SUNRIVER, OR -- State Representative Gene Whisnant announced Friday he will run for re-election in District 53. The Sunriver Republican has served in Oregon’s House since his appointment in 2003. "I’ve been involved in transparency and accountability since I entered the building. In 2009, we actually passed a transparency website so that citizens can go online and see how the money comes in and where it’s being spent. And that’s the problem; we need more audits and better audits," Whisnant tells KBND News.
While Whisnant says he’s proud of what he’s done so far, there’s still more work to be done. "We really need to address that in our next full session in 2017, the state is going to come in with probably at least a $2-3 million deficit. And, that’s because we have to pay back the PERS money, we have the 10% we have to pick up on the 400,000 people we added to the Oregon Health Plan. The Federal government says they’ll pay 90%, we hope they do; but we have to start paying 10% of that."
He's also concerned about education funding. "A lot of people thought we underfunding K-12 this session and I agree with that. One of the main reasons I say we underfunded it is we added all-day kindergarten and we didn’t give them the money to do that, we just said ‘do it.’ Unfunded mandates are terrible and we continue to do it."
Whisnant was re-elected in 2010 with more than twice as many votes as his opponent, Democrat John Huddle. Prior to his political career, Representative Whisnant served 27 years in the U.S. Air Force.
BEND, OR -- Oregonians can start installing studded tires on Sunday, but the Oregon Department of Transportation continues to ask drivers to seek alternatives. ODOT’s Peter Murphy tells KBND News those studs cause millions of dollars in damage to state highways each year. "If you’re going to put stud-type tires on, take a look at the ones with the mountain symbol – the studless snow tires – they do a great job. And, moderate your driving habits; and again, most people do, I recognize that. But those are a few things people can do to help out the whole system."
Fewer Oregonians are turning to studded tires for winter driving and Murphy hopes that trend will continue. "Studded tires work for ice; that’s really what their for. Not snow so much. And, I can understand some people needing to have studded tires here because they go to work early in the morning; ice can be out there on the road, and people need to watch for it and studded tires help. But, ODOT knows this too and we have people out there sanding, de-icing and doing all those things."
In 1995, about 40% of the tires driving in the winter on Central Oregon roadways were studded, according to a statewide survey conducted for ODOT. Now that number is down to just over 26%. Across the state, about 8% of winter drivers use studs, down from 16% twenty years ago.
MILLICAN, OR -- Investigators looking into the tank explosion that killed two men earlier this week near Millican say the blast is the direct result of firing the tank destroyer’s gun. Although, they say the exact cause is still under investigation.
Search and Rescue volunteers from the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office conducted a grid search of the scene to collect all evidence from the accident. The Medical Examiner has completed autopsies on the two Oregon City men killed Tuesday, but that report has not yet been released.
BEND, OR -- The Deschutes County Jail is implementing new protocol for inmates who overdose on some drugs while in custody. Sheriff Shane Nelson says deputies are now trained to use a drug to try and reverse the effects of opiates, like Heroin. "We’re seeing a lot more heroin, in this area, especially. I’ll briefly tell you that prescription drug abuse is a common doorway to some of this. And then they find out that prescription drug use is an expensive habit. So, the alternative is Heroin, which is cheaper."
Sheriff Nelson tells KBND News, "Naloxone is a different form of a drug you probably commonly know as Narcan. Naloxone has been rolled out in our jail; we have it in strategic locations within our facility. And, it’s for opiate abusers. If someone is overdosing on, let’s say Heroin, then Naloxone can be administered and hopefully will reverse the effects of that overdose." After deputies administer the drug, the inmate is then transported by paramedics to the hospital. Sheriff Nelson says Naloxone has been used successfully at a handful of other jails around the state, as opiate use increases.
The move comes just a couple of months after the jail began staffing full-time nurses. Nelson acknowledges the improved emergency medical care is partly in response to a high-profile death of an inmate who overdosed on meth back in December.
Eventually, the Sheriff plans to expand the use of Naloxone. "We just finished training the last of our teams in the jail. We are looking to expand it; we want to put it in our patrol cars. So, we’re going to implement that in our patrol vehicles as well, and train our patrol staff."
To hear more of our conversation with Sheriff Shane Nelson, visit our Podcast Page
BEND, OR -- A Crook County teen is in Intensive Care at St. Charles Medical Center in Bend, battling Bubonic Plague. It's believed the girl was bit by a flea during a hunting trip near Heppner in Morrow County, a couple of weeks ago. Dr. Emilio Debess, state Public Health Veterinarian, tells KBND, "She went out on a hunting trip and a couple days later she noticed she was bitten by an insect of some sort. And, about three or four days later she became ill and did develop enlarged lymph nodes."
Bubonic Plague is an infectious bacterial disease carried by squirrels, chipmunks and other wild rodents and their fleas. Dr. Debess says the teen "did report finding a dead either squirrel or chipmunk, that potentially could have been a source of the infection. We do ask people, as they're out there hunting in the woods, not to handle wild rodents if they're ill or sick; just leave them alone."
The disease is rare, but is treatable with antibiotics if caught early. Since 1995, Oregon has seen eight human cases and no one has died from it. The Crook County teen is expected to make a full recovery.
BEND, OR -- The Bend Police Department has concluded there was no sexual assault Sunday morning on the Deschutes River Trail despite social media claims. Rumors widely circulated on Facebook this week gave an account of a brutal attack near River Bend Park.
Read more about the rumors shared hundreds of times on Facebook.
Police investigated the allegation and say no sexual assault occurred and there is no cause for safety concerns for joggers and other users of the River Trail.
BEND, OR -- Bend-based Cascade Bancorp, the parent company of Bank of the Cascades, has entered into an agreement to purchase 12 Oregon branches and three in Washington from Bank of America.
Company officials say the move will expand the bank's footprint to southern Oregon and coastal communities, while providing entry into the Washington market.
If the acquisition receives regulatory approval, Cascade will assume approximately $707 million dollars of branch deposits.
Read the full release from Cascade Bancorp HERE
BEND, OR -- A major local care provider has broken ground on a new facility in Bend's south end. The formerly bare property at the corner of Badger Road and South Third Street in is undergoing a major change.
St. Charles Health System is working with developers Taylor Northwest and the Thomas family for the construction and long-term lease of an 18,500'-square building. The facility will house St. Charles Family Care and Immediate Care. Once open, the clinic will house nine family physicians as well as onsite laboratory, x-ray and rehabilitation services.
St. Charles officials point to growth in the south part of Bend and an unmet need for health care services for the expansion.
The property is being prepared for work now. Construction of the building is expected to begin this winter and will be complete by November 2016.
ALFALFA, OR -- More than 50 workers at Prineville's Woodgrain Millwork plant will be laid off by the end of January. But now, a farmer in Alfalfa is offering them jobs. Ralf Dilzer, with Ruby Farms, tells KBND News he needs help on his farm that grows berries, tomatoes and marijuana. "It'd be a different job for them here; they'd be transplanting and monitoring berries and grapevines and the cannabis plants, and putting in drip systems and irrigation systems. There's just a whole bunch of stuff going on at the farm, and we just thought they'd be the perfect employees here at the ranch."
