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MADRAS, OR -- One person was killed in a Saturday afternoon plane crash, just south of the Madras Airport. The small small plane went down in Willow Creek Canyon shortly before 2 p.m. When first responders arrived on the scene, they found the aircraft engulfed in flames at the top of the canyon.

 

A small brush fire caused by the crash was quickly extinguished. The FAA and NTSB are investigating the incident and witnesses are being interviewed. The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office says the pilot was the only person on board and did not survive. 

 

Updated Sunday afternoon to reflect updated information from the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office that the pilot was alone on the plane. 



SISTERS, OR -- Friday's winds pushed the Milli Fire east-southeast, causing Level 3 evacuations of about 600 people. The "Go Now" evacuation order remained in place Saturday for the subdivisions of Edgington/Remuda Road, Crossroads, Wildwing Peterson Burn Road area, and along both sides of Three Creeks Lake Road, immediately south of Sisters. The Tollgate subdivision remains at Level 1 ("Get Ready").

 

The Red Cross and Salvation Army are working to provide food and shelter to those forced out of their homes. A temporary shelter is set up at Sisters Middle School. Volunteers are serving over 100 people. 

 

Highway 242 (McKenzie Pass Highway) also remains closed east of Cascade Crest to the junction of Forest Road 15. And, area closures remain in place within the Three Sisters Wilderness of the Deschutes National Forest.

 

As of Saturday morning, the Milli Fire had burned 7,814 acres and was 0% contained. 

 

Photo courtesy of Pilot Bill Gilliland



The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has plans to kill two more of the Harl Butte wolves. Earlier this month, two members of the pack were killed, but due to continued livestock predation, two more wolves need to go.
 
Fish and Wildlife's Michelle Dennehy says the pack was bigger than they thought. "We have discovered in the past few weeks working out in the field with this pack, that it's actually larger than originally expected. We thought there were seven wolves plus three pups and we've since learned that there were ten wolves with three pups, so now there are eight wolves, and after this there will be six. So, we hope that has the impact that we're looking for." 
 
Dennehy says wolves are usually afraid of humans, but the non-lethal measures put in place in the area have not kept the livestock safe from this large pack. The non-lethal measures ODFW works with the ranchers to implement include electric fences, range riders, humans spending more time with their livestock, and wolf hazing. Dennehy added, "Wolves are generally afraid of people, so when you have a lot of human presence around, that tends to keep wolves away."
 
The decision to kill a wolf is never made lightly, but there has been a wolf management plan in place for several years, and Fish and Wildlife is following it. "We have a wolf plan that guides wolf management in Oregon. Unfortunately, sometimes, wolves will kill livestock, and the Harl Butte wolf pack, which is in Wallowa county, killed livestock and that's why we are going to kill an additional two members from this pack."
 
ODFW's plans to thin the pack should lead to a change in the wolves' behavior and hunting grounds, which will help protect the livestock.

 



BEND, OR -- Bend City Councilors approved a package of improvements, this week, to address safety concerns downtown. City Manager Eric King says they’ve been trying to address rising crime for several years, but the problems are multi-dimensional. "Yes, there is an enforcement component, and some coordination between Bend Police Department and the DA. We’re also partnering with the county in providing better mental health and drug and alcohol services. Our officers are spending a lot of time on mental health calls and we need a more efficient way to deal with that, so things are in the works right now. Those are more in the long-term category. But, this is not just an enforcement problem."

 

King tells KBND News there was broad support for the package of action items approved at this week's Council meeting. Improvements range from short term fixes to long-term projects. "They involve things like private security and security cameras in strategic locations; some physical improvements to the area, including removing garbage enclosures that are an attractive nuisance; and some longer term items, like reconfiguring the Mirror Pond parking lot to really prevent some of the activity that we’re seeing."  Some changes have been in the works for a while, but others are in response to recent resident and business owner complaints and suggestions. "Things like a pressure washer downtown, to really clean up the sidewalks and again encourage folks to move on; amending some of our codes to really clarify our codes to really clarify obstruction, to prevent obstruction; and then, posting some signs for ‘no overnight parking’ along parks that are adjacent to the river. We’re seeing more camping along the river."

 

King says some changes won't cost any extra, but the city plans to spend between $90,000 and $105,000 on the overall package. Much of that money will come from savings found in the 2016-17 budget. 

 

To listen to our full conversation with Bend City Manager Eric King, visit our Podcast Page or click HERE



BEND, OR -- A Bend man is accused of drug possession, theft and escape, following an investigation into stolen bikes. Over the last several weeks, police developed information that 31-year-old Christopher Blaylock was receiving stolen bicycles; he also had a valid felony warrant for a parole violation.

 

Officers executed a search warrant Thursday night at the northeast Bend home Blaylock shares with his girlfriend, 31-year-old Codie Messina. During the search, Blaylock jumped from a bedroom window and ran from the house. He was caught and detained by officers in an adjacent parking lot. 

 

Inside the home, investigators recovered more than a dozen stolen bikes in various forms of disassembly; some were repainted. They also discovered numerous bicycle parts and a gas powered snow blower, along with $965 in cash and various quantities of cocaine, meth and heroin packaged for sale. 

 

Blaylock is charged with a Felony Warrant, Theft II, Escape III, Manufacturing, and Delivery and Possession of Heroin, Meth and Cocaine. Messina also faces drug charges. The investigation into the ownership of the bikes and snow blower is ongoing. 



 

BEND, OR -- A Bend couple is accused of child neglect after their two-year-old was found with suspicious injuries, earlier this month. While investigating a domestic violence report, Bend Police found 25-year-old Matthew Mitchell with his daughter, August 1, and determined the man had been assaulted by his wife Juliana. The toddler was taken to the hospital for evaluation, then placed into protective custody.

 

During the investigation, police determined Juliana had left the girl alone on at least four occasions, and Matthew left her alone in the unlocked apartment on at least nine occasions. Police belive the couple was also using heroin and meth in the home. 



REDMOND, OR -- Highway 26 through Prineville remained congested most of Thursday, prompting officials to reroute thousands of vehicles around the city for several hours. An overwhelming number of RVs, trailers, trucks, cars and vans were headed to a Big Summit Prairie, creating a line of traffic more than 15 miles, at times. Prineville Police rerouted them on to Paulina Highway to ease congestion. By Friday morning, much of it had dissipated. 

 

Many of those planning to attend the Symbiosis event in the Ochocos traveled far and wide to watch the eclipse. Pasan Tennakoon flew in to Redmond Thursday from Australia. He tells KBND News, "We've got like us and at least maybe 30 people from Perth, maybe even more; That's our hometown back in Australia. And, we're all traveling in separate groups, but we're all trying to convene and meet together as one and have an epic time over the next week or so." He and his traveling partner say they are prepared for the crowds. After 30 hours on various planes, he said he could handle a few more hours on the road. 

 

But, for locals trying to get around Central Oregon, frustration is mounting. Redmond Airport Director Zach Bass says a Sisters resident, who called Roberts Field this week, is not alone in worrying about his Monday flight. "They asked us if we were doing anything to mitigate the traffic between Sisters and Redmond to make sure the flyers could get out. So, we just want to make sure people are very clear there's going to be a lot of traffic that day. And again, we have no control at the airport over that. So, if you have a flight that day, make sure you're early, you take into account that traffic." Bass suggests checking Tripcheck for drive-time information, and get to the airport at least two hours ahead of your flight to accommodate longer security lines. 
 
Photo courtesy of Jim Draper. 
 
Eclipse Coverage on KBND is supported in part by Awnings Unlimited. Shade yourself from the sun with Awnings Unlimited at 5541-389-1619 and awningsunlimited.net.


REDMOND, OR -- As the region's only commercial airport, Roberts Field is seeing a steady stream of eclipse viewers. Airport Director Zach Bass says planes are typically about 90% full this time of year, but that's already increasing and he expects they'll be 100% full by Monday.  
 
Bass says it's tough to know just what's coming. "We've got a lot of contingency plans in place, if something does occur. We've been speaking with all our stake holders: TSA, for example, the airlines, the car rental folks out here. Our security individuals, we're up-staffing during this weekend and Monday and Tuesday, and we'll have our people available to help out. Basically, we're doing everything we can because we're not quite sure what to expect when it comes to the customers inside and outside the facility during this timeframe." Bass says because the airport is open 24-hours, some people may stay overnight inside, but they're not allowed to camp in the parking lot. Bass says they were forced to put up signs on lot gates because people have asked. 
 
Car rental counters at Roberts Field have been consistently busy; reservations are booked solid for the next several days. For travelers like Patty Zaremski from Torrence, CA, who made advanced plans, it's been mostly smooth sailing. She flew in to Redmond Thursday afternoon an is looking forward to an eclipse-related family reunion in Central Oregon, this weekend. "We're staying in Sunriver. We planned this last October and I had no idea this would be such a big deal." She's driving to Mitchell Sunday night and plans to disperse camp since all traditional campgrounds and hotels are booked. Zaremski tells KBND News, "We were going to go to Madras. But, when we realized that everybody and their brother is going there, we decided we didn't want to be on that road, in all that traffic." Traffic was a common concern among visitors.
 
Ryan McDonald flew in from Redwood City, CA to stay with family. He's nervous for the crowds and says his plane was full of eclipse viewers. McDonald has always had an interest in astronomy and is "super excited to be here and view something that doesn't happen very often." 

 

Eclipse Coverage on KBND is supported in part by Awnings Unlimited. Shade yourself from the sun with Awnings Unlimited at 5541-389-1619 and awningsunlimited.net.

 



SISTERS, OR -- The Milli Fire, eight miles west of Sisters, continues to challenge firefighters working in rugged terrain and hazardous conditions left by a previous burn. Level 2 evacuation notices remain for areas south of Highway 242 (McKenzie Pass Highway) and west of Pole Creek Ditch, including the Crossroads Subdivision and homes off Edgington and Remuda roads. Those residents need to be “set” to leave at a moment’s notice. 

 

A level 1 pre-evacuation notice was issued for the area between 242 and Highway 20, including the Tollgate Subdivision. It does not encompass the cities of Sisters and Black Butte Ranch. The Red Cross set up an evacuation shelter at Sisters Middle School, Thursday morning, and the Pet Evacuation Team has space available for livestock and pets at the rodeo grounds. 

 

ODOT has closed the McKenzie Pass Highway due to smoke impacts and fire activity and forestry officials have imposed numerous closures within the Three Sisters Wilderness. 
 
As of Thursday evening, the Milli Fire was estimated at about 4,500 acres and 0% contained. Thursday morning, Governor Kate Brown invoked the Emergency Conflagration Act to send more resources to the area. 
 
Photo: Firefighter @Muddy_Mitch on Twitter


WARM SPRINGS, OR -- After making considerable progress on the Nena Springs Fire, earlier this week, fire managers released some resources. But, the Oregon State Fire Marshal’s Red Incident Management Team and three task forces are now being redeployed to the Warm Springs Reservation. 

