Fire crews were called out to 1131 NW Dogwood Avenue in Redmond last evening shortly before 7 after neighbors reported a house on fire. The owner/occupants were not home at the time. Firefighters arrived to find flames coming from the back and the second story of the home fully charged with smoke. Although no one was injured, damages are estimated to be at least $100,000. The cause appears to be a branch that fell on the electric line feeding into the house which caused arcing between the line and the house resulting in the fire.
TERREBONNE, OR -- Oregon's Department of Transportation is finalizing plans to address increased traffic volumes on Highway 97 in Terrebonne. Peter Murphy, with ODOT, tells KBND News, "So, you’ll have two lanes going southbound and two other lanes going northbound on 11th Street. And then, to make things work up at Lower Bridge Way, what we’ve done is come up with an idea for a roundabout. And, I know when I say ‘roundabout,’ there’s a lot of people who have a visceral reaction to that, but it is a good solution to move traffic through that intersection."Lower Bridge Way is the primary access to Crooked River Ranch, and its intersection with Highway 97 has long been identified as a trouble spot. Murphy says installing a roundabout west of 97, and creating over- and under-passes for cross traffic will significantly improve safety, "By doing this, we are addressing the highway problem. It’s gone through a review process with the folks up there and it’s the result of a lot of work together to try and come up with a solution that works for folks."
Despite some local opposition, Murphy says they’re moving forward on the proposal, and he believes they have a plan that benefits the most people, "We went through this planning process and considered a five-lane in the existing 97 corridor, and the dilemma with that is that you end up with much more conflict potential." He adds, "It’s important to understand that the context in which all this is taking place is the increase in traffic. If you try to make a left turn coming out of like Smith Rock State Park, and get on the highway to come to Bend, you’ve got some serious delays facing you."
Murphy says nothing is set in stone, yet. Most of the funding for the work was allocated by the 2017 Legislature, but the design still needs county approval., "We’re going to go to the Planning Commission at the end of this month. And then, coming up in August, we’re going to go to the Board of Commissioners. So, all these opportunities are there for folks to have their say." Murphy doesn't expect construction to begin for at least two years.
BEND, OR -- The Deschutes National Forest has a new Forest Supervisor, and she's quite familiar with the area. Holly Jewkes takes over on August fifth, replacing John Allen who retired in June.
Jewkes is currently the Deputy Forest Supervisor on the Willamette National Forest. Jean Nelson Dean, with the Forest Services, tells KBND News, "She was the District Ranger at our Crescent Ranger District, which is the southern part of the [Deschutes National] Forest. The District Ranger is responsible for all the decisions made for that land base that they are responsible for, and then the Forest Supervisor oversees the District Rangers." Nelson Dean adds, "Holly obviously, worked on the leadership team of the Deschutes National Forest, before she left to take the Deputy Forest Supervisor position on the Willamette National Forest."
Nelson Dean doesn't expect big changes with the transition of leadership, "Holly will be bringing that same attitude that John Allen had, she does partnerships and those community relationships, so we expect it to be a very seamless transition." She adds, "Holly has a background in resource management, and fire, fire ecology." And, "She has a lot of knowledge about what's going on here on the Deschutes." Jewkes has been with the Forest Service, serving in the Pacific Northwest, for more than 14 years.
BEND, OR -- This summer’s unusually mild weather is causing problems for Deschutes County road crews trying to get chip sealing done before fall. "We need good weather – good summer weather – to chip seal," says County Roads Director Chris Doty, "And, it’s been fits and starts." He says even a few sprinkles can derail a day of work, "We’ve been in Sisters a little bit last week and a few days this week, and it’s been, as I said, ‘fits and starts.’ With our chip seal process, we need hot, dry weather and it’s been hard to get good stretches of that this summer." He adds, "So, we’ve been bouncing around, kind of chasing open patches of sky, to get the chip seal work done."
But, Doty tells KBND News, they're not giving up, "Right now, we’ll be pivoting into Deschutes River Woods, here, in the next few days and throughout the next week, to do quite a few road segments in that subdivision." The chip seal process is used to rejuvenate the top layer of roads with a fresh coat of asphalt, to prolong the life of a road through bad weather.