Dilzer adds, "You've definitely gotta be a multi-tasker to work in the mill. You've got all those power tools going and you've got to stay focused. You've got the boss telling you to do stuff and jobs you've got to get done. We just thought they'd be the perfect kind of employees to have here where they can multi-task, focus and be productive."
The Prineville mill will shut down in January. Dilzer says he needs a couple of workers now, and will probably need another 10 by the end of the year. He says he hasn't heard from anyone from Woodgrain Millwork yet, but admits he's just getting word out about the offer.
SALEM, OR -- Human trafficking for sex or labor is an international problem. But it also happens in our own backyard, and that has prompted State Representative John Huffman (R-The Dalles) to introduce bills in the upcoming legislative session to fight the problem. "An affluent family in Sunriver had a slave and sex slave living in their home in Sunriver and you think, 'Oh my goodness. If this can happen in Sunriver it is certainly affecting every part of the state.'"
Huffman tells KBND News, "Each legislator only gets two bills and so my legislative partner on the trafficking work group is Kathleen Taylor out of the Milwaukie area. She’s committed one of her bills and I’ve committed one of mine to help district attorneys and law enforcement be able to get the people that are perpetrating and causing the problems with trafficking." The February session is just over a month in length.
BEND, OR -- Investigators have released the names of the two men killed in Tuesday's blast at the shooting range east of Bend. The Deschutes County Sheriff's Office says 51-year-old Steven Todd Preston and 22-year-old Austin Tyler Lee, both of Oregon City, were inside the World War II-era tank when an explosion occurred inside the 1944 M18 Hellcat Tank Destroyer. According to it website, Preston was on the board of the Military Vehicle Preservation Association.
The tank was on BLM land near the public shooting range on Highway 20, near Millican. Sheriff Shane Nelson tells KBND News, "There was some filming going on at the time by a video crew. What was going to take place was some video footage of the tank firing rounds was going to be put on display with the tank at a future event."
It's still not known whether the blast occurred as the men tried to fire the tank's gun, or if there was some other malfunction. Sheriff Nelson says local, state and federal agencies are continuing to look into exactly what happened. "The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office is leading the investigation and we’re being assisted by the OSP arson and explosives section, as well as the federal agency Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF)."
To hear more of our conversation with Sheriff Shane Nelson, visit our Podcast Page.
BEND, OR -- Bend Police are investigating social media reports of a sexual assault near River Bend Park, but so far have not been able to substantiate the claims.
Warnings have been circulating on Facebook this week giving an account of a woman attacked on the River Trail at 5 a.m., Sunday. The post provides specifics of the
incident, including that the woman was transported to St. Charles and has talked to police.
But, Bend Police tells KBND News that investigators are still interviewing the person who originated the Facebook post and are still trying to contact the victim. So far, they have not been able to substantiate the report.
UPDATE: The original Facebook post has now been removed the user, replaced with another: "It turns out that the attack was not random, rather it was a case of meeting a stranger through a dating app and being attacked by that person." Although, police have been able to confirm those details, either.
BEND, OR -- Bend Parks and Rec wants to build a pedestrian bridge over the Deschutes River canyon on the south side of Bend. But, in order to do that, they have to change some rules. Currently, no crossings are allowed along the Upper Deschutes, to protect the scenic beauty of the area.
The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department is holding a public hearing Wednesday evening to hear whether residents favor a rule change. Chris Havel with the State Parks Department will lead the meeting. "If we change our rule, it doesn't mean that suddenly a bike/ped crossing is going to go up across the river. It means that they can apply and then there will be a review of that application, to make sure it complies with all the other scenic waterway rules that apply on that stretch of the river," Havel tells KBND News.
It's believed the rule forbidding bridges only applies to the Upper Deschutes and Metolius rivers and were created to limit growth. "There was this really intense desire to keep development from getting down into that channel that the river flows through. So, they passed a rule that said there will be no crossings. Now, that means roads, that means dams - which is obvious for a scenic waterway. But, it also meant crossings of any kind, including bridges and constructions like this." Wednesday's meeting begins at 6 p.m. at the Bend Parks and Rec building.
The state is expected to make a final decision by February.
BEND, OR -- Construction of Jefferson County's new courthouse is at the halfway point. John Williamson, Skanska Project Manager, tells KBND, "The project is in the middle of a big push right now, with looming winter weather approaching; a big push to get the dry-in activities completed. We're pushing towards getting the skin on the building to provide some weather protection, as well as get the roof wrapped up. Things are coming together. It looks like we'll be able to get this thing buttoned up by Thanksgiving, at this rate."
The existing courthouse was built in the early 1960s. It's considered too small, and is located in a floodway. Williamson says the new, nearly $15 million facility will have many benefits. "It'll be larger. The existing courthouse has two courtrooms; the new courthouse will have three. There will also be much better circulation space. And, one key difference that's going to be a huge benefit to the community, is a proper layout."
Williamson says, "Some of the power for this building will be generated through solar panels. There's just a real focus on energy efficient mechanical and electrical systems throughout. So the building will be very efficient which will allow lower operating costs for the county moving forward."
The new courthouse is located at Second and "E" streets in Madras and should be open by July.
LA PINE, OR -- It’s taken six months, but a new traffic signal in downtown La Pine is finally ready to be turned on. Peter Murphy, with the Oregon Department of Transportation admits the agency typically prefers to keep traffic moving on Highway 97, but made an exception for the First Street intersection. "There was a lot of cross-highway foot traffic from kids going over from the high school to the retail shopping center there. Plus, the city council had an interest in doing something to advance economic development in the area and felt that by having a stop signal there that they could do that. So, from those two perspectives, ODOT was convinced that it was a unique situation for the city of La Pine and we went ahead with the plan to go ahead and put a light in."
Along with installing the signal, ODOT also realigned a portion of the roadway to improve visibility. "Right there, where the roads bump up against the Highway, there were some sight issues. By squaring it up, it makes it easier to see what’s coming at you. So, it just makes the turning motions easier. Plus, we put in some turning lanes," Murphy tells KBND.
He says the majority of the 1.5-million dollar project is finished, but some final testing is required before the light can be activated … he expects that to happen Wednesday afternoon.
BEND, OR -- After more than six months of negotiations, including federal mediation, an agreement on a three-year contract has been reached between The Oregon Nurses Association and St. Charles Medical Center in Bend.
The nearly 720 ONA nurses have been working without a contract since July. After talks broke down two federal mediation session were held.
The nurses voted on the hospital’s latest proposal on Monday. John Nangle, with the union bargaining team, tells KBND, "We ratified our tentative agreement with 85% of the voting nurses voting yes." The contract calls for an 8.25% wage increase over the three-year contract. It also holds health insurance premiums where they are for the nurses.
Adequate staffing was an issue for the nurses and Nangle says he hopes that can now change. “I think that we, at this point, are happy with the contract that was agreed upon. One of our main issues was assuring the we ere going to have a qualified nursing staff maintain that, now and into the future. So sort of we see the ONA contract as an attraction and retention tool for nurses.” The new contract is retroactive to July, when the old contract expired.
BEND, OR -- The Tenth Annual Ghost Tree Invitational Golf Tournament and Dinner raised a record amount of money for local charities, this year. The annual golf and dining event, held in August and hosted by Combined Communications, attracted 1800 people and raised more than $91,000. Event director Ryan Chackel says that’s a 16% increase and all of the money stays in Central Oregon.
