LA PINE, OR -- The La Pine Parks and Recreation building at First and Coach Road was damaged by a car, Tuesday evening. According to the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office, a 63-year-old man experienced an apparent medical emergency while driving, and crashed his car into the building at about 6:20 p.m.
The driver was flown to St. Charles Bend with serious injuries. His two passengers, three- and six-year-old girls, suffered minor injuries.
BEND, OR -- Mild weather is allowing the Oregon Department of Transportation to work on several major local highway projects much earlier than anticipated. Construction of the roundabout on Highway 126 and Tom McCall Road, in Crook County, began in January and ODOT’s Abbey Driscoll says it’s now ahead of schedule, due to the favorable conditions, "Right now, they’re working on constructing a new alignment of Airport Way that’ll help shift highway traffic when we need to construct the actual roundabout. People will see fewer delays out there, and we’ll just keep traffic on the highway moving, using that new alignment of Airport Way."
In about two weeks, crews will begin repaving eight miles of Highway 20, between Powell Butte Highway and Horse Ridge. "The pavement in that stretch is pretty bad; lots of rutting from all those studded tires," Driscoll tells KBND News. She says work will stretch through the end of May, weather permitting, "It’ll be daytime work, Monday through Fridays. People should expect single-lane closures, flaggers, pilot cars, delays up to 20 minutes. So, just plan ahead if you’re traveling east of Bend."
Also next month, ODOT crews will repave 12 miles of Highway 97, between Terrebonne and Madras. They'll also install "rumble strips" along the stretch. Driscoll says that project will mostly take place at night, but drivers will likely still see delays, "There’ll be a big push to try to grind out one lane, then help shift traffic around so we can keep traffic moving as best as we possibly can. But, people still should expect some single-lane closures and delays. You’ll see flaggers and pilot cars out there, as well."
For more information on the local projects expected to get underway in the next few months, listen to our full conversation with ODOT's Abbey Driscoll on our Podcast Page
, or click HERE
REDMOND, OR -- It was a close vote and a hard-fought battle, but Redmond’s Baker Park came out victorious, in the Portland Trailblazers-Moda Assist contest. After a one-month campaign, Redmond edged out two other cities in Oregon to win about $15,000 for a new all-abilities playground.
The final tally has not been released, but a day before the deadline, Redmond had over 33,000 online votes, compared to Dallas, with a over 32,000. Gresham had around 1,200. Redmond Parks Division Manager Annie McVay was surprised by the support. "I knew everyone was going to be excited, but I didn’t know how excited they were going to get and how much voting was going to go on. And then there was a little bit of controversy about people thinking that there were a lot of votes going to other communities. So, it was just a really crazy, fun roller coaster." At one point, the competition got so heated, officials decided to throw out thousands of duplicate votes
, "It’s amazing to me how often the community voted. And, when they did their recall, they took away about 50,000 votes; so, even though they weren’t counted in the end, that was how many times Redmond chose to vote, which was crazy."
Baker Park, located at 17th and Obsidian in southwest Redmond, was built in 1976. It's one of the city's oldest parks and has a play structure McVay says no longer meets current safety standards. And, she tells KBND News, other work is needed at the aging park, "It needs sidewalks, it needs complete new irrigation. So, there’s a lot of non- you know, not the play structure that you think about, but a lot of the infrastructure that you don’t think about." So, she says, the new playground will be just a small piece to a much larger project, totaling about $500,000. "This will be roughly $15,000 from the Moda Trailblazers Assist program, which is great. We’re also going to be applying for a grant this summer, so we’re looking for construction probably about this time next year."
With cuts proposed for Redmond's park system, McVay says the overwhelming response shows how much people care about these important neighborhood features, "I think the public starts to understand now that parks are typically underfunded in every city, because there’s just a lot of competing demands. But, the support that we got from the community has been amazing." She adds, "I think it just brought awareness to the park system that we haven't had in a while, too."
Now, the city needs to decide who gets to attend the upcoming Blazers game to accept their big prize, "They want to do a check award at their game on April first, so we’re trying to figure out who here at the city will go and accept that check, which will be really fun."
SUNRIVER, OR -- Two planes made emergency landings in Oregon, Tuesday. A 50-year-old Bend man was flying his glider when he suddenly lost altitude and made an emergency landing on the side of Highway 97, south of Sunriver. The plane hit a sign on the side of the highway during landing and had to be hauled away, but Pilot Henry Irvine wasn’t hurt.
A single-engine plane flying near Clatskanie over the Columbia River encountered mechanical problems. The pilot attempted to land on a sand bar at Wallace Island but the wheels dug into the sand and the plane flipped (pictured above). That pilot also wasn’t hurt, and was rescued by a Coast Guard helicopter crew.
MADRAS, OR -- A Jefferson County man took his own life after showing up at his workplace with a gun, Tuesday afternoon. A Deputy was nearby when the first call came in, and arrived at the PGE headquarters west of Madras just before 2:30 p.m., just as employees were evacuating.
Law enforcement established a perimeter and the Central Oregon Emergency Response Team tried to make contact with the man. Those attempts were unsuccessful and a drone was used to look inside the building. A robot then breached the locked door to the man’s office. He was found deceased inside with a single gunshot wound to the chest.
No one else was hurt and JCSO is investigating, although they believe the man took his own life prior to law enforcement arrival. Undersheriff Marc Heckathorn says staff at the PGE office, with is the headquarters for the Pelton Round Butte Dam project, "did an outstanding job in evacuating their employees to a safe location and were able to account for all their employees almost immediately." He went on to say in the statement, "The event was a shock to PGE staff but their emergency planning and preparation for emergencies was evident during this event."
PRINEVILLE, OR -- Prineville Police are looking for a woman in connection with a burglary and theft investigation. They arrested 40-year-old Steven Woods on Sunday, following a two-week investigation into break-ins at the old Woodgrain Mill on N. Main Street. He was caught as he exited the fenced property and is accused of a number of burglary and theft charges, as well as Tampering with Evidence and a warrant out of Washington County.
On Monday, they searched the trailer Woods shares with Amanda Wiederholt on NW Terrace Lane, and found evidence including a large amount of stripped copper wire insulation and stolen tools, as well as drug paraphernalia. The stolen goods are valued at over $10,000.
Anyone with information on Wiederholt’s location is asked to call police at 541-447-4168. She currently has two felony warrants for her arrest.
Suspect is seen on surveillance cameras at the Woodgrain Mill in Prineville.
BEND, OR -- Two Bend residents were caught, with the help of a police K9, inside a home under construction on NW Canyon Springs Place, behind the Riverhouse. Bend Police say witnesses saw two people with flashlights in the house, at about 9:45 Monday night.
When officers arrived and announced their presence, two suspects were seen running through the building. The K9 “Kim,” helped find and capture 34-year-old Nicole Wildner. Bend PD says 35-year-old Nick Lopez was found by the dog, hiding in a crawl space. Both are charged with burglary; Wildner is also accused of a probation violation.
BEND, OR -- A Bend 17-year-old had to be restrained during an incident near the Third Street McDonalds, Sunday night. According to Bend Police, a 14-year-old girl went into the restaurant to report she'd been stabbed, at about 8 p.m. Officials say she suffered a non-life threatening injury to her leg, and was taken to the hospital.
Responding officers noticed a teen in the drive-through with a knife in his hand, acting erratically. Police say they de-escalated the situation, initially, and he dropped the knife. As he was being restrained, he started to fight officers and refused to listen to commands. They used the WRAP restraining device and took him to St. Charles Bend. He was later identified as Quentin Navarrette.
Investigators determined the actual stabbing occurred across the street from McDonalds. They believe Navarrette was under the influence of "Molly," also known as ecstasy. He's charged with Assault II, Unlawful Use of a Weapon and Resisting Arrest.
MADRAS, OR -- Madras officials hope to clarify "time, place and manner" (TPM) regulations that govern where medical and recreational marijuana outlets can operate in the city. Current code says retail pot shops must be at least 1,000' from each other, although it only applies to medical dispensaries.
Community Development Director Nick Snead says the intent was always to have the same distance restrictions for both medical and recreational shops, "I really believe it was the intent of our advisory committee. However, it's not in the regulation." He tells KBND News, "So, to be absolutely clear, we do not want to have to rely upon the intent in interpreting the ordinance, but rather amend it so the rules are very clear, and there's no interpretation needed." Snead adds, "The last thing we want to do is have a[n] unclear or ambiguous regulatory environment. From a staff perspective, we want those regulations to be very clear, so that it's easy for those that want to operate these types of businesses to understand the regulations that apply to their business."
Sisters Voters To Decide Legal Pot Issue
Madras officials will discuss proposed revisions to marijuana regulations at a public hearing, April 4. City Councilors will then take up the issue at their April 10 Council meeting. Both meetings begin at 7 p.m. at Madras City Hall. Snead says if Council approves changes, they'll take effect immediately, "We really believe that this industry is a dynamic industry and there's a lot of interest in it. We want to be very clear and adopt these regulations and have them immediately apply, so there's a clear and bright line distinction of the date that they were adopted and the date that they become effective."
BEND, OR -- the US Forest Service is opening local campsites early, this year, to take advantage of warmer-than-normal temperatures. During Spring Break, about a dozen campgrounds in the Bend-Fort Rock, Crescent, and Sisters Ranger districts will be open with limited availability.
Jean Nelson Dean, with the Deschutes National Forest, says it won't be quite like camping in the summer, "We're not going to be providing trash service, and no water, so people need to come being able to carry their trash out with them, and there will be bathrooms open, though." She tells KBND News, "We just want people to be prepared. It's not going to be ideal conditions, but we're hoping that people can come enjoy their national forests because we have this unseasonably warm weather and a lack of snow, compared to normal."
To encourage visitors, USFS is adding a little incentive, "Because we're not providing the trash services and water, we're reducing the campground fee during that time," Nelson Dean says, "So it may be discounted up to 50% off."
The following sites will be open March 23-31; click HERE for details:
Bend-Fort Rock Ranger District: North Twin, South Twin, Big River and Fall River
Crescent Ranger District: Crescent Creek, East Davis Lake, Sunset Cove and Princess Creek (Day-Use boat launch only)
Sisters Ranger District: Camp Sherman, Smiling River, Pine Rest, Gorge, Allen Springs, Lower Bridge, Link Creek (with 3 yurts available through online registration)
REDMOND, OR --The Redmond Airport is preparing for a rush of passengers, next week. Airport Director Zach Bass says with so many schools across the west on Spring Break at the same time as our local districts, things will get busy, "Based on last year, we had our largest peak during Spring Break. So, we’re expecting the same and maybe a little larger, this year."
He encourages travelers to arrive early during these peak seasons, especially if you have a morning flight. "There’s nine flights that go out in about an hour and a half to two-hour timeframe," says Bass, "So we are finding that people are sometimes missing their flights if they’re only showing up 45 minutes early. We’re really recommending that you’re there an hour and a half to two hours early."