 

Officials say an ember blew out of containment lines Thursday afternoon, and prompted a Level 1 pre-evacuation notice for residents in Charlie Canyon. Two helicopters, hand crews and at least 10 engines are back on the 46,000 acre fire. 
 


REDMOND, OR -- The Multi-Agency Coordination Center (MACC) is now operational at the Deschutes County Fairgrounds in Redmond. "Federal, state, local – all government agencies – there’s more than 20 represented here, from DEQ to ODOT to school districts," says Julianne Repman, with Bend-La Pine Schools. She tells KBND News, "We’re all at the table together; we take off those hats from our agencies."

 

Planning for the MACC (right) began nearly two years ago, in anticipation of the August 21 eclipse. Repman says it's the largest, pre-planned response effort ever established in the Tri-County region. "The effort here is to protect lives, natural resources, and then – in this event – we want to make sure that both our residents and community members have everything they need to be safe, and also to have a good time."

 

Traffic and wildfire management are top priorities, right now; but Repman says they have to be ready for anything. So far, the center isn't hearing a lot of concerns from the public, but she says they are getting a lot of questions. "I think what we’re seeing is that people might be a little bit surprised that what we have anticipated is actually becoming a reality. But, they’re dealing with it really well. We’ve got great people coming in to town and we’ve got great people as resources supporting them to keep them safe."

 

Repman manages the Joint Information Center (JIC), inside the MAC, staffed by public information officers from MACC agencies. The JIC (left) is tasked with getting important information out to the media and public over the next several days, via the Central Oregon Emergency Information Network

 

 

 

 

Eclipse Coverage on KBND is supported in part by Awnings Unlimited. Shade yourself from the sun with Awnings Unlimited at 5541-389-1619 and awningsunlimited.net.



PRINEVILLE, OR -- Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed a new law that raises the required minimum age to legally buy tobacco from 18 to 21.

 

Kris Williams, Tobacco Prevention and Education coordinator for Crook County Health Department says it took several years' worth of effort from agencies, individuals, and organizations across the state to get this law passed, and she hopes it will keep more kids from getting started smoking. "Crook County has historically had a very high tobacco use rate among not only our adults, but our youth as well. We have 68 tobacco-related deaths annually in Crook County, unfortunately, and so for us to be able to have a Tobacco 21 law, it's really huge for us."
 
In Crook County, almost 14% of eighth graders and nearly 35% of 11th graders have reported using tobacco products, so Williams worked for over a year to get this law passed in an attempt to bring those percentages down. "The key thing here is that we're reducing youth access to tobacco, and it's a slow process... down the road, what we're hoping to do, is reduce the effects and costs of tobacco. Tobacco in Crook County costs 13.6 million dollars annually, just in medical-related costs."
 
Williams says a several-pronged approach is what's needed to really help smokers of all ages, but especially, the young ones, quit. She adds that an effective comprehensive plan "...would include tobacco retail licensing, so you have the enforcement piece, as well as education, tobacco cessation. The Crook County Court, just today, passed an ordinance that will go into effect in 90 days, to require tobacco retailers in Crook County to post the Oregon tobacco quit line information at point of sale."
 
Governor Brown signed the Tobacco 21 legislation into law last week and it applies to all tobacco including hookahs, e-cigarettes, and flavored vaping products.

 



SALEM, OR -- Oregon Governor Kate Brown invoked the the Emergency Conflagration Act, Thursday morning, in response to the growing Milli Fire. The blaze, about eight miles west of Sisters, became more active in Wednesday afternoon winds and exploded to 3,000 acres in size. It's currently 0% contained. 

 

The Milli Fire is currently threatening about 434 structures, and Level 2 evacuation alerts have been issued for several residential areas, including the Crossroads Subdivision. The Red Cross has opened an emergency evacuation shelter at Sisters Middle School. A community meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday at Sisters High School

 

Due to the fire burning partially in the fire scar of the 2006 Black Crater Fire, ground crews are using extreme caution in areas with dead and standing timber. "State agencies are already working around the clock and across the state, and as we get closer to the total solar eclipse, we'll need all resources available to keep communities, visitors, and property safe," Governor Brown said in a statement. "I appreciate the dedication and hard work of our state and local fire crews and thank the Oregon National Guard for providing additional support."



 

 

PRINEVILLE, OR -- The massive eclipse viewing event at Big Summit Prairie in the Ochocos gets underway Thursday, and it's already leading to major traffic problems in Crook County. Highway 26 east of Prineville was extremely congested Wednesday night; at one point ODOT reports the backup stretched about 14 miles. Eastbound traffic west of Prineville wasn't any better. The Symbiosis festival is expected to draw 30,000 people. 

 

Kyer Wiltshire is here from California to watch the eclipse at Big Summit Prairie. He spoke to KBND News after filling up his gas tank in Redmond, Wednesday afternoon. "It’s a bit – it’s starting to get overwhelming this morning. I camped near Smith Rock last night, and I spent this morning mountain biking in Smith Rock; and, when I hit the highway – 97 – I went, ‘Wow!’ There was a line of cars." He says he was prepared for the crowds, just not this early in the week. 
 
 
Law enforcement and ODOT are patrolling the area in an effort to keep everyone moving. Crook County officials say traffic is already backing up Thursday morning. They urge residents who don't need to travel Thursday or early Friday to stay home. Traffic is expected to lighten slightly later Friday and over the weekend, although it'll still be heavy. 
 
Eclipse Coverage on KBND is supported in part by Awnings Unlimited. Shade yourself from the sun with Awnings Unlimited at 5541-389-1619 and awningsunlimited.net.


Thursday 8:15 a.m. Update: The Deschutes County Sheriff's Office has issued a Level 2 Evacuation notice for all areas south of Highway 242 (McKenzie Hwy) and west of Pole Creek Ditch, including the Crossroads Subdivision and homes off Edgington Rd and Remuda Rd. "Level 2" means residents need to be prepared to leave at a moment's notice and indicates significant danger to the area.

 

The fire grew from an estimated 260 acres, Wednesday, to 3,000 acres. 

 

---

 

SISTERS, OR -- The Milli Fire, burning eight miles west of Sisters, flared up with Wednesday afternoon's wind, sending up a large smoke column and pushing back fire crews. The increased fire activity prompted Level 1 evacuation notices for areas south of McKenzie Highway and west of the Pole Creek Ditch, including the Crossroads Subdivision and homes off of Edgington Rd and Remuda Rd. Level 1 means residents need to be ready for potential evacuation. 

 

The Forest Service and fire managers will provided updated information at a public meeting scheduled for 6 o'clock Thursday evening at Sisters High School. Because of the increased fire activity, officials aren't yet able to provide a size estimate. Click HERE for Wednesday morning's estimates. 

 

With increased fire activity and hundreds of thousands of visitors in the area for the eclipse, the Central Oregon Fire Chiefs Association has banned recreational fires, including campfires, on private lands within all the fire districts in the tri-county region. Portable cooking stoves and lanterns using liquefied or bottled fuel are allowed, but charcoal and pellet fires are now prohibited. 

 

Updated at 10:30 a.m. to reflect the change in community meeting location, from Sisters Middle to Sisters High School. 



 

REDMOND, OR --  Central Oregonians already face long lines at grocery stores and gas stations, and in some cases they’re finding fuel pumps have run dry. 

 

Peter Murphy, with the Oregon Department of Transportation, says the pinch on fuel supplies is because locals are heeding eclipse warnings. "People are doing the right thing. You know, they’re getting out and getting ready in advance and that’ll leave the opportunity for our visitors to come and fill up. So, if we all do that then there should be plenty of gas to go around when they have to get out of town." And, that’s when he expects real trouble at gas stations and on roadways. "Everybody – well half of everybody – is planning on leaving on Monday and the other half on Tuesday; so that’s when the demand is going to be. And, if we folks here can avoid going to the gas station on those two days, in particular, than we should be fine," says Murphy.

 
Desi Gibb of Redmond had to wait to fill up at the Redmond Fred Meyer Wednesday afternoon (right), but she was happy to see lines moving. "I expected them to be a lot longer; I really did. I don’t think they’re that bad yet, but - tomorrow?" She tells KBND News, "The only reason I’m here is because I have a fear that after this is over, we might have a shortage of gas. And, I have a half a tank, but that’s not enough if we run out of gas."
 
KBND News spoke to several stations that ran out of fuel Tuesday and Wednesday. They're replenishing supplies as quickly as they can to keep pumps open, in some cases getting multiple fuel deliveries a day. Distributors have truck drivers working overtime bringing fuel from Portland. And Murphy says supply trucks will continue to come in to Central Oregon with groceries and gas as long as highways stay clear of crashes. "We’re doing what we can to make sure things continue; the gasoline industry is aware of the need; the Sheriff’s Department is of course aware of this conversation, as well. These conversations have been going on for some time; this is not coming as a surprise to some people."
 
Long lines were seen at gas stations in nearly every Deschutes County community, from Bend (above) to Terrebonne.
 

Eclipse Coverage on KBND is supported in part by Awnings Unlimited. Shade yourself from the sun with Awnings Unlimited at 5541-389-1619 and awningsunlimited.net.



TERREBONNE, OR -- A 49-year-old Bend man is accused of driving under the influence of alcohol and marijuana, which the Sheriff’s Office says led to a Wednesday night crash.

 

Robert Cole failed to negotiate curves on Northwest Way near Terrebonne and hit a telephone pole and a rock pile on the side of the road, just before 8:30 p.m. He walked away from the scene before deputies arrived but was found in a nearby pasture with the help of a Bend Police K-9 unit.

 

Cole was hurt and was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries after his arrest. 

 



REDMOND, OR -- Anne Graham resigned from the Redmond City Council, this week. She tells KBND News she’d considered stepping down for a while because of the deteriorating relationship between herself and the Mayor. "Anyone who’s been watching the interactions between the Mayor and myself will have noticed that we have not been getting along for the entire 2 ½ years that I’ve been on Council." 

 

But, she says the final decision was made Monday evening. "A fellow Councilor very kindly brought the Mayor and I together in an offline meeting to try and see if we could work out our differences and it did not go well." Mayor George Endicott says she had a prepared letter in her purse, "At the conclusion of our meeting that lasted approximately an hour, Anne handed me a letter of resignation." He tells KBND News, "Yeah, I was surprised."

 
Graham says she also based her decision on new rules approved last week by the rest of the City Council. "I saw clearly that my ability to contribute to the future of the city was going to be even more constrained." She adds, "I voted against it; my colleagues voted for it. It appeared to me that those things were aimed at me. They were restrictions on contact with staff; restrictions on emails to staff." Mayor George Endicott claims the new rules have been in the works for nearly a decade and stem from an incident between a former Councilor and Public Works staff, not the recent ethics investigation and findings against Graham. And, he says the addition of sanctions for Councilors who 

violate rules was based on conversations he had a year ago with an attorney from the League of Oregon Cities.
 
