PRINEVILLE, OR -- One person was killed in a crash on SE Davis Loop, in Crook County, Thursday night. When first responders arrived at about 10:45 p.m., they found a pickup off the road, with the driver pinned underneath. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Investigators believe the pickup was eastbound when it crossed the road, hit a stump and rolled onto its side, near SE Manning Lane. Neither person in the truck was wearing a seatbelt; the passenger declined medical treatment.
The identities of those involved have not been released, pending next of kin notification. Alcohol is believed to be a factor.
BEND, OR -- One of the most controversial issues on Oregon's November ballot is Measure 97. It would impose a 2.5% sales tax on corporations that do more than $25 million in gross sales in the state. City Club of Central Oregon discussed the proposal at a Thursday forum in Bend.
Tonia Hunt, Executive Director of Children First, supports the measure. "It's time for the voters to do what has to be done. I would say that is your job as a voter to think about what's good for Oregon. And, I think it's good for Oregon to see a game-changing investment in our education system that has been disinvested in for 25 years, which all of our kids are paying the price for."
Oregon State Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Alison Hart advocated against M97. She told the crowd, "I really believe that this is a flawed measure for so many reasons. I want to see our state continue to grow economically. One of the sectors that would be hit very hard in this argument is the tech sector. Right now, the tech sector is the fastest growing employment sector in our economy."
While supporters say the additional state revenue is needed for education, seniors and healthcare, Hart says, "There is no plan for this $6 billion tax increase; that is acutely concerning to me. The Governor has even talked about ideas that she has for the revenues of 97 that did not include those three things." Hunt responded, "We know exactly where these dollars are going to go. And, voters have the opportunity to be very clear with the Legislature. This passes law that says these dollars must be spent on education, healthcare and senior services."
At a Thursday evening debate in Portland, Governor Kate Brown responded to questions about M97, saying, "I will spend Ballot Measure 97 dollars as the voters intended." Republican candidate Dr. Bud Pierce opposes the measure, and said if it passes, "I would look to mitigate the damage to Oregon families and Oregon businesses by trying to get the money back in the hands of Oregon families."
The Legislative Revenue Office estimates the measure will cost average Oregon families $600 more a year if it passes. A recent poll found 47% of respondents oppose M97, while 12% remain undecided.
BEND, OR -- With construction of the Southeast Interceptor sewer project moving forward, city officials are addressing how neighborhoods previously on septic get connected to the new system.
Bend Policy Analyst Susanna Julber says city code requires properties hook up if they’re within 300 feet of a sewer line. She tells KBND News, that will impact those in the Kings Forest neighborhood, first. "There’s about 800 homes there in that little subdivision; it’s in southeast Bend. And, they’re all on septic systems. So, with the Southeast Interceptor coming through their neighborhood, now a number of those homes will be within 300 feet of a sewer." She adds, "We’ve been thinking about this project for a number of years. In fact, we have some funds in our existing rate structure that will start being allocated to this project in July 2017."
Crews installed a sewer line in Kings Forest earlier this year, but it’s not yet connected to the main system. Julber says officials are still working through details of the transition. "For now, we’re thinking just as people’s systems fail they would hook up. The other thing is that we’re planning to sewer the entire Kings Forest area, so just beyond – all the streets within that area, so everybody in there can get on sewer." For now, the line only runs through the main through-street.
While the city pays for general work, the cost of connecting a home to the street is typically the owner’s responsibility.
BEND, OR -- A former employee of the Oregon Department of Justice and Deschutes County District Attorney's office has been sentenced to probation for stealing more than 56-thousand dollars in government funds. Bruce Endicott pleaded guilty in June.
Court documents reveal he received disability and unemployment benefits through the VA while working for the DOJ under a second Social Security number. Later, he worked for the D-A’s office, and claimed unemployment through his second Social Security number when he left that job in 2014.
Federal prosecutors say 34-year-old Endicott also failed to pay child support while receiving double benefits. He was ordered to serve three years probation, 250 hours of community service and pay full restitution.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- Crook County deputies arrested three people in connection with an investigation into stolen fuel, including diesel taken from unattended farm equipment.
The investigation led deputies to a home on NW Vista View Road, last week, where 23-year-old Daniel Seaton was arrested on a number of charges, including theft and an outstanding warrant.
A multi-agency team returned to the location with a warrant Thursday. They arrested 38-year-old Timothy Evans for theft, meth possession and an outstanding warrant, among other charges. At the same time, 37-year-old Judith Carter was taken into custody for heroin possession.
BEND, OR -- Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel is hoping to get the community’s input on crime on public safety. He launched a new community survey, this month, as part of his ongoing DeschutesSafe program.
Hummel says eventually the data will be used to better focus crime prevention efforts. "I don’t want a hear DA tell me that their job is just to prosecute. A DA’s job is to keep a community safe. And, one way you do it is to prosecute, but another way you do it is to prevent crime in the first place. So, DeschutesSafe is my effort to work to prevent crime. We’re prosecuting everyday; that’s not going to stop. DeschutesSafe is in addition to our prosecution work."
He says narrowing the focus of prevention efforts is important. "There’s limited resources in our community. Of course, we could say ‘let’s raise everyone’s taxes 200% and we could have the greatest crime prevention program in the world; that’s not possible. So, with our existing resources, if we’re going to focus on preventing certain crimes, we have more of a chance of being successful. If you try to prevent every single crime, you’re probably going to fail. But, if you target your efforts, you’re more likely to be successful."
The survey takes several minutes to complete. "We’re asking what the major crime concerns are for you," says Hummel. "Is it traffic, is it drugs, is it assault, is it car theft? And, also – this is important – what solutions do you think should be employed? Should we be tougher on crime? Should we be smarter on crime? Should there be more treatment? Should there be more treatment? Should we have longer jail sentences? Should we have more enforcement?"
to access the survey.
Hummel says the results will be revealed at a series of public meetings:
Tuesday, Nov. 8, at the La Pine Library (16425 1st St.) at 6 pm.
Wednesday, Nov. 9, at the Redmond Fire House (341 NW Dogwood Ave.) at 6 pm.
Saturday, Nov. 19, at East Bend Library (62080 Dean Swift Rd.) at 11:30 am.
Wednesday, Nov. 30, at the Downtown Bend Library (601 NW Wall St.) at 6 pm.
BEND, OR -- Ballots for the November election are in the mail. But, before local voters partake in the democratic process, Deschutes County Clerk Nancy Blankenship says there are a couple of important things to remember. "When it arrives, you’ll have your ballot, which has measures and races on both sides; you’ll have a flyer that gives you the whole text of the state measures; and then you’ll also have a secrecy sleeve and the return envelope." She tells KBND News, "The ballot and the return envelope are the two pieces that are required to be counted, and you have to sign it."
She says that signature is the most important part of the process; the part that actually makes your ballot valid. "Your signature is verified against your signature on your voting record. Each and every ballot signature is checked. Don’t be offended if we challenge it because that’s good for you and the process." And, according to Blankenship, there are a number of reasons your signature could be different. "Sometimes your signature matures, changes; you’ve broken your arm, different things will happen in people’s lives. So, please do not be offended." She says fixing it and making sure your ballot is counted is a fairly simple process.
If you don’t receive a ballot by early next week, Blankenship recommends contacting your local County Clerk’s office. Click HERE
to access the Secretary of State's voter verification site to see where your ballot was mailed. Ballots are due by 8 p.m. November eighth.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- Crook County's two Commissioners are competing for the top post as County Judge.
Seth Crawford says his campaign has been focused on the need for stronger leadership. "What I see is we need a leader to move us into the next step in Crook County's life. We need to work on professionalizing the way we manage our employees at the county. We've got great department heads and great employees there, but we need somebody at the top that's willing to step up and take a direction." He adds, "We haven't had long-term budget planning for as long as I've been there. I've been trying for four years to get that done, and I'm repeatedly turned down to get that done." Crawford was first elected to the court in 2010 and has two years left in his current term.
Ken Fahlgren has served on the court since 2008. Despite the hard fought campaign, he believes he and Crawford will still be able to work together, even after the election. "I think we'll be just fine. We've tried not to throw dirt on each other; we both have families with young kids. My grandkids and his kids are about the same age, and we go to the same church. We have interactions more than just this county job. So, we have to be able to understand that going forward, it's a team effort." He tells KBND News, "We've still got to work together; we still have to be civil to each other. And we, I hope, are still able to work together when I'm Judge and he's still a Commissioner for the next couple of years. I think there is good optimism in the community, right now. I feel that it is my time, and I feel like I've had a lot of support for so many things and so many people, that it just feel like it's going to work out fine."
If Fahlgren wins, Crawford would remain as a Commissioner. However, if Crawford wins, Fahlgren would be off the Commission when his term expires at the end of the year.
REDMOND, OR -- Redmond officials dedicated the city's new “Flag City U.S.A.” monument, Wednesday. Congressman Greg Walden was on hand for the ribbon cutting and ceremonial flag raising at the corner of Highland and Highway 97.
He tells KBND News the patriotic effort started with a modest goal. "After the first Iraq War in 1991, the city of Redmond and some leaders there decided to recognize and honor those who had served in that war by flying flags. Their goal was to eventually get 1,000 flags. I recognized them way back when and said
‘they’re flag city U.S.A.’ Well, they liked that title. I think, by the way, they’re up to 1,400 flags; and six or seven times a year now, all these volunteers go out - Randy Povey and others - do an amazing job. It’s the most patriotic thing I think I see anywhere in America." According to the city, about 1,400 flags are placed along the city’s main streets on federal holidays.
The monument is designed to be seen by both north and southbound travelers on Highway 97. It features 11 flag poles with city, state and POW/MIA flags, and of course, the Stars and Stripes.
The monument is part of an ongoing beautification effort at Redmond’s gateway areas.
Photos: (upper left) Congressman Greg Walden, Redmond Mayor George Endicott and Randy Povey cut the ribbon at the Flag City, U.S.A. monument.
(right) Local vets help Walden raise the flag.
BEND, OR -- Bend Police are searching for a man who reportedly exposed himself to a woman at TJ Maxx, earlier this week. The customer immediately went to the back of the store and told an employee, who then called police. The suspect left the store before police arrived.
He’s described as 5'-10" with a medium build; he had sandy blonde hair, a goatee and glasses.
It’s a similar description to that of a man who exposed himself at the Regroup Thrift Store near Fourth and Greenwood, September 23; although police say they cannot yet tie the two incidents together.
Anyone with information on either case, or who can identify the man or men in the photos, is asked to call Bend PD at 541-693-6911.
REDMOND, OR -- A Lincoln City man died following a motor home crash north of Redmond, Wednesday evening.