Roberts Field launched an online parking tracker tool just before Christmas, "If you get out on FlyRDM (.com)
, there’s actually a scrolling banner across our website that every 30 minutes will update how many parking spots are available." He says that feature was so well received by travelers, the airport added web-cams, this month
, "It’s kind of almost a trial. We’re going to start expanding those cameras out there to where they cover the whole parking lot, because currently it only covers a few spots. Throughout the next few months, we’re going to be adding more to where people can really see where the spots are available, so it might be a little more helpful." During peak times, Bass encourages passengers to consider getting dropped off, instead of searching for a parking spot.
BEND, OR -- An outbuilding was destroyed in a morning fire, Tuesday, just east of Bend. Fire crews responded to the rural property on Butler Market Road just before 6 a.m. and found the 20'x30' shed well involved, with flames spreading to a nearby pickup. The building, its contents and the vehicle were all destroyed.
The shed was used to house livestock and store tools. Firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze and contain the animals (pictured), which included pigs and chickens. Due to the rural location, Bend Fire used water tenders to get water to the site.
Officials say the homeowner was alerted to the fire by the family dog. There were no injuries. The blaze caused about $25,000 in damage and its cause is "undetermined."
REDMOND, OR -- Redmond Police are investigating a Sunday shooting, near SW 19th and Reindeer Ave. Several neighbors reported hearing several rounds being fired in quick succession within a couple of seconds, just before noon on Sunday. Responding officers recovered spent shell casings, presumably from a semi-automatic weapon, outside of a townhouse on Reindeer. They also found evidence of shots fired into a rear door and siding.
They say no one was home at the time of the shooting and investigators haven’t yet determined whether this was a targeted or random incident. Anyone with information is asked to call non-emergency police dispatch at 541-693-6911.
LA PINE, OR -- Deschutes County investigators are searching for the man they say tried to rob the La Pine Dairy Queen, at about 5 p.m. Monday. The suspect was described as a white male, about 5’10” and 160 pounds with short, dark hair, a trimmed beard and dark framed glasses. He was wearing a brown sweatshirt and blue jeans and left the restaurant in a silver Chevy Traverse LS with Oregon plates.
Deputies say he demanded the cashier open the register but was refused, and he left. He acted as if he had a weapon, but none was seen.
TUESDAY P.M. UPDATE: The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office says a suspect is in custody, in connection with Monday’s attempted robbery, thanks to the public’s help. Based on tips received through social media, investigators identified the suspect as 31-year-old Jason Reed, of Newberg. He was arrested by Salem Police, Tuesday morning.
LA PINE, OR -- Authorities are releasing more details about the 53 dogs removed from a La Pine property, over the weekend. Sgt. William Bailey, with the Sheriff’s Office, says Deputies responded to an anonymous tip received by the Humane Society of Central Oregon (HSCO). "The deputies were permitted to walk around and perform a visual inspection of the dogs on the property, and they determined that minimum care standards were not being met. There was one female dog and two puppies that were also in distress and in need of urgent care." That adult dog was later euthanized at a vet clinic; the prognosis of the puppies is uncertain.
HSCO officials say the medical conditions of the dogs seized range from puppies requiring urgent care, to animals described as "generally healthy." Young dogs were dehydrated and malnourished, while adults had treatable conditions like dental disease and obesity. Sgt. Bailey says the criminal investigation is ongoing, "There was a female on the property who has been identified as the primary dog owner and caretaker. Each dog has received a full medical assessment and health assessment and it’s going to take us some time to review each dog to determine if a criminal charge will be filed."
The dogs seized include Labradors, German Shorthairs and Dachshunds. HSCO Director of Operations said in a statement that the "earliest the dogs will
become available for adoption is the middle of or late this week." She says that will happen as the dogs are medically cleared and have been spayed or neutered. When they're available, they'll be listed on the Bend shelter's website.
BEND, OR (03/19/18) -- The Red Cross is helping a family displaced from their home on Weddell Street in Bend, after an explosion, Sunday night.
A neighbor tells KBND News he called authorities at about 5:30 p.m. after hearing a blast. He says the explosion appears to have lifted the roof, sending pink insulation out into the yard (pictured above), and blew out the styrofoam blocks from foundation vents. He says it also shook a nearby apartment. First responders have released few details.
Red Cross says the incident impacted one adult, three children and a pet.
UPDATE (03/20/18): Bend Police say the explosion was likely caused by an illegal Butane Honey Oil (BHO) lab.
Officers responded to the home on Northeast Weddell when neighbors reported a loud boom, at about 5:30 p.m., Sunday. They say David and Jennifer Paulsen, both 32-years-old, were inside the duplex at the time of the blast and sustained serious burn injuries and were transported to St. Charles Bend; a three-year-old also inside at the time was not hurt, but was later evaluated at the hospital as a precaution. There was significant damage to the structure.
Honey oil, also known as hash oil, is derived from marijuana, and is made with highly flammable materials. The investigation is ongoing and anyone with additional information is asked to call Bend PD at 541-693-6911. No arrests have been made.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- Three people were killed in Crook County, Sunday night, when their car crashed into a semi truck on George Millican Road. According to the Sheriff's Office, the passenger car was northbound when the driver lost control on the wet road, in a curve. The vehicle ended up in a "sideways skid" and hit an oncoming Les Schwab tractor-trailer.
When CCSO deputies and State Troopers arrived at about 8 p.m., they found the car trapped under the semi and confirmed two people inside were deceased. They later discovered a small child in the backseat was also killed. A heavy haul wrecker from a local tow company was used to lift the truck off the passenger car.
The truck driver was not physically injured and is cooperating with the ongoing investigation. Sheriff John Gautney says his office has tentatively identified the victims but is withholding names pending next of kin notification.
Millican Road was closed for several hours, south of SE Reservoir Rd.
UPDATE: The Crook County Sheriff has identified the victims. The driver was 29-year-old Joshua Saddler, of Prineville; the child was his two-year-old son Gaberiel. The other passenger was 35-year-old Mary Beth Gonsalves, also of Prineville.
BEND, OR -- Oregon's May Primary is about eight weeks away, and Deschutes County elections officials are working to make sure the local system is hacker proof.
Oregon isn't one of the states affected by Russian election tampering, but Deschutes County Clerk Nancy Blankenship says that's no excuse not to remain vigilant. According to Blankenship, because Oregon's voting system doesn't utilize the world wide web, the ways a Russian operative could game the system are exceedingly few, "The Russians would have to physically come here and attack from inside our office," she tells KBND News, "So, they'd have to have a physical presence, and I think we'd notice that." But, she says they're still working to improve security, despite the low risk, "We've replaced our security cameras and added some more. We've added some new walls and some security within our office area as a way to enhance our customer service."
Blankenship says every county in Oregon is required to provide a security plan to Secretary of State Dennis Richardson, at the beginning of the year. And, Richardson's office has been supplying resources, as well, "The Secretary of State's been offering some different online courses, as far as being aware of cyber attacks, being aware of phishing expeditions and different types of ploys that are used to gain access to your system."
While she isn't too worried Russian hackers will access the system, Blankenship is concerned about those who spread misinformation that might impact the voters. "How do you know who's out there doing what? How do you combat what they say? And how do you have the time to do the due diligence in your research to know who they are, what they've said, and how to get the word out to the people that they have connected with to try and write the story?"
Oregon is approaching the 20th anniversary of vote-by-mail, and Blankenship says that system provide ease for the voter, while making it nearly impossible to hack or modify a ballot.
REDMOND, OR -- A local family hopes to turn a recent tragedy into opportunities for other students. Travis Holmes says his son Hunter was a well-balanced 16-year-old: a Junior at Redmond High School, Captain of his golf and soccer teams, and a good student who never showed any signs of depression. But, he says Hunter changed in late 2017, "In the last year of soccer, at the tail end, he received two concussions. It was probably a month or two [later], that he took his own life."
At the funeral in December, Holmes learned just how special his son was, "We didn’t know he had some qualities that were acts of kindness to other people. There were students that came from other schools, that had no friends, and Hunter was one of those guys that reached out to them; he was one of the only ones who reached out to them. And there were several people who came up to us and told us that." He hopes to award one scholarship to an RHS Senior, each year, who displays those same qualities, "It has to do with recognizing those acts of kindness and compassion to other students, and raising awareness that those kinds of acts can impact somebody’s life. The second awareness is, trying to just raise awareness to teen suicide that might not have the most obvious signs." The first $1,000 scholarship will be awarded this year to a student nominated by their peers or school staff.
After Hunter's death, as an outlet for their grief, Holmes and his family started planning a golf tournament; a four-man scramble at Meadow Lakes in Prineville, which is now sold out. "It’s actually kind of blown up past anything I thought it would be. This thing started out to be, like – I just wanted our friends and family [to have] somewhere to go to sort of release some tension and get together and have the community get together over this deal, and use the money to raise awareness and do some other things, which we have going. But, people want to get involved so much, it has just gone crazy." He says they're still looking for volunteers to help at the May 12th tournament. Click HERE
for more information.
The golf tournament will raise money for the newly formed Hunter Holmes Memorial Fund, which received its 501(c)(3) designation, last week. Holmes says the nonprofit will fund the annual scholarship and other teen suicide awareness efforts. And, he's hoping to soon produce a video on the dangers of concussions. "My wife Erica, she’s been talking to a doctor in Bend that has a whole team focused on youth and concussions, and the impact of that. So, we’re looking at all kinds of things that we can use the money for."
BEND, OR -- Deschutes County 911 Director Steve Reinke announced Friday he will retire in the next month, amid ongoing problems with the transition to a digital radio system, which he oversaw. Although, County Administrator Tom Anderson insists Reinke’s retirement is unrelated, "This is something that Steve has been considering for a while; it’s a personal decision on Steve’s part. Steve has worked very hard to get the radio system on track for correction, in working both with the contractor as well as our contract engineer to design a plan for getting it where it needs to be. But, his retirement is completely separate from that." He adds, "This is a personal decision that Steve has made with certainly no encouragement, in any way, from County Administration."
In a statement issued by the county, Reinke said, "It was a difficult decision to make, but we want to be closer to our daughter, who lives in Washington, and I'm planning to pursue other personal and professional opportunities."
The agency's Deputy Director will transition into the top job, over the next month, "Sarah Crosswhite has been in 911 for a very long time, and worked her way up from the floor. So, Sarah has been appointed as Interim Director to serve during this transition period," says Anderson. Crosswhite started with Deschutes County 911 as a dispatcher, rising through the ranks over the last 20 years.