On her public Facebook page where Graham announced her resignation Monday night, her husband wrote that the Mayor refused to discuss difficult subjects and treated Graham rudely; claims Endicott refutes, "When I was talking with Anne, I said, ‘If you had an issue that you felt compelled to come before Council and I would not put it on the agenda, we do have a process where it can be put on the agenda by a series of Councilors.' That never happened." And, he says he is not to blame for Graham’s recent political problems. "Remember that incident with Kevin Fitzpatrick and the whole ethics thing that kicked all this off? If you look at the tape [of the City Council meeting] that night, I wasn’t even there."
 
Endicott says it will take at least two weeks to determine the process for filling Graham’s seat on Council. 
 


SALEM, OR -- Oregon's unemployment rate rose a fraction to 3.8% in July, but remains near the record low of 3.6% seen in May of this year. Employment Department Economist Nick Beleicicks says an increasing number of people are finding full-time work, "The number of people who are working part-time but who would rather be working full-time - we call those 'involuntary part-time workers' - that's at a record low level."

 

The state added 5,900 jobs last month. Beleicicks says, "Job growth had slowed at the beginning of the year. In January, we were down to just 2% over-the-year job growth. Now we're back up to above three - we're at 3.1%; that's much faster than the U.S. rate." Leisure & Hospitality and Construction added the most jobs; Healthcare and Retail also saw gains. Professional & Business Services was the only major industry to cut more than a thousand jobs.

 


BEND, OR -- Eight people were arrested as part of an ongoing investigation into suspected drug activity at a Bend property on Northeast 12th Street. Bend Police had received multiple complaints regarding traffic at the home.

 

While conducting surveillance last week, officers watched a pickup stop at the house for a short time then leave. They pulled it over and arrested four people from Mill City: 21-year-old Jesse Gust, 34-year-old Klint Wise, 57-year-old Janene Gust and 61-year-old Randy Resch. Investigators seized 97 grams of meth, a third of which was packaged for sales. Wise reportedly attempted to escape and resisted arrest; had an out-of-state warrant and is also charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. 

 

On Sunday, investigators executed a search warrant and arrested four Bend residents: 31-year-old Micaela Zacarias, 38-year-old Leah Atkins, 42-year-old Rachel Mahoney and 45-year-old Ryan Atkins. Detectives also discovered five children at the home. Officers seized more meth and evidence consistent with drug sales. 


MADRAS, OR -- The Central Oregon Drug Enforcement team has released details of a Jefferson County drug bust conducted in May. Authorities say the delay in information was due to the ongoing investigation. 

 

CODE detectives suspected 47-year-old Ronald Thrasher was trafficking methamphetamine and asked local agencies to try and locate him. Talina Ortiz was pulled over by State Police while driving Thrasher’s car on May 19. The 43-year-old Prineville woman was arrested on multiple drug charges and an outstanding warrant. Thrasher arrived at the stop and was also taken into custody. 
 
While executing a search warrant at his Madras home, detectives found over 15 pounds of meth, nearly $17,000 in cash, a gun reported stolen from Portland and other evidence.  


REDMOND, OR -- Dry and breezy conditions Wednesday could increase local wildfire activity. An incident management team from the southwest is now helping with several fires in the Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests; it's also available to manage any new starts over the next few weeks.

 

In the Three Sisters Wilderness, the Milli Fire is now 260 acres and 2% contained, and the Whychus Fire is 90% contained at about 2,030 acres. A number of closures are in place in the Three Sisters Wilderness, including the Obsidian Trailhead, Obsidian Limited Entry Area and all trails east of the Pacific Crest Trail from Elk Lake to the South Sisters Climber Trail. 
 
The Belknap Fire (pictured above) in the Ochocos is estimated at 123 acres and 5% contained. Trail closures are in place within the Mill Creek Wilderness and temporary flight restrictions are in place over the fire. 
 
And, northeast of Shaniko, the North Pole Fire has burned 5,075 acres of private and BLM land; it’s 0% contained. 


REDMOND, OR -- A 20-year-old Redmond man is accused of trying to lure a 15-year-old for sex. Police arrested Austin Rose on Monday after receiving information that he had contacted the Redmond girl via text message and social media. 

 

Investigators say he provided explicit material of himself and suggested a meeting. The two were acquaintances. Rose is charged with one count of Luring a Minor and five counts of Encouraging Child Sex Abuse.
 
Redmond Police ask that anyone with information about this case or any similar incidents with Rose to call non-emergency dispatch at 541-693-6911. 


BEND, OR -- Central Oregonians are stocking up on gas, medications and supplies, for fear local streets will be clogged with eclipse viewers over the next few days. Local garbage haulers are worried they’ll run into the same problem.

 
Bend Garbage and Recycling, High Country Disposal (HCD) and Cascade Disposal are moving up collection times by several hours, in an effort to avoid eclipse-related traffic problems. Brad Bailey is the President of Bend Garbage and Recycling and HCD. He tells KBND News, "Our biggest concerns around the eclipse timeframe are traffic and the inability to get our trucks to our service areas and into the residential areas in a timely fashion. So, we’ve decided to make operations earlier and our pickup times earlier and are asking our customers to help us by putting out their garbage and recyclables out the night before." For customers in and around Bend, trucks will begin at 4 a.m. instead of 6 a.m. for the next week.
 
But, Bailey says it’ll be even earlier in Redmond and Sisters. "For High Country Disposal, because it’s closer to the eclipse area and closer to Madras, we think traffic is going to be even worse up there and we’re going to start at midnight. So, we’re asking our customers there to have their garbage and recyclables out by 10 o’clock the previous day."
 
 
Collection days remain the same. Bailey says the time shift will only last through next Tuesday. "The main thing we’ve heard from people is their concern for being able to get where they need to get in a timely manner. That was the same concern that prompted us to change our schedules. We’ve met with the cities and counties and emergency response teams in order to kind of anticipate what might come, but that seemed to be the biggest inhibitor for us to be able to get our job done is to actually be able to get where we need to go." He adds, "We’re going to do our very best to get it picked up. Only in our most extreme situation of this event clogs the roadways, where even in the off hours we’re not able to transport garbage; that would be the only time at which we would have to interrupt service."
 
Eclipse Coverage on KBND is supported in part by Awnings Unlimited. Shade yourself from the sun with Awnings Unlimited at 5541-389-1619 and awningsunlimited.net.


REDMOND, OR -- A stretch of the Pilot Butte Canal is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The downtown Redmond segment runs from NW Dogwood to NW Quince, and is directly associated with the founding of the city, which was laid out along the canal next to Frank and Josephine Redmond's homestead.
 
Jason Allen, with the State Historic Preservation Office, says just being old isn't enough to make a landmark historic, a site must also meet certain criteria. "Criterion 'A' has to do with historical associations with events, trends, or patterns in history; Criterion 'B' has to do with associations with historical people; Criterion 'C' has to do with architectural or engineering merit, and Criterion 'D' is a resource that either has or is likely to produce important historical information." Allen tells KBND News the canals made Central Oregon the bread basket of the state, allowing the region to produce crops shipped all over the world.
 
"The intent is to recognize the historic impact of the canals," says Allen. "In Redmond, in particular, the canal was there first, with the 

intent that it would become the regional shipping center for the agricultural output of that area." Due to that historic distinction, other segments of the canal are being considered for listing on the national level, as well.

 

The newly listed downtown Redmond segment is about 6,780' long. It's the 41st Deschutes County property to be listed on the Register, which is managed by the National Park Service. 

 

Photo courtesy Deschutes Historical Society: Pilot Butte Canal 1907



SISTERS, OR -- A Sisters man remains missing after two days of searching in and around Suttle Lake. Ben Hendrickson hasn’t been seen since about 9:30 Saturday night. The 33-year-old's vehicle and camping equipment were found at the Blue Bay Campground; his kayak and a few personal items were discovered on the south side of the lake, although they were not located together.

 

Jefferson and Deschutes County Search and Rescue teams performed a hasty search by land and water, but were unsuccessful. Hendrickson’s phone is turned off and missing, so GPS data is unavailable. Officials say it is difficult to get lost on land at Suttle Lake, due to its proximity to paved roads. Hendrickson is said to be in good physical condition. 

 

Anyone with information is asked to call Frontier Dispatch at 541-475-2201.
 


SISTERS, OR -- A 24-year-old Portland man was rescued from South Sister, Monday, after he was found incoherent and crawling along a trail. Jhonzell Burton reportedly had been attempting to summit the peak with friends when he began to suffer from an unknown medical problem. Deschutes County 911 received the call for help at about 12:40 p.m.

 

AirLink flew Deschutes County Search and Rescue volunteers to Burton’s location at about 8,600' elevation, while another team hiked in with a wheeled litter. At about 3:30 p.m., they helped him to a landing zone where AirLink picked up Burton and flew him to St. Charles Bend. His hiking companions returned down the trail with the SAR volunteers. 


REDMOND, OR -- Redmond City Councilor Anne Graham resigned from the City Council, Monday night. In a message to supporters posted to Facebook, she says her decision to step down has nothing to do with the recent investigation and subsequent decision handed down last month by the State Government Ethics Commission or for health reasons, but she refused to elaborate further. 

 

KBND News will continue to follow this developing story as more information becomes available.
 


BEND, OR -- This week's expected invasion of eclipse visitors could put a serious strain on Central Oregon gasoline supplies. Mid-Columbia Producers, a regional oil and gas distributor, is getting prepared.

 

Kathy Temple, with MCP, says they're ready, "We've done everything we possibly can - talking to our carriers, talking to our staff, talking to our customers - to make sure that everybody's prepared and knows what to expect." But, she admits getting more fuel into the area could prove difficult. "We have the ability to store fuel in multiple locations. But, we've talked to our carriers because one of the problems is going to be not only the fuel that's stored here in Central Oregon, but it's getting the fuel. Most comes from the Portland rack, and that's going to be a gruesome drive, but we're doing everything we can possibly do to prepare for what's basically the unknown." Her biggest suggestion for drivers: Fill up your tank well in advance. 

 

She tells KBND News they're trying to plan for every eventuality, "A certain amount of fuel, of course, will be saved, for emergency medical vehicles. I mean, we have to make sure that we service that sector, should an emergency arise."

 

For Mid-Columbia Producers, Temple says this is practice for an actual disaster. "Of course the question is always: How are we going to make sure there's fuel? This is really a dress rehearsal, for a disaster, in our minds, and a huge opportunity to learn. But I think we've got as good a handle as we possibly can on it and, at least this one we get to plan for."

 

Eclipse Coverage on KBND is supported in part by Awnings Unlimited. Shade yourself from the sun with Awnings Unlimited at 5541-389-1619 and awningsunlimited.net.



WARM SPRINGS, OR -- Cooler weekend temperatures and some rain helped crews battling the Nena Springs Fire: It's now 60% contained and some evacuation orders have been reduced or lifted. It’s burned about 40,000 acres on the Warm Springs Reservation.

 

The Whychus Fire, eight miles west of Sisters, is also 60% contained at just over 2,000 acres. Also west of Sisters, the Milli Fire is at 110 acres and 0% contained; it prompted a number of temporary closures, this weekend, including the Whispering Pine campground. And, smoke jumpers arrived in the Ochoco National Forest, Sunday for the 60-acre Belknap Fire.  
 