According to Oregon State Police, the 36-foot RV was southbound on Highway 97 at about 6:30, when it crossed through oncoming traffic and off the shoulder. It traveled more than 500 feet and crashed through several fences and trees before coming to a stop.
The driver, 68-year-old Samuel Burke, and his wife were taken to St. Charles Redmond where he later died.
BEND, OR -- Bend Fire and Rescue is preparing to receive a fleet of six new ambulances, in the next week. "They’re all going to show up at essentially the same time from Salt Lake City," Battalion Chief Dave Howe tells KBND News. "They’re getting their striping, their radios, their lights and all that stuff put in there right now. And, along with that, they’re getting a whole bunch of new equipment."
When those new units roll out, medics will begin carrying an antidote for cyanide poisoning. Howe says it’s a treatment that’s become more necessary because fires now involve more than just materials made from wood, metal and paper. "Now, everything’s made of plastic. And, it burns about 10 times hotter and more toxic than what we were used to in the old days. Although, we don’t have that many house fires, when we do have a house fire, if anyone is inside of it or near it, they’re much, much more likely to be exposed to Hydrogen Cyanide."
Firefighter/Paramedic Garret Caster says that while smoke in a structure fire can contain all kinds of toxic chemicals, Hydrogen Cyanide is one of the most dangerous. "It acts really fast; it acts through asphyxiation through the cellular level." Caster says it's just one more option in their life-saving toolbox. The antidote starts as a powder and is delivered through an IV by a paramedic on-scene when someone shows symptoms of cyanide inhalation.
Crews finish training on the antidote, this week.
BEND, OR -- Bend FC Timbers serves more than 2600 local soccer players, but it has to rely on school districts and Bend Parks and Rec for field space. The club is hoping to build its own facility at Pine Nursery, in the next 10 years.
Dr. Rod Buzzas is Bend FC Timber's fundraising campaign director. He led a kickoff rally at Pine Nursery Tuesday afternoon, telling enthusiastic soccer players, "Right out there, that open territory out there, that's where we want to build four full-sized soccer fields. Turf, not grass, turf; lit, with scoreboards and a clubhouse. All for our organization to use and to have."
Club Director Tara Bilanski says new fields are long overdue. "My dream, as a former soccer player who had their own soccer fields; not at my house, but my club had our own fields. Anytime I wanted to come out and scrimmage with my friends, anytime our teams wanted to scrimmage, we had our own soccer fields. Right now, we don't have our fields. Think about Summit [High School]; you know how many teams we cram out there for practice at any one time? Eight."
Dr. Buzzas told the kids raising the money isn't going to be easy. "We're doing this in conjunction - in partnership - with Bend Parks and Rec. We have to raise a whole bunch of money for this. Right now, though we've been working very, very hard, we have to raise, yet, $100,000 by the end of this year." The overall goal is to raise $4.7 million over the next 10 years to build four new fields and a clubhouse at Pine Nursery in northeast Bend. He's hopeful that first infusion of $100,000 will allow for construction of the first two fields within five years.
REDMOND, OR -- School officials, fire and police Chiefs, Sheriffs and other community leaders from across the tri-county area meet Wednesday to celebrate their continued commitment to the region’s Safe Schools Alliance and recognize America's Safe Schools Week.
John Rexford, Superintendent of the High Desert ESD, says the alliance was formed as a reaction to the 1998 Thurston High shooting, in Springfield. But, he tells KBND News the focus has evolved over the years. "The mission of this group is really much broader; it really focuses on all those kind of security and safety issues, including mental health, fire drills, evacuation drills, earthquake drills. It’s really about the whole child. This is about making sure that each student feels safe and secure." He adds, "Sometimes that’s literal, in making sure the school can be evacuated in a timely manner, in the event of a fire. Sometimes it’s making sure that there’s an adult that a student can reach out when they’re feeling like they’re in a bad spot or that they need some help in some manner."
Wednesday's celebration takes place at the High Desert ESD office in Redmond. Rexford compares the event to a renewing of marriage vows. "It’s symbolic, but it’s important to remind ourselves, frankly, of the wide range of partners that are involved in this alliance." Those partners include every school district, law enforcement and fire agency and District Attorney in Deschutes, Crook and Jefferson County, along with mental health and juvenile justice leaders. "I can’t point you to many other examples of this sort of partnership across the state. But, this one has really stood the test of time and these folks really dig in and do some really meaty stuff on trying to make sure that every student is safe and secure."
Members meet monthly during the school year to discuss issues ranging from student attendance and pot legalization, to sex trafficking and protocols for responding to school violence.
SALEM, OR -- Oregon added 2400 new jobs in September, although statewide unemployment ticked up a tenth of a percent, last month, to 5.5%. State Economist Nick Beleiciks says year-over-year job gains were widespread, with no major industries showing declines. "Oregon stacks up really nicely when it comes to over-the-year job-growth rate. Right now, we’re looking at 3.5% job growth over the year; that’s much faster than the US rate of 1.7%."
September's job gains were mostly in three sectors. "Most of the gains were in the Government sector, which has to do with local government, education and the school year starting up. There were also large gains in professional and business services and wholesale trade," says Beleiciks. Construction and Leisure & Hospitality lost the most jobs.
September's 5.5% unemployment rate is slightly less than it was a year ago. Oregon has added 95,000 jobs over the last year, while the labor force participation rate rose to just over 63%, from 61% a year ago.
BEND, OR -- National statistics released Monday show an overall improvement in the country’s graduation rate; the 83.2% national rate is the highest on record. However, Oregon remains near the bottom of the ranking; 73.8% is the nation's third worst.
Measure 98 supporters point to the state’s abysmal showing as validation that more funding is needed for dropout prevention, career and college readiness programs. Former Redmond School Superintendent Vickie Fleming says Measure 98 is necessary. "This is a great way of getting at some of the strategies that are evidence-based, that can really get kids into context and learning with more of a hands-on approach through career and technical education, and then really focusing on dropout prevention strategies and helping kids increase their participation in dual college credit." She adds, "Data points to the fact that if you enroll students in career-technical courses that are hands-on and really learning in context, that the kids who are enrolled in those and concentrate in those courses actually have better performance and better graduation rates than those in the mainstream."
The measure aims to allocate more funding for career and technical education programs, college readiness and dropout prevention. Fleming says the money would come from anticipated growth in state revenue and wouldn't cost taxpayers any more. "We all know what the challenges are in terms of Oregon’s PERS liability and some of the healthcare costs that have risen. But, the projected growth in the economy would be earmarked for this particular purpose. So, it would not come out of the state school fund allocation; it would come directly from an appropriation as a result of this initiative."
According to the Yes on 98 campaign, the measure could bring more than $4 million to Bend-La Pine Schools for high school programs; Redmond Schools could get nearly $2 million, and Crook County Schools could see almost $950,000. "The simulation that the campaign ran with the Bend-La Pine School District shows that the graduation rate can be improved within the four-year period with this investment, it just kind of makes sense. It’s really a drop in the bucket when you look at the overall state school fund."
Click HERE to access the measure's text in Oregon's online voters pamphlet, provided by the Secretary of State. There is no organized opposition to the measure.
PORTLAND, OR -- A recent international crackdown on sex trafficking led to the arrest of 20 people in Oregon. The FBI called it "Operation Cross Country X." The sting resulted in the arrests of 239 pimps and their associates in the US, and they rescued 82 minors.
In Portland, one child was rescued and 10 adults were cited or arrested for prostitution. Ten more people were arrested or cited in Eugene.
This was the largest such operation ever conducted. Nationally and internationally, last week's investigations took place in hotels, truck stops, and a number of other locations. Officials say specific information on where Oregon stings took place won't be released to protect the integrity of future operations.
BEND, OR -- With just three weeks until the November election, Deputy Eric Kozowski hopes his message will resonate with voters. He is running for Sheriff of Deschutes County, despite a vote from the Employees' Association showing overwhelming support for current Sheriff Shane Nelson. Kozowski is confident that, if elected, he’ll eventually gain their support. "Are there going to be employees that don’t agree with my vision? Absolutely. That’s just - everybody has their own opinions on how things work. I think if you make that vision clear, you make that direction clear, and ask employees to participate in those decisions, you gain their trust and their input and their buy-off; and, that’s ultimately what makes things successful."
A representative of the Deschutes County Sheriff Employees' Association tells KBND News members are happy with the current direction of the agency. Deputy Kozowski contends the union should not have asked members to pick sides. He adds, "If I’m elected Sheriff is, the first thing I have to do is communicate my vision and my goals for the agency and then incorporate input from all the employees on ‘here we are now at Point A, we want to get to Point Z down the road. So, how do we get there in the most efficient manner and with the least disruption possible?’ And, that definitely requires the input of the employees."
At a recent debate, current Sheriff Nelson asked Kozowski how the Deputy would have handled recent scandals at the agency if he were Sheriff. Kozowski did not offer specifics at that time. He now tells KBND News, "Well, from day one, is communicate clearly with the employees. Again, back to ‘here’s the expectations I hold for all the employees, here’s the expectations the public holds for all the employees, and we’re going to hold you accountable to those.’ And, we’re not going to let any violations of those standards or the public trust slide under the carpet. We’re going to deal with them and set the environment so people know that they won’t get away with those things."
Kozowski's campaign promises a change in leadership; however, his statement is similar to Sheriff Nelson's approach to cleaning up the agency, according to his description at a recent debate. "If you want to shift a culture, the first thing you do is start by taking care of business," Nelson told the crowd. "By taking care of business, you establish what your expectations are; And, you establish the fact that, if you’re not in line with our mission and values, you won’t work with us."
To hear our full conversation with Dep. Eric Kozowski, click HERE or visit our Podcast Page.
Sheriff Nelson started with the agency more than 20 years ago. Kozowski worked as a deputy in Wallowa County for six years before coming to Deschutes County in 2010. This is the first contested Sheriff’s race in Deschutes County in more than a dozen years.
BEND, OR -- The Central Oregon Chapter of Ronald McDonald House Charities is merging with Ronald McDonald House Charities of Oregon and Southwest Washington. Officials with the nonprofit say the new organization will allow for stronger community awareness of programs, which will allow them to help more seriously ill children and families.
The six-room Ronald McDonald House near St. Charles in Bend will remain, and will gain access to statewide partners and programs. The organization also has two houses in Portland.
REDMOND, OR -- Crews blasted through solid rock in northeast Redmond, Friday, in the beginning stages of the East Side Sewer Interceptor project. City Engineer Mike Caccavano tells KBND News the work is necessary to install 8500-feet of sewer line. Although, he admits most of the work won't be done through blasting, due to the proximity to the railroad tracks and Highway 97. "They’ll start digging; they’re going to be working between Oak and Maple, is the first stretch, here. But, it goes all the way, eventually, down as far south as Evergreen."