Doty says the timeframe to do the work is short; chip sealing season must end by the end of August to guarantee the asphalt has time to cure before cold weather returns. "We had a pretty aggressive schedule, this year – upwards of 100 miles of county roads to be chip sealed. We’re going to fall short of that. We’ve been pushed off from some areas and we’ve lost all of the float that we placed in our chip seal schedule, and so we’ll probably finish at least 10 miles short of our goal this year." But, he's confident the work will get done eventually, "In terms of road maintenance, it’s a marathon and not a sprint; so we will catch up next year, for sure."
SALEM, OR -- Three local affordable housing projects are among a dozen around the state to receive a big funding boost from Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS). The agency announced Tuesday Carnelian Place and Phoenix Crossing in Bend will receive a combined $4 million to build 71 units near NE 15th and Highway 20, and NE 27th and Conners. Housing works plans for a mix of studio and one-bedroom apartments for renters at or below 60% of the area median income.
Redmond’s Bridge Meadows receives $3 million dollars for 40 units off NW Hemlock. That project will be a mix of one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom apartments.
OHCS awarded More than $45 million will help build 636 homes in Oregon. "This is a big step toward meeting the ambitions goals of the Statewide Housing Plan,' OHCS Director Margaret Salazar said in a statement. "These developments bring us that much closer to closing the affordable rental housing gap and reducing housing cost burden for Oregonians." The funding comes from federal 9% Low Income Housing Tax Credits, HOME, and the National Housing Trust Fund resources, which leverage local, state and private investments.
BEND, OR -- A 14-year-old girl was hurt when her bicycle was struck by a car in northeast Bend, Tuesday night. According to Bend Police, she tried to ride her bike across NE 27th near Highway 20, at about 8:15 p.m., but misjudged the traffic flow. She was not in the crosswalk and was hit by a 74-year-old driving a northbound vehicle trying to make a left turn.
The girl was taken to St. Charles Bend with non-life threatening injuries.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Congressman Greg Walden (R-OR) says President’s Trump’s recent tweets about four Congresswomen of color do not reflect the value of Americans. Oregon’s only Republican in Congress says the remarks shouldn’t be made about any American citizens.
He also condemned comments that Border Patrol is running concentration camps or that people who support Israel are only doing it ‘for the Benjamins’ as disgusting and wrong. Walden says Congress needs to stop wasting time bickering over tweets and get back to tackling the nation’s real problems.
The full statement issued Tuesday morning by Greg Walden:
“America is a nation of immigrants and I do not, and will never, condone discrimination. The President’s recent tweets do not reflect the values that we hold dear in America and they are comments that should not be made about any American citizen regardless of who they are or where they work. Comments like these and others stating that CBP agents are ‘running concentration camps’ or that people who support Israel only do it for the ‘Benjamins’ are disgusting and wrong. They distract from the real issues our nation faces, like the humanitarian crisis at the border, the rising cost of health care, and providing for our veterans and active duty military. Just the same, taking time to vote on political resolutions condemning the President wastes precious time that should be spent debating and voting on legislation that directly improves the lives of Americans. Respectfully, Congress needs to stop wasting time bickering over mean tweets and get back to tackling the real problems facing our nation."
(Top) File Photo
BEND, OR -- The Boys and Girls Clubs of Bend plans to open a record-number of slots for after-school programs, this fall. Executive Director Juliana Williams says it’s in response to Bend-La Pine Schools shifting start times, which will send elementary kids home an hour earlier than last year and before older siblings who often serve as afternoon babysitters, "A lot of parents could work it out to pick up their kids at 3:30, but now at 2:30 they can’t get off work that early to pick up their children. So, we’re expecting more kids needing care in that after school time." She tells KBND News, "Given that we do serve from five to 18, we serve a lot of younger elementary students, and so we’re increasing our staffing to be able to take on more kids. We’re adding about an hour of programming to that group, and overall, just trying to ensure that we can be here to meet the need."
Registration must be done in-person and begins at the end of this month; Williams suggests families visit the Boys and Girls Clubs of Bend website beforehand, to get familiar with the process. "We have families that have been relying on us for years, so we’re doing and early priority registration for our current club families on July 29. That is a limited number of spots that we will hold for that period; we’ll continue that on the 30th and 31st. And then, on August first, we will open up additional spots to the community at large, knowing there are new families that are going to be seeking after-school care at the Boys and Girls Club." She adds, "What we’re trying to do is offer as many families as possible who are already a part of the club to get that early registration. But, we wanted to make sure that we didn’t come to the community on August first and say, ‘hey; we’re already full'." She’s hesitant to put an exact number on openings but expects it will be the first time they'll have to cap enrollment in their after-school program.