In the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness, 700 firefighters continue to work the Whitewater Fire.  It’s now estimated at over 6,500 acres. The Rebel Fire, in the Three Sisters Wilderness, has burned 860 acres. 
 
On Saturday, Governor Brown authorized the Oregon National Guard to help fight fires burning near Crater Lake and in southwest Oregon. 
 
Nena Springs Photo by Rich Labelle: Airtanker makes a drop at Dant along the Deschutes River


CROOKED RIVER RANCH, OR -- A Crooked River Ranch house was destroyed by fire, late Saturday night. Firefighters responded to the double-wide mobile home on Shad Road, just before 11 p.m. and found the structure fully engulfed, with flames spreading to nearby trees and grass. Pacific Power responded to the scene to handle an energized power line found lying on the ground.

 

The home was unoccupied at the time; no injuries were reported. The structure and contents were a total loss. Several trees had to be cut down due to safety concerns. The cause of the fire is under investigation. 

 



BEND, OR -- An 18-year-old was killed in a weekend crash near Bend High that critically wounded his 19-year-old passenger. According to Police, Daniel Bazan, of Bend, was speeding on NE 9th, just before 4 a.m. Saturday, when his car left the road and struck a tree. Bazan died at the scene. 

 

His passenger, Jason Soto remains in critical condition at St. Charles Bend. The crash shut down NE 9th Street for more than five hours and remains under investigation. 


PRINEVILLE, OR -- A La Pine man died at Prineville Reservoir, Saturday afternoon. According to the Crook County Sheriff’s Office, 28-year-old Christopher Brown climbed to the top of Dinosaur Rock and jumped more than 100-feet into the water but didn’t resurface. 

 

After an unsuccessful area search by Crook County deputies, a Deschutes County Sheriff’s dive team responded. They found his body submerged in 65-feet of water. 
 
Alcohol and marijuana are thought to have been factors in what officials are calling an accident. 


REDMOND, OR -- A Mercedes van caught fire in the Coastal Farm and Ranch parking lot on the south end of Redmond, just after noon Thursday, sending up thick black smoke and causing multiple small explosions. Firefighters extinguished the flames and protected nearby vehicles and trees.

 

Earlier in the morning, Redmond crews responded to a cooking fire on Southwest 23rd.  A 20-year-old woman left a pan of oil cooking on the stove for an extended period of time. Fire spread from the stovetop to the microwave and cabinets above. Police officers were first on scene, at about 5:30 a.m., and discharged a fire extinguisher through an open window to contain the blaze.

 

There were no injuries in either incident. 



BEND, OR -- Central Oregon will experience a serious uptick in population over the next 10 days, and with more people come more health concerns. Eclipse viewers are expected to start pouring into the area, Wednesday. Lisa Goodman, with St. Charles Health System, says they're taking steps to make sure medical care is available to visitors and residents in the week surrounding the eclipse.

 

Goodman tells KBND News, "St. Charles will have some clinics with extended hours: our Immediate Care East clinic at 2600 NE Neff Rd in Bend, our Family Care Redmond at 211 NW Larch Ave, our Family Care Prineville at 384 SE Combs Flat Rd, and our Family Care Madras at 480 NE A St, will be open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m." Those extended hours will be in effect August 16-23. "We are anticipating we will see more patients than usual through that week and so we are preparing accordingly." Goodman recommends visiting these clinics before the emergency room, if possible. She says they're trying to keep ERs from being inundated with lesser emergencies, "We just want to make sure that people are prepared to take care of themselves that week and that, if needed, they have the ability to get access to health care services."

 

"We want this to be a fun and enjoyable week for everyone in the area," says Goodman, "But, we also want everyone to be safe. So, please take care to be prepared with some of your basic needs covered: water, food, fuel, and certainly, if you have a medical condition, and you think you might need access to health care in a hurry, be sure you're able to get there." And, she says people with potentially urgent conditions should make sure they stick close to a hospital. "If you're pregnant, or if you have another medical condition that might require care, make sure you're having conversations with your provider in advance, so that your care is coordinated. If you need to have any medications filled or picked up from a pharmacy that you do so before that week, as well."

Eclipse Coverage on KBND is supported in part by Awnings Unlimited. Shade yourself from the sun with Awnings Unlimited at 5541-389-1619 and awningsunlimited.net.



PRINEVILLE, OR -- The Crook County Sheriff’s Office is looking for the owners of two trailers seized during a theft investigation. Authorities arrested 61-year-old Mark Collins (pictured) Monday, after several construction vehicles and trailers were found at a property just outside Prineville.

 

Prineville Police were dispatched to investigate the theft of a 17' dump trailer from a business that occurred Sunday. On Monday, a citizen tip led officers and deputies to the Grimes Road property, where the stolen trailer was found, along with two others that appeared out of place. They also discovered a Caterpillar excavator reported stolen from Peterson CAT in Redmond. 

 

The dump trailer and excavator were returned to their rightful owners, but a dual axle high-walled cargo trailer and a dual axle flatbed were not listed as stolen, so investigators don't know who they belong to.
 
Collins faces theft charges in both Deschutes and Crook counties. 


WARM SPRINGS, OR -- The Nena Springs Fire continues to grow on the north end of the Warm Springs Reservation. As of Thursday night, it was estimated at about 23,000 acres. The fire was discovered Wednesday afternoon and has prompted evacuations on the reservation.

 

While the Nena Springs Fire is near Wasco County and not actually inside the area managed by the Central Oregon Fire Management Service, Alex Robertson says his agency is sending resources to help, through the Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center in Redmond. "It's been burning actively. We know it's moving to the south in the reservation. We're very concerned about that fire, because there are a couple of places that if it turns, they get a wind shift or it changes directions, there's a potential it could come off the reservation and impact some BLM lands and some other private lands. So, all of us are paying very close attention in supporting Warm Springs and their efforts to handle that fire."
 

About 40 homes were issued Level 3 evacuation notices, with orders to leave. Highway 3, from Kah-Nee-Ta to Simnasho is closed to all traffic and the community of Simnasho is at Evacuation Level 2, which means residents need to be set to leave if the fire shifts. A Type-2 Incident Management Team took control of the firefighting operation Friday morning. 

 
Central Oregon remains under a red flag warning through Friday at 10 p.m., due to the high risk of abundant lightning and gusty winds.
 
Photo: Alyssa Macy/Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, courtesy KWSO Facebook.
 


REDMOND, OR -- During Senator Ron Wyden's visit to the Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center in Redmond, Thursday, he talked with forestry officials about how the eclipse could impact fire season, and what fire prevention steps are being taken. John Allen, the Deschutes National Forest's Forest Supervisor, told Wyden they are taking a proactive approach. "One thing we're doing different for the eclipse event, recognizing the state highways and major roads are going to be plugged and aviation may be one of the only ways of responding, we're pre-positioning our firefighting forces out throughout our geographic area, Ron, and many of them will be staying overnight in these remote locations so we can get firefighters to fires and not rely on the state highways like we normally would, to get places."

 

Sen. Wyden questioned whether the large number of eclipse watchers coming from outside the High Desert will be able to get information about the wildfire danger and potential evacuations. "You kinda think to yourself, you're out in the wilderness, you're camping, you're doing what generations of Oregonians have done and then you have a big fire, and you're trying to figure out cell service. What are people going to do in terms of communicating with you and what you're telling them?" Representatives from the US Forest Service, Oregon Department of Forestry and BLM explained they're posting signs near regional entrance points, staffing temporary informational kiosks and they're working to get maps to visitors that include evacuation routes.

 

Wyden tells KBND News, "There are going to be some people who have camped a lot before, and they probably know a lot about evacuation issues and the Forest Service pre-positioning people and what happens if your cell phone doesn't work.  But, there are going to be a lot of folks who are going to be coming from all over the country - all over the world - to Central Oregon. I want to make sure that these folks have the resources to get them that information in a timely way." He adds, "They may not know that this year there's been a lot of fuels build-up, that when we have lightning strikes, that can start a huge fire in a hurry, they may not know where to turn in terms of accessing help." 

 

Despite the preparedness effort, forestry officials admitted to Wyden that in the event of a wildfire, it may be necessary for aviation crews to notify campers of an evacuation over a helicopter's P.A. system, if all other forms of communication are unsuccessful.

 

Wyden also attended the drone conference at the Riverhouse Convention Center in Bend, and he held a Jefferson County Town Hall at the Warm Springs K-8 Academy, Thursday afternoon. 

 

Eclipse Coverage on KBND is supported in part by Awnings Unlimited. Shade yourself from the sun with Awnings Unlimited at 5541-389-1619 and awningsunlimited.net.



 

REDMOND, OR -- Wildland firefighters have responded to more than 160 fires on Central Oregon public lands, so far this year; 75% of those were human caused, which forestry officials say is a much higher percentage than normal. And, the High Desert has not received the intermittent rainfall that typically provides a small amount of relief through the season. 

 

Alex Robertson, with the Central Oregon Fire Management Service, briefed U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) in Redmond Thursday morning on how difficult and unusual this fire season has been, so far, partly due to the wet and incredibly snowy winter followed by excessive drying. According to Robertson, local weather stations haven't seen substantial rainfall in more than 100 days. He told Sen. Wyden at the Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center (COID), "[We had] Really moist conditions - it turned off, got hot, no rain, grass dries out and now we're starting to get lightning." Wyden asked, "Would it be fair to say that, looking at coming up, sort of a perfect storm in terms of the fire season?" Robertson answered, "Absolutely."

 
Central Oregon fire crews are currently helping on large fires burning outside the local fire management area, including the Whitewater Fire near Mt. Jefferson and the Nena Springs Fire on the Warm Springs Reservation. Robertson tells KBND News the weather forecast could complicate an already busy fire season. "Our folks are out responding to fires, right now, trying to keep them small. The air tankers are flying on some going fires, right now; we can expect to see more of that here in the next couple of days. We're under a red flag warning for abundant amounts of lightning. What that means to us is it's weather, so who knows? But, there's a high potential to get a number of new starts here in Central Oregon." He adds, "Any new start we can expect to grow very quickly. That means using a lot of our aviation assets, our crews, our engines to be able to respond to those new starts. The complexity is, is that if we're getting lightning - lightning always produces fires for us - that will take resources to work on those fires. Any human-caused fires we get on top of that is just an extensive workload that, at some point, we run out of resources to be able to respond." 
 
One dispatcher at COID tells KBND News the lingering haze makes it very difficult for fire lookouts to spot new starts until they get big.


BEND, OR -- A Bend couple is accused of stealing two high-end bikes from St. Charles Medical Center, last week. The bicycles were locked up outside the Bend hospital when they were taken August 4. Bend Police received an anonymous tip that two suspects were at this week's Munch N Music concert, and officers on foot patrol downtown tracked the pair.

