of pay. They have to make choices about how they choose to spend that money." He tells KBND News, "They choose a particular type of housing and they choose what type of transportation to use, and whether they want to have a pet, what their eating preferences are; and the app will sort of give them a quick rundown of what their finances are going to look like if they make those choices." Scenarios are made to be as realistic as possible, "The job is also tied to the amount of student loan debt that they’ll come out with."

 

Many districts have dropped “personal finance” from class offerings and Cole says “Financial Reality” helps fill that gap through a school’s business curriculum, while keeping kids interested and engaged, "It combines gamification theory with the education component, and makes it a little bit more fun for the kids. And it’s very relatable; it’s choices that – short of the avocado toast – it’s very similar to the life choices that the young people will actually make today. So, I think it’s very relatable and we’ve had really good success with it."

 

Cole hopes to eventually expand the Financial Reality program to other schools in the district, but says it’s starting at La Pine High because that school is home to the Credit Union’s first student-run branch. The program is offered through the Northwest Credit Union Foundation



BEND, OR -- Bend Fire has new tools for firefighters to better respond to serious construction accidents and car crashes. A 12-person crew trained Tuesday with a hand-held metal band-saw and other tools purchased with money from a nonprofit foundation. "This is our Rescue Team; these are our specialized trained folks in rescue, extrication, confined space, swift water, all those things. These guys do it all," says Bend Fire Battalion Chief Dave Howe.

 

In one scenario, they worked to free a mannequin from a piece of rebar at a construction site. They also tried to save a dummy trapped in a car, impaled by debris. "These kinds of scenarios are not that common, but they’re really significant and they’re really hard to deal with unless you have the right tools. So, these are entrapments in cars that might not be resolved with the Jaws of Life." He says if someone becomes impaled by debris during a car crash, "The Jaws of Life aren’t going to do anything. We need to be able to keep that piece in the person when we go to the hospital so it can be removed surgically. But, we’ve got to be able to get them out of the car with that intact." 

 

The tools are so new, firefighters were taking them out of their packaging to use at Tuesday's training. Howe says the Rescue Team will now take the newly-gained knowledge back to their individual fire stations, "So, when we show up, it doesn’t matter if they’re here or if somebody else is on duty, they’re going to be able to handle it."

 



BEND, OR -- Oregon Governor Kate Brown introduced a "Roadmap to the Outdoors" initiative in Bend on Tuesday, along with First Gentleman Dan Little. As a child, Brown says, she spent a lot of time outdoors, "I had access because my parents were avid outdoor enthusiasts and skiers. I had access because my dad was a doctor and we had resources, frankly, to be out there skiing. And, I had access because of my white privilege." Speaking at the Outdoor Recreation Summit in Bend, Brown told the crowd, "It's so important to me and to Dan that we make sure that everyone, everyone, has access to the beauty of outdoor Oregon."


Little is leading the "roadmap" initiative, "The overall goal is to make sure that everybody feels comfortable if they want to go out hiking, there's good transportation, they're able to have access to gear, funding, all those different pieces." He tells KBND News, "My goal is to get as many people out, and part of that is the whole health aspects of the outdoors, so the mental, physical, and spiritual parts." Little believes there's a connection between childhood obesity and a lack of spending time outdoors, "Because they're spending so much time looking at computer screens and video games and so, all that's leading to people being inactive, and especially kids, so just focusing it on those youth." He adds, "I've always tried to be a healthy person, but every time I go outdoors, it always makes me feel so much better." 


Brown created the Office of Outdoor Recreation in 2017 to help coordinate all aspects of Oregon's outdoor recreation sector. Tuesday's summit brought together representatives from the industry in an effort to inspire action to advance equality in outdoor access. Outdoor recreation provides 172,000 direct jobs across the state.



BEND, OR -- Deschutes County Public Health confirms a case of Pertussis - or "Whooping Cough" - was recently discovered at Summit High School, prompting warnings to parents. 