The primary beneficiary of Ghost Tree is the Ronald McDonald House, which received a check for $60,000. Executive Director Kristy Krugh tells KBND, “For our organization, $60,000 will serve 44 families; and that’s actually the ability to fill our six guest room hallway seven different times in the coming year with families which is just a huge, huge impact for us.”
The Ronald McDonald House serves as a home away from home for families of sick or injured hospitalized children, and for bed-resting mothers-to-be with high-risk pregnancies. Krugh adds, “We have been so impressed by both the Ghost Tree as an organization and of course Combined Communications as the genesis of this event and just as a wonderful supporter of the community. And being selected as the primary beneficiary for the last few years has just really been an honor for us.”
Other beneficiaries of the Ghost Tree Invitation include the Assistance League and the Education foundation.
BEND, OR -- Two people died Tuesday in an explosion at a public shooting range east of Bend. Oregon State Police say it happened around mid-afternoon inside a World War II-era tank.
Medics tried to save the two people who were injured in the blast, but they died at the scene. No names have been released, although preliminary reports indicate one was a man in his 60s the other in his 20s.
OSP Arson and Explosives detectives are investigating, along with the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office.
BEND, OR -- The Bend Streets Maintenance Funding Committee managed to reach some consensus, despite differing opinions. The group of more than a dozen members was split among those who support a local gas tax to fund needed road repairs and those who don't. Engineer Scott Beaird is on the committee. He tells KBND, "I feel like we came to a good middle ground on to what level we want to maintain the roads; I think we came to a pretty good agreement on that. That's a really important piece because that obviously flows down to how much funding is needed. I think as a group, we came to an agreement on the viable sources. There are obviously different opinions on which of those are palatable to voters and citizens." Currently, the city's Pavement Condition Index (PCI) is in the high 60s, and the committee wants it to increase to 72-73 so the city can focus on maintenance, which is cheaper than rebuilding them.
The group is expected to present two options to City Councilors next week: a local gas tax and a transportation utility fee, which would appear on utility bills. "There's been a lot of information presented, a lot kind of back and forth, ups and downs. And, I think given the various viewpoints we have, we came up with a good range of options to present to Council. Ultimately, it's their decision to make," says Beaird.
About 40% of the committee supports a local gas tax, while 20% supports a transportation utility fee. About a third said they would support either. The group meets with City Councilors Monday, November second at 5 p.m. to go over the committee's conclusions.
BEND, OR -- Experts hired by OSU-Cascades presented their analysis of a 46-acre former pumice mine, under consideration for the school's expansion. They addressed the viability of the site, which sits adjacent to the 10-acres currently under construction on Bend's west side. OSU-Cascades Vice President of Finance Kelly Sparks was pleased with the report. She tells KBND, “I feel very bullish about the findings. They’re coming back positive. They’re coming back telling us it’s a safe, buildable, accessible site that we can build a campus on.”
Manageable concerns presented by the due diligence experts include steep slopes into the mine; some fill materials not deemed "clean" by the DEQ and an earthquake fault line that runs through the property, although they say it poses no serious threat. Many at Monday's presentation voiced health concerns about dust from construction trucks.
The price tag for reclaiming the site is $7.6-million. Sparks says the college will take it’s time to make a decision to purchase the mine. “Due diligence is, we want to do it right. We don’t want to rush a process. We don’t want to force an answer. We want to make sure we get all of the information. This is a hundred-year campus. We have to make the right decision for the next hundred years.” OSU-Cascades hopes to make a decision on whether to purchase the property by the beginning of 2016.
REDMOND, OR -- Three Central Oregon lawmakers fielded a variety of questions at a Town Hall Meeting Monday night, hosted by the Redmond Patriots. State Senator Tim Knopp (R-Bend) and State Representatives John Huffman (R-The Dalles) and Gene Whisnant (R-Sunriver) addressed everything from how to better fund the SMART reading program, to a tuition equity bill, to ODOT buying property along Highway 97.
Knopp took the opportunity to present his unique approach to selecting subjects for possible bills in the next legislative session. “I came up with, basically compiled 12 concepts from constituents mainly who wanted their ideas put forward in bills and since we can only introduce two, I decided let’s put it up for a vote and let the district decide what they want and I’ll pursue those two bills this February, in the 2016 session for the district.”
Among the subjects to choose from: creating family wage jobs, senior medical expenses tax cut, and no statute of limitations for rape. Knopp tells KBND, “Go online to my legislative website
, click on the survey. It’ll take you to Survey Monkey and there are 12 concepts there
. You check two that you like and the top two vote-getters will be the ones I’ll introduce.”
BEND, OR -- Two men were arrested early Monday morning, suspected of stealing a car and several items from two southeast Bend businesses. According to police, the men stole a pickup from the Moose Lodge parking lot on South Highway 97 then drove to the neighboring Goodyear Auto Care and loaded a number of tires and other automotive items into the truck.
Police stopped the stolen truck and arrested 48-year-old Troy Nielson of Madras. After a separate traffic stop, 48-year-old Daniel Webb of Bend (pictured) was arrested allegedly in possession of burglary tools.
SISTERS, OR -- A Terrebonne woman received minor injuries when a deer crashed through her windshield on Highway 20, Monday morning. Oregon State Police say the 79-year-old driver escaped serious injury because the deer's horns struck the steering wheel, stopping it from further entering the SUV.
Vona Huggins says the deer ran in front of her vehicle just west of Sisters at about 7:30 a.m. The animal was killed in the collision; Huggins was taken to St. Charles Redmond for treatment.
ODOT reminds drivers that October is peak deer migration season, with the most deer versus vehicle collisions than any other month.
BEND, OR -- A local teacher received a big honor during a special assembly Monday morning. Deputy State Superintendent Salam Noor made the announcement at Juniper Elementary: "This is a teacher who is exceptionally dedicated, knowledgeable and skilled at what they do. And, this year, that teacher is here at Juniper Elementary. The Oregon Department of Education, in partnership with the Oregon Lottery, is proud to announce the 2016 Teacher of the Year is Ms. Heather Anderson."
Anderson is in her 13th year of teaching; she has spent the last eight years in her hometown of Bend and also serves as a coach for her colleagues. The Oregon Department of Education says she was recognized for her work integrating technology into lessons and building a positive learning environment. The fourth
grade teacher was surprised by all the attention. "This is definitely the biggest moment, but those aren’t always the most memorable. Sometimes it’s the impacts that come years later like earlier this summer when I received a letter from a student thanking me for being in the Navy now and accomplishing all these goals."
While Anderson was humbled by the honor, her students were ecstatic. Lola tells KBND, "It was very exciting for me, I had my fingers crossed; she gives a lot of prizes and she gives you a chance, and she’s always a great teacher." Kiana adds, "She’s always kind and she’s not just a teacher, she’s a very amazing person." And, RJ says, "She’s Phenomenal; I mean, I’m just so excited for her I can’t even speak. It’s awesome that she won this award."