That line will then connect directly with the treatment plant at the north end of the Dry Canyon. "We have a lot of vacant industrial land. And, if that develops, we’re going to overtax that interceptor down in the Dry Canyon. So, this is intercepting all those lines and bringing it straight to the treatment plant that has lots of capacity, and we’ll be well positioned for industrial development on the east side."
Caccavano says the area has hundreds of acres of available industrial land, "We weren’t pushing the capacity on the interceptor yet. That would probably be easily 10-20 years out, depending on what the development is. But, if someone comes in and they’re ready to go, we want to be ready to go, as well."
BEND, OR -- One of the biggest issues on Oregon's November ballot is Measure 97, which would tax large corporations with gross sales over $25 million. Supporters say the funds will be used for schools, healthcare and social services.
Deschutes County Commissioner Alan Unger and his Republican challenger Phil Henderson discussed the measure at a recent candidate forum, hosted by the Bend Chamber of Commerce. Henderson isn't convinced the state needs the revenue. "I'm very strongly against Measure 97. I think it is what the Bend Chamber has said it is, what most business people say it is, and what most families know it is, which is a tax on all of us. It's a way for the state of Oregon to collect $6 billion more out of our wallets and our paychecks so they can grow the state government."
Incumbent Commissioner Unger also opposes the measure. He told the crowd, "I don't think the referendum process is the way you raise taxes. I think you need to do it in the Legislature. I am frustrated with how this was done without business involvement, really; this will be bad for business, so I'm not supportive of Measure 97. I know the state needs more money to provide the services we have, especially with some of the bills that are coming due. But, I don't think Measure 97 and this value-added tax is the right way to do it."
Read more on how the Gubernatorial candidates stand on M97.
The measure would impose a 2.5% sales tax on those companies with gross sales over $25 million.
BEND, OR -- Police contacted six people during the execution of a search warrant at a home in Southwest Bend, late last week, arresting four of them for various drug-related charges.
Investigators say 32-year-old Ryan Vidal (left) had heroin and meth with other paraphernalia at the time of his arrest; and, they believe he has been delivering heroin. Vidal lives at the Merriewood Lane home with 23-year-old Autumn Admire (not pictured), who was also arrested for heroin possession and other allegations.
Police say 25-year-old Nathaniel Alvis (right) was in possession of meth, heroin and various prescription medications. And, 26-year-old Crystal Prestridge (center) was arrested for heroin possession and violating her probation.
Two others remain under investigation and may be charged later.
BEND, OR -- Oregon’s voters’ pamphlet hit local mailboxes in the last few days, in preparation for the November eighth election. Deschutes County Clerk Nancy Blankenship says ballots will be mailed Wednesday.
While most of the talk at her office is from people anxious to vote in this unusual election, Blankenship admits she’s heard about those so disenfranchised they’re threatening not to vote at all. "And, that’s the wrong choice," she tells KBND News, "because there are so much more on the ballot than just, say the President, or some other measure or race you have concerns about." Blankenship says, "There’s the Senate race and the Representative race. At the state level, you’ve the Governor, the Secretary of State and the Treasurer, as far as the top elected positions in the state of Oregon. You’ve got judges and you’ve got local races as well: county commissioners, city councils; you’ve got a number of state measures. And, if you’re in the city of Bend and La Pine, and a couple of road districts, you’ve got other measures to consider."
In the middle of the state-issued pamphlet is the local guide with details of city and county races. And, Blankenship says the Deschutes County guide includes a special centennial tribute. "This election, we’ve got a young man, Andrew Rojo from La Pine Middle School; he’s in the sixth grade. His art is covering the front, and it’s in celebration of the county’s 100th birthday. Andrew did a lot of research on his drawing; he’s got things from all over the county."
Voters pamphlets are sent to every household in the state, whether registered to vote, or not. The deadline to register is Tuesday.
REDMOND, OR -- Three teens were arrested Saturday following a string car break-ins in southwest Redmond. Witnesses first reported two people breaking into cars on SW 33rd St., just before 6 a.m., but police were unable to find any suspects.
About 30 minutes later, they responded to more reports near SW 31st St. and Obsidian Lane. Officers then arrested 18-year-old Jason McCain (left), of Eagle Point, 19-year-old Trevon Nakano (right), of Portland, and a Redmond 17-year-old.
They say the trio is responsible for stealing from more than 20 vehicles – most of them unlocked. Redmond PD asks area residents to check their vehicles and report if they've been a victim of theft. Investigators are working to reunite recovered property with their rightful owners.
BEND, OR -- The Oregon Army National Guard’s 1st Squadron, 82nd Cavalry Regiment officially restructured under the Washington Army National Guard’s 81st Brigade, at a ceremony in Bend, Sunday. The unit transfer is part of the transition to convert Washington’s 81st from an Armor Brigade to a Stryker Brigade.
The 1-82nd Cavalry Squadron consists of units from Bend, Redmond, Lebanon and The Dalles. It will remain in Oregon as part of the Oregon Army National Guard, with operational control under the 82nd Bridge Troop Command, headquartered in Clackamas.
The Stryker is a family of eight-wheel drive armored vehicles designed to maneuver more easily in close and urban terrain, while still providing protection in the open. The squadron will display new Stryker equipment in the Bend and Redmond Veterans Day Parades, November 11.
REDMOND, OR -- Two drills taking place in Central Oregon aim to get first responders ready for unusual emergencies.
Roberts Field holds a full-response disaster drill at the airport, Friday morning. The Federal Aviation Administration requires the airport to conduct realistic commercial aircraft trainings every three years. About 80 volunteers are expected to act as passengers, while multiple fire, police and public health agencies participate in the drill.
Monday morning, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office will conduct an active threat exercise at the old courthouse on ‘C’ Street, in Madras. That drill includes Madras and Warm Springs police, and will force road closures and detours in the area.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- Crook County Sheriff John Gautney is optimistic voters will approve a $10-million jail bond in November, but he’s not taking anything for granted. Gautney was appointed Sheriff less than a year ago, and campaigning for the bond has overshadowed the race to keep his job; although, he’s running unopposed.
Sheriff Gautney says the current jail is in a building converted from a fire station in the 1960s, and it must be replaced. "When it rains really hard, the rain leaks through the roof and it’s running down our walls; sewer system is old and outdated; and because of the size of it, we only have 16 inmates that we can hold there. We have no place for female inmates; we have to ship those to Jefferson County, to their jail." Crook County spends nearly $700,000 a year renting 25 beds from Jefferson County.
But, he says even with that overflow option, they still regularly matrix out those awaiting trial on lesser crimes to make room for more serious offenders. And, Gautney says, "As of this week, we had 98 people on a waiting list. This waiting list is people who have been to court, have been convicted in court, and a judge has sentenced them to jail time. Those people show up at the jail and say ‘I’ve been convicted and I’m here to serve my time.’ We don’t have a bed for them so we put them on a waiting list, and they’re supposed to come back and check in with us. The problem is that some people don’t want to come back and check in with us."
Construction of a 76-bed facility would cost around $17-million. The bond would pay for $10-million. The rest, Gautney says, would be covered by other partnerships, grants and loans; operating funds would come through savings achieved by ending the rental agreement with Jefferson County. Gautney says the county would also save money by building the new jail adjacent to the Sheriff's Office, on property already owned by the county. CCSO rents the current jail from the city of Prineville.
He's optimistic about the feedback he's received at community meetings held over the past month. "We did have some that were a little skeptical coming in, were not quite sure that they thought that we needed to have a jail. Quite frankly, some people don’t even know we have a jail in Crook County. We offer these tours every Friday at 2 o’clock, and I’ve had some people tell me ‘I didn’t even know the jail was in this building.’"
Wednesday, October 19 at 7 a.m.: Meadow Lakes Golf Course
Thursday, October 20 at 6:30 p.m.: Meadow Lakes Golf Course (note change of venue)
If the bond passes November 8, Sheriff Gautney says plans would move forward immediately.
To hear our full conversation with Crook County Sheriff John Gautney visit our Podcast Page
, or click HERE
BEND, OR -- Deschutes County has been accepting applications for six weeks, from those interested in opening a marijuana-related business in rural areas. County Commissioners approved grow operations, processors and retail outlets, a few months ago, but they didn't know what to expect when applications started coming in September first.
County Community Development Director Nick Lelack tells KBND News, "It's been going very well. We've conducted 25-30 pre-application conferences with people interested in growing recreational marijuana. To date, we have eight applications that have been submitted for production - which is growing, we have one application for a retail shop and one application for processing."
Lelack anticipates 15 to 20 more applications will come in the coming months, based on meetings and inquiries. "Overall, we were anticipating 25-50 applications; we didn't know if it would be in the first couple of months or the first several, so it's pretty much on target. We didn't know if there would be a greater rush at the start of the application process; that hasn't been the case. People are taking more time preparing their applications, which I think is certainly resulting in better applications being submitted."
BEND, OR -- Much of Central Oregon remains under a wind advisory through 3 p.m., Friday, and the Bend animal shelter has received a number of calls regarding pets escaping through blown-down fences.
The Humane Society of Central Oregon
reminds pet owners wind gusts and flying objects can frighten or injure animals. Experts recommend bringing pets indoors during the storm, if possible, check fencing and lock gates, provide a wind break or shelter for horses and livestock; and,if your pet takes off, report it immediately to your local shelter.
A second storm front is expected to hit Central Oregon Saturday, bringing more wind and rain to the area.
BEND, OR -- Bend Fire and Rescue wraps up National Fire Prevention Week, Saturday, with an open house at the North Fire Station on Jamison Street.
Deputy Fire Marshal Susie Maniscalco says this year’s theme “Don’t Wait, Check the Date” is focused on life-saving smoke alarms. "I think a lot of folks don’t understand, or they don’t realize, that everything has a lifespan, including smoke alarms. When we explain that it’s important that smoke alarms be tested at least once a month, and if they’re at least 10 years of age, to install a new one – you know, they think they last forever." She adds, "Also know that we have a free smoke alarm program, and we offer free home assessments. So, we can come out and we can test your smoke alarms, replace batteries at no cost, and replace smoke alarms if they’re not working or if they’re missing."
Saturday's free event features live burning demonstrations and presentations from local health professionals. "We’re also offering free hands-only CPR classes for adults." Maniscalco tells KBND News, "This year, we’ve asked the Bend Police Department- they’re going to bring the K9 Horace to give a demonstration; we’ll have a live fire demonstration on the training ground; kids can build a fire truck with our friends from Home Depot; and, of course, the best part is that there will be free Eberhard’s ice cream."