In May, Bend Parks and Recreation opened registration for its Kids Inc. after-school program for the 2019-20 school year; most sites filled in the first 10 minutes of registration. Williams says Parks & Rec and the Boys & Girls Clubs have the same goal of making sure kids are cared for, "Since I took my role as Executive Director two months ago of the Boys and Girls Club, I’ve been meeting with other community leaders at Parks & Rec and some of the other after-school programs, reaching out and coordinating our efforts. I think as we all adapt to this change in our community, we’re going to be even more coordinated so that it’s simplified for parents as they seek after-school care."
BEND, OR -- The results are in on a Deschutes County trash survey, and most residents want their garbage to stay local.
Deschutes County Weighs Trash Options (01/28/2019)
County Commissioners must decide where garbage will go when the Knott Landfill reaches capacity in the next decade. They plan to use feedback from a recent phone survey during deliberations. Solid Waste Director Timm Schimke tells KBND News, "It came down to two main options that we're considering: either siting a new landfill in the county, or contracting for transportation and disposal of our waste at one of the large regional landfills up near the Columbia River." He says, "This survey showed that the vast majority of people, 93%, favor keeping the garbage here and dealing with it ourselves. So, siting a new landfill in the county was the overwhelming choice." He says residents want a local landfill to keep jobs here, but they're also interested in upgrading technology for recycling and sorting. But, he says, it's expensive, "We look at that new technology on a regular basis, every three to five years. We'll have technology in our system at some point, just not quite yet."
Schimke delivered survey results to County Commissioners on Monday. He says with such overwhelming support for a new local facility, it's very likely Commissioners will choose that option. "If the Board decides to adopt this and follow the community's preference, then we would start that process of identifying potential sites, ranking them and rating them and eventually coming up with a choice on which one to pursue. There'll be a lot of behind the scenes activity while we're looking at maps, and identifying potential sites, and then we'll start getting a lot of public input." He expects it would take about seven years to find and establish a new landfill site in unincorporated Deschutes County.
BEND, OR -- A three-vehicle crash on Deschutes Market Road was caused by one driver’s medical emergency, according to investigators.
Sheriff’s deputies responded to the Tumalo area on a report of a possible drunk driver, just after noon Monday. While searching for the SUV (pictured, right), they were dispatched to a crash near Chasing Cattle Lane involving the same vehicle. They determined 62-year-old Edward Colburn failed to slow for traffic and rammed into the back of one car, pushing it into another.
All three vehicles had to be towed from the scene and Colburn was taken to the hospital with medical complications not related to the crash. The Sheriff's Office says investigators don't believe alcohol, drugs or other distractions were factors, and no other injuries were reported.
MADRAS, OR -- Madras Police are releasing more details of a Sunday morning double shooting. Officers responded to Southeast 16th and C streets and discovered two people had been shot multiple times; those victims continue to receive treatment at St. Charles Bend.
Two Injured in Madras Shooting (07/15/2019)
Investigators recovered a rifle they believe was used in the assault, and identified the suspect as 36-year-old Juan Francisco Medina, of Madras. He was arrested Sunday on charges of Attempted Murder, first degree Assault, Unlawful Use of a Weapon and Menacing. According to jail records, he admitted to using Methamphetamine two days before his arrest.
Medina appeared in court Monday and is being held on $2 million bond.
BEND, OR -- Rural Deschutes County has many acres of land zoned for farming that the county's Planning Commission says doesn't meet the state's designations for farm and forest and isn't suitable for growing. The Commission recently voted 4-3 to create a new zone that would allow owners to get their land reclassified. County Planner Peter Gutowsky says it could create more options for affordable housing, "There's certainly an interest from the Board of County Commissioners to look at ways where additional housing can be provided. this is just one of many potential opportunities to do that."
He says the goal now is to establish eligibility criteria for property owners, "If they don't meet the state's definition for farm or forest land, they would have instructions in our plan that inform them how they would demonstrate compliance to rezone their own property." He tells KBND News, "We want to make sure that additional local criteria that are more restrictive than state law are contemplated - one being that these types of redesignations take place in a rural fire protection district."