Anderson tells KBND, "I think it’s just important to be loving and nurturing; and still be strict and kind and firm, and have your rules and expectations. I love what I do and I love my kids. I like to have fun with the learning but still keep it at a high, rigorous level and they work for that. They work hard and I work hard, and teaching’s fun and rewarding and that’s one of the reasons I love it." She adds, "It’s really overwhelming
and surprising. It’s just a huge honor to be able to represent our town and our state, and especially – Bend is my hometown, so being a product of Bend-La Pine Schools and now teaching here – and then winning this award is amazing!"
Anderson and Juniper Elementary each receive a $5,000 check and a plaque as part of the award. She will also serve as a spokesperson for all Oregon teachers, and will attend the national Recognition Week for Teachers of the Year in Washington, DC in April where she'll meet President Obama.
The last teacher from Bend-La Pine Schools to win Oregon Teacher of the Year was in 1991 when Bonnie Elliott was honored for her work at Bend Senior High. In 1973,
Jack Ensworth of Kenwood Elementary in Bend went on to win the National Teacher of the Year.
BROKEN TOP MOUNTAIN, OR -- A pair of hikers were rescued from near Broken Top early Saturday morning after they became lost in the dark. Deschutes County Search and Rescue responded after 20-year-old Nikki Nguyen, of Happy Valley, and her hiking partner, Hoang Ly of Biloxi, Mississippi, called for help at 9:40 p.m. Friday saying they were lost and cold, and had only the light of their cell phones to guide them.
The Sheriff's Office says the two started their hike to No Name Lake at about 4:30 p.m. with only light jackets and their cell phones. When it got dark, the hikers lost their way.
Dispatch determined their location based on GPS and tried to guide the two out with a map. A three-member Search and Rescue Team was deployed after midnight when the hikers said they couldn’t navigate the trail without proper light.
They were found in good condition at about 1:40 a.m. and were helped back to the Broken Top Trailhead.
CHILOQUIN, OR -- A woman was killed in a Sunday afternoon crash outside of Chiloquin that left a Bend teen injured. According to Oregon State Police, a 17-year old from Bend pulled onto Highway 62 from Highway 422 and collided with another vehicle. She was taken to a Klamath Falls hospital.
Both vehicles rolled after impact and the other driver, 28-year-old Michelle Cirrito of Chiloquin, was killed. A toddler in her vehicle was taken to the hospital with serious injuries.
OSP and the Klamath County Sheriff's Office continue to investigate.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- Fire managers on the Ochoco National Forest hope to ignite a prescribed burn today near Spears Meadow, 17 miles east of Prineville. If conditions are dry enough, they plan to burn 1,200 acres over the next several days.
However, if it’s too wet today, they will burn 1,000 acres south of Black Canyon Wilderness. The Forest Service provides a real-time map of all prescribed burns within the Deschutes and Ochoco National Forest. Click HERE
to access the interactive map.
BEND, OR -- The Deschutes County Sheriff has released the name of the supervisor placed on paid administrative leave, due to an investigation into how department funds were used. Sheriff Shane Nelson confirms Detectives Division Captain Scott Beard is the focus of that federal investigation. "Our office continues to cooperate with the federal authorities in this investigation and we also remain in regular contact with the FBI and the US Attorney’s office. I consulted the federal authorities and I feel it’s paramount for public interest to release the name since it’s a high-ranking, long-term employee with the Sheriff’s office." Captain Beard is a 13-year veteran of the department.
A county auditor recommended internal analysis into funds used for investigative purposes and Captain Beard was placed on leave last month. Sheriff Nelson tells KBND, " That investigation is continuing and I’m not able to release any more details because I don’t want to jeopardize that investigation at all. I absolutely want to be transparent so, as soon as I am able to talk with any information that’s uncovered or comes out of this investigation, I will."
BEND, OR -- The Methodist Church in downtown Bend plans to open a one-day-a-week homeless center, starting next month. Sally Lybarger told City Councilors this week, "After meeting with a lot of people, ministers, etc., we are about to open a center for the homeless center. The Methodist Church serves breakfast from 8 to 10 a.m. on Wednesdays. So, they're going to open their facility up for the whole day, until 4 p.m."
Lybarger, who has been homeless in the past, says this is a trial run to see if people come out. "We're hoping to expand from the one day, but this is sort of our test run. We're opening on November fourth. You never know if people are going to come. We're quite excited with the progress, but we've been working on this for several months."
The homeless will be able to eat, play games, access computers and shower at the church.
REDMOND, OR -- Redmond High School Principal Tony Pupo is clarifying Thursday morning's events that forced the school into what the district refers to as a "lock-in." On the school's Facebook page Friday, the principal issued a statement saying a student arrived at school with "the broken end of a JROTC drill rifle that had been taken home to repair." The school initiated safety protocols in accordance with district policy.
Redmond Police later determined that the report of a weapon on campus was actually the broken drill rifle and students returned to normal activities. The lock-in lasted about 10 minutes, during first period.
Pupo said in the post another incident earlier in the week involved a student who violated school policy by bringing hunting knives in a vehicle. In that incident, Pupo said, "There was no disruption to classrooms, the school day, or normal school operations."
Just two weeks ago, a text message, allegedly sent by a student, sent Redmond’s Ridgeview High School into a brief lockdown.
REDMOND, OR -- This year has been one of transitions for the Redmond Airport. An improving economy has brought a record number of visitors through Roberts Field, some security procedures are changing, and personnel are moving forward after the resignation of the airport’s most recent Director over the summer. Mayor George Endicott says the City Manager has decided, at this point, not to replace the Director. "He’s taken three of the assistant managers and sort of made a triumvirate that are running the airport – an admin person, a security person and then an ops person. So, the team collectively is running the airport and it’s working very well."
Earlier this week, City Councilors approved a change to the airport’s exclusion ordinance. "We just passed an ordinance establishing an exclusion clause, which means if you have someone who is extremely disruptive, they can literally be banned from the airport for 30 days," Endicott tells KBND. "Now, having said that, the person has two appeals that they can possibly do." In the past, only Redmond Police were allowed to exclude someone from Roberts Field. That change takes effect immediately.
And, Mayor Endicott adds, "We hired a new person in security, part time. The badge situation, and FAA rules and all that, it’s just kind of crazy; I mean, that whole admin process. So, we hired a part time person to help our security person with that."
MILWAUKIE, OR -- The Oregon Liquor Control Commission has approved preliminary rules for the state's recreational marijuana industry once it's fully operational next year. The guidelines track every aspect, from seed to sale, of the newly legal pot industry, beginning in January.
Two of the most controversial rules involve production limits for growers and residency and ownership restrictions for marijuana businesses. Some state lawmakers don't like a requirement that limits majority ownership of pot businesses to Oregon residents, limiting out of state investors. They are concerned some requirements could stifle growth. Some of these issues could be addressed in the next Legislative session.
Other rules approved Thursday limit the size of growing operations and prohibit medical and recreational stores under one roof. The on-site use of marijuana will also be prohibited, and deliveries will face stiff restrictions.