Maniscalco says most activities will take place indoors, rain or shine. Festivities are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 63377 Jamison Street in Bend.
BEND, OR -- Oregon voters are being asked to approve a measure in November that would forbid the sale of animal products made from endangered species. A recent investigation found 30 stores throughout the state selling items made from things like ivory and shark skin, including an antique store in Bend.
Kristin Leppert, with Save Endangered Animals Oregon, was in Bend Wednesday to campaign for Measure 100. She tells KBND News, "35,000 elephants are killed every year for the ivory trade. These poachers are killing them in the most inhumane ways imaginable - I mean, rocket launchers and machine guns? And, they're doing this to kill these animals all at once, so they can run in, grab their ivory and sell off the ivory." She adds, "Measure 100 specifically prohibits the sale of the parts and products of 12 endangered species within Oregon. So, we're talking about elephant ivory, rhino horn, tiger pelts, lions, sea turtles and many other species that we're trying to protect with this measure."
If approved, the legislation would not go into effect until next July.
BEND, OR -- A significant storm is predicted for Central and South Central Oregon, over the next few days, and the Oregon Department of Transportation says it could cause problems for drivers.
While it's expected to be mainly a rain and wind event, ODOT's Peter Murphy says it’s the first sign that winter is coming. "It’s time for us to simply get ready. We need to prepare our cars, we need to prepare our heads, we need to kind of wrap around the season’s changing. There’s lots of stuff people can do; so, take a look at your car and see if there are things you can do fairly quickly." Those things include checking windshield wipers and keeping a full gas tank, in case you get stuck at a prolonged road closure. He tells KBND News, "What you can do as a motorist is simply take more time; leave earlier, because that’s what’s going to help you avoid getting into real trouble. If you’re going a little bit sooner than normal, you’re not quite as heavily on the gas pedal, you’re looking out a little more. It’s the time of year we need to put our winter hat on and take a good look around."
Forecasters say the worst weather will hit the coast and southern Oregon region, but the High Desert is under a high wind warning from 3 p.m. Thursday through 3 p.m. Friday, with gusts up to 5 MPH. And, the region could see it's first substantial rainfall of the season. And, Murphy says that oil and dirt that's had all summer to soak into local roadways could cause issues. "With a rainfall like this, it’s going to kick up some of that muck that’s on the roadbed. So, motorists need to be aware they won’t have quite the same traction they’re accustomed to; and, they need to drive accordingly. That means just being careful around curves, looking around for stuff they don’t expect, and in some cases we’re going to have trees down, it looks like."
BEND, OR -- Oregon's Court of Appeals has vacated the rape conviction of a former Central Oregon Community College instructor. Thomas Bray appealed his 2011 conviction, claiming the victim's refusal to grant access to her personal computer violated his civil rights. He claims there was information on her computer that could have aided in his defense.
Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel tells KBND News, "It's a clash of two fundamental Constitutional provisions. You have the right of privacy; a victim of sexual assault says 'one: I have to come into court and reveal all these intimate details about the sexual assault; that's hard enough. Now you want to see all my emails, you want to see all my Google searches. That's too much. I have a right to privacy and I'm not going to share that.' But, that's clashing with a defendant's right to confront and cross examine his accusers." He adds, "I respectfully disagree, but I'm not surprised because this is a novel case. We have no report of a case in Oregon with these facts - this fundamental clash of Constitutional provisions. So, it's a case of first impressions, and whenever you have those cases, reasonable judges and attorneys can and will disagree. That's what happened in this case."
He says the ball is now in the Attorney General's court, "The Oregon Attorney General has to decide if she's going to appeal the Court of Appeals decision to the Oregon Supreme Court. If she's going to do that, we'll have to wait for the Supreme Court to rule. But, if the Attorney General does not seek an appeal, then it comes back to the trial judge in Deschutes County. And the Court of Appeals told that judge, 'reconsider your decision regarding whether you're going to look at the victim's computer.'" Or, he says the case could be retried.
Bray was sentenced to 25 years in prison for the February 2011 rape of a 23-year-old Bend woman. The two met on a dating website.
BEND, OR -- A 35-year-old Redmond man was arrested in Bend, when he showed up to meet who he thought was a 15-year-old with whom he’d exchanged inappropriate text messages.
Redmond Police found out about the messages, last week. Officers posed as the teen and texted Matthew Smith, who reportedly tried to exchange nude photos with the victim.
Investigators say Smith wanted to meet up with the teen for the purposes of sexual contact. When he arrived at Sawyer park at the agreed upon time, Friday afternoon, he was arrested without incident.
Anyone with information about this case or similar incidents involving Smith is asked to call Redmond PD Investigations Unit at 541-504-3400. They remind parents to be aware of phone or text messages received on their child's phone from adults. Police urge parents who notice suspicious phone calls or text requests to contact local law enforcement.
REDMOND, OR -- Two people were hurt in a crash at SW 35th Street and Highway 126, during Tuesday morning's commute.
Redmond City Engineer Mike Caccavano tells KBND News improvements are already in the pipeline for the intersection, which is a known trouble spot. "This came about as a result of some traffic studies that were done for developments proposed around Obsidian and 35th. The results showed there would be added trips to that intersection and that the left turn movement was already failing – there was a safety issue."
He says there are some serious crashes in the area every year, but even more close calls. "You can tell that from the black tire marks on the roadway. What often happens: someone is stopping in traffic to make a left turn and people come up on them and don’t realize they’ve stopped. Or they’re farther back in the line as the cars stop. That’s been the most typical accident." Although, Redmond Police say a preliminary investigation into Tuesday's crash shows a vehicle northbound on 35th failed to yield to highway traffic.
The half-million dollar project will include widening Highway 126, also known as Highland Avenue, and adding left turn lanes. "We’ve been working on it since the summer; we have a consulting engineer working on it and consulting with ODOT, because it is an ODOT facility." The work will be paid for with city System Development Charges. Caccavano expects work to begin this winter.
BEND, OR -- Bend Police and City Councilors have agreed to a new Collective Bargaining agreement with a new clause. Chief Jim Porter says it includes performance-based bonuses. "One of the complaints we generally have in public service is ‘cops just get rewards for showing up and breathing.’ Well, this time, our Police Association, who was very forward-looking with us, who took a chance on this, has agreed to certain pay increments: 1.5% in the first six months, 2% in the second six months, if they hit certain goals."
Chief Porter says those goals are not related to enforcement action or “quotas.” He tells KBND News, "These goals are tied to livability; they’re tied to public interaction; they’re tied to interaction with our youth. They’re not tied to enforcement action; not tied to tickets; they’re not tied to arrests. They’re tied to such things as making sure we get into all the schools once a day and have lunch with kids; make sure get into senior centers."
Aside from creating a better city, Porter says it’s another way to attract new recruits during the ongoing nationwide officer shortage. "We needed a way to get ourselves into a better market position. We aren’t getting the police officers we need in Bend. We just aren’t. We just went through a hiring process, and out of the hundreds applied, we’ve narrowed it down to 13 who we believe have the right characteristics to be a successful police officer in the city of Bend; because Bend asks for different characteristics than a lot of cities."
The deal was approved by City Council, last week. While annual cost of living increases remain, Chief Porter says the bonuses do away with pay raises for simply being with the department for a certain length of time.
To hear more of our conversation with Chief Jim Porter, visit our Podcast Page
or click HERE
BEND, OR -- A Redmond man described by the Deschutes County District Attorney as a “Serial domestic abuser” and “a menace to our community” was sentenced Tuesday to three years in prison for assaulting his wife. Jimmy Herrera has 17 convictions spanning 15 years. On his most recent charges, he pleaded guilty to attacking his wife on two separate occasions. Herrera changed his plea to guilty the day before his trial was set to begin.
D.A. John Hummel says one vicious assault last November was over money; another, in April, began when Herrera thought his wife made a face at him; both were witnessed by small children.
In a statement issued after the sentencing, Hummel said, "For the last 15 years Jimmy Herrera has been a menace to our community. These recent assaults on his wife were the final straw. When Mr. Herrera is released from prison, me and my deputies stand ready, willing and able to bring the full force of justice upon him if he yet again breaks the law. Enough is enough!"
Hummel notes the conviction comes during Domestic Violence awareness month. He encourages anyone experiencing domestic or sexual assault to call 911 or Saving Grace's 24-hour hotline at 541-389-7021.
BEND, OR -- Deschutes County Commissioner Alan Unger is seeking reelection, after eight years at the post. At Tuesday night's Bend Chamber of Commerce forum, Unger debated his Republican challenger on topics ranging from canal piping to Measure 97.
They also discussed the Board of County Commissioners' decision to allow recreational marijuana to be grown and processed in unincorporated areas. Unger says they needed to act. "We were having quite a division in the county between those people who were opposed and those people who were supportive. And, it was getting to be quite a fight, and I thought at that point it was important for us to be leaders as County Commissioners, and move forward and make decisions. So, we moved forward; we listened to the community, we made reasonable regulations that protected the rural lifestyle of the people who live in the county, and then we adopted those."
The state Legislature allowed communities to opt out of Measure 91, Oregon's recreational marijuana law, and send the issue back to the ballot. Challenger Phil Henderson feels the board should have let voters have the final say. "The conflict could've been resolved on the November ballot. I was very concerned about the fact that rural Deschutes County, which was going to be impacted the most by the commercial growing, processing of marijuana, had voted overwhelmingly against recreational marijuana - if you went precinct by precinct. But, if you're just trying to resolve the conflict, we have a Democratic system that allows us to resolve the conflict. The Legislature gave us that system and gave us that right, and I think it's wrong it was taken away from us."
BEND, OR -- A Redmond teen is on her way to Hawaii for a six-day family vacation, thanks to Make-A-Wish Oregon. Kacee Ware was first diagnosed with severe Crohn's Disease when she was just 10-years-old, and she's spent the last five years in and out of hospitals in Portland and Seattle. Her mom Rachel says the 15-year-old also struggled with a number of complications from her treatment and other secondary diagnoses.
Kacee was surprised at Tuesday's "Waffles and Wishes" Make-A-Wish Fundraiser in Bend.
Rachel Ware tells KBND News her daughter helped plan the trip with the nonprofit over the past couple of years, but says Kacee had no idea the family of seven was leaving immediately. "It’s just been amazing for us and given her something to be excited about and look forward to. It’s been super hard not to share with her the fun details of our trip, so we were really excited to be able to finally share all that with her."
Rachel says the trip is perfectly timed. Kacee underwent a trial treatment at Seattle Children's Hospital over the past year, and just recently learned she was in clinical remission. "If we would’ve went a year ago, or even six months ago, it would’ve been a different experience because she really wasn’t well enough to enjoy it. Yeah, it would’ve been pretty and she could’ve laid on a towel on the beach, but she really wasn’t physically able to do much."