Stock Image: Deschutes County 911
ASHLAND, OR -- A Bend snowboarder was rescued, Saturday night, after he got lost on Mt. Ashland, in Southern Oregon. Ski Patrol and Jackson County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue teams were deployed at about 6 p.m., to look for 40-year-old Eric Hostetler. He left from the Mt. Ashland ski area parking lot, and his wife contacted Ski Patrol at the lodge when he didn't return as expected.
Searchers followed his tracks in the snow more than two miles through Cottonwood Creek drainage, and found Hostetler at about 9 p.m. He is an experienced snowboarder dressed for the conditions and not hurt.
SAR officials urge skiers and snowboarders to refrain from going outside the boundaries of a ski area, especially at the end of the day when darkness and cold can affect both survival and search efforts.
LA PINE, OR -- Dozens of dogs were seized from a La Pine property, this weekend. The Humane Society of Central Oregon and Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office worked into the night, Friday, and all day Saturday. They removed 53 dogs of varying breeds, ages and conditions, following a request for a welfare check at the home on Ash Road. A 63-year-old woman is cooperating with the investigation.
When the high number of animals strained the Bend shelter, 22 dogs were taken to the Oregon Humane Society shelter in Portland. All of the animals are being evaluated and treated by medical staff, and are not available for adoption. HSCO welcomes donations
, to help cover the thousands of dollars in diagnostic lab work for the seized dogs.
Submitted Photo: Vet Techs work to vaccinate and treat the dogs seized this weekend.
Photo Credit: Steve Giardini
BEND, OR -- A man from Sonora, Mexico was arrested outside of Bend, this week, on multiple drug-related charges. Oregon State Police say troopers pulled over a 2018 Nissan Versa with Mexican plates for speeding on Monday, on Highway 20, east of Bend. During the traffic stop, an OSP K9 alerted to the presence of drugs.
A subsequent search uncovered 36 pounds of methamphetamine. The suspect, 28-year-old Michel Alberto Fuentes Burgos, is charged with "Unlawful Possession, Delivery and Manufacture of meth. Authorities say the District Attorney may file additional charges, as investigators later learned the vehicle was reported stolen last month, from Sonora.
LA PINE, OR -- Housing Works will break ground, next week, on two new Central Oregon affordable housing projects.
La Pine Townhomes (site plan pictured, above) features 42 one, two and three-bedroom units, priced for households at or below 60% of the area's median income. It's situated near the intersection of Memorial Lane and Little Deschutes Lane, close to medical facilities, schools, services, shopping and employment opportunities. Housing Works Executive Director Tom Kemper says this project has been a long time coming, "We were supposed to close this mid-January. There were some regulatory hurdles that we had to get through that took a lot longer than we thought. We're down to finalizing a document with Oregon housing, and then we can close. We're trying to close mid-week, next week." A groundbreaking ceremony will take place Tuesday at 10 a.m.
Also on Tuesday, Housing Works will celebrate the start of a Sisters development. Village Meadows Apartments will offer 48 one, two and three-bedroom units. Kemper tells KBND News the state Legislature really stepped up to make sure the project could happen, "The deal wouldn't happen if the legislature hadn't passed the LIFT loan funding and the document recording, because that provided, really, critical gap funding to make the deal happen. It's a really difficult transaction. we're pretty thrilled to actually be able to break ground." That project is located north of McKinney Butte Road and west of Brooks Camp Road, near Ray's Shopping Center. Groundbreaking is Tuesday at 2 p.m.
BEND, OR -- Bend Senior High’s assistant principal, Michael Hicks, has been tapped to become the next principal of Mountain View High School. Current MVHS Principal Katie Legace is being promoted to Bend-La Pine Schools Executive Director of High Schools.
"Michael brings with him a confident, approachable and collaborative leadership style that will be a great fit for Mountain View," Superintendent Shay Mikalson said in a statement. "He is a great listener, communicator and team builder who has had rich leadership experience inside and outside of Bend-La Pine Schools."
Hicks calls his leadership style "student-centered," and says he’s excited to build on the programs and culture Mountain View already has, while working to make the school even stronger. Hicks takes over July first.
SISTERS, OR -- Sisters voters will get another chance to weigh in on the debate over legalized marijuana. Earlier this month, City Council and staff met with residents to talk about whether pot businesses should be allowed, and – if so – the time, place and manner ("TPM") in which they could operate. This week, a majority of the Council agreed to send the issue to voters. "Essentially what we’re going to do is prepare some ballot language for the November election, because these votes can only happen on even years, so this is perfect timing. We’re going to see what the public wants," Mayor Chuck Ryan tells KBND News.
Ryan says the decision comes after community meetings and lots of research, "We’ve got direction; we heard loud and clear from the public on this, and I did a lot of interviews, personally, with our neighboring cities and so we think we’re doing the right thing." He adds, "Redmond is totally against it. They’ve been mimicking what Sisters has right now, they don’t seem to be changing anything in the near future." If voters approve it in November, Mayor Ryan believes Sisters regulations will fall somewhere in between those tight restrictions in Redmond and the more permissive Bend.
In 2014, Sisters voters narrowly approved Measure 91, 51%-49%, which legalized Oregon's recreational pot industry. Ryan says a lot has changed since then, and he believes it's time to see where the community stands, now.
He says there's a lot of work to do before November, "The other thing we want to do is kind of try to focus on education in the meantime. There’s a lot of information and lack of information and misinformation, so we want to see if we can get a little bit more clarity on the whole issue." Mayor Ryan says, "So, we’re going to prepare ballot language. We are going to continue the process with our 'TPM' regulations so they are ready in a timely fashion if and when the vote comes through and it’s positive, we’re ready to launch with regulations." He expects ballot language to be finalized in the summer, and potential "TPM" regulations ready to roll out in January, if voters legalize the industry inside city limits. The ballot could include multiple questions, regarding both the recreational and medical marijuana industries, which Ryan believes are merging.
REDMOND, OR -- Redmond's Baker Park needs renovating, and if it wins the Portland Trail Blazers Moda Assist Program's latest contest, it could be transformed with an all-abilities playground. Redmond is up against parks in Gresham and Dallas, Oregon and the winning park will be determined by popular vote.
Karis Stoudamire-Phillips, of Moda Health, says community enthusiasm really took over, in recent weeks, creating an unfair situation through the online voting website. But, she tells KBND News, that has now been fixed. "We have a mechanism in place; we're making sure that it's just one vote per person per day and so, any multiple votes will not be counted."
The program is funded by Moda Health and the Blazers; the organizations make a joint $10 donation for each on-court assist made during a Blazers game. It began five years ago, and four parks have been renovated, to-date. "The entire program was really to bolster and encourage community engagement and participation," says Stoudamire-Phillips.
Votes will be accepted through Monday, with the winner revealed Tuesday. Then, at the Blazers home game on April first, "We invite representatives from that city to come out, and there will be representatives from both Moda and the Portland Trailblazers and Damien Lillard - who is our Ambassador for the Moda Assist Program - will do that check presentation. And then after that, we get to work on that park!"
As of Friday morning, Redmond had inched ahead of Dallas, with about a 700 vote lead. Click HERE
to cast your vote.
BEND, OR -- Authorities cited a Bend-area dog owner after they say her animals attacked a woman, Thursday morning. According to the Sheriff’s Office, Joy Stanovich-Brown was walking her Dachshund-Chihuahua Mix on-leash on Groff Road, east of Bend, at about 10:30 a.m. Two Boxers escaped their fenced enclosure and went after her dog, "Rudy." She picked him up, which shifted the focus of the attack to her.
Stanovich-Brown ended up on the ground, where the attack continued until a passerby pulled her and her dog into a car. She was later taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries; Rudy also required vet care.
The two suspect dogs were located and identified as a 7-year-old male named "Marshall" and a 1.5-year-old female named "Brandi." They were impounded and are being held at the Humane Society of Central Oregon. Their owner, Jean Straight, was cited for Animal Nuisance, Animal at Large, and possession of an unlicensed dog.
MADRAS, OR -- Four candidates have filed to run for the office of Jefferson County Clerk, and current Clerk, Kathy Marston, says each seems dedicated to learning about the job. She says the position has often had high interest, "The first year I ran for office, it was 1998, and I believe there were six of us that ran for the position at that time." She's pleased voters will have choices, again, this time around, "I have met them all. They are all interested in the job. It's very nice to see all the interest out there."
Marston has served as Jefferson County Clerk for nearly 20 years and says she's grateful for the trust residents have placed in her, but now she is looking forward to retirement.
She advises the next Clerk to become extremely familiar with Oregon revised statutes, "The Clerk is responsible for all of the County's public records. So, it's important that whomever is elected understands that responsibility, takes it very seriously, and learns all they can."
The four current contenders are Madras residents Charity Dubisar, Brian Crow, Kate Zemke, and Yoonsun Reynolds.
BEND, OR -- Deschutes County Commissioners decided Wednesday to approve development of a bed and breakfast near Smith Rock, but they will deny the adjacent campground proposed by the Mazamas Foundation. The proposal drew significant opposition from neighbors, in recent months, who said it would increase traffic and noise. Many believed that if the site was approved, it would encourage other, larger resorts.
During Wednesdays's deliberations, Commissioner Tammy Baney said she believes the foundation would be "a good neighbor," but she's concerned about the impact a B&B with a campground would have on the already popular area. "What we've heard is a lot of community concern about honoring this part of our community. And, it is a residential area with incredible impact from a national monument, but I'd like to allow the Bed and Breakfast and move from there, because I think we have a responsibility to the community to do this in that type of a thoughtful manner."
The B & B would only allow up to eight people per night, whereas a campground would've required amenities for an additional 20 guests. Commissioner Phil Henderson thought the Mazamas tried to show how the two features would be separate, but he worries lines would get get blurred, "I just can't really separate the campsite from the building. I just don't see people not going back and forth. I feel like people would want to use the facilities inside - I would - especially if I was camping there over night and it's part of the socializing, I just see it as one thing, and I don't think you can divide and conquer on this issue in terms of it."
Commissioner Tony DeBone said, "A campground would have amenities for the campers separate from a bed and breakfast. So, if there's six, eight, 10 campsites, there's facilities for those campsites; and there's the bed and Breakfast, so that was kind of the vision, if we were going to go there, but I'm not even advocating for that at this time." Commissioners weighed parking, noise, compatibility, and water use in making their decision to split the conditional use permit.
BEND, OR -- High school students across Central Oregon took park in a national walkout at 10 a.m Wednesday, to mark the one-month anniversary of the Florida school shooting.
At Bend Senior High, hundreds of kids gathered peacefully in the commons to speak against gun violence and call on lawmakers to take action. "There can be no peace in the United States until our leaders decide that protecting its children is more important than protecting its guns. There can be no justice until our nation realizes that our lives are more valuable than any of the NRA’s money," said one student. "Our leaders have tried to pacify us; tried to discount our voices because we are children. But, it is precisely because we are children, because it is our deaths gracing the news every week, that we can’t let ourselves be pacified. We are the artists, the scientists, the engineers, the doctors and the teachers – we will raise their grandchildren, and try to create a world we’d hoped they would create for us. We are here; we are the future. You have to protect us, because without us, there is no future," she went on to say, "Let children be children; let us live our lives and seek our education without fear of a bullet to the head."