 

They took 44-year-old Carrie ODonell into custody at 

Drake Park without incident. But, police say in an effort to evade capture, 35-year-old Thomas Dunaway (pictured, right) jumped into Mirror Pond. He swam for about 25 minutes while numerous officers responded, and eventually came to shore under his own power where he was arrested. 
 
Both had outstanding warrants from California and are charged with Theft and Criminal Mischief. Dunaway is also charged with Escape 3 and Resisting Arrest. 
 
Top Photo: Security footage of suspects at SCMC-Bend, courtesy Bend Police


 

CROOKED RIVER RANCH, OR -- Crooked River Ranch is looking to adjust the lines of the nearby Wilderness Study Area to include 832 acres of BLM land in an attempt to facilitate fire prevention and suppression activities that are currently prohibited. Congressman Greg Walden (R-OR2) met Wednesday with first responders and residents to discuss the proposal.

 

CRR Fire Chief Harry Ward explained to Walden that homes along the rim face obvious fire risks. "Tall trees, tall straw brush, limbs to the ground on the juniper - It's to the point that, if a fire came through, there would be no way for us to stop it. And, as far as a fire hazard, pulling in Federal resources, and air resources and stuff like that, and having them available, right now, could be a huge problem for us." 
 
Crooked River Ranch Fire & Rescue works closely with BLM to fight wildfire in the area, but due to jurisdictional issues, the ranch can't work on the land in question unless its classification as a 'Wilderness Study Area' is lifted. Congressman Walden says, "The WSAs are easily created by the agency, they can just say 'this is a study area.' But, the only way you can change one, or eliminate it, is through an act of Congress, so it's kind of an interesting process that maybe should be flipped the other way; but it's not. So, we have to make our case that there's a reason to move this back, and I think the reason is pretty clear that it's fire safety in a community that's fire prone." Walden hopes his House Resolution 2075 will get to the House floor when Congress is back in session in September.
 
He told the group the area would benefit from clean up and maintenance the adjustment would allow, "We live in a high fire danger environment. And, it seems to me, the most responsible tact we could take is to allow active fuels reduction to prevent catastrophic fire. And so, we were very judicious in working with the community to try and find a balance here that moves the line back to an appropriate area to prevent what could be a devastating and deadly fire." Walden also commended efforts to create a secondary access road through the Ranch to increase options for residents in the event of an emergency. 


 

 

SISTERS, OR -- The Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire District has a new firetruck in service in Camp Sherman. The water tender is a 2005 model previously used at the Kandahar Air Base in Afghanistan. It replaces a 1968 truck that had reached the end of its service life. 

 

The new unit was purchased through a program designed to re-purpose government-owned assets at the local level. Sisters Fire paid just over three-thousand dollars for the truck, and the Chief expects to invest another 20-thousand in upgrades. He says a new water tender can cost over $200,000. 


REDMOND, OR -- After initially stating she would fight the ethics violations charged against her, Redmond City Councilor Anne Graham has reversed course. "As much as it pains me, I’m going to accept the findings of the Oregon Government Ethics Commission," she told fellow Councilors in an emotional speech, Tuesday. "I’m not going to appeal." 

 

She maintains she did nothing wrong when she e-mailed city staff with concerns about building permits issued in her neighborhood. "The primary reason I’m not going to appeal, in spite of attorney opinion that I have a very strong case, is that it will cost me $5,000-10,000 and I don’t have the money." Graham added, "I need to say: I did not use my office for financial gain. It was not my intent; I didn’t intend to intimidate anybody. Their finding is based on a technicality and I’m going to accept it, basically for financial reasons, and just to get it over with."

 
Following a lengthy investigation, the Ethics Commission found last month that Graham attempted to influence approval of building permits to protect the value of her own home. She also failed to disclose a potential conflict of interest. Graham says the the Commission’s decision was based on a “nit-picky technicality.”
 
Redmond City Council voted 6-1, at this week's meeting, to clarify rules regarding how Councilors communicate with city staff and adding a provision allowing for sanctions against Councilors who violate the rules. Graham was the lone “no” vote and called the changes "mean spirited." Mayor George Endicott contends changes in verbiage, which specify Councilors contact the City Manager with questions or concerns about staff, have been in the works for several years.
 
Also at this week’s meeting, Mayor George Endicott announced plans to run for re-election in 2018. 


WARM SPRINGS, OR -- Wildfire has forced evacuations on the north side of the Warm Springs Reservation. The Red Cross established a temporary shelter at the Warm Springs Community Center to help those affected by the Nena Springs fire.

 

Level 3 evacuations were issued Wednesday for 15 homes on Highway 3 in Simnasho, with Level 2 evacuation notices sent to another 40 homes in the Schoolie Flat area. Highway 9 from Highway 26 to Simnasho is also closed.

 

As of Wednesday night, the fire was estimated at 16,800 acres. A Type-2 Incident Management team is expected to take over Thursday at noon. 
 
Photo courtesy KWSO on Facebook.


 

BEND, OR -- The eclipse is just 12 days away, and the preparedness message is getting louder. Tuesday night's "What's Brewing: Eclipse!" event, sponsored by the Bend Chamber of Commerce and City Club of Central Oregon, featured three panelists with various expertise on the topic: Jim Todd, OMSI's Director of Space Science Education, Deschutes County Emergency Manager Sgt. Nathan Garibay, and Kristine McConnell, with the Central Oregon Visitors' Association.

 

McConnell outlined how best to deal with the large number of visitors Central Oregon is expecting August 16-23. She told the crowd, "What we can all do now, the message that I really think is very simple and for us to pass on: You want to arrive early, stay put, and leave late if you're going to travel, even locally, to get to the path."
 
Deschutes County Sheriff's Sgt. Garibay spoke about the importance of being prepared for the immense crowds, but stressed the eclipse is not a disaster, per say. "We're not asking anybody to do any different than what we ask them to do year round, when we talk about different impacts or threats that our community faces. I'll tell you whether it's an earthquake, a winter storm, a wind event, or an eclipse, many, many of the same things that you do to prepare will keep your family safe, regardless of what the event is."

 

And, OMSI's Todd talked about the spectacle of the whole thing. He says excitement over this first coast-to-coast eclipse since World War I is contagious, "It's infectious. People who've seen it before, they want to see it again, and those who've not seen this want to see it because everybody's talking about it. It's a rare event."

 

Eclipse Coverage on KBND is supported in part by Awnings Unlimited. Shade yourself from the sun with Awnings Unlimited at 5541-389-1619 and awningsunlimited.net.



BEND, OR -- Bend Police Chief Jim Porter took a lot of heat at last week’s City Council meeting, when a number of business owners complained about transients harassing customers, vandalism and other problems. Chief Porter acknowledges there are issues. He tells KBND News a growing population brings an increase in crime. "Many of our issues downtown are related to mental health, addiction issues and homelessness. So, we’re trying to deal with an entire social problem with just law enforcement and we can’t do that."

 

But, he says he’s trying to address the concerns. "We’ve been engaging over the past year, meeting with the merchants downtown, coming together. We did a survey downtown to see what the needs were. Now, we’re trying to locate the funding throughout the city to actually support those needs and we believe we do have some funding sources to help. Because, we can only do the enforcement section; there’s some physical changes that have to be made to the downtown area." He says those changes could deter criminal activity downtown, to "make that less comfortable and make it so that it’s actually more usable for the majority of the people in Bend. We have garbage enclosures down there; we need to do something with those. Those become a haven for needles, for people doing elicit acts downtown, we need to fix those. Now, that take money, takes time and it takes a contractor to do that." He says the city now has an engineer available to help, and he's hopeful an increase in tax revenue since the recession will pay for safety improvements. 
 
Chief Porter also admits his department is understaffed, "We’re a city who’s trying to balance the needs of roads, sewer, water and police. All of those you need, and we’re playing catch-up now, because we’re finally – our tax revenue is catching up and we can do that. One of my challenges is, my patrol teams are six officers and a sergeant. Our staffing plan is to have nine officers on per shift." However, that hiring process takes time. Porter says it takes nearly a year to get a new officer fully trained. He says two more rookies are headed to the police academy in September.
 
To hear our full conversation with Bend Police Chief Jim Porter, click HERE or visit our Podcast Page.


 

DETROIT, OR -- The Whitewater Fire continues to burn east of Detroit, prompting Deschutes and Willamette National Forest officials to close a portion of the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness "for the foreseeable future,” including during the eclipse. The northern section of the closure is within the path of totality. Closed destinations include Rockpile Lake, Cabot Lake, Carl Lake, Shirley Lake and Table Mountain. The Pacific Crest Trail is closed from Minto Pass north to Breitenbush Lake. Click HERE to view a series of maps showing adjacent National Forest lands that are open inside the path of the eclipse. 

 

"We understand this is a disappointment to residents and visitors who looked forward to the opportunity to experience the eclipse in this area," Forest Supervisor Tracy Beck said in a statement released Tuesday, "Unfortunately, the risk is too great, and our highest responsibility must be visitor safety." She adds, 

"Fueled by excessively hot conditions of the previous weeks, this fire has burned very erratically and some nights has moved more than a mile through thick forests."

 
About two-dozen Oregon National Guard personnel are assisting with suppression efforts, along with two Chinook helicopters equipped with nearly 2,000-gallon capacity water buckets. The 1st Battalion, 168th Aviation Regiment is based in Pendleton. 
 
The Whitewater Fire started with a lightning strike and is burning in steep terrain. As of Wednesday morning, it's estimated at 5,580 acres and 0% contained. 


 

MADRAS, OR -- Charlie's OK Barbershop sits right next to what used to be an empty lot on SW Fifth in Madras. Nick Barber, business owner, and backyard block party enthusiast, Nick Bowlby, hopes to capitalize on that empty lot - and the eclipse - with a new venture. Initially, Bowlby says, he opened the Willow Creek Tap Room for his barbershop customers. "You can go outside and wait for a haircut, have a beer and eat some food, and just kinda hang out or play some games outside." 


But, then excitment over the eclipse grew. He tells KBND News, "I'm like, 'Well, I guess the SolarFest is coming. So, I might as well upgrade 

it a little bit, expand it, with more food trucks, and some more seating for everyone during the eclipse.'"

 

Willow Creek Tap Room is open seven days a week and has quickly become a gathering place for locals. "We have five beers on tap, and three to four food trucks that rotate; we have a brick oven pizza, there's a taco, we have a BBQ, a hot dog one, then we have a Hawaiian one that rotates in and out also. We have music; we have live bands, every other weekend we have a DJ that comes out there, we have karaoke. It's kid friendly. We have different games out there for adults and kids, we have corn hole, checkers, life-sized Jenga. Yeah," Bowlby says, "I can't complain."

 

Eclipse Coverage on KBND is supported in part by Awnings Unlimited. Shade yourself from the sun with Awnings Unlimited at 5541-389-1619 and awningsunlimited.net.