But, Rory Isbell, a lawyer for Central Oregon Landwatch says reclassifying this land would do away with the state's long-standing system to accommodate growth and would create more expense, "By opening up a doorway for more residential use in the rural areas of Deschutes County, this current proposal subverts the orderly system of planned development that we have." He adds, "Housing in these rural areas will not be affordable. The housing that often gets built when agricultural land gets broken up is at the higher end." And, he says, it could be unfair, "It's allowing an agricultural landowner to try to have different treatment than all of the other agricultural landowners and farmers that exist out in the county."
County Commissioners will likely be asked to weigh in, this fall. Gutowsky says there's still much to consider, like which land could be eligible, and what uses would be allowed.
BEND, OR -- The Deschutes County Jail is now using a body scanner to look for contraband before inmates are booked. "So, if somebody comes in to our facility and they are going to be housed in our facility, they will now go through the body scanner," says Corrections Deputy Lori Barin, "That provides us a picture, and that picture shows us whether or not there’s anything inside." Jail Commander Michael Shults tells KBND News, "We’re going to be looking for drugs, weapons, needles, anything that we can that’s not allowed in the jail that can make somebody unsafe – not only us, our staff, but the other inmates."
An inmate moves through the large machine on a conveyer belt (pictured: right) as the scanner sends an x-ray image (above) to a nearby computer. A Corrections Deputy can then see whether drugs or weapons are hidden inside their body or clothing. Dep. Barin says it's a much less invasive process than the previous search procedure, "We would take them in and do a pretty invasive visual dress-down, so that we could ensure that they didn’t have anything inside any body cavities."
A Deschutes County inmate died at the jail in 2014 of a meth overdose. Then-Sheriff Larry Blanton speculated at the time that Edwin Mays ingested a baggie of drugs in an attempt to conceal them from arresting officers. KBND News asked current Sheriff Shane Nelson whether that case prompted the purchase of the new body scanner, "This is not related to any one specific act or piece of history for our office. But, yes, some of the tragic circumstances that have occurred here definitely spur us to take a look at good pieces of equipment." He adds, "I can tell you, having a piece of equipment like this will hopefully prevent a future tragedy." Capt. Shults says while nothing is 100% effective, this new technology will help, "All the jails are trying to find ways to stop that. Now, it’ll never be stopped because inmates get good at it and the people that come through our system are vulnerable people and they’re already at risk to these type of things. But, the goal is really, so that people, when they come in, don’t have dangerous materials on them that can hurt them or us."
Sheriff Nelson calls the $125,000 body scanner a good investment, and says the Oregon Sheriffs’ Association helped negotiate a price break for 11 agencies to purchase scanners this year. "Our office is really excited to have this piece of equipment," says Nelson, "This is going to make our jail a lot safer, it’s going to protect inmates who try and bring this contraband into our facility and it’s going to protect inmates that might have access to this contraband in our facility." The scanner has been in place a few months and Nelson says it has already prevented a significant amount of contraband from entering the jail.
BEND, OR -- A 23-year-old Bend man survived being struck by a freight train, Sunday afternoon. Emergency crews were dispatched to the BNSF train depot near SE Third and Scott Street, at about 3:30 p.m. and determined Kyle Houser had been hit just east of the depot.
Bend Police say Houser was walking northwest on the tracks, listening to music with headphones over his ears. A train approached behind him, blowing its horn to warn the man who had his back to the train. Houser didn't hear the train and was struck on the shoulder, which threw him from the tracks. The train was eventually able to stop, and remained in place for several hours, blocking traffic on SE Wilson.
Houser was taken to the hospital by ambulance, with non-life threatening injuries.
MADRAS, OR -- Two people were shot during an altercation in Madras, Sunday morning. Officers responded to a location on Southeast 16th at about 9:30 a.m. and discovered the alleged shooter had left the scene.
Madras Police have not released many details but say they requested help from the Central Oregon Major Crime Team, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and State Police, and a suspect was taken into custody a short time later.
Both victims are being treated for their injuries.
TUMALO, OR -- A Redmond man wanted for a felony warrant was arrested Friday evening, after an hour-long manhunt in Tumalo. Deschutes County deputies assisting on a traffic stop learned 38-year-old Ryan Fischer-Salt was in a nearby bar, but he took off before they arrived. Fischer-Salt is accused of violating his parole and running from a Thursday traffic stop.
A K-9 deputy began tracking the man around southern Tumalo as citizens reported his movements to 911. A Cascades Academy summer camp was put in lock-down during the search. After about 45 minutes, Fischer-Salt was seen crossing Highway 20 near Old Bend-Redmond Highway. As Two K-9s and a drone converged on the area, he emerged from a hillside across the river, and surrendered to deputies.