Several students carried signs reading things like, "It's not right or left; it's life or death." Another speaker said, "Nobody should ever be afraid to enter a school. Nobody should accept increased police presence and increased fear as the new normal. Columbine was not normal; Sandy Hook was not normal; the 17 dead kids in Parkland, Florida are not our new normal." Many of the speakers ended their short speeches with "Enough is enough." After reading off the names of the 17 killed a month ago, the crowd observed a moment of silence before returning to class.
Bend High Senior Lauren Hough was one of the main organizers of the event. She says she was surprised by how administrators reacted, "Our Principal, Mr. Reese, has been extremely supportive. And then, at a district level, I actually was at the school board meeting, and we’ve gotten lots of support from Shay Mikalson, as well as other board members." Alandra Johnson, with Bend-La Pine Schools, says teachers kept classes on schedule for students not participating in the walkout, while adults on prep period helped supervise the rally, "We wanted to provide a safe environment for the students could meet where we could provide some supervision while still allowing them to express their free speech." Other districts told students protest activities could not take place on school property.
Police increased their presence at all Bend schools during the walkout, including at Central Oregon Community College and OSU-Cascades. For the most part, local protests were peaceful. In Redmond, a group of about 50 Redmond Proficiency Academy high school students marched to City Hall (right) and stood across the street, in silence, for 17 minutes, before returning to class.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- The law enforcement warrant scam is making the rounds in Crook County. The Sheriff’s Office says they've received reports from residents contacted by a man with a noticeable accent, or an automated voice; callers claim there is a warrant for the person’s arrest and they request payment to avoid problems. Prineville Police have received similar reports in recent days.
Some calls claim to be from the Crook County Sheriff’s Office, others from the FBI. Often the caller ID shows a local number. But, authorities warn this is a scam and warrant notifications are made in-person by a deputy in uniform.
REDMOND, OR -- President Trump’s new tariffs on imported steel and aluminum aren’t set to start until next week, but at least one local company is already feeling the impact. "Our suppliers flat-out raised our prices less than 30 days ago, and they just announced that we’re supposed to have another price increase in April and possibly one in May," says Roger Dryden, local co-owner of Ridgeline Metal. "The last one was about 5% and we expect maybe that same amount for the next one or two." And, he expects to pass those along to his clients. Dryden says it’s not unusual to experience a couple of increases throughout the year, based on demand. But, as many as three increases in three months, he says, is unusual.
The Redmond-based company makes custom siding, roofing and other building supplies for customers across the Pacific Northwest. Dryden says 99% of their raw materials are American made, mostly from suppliers in Washington, California and Texas, so he was caught off guard by the price hikes. "It was feared; and I think what we’re seeing is the domestic mills saying, ‘Finally, we can get back to a little better profit margin because we’re not fighting that lower-cost, poorer quality product'." He tells KBND News, "Domestic mills are raising their prices because, basically, they can due to the tariffs added to the export market. But, we don’t necessarily see that as a bad thing; we see it more as leveling the playing field between export product and domestic product." He says for years, the U.S. market has been flooded with cheap products from overseas, mostly from China. The low-quality, low-cost metal is difficult to warranty.
Dryden worries any positive effects of the President's decision might be short-lived, since Mexico and Canada are exempt from the tariff, "What we expect to happen is for these export countries to ship to Mexico or Canada, have it sit in a warehouse for a month and then they’ll deliver it later anyway. So, we don’t know how long this will even be in existence."
BEND, OR -- State Senators Tim Knopp (R-Bend) and Cliff Bentz (R-Ontario) joined Representatives Mike McLane (R-Powell Butte) and Gene Whisnant (R-Sunriver) to discuss last month's legislative session at a Bend forum, Tuesday evening.
Affordable Housing was a hot topic and Senator Knopp talked about how some proposals, like rent control, would actually hurt chances to create more housing, especially in areas like Central Oregon, "Our real job for our next session, is to make sure that money is spent wisely, because in the past, our area has been a donor party to others, and we would like to actually receive equitable dollars back to the region."
Retiring Representative Whisnant said he's worked in sessions when he's been the minority and when he's been in the minority; but, he feels government works best when everyone works together. "It was not fun being part of the Super Minority. They had to have us there for quorum. But, other than that, they could pass policy bills and tax bills, and we should have more compromise."
Senator Cliff Bentz, who was appointed this year to fill Ted Ferrioli's seat, says when he moved from the House to Senate, took his cosponsorship of the 2017 Transportation Bill with him. "That transportation package took enormous amounts of work and it's going to change this area dramatically. The road - 97 - and Bend and Redmond, in particular, will be the staging area when we have the cataclysmic event over on the coast. This will be the space from which we - you - bail out the Willamette Valley, so having your roads work is terrifically important."
House Republican Leader Mike McLane felt the short session was productive in creating an opportunity for Oregon's young people, "My most important bill was a grant to give National Guard members tuition credit to state colleges and community colleges. It's to address the decline in enrollment that we have in our National Guard."
Tuesday's event was part of the Bend Chamber's "What's Brewing?" series.
BEND, OR -- Investigators continue to search for 24-year-old Sara Gomez, despite the apparent suicide of her ex-boyfriend, Bryan Penner, suspected in her disappearance.
Bend Police Chief Jim Porter says he’s still not able to talk about some details in the ongoing missing-persons case, "These investigations are complicated; they often take turns that are unexpected. In the very beginning, as a police investigator, you go to the worst possible case scenario – which would be homicide – and work your way backwards, and hope it’s only a kidnapping or that it’s only a disappearance. You never assume that you’re dealing with only one suspect; you never assume that. We’ve had homicide investigations here, which I recall since I’ve been working here, where we went in assuming there was one suspect and it turns out there were three suspects." He tells KBND News they might be able to release more information in the future, "We have a few things we want to absolutely lock down and make sure: that we’re only dealing with one individual, that’s there’s no one out there who actually has the information that we can get to."
Gomez disappeared in mid-February, and the District Attorney has said blood, her clothing and phone were found in the Penner's apartment. Although Penner offered no information on her whereabouts prior to his death on Monday.
Chief Porter acknowledges this is an emotional missing-persons case, and he’s heard critics say police aren’t doing enough. "In this case, we brought in the FBI, the DEA, we brought in the Sheriff’s Office, we brought in all local police to help us. You know, we’ve spent countless hours working on electronic data that we’ve gathered, and then also we’ve hired helicopters – we’ve paid for helicopters to come out and search the areas. So, while it seems like we’ve not been doing a lot, we just have not been talking about it."
Search efforts have focused on areas east of Bend
and Gomez's friends and family say they will keep up their private searches. Porter says he understand their need to do something to help. "Quite often, families can be the greatest source of information – detailed, inside information for us – which has helped us turn in the right direction. Occasionally it can be challenging for us, if they decide to go out and search themselves. But, I think you have to look at it from the humanistic side; folks cannot sit home and wait for someone that they love to come home, and we appreciate that."
to listen to our full conversation with Bend Police Chief Jim Porter, or visit our Podcast Page
BEND, OR -- Deschutes County job growth started to slow in 2017, but the latest numbers released by Oregon’s Employment Department show the region is still adding jobs at a fast pace. Deschutes County’s jobless rate remained at 4.1% in January.
Although Deschutes County lost 880 jobs, economists say that’s significantly fewer than typical for the month. Regional Economist Damon Runberg says that may have been influenced by the unseasonably warm winter, "that led to fewer seasonal layoffs than typically expected."
Crook County’s unemployment rate also held steady at 6.2%. And, Jefferson County’s rate bumped up slightly, to 5.6%, where the labor force grew by 4.3% in the past year.
MADRAS, OR -- A Madras-area man has been arrested on suspicion of child sex abuse. The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office says Detectives began the investigation last week and traveled to another state to interview a potential victim, prior to arresting 60-year-old Michael McCoy on Monday.
Authorities say they need the public to provide more information in the case, given that McCoy worked for the school district and has been a foster parent since 1998. He faces 10 counts of sex abuse; bail is set at $250,000.
LA PINE, OR -- Deschutes County deputies are searching for a man they say ran from a traffic stop and crashed his car into a La Pine house, Sunday night. A deputy tried to pull over a 1995 Jeep Grand Cherokee for failing to signal a turn, just before 11 p.m. He also noted the driver appeared to be trying to avoid being seen, when he passed the patrol car.
After the deputy activated his overhead lights, the driver took off northbound on Day Road, then east onto Sunset Lane. The suspect vehicle then struck a house, causing minor damage. The driver then jumped out of the car and ran north.
Despite tracking him for a short distance, deputies were unable to locate the driver. Based on evidence left at the scene, officials believe the suspect is 42-year-old Jason Walter of La Pine. He's now wanted for Attempt to Elude, Hit and Run and Criminal Mischief. Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call nonemergency dispatch at 541-693-6911 (case # 18-71560).
SALEM, OR -- State Senator Kim Thatcher (R-Keizer) says she’s working to keep Oregon on Daylight Savings Time year-round. In a statement issued Monday, she says, "I think most people would prefer to stay on Daylight Saving time throughout the remaining four months of the year that we are not. My office has been in contact with legislators in Washington and California and we are enthusiastic about people not having to change their clocks again."
In 2015, Sen. Thatcher introduced SB 99, to end what she calls the “unnecessary time change.” Since then, other western states, including Montana, Idaho, Nevada, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah have introduced similar legislation.
She's working directly with Washington State Senator Jim Honeyford (R-Sunnyside), who says, "Daylight Savings Time has proven to be more trouble than it's worth." If the Legislature agrees to end the time change, Thatcher says they will then petition the federal government for a change.
REDMOND, OR -- Republican candidates took part in a forum hosted by the Redmond Patriots, Monday evening, on their way to the May Primary. Patriots' Chair Bob Perry moderated the event, and says candidates who speak before the group do best to answer the questions as fully and honestly as possible. He tells KBND News, "We don't B.S., we don't pull punches, and we're certainly not constrained by political correctness." Two candidates for House District 53, as well as the four vying for the Republican nomination for Deschutes County Commissioner, took questions from the audience ranging from local government spending to marijuana, school safety, PERS reform and affordable housing.