 

Public Health Nurse Jill Johnson says Pertussis is spread by respiratory droplets, and it takes a while for symptoms to develop, "The incubation period is about 21 days. And then, once a person is treated with antibiotics for five days, then they're no longer infectious." She tells KBND News most people don't know they have Pertussis because it starts out like the common cold, followed by an increasingly persistent cough. "The cough gets worse, and it usually starts to occur in strong fits. For young kids, especially, a high-pitched 'whoop' sound can follow the cough." She adds, "It's sometimes called the 100-day cough because the cough is just really persistent and hangs on for awhile." In Deschutes County, on average, 80% of Pertussis patients are under 20 years old. And, it hits infants the hardest, "Pertussis is especially difficult on babies. about half of them need to be hospitalized if they contract it." 


Johnson says the best defense is up-to-date T-Dap immunizations. While it's not 100% effective, it does seem to lessen symptoms. She also suggest staying home if you're sick, and washing hands often.

There have been four confirmed cases of Pertussis in Deschutes County so far in 2019, "Pertussis kind of ebbs and flows," says Johnson, "So some years we have more cases than other years. We average about 14 cases a year."



PRINEVILLE, OR -- A 54-year-old Crook County woman will serve just over six years in prison for killing her long-time boyfriend. District Attorney Wade Whiting says Tina Hill shot 51-year-old Dennis Stewart in November 2017. The two had a long history of domestic violence. 

Hill told investigators Stewart was upset over a blanket blocking the entrance to the cabin they shared in Juniper Acres. She picked up a rifle in anticipation of an assault and the gun accidentally went off. Stewart's body was discovered by deputies several days later. He was found face down, clutching a six-inch knife.

 

D.A. Whiting says Stewart was arrested five times between November 2016 and August 2017 for having continued contact with Hill, in violation of a restraining order. But, he says Hill also has a history of crimes against Stewart. According to previous KBND News reports, Hill was arrested for attempted murder in June 2016 for allegedly shooting at her boyfriend. Court and medical records indicate Hill struggled with mental health and addiction issues prior to the shooting. She entered an Alford Plea Monday, for second degree Manslaughter and is not eligible for early release. 



BEND, OR -- Local firefighters are already responding the types of fires typically seen during the summer, including an escaped debris burn that destroyed a La Pine home last week (pictured), a barbecue fire that damaged a Metolius-area house and a southeast Bend brush fire caused by illegal fireworks. It's not our imagination, it is early in the season for such incidents, "It seems early to us too," says Bend Fire Battalion Chief Dave Howe, "As much of the messaging that we’re getting out, people are still not taking as much care with fire as they could." He says the fires they’re responding to now are all human caused, many of them by carelessness.

 

Howe tells KBND News, "A few years ago, we had the Two Bulls Fire in early June, and everybody was surprised it was so early. Now, we’re a month earlier than that and we’re getting, maybe not the big fires, like that, but we’re definitely getting the fires that have the capability of escaping control." He says conditions are ripe for a tough fire season, "We had a lot of rain in April, and it was great to have it. But, it does grow a lot of fuel. And, what I think people need to understand is that ‘fuel’ is anything that can burn. And that includes trees, brush, grass, houses. And, I think a lot of people don’t realize that, to a fire, their house is just fuel." He adds, "As we get closer to summer and as the weather changes, then more things like that can actually ignite a fire."


Despite rain in the forecast for this week, Howe says those fine fuels will dry out again, as soon as the sun and wind return. 



REDMOND, OR -- Redmond's Consolidated Plan is due for its annual update, and the public is invited to provide feedback on housing and community development needs. 

 

Each year, city leaders ask for input, which is a requirement of the federal funding tied to the Consolidated Plan. But, Deputy City Manager John Roberts says it also helps them prioritize projects and the funding, "Feedback from citizens is important to us as it will help us fine tune our plan to address the most pressing needs in Redmond." He tells KBND News, "There's a diversity and range of housing issues affecting the community, and money like this is used for land acquisition, social service spending, housing and rehabilitation, and homebuyer assistance."

 

Roberts says an open house, Tuesday afternoon, is a good chance to learn about the general Plan, but not specific projects, "The plan will be discussed, as well as the federal funding. So, the Open House will serve as a forum for gathering more public input on housing and community development needs." He adds, "The goal is to get more public input to add to the data analysis that we can have a well-rounded and effective plan." Tuesday's event starts at 4:30 p.m. in the Civic Room at Redmond's City Hall. 