The Redmond High sophomore tells KBND News she wanted to go to Hawaii so she, her parents and four siblings could spend time together after traveling so much for her treatments. "We are going to go on an all-day fishing trip, and doing a luau, and some scuba diving and just sitting on the beach and having fun. It’s crazy; it’s nothing that I’ve ever imagined being able to do."
In the past year, Make-A-Wish Oregon granted more than 200 wishes for kids battling life-threatening medical conditions. This year, the organization hopes to grant 250 wishes. They say these wishes aren't just "nice to have," but have a real impact on the healing process for each family, their friends and community.
BEND, OR -- A new multi-million dollar grant will help Central Oregon Community College develop new programs to help struggling students develop better math and writing skills. COCC's Ron Paradis tells KBND News, "One of the problems in higher education is taking students who aren’t quite ready for college level and getting them there. We’ve known that’s a problem for years, and unfortunately, with Oregon’s lack of funding for higher education it’s been difficult for us to institute some of these programs. So, this will allow us to do a lot of programs in the developmental writing and math area, and do other things to help transition students toward college level courses."
Paradis says nearly 85% of COCC students start classes below college level in writing or math, or both. The school’s wide age range within its student body magnifies the need. "It’s not only the 18-year-olds, but it’s also the 50-year-old that all of a sudden finds out that they’re out of work. And often, those are the ones who come in at the lowest level of skills," says Paradis. "We really noticed that during the recession, the number of students that came in their 40s and 50s who hadn’t taken a math class in 20 or 30 years and therefore tested in very low. It’s difficult for those students to take the year or two it takes just to get to college level."
The five-year, $2.25 million Title III grant is from the U.S. Department of Education. COCC also plans to use the funds to develop a first-year experience program to boost retention rates.
INDIAN BEACH, OR -- An Oregon surfer was seriously injured in the state’s first shark attack in three years. Oregon State Police say the attack occurred within Ecola State Park, north of Cannon Beach, Monday afternoon. Jeff Rose was there and says, "All the injuries were on his right leg - basically from the hip to the ankle. Fairly gruesome injuries."
The victim, 29-year-old Joseph Tanner, is a Portland trauma nurse. Rose says, "He directed his own first aid."
Tanner was stabilized at the scene and flown to Legacy Emanuel Hospital in Portland, with serious injuries.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Republican leaders continue to distance themselves from Donald Trump, following the release of a 2005 video that revealed demeaning comments toward women. That list now includes Oregon's only Republican Congressman.
U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) says he will not defend the GOP Presidential nominee for his comments, nor will he campaign for Trump. Oregon's top Republican, Congressman Greg Walden, condemned Trump's comments about women. He says they were disrespectful, disgusting and not representative of the Republican Party.
Walden says that while some aren't surprised by Trump's behavior, it's clear that he, and he alone, is responsible for his actions and statements. In the statement issued this week, Walden continues that his focus is on serving Oregonians and maintaining a Republican majority in the U.S. House.
BEND, OR -- A crash landing, last month, of an unmanned aerial system is bringing drone safety to the attention of Bend Police. No one was injured when the small aircraft crashed into the driveway of an unsuspecting neighbor in southeast Bend, September 16.
While there are no specific city codes or state statutes for drone operations, there are guidelines from the FAA, including that aircraft be kept in eyesight of the “pilot” at all times, fly below 400 feet and stay at least 25 feet away from people.
to learn more about the rules for recreational operation of a drone.
to register a drone with the FAA. Registration is required for those crafts between .5 and 55 pounds.
BEND, OR -- Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) was in Bend, Monday, touring a section of the Pilot Butte Canal slated for piping, next year. "That greatly reduces the losses of the water percolating down through the ground and also reduces losses from evaporation," he said at the event. "The key is that the saved water can then be used to reduce water set aside for the next irrigation season, which means that more water can come down the stream during the winter."
He noted the importance of ensuring water is available for farmers and ranchers in the future, but also for fish and wildlife and the outdoor industry. "During irrigation season, we fill the Upper Deschutes River; water flows down to the agricultural purposes. But, when the irrigation season winds down, we reduce flows in the Upper Deschutes to store water for the next irrigation season, meaning you can have very low flows over the winter; and that can have a significant impact on local fish and wildlife populations. The good news is we can help address this through smart water conservation."
Merkley tells KBND News he has three proposals working through Congress that will help future similar projects. "Two of them are grant programs, one is a subsidized loan program. Each one is a little bit different, but enabling them to have more funding and a priority given to efforts where there’s a collaborative project and where you’re addressing either water efficiency or issues involving endangered species." He says priorities would be given to projects designed through a collaborative process between irrigation districts, conservation and agricultural stakeholders.
The Senator says projects would remain under local control. "My part in this, at the federal level, is to say when the irrigation district has a project, it’s worked it out and it’s going to have very positive water conservation and environmental impacts – of course, we have a very big issue of the dewatering of the Upper Deschutes – and I’m going to do everything I can to help resources get here."
Central Oregon Irrigation District officials say they've nearly secured the $3.9-million needed to pipe a section of canal near Brookswood Boulevard. Installation of the 4,000-foot pipe is expected to begin in a year.
Photo: Sen. Jeff Merkley speaks to media during a tour, with representatives from Central Oregon Irrigation District, Three Sisters Irrigation District, Trout Unlimited and other environmental groups.
REDMOND, OR -- A special workshop, Tuesday, in Redmond will focus on the behaviors of hoarding. Dr. Christiana Bratiotis, from the Portland State University School of Social Work, says hoarding impacts more than 16 million Americans. "It is the problem of accumulating too many possessions that, to other people, appear to be of useless value; and, clutter living environments so that it makes it hard for people to use rooms in their home for the purpose intended."
She tells KBND News hoarding behaviors can be seen in those as young as 11-years-old. "What we also know, however, is that hoarding has what we describe as a chronic and worsening course; meaning it does not get better on its own and will only get worse across a person’s lifetime. That’s why we sometimes think this is a problem of older adult years, because, by the time you get out to 50, 60 and 70 years old, you’ve had decades of time for the clutter to amass."
The one-day workshop at the Expo Center is designed to help medical and mental health professionals, elder-care workers and first responders better identify hoarding behavior and learn how to start the process of getting them help. "Sometimes a person with hoarding is able to say, ‘yes, I know this is a problem for me; yes, I want help.’" But, she says, "At other points, that same person might say, ‘no, it’s no problem at all. I can sleep on this one little corner of my bed; I don’t need the rest of my bed. Everybody else is bothered by this problem but I’m not.’"
BEND, OR -- A Bend man was convicted by a jury, Friday, for Driving while Suspended, Driving Under the Influence and Providing False information to Police, two years ago. In October 2014, David Allen Black was pulled over for speeding, lied about his name, bragged about how his fast car and was observed to be impaired.
The Deschutes County District Attorney says 32-year-old Black lost his license in 2004, when he was convicted of Manslaughter. His involvement in speed racing east of Bend resulted in the death of 16-year-old Stephanie Beeksma. In a statement issued after the verdict, D.A. John Hummel said, "It's unfortunate that David Black appears to have learned nothing from the tragedy that cost Stephanie Beeksma her life. Unless and until he grows up and appreciates the danger of impaired and reckless driving, me and my deputies stand ready to continue to hold him accountable for his dangerous actions."
Sentencing for this latest conviction is October 24.
BEND, OR -- Fire caused about $15,000 in damage to the outside of the Taco Bell restaurant on NE 3rd Street, in Bend. A customer first noticed smoke coming from the roof, just after 11 p.m., Sunday.
Arriving fire crews found smoke on the roof and front façade, and were forced to cut into the side of the building to find its source. They extinguished the fire and determined it originated in the bark at the base of the front entry, although the exact cause is unknown.
BROTHERS, OR -- One person was killed and another seriously injured when a semi truck and trailer rolled near Brothers, early Thursday morning. By Saturday, State Police were questioning the identity of the survivor.
Investigators say the driver, 47-year Angela Abernathy, of Florida, was killed when she was ejected in the Highway 20 crash. Her passenger was flown to St. Charles Bend with potentially life-threatening injuries.
That passenger was originally identified through his ID as Darren Walp, of Abilene, Texas. But, OSP received several calls Saturday and later determined he's really 31-year-old Billy Wade. They believe Wade stole his identity about eight months ago, unbeknownst to Walp.
BEND, OR -- A Sisters woman was sentenced, this week, to four years in prison for embezzling from her employer. Prosecutors say Cheryl Waldron took about $430,000 from Robinson and Owen Heavy Construction over several years. Waldron was the bookkeeper and office manager for the construction company for 17 years.
She was arrested in March
and pled guilty in August to Aggravated Identity Theft, Forgery and Theft. The Deschutes County District Attorney says she failed to comply with a restitution deal that could have cut her prison time in half. DA John Hummel says Waldron was given two months to pay $200,000 toward restitution and could sign the title of her property over to the victim to cover that amount. However, he says, liens on the property - including unpaid property taxes - reduced the value of the property to just over $100,000.
In addition to the four years in prison, the judge ordered Waldron to pay $258,000 in restitution and sign over the title of her property to her former employer.
BEND, OR -- As we approach Halloween, “scary clown” sightings are increasing across the country, and police say Bend is not immune. A Cascade Middle School athletic team spotted – then caught – a “scary clown” who appeared at their practice on Tuesday. The clown was later identified as a local high school student; the school is handling the situation internally.
On Sunday, a juvenile running near Mt. Washington Dr. and Skyliners Road reported seeing someone dressed in a clown suit carrying a hatchet or an axe. Officers searched the area but didn't find anything.
Bend PD says, "As people partake in dressing as clowns, and more dangerously, arming themselves, it is important to get this information out." Officers encourage residents to call local law enforcement if you see someone acting suspicious, regardless of how they’re dressed.
In southern Oregon, police arrested a 21-year-old man dressed as a clown after they say he stood outside several high schools holding a sign that said “We are here.” Jackson County authorities say Michael Richards held the sign at Crater, North Medford, South Medford and Eagle Point high schools. He’s being held on charges of disorderly conduct and trespassing.
BEND, OR -- Earlier this summer, GOP Presidential candidate Donald Trump claimed Oregon would be in play in November. But, the latest reports show that's unlikely. A poll conducted by Hoffman Research, last week, shows Democrat Hillary Clinton with a 12-point lead over Trump.