Jack Zika (right: seated) and Ben Schimmoller are running for the Republican nomination for the State House seat currently held by retiring Representative Gen Whisnant (R-Sunriver). Zika, a local realtor, talked about his two children, saying when it comes to schools, he's got "skin in the game." He wants to see PERS reform, "We do give our schools a lot of money, and it's just a problem getting the money to the schools. If you look at the states that are at the bottom for graduation rates, we all have something in common, we also contribute the most to our public employee retirement fund. Something needs to change." Schimmoller is a political activist and thinks party unity is the best way for conservatives to return Oregon to a common sense perspective, "It's good to have strong, contested primaries. it makes our party better, and it makes our issues stronger. And afterwards, it's important that we come together after the primary to really get behind our candidates 110%, because that's the way we're going to turn Oregon red." The Democrats vying for the District 53 seat are businesswoman Eileen Kiely and Dr. Bill Trumble.
Two Deschutes County Commissioner seats are up for grabs, this year. Incumbent Tony DeBone says, in his two terms in office, he's had to make tough decisions affecting everyone in the county; but he stands by the choices he's made, "We live in a growing place, so I strive and I do make sure that we're equitable in the process and statewide land use that we have, and make the best judgments for the citizens here." DeBone is opposed in the Republican Primary by Pisano's Woodfired Pizza owner Ed Barbeau
(top: far right). He believes the Board of County Commissioners would benefit from his business experience, "It still comes down to decisions, doesn't it? Wanting to be a Commissioner is all about making those right decisions, considering how they effect Central Oregonians for years to come," Barbeau told the audience, "The right decisions, I make them every day, I've made them for decades." Amy Lowes is the only Democrat running for Position One.
At Monday's forum, incumbent County Commissioner Tammy Baney (top: second from left) was reminded that she ran as a fiscal conservative and asked to explain why property taxes have gone up 60%, while the population has only increased 30%, during her tenure. Baney pointed to her work on mental health services, more Deputy District Attorneys, more Sheriff's Deputies, and improved veterans' services. She told the audience, "What our job is, is to make sure that we meet the needs of the community. So, no; those numbers, in isolation, don't sound good. But, the question would be, 'what services do you not want me to provide?' or, 'What service did I provide that we did not need?'." Her opponent Patti Adair
believes Baney has been in office too long. She says Deschutes County needs the change a new perspective would provide, "I felt like Tammy was the leader for the marijuana issue, and I just feel really badly what that's done to our county. So, I just feel like we can do better Deschutes County is a place where I can put all my energy and all my efforts." James Cook is the only Democrat running for Position Three.
REDMOND, OR -- Students at some local schools plan to participate in a nationwide walkout to protest gun violence, Wednesday morning. Redmond Proficiency Academy Director Jon Bullock says the courts have ruled that kids don’t leave their rights at the schoolhouse door, and he respects their right to peacefully protest any issue. "At RPA we believe in student voice, and we believe students need to have a way to express their viewpoints. We also believe that students need to understand what civil disobedience is, what it looks like, and that there are consequences associated with that." He adds, "If any student participates, they’ll receive an unexcused absence and any sort of disciplinary consequence that comes with that; same if our middle school students leave campus, we’ll contact their parents so they know they’ve left campus."
But, Dr. Bullock says, "What we’re choosing to focus on - it is not that aspect of it; but rather the educational aspect for students and families around the idea of civil disobedience. We believe every student should be in class every day, all the time. That’s the best place to make sure learning happens, and we want to encourage our students to do that. We also know, though, that acts of civil disobedience means that you are violating a policy because something has moved you to the point where you believe strongly enough about it that you’re willing to take the consequences for that." He tells KBND News, "For us, the way we handle any sort of protest is they’re not school sponsored events, they will not be supervised by staff; if students are going to engage in an act of civil disobedience, they do so on their own accord, and it does not happen on school campus."
To hear our full conversation with RPA Director Dr. Jon Bullock, visit our Podcast Page or click HERE.
BEND, OR -- The criminal case against Bryan Michael Penner is now closed; he died of an apparent suicide Monday morning. Penner was the only suspect in the disappearance of 24-year-old Sara Gomez, of Bend. "The criminal investigation, we won't be continuing; that's obviously not possible with Penner's death," says Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel, "Soc we don't continue that angle, but we do continue trying to find Sara's body. We have to bring Sara home."
Gomez was reported missing February 20 after she hadn't been seen for several days. Penner was arrested February 22 on suspicion of violating a restraining order she had against him. Hummel says most violence against women is committed by a current or former husband or boyfriend, and he believes that's what happened to Gomez, "It's something inside certain men who are unable to accept a woman's right to decide whether she's going to be in a relationship with that man. The woman ends the relationship, the man cannot accept that, and his anger gets the point where he commits violence; and that was the case with Penner."
Hummel says the only thing investigators were missing in their case against Penner was a confession. In the initial search of his apartment, shortly after his arrest, they found evidence indicating a struggle, and officers uncovered blood, as well as Gomez's clothing and her cell phone. "Penner never admitted to killing Sara, but he did tell lots of stories and so much of what he said was proven to be untrue," Hummel tells KBND News, "And that definitely was a sign of guilt, to me." He adds, "Penner left some writings behind. We hoped that he might decide to tell us where Sara's body was in his final letter, but he did not do that. He did not leave behind any information in his cell and in his writings that would lead us to Sara."
Family and friends of Gomez continue their efforts to find her, despite Penner’s death. Her sister, Liz Fennel, says she’s devastated with the news, "Frustrated. Sad. But, I’m not going to let this bring us all down. Because, like I’ve said before, we all need to stand strong for her," she told Central Oregon Daily, Monday. "That’s what she wants us to do right now, is everyone to unite and be strong together." Fennel worried for years Penner would hurt her sister and says her worst nightmare has now come true. Patrick Garrett is Fennel's fiancé and says they’re not giving up, "We wanted as much information as we could get; we don’t get a lot of information. And, to lose Bryan Penner, we felt we lost a lot - and a lot of faith when it came to finding Sara. We’re not going to stop looking for her; we’re not going to let this knock us down." He wants more “boots on the ground” searching for Gomez, and he hopes the family will soon get closure.
BEND, OR -- Deschutes County Jail staff used Narcan to help an inmate suffering from an apparent drug overdose, this week. It's the sixth time this year that the Sheriff's Office has used Narcan during a known or suspected overdose.
In this most recent case, a 21-year-old man was in a holding cell following the booking process, Sunday, when Deputies noticed his condition was deteriorating. A Corrections Nurse assessed the inmate and found he had very low blood pressure and showed signs of opiate use. Staff administered two doses of Narcan; the man immediately responded after the second dose. He was admitted to the hospital and has since been released back to the jail.
MADRAS, OR -- Jefferson County officials are looking into whether to combine fire and ambulance services. In most Central Oregon communities, the two are managed by one public agency. But, in Jefferson County, the fire district is run by the county, while medics work for a private, not-for-profit company. "These two departments are both kind of equipment-heavy, as well as personnel," says County Commissioner Mike Ahern. "So, if there are ways to make personnel efficiencies, which I think obviously it would appear there would be, and then a way that they could combine their efforts to improve their apparatuses and stuff."
The county has hired an independent research firm to investigate the pros and cons of both the current system and a potential combined Fire/EMS agency. "We’re just wondering – or asking the question – 'should there be two of these or should they combine or not?' And, really, we’re going into it with a pretty open mind. It’s more of an efficiency study," says Ahern.
The public can weigh in on the issue and talk with researchers during a meeting at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds, Thursday evening. Commissioner Ahern tells KBND News, "They’re going to take input from the public, and of course do some of their own investigations with Fire personnel and the budget; and they’ll make a report. Nobody’s really obligated to follow it." But, he says, "I’ll tell you this, there is no hidden agendas. All of the people are going in with an open mind and we’ll see if we can have a better outcome than what we’re doing now - Or not."
Ahern says the independent firm will take all the data and develop a recommendation, which he expects will come in the fall. He acknowledges it would be a big change, if the two agencies combine, "One or the other would have to dissolve. It would probably be the ambulance, simple because the fire district is already a public entity. And then there would be a merger."
Thursday's public meeting starts at 6 p.m. at the Mackey Conroy Building at the fairgrounds in Madras. Residents are also invited to provide feedback through an anonymous online survey
MADRAS, OR -- There has been bipartisan speculation the President’s decision to impose tariffs on some steel and aluminum products could lead to a trade war. U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) worries it will put Oregon jobs at risk. "One out of five jobs in Oregon depends on international trade," Wyden told KBND News during a recent stop in Madras, "The trade jobs often pay better than non-trade jobs." He believes building up local industries is a better approach. "Grow it in Oregon, make it in Oregon, add value in Oregon and ship it somewhere."
Wyden says the list of affected products hasn't yet been finalized, nor has the group of countries impacted, which he says raises more questions than answers. "The challenge, with what we know about the President’s trade policy is it’s not clear it deals with the central issue for Oregon workers and Oregon companies: oversupply in China." He believes there can be a place for tariffs in the country’s trade policy, "Well targeted, balanced tariffs should be one of the tools in the toolbox."
Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley released the following statement after President Trump's announcement:
“If we don’t make things in America, we won’t have a middle class in America. There’s no doubt that we can and should do more to combat countries that are unfairly undercutting the market for American products — but we need to do it in a thoughtful and targeted way. Unfortunately, President Trump’s tariffs seem to be more about creating a talking point for the President than putting in place a thought-out strategy to grow American jobs and the American economy.
“There’s a better way to fight back against countries that dump products and that undercut our workers with rock-bottom labor laws and environmental standards. In the coming days, I will introduce the Level the Playing Field Act of 2018, and show what fighting back against unfair trade practices should look like.”
BEND, OR -- Congressman Greg Walden (R-OR) toured Humm Kombucha's new northeast Bend facility Friday, to draw attention to a proposal he's supporting, which would change federal beverage regulations.
Currently, alcoholic beverages are designated as those with .5% alcohol by volume (ABV), which often includes fermented drinks like kombucha. The Kombucha Act would raise that ABV minimum to 1.25%. Walden says the fermentation level of kombucha is more like yogurt's; not anywhere near those of beer or wine, so it shouldn't be regulated like truly alcoholic beverages. "If you leave certain products like orange juice out on your counter for awhile it will continue to ferment, and that's not what the alcohol laws were ever intended to cover." And, he says technology isn't readily available to reliably test products for ABV levels of less than 1%, "You get false readings. So, you could have a whole batch of bottled product that could test just slightly over and you'd lose it all, which was never the intent of these laws."
If passed, the act would amend the Internal Revenue Code to exempt kombucha production from excise taxes imposed on alcoholic beverages. Walden says it's getting bipartisan support from other Oregon lawmakers. "Senator Wyden has been a big champion of this over in the Senate and he's the top Democrat on the Finance Committee; Earl Blumenauer is on the Ways And Means Committee over in the House, and he's a big champion of this. I'm over on the Commerce Committee as Chairman; I'm a big champion of this, and we're trying to find an Oregon solution that will apply nationwide and fix this problem."