 



BEND, OR -- Oregon Republican Congressman Greg Walden met Tuesday with a number of wilderness user groups in Bend to discuss how to manage the growing number of visitors causing damage to local trails. Deschutes National Forest Supervisor John Allen told Walden he’s working with the Willamette National Forest to create a plan for areas like the Three Sisters and Mt. Jefferson Wilderness. "These are Congressionally designated areas, and we have an agency mandate to maintain the character of these wild places; that’s why our two national forests are proposing a variety of management tools that we’re going to consider to hopefully maintain the wilderness character into the future for generations to come."

 

That plan could include new permits for hikers and other users, to help control how many people visit some of the most popular areas and help pay for maintenance. Rep. Walden supports the idea if the fees collected stay local and pay for trail and resource maintenance. "We have to make sure that the recreation that takes place is done in a managed way, so that we don’t destroy that which we love – especially in these fragile environments. What I heard was a common theme around that. Especially for our wilderness areas, people want to be able to have access, but they realize we can overrun them if we’re not careful." The proposal is similar to how the Northwest Forest Pass helps pay for work, which encouraged Walden, "They [The Forest Service] have a lot of flexibility to use the funds from the Northwest Forest Pass and they plow 80-95% of it right back into improvements for restroom facilities, picnic tables and trailheads, and all that. It sounds like the same would be applied to any kind of permitting system with fees for the wilderness hikes. But that would be plowed right back into trail maintenance, management and a better experience for the hiking public."
 
Tuesday's meeting also included user groups like the Backcountry Horseman, Oregon Equestrian Trails, Visit Bend, the Bend Chamber of Commerce and the Pacific Crest Trails Association. Most support tighter management and better public education for those visiting areas growing in popularity. In 2011, Allen says the Three Sisters Wilderness saw about 25,000 people; by 2016, that number had grown to 90,000, and not everyone is a responsible guest. Walden says the wilderness is part of Oregon's culture and must be protected. "We want to make sure people have access to their public lands, so you can have the experience that you live here to have. They’re trying to be inventive here, and innovative, and build off of programs that have worked in other forests, so that you can get out to camp and hike and not have a whole city built around you, if you will. Or, leave trash and human waste and dog feces behind." In many cases, he says, it's a case of 'loving it to death.' Walden tells KBND News, "It’s about finding the right balance. And, we love our public lands a lot, and we’ve just got to make sure we don’t destroy them in the process."
 
The amount of the proposed permits has not been determined. Allen tells KBND News they would likely only be required for the busiest areas that see the most resource damage. He says it would serve to help fund maintenance and push some visitors to other, more underused areas. The Forest Service is finishing up an analysis and expects to have a draft of a new management plan available for public comment by this winter. 
 
Photo: Rep. Walden (right) listens to Forest Supervisor John Allen, of the Deschutes National Forest, at Tuesday's meeting at the Cascade Lakes Welcome Station. 


BEND, OR -- Bend firefighters cleaned up a hazardous spill near SE Fourth and Wilson, Monday afternoon. A passerby reported a five-gallon bucket the smelled like benzene lying in the road, at about 3:30 p.m. Crews identified the material as a concrete sealing agent, which is moderately combustible and a biological irritant.

 

After discovering about four-gallons had spilled, Bend Fire consulted with the Salem HazMat team and responded with an absorbent. Officials believe the bucket fell off the back of a truck, likely unbeknownst to the driver. 

 

Bend Fire says it's not unusual for people to be unaware something has fallen off their truck. But, they urge drivers to make sure all items are securely fastened. They ask motorists who come upon a spill not to drive through material, since tires can spread potentially hazardous liquids. 



MADRAS, OR -- Senior care experts say the elderly in Jefferson County could be the most impacted by the high number of visitors expected for the solar eclipse. "Madras thinks that they might run out of gas, out of food, out of water, all the port-a-potties are going to be rented out," says Elizabeth Banderas, with Helping Hands Home Care. "We are looking at this as an emergency situation and we don’t want our seniors to be stuck in a situation with no help."

 

Seniors can get started on an eclipse emergency kit during a special preparedness meeting, Tuesday morning. Banderas says Helping Hands and Ashley Manor Senior Living will provide a few key items: "Solar eclipse glasses, so that everyone can safely watch the eclipse, water and granola bars, just to have a snack on hand and some water because they’re thinking water is going to be scarce during that week." Today's preparedness meeting at the Madras Senior Center starts at 10 a.m. and includes a presentation by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office. 
 
Banderas recommends seniors have their emergency supplies gathered by the end of this week, as traffic in Madras is already starting to pick up, and she says it's only going to get worse. She tells KBND News, kits should include extra medication and a few other important items: "We’re suggesting a flashlight, diabetic supplies if they’re diabetic, hearing aid batteries if they wear hearing aids, oxygen – if they use oxygen, they should have at least a week’s worth on hand."

 

Many Jefferson County seniors don’t drive and Banderas is worried they won't have access to help in an emergency. "I mean, I’m going to recommend to them that they have a family member stay with them or they stay with a family member. Because, if there is an emergency situation – their blood sugar dramatically drops or rises, or their blood pressure does the same thing – then, they’re going to need to have somebody there who can take care of them and react, because EMTs may not be able to react as quickly as their body needs them to."
 
Eclipse Coverage on KBND is supported in part by Awnings Unlimited. Shade yourself from the sun with Awnings Unlimited at 5541-389-1619 and awningsunlimited.net.


REDMOND, OR -- Three people were hurt in a crash involving a bicyclist near Redmond, Monday morning. Investigators say 28-year-old Ashley Lair, of Beaverton, was northbound on Canal, just before 8 a.m., when – for an unknown reason – her vehicle crossed into oncoming traffic. She hit a southbound car driven by a 16-year old, which caused him to spin around and hit a bicycle, near Young Avenue. 

 

Both drivers were evaluated at the Redmond hospital. The 44-year-old bicyclist, Matthew Davis of Bend, was transported to St. Charles Bend with serious injuries. 
 
The Sheriff's Office says it does not appear drugs or alcohol were contributing factors, although the crash remains under investigation. 


REDMOND, OR -- Two people were taken to the hospital following a Monday evening fire at the Reindeer Meadows independent living facility in southwest Redmond. Responding fire crews found the blaze in a third floor apartment, just after 5 p.m., where they also discovered a person inside. That victim was immediately taken to St. Charles Redmond. A second patient was taken to the hospital with minor injuries. Two others were treated and released at the scene.

 

Firefighters say a sprinkler system limited the spread of the flames, containing the fire to one room. The Red Cross is helping the three adults affected by the fire. 


BEND, OR -- Bend Police arrested a suspected bike thief and investigators continue to search for other stolen property. Matthew Chase, of Bend, is accused of breaking into a locked garage on Northwest Brickyard, on July 14, and taking two high-end bicycles worth about $17,000.

Last week, an officer saw the 32-year-old commit several traffic violations while riding a bike near SE Third and Murphy Rd. After allegedly trying to elude police and resisting arrest, Chase was taken into custody for an outstanding warrant. 
 
The bicycle he was riding at the time of his arrest is one reported stolen from the July burglary. Investigators later executed a search warrant and uncovered several other stolen bikes and other property, drugs and a gun.
 
They continue to look for the other high-end bike (pictured above) taken from NW Brickyard. Anyone with information about the case or the stolen property is asked to call 541-693-6911. 


SISTERS, OR -- Volunteers continue to search for a missing horse last seen August 2 near the Whispering Pine Horse Camp in the Three Sisters Wilderness. "Fletch" and his rider stopped for lunch on the trail and owner Elayne Barclay says that whey they went back to retrieve the horse, he ran away.

 

Fletch was last seen on the Millican Crater Trail wearing red tack. The group has contacted the Sheriff's Office, Deschutes National Forest Park Rangers and the nonprofit Stolen Horse International, for help finding the horse. 

 

Anyone with information on Fletch's whereabouts, or interested in helping with the search, can contact Stolen Horse International through their website NetPosse.com. Click HERE for more details. 



PRINEVILLE, OR -- Prineville Police continue to search for a man they say fled the scene of a Thursday night burglary. Officers, along with Crook County deputies, responded to a report of a burglary in process at business in the 11300 block of SE Juniper Canyon Road, just after 11 p.m. When units arrived, a pickup was seen trying to leave the area. The driver initially stopped, but then took off.

 

Click HERE to view dashcam footage of the initial confrontation. 

 

The man drove south on Juniper Canyon Road at speeds topping 80 MPH. The pursuit was discontinued after about two miles, after reaching an access road not suitable for most vehicles. Investigators are looking for the public's help identifying the driver and his female passenger. Anyone with information is asked to call Prineville PD Sgt. Mark Monroe at 541-447-4168 or CCSO Deputy Jake Childers. 

 



BEND, OR -- It's been a banner year for insect outbreaks in Central Oregon, and the latest is arguably the prettiest. The tortoiseshell butterfly experiences a huge upswing in population about every decade, and it's back in the area, again. 

 

Rob Flowers, with the Forest Service, says the butterflies aren't dangerous, but admits they can create a mess. "This is one of the only ones that goes into a real high population strength certain years, and it's usually for only a year or two. But, their habit is to fly over large areas in large numbers so, as they move across roads, the gross factor comes in terms of hitting a lot of them with your car. So, if you're traveling across the passes right now, or if you're up in the higher elevations, you'll see a lot of these butterflies flying around."
 
Because they fly in large groups, Flowers says it can make them difficult to photograph. Flowers tells KBND News, "The larvae are black and they have yellow spines on them. They'll complete their lifecycle and turn into an adult and that's when you get the sort of mass, the flight of the butterflies. The adults tend to be mostly yellow orange with some black spots and then a black border on the wings." He adds, There's just hundreds of butterflies just fluttering by, so it's an interesting thing to observe. It's a fairly common occurrence; we just haven't seen them for awhile. If you're new to the area, it might be something that's kind of novel. We do have some records- we've seen fairly regular outbreaks that date back to the early 1900s, so this is just another in the long series of nature doing something spectacular." Flowers expects the tortoiseshell butterfly will be in the area for four to six weeks.

 



BEND, OR -- Starting Monday, a handful of Bend Utility Department staff will carry a special dog repellent. "We’d had a couple recent encounters with aggressive dogs," says Ken Vaughan, Bend's Safety and Risk Program Manager. "Fortunately nobody was hurt but we wanted to be proactive in trying to prevent something like that from happening."

 

Vaughan tell KBND News dog encounters are unlikely and typically only occur under specific circumstances. "It’s just going to be Public Works and it’s actually just for a couple of specific areas where we have easements on private property that we need to access, in order to maintain our water and sewer infrastructure." He says, "Those have tended to be the areas where we’ve had issues with aggressive dogs. By and large, day to day operations out in the street or near a park or anything like that; we really haven’t had issues with aggressive dogs in those areas. So, we’re trying to narrow it and make sure that it’s being used appropriately at the right times." He says the spray will only be used when certain conditions are met, including when a homeowner is unable or unwilling to control an aggressive dog and the staff person isn't able to get away.