Laurie Gould, with Deschutes Democrats, says it appears the Trump campaign is pulling out of Oregon to concentrate on swing states rather than the Pacific Northwest. And, she says that could influence other state races. "It does depend on turnout. It means the people that usually get attracted to Presidential elections need to check the entire ballot and look for people to support from the top to the bottom."
The October poll showed Clinton with 45% support from Oregon voters, compared to Trump's 33%. Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson received 8% support. Gould tells KBND News, "We've been a pretty strongly 'blue state.' I mean, all of our statewide elected officeholders are currently Democrats. So, we've had very strong turnout throughout the Willamette Valley and the Portland-metro area that favors Democrats. But, we've also seen some really strong Democratic turnouts in Deschutes County."
BEND, OR -- A candidate for Bend City Council admits to frequently disregarding Oregon’s recreational marijuana laws.
Ron Boozell, who is running for Position One, spoke at this week’s Council meeting. He complained about how he was recently kicked out of Drake Park for smoking marijuana. "We have a 'don’t ask, don’t tell' Oregon law. Basically, it says you can’t consume or grow marijuana in public view. I gotta tell you, I smoke marijuana at Drake Park almost every day; and I never do it in public view." Actually, Measure 91 states pot can only be used on private property. The Oregon Liquor Control Commission, which regulates recreational pot, says consuming marijuana in public places, including parks, is prohibited.
He also told Councilors he doesn’t plan to change his habit, despite being excluded from Drake Park. "I’ve spoken in public about exclusion zones; I don’t respect them, I will not admit we have them, I will continue to disrespect every exclusion zone in this city until they don’t exist. Thank you."
Boozell is scheduled to debate his opponent, businessman Justin Livingston
, at a League of Women Voters
forum, Monday evening. That event begins at 5:15 at the Deschutes County Admin Building. Click HERE
BEND, OR -- A day after Republican candidate for Governor Bud Pierce apologized for comments he made about domestic violence, a Bend-based advocacy group is grateful the issue is being discussed. At last week's debate in Portland, Dr. Pierce said individuals could prevent becoming a victim by achieving a good economic status.
Erin Rook, with Saving Grace
, says Pierce's statement speaks to two common misconceptions, "One, is that we can prevent domestic violence by ensuring that women have certain protections; putting that impetus to prevent it on the victim, which is kind of a backwards way of thinking. In order to change and prevent domestic violence, we really have to look at perpetrators. The other is the idea that domestic violence only effects people of low income or low educational statuses. And, that’s absolutely not true." He says
the misconceptions aren't unique to Pierce. "If they don’t see the issue as touching their life directly, it seems irrelevant, maybe? There was recently a report released by the Women’s Foundation of Oregon – the Count Her In Report – that showed that more than half of Oregon women and girls will experience domestic or sexual violence. So, clearly we all, whether we have experienced domestic violence ourselves or not, we certainly know someone who does."
In his apology, Dr. Pierce says the issue will improve when there is more education. But, Rook tells KBND News there isn’t money to grow programs. "So, the state does mandate that there is a certain amount of violence prevention education in schools. Unfortunately, the mandate comes without any funding connected to it. It’s one of those things we want it to happen, and it needs to happen. But, sometimes there can be a struggle in communities to find the resources to make that happen."
PORTLAND, OR -- The Republican candidate for Oregon Governor is apologizing for a statement he made in last Friday's debate with Gov. Kate Brown.
In a video posted on the campaign's Facebook page, Dr. Bud Pierce said Wednesday, "I stated that individuals could prevent themselves from being victims of domestic violence by achieving a good economic status. This is wrong, as domestic violence occurs in all economic groups. I apologize for this ignorant and potentially dangerous statement."
He says since the debate he has researched domestic violence and now believes there needs to be formal education to change the belief that violence is acceptable. "This teaching is best done in our families, schools, community organizations, athletic clubs, religious institutions and places of work." He also says better health care and more access to drug and alcohol diversion programs are needed. “My eyes have been opened and I’m now joining the battle against domestic violence.”
Dr. Pierce and Kate Brown debate again Thursday evening in Eugene.
BEND, OR -- A number of local cab drivers are expressing concerns over the possibility of Uber coming to Central Oregon. Ordinance changes are being discussed in Bend and Redmond, which could pave the way for the ride-sharing service to expand here.
Taxi driver Aaron Schmidt spoke at Wednesday night's Bend City Council meeting. He’s worried about increased liability and decreased safety. "The insurance requirements that we taxi companies have to deal with, there are loopholes with Uber where, if they don’t have a passenger in their vehicle and they get in an accident, they are not being covered properly. This is a big liability because their private insurance for their vehicle won’t cover them because they are using their vehicles for profit."
Matt Cave has driven a cab for five years in Bend. He told Councilors those driving for a company like Uber may not be subject to the same rigorous safety standards. "We are certified through the Bend Police Department to be taxi driver. We do a national background check, finger printing, to make sure we are who we say we are."
Councilor Nathan Boddie says he has looked into the issue and agrees it needs to be approached carefully to balance public safety with competition, while supporting local businesses. "It’s not that they don’t want the competition; it’s that they want the competition to be fair. What seems to be the larger pattern is they tend to get the local communities to rewrite the rules in their favor, then sort of deteriorate that fairness and equity."
BEND, OR -- Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton meet for their next Presidential debate on Sunday in St. Louis. A grassroots effort is underway to get public input on what questions will be asked of the candidates.
Kyle Frick, with Bend-based Mid Oregon Credit Union, is advocating for one of the options available at PresidentialOpenQuestions.com
, "Where they’re allowing people to vote on the questions; they’re going to consider up to 30 questions. One of the questions that’s out there: 'Is there an alternative to big banks on Wall Street?'" Frick tells KBND News, "In real terms, over the last few years, big banks have gotten bigger, credit unions have remained about the same size and market share, community banks have really been compressed. They’ve been merged, acquired, and we have data to show there are a lot less community banks out there, these days. From our perspective, that’s not an ideal situation to have the big banks controlling most of the financial affairs in the United States."
The website has logged more than 10,000 submitted questions, with more than two-million votes. Frick compares the effort to a town hall, "This is a virtual way of doing that, and getting some public input on these debates. Hopefully, they’ll be able to get around to some of these things, and answer some of the questions. And, they might be enough different that it gives you some additional insight into how the Presidential candidates are thinking."
BEND, OR -- The Deputy challenging Deschutes County Sheriff Shane Nelson says he and his supporters have faced retaliation because of his campaign, and he’s threatened to sue the Sheriff's Office.
At a recent debate
, Deputy Eric Kozowski said he was encouraged to run by coworkers looking for a change of leadership. However, Detective Ron Brown tells KBND News he sees a very different situation at the agency. "From what I’m hearing, it’s fairly one-sided. Our Association has obviously spoken loudly that we endorse Sheriff Shane Nelson; we’re happy with the changes he’s making, with the progress he’s making and the direction our office is going. There’s a lot of discontent with the negative campaigning going on being used to trash the reputation of our Sheriff’s office, which isn’t accurate."
Det. Brown is a past President of the Deschutes County Sheriff Employees Association and a current member. Brown says Kozowski spoke at an association meeting several months ago and was told then members wanted to keep Sheriff Nelson. "It was overwhelming that day. The reaction that he got and the comments he got was that people are happy with Shane Nelson. They’re tired of him bashing our agency, saying things that aren’t true." He adds, "Sheriff Nelson came and spoke at the meeting and asked for our endorsement. So, a motion was put out to address that and make a vote on it. As a group, we decided that the only fair way to do it would be to put a written ballot to every member of the association." Detective Brown outlines the results of the secret ballot: "There were 94 in favor of endorsing Shane Nelson, two endorsing Eric Kozowski, and 28 people stated that they didn’t feel it was the association’s business to be endorsing anybody." The association is comprised of about 150 non-command and civilian support staff. Kozowski is a voting member of the association; Sheriff Nelson is not.
"They want a new direction, but they’re getting that. They’ve had that with Shane Nelson," says Det. Brown. "The words I’ve been hearing are that people are happy with the direction that Sheriff Nelson is going with his leadership." Brown says the vote against Kozowski was not personal, but an expression that members don't feel he's qualified to lead the agency.
TERREBONNE, OR -- A Terrebonne man and his son were convicted last week on poaching-related charges in Jefferson County. Oregon State Police first received an anonymous tip of illegal hunting activity in the Metolius Wildlife Management Unit, near Terrebonne, in November 2014.
Investigators executed several search warrants and issued multiple citations to 43-year-old Justin Aplin, of Central Point, and his father, 65-year-old Jerry Aplin, of Terrebonne. After last week's three-day trial, Justin was convicted of the Unlawful Take of a Trophy Buck and Borrowing a Big Game Tag. His dad Jerry was convicted of Loaning a Big Game Tag and Aiding in a Wildlife Violation.
They were ordered to pay $7,500 in restitution to ODFW, hunting privileges were suspended for three years, and they were both placed on one year probation.
Jerry Aplin, of Terrebonne Justin Aplin, of Central Point
PRINEVILLE, OR -- Firefighters are gaining ground on a wildfire southeast of Prineville that started as a controlled burn in the Ochoco National Forest. Kassidy Kern, with the Forest Service, says the East Maury unit was supposed to be a 333-acre prescribed burn.
She tells KBND News winds suddenly switched directions, last Thursday, pushing flames outside containment lines. "This is a pretty rare situation. It does happen, because anyone who has been in this for a while knows you can’t always control the weather, you can’t always control the conditions. So, as much science goes into prescribed burning, there is a bit of an art, too. You kind of have to herd it in the ways that you’re dealing with all these different variables."
As of Tuesday, the East Maury Fire was nearly 40% contained and had burned more than 1500 acres; about 90 acres is private land. Kern says once the response shifted to wildfire supression, the District Ranger immediately contacted the neighboring landowner. "They explained exactly what happened – that we had a change in wind direction that was something that necessitated then to turn into a wildfire situation. ‘There is some on your private lands,’ to the landowner. And he said, ‘we want to make sure you’re in on the conversations about what we’re doing.’" She adds, "The positive side of that, I would argue is that, we were able to, in converting it to a wildfire, get aerial resources that we need to get really in lock step with the private landowners and ODF and the rural fire protection agency. So, everybody was on the same page, they knew where we were going with this, and it became a full suppression fire, immediately."
Prescribed burns scheduled for near Bend, this week, have been shelved due to unfavorable weather conditions.
Click HERE to listen to our full conversation with Kern, or visit our Podcast Page.
BEND, OR -- Bend City Councilors are expected to approve, Wednesday, an update to the city’s Emergency Operations Plan. Deputy Fire Chief Bill Boos, acting Bend Emergency Manager, is pleased with the final draft.