He walked across the river and was arrested without further incident. Fischer-Salt is now being held without bail at the Deschutes County Jail. He was arrested in 2017 for multiple charges, including violating parole; in 2016, Fischer-Salt was arrested by the Central Oregon Drug Enforcement (CODE) team; and in 2013, he was accused of stealing from the Sheriff's Office shooting range.
BEND, OR -- The new President of Central Oregon Community College has been on the job just two weeks, but says she’s already getting a good understanding of the school and surrounding community. Dr. Laurie Chesley doesn’t plan any major changes, and says she’s looking forward, "Now, the task is really to take the college into the future, make sure it continues to be responsive to the community and to student needs, which is always changing; colleges are always in transition."
Dr. Chesley says she’s pleased COCC was quick to respond to the passage of Kaylee’s Law. "Our college has been following the development and progress of that law and we are now fully compliant with that law, and pleased to be so," she tells KBND News, "We look forward to more direction and standardization across the state for what community colleges need to do, because our number one goal is to keep students safe." The new law is named for Kaylee Sawyer, killed in 2016 by a former COCC campus safety officer now serving multiple life sentences. "We are happy for the passage of Kaylee’s Law. Obviously, there was a horrific incident that inspired it," says Dr. Chesley, "But, this law will allow us to have greater clarity on what we need to do to make sure our campus is as safe as possible for our students. That’s our goal."
Governor Kate Brown will be in Bend later this month for a ceremonial bill signing. The mandates took effect in May, following unanimous passage of the bill in the Legislature. The bill requires college public safety agencies to remove cages from patrol cars and take other steps the distinguish security guards from sworn police. Dr. Chesley calls a recent agreement with Bend Police to provide COCC with a full time college resource officer “a great compromise” that will solidify the school's relationship with Bend PD, while focusing on student and community safety.
REDMOND, OR -- Fair season kicks off in Central Oregon, later this month, and Deschutes County is celebrating a big milestone 100 years in the making. Fair Coordinator Ross Rogers says the Deschutes County Fair began humbly in 1919, three years after Deschutes broke off from Crook County. The original fairgrounds were where the Redmond Fred Meyer now sits.
Back in the beginning, the fair’s primary focus was agriculture, "There weren’t that many people then – little bit different, now; and they would come to meet for a week to show off their goods and socialize. It was a big social function, and they’d bring their goods." Rogers tells KBND News, "It started as the potatoes, because we were a huge potato capitol – the largest in the world, actually, for a while, and that’s why they called it the ‘potato show’ to begin with. There would [eventually] be a carnival, and then the rodeo joined forces, and then vendors showed up, and it just morphed into what it is today." And what it is today is one of the largest events in Oregon, "The State Fair, of course, in Salem is the largest fair. But, for county fairs – and there are 36 counties in Oregon – we are the largest, now, and have been for about six or seven years. And, we’re also the largest event held in the state, east of the Cascades."
A special centennial exhibit at this year's fair will feature artifacts from the last 100 years and a commemorative fair guide will be released later this month, "It’s slick stock. There will be thousands of copies at the gates when you come to fair. It’s 64 pages, this year, versus the 40 pages it’s been in the past. And, history from day one to today in that fair guide," says Rogers. The 100th Deschutes County Fair runs July 31 through August fourth.
The 88th Jefferson County Fair is July 24-27, and Crook County’s 115th fair is August seventh through the tenth.
File Photo: Deschutes County Fair, Redmond
BEND, OR -- The Alfalfa woman convicted of killing a local dentist in 2017 has filed an appeal. A judge found Shantel Witt guilty of first degree Manslaughter, in February. Prosecutors say Witt had several drugs in her system - including Xanax prescribed to her dog - when she drove her SUV into a group of bicyclists, east of Bend, in December 2017. Marika Stone was was pronounced dead at the scene. Witt was sentenced to 12 years in prison an ordered to pay $78,000 in restitution to Stone's family.
Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel says Witt has nothing to lose by asking the Appeals Court to review her case, "I think the theory is, why not try; right? If all the Court of Appeals can do is say, 'We rule against you,' that's the worst case scenario. The best case scenario for a defendant is the Court of Appeals might say, 'We reverse your conviction.' So, there's really no downside, and there's a heck of a lot of upside."