BEND, OR -- When the media, a citizen or a state legislator requests the release of public records, the response should be swift. That’s the motivation behind the The Oregon Republican Party Government Transparency Listening Tour, which made a stop in Bend last night. “Simple records requests are being essentially denied and our position is, lack of transparency equals corruption. Because any time you’re not accountable or not responsible to share the information, that should be shared on how taxpayer’s money is being used, and taxpayers cant find out how that money’s being used, then you’re essentially heading down a road towards corruption,” Oregon GOP Chair Bill Currier tells KBND. “For example when the email records were requested during the Kitzhaber-Cylvia Hayes scandals, there were delays. And so the current law in Oregon doesn’t provide for any required time frame for responding to a request or fulfilling a request.”
Currier says the party plans to use information from these listening tours to develop legislation with consequences - like fines for not providing public records in a timely fashion. Local state representatives Gene Whisnant and Mike McClain also attended last night's meeting, the eighth stop on the statewide tour. The next stop is Tuesday, October 27, in Washington County.
LA PINE, OR -- The Pacific Northwest Seismic Network says a small earthquake hit last night, about 42 miles from Bend. The 2.5 magnitude quake hit at 8:39 p.m. Thursday and was centered about 14 miles southwest of La Pine.
No one logged on to the U.S. Geological Survey's National Earthquake Information Center website to report feeling the quake and no injuries or damage was immediately reported.
REDMOND, OR -- Just two weeks after a text message sent Redmond’s Ridgeview High School into a brief lockdown, Redmond High initiated what the district is calling “safety protocols” over threat concerns.
School officials say students were asked to stay in their classrooms Thursday morning. Police determined within minutes that it was a false report and students resumed normal activity.
The district would not comment on the nature of the rumor that prompted the response, although one source called it a "misunderstanding."
REDMOND, OR -- A number of new housing projects aim to eventually ease Redmond’s tight housing market. Mayor George Endicott is excited about the first two proposals recently approved by city planners. But, he admits they’re still in the early stages of development. "If you look at the proposals, it is a mix of single family, multi family. One of the projects is going to have cottages, which tend to be a cluster, they’re single-family homes but they’re small and tend to appeal to seniors. And then, the one down by the new high school will have a mixed-use component, i.e. a store or retail outlet of some kind." The Pahlisch Homes proposal near Ridgeview High School could bring as many as 224 housing units.
Endicott tells KBND the other project, proposed by Hayden Homes, could add another 187 units and bring life back to the area near 35th and Obsidian. "That land, during the boom, it got within a hair’s breath of developing, then the economy tanked on it. And, the land has laid there now fallow for some time; it’s kind of an eyesore really. It’s old farmland that’s just got nothing happening now. It’s all dried and the trees have all died."
And, there could be more on the way. "I’ll let a little cat out of the bag: we actually know of about seven total. But, these two are actually on the books, the others are just noise. I mean, that’s a lot of houses and that tells you that the economy is improving and people need homes. Ya know, supply/demand and if we get a huge supply going, then it should reduce the price, especially maybe for used houses," Mayor Endicott says.
BEND, OR -- The criminal investigation into an analyst at the Oregon State Police crime lab in Bend is expanding. Originally, the Deschutes County District Attorney’s Office planned to look into only the cases assigned to Nika Larsen. But, D.A. John Hummel says investigators recently uncovered evidence the suspect may have also tampered with drug evidence in cases not assigned to her.
Read more on the investigation into the allegations of evidence tampering.
They are now reviewing about 60 Deschutes County drug cases that involved evidence analyzed by the lab during Larsen's employment. Hummel has appointed Chief Deputy D.A. Steve Gunnels and Deputy D.A. Jason Kropf to lead the review of these cases. They'll recommend whether a conviction stands, a crime should be reduced or a case dismissed, in each case. D.A. Hummel will make the final decisions.
BEND, OR -- A report released Thursday by the AAA Foundation shines new light on just how distracted drivers can be, even when using hands-free devices. Marie Dodds, with AAA Oregon, tells KBND researchers were surprised by the residual effects of using the technology behind the wheel. "If you interact with your car’s infotainment system or your smartphone, the distractions can linger for as long as 27 seconds after you stop. So, let’s say you’re stopped at a red light or a stop sign, and you take that time to change your music or send a text. And then the light turns green and you stop interacting, it can take 27 seconds after you start moving again before you’re fully focused on driving." That 27 seconds is equal to traveling three football fields, at just 25 miles per hour.
Dodds believes distractions could be alleviated if automakers designed better on-board systems. "Some of the hands-free technology that we have is very cumbersome and difficult to use. And, some of these systems have menus and submenus and some aren’t very good at translating your speech, for example, and getting to the task at hand. We had folks in our research project who would say, for example, ‘call home.’ And the system would come back with something like, ‘I cannot find that station on Pandora right now.’" Dodds adds, "It is possible to design systems that are fairly simple to use and would cause no more distraction than if you were having a conversation with a passenger or changing the radio station."
In the end, she says the responsibility lies with drivers who don't realize that just because the technology is available and legal doesn’t mean it’s safe. "The bottom line is, if you’re a consumer, be aware that hands free is not risk free."
Researchers compared the residual effects of distraction in a variety of systems and said on-board technology in the Chevy Equinox and Buick Lacrosse performed best, leaving moderate distraction levels. The system inside the Mazda 6 performed the worst.
BEND, OR -- Truth In Site, the group opposing the new OSU-Cascades campus on the west side of Bend is taking their case to the highest court in the state. They’re not talking about it, but the group has appealed their case to the Oregon Supreme Court.
OSU-Cascades has begun construction on 10-acres of land it owns on Century Drive in west Bend. Truth In Site believes the college should submit a plan for any additional expansion the college does beyond the initial 10-acre parcel. The college has countered that it shouldn’t be required to submit plans for property it does not now, nor might never own. That opinion has been supported by the Bend City Council, a city hearings officer, the state Land Use Board of Appeals and the state Court of Appeals.
KBND contacted Scott Morgan of Truth In Site, who said the group would not give interviews on this latest appeal. A brief statement on the group’s Facebook page
state’s that they have appealed to the Oregon Supreme Court, which sees about 10% of the cases filed.
BEND, OR -- State Republican leaders will be in Bend Thursday to gather public input on how to increase government transparency in the state. This is the eighth stop on the GOP's statewide listening tour.
Anne Gurney with the Oregon Republican Party says they've had good feedback so far. "What we have planned is to have a great panel of legislators who have agreed to join us, telling us their stories of working for and advocating for transparency in our legislature. As well as having several local activists and community members coming to tell us their troubles and their issues with transparency in local and state government." State House Republican Leader Mike McLane (R-Powell Butte) will be on the panel.
She says, throughout the tour, "The one thing I'm hearing from most people, is just the frustration with local or state officials; I'll use the example of Governor Kitzhaber who has done some pretty questionable and egregious things. And all we have as citizens to speak up against that or have any sort of pushback on that, we don't have much; we don't have laws with teeth in them."
"The idea is not just to talk, but to come up with ideas so that down the road we can have a good solid slate of legislation to put before our legislators, and combine efforts both legislatively and with the state party," Gurney tells KBND. The listening session will be at the Riverhouse Convention Center Thursday night, 7 to 8:30 p.m.
BEND, OR -- The Bureau of Labor and Industries fielded questions about Oregon’s new mandatory sick time law during a public hearing in Bend, Tuesday. Paloma Sparks with BOLI explains the law passed during the last legislative session: "Every employer that has 10 employees or more has to provide paid sick time; one hour for every 30 hours worked, for up to 40 hours." BOLI is holding hearings across the state as it creates rules.