Walden believes bringing alcohol content regulations up-to-date to reflect fermented products will go a long way toward helping the fledgling kombucha industry. According to Humm Kombucha co-founder Michelle Mitchell, the new Bend facility manufactures 5,500 cases of kombucha every day.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- A Hillsboro man was killed in a Friday night crash, just north of Prineville. The Crook County Sheriff’s Office says 58-year-old Gary Weingart failed to negotiate a curve on McKay Creek Road, at about 9 p.m.
Weingart was not wearing his seat-belt when the pickup rolled and he was ejected. Arriving Deputies found the truck on its side with extensive damage; Weingart was discovered deceased in a field, just north of his vehicle. He was alone in the truck when the crash occurred.
Investigators believe speed and alcohol were both factors in the crash, and the investigation is ongoing.
BEND, OR -- The former boyfriend of a missing woman was hospitalized Sunday night after an apparent suicide attempt at the Deschutes County Jail. The Sheriff’s Office says Bryan Penner was found by another inmate, who alerted Corrections staff, at about 8:40 p.m. Deputies and nursing staff provided life-saving efforts, which continued until medics arrived to transport him to St. Charles Bend. His current condition was not available, as of early Monday morning.
Sheriff Shane Nelson released a statement early Monday morning, saying, "Our office takes these investigations seriously. I have requested the Oregon State Police lead this investigation, assisted by the Deschutes County Major Incident Team."
UPDATE: Deschutes County D.A. John Hummel confirms Bryan Penner died at 8:11 a.m. Monday at St. Charles Medical Center Bend. The cause of death was determined to be suicide by asphyxiation. Hummel says the investigation into his death is underway by Central Oregon's Tri-County Major Incident Team, led by Oregon State Police.
Hummel said in a statement, "Without the heroic efforts of Deschutes County Sheriff's Office Corrections Deputies, a Corrections Nurse, and Emergency Medical Technicians from the Bend Fire Department, Penner would have died last night at the jail. The focused competent and heroic efforts of this team of dedicated and professional public servants gave Penner a fighting chance for life."
Corrections Capt. Michael Shults said, "Penner has been in the jail since February 22nd and showed no signs of being suicidal or having suicidal ideations. After being evaluated by Sheriff's Office mental health professionals, he was housed in a dorm setting. Penner has been in the jail on ten occasions since 2007, most recently from December 11th, 2017 through January 6th, 2018, and has never shown any signs or indications of being a suicide risk."
Hummel adds, "Unfortunately, as the search for Sarah [sic] extended from hours, to days, to weeks, it became obvious we are searching for her body and she will not be found alive. With Penner's passing, our chances of quickly finding Sarah [sic] plummeted. I encourage everyone in Deschutes County to report to law enforcement any suspicious tire tracks, earthen mounds, or other potential evidence they might see on their property."
BEND, OR -- It’s not just humans catching the flu this season. Canine Influenza has been spreading across the country since the first case was diagnosed in Chicago. Prior to January, outbreaks were primarily found in Asia. Now, there are several cases reported in Oregon, south of Deschutes County.
Jonna McGinnis, owner of Wee Tails Play Care and Training - a boutique doggie daycare in Bend - isn’t yet requiring her clientele to vaccinate their dogs, but she strongly recommends it, "I am asking people to avoid dog parks, and other places where other dogs are, and if they have any symptoms, I'm requiring that they keep the dogs home." She tells KBND News dogs are social creatures, making it easy for them to spread germs. "As the weather gets nicer outside, and people do get out more with their dogs, and do more traveling, I think in Spring and Summer, I may rethink my policies and definitely require these vaccinations be done." The vaccine covers both detected strains of the virus, and can be administered in two injections.
McGinnis also suggests owners take their pets to the vet immediately if they get lethargic or start sneezing and coughing. Humans can't contract dog flu, but it can be spread to cats.
BEND, OR -- Nearly every high school in Bend will have a new principal in the fall. Jay Mathisen, Deputy Superintendent for Bend-La Pine Schools, admits it’s unusual to have so many big changes occur at once. "We’ve had veteran leadership at numbers of our high schools over these last years, and actually we’ve had incredibly talented and sound leadership. And, for all different reasons, in the same period of months, here, folks are changing; moving on to other things or taking other positions."
Mathisen tells KBND News, "As we go down the line: Katie Legace, currently at Mt. View High School as principal, this is her eleventh year there, which is a very long, successful tenure for a high school principal. She’s taking a job where she’ll help provide leadership to all high schools, so a bit of a promotion, honestly." She'll become the district's Executive Director of High Schools. Summit High Principal Alice DeWittie is retiring, replaced by her assistant principal Michael McDonald. And, after seven years at Marshall, Julie Linhares will take over as principal at Rosland Elementary in the fall; the district's current Director of Secondary Programs Sal Cassaro will replace her. "We couldn’t have seen these coming," says Mathisen, "A year ago, I would not have bet that we would be having that much change at the high school level. But, we’ve been grateful and they’re all great leaders, and ready for their next things."
On top of changes at three of the four existing high schools in Bend, the district will open two small high school programs in the fall, each with their own new principal. That means only two of the district's high schools will start the next school year with the same leader it has now, "Matt Montgomery is continuing to serve at La Pine High; and this is his sixth year down there. And, Chris Reese is in his fourth year as principal at Bend High," says Mathisen.
The community is invited to meet the candidates vying to replace Legace as principal of Mt. View, Monday at 5 p.m. in the school's cafeteria. Attendees can talk to the four finalists, ask questions and offer feedback. They'll also meet with students and school leaders earlier that day. The final candidates are:
Alvin Baptiste, current principal of Dufur School
Matthew Barnes, current upper school head at the Community School and Sun Valley Ski Academy in Idaho
Michael Hicks, current assistant principal at Bend Senior High
Justin Huntley, current principal of Sutherlin High
BEND, OR -- Bend Police say a victim interrupted a car prowler, early Thursday morning, leading to the arrest of a 29-year-old Redmond man. The victim called 911 at about 2 a.m. to report a man was sitting in the driver’s seat of his car, near the Old Mill, trying to steal it.
The suspect took off on foot, but was caught by responding officers as he ran through a nearby business. Quinn Snider faces several charges, including attempted theft of a vehicle.
During the investigation, police discovered two vehicles with significant ignition column damage, and electronics were taken out of one. They say they recovered the stolen items, and found evidence linking Snider to the case.
MADRAS, OR -- The in-vehicle communication system "OnStar" helped track a car reported stolen, early Thursday morning. The company first helped locate the 2012 GMC Sierra at about 7 a.m. on Highway 97, near Brush Lane, in Madras. Madras Police Officers attempted to pull the car over, but the driver continued northbound. Despite the low speeds, officers decided not to continue the pursuit because of increased morning commuter traffic and the presence of school children.
Despite termination of the police chase, "OnStar" continued to track the suspect, and disabled the vehicle once it was away from traffic. Law enforcement from Madras, Jefferson County and State Police took the 21-year-old suspect into custody near "L" and Second Street, in Madras, a short time later.
Jesus Palacios-Rios is also suspected of committing domestic violence-related crimes, earlier Thursday morning. The victim did not seek medical attention, however Palacios-Rios is charged with Strangulation and Harassment, as well as Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle and Attempt to Elude.
SISTERS, OR -- State Fire Marshal Jim Walker recently received a special partnership award from the Sisters-Camp Sherman Rural Fire Protection District. Sisters Fire Chief Roger Johnson says the Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM) really stepped up this summer when sisters needed help, "It was due to the tremendous amount of support and the efficiency and the quickness with which they supported our fire district and our community during the Milli Fire."
The OSFM is responsible for statewide mobilization and mutual aid of fire engines and staffing, as well as management teams that help communities threatened by a large wildland fire. Chief Johnson tells KBND News, "We had over 50 different cities respond with equipment and fire engines; we had 33 overhead personnel respond, as part of the Green Incident Management Team, to the fire. So, we received a tremendous amount of support during that fire, and we were very grateful for the work that the Oregon Office of State Fire Marshal did for us."
Submitted Photo: State Fire Marshal Jim Walker (right) accepts the Partnership Award from Sisters Fire District Board President Chuck Newport (Left) and Deputy Fire Chief Tim Craig (center).
PRINEVILLE, OR -- History is being made at the Prineville Airport. A flying sportscar, dubbed the Samson Switchblade, is nearly complete and is expected to be unveiled later this spring.
Sam Bousefield is the Switchblade's Inventor and CEO of Samson Sky. He acknowledges some may be worried about the safety of a car that transforms into an airplane at the touch of a button, "We've tested this to certified aircraft standard, even though we're experimental and we don't need to, we're three wheels, classed as a motorcycle, so we don't need to do front and rear crumple zones or side intrusion protection, or rollover protection or anything like that, but we still do it. There's no flying car rules right now, there's nothing. We just look to see, well, what should be there, and that's what we're doing." The Switchblade is made mostly of carbon fiber and is street legal, with a specially modified engine that takes supreme gasoline.
There are other flying cars in development, but Bousefield says the Switchblade is different than vehicles like the Pal-V Liberty, created by a Dutch company and unveiled at the recent Geneva auto show. "The difference is, that is a gyrocopter, which has a propellor blade at the top like a helicopter that's unpowered; it just acts as your wing and so it flies a little bit slower. We fly up to 200 mph, and we're high performance on the ground. We have the power and weight of a 2017 Corvette."
The vehicle will cost around $140,000 and gives each buyer the chance to build their personal craft in the factory with professional assistance, "We're a little bit different, we start with the kit, and then we add in a builder assist function which is based on a 10-station assembly line. So, a person would spend about three weeks helping out at each step of the way, and at the end, should have their Switchblade fully done, ready to drive or fly home." Users would need both a drivers' and pilots' license.
An official unveiling is planned for later this Spring, and Bousefield hopes to share the Switchblade with various law enforcement agencies first.
BEND, OR -- Several of big road projects are expected to get underway in all parts of Bend, over the next few months. "Collectively, we’re going to be touching about 100 lane miles of the 800 or so lane miles of network that we have in Bend," says City Manager Eric King. "So, a little over 10% is being touched this year, which is on track for where it was last year." The City Council approved several contracts at Wednesday's meeting.
King says the largest will take place throughout the summer, "It’s repaving 47 lane miles of our current system in all parts of town. It’s the largest street preservation contract that we’ve had to date – $4.7 million." It includes work on high-use streets like Third, between Wilson and Badger Road, Mount Washington Drive, between Shelin Park Road and Chandler, and some parts of downtown not treated last summer. They also approved 34 lane miles of slurry seal treatments for low-volume residential streets. "And then, we have two other contracts that are road construction projects. One is a rebuilding of 14th Street on the west side of Bend. And then, the other is an eastside project off of Empire. It’s really beginning to complete the Empire Corridor."