MADRAS, OR -- With one week before the Special Election, Jefferson County Sheriff Jim Adkins is trying to convey what he says is a serious budget situation, before voters decide on his Jail Levy. "I’ve had those people who say I am ‘just bluffing’ and I am not. So, the reality is that money will run out and I will be forced to actually make cuts."


Adkins says the current five-year operating levy expires June 30, about the same time a new jail opens in Prineville. Crook County rents around 30 beds at Jefferson County’s Jail. But, Adkins tells KBND News, "They’re leaving us, probably the first of July. So, that means a deficit – a loss of about $700,000- $800,000." He says his jail's budget has been supplemented for years by Crook County taxpayers, "We house between 25 and 32 of their inmates, and have since about 2003. The moneys we got from Crook County during that contract actually saved Jefferson County taxpayers money. It kept our taxes lower by renting these beds out to another county."
 

The three-year request for $1.39 per $1,000 of assessed property value is 15 cents more than the expiring levy. A more expensive five-year levy request was defeated last November. Adkins says if this one fails, he’ll be forced to lay-off 40 to 50% of his jail staff, "With my current staffing - the way it is now – [and] the way the jail is built, I can house about 110 inmates. If I’m forced to reduce my staff by 50%, let’s say, I’m going to house only 24 inmates." He says he's able to have three people on duty at a time, right now, "If I have to cut my staff, I will have one deputy on that watches over the whole entire jail." He adds, "This does not pay for anything else in the Sheriff’s Office, like Patrol Division. This runs the jail, takes care of the inmates and pays the electricity."


Ballots are due by 8 p.m. May 21. Tuesday, May 14 is the last day to mail them. After the 14th, you should take them to an official ballot drop site. In Jefferson County, drop-boxes are located in Crooked River Ranch, near the tennis courts, the Warm Springs fire station, Culver City Hall, Metolius City Hall and the Jefferson County Annex building in Madras. Click HERE for a list of Deschutes County drop sites. 



BEND, OR -- After two weeks closed, the Deschutes County Health Services main building on NE Courtney reopens Monday. County Administrator Tom Anderson says they've been conducting extensive air quality testing to find the source of inconsistent Carbon Monoxide readings. He believes the problem came from exhaust fumes from the HVAC units on the building's roof, "Particularly in cold weather, because the HVAC units are close together, exhaust from one system could make its way into the air intake in a close-by system."

 

Anderson tells KBND News, "It's not like there's massive fumes entering this building. It's very, very low levels; but you want it perfect. You want those levels to be virtually nonexistent to ensure the safety of staff and clients." Thus, the extended closure, " The safety of our staff and clients is of paramount importance. So, we don't want to reopen the building until the staff and clients are coming back into a very safe and clean building."

 

While the building isn't particularly old, he says the rooftop heating system is unique, which will be corrected later this year, "We have moved up the capital replacement system. We fully intend to get that done this summer, during the warm months, so that when winter rolls around, we have a brand new and modern, effective heating system."


The building was first closed for several days in early March after employees reported a strong odor of natural gas. Anderson believes it was the same problem that led to this month's closure, but record snowfall blocking vents may have caused a stronger smell. 



BEND, OR -- The Forest Service will require permits for visitors to some of the most popular trailheads in the Deschutes and Willamette National Forest, beginning in the summer of 2020. Friday's decision is part of the Central Cascade Wilderness Strategy Project, a process which began in January 2017. 

 

Day use permits will be required for seven trailheads in the Mount Jefferson Wilderness, two trailheads in the Mount Washington Wilderness and 10 in the Three Sisters Wilderness. Overnight permits will be required at all 79 trailheads in the three wilderness areas. Jean Nelson Dean, with the Deschutes national Forest, says this isn't a new idea, "There are lots of places that have permit systems. I would say we got a lot of support for doing this because people were starting to see that resource damage in the wilderness areas." She says the plan is to limit the number of people accessing an area at once to preserve the forest, and treat all users equally, "What we've tried to do with this decision is balance people's access to wilderness, with also maintaining those areas for future generations, maintaining the wilderness character in those areas." Nelson Dean tells KBND News, "The vast majority of wilderness access will not change under this decision."

 

Some permits will be available to reserve in advance, while others will only be issued on a same-day or next-day basis, in order to balance the needs of  visitors planning trips and the spontaneous. Over the next year, the Forest Service will work to educate the public on how the new system works. Officials is also seeking authorization to charge a stewardship fee for permits.