Sparks tells KBND she has heard questions and concerns from all types of businesses. "In Oregon, we are a state of small businesses. So, few have 100 employees – that’s a big business in Oregon. Everybody is just sort of concerned with this new administrative difficulty. But, a lot of low-wage workers just don’t have any kind of sick time."
Krista Thompson is on both sides of the debate – she works for Black Butte Ranch, and her husband owns a small business. She came to to public meeting to ask BOLI about costs associated with the new law. "If you are an employer who already has a policy in place sick pay or PTO or some sort of vacation, it’s easy-ish to make those tweaks and comply. If you’re an employer who does not offer those benefits, it introduces a cost, an expense for the company. My concern, my worry is how many businesses will drop out because they can’t afford that."
Sparks acknowledges BOLI has a lot of details to work out before the law takes effect in January. "A lot of people are just concerned with the administrative issues of how are we going to figure this out, how are we going to manage it, what’s the right kind of notice procedures to have for their employees, what about when we have employees that work different kinds of schedules than other kinds of employees, how do you do the verification process." An employer can request a doctor’s verification if a worker misses more than three days. But there are still questions of privacy and who pays for that verification.
The CFO of Redmond-based Central Oregon Truck Company said there were a lot of unanswered questions for those who are paid per mile or per piece, not per hour. And he wondered how the Oregon law, which is different from a similar law in California, will impact businesses who work across state lines. The President of Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort questioned how the law would pertain to seasonal and part time workers.
No questions were answered Tuesday, but Sparks says there has been one underlying theme at each public hearing. "A lot of employers think that, they sort of only think of sink time as a potential for abuse from employees. In Portland what we saw was that employees don’t take their sick time. If they take any, it’s a day. Employees are only using this a last shot for being able to stay home when they’re sick. But, right now, the theme seems to be a lot of distrust between the two sides."
BEND, OR -- The Oregon Department of Transportation is reporting more crashes so far in 2015, than in recent years. While specific numbers are not yet available, Peter Murphy with ODOT tells KBND last weekend’s crash that killed a Bend man on Highway 97 south of Chemult is indicative of a larger problem. "Our statistics show that fatals are up, motorcycle crashes are half again more than this time last year. Similar numbers with cars and cars into pedestrians and bicycles. There is just a lot more going on. I think it has to do with the price of gas, it’s way down so people are driving more, we’re coming out of the recession so there is simply more travel going on."
Murphy believes part of the cause is the overall increase in traffic, especially in Central Oregon. "We have numbers that suggest, for instance at the Sisters Viewpoint, 13% greater volume of traffic compared to last year, as an average. Summer is higher and winter is lower, but the average is 13% higher. So, there is simply just more people on the road. So, we’re more congested; we’re traveling faster, with the new speed limits coming into effect; and, it becomes incumbent on the motorist to do whatever they can to be as safe as possible on the road."
He adds, "It really is important that motorists take responsibility – we all do, really – and, it’s sometimes just a quick moment. It just is more important than ever that we take time."
To hear more of our conversation with Peter Murphy, visit our Podcast Page
BEND, OR -- Central Oregon's latest unemployment numbers show signs the economy is slowing. Regional Economist Damon Runberg tells KBND education hiring in Deschutes County was week this fall. "The effect of that estimate reverberated through the rest of our employment situation and made it look like, as a county as a whole, we saw really weak hiring in September. I'm not necessarily convinced that's the case." The latest numbers show only 440 teachers hired in the county in September, compared to 1,000 last fall. Runberg is skeptical the Bend-La Pine School District only hired half the number of teachers and he expects employment numbers will be adjusted.
Runberg says the tourism industry cut jobs. "We expect the tourism to drop this time of year. Over a thousand jobs were shed in September in the tourism sector; so our Leisure and Hospitality, etc. And that's totally to be expected. Although, we actually saw a bigger drop than we typically see in September. But, part of that was in the last couple of years we've seen our tourism season actually extend a little longer, then we just saw one big drop in September."
Deschutes County's unemployment rate remained essentially unchanged in September, at 6.6%. Runberg says Jefferson and Crook counties also held steady. "Crook County, they're still feeling the effects of the layoffs in the wood production sector that happened last fall and winter. If you exclude those layoffs that they saw in the Wood Grain facility, Crook County is actually doing OK. Employment levels are up by over 100 jobs and most private sector industries are adding jobs. It's kind of a tough narrative there because you do have one big layoff but everything else is doing OK." Crook County's unemployment is at 8.8% and Jefferson County is 7.7% for September.
BEND, OR -- A recently released state report shows an increase in the number of suspected cases of abuse involving the elderly or disabled Oregonians. Rebecca Fetters with the Office of Adult Abuse Prevention tells KBND, "When we look at this year’s report, compared to the two prior years’ reports that we’ve done, we see a steady increase in the number of calls that we’re getting, the number of calls that are screened in for actual investigation. And, I think, given the rapidly growing 65 and older population, we’d expect that trend to continue." According to the report, state, county and local offices received more than 38,000 reports of possible abuse or neglect in 2014 – a 10% increase over the year before.
Fetters says, of the 609 allegations reported in Deschutes County, 146 were substantiated. However, she says those who report concerns are still helping some of the most vulnerable in our community. "Often times, when we go out, even if we don’t find the original allegation is substantiated by abuse, there are other needs or other issues that we can offer some solutions to. So, I would never want someone to not report because the think ‘oh, it won’t be substantiated,’ or, ‘I’m not 100% sure this is happening.’"
She says, "In terms of reporting, you don’t need to know with certainty that something is happening. You just need to see a red flag or have a suspicion. Or, perhaps it’s just your gut and you want someone to go check it out. And, we would rather do that and find out that everything is fine than to not hear about it at all."Fetters expects the trend to continue as our population continues to age.
Click HERE to view the state's full report.
BEND, OR -- Oregon rolls out the new "Protected Sick Time" law next year, and the Bureau of Labor of Industries is traveling the state looking for input on how to implement it. BOLI will be in Bend Tuesday, along with an advisory committee of employers, labor groups and lawmakers.
Charlie Burr with BOLI tells KBND, "The Legislature passed the law and that's the broad framework. This series of meetings is to go over the rulemaking as proposed, and make sure it's actually going to work for employers and employees to make sure it's workable and that people understand it and have a chance to weigh in and make sure we're on track before the new law goes into effect."
Read more on the Bend Chamber of Commerce's opposition to the new law.
He says Portland provided a good practice run. "We do have experience implementing this because of Portland's sick time ordinance. We were the enforcement agency and what we did was have the first six months really focus on employer education, so people could understand the new law. If there were minor violations that weren't intentional violations, we allowed them time to correct the error, as opposed to going in to prosecution. We had an easing in period so it could work for everyone." He adds, "One of the key lessons from that experience was making sure employers understand and had full access to, not just the fact that the new law was about to take effect, but all the details and nuances that they need to know to stay in compliance."
Today's public hearing begins at 11:30 a.m. at the Deschutes County Services Building, at 1300 NW Wall St. in Bend. Comments can also be submitted via email, to email@example.com.