Funding for the preservation work will come from money found during last year's City Council budget exercises. Rebuilding 14th Street and Century Drive, between Donovan and Newport, will be covered by a 2011 General Obligation (G.O.) bond. "There was close to $4 million in project savings and that allowed us to deploy those dollars to complete 14th Street, so that’s being paid for by the G.O. bond," says King. And, the Empire Corridor project (pictured below) is funded with money from System Development Charges, "So, as development’s occurring, that funding source is accumulating funds and we’re able to deploy those on new projects. Our highest priorities right now are both the Empire Corridor, as well as Murphy on the south end, of getting pretty critical east-west connections made."
King says timing for all the work has not yet been confirmed, "The street preservation project, we’ll be working on a detailed schedule; that will happen really throughout the summer, but we want to see that wrapped up in August." He says most of that project will be night work, "The street repaving projects, those are a day or two inconvenience for folks; they’re not large closures like 14th Street where we’re rebuilding a street, doing utility work and those types of things. So, the paving is more of a maintenance-type of activity and it shouldn’t be that disruptive." Work on Empire is expected to begin in the fall.
BEND, OR -- Out of what is being called an "abundance of caution," St. Charles Medical Center in Bend is beefing up security Thursday in response to a specific set of threats made nearly a month ago by an inebriated Emergency Room patient.
St. Charles House Supervisor Samantha Saddleman confirms there is an increased security presence, but tells KBND News they don’t believe the person who made the threats poses an actual risk to the hospital. Saddleman would not comment on specifics of the threats, but says the patient mentioned they would take place on March 8.
Bend Police Lt. Clint Burleigh tells KBND there are no plans to have more than the usual number of officers at the hospital or on patrol.
BEND, OR -- Central Oregon Residents are asked to be more careful about what they put in recycling bins. On January first, China stopped taking most recycling from western nations, claiming recyclables were contaminated with trash and organic material. In Oregon, Marion County and the City of Medford are now strictly monitoring what residents put in recycle bins.
Deschutes County has yet to make any changes; however, Bend Garbage & Recycling President Brad Bailey says making sure items are properly sorted keeps costs down and things flowing smoothly. Bailey says, "In order to have a good recycling commodity, it needs to be clean all the way through the process, and it will help ensure that that item actually gets recycled in the end and doesn't become a contaminant later."
He says if you're not sure what is recyclable, Bend Garbage staff, each garbage hauler and their website are all excellent resources for frequently asked questions or to request a new copy of the Recycling Guide. "It's really important that we follow the guide and not put anything in there that isn't listed there. Even though there might be a recycling symbol on the item, if it's not listed in the guide for the commingled stream, it shouldn't go in there."
"We stand very committed to the efforts of recycling, and waste reduction and waste prevention, and it's, I think, what we all need to do to be responsible," Bailey tells KBND News. "But, we've got to do it right. There's got to be a commitment to it that we do it right."
For High Country Disposal
customers, click HERE
to access curbside recycling guides. And, Cascade Disposal customers can find more information HERE
BEND, OR -- A blocked sewer pipe at St. Charles Bend caused a leak and disrupted some hospital services for a short time, Tuesday. "We had a blockage in one of the pipes that takes sewage out from our main patient tower of the building, and recognized that when we started having leakage in one of our departments," says Chief Nursing Officer Debbie Robinson, "So, we identified where it was and we cleared it. At this point, we're back to normal operations."
The leakage occurred in the department where the autoclave is housed and surgical instruments are sanitized. Robinson tells KBND News, "We are making alternate plans to have our instruments cleaned at our Redmond campus and also local surgery centers are going to help us out. But, we are looking at our O.R. cases and figuring out what we can support and what we can reschedule over the next couple of days."
She says the sewer pipe was temporarily fixed Tuesday and permanent repairs are expected Thursday. Other than the surgical schedule, Robinson says all other hospital departments are working as usual.
BEND, OR -- A 40-year-old Bend man is accused of stealing at least three utility trailers in a scam that targeted unsuspecting residents in southwest Bend. Police say Dustin Mooney told the victims his son crashed a drone in their backyard. The resident would grant permission to retrieve the drone and then go back inside, only to later find their utility trailer gone.
Mooney allegedly conducted the scam at homes on SW Porcupine, SW Hollygrape and Powers Road, March first and second. He's been cited for Theft I.
Investigators say he sold the trailers, ranging in value from $500 to $4,000. Only one has been recovered.
SISTERS, OR -- Sisters-area residents are encouraged to share their thoughts on the current state of the region and the direction it’s headed over the next two decades. The Sisters Country Horizons initiative is a joint effort between the City Council, Deschutes County Commissioners and Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council.
Sisters Community Development Director Patrick Davenport says there will be several opportunities to get involved, including a survey of local concerns, "Is it affordable housing or is it dangers from wildfire risk? Is it the community connectedness – are we able to talk and communicate civilly with each other? Is it some services that are lacking, are there some land use issues on your mind? Topics like that; they’re pretty wide ranging and some of them are open-ended questions." The survey will be available online later this month, and will be distributed at local events over the next few months.
"The survey is just one tool," says Davenport. "We’ll be having community meetings – you know, the traditional ‘invite the whole community’ and there will be a joint exercise where 150 people can come in the room. We’re right in the middle of conducting interviews with various members of the community, right now. So, these are discrete interviews where consultants leading the project can get one or three or five people with similar interests in a room and have candid discussions." And, he says there will be outreach booths at local events, like the Sisters Rodeo and Folk Festival.
Because it's Sisters, of course there will be a quilt involved, "We’re partnering with a group called Citizens4Community
. They want to make a quilt and have little patches of maybe one or two sentences of how they feel about our community, ‘What would you like to see? What’s special about our community?’." The first quilt-square event takes place Friday afternoon at Ray’s Food Place. Click HERE
for a full schedule of events for the "Values and Visioning Quilt."
Davenport tells KBND News cities across the state have conducted studies of public opinion
to help guide future decisions, but this will be on a "Sisters scale." A similar visioning project was completed for the Sisters region in 2007, but he says a lot has changed since then. All of the input gathered in the coming months will be put into a "Vision Action Plan" expected to be released by the end of the year.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- RTI International, an independent non-profit that provides data and partnerships to businesses, released a study saying Facebook's four domestic data centers, like the one in Prineville, have contributed nearly $6 billion to the nation's GDP since 2010.
Lee Weinstein of Facebook Prineville, says Facebook and Prineville are an excellent combination, and the social media company is working to invest in the community. "Facebook, as part of its commitment to Crook County and the community there, started a local Community Action Grants Program, and to-date, Facebook has given back about $1.47 million to qualified non-profits and schools in Crook County."
Weinstein says the program has been in place since 2011 and has also helped in the upgrading of the lower 66 Trail System and donated to the Humane Society of the Ochocos to help fund design plans for an updated facility. Facebook Prineville employs over two hundred people at the data center in a variety of positions, and the RTI study also found that for every data center job, five jobs are supported elsewhere in the economy, and shows the data center in Crook County has been responsible for lowering the unemployment rate from 17%.
According to Weinstein, Facebook's involvement in the local economy has been instrumental in bringing in other businesses. "When Facebook was scouting around for places to build, Crook County and the City of Prineville came together to work quite closely with Facebook to help them develop the site on the bluff over Prineville. As a result of that, there's a lot of new infrastructure in Prineville including power and fiber, that should help other businesses expand, develop, or start up in Crook County."
Facebook Prineville just announced they intend to distribute more than $200,000 through their Local Community Action Grant program to support critical community needs in schools and charities.
BEND, OR -- A large home under construction in southwest Bend was damaged when firefighters attempted to access and extinguish a small blaze, Tuesday morning.
Crews responded to Cannon Court, in the Tetherow area, at about 10:30 a.m. and found smoke coming from the interior vents. They were forced to remove a masonry wall around the foundation using power saws and hand tools. Firefighters eventually found a small burned section they believe was overheated by a propane torch used by a construction worker to warm the area.
The $1.5 million home, owned by Robert Nosler, suffered about $10,000 in damage.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- The Humane Society of the Ochocos is working to find homes for over a dozen rabbits seized last month during an animal abuse investigation. Prineville Police began looking into 37-year-old Kara Madison in early February, following a complaint involving a chicken, goat, cats, and numerous dogs and rabbits in her home on NW 7th Street.
Investigators found the animals living in conditions ranging from feces covered bedding to extended periods without food or water. Some animals began eating their own feces to survive, others were missing hair and/or suffering from various types of infections and disease; some had died. Officers seized 18 live rabbits and seven that were dead. On February 23, Madison was indicted by a Grand Jury on multiple counts of Animal Neglect I.
Prineville Police, working with the Crook County D.A.'s office and Humane Society of the Ochocos, received a Judgment of Forfeiture on all of the seized rabbits and all 18 are now allowed to be rehomed.
Click HERE to view more photos of the available rabbits on the shelter's Facebook Page.
BEND, OR -- The Deschutes County Sheriff's Office is investigating a fatal crash that occurred Monday night near Powell Butte Highway and McGrath Road, east of Bend. Emergency crews responded to the rollover crash at about 7:50 p.m. and medics transported three people to St. Charles Bend.
Authorities say a 36-year-old man died at the hospital as a result of injuries sustained in the crash, although few details have been released as of Tuesday morning.
TUESDAY P.M. UPDATE: The Sheriff’s Office says speed is to blame for the Monday evening crash on Powell Butte Highway; and, they're investigating whether intoxicants were a contributing factor. According to investigators, 25-year-old Samantha Toews, of Powell Butte, failed to negotiate a curve near McGrath Road, rolling the car several times.
Her front passenger, 36-year-old Jason House of Powell Butte, was not wearing his seatbelt and was ejected. He succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead at the hospital. Toews was taken to the hospital with significant injuries and a nine-year-old girl in the back seat suffered only minor injuries.
BEND, OR -- Just before adjourning the short session over the weekend, state lawmakers approved $39 million in state-backed bonds to fund construction of a second academic building at Oregon State University’s Bend campus. Kelly Sparks, with OSU-Cascades, says now that the money is secured, things will move quickly. "We plan, this summer, to get started on the reclamation of the pumice mine; so, that process will take a little over a year. And, we plan to start detailed design of [the] academic building next summer, 2019, and open it for the fall of 2021." The university purchased the former pumice mine in 2016, for future development.
This was the second attempt at funding expansion of the campus on Bend’s west side. In 2017, the school asked
for nearly $80 million, "We had asked for an academic building with structured parking, as well as a student success center, in the last Legislative session," says Sparks. "So, we came back and we removed the structured parking, went to surface parking; and asked for just the academic building and not the student success center."
OSU President Ed Ray said in a statement, "We are very grateful of Governor Brown, Speaker Kotek, Senator Knopp, Representative Rayfield and may legislators for the continued expansion of higher education programming in Central Oregon. We are also grateful to the many generous donors whose gifts of over $9 million helped match this state funding."