Boos tells KBND News, "We participated in the Cascadia Rising
event in June; I wanted to make sure our emergency operations plan aligned with Deschutes County’s emergency operations plan, which aligns with the state of Oregon. And, our plan did align, which I was thrilled about. But, it handles all sorts of different things: Anywhere from a major fire, to floods, to severe weather, earthquake, drought, terrorism, public health. It kind of gives you a checklist of things that you might want to be thinking about when you have a major event that impacts the community, or the city of Bend."
He says it’s a playbook for those catastrophic events. "The big thing is just making sure that we’re all on the same page and we’re working together, because it’s going to take everybody. Let’s say, for example, that we have the tsunami off the Oregon coast, it’s going to have a major impact on Central Oregon. And, just making sure that everybody works well together, from the Health Department, to Roads, to police, fire, Red Cross. And that’s the beauty of this; we have a great working relationship with every department in Central Oregon."
According to Boos, cities typically look over their emergency plan every two years. But, because of staffing and department changes, he says Bend’s plan was last revised eight years ago.
BEND, OR -- It was a packed Deschutes Brewery Tap Room for the latest debate between Deschutes County Sheriff Shane Nelson and challenger Deputy Eric Kozowski.
Tuesday night's Bend Chamber forum was fiery at times; both candidates admitted the campaign has created tensions within the agency. Sheriff Nelson told the crowd, "Look, I have no doubt that internal Sheriffs races can cause some conflict. The one thing that gives me a little bit of hope is the fact that the people I visit with say morale has been increasing exponentially since we've been dealing with and addressing personnel issues; especially personnel issues at high levels."
Dep. Kozowski responded, "One of the reasons I ran for office was because I had coworkers encourage me to do so. I have considerable support within the office; many people are afraid to voice that support publicly, because of concerns of retaliation. In fact, there's a Department of Justice investigation active in that regard. And, as was mentioned earlier, there's been significant retaliation against me, personally." Kozowski has threatened, through his attorney, to sue the Sheriff's Office if harassment continues.
Sheriff Nelson says he takes all allegations seriously and is looking into the claims. "If that is going on, we want to get to the bottom of it. That's why I asked an outside agency - I called the Department of Justice - to come in and do this investigation, because it won't be tolerated. We'll find out what the truth is, and we'll handle it appropriately."
Read more about the candidates' last public debate.
Despite the nature of the race, Sheriff Nelson says his office will continue the ensure the public's safety and both men say they will move forward after the election. Deputy Kozowski said at the forum, "There's definitely tension inside the office. It's unfortunate these things have happened. I have tried to do everything I can to minimize that tension. I come to work, I do the job to the best of my ability. Unfortunately, people are people, and everybody has their own opinions."
REDMOND, OR -- Redmond Police, Public Works and the Redmond School District launched an effort Monday to get drivers to slow down, especially in school zones. Sgt. Curtis Chambers says grant money helped Redmond PD purchase three new lidars to help crack down on speeders. The units are similar to a radar gun, but uses light from a laser. And, he tells KBND News the department joined with Public Works to get a covert device that mounts on power or light poles to help identify trouble spots. "This is not a photo radar speed enforcement tool like some larger cities, like Portland and Salem, may have. This is simply data collection so we can better tailor our response to a problem with the limited resources we have."
According to Sgt. Chambers, a pedestrian hit by a vehicle going 20 MPH has a 90% chance of survival. "At 30 mph, so just 10 mph above the school zone speed limit, a pedestrian only has a 50/50 chance of surviving those injuries. And, if we’re talking 40 mph, a pedestrian only has a 10% chance of surviving those injuries. And, since we’re talking school zones, we’re talking kids." He adds, "That’s the focus of the 'Slow Down Redmond' campaign and our partnership with the Redmond School District: it only takes one inattentive driver, one driver going much faster than they should in a school zone, that may have some very unfortunate consequences for all involved if there were a vehicle vs. pedestrian crash in a school zone."
The campaign is in response to results from a recent community survey. "The majority of the open-ended responses that the city received dealt with speeding vehicles in school zones and neighborhoods," says Sgt. Chambers. “Slow Down Redmond” yard signs are available for free at Redmond elementary schools, City Hall and the police department.
BEND, OR -- A new report shows the questions many in Bend are asking about a potential review of the city’s charter. Bend 2030, the Bend Chamber and City Club of Central Oregon are looking at how the Mayor is chosen, how much Councilors are paid and whether they should be elected by region.
Erin Foote-Morgan, with Bend 2030, says many at a September 20 forum
discussed who has the most influence on city policy. "It’s absolutely overwhelming that folks who live on the west side are serving on these city committees and Council, and shaping the policy of the community. But, there’s actually more registered voters living on the east side of Third Street. There’s a lot of really important demographic changes from east to west, in Bend: different income levels, different ways that folks vote on policies."
According to the report, attendees were also surprised to learn Bend is the largest city in Oregon without an elected Mayor. And, some have questioned whether the $200 monthly stipend provided to City Councilors is enough, given the demands of the job. "But, it turns out our Councilors make an average amount of money, across the state. We were also surprised to hear that some of these other cities compensate Councilors with healthcare benefits instead of cash, as one solution for making the job a little bit more palatable."
Foote Morgan says last month’s forum was just the beginning of the discussion. "First one was about education and getting questions on the table. The second is about weighing in on the right way to answer these questions as a community. After that, we’ll be taking the results of both of these forums to City Council in January." That second forum is November first at Central Oregon Collective on NE 27th Street, from 5 - 7 p.m.
REDMOND, OR -- Vern Patrick Elementary is getting more than $130,000 in grants.
The Redmond School District announced Monday a nearly $119,884 award from the Central Oregon Health Council, as part of that organization’s Regional Health Improvement Plan; The Pacific Power foundation is giving a thousand dollars to support low-cost after-school programming for low-income families; and, an anonymous donor is providing $10,000 for Vern Patrick’s Community School Program, which provides after school academic and enrichment opportunities.
BEND, OR -- Gun control was a central issue discussed by current and potential state lawmakers at a debate hosted by the League of Women Voters. The Monday night forum brought together three current Legislators for House District 53 and 54, and State Senate, and their three challengers.
State Rep. Knute Buehler (R-Bend) is a strong advocate for Second Amendment rights. But, he says lawmakers can do more. "We need to find common ground on this issue, while respecting the rights of law abiding citizens and gun owners, but also to reduce criminal and accidental gun deaths." His Democratic challenger, Gena Goodman-Campbell, feels Buehler hasn't done enough in the legislature to reduce gun violence. "I have personal experience with the issue of gun violence. I think there is common ground; I think the vast majority of Americans can agree on the simple step of background checks before moving forward with a gun sale. And, I think that the vast majority of Americans can probably also agree that there's no reason for somebody to have a magazine with a high capacity of bullets." She supports closing the so-called "Charleston loophole" in Oregon, which would extend the time allowed for a background check. Buehler says he's seen no evidence that would reduce gun violence.
Gene Whisnant (R-Sunriver) is running for his eighth term. On gun control, he says he had hoped the legislature would have done more after last year's shooting at Umpqua Community College. "I was disappointed that the Legislature did not come out in any way to really protect our schools; and this was right after the Rogue Valley Community College [sic]. And, we didn't really address or come up with any solutions or any actions to take to prevent what happened in our backyard, in Oregon." His challenger, Democrat Michael Graham, is a retired paralegal. He also feels lawmakers need to do more. "In terms of background checks, there must be a way to prevent guns from ending up in the hands of people who are deranged or people who just have bad intentions." Whisnant doesn't think those on the "no fly list" should be allowed to own a gun, while Graham feels that could be unconstitutional.
For Bend's Senate seat, Tim Knopp (R-Bend) faced challenger Democrat Greg Delgado. Knopp feels there's not a lot the legislature can do. "The truth is, those who want to do evil are going to find a way to get the device that they want, whether that's a gun, a bomb, or a knife, or what have you, to do harm to people. And so, it's really important that our public safety is ever alert." Delgado, a former community activist, feels lawmakers can do more. "One in five people in Central Oregon own a gun. So, this is something that - It's our neighborhood, it's our community, who we are. Legislation for background checks is very important. The larger solution is we're not going to get rid of guns, and we can't live in fear of guns. But, we have to be able to live in comfortable and safe communities; and that's where the work needs to be done." Knopp served three terms in the State House, from 1999-2005, prior to being elected to the State Senate four years ago.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- Firefighters worked through the weekend to strengthen containment lines around a wildfire near Elkhorn campground in the Maury Mountains. The 1700-acre fire began as a prescribed burn to improve range and forest health within a 333-acre unit of the Ochoco National Forest. Unexpected wind pushed the fire across containment lines on Thursday, creating the wildfire. A temporary closure is in effect for hunters and other visitors in the area.
Deschutes National Forest crews expect to ignite three prescribed burns in the Bend-Fort Rock Ranger District, south of Bend, Tuesday and Wednesday. This week's projects include 175-acres on the west side of Wake Butte and two smaller units near Fall River Campgrounds. Other burns are slated for West Bend, near La Pine State Park and near Sunriver. All burns are weather permitting.
REDMOND, OR -- Redmond City Councilor, and candidate for Mayor, Anne Graham may have violated state ethics laws when she tried to stop construction of a house in her neighborhood. Graham contacted city staff, beginning in February 2015, complaining a partially-built home was too similar to her own.
Correspondence began just weeks after Graham was sworn into office. She says she wasn’t told during new councilor orientation that she wasn’t supposed to interact directly with staff. Graham tells KBND News, "It was not covered to the best of my knowledge. The training consisted of being given a book of documents that have been created to guide new Councilors. To the best of my knowledge – I haven’t gone back and relooked at the book – there was nothing in there that said you must proceed through the City Manager to contact staff." City Manager Keith Witcosky says Councilors are given a book, but then are verbally instructed to contact him first. "In all the orientation sessions, Council members know that I am their point of contact. That’s something that the Mayor and the city attorney, particularly, make very clear; as do I." He adds, "There is a very large volume of materials that we send with them, as well, and then we kind of walk them through that in the orientation sessions."
KBND News has obtained numerous emails Graham sent to city planners in 2015 regarding the home. Over several months, she sent pictures directly to the head of Community Development, showing her home compared to the one under construction. Graham says, "I would presume that’s the route any private citizen would take to register a complaint or send in additional information." In one email, dated February 25, 2015, Graham tells then-Community Development Director Heather Richards, "I have reached out to your staff twice now for an update but still have not received one." She goes on to say, "I believe this copy home will have a negative impact on the value of my home when I come to sell it some day."