BEND, OR -- A big loss for the Central Oregon community: Robert Maxwell passed away Saturday night. He was America's oldest living recipient of the Medal of Honor.

 

The city of Bend was designated as the state's first Medal of Honor City, last fall, because of Maxwell's connection. And, in November, Central Oregon Community College unveiled a permanent honor to Maxwell, who is credited with starting the school's automotive program. Dick Tobiason, with the Bend Heroes Foundation, tells KBND News, "We will always hold him close in memories and deeds."


Maxwell was awarded the Medal of Honor for bravery he displayed during his service in World War II. He was gravely wounded when he threw himself on a grenade in France. 


Bob Maxwell was 98.

 

File Photo: Maxwell in 2006



BEND, OR -- It’s early in the season, but local firefighters are already responding to incidents typically seen in the summer. 

 

Illegal fireworks are blamed for a small brush fire along the railroad tracks in southeast Bend. The Friday afternoon blaze near Brookhollow and Honeysuckle scorched about half an acre. 


That evening, Jefferson County crews responded to a fire at a Metolius-area home, caused by a barbecue placed to close to a house on SW Eureka Lane. They say grease ignited and spread to the building. The owner knocked down the flames before firefighters arrived, but not before it damaged the siding.



SALEM, OR -- The Oregon Senate doesn't usually meet Fridays until the end of the session when the work load stacks up. But, that's happening now, because Republican members refused to show up Thursday, for a third day. The GOP is protesting a tax on large businesses to raise money for schools.

 

Senate President Peter Courtney told lawmakers Thursday,  I’d hoped to delay Friday sessions for as long as I could, so individuals could return to their districts to meet with constituencies, town hall meetings and things. But, we’re starting to fall really behind in our workload." He went on to say, "Even though we’re moving in to that wonderful Mothers Day weekend, I’m going to have to ask you, ‘would you please come here to be here'." 

 

Republicans don't have a majority and can't stop Democrats from passing a bill that would create a gross receipts tax on the state's largest businesses to generate money for public schools. But they can keep Senators from accomplishing anything, by denying them a quorum. "The Republicans in the Legislature felt like the majority was moving these bills too quickly," Bend State Senator Tim Knopp tells KBND News, "And not giving enough time to have input on what we think are significant bills, and also input in terms of policy." He adds, "We have the opportunity to slow down this process and get it right and we are doing that to make sure we have the best product that we can that supports our school students, our families, small businesses, and taxpayers."

 

Knopp believes the funding bill would impose a sales tax on businesses and doesn't address PERS reform, "Although it says that this money can't be used to pay PERS costs, the money that used to go to educational resources will just be siphoned off to go to PERS debt payments, and it's going to be the same outcome." Knopp says, "It's going to be paid by consumers, and that tax is not particularly equitable. If a business is making no money, it still gets taxed."

 

The Bend Republican says he's committed to staying at the Capitol and is willing to entertain any possible solutions put forth that could result in meaningful PERS reform and ensure education funding, "I'm going to need to have face-to-face meetings with the people that are most important in this process, and they are here, not somewhere else, at this time." He says the problems will not be solved until everyone is heard, "The Republican caucus has been united in our efforts, and we have been working together to make sure that voices of our communities are being heard, and that these bills, they will either be more bipartisan, or some of them would not advance at all that would affect the Constitutional rights of our constituents."

 

He doesn't know how long the impasse will last, "Details matter, and we want good policy, not just good politics."



SALEM, OR -- Oregon’s Department of Agriculture has made permanent rules to severely restrict the use of an herbicide believed to be responsible for killing trees near Sisters. The ODA concluded that applications of aminocyclopyrachlor (ACP) from 2013 to 2015 left more than 2,000 ponderosa and lodgepole pines dead or dying along Highway 20. ACP is sold under the name "Perspective," made by Bayer. The company asked for a delay in permanent restrictions, after temporary rules were imposed in September. 

 

The ODA’s now-permanent rule bans the chemical’s use on rights of ways, natural areas, ditches and canals, and a host of other locations, and prohibits trees affected by Perspective to be used for compost or mulch. It also can't be applied by air. 


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