BEND, OR -- Less than three weeks after the tragic mass shooting at Umpqua Community College that left 10 people dead and more wounded, ripple effects are still being felt in Roseburg and across the state. Jim Bennett, Director of Campus Public Safety for Central Oregon Community College says, while the two campuses are very different, there are still lessons to be learned from the incident. "The changes have been an increased presence of officers on campus; and, I’m proud and pleased to say, an increased input from our campus community. Because, that’s what really makes a difference. And, the hope is that 100% of those pieces of information coming in turn out to be false leads and there’s no more to it than that. But, receiving that information is critical."
Bennett tells KBND students and staff are also making changes. "We have seen that across the board since Umpqua, if not even before, where our campus community steps forward and says, “Public Safety, I’m concerned because I’ve heard these rumors, these things,” and we take action against those. We also have a threat assessment team on our campus that evaluates threats against the student population or our community as a whole and identifies what’s an appropriate response to hopefully prevent and deter any significant event from occurring."
UCC is less than half the size of COCC and has only one public safety officer, compared to COCC’s 14 part-time and full-time officers. Due to state law, community college public safety departments in Oregon are unarmed, with one exception. Clackamas Community College outside of Portland has a special agreement allowing its officers to be deputized through its local Sheriff's Office.
BEND, OR -- He was wounded in battle 71 years ago. Now, Central Oregon's Bob Maxwell will again be recognized for his valor. He received the military's highest honor - the Medal of Honor - for using his own body to shield fellow soldiers from a German grenade in World War II. He's the oldest living Medal of Honor recipient in the nation.
Maxwell will be highlighted at Saturday’s dedication of the Oregon Medal of Honor Exhibit at the Evergreen Aviation Museum in McMinnville. Dick Tobiason is a friend and colleague of Maxwell’s. He tells KBND, “[We're] going to dedicate the Oregon Medal of Honor exhibit. We’ll be presenting special recognition to Bob to pass on the legacy of the Medal of Honor to a museum where 150,000 people travel through on any given year and it means a lot of people will be exposed to the medal of honor that never knew about it before.”
In light of that, the Bend City Council has declared Wednesday “Bob Maxwell Medal of Honor Day” in Bend. Tobiason spearheaded the idea. “I thought that at 95 he should get some recognition. And the city of Bend has always been so welcoming to veterans and hospitable and charitable and I know that this comes with a deep sense of meaning from the city of Bend.” Actually, Maxwell won't turn 95 until next Monday.
BEND, OR -- Two drivers were ticketed in separate crashes Monday morning on NW Flagline, off Mt. Washington Drive in Bend. Police say a 17-year-old collided with a parked car on the south side of Flagline, due to the rising sun. That driver was ticketed for Careless Driving.
While officers were on scene investigating that crash, a second driver crested the hill and crashed into a police car with its lights flashing. Police issued another ticket for Careless Driving to 20-year-old Skye Watson.
BEND, OR -- House Republican Leader Mike McLane (R-Powell Butte) has been named Legislator of the Year by the Oregon Economic Development Association. Rep. McLane was recognized for his commitment to advocating for pro-growth and innovative economic development policies during the 2015 legislative session.
In particular, the group says he was singled out for the bill allowing tax breaks for such technology giants as Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Google. They say the legislation opened the door to secure hundreds of millions of dollars in new high-tech investments.
The Oregon Economic Development Association also honored Senator Mark Hass (D-Beaverton).
BEND, OR -- After battling the approval of conditional use permits for two proposed solar farms adjacent to her east Bend home, Cathy Jensen has withdrawn her formal opposition to the projects.
Cypress Creek Renewables and Oregon Solar Land Holdings plan solar farms on 70-acres of adjacent land on Highway 20. Jensen spent $6,000 to file an appeal Deschutes County. Commissioners voted to hear the appeal at a public hearing originally scheduled for 10 a.m.
Citing financial pressure and the personal stress of fighting what she calls the impacts of industrial facilities on their neighborhood, Jensen plans to withdraw her appeal this morning.
A third solar farm called “Bear Creek Solar Center” plans a project in the same area but has not yet filed for county permits.
BEND, OR -- Fire caused significant damage at a Broken Top home, Friday night. Bend Fire Battalion Chief Dave Howe says when firefighters arrived on Tam McArthur Loop they "found a large house with an attic fire and smoke coming from the second floor." He tells KBND, "We were able to extinguish the fire fairly quickly; however, we had to move with the salvage efforts quite slowly because we had a tile roof that was in danger of collapsing."
Investigators later determined the blaze started in the flue of the fireplace, causing more than $500,000 in damage. Howe says those inside at the time were alerted by smoke alarms and later saw fire coming from the chimney enclosure on the roof.
BEND, OR -- Bend’s Urban Growth Boundary Steering Committee meets later this week to continue its work on the city’s UGB expansion. City Manager Eric King says the more than five-year project is nearing an end. "We are within months of having a locally adopted urban growth boundary. It’s really starting to take shape and then over the next few months we’ll fine-tune it. But, I think people are really starting to realize there are some winners and losers with where the UGB is expanding," King tells KBND.
It’s been 30 years since Bend last adjusted its UGB. In 2010, the state rejected an expansion proposal, saying it did not conform to standards. The city has been reworking it ever since. "It is a much smaller urban growth boundary than what was proposed in 2010. The city proposed about an 8,000-acre expansion and the state said no. They gave us instructions in the form of a remand to say ‘this is the process that we want you to follow,’ somewhat of a prescriptive path," says King. "So, we’ve been on that path the last couple of years. It’s just state law and it’s the state land use process. I know some people get frustrated with it; I do as well. But, we have to follow that."
But, he acknowledges the state could again reject their work. "Anything is possible, so it’s hard to predict. But we are working lock and step with the step in ensuring at least the state agency doesn’t. However, the process, just like anything land use – whether an apartment complex being built or a big UGB expansion – it affords a lot of opportunities for people to weigh in. There could be other parties that appeal that decision from the state. The process may not end with just a local adoption; it could go on." King adds, "For some, being inside this boundary is pretty high stakes. The value of land is quite different. It goes back to part of Bend’s constituency makeup. A third of the folks see the benefits see all the benefits that come with growth, a third are indifferent and a third get really nervous about this continued growth and the impact that’s going to have on their livability."
Officials say expanding the boundary is necessary to facilitate growth and guide where new neighborhoods, commercial areas, parks and schools can be built. The UGB Steering Committee will hold a public meeting at City Hall on Thursday, starting at 2:30 p.m.
BEND, OR -- Calling this the "unofficial recreation capital of Oregon," Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) met with 16 representatives of the local outdoor recreation industry to get their feedback on draft recreation legislation created by Wyden. The group expressed concerns over permitting challenges, trade and shipping, the role of volunteers and maintenance of the recreation lands.
Senator Wyden tells KBND it was a unique opportunity for everyone. “You don’t have that many meetings where people take a discussion draft that involves a specific piece of legislation and seem to be going line by line trying to find ways to improve it.”
“They talked, for example, about some of the challenges with respect to permits. They talked about trade. They clearly pointed to specific areas of the bill. The question of the role of volunteers was very important to them. The question of maintenance with respect to special places,” Wyden says. Local outdoor gear manufacturers also explained how shipping out of Central Oregon adds time and cost to their products.