According to Oregon ethics law, it's a conflict of interest for a public official to participate in "official action which could or would result in a financial benefit or detriment to the public official, a relative of the public official or a business with which either is associated." Witcosky says Councilors and the Mayor are instructed to go through the City Manager for various reasons, including to "avoid situations where Council members can get favors done" and to "protect staff from situations which effect the integrity of their work."
Recently, Graham asked staff to see plans for another home
. Permits were later denied to the builder, although Graham says she did not talk with staff while she was there. Mayor George Endicott says anyone can look at building plans. But, he believes Councilors are “super citizens.” He tells KBND News, "We have influence that others don’t. If you walked in to look at the plans and no one knew who you were, they’d show them to you, etc., and you’d leave; no harm, no foul. If a Councilor goes in and looks, then suddenly they’re questioning why."
BEND, OR -- The four people vying to become Oregon's next State Treasurer debated in Bend Thursday night, in a forum hosted by the League of Women Voters. Current Treasurer Ted Wheeler is Portland's Mayor-elect and was term-limited. He's endorsing fellow Democrat Tobias Read for the post.
Read, a Beaverton State Representative, told the crowd, "I'm running for State Treasurer because I feel like there are too many Oregon families who are struggling to make ends meet. I want to make sure we are not wasting taxpayer dollars, while making it easier for Oregon families to save for college, for retirement, to get ahead. And, that we're addressing the condition of our roads and bridges and schools."
Chris Telfer, of Bend, is running as an Independent. "We really need somebody who's qualified, has the experience and the talent, to be the CFO of the State Treasury," she said at the forum. "And, I believe my analytical skills and background as a CPA for more than three decades, as well as my experience as a Bend City Councilor, State Senator, currently Lottery Commissioner - I think all that experience has qualified me to be the best Treasurer."
Republican Jeff Gudman tried to convince the audience he is the best candidate. "I'm of the firm belief that Oregon's next Treasurer should actually have experience as a Treasurer. I'm the past Treasurer of the Legacy Emanuel Hospital Foundation, where I served almost a dozen years; I was the Treasurer of USA Olympic Swimming; I also have an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business; and a two-term member of the Lake Oswego City Council, where my mantra has been 'Live within our means.'"
Also at the forum, truck driver Chris Henry, the Pacific Green and Progressive Party candidate.
REDMOND, OR -- A Redmond 17-year-old and his girlfriend were sentenced Thursday for assaulting his mother. Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel says Dakota Ortwein waited for his mom to come home May 19, sprayed her with pepper spray, beat her with a baseball bat and planned to burn down the house with her inside. She was able to wrestle away the bat and call 911.
D.A Hummel tells KBND News, "Dakota’s mother was not happy with Dakota and Reyanne being together in a relationship. She had concerns about Reyanne’s negative influence on her son. She made that clear to Dakota she did not approve of the relationship, so Dakota and Reyanne thought they needed to get rid of Dakota’s mom so the two of them could be together."
Ortwein was sentenced to 70 months and West to 20 months. Hummel says the plea deal was delicate. "I can’t think of much worse than beating your mom with a bat. So, knowing that, it has to be a significant punishment; our community needs to stand up and say that’s not going to be allowed in Deschutes County. Also, recognized, though Reyanne West planned it with Dakota, she did not actually execute the plan; so they needed to be treated differently." And, Hummel says, he took into account the science that reveals adolescent brains have "weak brakes."
He adds, Thursday's sentencing was one of the most emotional hearings he’s ever experienced. "Dakota’s mom spoke. She cried. She told Dakota she loved him; she expressed that she forgave him. She does not approve of what he did and she knows he needs to serve a significant time; she felt the sentence was a little too long. What came out to me was how supportive she is and what a wonderful person she is, because that’s her son and she’s going to stand by him in spite of what he did to her."
West and Ortwein will serve their adult convictions at a juvenile correctional facility, at least until they are 18. Hummel has recommended they remain at a juvenile facility for their full sentence, although that will be left up to the Oregon Youth Authority.
BEND, OR -- A bat found in northwest Bend has tested positive for Rabies. Deschutes County Health Services is reminding families to avoid contact with all bats, and keep pets away from them - whether they appear healthy or sick, dead or alive. Officials say it’s also a good reminder to make sure pet vaccinations are up to date.
The rabid bat was found near NW Century Drive and Albany Avenue.
Rabies is transmitted through the bites of an infected animal. If you see a bat flopping around on the ground or otherwise acting unusual, keep everyone away from the animal and call the ODFW at 541-947-2950.
Any people or pets who do come in contact with a bat needs to report it to local animal control or public health. Click HERE
to learn more about rabies.
BEND, OR -- A small brush fire in northeast Bend ignited from a spark thrown by a passing train, late Thursday morning.
Fire crews say the blaze was pushed by dry fuels and wind along the east side of the tracks between Nels Andersen and Jimbo Court. It burned about a half an acre and no structures were lost.
Burlington Northern inspected the tracks in an effort to prevent another incident.
BEND, OR -- A Bend man was arrested this week, following an investigation into child pornography.
Oregon State Police first received information in June that an image of a child being sexually abused had been uploaded from a duplex on Sams Loop in Bend. The tip came from the "Internet Crimes Against Children" task force at the Oregon Department of Justice.
Detectives tracked down 32-year-old Jeremy Swinney, who lived at the residence and admitted to downloading and trading images and videos of children being abused. Police recovered nearly 300 images and videos depicting child porn from Swinney’s cell phone.
He was taken into custody Wednesday and faces dozens of charges, including encouraging child sex abuse and a probation violation.
BEND, OR -- A storage shed for a southeast Bend garden center was destroyed by fire, Wednesday. Crews responded to the Southeast 27th Street property just before noon and found the detached garage well involved, with flames spreading to the roof and attic of a nearby home.
Bend Fire says the building housed fertilizer and pesticides for the Moonfire and Sun Garden Center, next door, and was under a power line, which combined to make fighting the blaze more hazardous.
The cause of the fire is under investigation; it caused an estimated $70,000 in damage.
BEND, OR -- Former Deschutes County Sheriff Larry Blanton is expected to be deposed next week in an ongoing civil suit relating to the death at the jail, in December 2014. Attorneys for the family of Edwin Mays claim the Sheriff’s Office had a culture that allowed deputies to ignore clear signs of a meth overdose.
Current Sheriff Shane Nelson is now also named in the suit. He tells KBND News, "Several positive changes came out of that, and some new equipment in our
jail. But, one of the things that we learned from the DOJ report is how difficult it is to try and diagnose someone – They conferred with two medical experts in that situation and had determined that the deputies acted medically appropriately." Mays family attorney Jennifer Coughlin says the Department of Justice report did not say deputies acted "appropriately," but found that, due to the level of meth in his system, Mays would’ve likely died anyway. It's an assertion Coughlin disagrees with, as well. "Our experts say that methamphetamine overdoses come into ERs all the time and there are very specific things that ER facilities can do to sort of reverse the negatives associated with a methamphetamine overdose."
The suit also names Lt. Robert Trono, who was in charge of scheduling the team working at the jail that night. In the filing, Coughlin claims Lt. Trono should have scheduled a nurse for the shift. Sheriff Nelson tells KBND News, "We just did not have enough nurses for 24-hour/7-day a week coverage. And so, the move that we made, one of the positive changes that came out of that, was we went to having nurses on 24-hours a day, 7-days a week." But, Coughlin says the Sheriff’s Office had medical staff who could have helped Mays, if they’d been scheduled. "It’s not like they just had one nurse, and when she takes a vacation there’s just no nurse on duty. They had four other nurses, that when one nurse says months in advance she’s going on vacation, they could’ve scheduled one of those other four, maybe even five nurses that they had at that time, in December of 2014."
The suit outlines behavior by those on duty, including acknowledging the man had "split" his head "wide open" but no one called for medical attention. And, the suit claims, deputies waited nearly 30 minutes to call non-emergency dispatch after Mays was found unresponsive in his cell. She says Sheriff Nelson, who was jail commander at the time, created a culture that allowed staff to act inappropriately "I think that he should have probably terminated some of the deputies for their callous behavior and for failing to see the signs that somebody needed medical attention when they were clearly dying."
Nelson acknowledges staff were caught on tape making fun of Mays’ behavior for several hours prior to his death. "We were unprofessional on that videotape and there was discipline that came out of that. We had two supervisors that were demoted and two Deputy Sheriffs who were disciplined. Look, we work with our Employees Association as we work through issues and discussion of consequences. There are due processes that you go through before you would hand out a consequence to an employee." The suit claims those consequences include a Sergeant demoted for making a derogatory statement about Lt. Trono, and a letter of reprimand for a deputy who imitated Mays’ erratic behavior. But, Coughlin says none were punished for failing to get Mays medical care.
Aside for the more than $16 million sought by the family for civil and punitive damages, the attorney is also asking a federal judge to force the agency to make immediate policy changes. "We’re not just asking for money, we’re actually asking them to make changes so that hopefully this doesn’t happen to another person. We’ve asked for that detox clinic; that they [jail staff] all get immediate training in drug recognition and overdose, and the medical problems associated with those things – for methamphetamine and other narcotics." She says it's more than a wrongful death lawsuit; it’s also a civil rights case. Coughlin claims in the suit Mays was refused his right to receive appropriate medical care.
To listen to this week's full interview with Sheriff Shane Nelson, click HERE or visit our Podcast Page.
BEND, OR -- The Central Oregon Shooting Sports Association has been forced to shut down its public range, east of Bend, due to safety issues. COSSA President Sharon Preston says the public range has always had some vandalism, but incidents have escalated in recent months. "We’ve had a lot of beer bottles in the trash cans, and actually bullet holes coming from the backside of our Buffalo range and from the backside, actually, of the bathrooms. They’re shooting up the bathrooms, for whatever reason." She tells KBND News, "For safety reasons, because all those bullets are headed for the highway or for the membership range, we’ve had to temporarily close it."
Preston says COSSA's lease agreement with the BLM said the nonprofit group would keep the land open to the public 24/7. But that changed, she says, after the vandalism was discovered. "We finally had the BLM out there and showed them the dangerous direction that these bullets are being fired, and they finally agreed with us that it would be prudent to close that public range, because there’s no oversight there, at all."
She says the range will remain closed until a more permanent solution is found. "We’re looking for volunteers who want to run three-hour shifts out there to kind of oversee it. It’s just become a dangerous situation and people are not being responsible."
27th Street Bear Creek Road and Forum Dr. down to a single lane 6a – 10p Signal light at 27th and Forum will be disabled and only right turns off 27th will be allowed.
Road closures along Roosevelt Ave >< Silver Lake Blvd -Chamberlain St. 7a-5p (9/6-11/20)
Lane closures and detours Mt. WA Dr at Shevlin Park Road North to Regency (7/11-11/30)