Hummel says Witt didn't plead guilty to any major charges, which means she has more options, "She can appeal the finding of guilt, she can say there was an error made at trial and so the finding of guilt should be reversed; she can also say, 'the sentence I received was unlawful and you need to reduce the sentence.' So, she is legally able to raise both issues." Hummel believes the prosecution will stand up to scrutiny, "I'm confident in the integrity of this conviction. I'm not aware of any meritorious legal arguments her attorney will be able to present, so I'm confident that after the Court of Appeals reviews the case, they will uphold the conviction." He tells KBND News, "We didn't see any legal issues where we were like, 'this is a close call, here.' We thought everything was straightforward, by-the-book, and so we're confident that we'll prevail on appeal."
The State Attorney General's office represents the state on appeals, but Hummel says his office will consult and confer with them throughout the case.
EUGENE, OR -- Oregon State Police are searching for a psychiatric patient who walked away from the State Hospital Thursday afternoon. Troy Irick is not considered an imminent danger to himself or others, but is accused of "unauthorized departure" and authorities say he should "not be approached." Irick was found guilty but for insanity, in 2017, for unlawful use of a weapon and menacing in Coos County.
The 35-year-old was last seen in Eugene where he was attending a group activity. He asked to use the restroom and didn’t return. Irick is white, 5’7”, 156 pounds with short brown hair, a beard and blue eyes. When last seen at about 1:45 p.m., he was wearing grey sweat pants and a hooded sweatshirt.
Anyone with information should call 911 or OSP at 800-452-7888; reference case #SP19-246525.
11:45 a.m. UPDATE: Eugene Police took Troy Irick into custody Friday morning.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- A Prineville man has been ordered to serve 20 years in prison for his part in a 2017 fatal crash. According to Crook County District Attorney Wade Whiting, Justin Bittick was highly intoxicated when he drove off the road with four others in his car. They were headed home from a bar after 2 in the morning, October 21, 2017. The vehicle rolled several times after he failed to negotiate a curve. Investigators believe he was going 58 mph when he lost control. No one was wearing a seatbelt and all five were ejected.
Pronounced dead at the scene were 23-year-old Caleb Williams and 21-year-old Stephan Leader-Bowles; the other three were critically injured. Prosecutors say Bittick’s blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit, and he had meth in his system.
A jury found the 38-year-old guilty of 14 counts, in June. The D.A. says the jury found Bittick showed extreme indifference to the value of human life. During Thursday's sentence Bittick gave a brief statement apologizing to the families of the victims. He told them, "My remorse, apology and regret will never make up for the pain that has been experienced. I pray that God's mercy and grace will be with us all."
He was sentenced to 20 years in prison, without the possibility of early release. He'll then serve 36 months post-prison supervision.
REDMOND, OR -- Seven people were arrested during a drug bust at a southwest Redmond home, Wednesday afternoon. The Deschutes County Sheriff's Office Street Crimes Unit executed a search warrant at the house on SW 27th Street, near Pumice Ave., after receiving information that those who lived there were involved in illegal drug activity. During the search, investigators say they found and seized evidence of drug sales, user amounts of Methamphetamine and user amounts of Heroin.
All seven suspects are from Redmond and were taken to the Deschutes County Jail on various charges.
From left to right:
- 22-year-old Tanner Bauldree (Probation Violation, Frequenting a Place where Controlled Substances are Used),
- 33-year-old Mason Marcoulier (Meth Possession, Frequenting a Place where Controlled Substances are Used),
- 34-year-old Ethan Miller (Probation Violation, Frequenting a Place where Controlled Substances are Used),
- 47-year-old Edward Wines (Frequenting a Place where Controlled Substances are Used),
- 21-year-old Cyndie Lopez (Probation Violation),
- 50-year-old Tina Hinkle (Heroin Possession, Frequenting a Place where Controlled Substances are Used),
- and 45-year-old Nicole Kane (Meth Possession, Heroin Possession, Delivery of Meth within 1000' of a school, Delivery of Heroin within 1000' of a school, Possession of a Schedule III Controlled Substance).
BEND, OR -- Central Oregon's largest homeless shelter has transformed over the last two years, thanks to a $9 million capital campaign. Work to expand the Bethlehem Inn began in 2017, with a new family facility opening last summer. The singles building opened this spring, and the old motel that used to serve as the primary shelter was torn down in June (pictured above). Executive Director Gwenn Wysling says one project remains, "By the end of this month, we are going to have the parking lot that is much needed for all the residents that are now staying at this expanded community shelter, here in Central Oregon."