The new building will serve “STEAM” courses – science, technology, engineering arts and math. Sparks says there will be lab space on the first floor, "That will be coupled with a form of a “maker” space that will allow for the arts to be able co-locate with engineering program and do some of the pretty exciting things they’re doing in that program. In addition to that, we’ll be adding in Kinesiology space for them to be teaching and having a little bit more room to move around some physical tables, and potentially even physical therapy in that space."
Photo courtesy OSU: Artist rendering of the new Academic Building. Existing Tykeson Hall can be seen to the right of the future building.
BEND, OR -- The Bend Chamber is taking nominations for the 2018 Women of the Year Awards, to be handed out next month. Robin Rogers, with the Chamber, founded the event four years ago, "Women and young girls, we really want to honor them. Women that have just gone above and beyond in business," she says, "Especially in this day and age – in this man’s world, we want to lift those women up; especially the young girls, coming forward."
Categories include Community Hero, Entrepreneur of the Year and Woman of the Year. There's also a Lifetime Achievement Award and a Young Hero Award, "And, with the Young Hero Award, I’m really thrilled that last year we brought on a scholarship for these young girls. Last year, it was $1,500; this year, the scholarship fund is up to $3,000," says Rogers.
She admits there was some pushback, in the beginning, from people who thought the event was exclusionary. Rogers tells KBND News, "The first year that we brought this forward, we did have a few men who I received emails from asking, ‘what about Man of the Year?” And my response to that is, “I’m open to suggestions.” What that might look like, at this point I don’t know. But, I am willing to absolutely sit down and talk about it."
Nominations are accepted through Wednesday, March 7. Click HERE
for more information and to nominate an influential woman. The 2018 Women of the Year Awards ceremony takes place April fifth at the Tower Theatre.
MADRAS, OR -- Madras Police are investigating the death of a 21-year-old brought to the hospital Friday with a gunshot wound. Alfredo Martinez-Urieta arrived at St. Charles Madras by personal vehicle and was pronounced dead by the attending physician.
Investigators say they’ve recovered the firearm suspected to have been used and they believe there is no outstanding threat to the community.
UPDATE (3/07/18): According to Madras Police, the shooting waas determined to be an "unintentional discharge" of a handgun by Martinez-Urieta, which resulted in his own death.
BEND, OR -- Representative Knute Buehler (R-Bend) calls foster kids the most vulnerable kids in Oregon, but his proposal to spend $50 million to create a Rapid Improvement Team failed to gain traction during the 2018 Legislative session. Buehler says a lot of time was wasted during the short session on issues that, in his opinion, are far less important. "We've spent a lot of time this session talking about a complex new energy tax credit scheme that failed, we spent a lot of time in Revenue Committee talking about a cow manure tax credit, and creating a new gimmicky fund for a PERS bailout. To me, all those things could wait."
A recent audit of Oregon's Child Welfare System conducted by Secretary of State Dennis Richardson revealed mismanagement and abuse, prompting Buehler's measure. He says Governor Kate Brown did an audit of the Child Welfare System two years ago, but failed to act when concerns were raised. "This is Governor Brown's Child Welfare Agency. She knows it's a problem. Now it's on Governor Brown's shoulders to actually make a difference. But, we can't wait. These kids can't wait. These kids are being starved to death, abused, and even murdered, while supposedly over State oversight. To me, everything else can wait."
Buehler says he's not confident Governor Brown will step in before the 2019 session, to protect Oregon's foster children. "Those kids can't wait for anybody. This is a life and death struggle every day for some of these kids. They're in places that clearly aren't taking care of them, and when we have unexpected new tax revenue of $140 million, nothing else should take priority over these kids, especially putting $100 million into a bailout for PERS." That unexpected tax revenue is based on a new business tax measure that reconnects Oregon to the revised Federal tax code, allowing the state to capture repatriated corporate tax dollars.
BEND, OR -- A local fire district is already looking ahead to fire season, and they're providing an incentive to help people plan ahead. The Fire Free program is an effort by wildland fire agencies, including Deschutes Rural Fire Protection District #2.
Bend Fire Battalion Chief Dave Howe tells KBND News, "Because people are more effective when they work together, Fire Free has made a grant program available to help groups of people fund this mitigation of wildfire fuels." He suggests several neighbors could work together to make the money go further. "What they're looking for are projects that provide the greatest good for the greatest number of people, in terms of reducing fuels and keeping a community safe. If you have less of a chance of having a wildfire, well then your neighbor has less of a chance of having one spread to their property." Howe says the larger the group or the area involved in the grant application, the more likely it is to be awarded. Click HERE to access the online application.
Fire Free also offers one week each spring and fall when residents can drop off your yard debris at Knott Landfill for free. This spring's Fire Free week is May 5-13.
BEND, OR --The manufacturer involved in the upgrade of Deschutes County's law enforcement radio system says things are stabilizing. Bend Police Chief Jim Porter tells KBND News officers are still experiencing volume issues, garbled messages and some dropped calls, although the system is no longer crashing. Chief Porter tells KBND News engineers with Motorola are in town this week to help troubleshoot problems with their units; although he notes radios made by both Motorola and Harris appear to experience the same volume issues.
The digital transition has been plagued with problems since the switch from analog occurred last summer. But, Sheriff Shane Nelson is optimistic, "We are still having issues. But, I am confident that Harris is committed to fixing those issues and they have been receptive to our concerns." He tells KBND News, "I don’t have any reason to believe that they won’t follow through with their pledge to make sure we have an excellent working radio system."
Chief Porter says engineers and county officials have identified Overturf Butte as the best location for another transmitter site. It’s owned by Bend's water department and already has antenna poles, so it wouldn’t need any immediate infrastructure. But, the county must wait for an emergency radio transmitter license from the FCC, which could take up to 45 days. Porter believes coverage on the west side of Bend, where many problems have occurred, will improve once that site is operational.
LA PINE, OR -- Deschutes County Sheriff's Deputies recently saved a La Pine woman reportedly suffering from a drug overdose twice, within 24 hours.
The first call came in Thursday, just after 5 p.m. Deputies arrived within six minutes of the call, administered a single dose of Naloxone, also called "Narcan," and the woman regained consciousness. They were dispatched to the same location at 11:34 Friday morning and discovered the woman was again suffering from an overdose. They administered Narcan and she again responded immediately.
In 2017, Deschutes County Deputies used Narcan nine times to save the lives of people suffering from drug overdoses. They've administered it five times, so far this year.
BEND, OR -- Two people were killed in separate accidents at Mt. Bachelor, Friday.
At about noon, a 24-year-old snowboarder was found in a tree well in the West Bowls area, an “experts only” area near the Northwest Lift. Other skiers worked to uncover Alfonso Braun and Ski Patrol attempted CPR, but the Bend man had died.
A few hours later, a report came in of a missing skier. After a five hour search, 19-year-old Nicole Panet-Raymond was found in a tree well near the Cloudchaser Lift. Mt. Bachelor Ski Patrol and Deschutes County Search and Rescue used cell phone data to assist them in locating the Eugene woman. Her body was buried in about six feet of snow, just off the more-difficult White Bark run.
Mt. Bachelor officials say fatalities from falls into tree wells are uncommon in ski areas and for two unrelated incidents to occur in the same day is exceptionally rare. Prior to Friday, the last tree well fatality at Bachelor was in 2002.
REDMOND, OR -- Deschutes County Deputies seized five dogs reported abandoned at a home northwest of Redmond, earlier this week. Law enforcement were first dispatched to the home on NW Progress Lane on Sunday, February 25, after a concerned citizen reported not seeing anyone on the property caring for the dogs in several days. Deputies looked through windows and could see several dogs inside. They tried to contact the last known resident throughout the day, but were unsuccessful.
The next day, DCSO executed a search warrant to check on the animals. They seized four pit bull-mix dogs and a Chihuahua-mix. A fifth pit bull was found deceased on the property. Investigators believe the dogs had not been fed, cared for or checked on for at least six days, prior to being seized.
Authorities later determined 41-year-old Anne Springer, of Redmond, is the owner of the dogs. She was contacted Wednesday and cited on five counts of Animal Neglect II and one count of Animal Neglect I. The seized dogs are now being cared for at Brightside Animal Center.
REDMOND, OR -- A Redmond man faces multiple charges involving one vehicle reported stolen from Portland, and another involved in a police chase.
At about 12:45 a.m. Friday, Deschutes County deputies conducted a traffic stop on a Ford Explorer in the parking lot of the Redmond Walmart; the vehicle was missing a license plate. During the stop, deputies discovered the Explorer was reported stolen from Portland in November. The investigation led them to 30-year-old Scott Wilson.
At around 2:30 a.m., deputies discovered Wilson driving a BMW sedan on NW Maple Ave. near 35th. He allegedly fled the scene and law enforcement attempted used spike strips to try to immobilize the vehicle. A brief low-speed pursuit ensued, through a northwest Redmond neighborhood, culminating in Wilson's vehicle becoming disabled behind the Catholic Church at 19th and Maple. Authorities say Wilson then ran and hid on church property until he was found by a Redmond Police K9 unit.
Wilson was taken into custody without incident. He's expected to be charged with Possession of a Stolen Vehicle, Attempting to Elude (in a vehicle and on foot), Driving with a Suspended License, Reckless Driving and a Felony Parol Violation.
BEND, OR -- An investigation is underway into an Oregon State Police Captain. Acting on an anonymous tip received Tuesday night, Deschutes County Sheriff Shane Nelson says his agency launched an investigation into Capt. William Fugate, "We are in the early stages of this investigation, and will not be releasing any specific information at this time about the nature of this investigation." Nelson adds, "This investigation involves a high-level commander in a professional law enforcement agency. We are in the beginning stages of this investigation and want to balance transparency with our duty to protect the integrity of the investigation. We take these investigations seriously and will always do the right thing. In all criminal investigations, we respect our citizen's rights as we investigate to gather the facts."
Fugate is the lead Public Information Officer (PIO) for the State Police. Sheriff Nelson tells KBND News the alleged incident didn't happen while Fugate was working, "The investigation is not related to his employment or on-duty conduct."
The Captain has worked for OSP for 11 years and has served as PIO since 2015. No charges have been filed. Fugate is now on paid administrative leave while the investigation is conducted.
OSP Superintendent Travis Hampton issued the following statement, Thursday: "I placed Captain Fugate on administrative leave once I learned of the criminal investigation initiated by the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office. The Oregon State Police is grateful for the immediate and professional response by the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office, to allegations involving our employee. We are appreciative for the timely notification to our agency, so duty status determinations could be immediately made. OSP has the utmost confidence in Sheriff Nelson and his investigators to conduct a comprehensive and transparent investigation."