 

“Halt!” dog repellent is made from mineral oil and a cayenne pepper extract. "It’s been endorsed by the American Kennel Club, the Humane Society, a number of other agencies. And, our hope is that we never have to use it. It’s our last resort, not our first option." Vaughan also says the U.S. Postal service has used the same dog repellent for over 50 years. 


TERREBONNE, OR -- A popular vacation rental website is partnering with National Geographic to offer a unique opportunity for a pair of lucky eclipse viewers. Laura Rillos, with AirBnB, says one lucky contest winner and a guest will stay overnight, August 20th, in a geodesic dome on private property just northwest of Smith Rock in Terrebonne. "This is a beautiful area and a beautiful dome, so we really wanted to be able to offer just a really great, wonderful experience."

 

But, Rillos tells KBND News, the winner will leave Central Oregon prior to the actual eclipse. "They will take flight the morning of August 21st, head toward the Oregon Coast, and be among the first to witness the solar eclipse; and they’ll also get to meet with two National Geographic explorers and get their unique insight." She adds, "Our social media team is going to be conducting a live stream from the plane, so that people can also see what these folks are seeing; and then also on the National Geographic Facebook, as well."

 
Finding lodging within the path of totality for the August 21st eclipse is nearly impossible, but the contest is one of just a few remaining options for a lucky few. "Eclipse eve is going to be the biggest night for AirBnB in Oregon, ever," says Rillos. "We’re expecting 4600 guest arrivals just in the cities that are in the path of the eclipse, and many more throughout the state, in cities that are near the path, like Bend and elsewhere in the state."
 
Click HERE to learn more about the AirBnB contest, including entry instructions. Entries are accepted through 8:59 p.m., PST.
 
Eclipse Coverage on KBND is supported in part by Awnings Unlimited. Shade yourself from the sun with Awnings Unlimited at 5541-389-1619 and awningsunlimited.net.


BEND, OR -- Local firefighters were busy over the weekend. Friday night, Bend crews responded to a small fire inside a home on NE Norton. Investigators say a portable air conditioner failed while the homeowners were away. The unit caught fire and ignited nearby furniture. The fire was discovered by neighbors and quickly extinguished firefighters. It caused about $100,000 in damage to the home and its contents. 

 

Saturday morning, the northeast Bend Fitness 1440 was evacuated after smoke was discovered inside (above). Firefighters found flames between the ceiling and roof; they say the fire started in the men’s locker room sauna. They cut holes in the roof to ensure all flames were extinguished. That fire left about $85,000 in damage.
 
And, Sunday afternoon, Redmond firefighters stopped a blaze from spreading on a Terrebonne property after a hay baler caught fire while working in the field (right). Crews spent about an hour making sure the fire was fully out. 


BEND, OR -- With near record low unemployment, many businesses are having trouble finding qualified candidates to fill openings; Bend-La Pine Schools isn’t much different.

 

The district will hold a job fair Monday in an effort to fill a growing number of vacancies. Bend-La Pine Schools Human Resources Director Debbie Watkins says the popularity of Central Oregon both hurts and helps efforts for the district to become fully staffed. "We’re lucky in many ways that so many people want to live in Bend because we’re able to really draw some great candidates when we do have open positions. But, one of the challenges is everyone wants to live in Bend and so we’re a growing district, so we’re constantly hiring and looking for those people to add to our team."

 

She says Monday's event is for classified employees, "It could be the nutrition services, it could transportation for bus drivers, it could be custodial, it could be educational assistants that actually work in the buildings with the students but their positions don’t require a certified teaching license." She tells KBND News, "Right now, we have a large focus on custodial and transportation. If you’re interested in driving a bus but you’re not quite sure if it’s the right thing for you, or you might be a little intimidated by driving a bus; you can actually get behind the wheel at this job fair and drive the bus. And so, then you get an idea if that’s something that will work for you."

 

Monday’s job fair is from 3 to 7 p.m. at Bend Senior High.  Visit our Podcast Page to listen to our full conversation with BLS Human Resources Director Debbie Watkins, or click HERE.


BEND, OR -- Bend City Councilors voted this week to add $2.2 million to its agreement with the law firm Stoel Rives, to defend the city against a lawsuit. In 2013, Apollo Inc. was awarded a contract to complete the city's water reclamation facility expansion project; it was the lowest bidder. The city contends Apollo performed defective work, and entered into mediation due to the alleged breach of contract. But, Apollo filed suit against Bend before that process was complete.

 

Bend City Council approves exemption to low-bid contracting process to complete sewer expansion work

 

Associate City Attorney Ian Leitheiser explains why Councilors need to amend the contract with the law firm, "It's based on an estimate of taking the case to and through trial or arbitration. The parties are currently in Deschutes County Circuit Court arguing about whether this case should be heard in court by a judge, which is the city's preference, or in arbitration in a closed proceeding, which is Apollo's preference. So, either way, it's going to involve increased costs and expenses, and the proposed amendment is designed to make sure that those can be paid."
 
The amendment passed in a 6-2 vote, Wednesday. Mayor Casey Roats voted in favor of the additional money. "The court amendment represents a 'not to exceed amount,' meaning that if the work is not ultimately necessary, the money will not be spent. So, while it is a large sum of money, and we as a Council, and as a city, intend to defend ourselves vigorously, we of course hope not to spend that money, but clearly have signaled the intention to do so, if need be." He adds, "We are faced with a potential opponent in court who actually filed litigation against us while we were still in mediation, so it is with all of that history that we enter into this; not lightly, and not because we want to, but because we have to."
 
Councilors expect to hear in the fall whether the case will go to trial.


 

REDMOND, OR -- Investigators are looking into the cause of a brush fire adjacent to a northeast Redmond park. Firefighters responded to Diamond Bar Ranch Park at about 8:30 Thursday night and quickly stopped the quarter-acre blaze.

 

The fire threatened multiple homes near Northeast 5th and Quince Avenue, although no structural damage or injuries were reported. Redmond Fire believes it was human caused and described the incident as "suspicious in nature."

 

Photo courtesy Shana Whalen



BEND, OR -- Ending months of speculation, State Representative Knute Buehler (R-Bend) announced Thursday morning he will run for Governor in 2018. He tells KBND News, "Governor Brown has had her chance to lead the state for the last four years and she’s failed. And, I’d say she’s failed miserably. She’s failed to lead on really the essential issues facing the state, such as our budget and our fiscal problems, our pension and education reforms are needed and our schools and healthcare systems are just not functioning in a way that most Oregonians would expect." Brown was first elected Secretary of State in 2009 and succeeded John Kitzhaber as Governor when he resigned in early 2015

 

Buehler is the first Republican to file for the race, but he expects opposition in the May primary. "In my memory, I can’t remember when there hasn’t been a contested Republican Primary; I welcome that. I think that only makes myself and my team even stronger, it gets more people engaged in the race and we can have a more vigorous debate on the issues." If Buehler is successful in May, the Bend Republican would face Brown for a second time. She beat Buehler in the 2012 race for Secretary of State. He was elected to the Legislature in 2014; and re-elected in 2016. "Over the last four years, certainly I’ve deepened my understanding of the political process and Oregon’s state government by representing Bend in the Oregon Legislature. So, I feel very well prepared for this race in leveraging those lessons and relationships that we’ve made over the past four years."

 

Rep. Buehler responds to State Ethics Commission report on what he calls "politically motivated" complaint.

 

Buehler acknowledges that being from Central Oregon could be a disadvantage for his campaign. "I’m very much used to being an underdog, so it does not bother me a bit to be a candidate from the east side of the mountains. I have a deep understanding of the west side of Oregon; remember I grew up in Roseburg, I went to college at Oregon State, I lived for five years in the Portland metro area, so I have a deep understanding of the state of Oregon and its great citizens."

 



BEND, OR -- Central Oregon remains under a blanket of smoke and haze, thanks to a number of wildfires burning elsewhere in Oregon and in Canada. The Whitewater Fire has grown to 1,800 acres near Mt Jefferson, in the Willamette National Forest. 

 

Crews also responded to a new fire off Highway 20, between Bend and Burns, Wednesday afternoon. The Cinder Butte Fire (pictured) was first reported at 1 p.m. and by Wednesday night it had grown to 10,000 acres. By Thursday morning, fire managers estimated the wind-driven fire had scorched 25,000 acres of dry grass, brush and juniper. Highway 20 was closed intermittently Wednesday due to the blaze. As of Thursday morning, the highway was open. 
 
In British Columbia, more than 135 wildfires have burned nearly a million acres, sending smoke into much of the Pacific Northwest. 
 
Those with sensitive respiratory systems are encouraged to stay indoors with windows closed, if possible, to minimize exposure to smoke. 
 
THURSDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE:  Fire managers say the Whitewater Fire has grown to over 4,500 acres due to rising temperatures and low relative humidity. The Cinder Butte Fire is now estimated at about 56,000 acres. 
 
 


BEND, OR -- Despite a massive amount of snow in the mountains this winter, Central Oregon could struggle again with near-drought conditions, later this year. "Big picture: we can say that conditions are much better than last year," says Ken Stahr, with the Oregon Water Resources Department, "But, we can’t ignore the trend that we’re seeing this time of year: elevated temperatures, which, in turn, elevates water supply demand."

 

Stahr tells KBND News, "We can say, today, ‘hey, not bad.’ Statistically speaking, water supply on the west side of the Deschutes Basin is pretty decent. And, it’s not too darn bad coming out of the Ochocos, as well." But, he's worried about the long-term forecast. Stahr, who also chairs the state's Water Supply Availability Committee, says while Deschutes County is doing okay, Crook County is a different story. "They’re not fairing as well in that part of Central Oregon, but we can say it’s better than last year. Up until just a few weeks ago, even the Crooked [River] was doing well. But, as we speak, we have a couple of streams that are going dry, that are flowing into Ochoco Reservoir." He adds, "We’ve not seen any appreciable precip for the past about 45 days. And, as you know, we’ve had a lot of high temperatures. So, whatever snow was in the Ochocos is long gone and now we’re just down to the base flow, if you will; and it’s dropping." He expects the trend to continue, which could signal trouble for High Desert irrigators who rely on reservoirs and stream flows for water. 

 

Central Oregon saw record-setting snowfall last winter, which caused some to speculate we would see a full reversal of the 2015 drought, when the Governor declared emergencies for three-quarters of the state. Stahr says one good winter isn't enough. "Drought is a slow moving disaster. Remember 2015? It took us three years to get there. So, my story here is that it doesn’t take a year to get back to some sense of ‘we’re going to be ok’.” Referring to this winter's snow, he says, "It’s not the end of a drought. I’d like to call it relief from a drought." 
 
Click HERE to access the latest Water Conditions Report.


REDMOND, OR -- The region’s newest affordable housing development celebrates its grand opening, in Redmond Thursday morning. Residents will begin moving into Cook Crossing on Veterans Way, near the Redmond Lowe's home improvement store, on Monday. 