But, Wysling tells KBND News, the fundraising effort isn't quite over, "We still have just over $100,000 that we are looking to the community to, at any level, step forward and really help us in making it over the finish line before the end of summer." She adds, "This whole process has spanned so many years, since Bethlehem Inn started, to finding its permanent home, and we are so close at this point."
Wysling hopes the community will come check out the new facilities on North Highway 97, learn about the Bethlehem Inn's history and vision, and get involved, "The name of the campaign, 'Transforming Lives Together,' is really what we as a Central Oregon community are doing, together." The campaign funded the new building for 10 families - double the number of the previous facility - a building for singles, a commercial kitchen in between two dining rooms, and added security features.
The shelter will celebrate all its progress with a benefit concert featuring the local band Precious Byrd, August 18. Click HERE for more information and to purchase tickets.
REDMOND, OR -- Redmond is again addressing safety concerns along Highway 126, also known as Highland Ave., on the western edge of the city. The area is known for serious crashes, as drivers transition from rural to urban conditions.
City Council this week approved a plan this week to install about 2,000-feet of sidewalks, "We worked with ODOT to take advantage of some funds they have for sidewalk improvements on state highways, to fill in sidewalks between 27th and 35th along Highway 126, along the south side," says City Engineer Mike Caccavano, "So, that’s along Highland Baptist Church and a couple of vacant properties." He adds, "Things like sidewalks and improvements along the frontage of highways often help make drivers realize they’re getting into an urban area, it’s time to slow down. We’re not putting anybody in an unsafe location, but this should help with making this a safer corridor." He expects construction on the $200,000 project to begin next spring. Caccavano says a digital "driver feedback" speed sign is already helping to slow traffic entering the city. There are plans to move the sign farther west, so the slowing occurs earlier.
Also this week, City Council approved moving into the design phase for improvements on Southwest Reservoir Drive (pictured), in the area where it turns into Wickiup Avenue, "It’s another one of those, like Canal Boulevard, that was just an old county road. From 39th over to Volcano and 43rd, we’re going to do full street improvements – so, the sidewalks, bike lanes, the whole works. The rest of it, from 43rd over to Helmholtz, there’s going to do future development in that area, so we’ll just do a street overlay in that section." He estimates the work will cost about $75,000. Caccavano says it should improve safety in a fast growing area. He expects the majority of that work to occur in summer, to avoid any conflicts with students trying to get to Ridgeview High School.
Pictured: SW Reservoir Drive, near Umatilla Ave.
BEND, OR -- It's been exactly two years since Central Oregon's last Pandora Moth outbreak, which means it's time for them to return in high numbers. Jim LaBonte, with Oregon's Department of Agriculture, says the High Desert has the perfect conditions for Pandora Moths, "They feed on pines, and there's a lot of pine needles out there to eat. The other thing is, when they're in the right sort of soil situation, which is loose, especially pumicey soil, those are ideal for them to develop into high numbers." And, he says, we're in the midst of a an outbreak that could last several more years, "In 2017, the moths that emerged then laid eggs, those eggs hatched. Caterpillars were feeding on the pine needles, until it got cold, and then they hibernate." They hibernate by burying themselves into the dirt over winter, now they are emerging as the next generation of adult moths. "These major outbreaks often tend to occur on sort of a cyclic basis, and so, they can come around every 20 to 30 years. But then, they can continue for somewhere in the neighborhood of six to eight years. We don't have a great idea of what causes the outbreaks."
LaBonte tells KBND News they're not dangerous, although they do cause some damage to pine trees, but he understands why they may make some people uncomfortable, "The thing that sets them apart the most is their ability to reach these incredible numbers, when you get these outbreaks. They're also very large."
Because of their incredible abundance at certain times, Pandora Moths have even been considered a food source, "Especially by the Native Americans. They don't eat the adults because, well, they're pretty fuzzy and covered with scales and hairs, but they have eaten the caterpillars and the pupae." LaBonte says the moths will be here through August, when their two-year life cycle will start all over again. Central Oregon won't see the next generation of adult Pandoras until July of 2021.
Photo: Pandora Moths swarm the CFN gas station in La Pine, July 10, 2019