 

Housing Works Executive Director Tom Kemper says the building is already fully leased. "We’re adding 48 units to the affordable housing supply and that’s huge. I mean, I know 48 units doesn’t seem like a lot, but it all incrementally adds up. The one-bedroom rents are less than $460 a month, which is like half of market rent. And, they’re extraordinary units; I mean, the views from this building are incredible."
 
Mosaic Medical will move into its new 10,000-square foot clinic on the ground floor of Cook Crossing in mid-September. Kemper says it's the second time Housing Works has partnered with the non-profit healthcare provider, which primarily serves low-income patients. The first, was at Bend’s Ariel Glen Apartments, and Kemper would like to see the trend continue. "It’s been a success for Mosaic and it’s a tremendous asset for the residents in that community and that neighborhood. Hopefully that is a direction – You know, more and more, people understand that housing is a key part of health, and if you can link medical treatment with housing you increase your odds of having a healthier population."
 
Cook Crossing is a senior living complex, for residents 55 and older. Kemper is working with the Redmond School District to create a partnership with a nearby middle and elementary school. "Obsidian and Lynch are right across the street, so we’re working with those schools to create programs where seniors can help kids at those schools; and those kids can help seniors, too – you know, with computer skills and that kind of thing."
 
The building was also designed to be energy efficient and Kemper says it sould provide a comfortable and durable home for residents for many years. City, state and county officials will join Housing Works to celebrate Cook Crossing's grand opening at a 10 a.m. ceremony at the facility. 


BEND, OR -- A photo from a local artist is featured on the U.S. Postal Service's latest Forever stamp. "Honey Bee on a Ragwort Flower" was snapped by George Lepp, a professional photographer who lives in Bend.

 

Lepp tells KBND News he was surprised his work was chosen as part of the new Pollinator series of stamps, "I have these images with an agency in New York and somebody with the Postal Service, or with the agency working with them, went and looked in the files. They needed a bee or some pollinators and they chose this particular image, which was actually taken with film. It was taken at least 15 years ago because we haven't used film since the early 2000s." He's pleased the shot is gaining recognition, "It's very random, in a sense, and the fact that it was, I guess, well done in the first place; even though it was done that long ago, and even though it's on film, it's still being able to be used in a nice way."

 

Lepp has taken nature shots professionally for most of his life. "I'm the Field Editor for Outdoor Photographer Magazine and I give seminars all over the country for Canon Camera. I'm part of their program for Canon 'Explorers of Light,' so they fund me to go and give talks all over the place. This is what I do, and I've been doing it for 45 years."

 

The pollinators series of Forever stamps will be released Thursday by the U.S. Postal Service. 
 


MADRAS, OR -- Madras officials expect at least 100,000 visitors for the August 21st solar eclipse, which could lead to major traffic problems throughout the small town. Madras Solar Eclipse Plan Facilitator Lysa Vattimo tells KBND News a number of streets will close to through traffic August 18-21. "We established this emergency services route for the specific purpose of getting emergency personnel and essential services personnel the ability to get around town. Not only for emergency services, such as EMS getting to the hospital, or the fire department getting around, but for local police getting to the jail and back. But, we are also utilizing these roads for public works folks and roads folks so that they can keep our essential services going."

 

Along with a couple of downtown streets, Canyon Road and Glass Drive will also close to the public. "The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office is up right next to the airport, and that's where the jail is located. So, we are utilizing that road for our law enforcement partners to get in from downtown," says Vattimo. "And, in order to keep things in the downtown area, like all the trash receptacles emptied and the sewer guys pumping out the porta-potties, and giving them access to get up to the area of service that they need, we're allowing them to use that route, also." Residents directly impacted by the road closures have been notified by mail. Anyone with questions about the route is asked to call Public Works at 541-475-2344. 

 

Vattimo has heard rumors of substantial road closures and even a mandated curfew, but she says none of that is true. "The main goal is to keep traffic flowing, so we're going to keep as many roads open as we can. These are the only roads that we have closed to through traffic so that we can utilize them for emergency services and essential services. Other than that, everything is open." But, she suggests everyone plan for extra time to get around town in the days surrounding the eclipse. "We're really working hard to make traffic manageable, and it's going to be challenging, but we think, with the event that's going to occur here - totality - it's well worth it."

 

 

Eclipse Coverage on KBND is supported in part by Awnings Unlimited. Shade yourself from the sun with Awnings Unlimited at 5541-389-1619 and awningsunlimited.net.

 



BEND, OR -- As we gear up for the August 21 eclipse, the last total solar eclipse to pass over the Pacific Northwest is a distant memory for most people. Not for April Fisk. The Oregon native was living in Southeast Washington in 1979, right on the edge of the path of totality for that event. She decided to watch the eclipse from home, only to be thwarted by an overcast sky. "I was really shocked. You know when an airplane comes between you and the sun, there's a shadow, but it's going  really fast, and just goes right over your head? well, that's exactly what the eclipse was like for us. so, if you're not actually in the direct shadow, what you're going to see is something very quick, just ten seconds or less, going across the sky."

 

Fisk tells KBND News, "I've been waiting 38 years to do this again. And, this time, we're going to travel about 60 miles north and stand out in the middle of a field, and see if we can actually get in the direct shadow for like a minute and a half; that would be fun. We got our glasses! We bought our glasses yesterday, so I'm excited." She's trying to keep a positive attitude despite concerns over the weather, this time around. "A bunch of relatives are getting together, and we're just going to make it a party time. I figure, even if we don't have a success as far as the sun goes - I've already experienced an eclipse with very heavy overcast, so now it's going to turn out right; or, even if it doesn't, we can still have an excuse to have a potluck dinner."

 

Now in her sixties, she believes that, unless she starts chasing eclipses, this is her last chance to see one. The next total eclipse over the U.S. will be in 2045. 

 

Eclipse Coverage on KBND is supported in part by Awnings Unlimited. Shade yourself from the sun with Awnings Unlimited at 5541-389-1619 and awningsunlimited.net.



REDMOND, OR -- Redmond’s Centennial Park expansion project is getting closer to becoming reality. Project Manager Troy Rayburn says interest and involvement in designing the future park has been incredible. "The citizens of Redmond have taken this process, regarding the park expansion, very seriously. They’re involved; they’ve produced some wonderful ideas. We’ve incorporated many of those ideas into the park design."

 

Rayburn tells KBND News that feedback will be on display at an open house, Wednesday afternoon, " A couple things that rose to the top that was very important to the community: More green space, more open space. So, we incorporated a lot of those amenities into the park design. A place for our retirement community, our senior citizens, they want to be able to walk and enjoy the outside, so we’ve incorporated wide sidewalks. A lot of flower beds, tree canopy and natural shade."
 
The final open house for the project is Wednesday, 4-6 p.m. at City Hall. Construction is expected to cost about $2.5 million dollars and will get underway in 2018, in the block between the existing Centennial Park and City Hall. 


BEND, OR -- August is typically the busiest month for Oregon wildfire crews, and the solar eclipse is adding another layer of complexity to this year's fire season. Central Oregon's season has, so far, been fairly average; officials say many local fires have been kept small thanks to the quick response by crews. But, those resources could be stretched thin later this month, as the season heats up just in time for the eclipse.

 

Kassidy Kern, with the Deschutes National Forest, says the agency will pull in additional resources from other states, to make sure there are enough firefighters, planes and other equipment in the area to respond at a moment’s notice, in the two weeks surrounding the eclipse. "We call it ‘on severity.’ So, people who are staged and ready from, maybe in Tennessee or Alaska. People that are out of their fire season, but now that we are in ours – You know, this really is the benefit of a national workforce is that you can shift people around." She tells KBND News that in some cases, those crews will camp in the forest to be close to potential trouble spots. "Knowing that we don’t want them to even take the time to go from Scott Street, which is where our main fire building is, out into the forest. We want them to stay there. And, we need to make sure that we have water for them, food for them and fuel for them. So, all of those preparations are really taking place, now."
 
With so many people planning to "disperse camp" on public land, where reservations aren't needed, it’s hard to know just how many people will venture into the forest to watch the August 21st eclipse. And Kern says, the Forest Service is pushing its message of fire prevention to everyone it can. "At our Deschutes National Forest Facebook page, we’ve gotten some personal messages from people from Asia. You know, those individuals don’t have even reservations now, so there are so many people that are still unaccounted for; people who are completely unfamiliar with English or what fire restrictions mean. And, so we’re hitting it really hard to give those prevention messages so they’re not disperse camping in the middle of the Ochoco National Forest, building a fire that they then can’t control." She says they plan to take a number of steps to inform visitors at every turn, "We will have those boards in the forest, we are coordinating with a number of different agencies in Central Oregon to make sure that there are sandwich boards out at ‘pinch points,’ at areas where people will be congregating. In Sisters, there will be a board at Barclay Square that gives forest information, fire restrictions, ‘pick it in, pack it out’ kind of stuff."
 
To hear our complete conversation with Kassidy Kern, visit our Podcast Page or click HERE

 



REDMOND, OR -- A Redmond woman remains in critical condition Wednesday morning, following a serious motorcycle crash, Monday night. According to Police, 50-year-old Denise Campbell attempted to make a left turn on to Highway 97 from the Timbers Tavern parking lot, on the south end of Redmond, just before 11 p.m. 

 

She crossed in front of a southbound semi, and investigators say the truck driver was unable to avoid a collision with her motorcycle. Campbell was wearing a helmet and protective gear.
 
Police believe alcohol was a factor. The crash remains under investigation and witnesses are asked to call Redmond Police at 541-693-6911.  


REDMOND, OR -- A brush west of Redmond fire is being blamed on a red tail hawk. Firefighters were able to quickly extinguish the quarter-acre blaze near Northwest 83rd and Atkinson, just after 7 p.m. Tuesday. A local rancher responded first, cutting a fire line with his tractor prior to the arrival of fire crews.

 

Authorities say a hawk was electrocuted when it landed on an overhead line. It fell to the ground, igniting the blaze. According to Redmond Fire officials, “The hawk did not survive.” 


REDMOND, OR -- The more than 100-year-old Cline Falls Dam is being deconstructed, west of Redmond. ShanRae Hawkins, a consultant with the Central Oregon Irrigation District, says the work is important to improving fish and wildlife habitat and returning the Deschutes River to its natural state.

 

Hawkins tells KBND News, "It was in disrepair and really, really needed to be taken out, so Central Oregon Irrigation District is spearheading having it removed, and it's going to cost right around $2 million, and really what that's going to do is clean up an historic part of the Deschutes River." She says the old concrete and wood structure was making migration difficult for the fish, "The main benefit is going to allow the resident trout to migrate freely through the former dam site. And, it's also good for the wildlife that can just enjoy the wetlands and the riparian areas as well; and it's really going to return that area of the river, along Cline Falls, back to a much healthier ecosystem."

 

The Dam stopped producing power for the area in the early 2000's, so it's no longer needed. The project should only take four days or so to complete, but then the real work of returning the river to a healthier condition begins. Hawkins says, "It'll really be an ongoing process to get that area cleaned up, and restored, and improve the habitat, but really over the next month, the majority of the work will be done."

 


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