Wyden’s draft bill looks to maximize financial opportunities for recreation interests in Oregon while maintaining the lands on which people recreate.
BEND, OR -- A Redmond man had to be cut out of his pickup after it crashed into an embankment and overturned along the Old Bend-Redmond Highway, Saturday night.
The Sheriff's office says 40-year-old Shawn Hallin was driving under the influence of alcohol when his truck left the roadway and rolled. He was taken to St. Charles Bend with non-life threatening injuries.
The crash closed the road for about two hours. Hallin is charged with DUII and reckless driving.
BEND, OR -- A traffic stop near Northeast 8th and Greenwood in Bend led to the arrest of three people on drug charges, late Sunday night.
A Bend Police K9 alerted to the presence of narcotics inside the vehicle and during a subsequent search, police say they found methamphetamine, heroin and weapons.
Police arrested 28-year-old Kenneth Sommerset (pictured: bottom) and 22-year-old Eric Pancoast of Redmond and 22-year-old Ronnie Magnus (pictured: top) of Bend. Sommerset is charged with Meth Possession and Felon in Posession of a Firearm. Magnus is charged with Meroin Possession, Felon in Possession of a Firearm and a Probation Violation Warrant. And, Pancoast is charged with Meth Possession.
CHILOQUIN, OR -- A Bend man was killed Sunday afternoon when his car rolled on Highway 97 in Klamath County.
Oregon State Police say 64-year-old Robert David Johnson lost control of his 1969 Corvette about 20 miles north of Chiloquin at about 4:45 p.m.
He was ejected when it rolled several times, and was pronounced dead at the scene. The investigation into the cause of the crash is continuing. But, police say speed may have been a contributing factor.
BEND, OR -- Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) visited a class of juniors and seniors at Mt. View High School on Friday, sharing thoughts and fielding questions about the high cost of higher education and repayment of college loans. The discussion in the Government class focused on his newly introduced bill called “The Afford Act.”
Merkley explains, “Mechanically the way the Afford Act works, is it says the primary option for loan repayment you can choose to have your repayment be no more than 10% of your disposable income. And thereby, if your income is high you pay off your student loan very, very quickly but if it’s low you will not be crushed by that monthly payment.”
“I’ve been proposing that we should be able to issue loans at the same interest rate that the big banks get when they borrow money from the federal government. That would be as much lower rate for students. But I also believe we should refinance loans to give students that lower, and students who have graduated, that lower interest rate," Merkley tells KBND.
Merkley’s Afford Act would also forgive college debt left after 20 years. The Oregon Democrat is now seeking a Republican co-sponsor for the bill.
BEND, OR -- Bend’s Marijuana Technical Advisory Committee is closer to sending a list of recommendations to City Councilors, regarding recreational pot businesses. The group met Thursday to discuss how far these newly legal businesses should be from each other and from schools, parks, libraries and other places kids frequent. City Manager Eric King says there is already a 1,000-foot buffer zone around existing medical marijuana dispensaries. "As the committee has been looking at maps and buffers, depending on how far you go, you could essentially restrict very few additional facilities – recreational or medical – from siting here in Bend. So, that’s what the committee is grappling with. How much is appropriate through these buffers, because you really could start to limit some things if you get more restrictive."
"Then, the other component is ensuring that these facilities are operating in a good neighborly fashion. So, issues of odor and signage and other things that neighbors might be concerned about, are being addressed," says King. City Councilors hope to have rules in place by the end of the year. The state will begin licensing recreational marijuana retailers in early January.
To hear our full conversation with Bend City Manager Eric King, visit our Podcast Page.
BEND, OR -- Bend City Councilor Victor Chudowsky says he has a way to fund Bend's needed street improvements without a local gas tax. He plans to present his idea to the Street Maintenance Funding Committee on Monday. He tells KBND, "It would be good if we spent at least $4.1 million a year on actual street preservation, which is the actual doling out contracts to repave of streets."
Chudowsky says a disproportionate amount of the streets budget is now going to support and personnel. "The first thing is, for the Transportation Operations Department, which has a budget of $21 million every two years; the idea is to really focus that department's budget on actual street paving. I feel the amount of money overall for that department has gone up over the years, but the amount actually spent on paving streets has not."
His plan calls for utilizing revenue from the newly created transient room tax to fund repairs. "One of the ones that has grown the most quickly is the receipts we get from the tourism tax - the room tax that we charge the tourists visiting Bend - That has been going up by leaps and bounds. I feel we are underestimated how much that tax is going to bring in to the city over the next five years. So, the plan is basically to set aside a portion of that tourism tax and divert it to paving streets."
He has asked for 15 minutes to present his ideas to the committee tasked with creating viable options for funding the $80 million in delayed street maintenance and improvements.
REDMOND, OR -- City officials, families and other supporters gathered at Sam Johnson Park in Redmond Thursday afternoon to celebrate the grand opening of the new, fully accessible Hope Playground. Behind the scenes, crews were busy installing a sophisticated camera system in an attempt to deter crime. Lt. Mike Kidwell says it was a joint effort between Redmond Police, the city and Parks Department. "Part of what we’re trying to do is to make it a safer environment at Sam Johnson Park; and make it more of a family atmosphere down there where the children and families that choose to use the park don’t have to worry about the criminal activity that occasionally goes on down in our park system."
Lt. Kidwell tells KBND similar systems are already in use at a number of other city parks and at Evergreen School, currently being converted into the next City Hall. "We’ve been able to see people that have come in and either trespassed inside the actual school itself, or committed criminal mischief acts on the property and stuff like that. So, it allows us to see those suspects and potentially identify them, and then hold them accountable for their activity."
Police recently arrested an adult and four juveniles at Sam Johnson Park, and seized more than a half a pound of marijuana. Lt. Kidwell says the new security cameras should help prevent future problems. "They allow us to help monitor those parks, number one. We have the ability to, not only use those to identify suspects that commit ‘quality of life crimes’ in our parks, we can also monitor the parks – we can log onto the MDTs (Mobile Data Terminals) in the cars and monitor those same cameras through closed circuit from our patrol vehicle, also."
BEND, OR -- Both sides of the solar farms issue on Bend's east side will get their say in a public hearing next week. Cypress Creek Renewables and Oregon Solar Land Holdings plan solar farms on 70-acres of adjacent land on Highway 20. They received conditional use permits, but some neighbors have opposed the projects and asked for a chance to share concerns with County Commissioners.
Read more about the companies' plans.
A public hearing on allowing solar farms on land zoned for agriculture will be held Monday at 10 a.m. in the Deschutes County Services Building.
A third company is planning a solar farm in the same area but has not yet applied for permits.
BEND, OR -- With the expansion of the OSU-Cascades campus on Bend’s west side, several Homeowner Associations in the area are looking at rules and regulations to make sure a potential influx of students doesn’t change their neighborhood. Bill Bernardy helped draft new rules for the Skyliner Summit HOA and says changes have been in the works for a while, based on problems that have come up in recent years. He tells KBND his neighborhood went from nearly zero rental homes to around 20% rentals during the recession. "We found ourselves having to do more compliance enforcement just because of the rentals. And then, when people started to raise the issue of student rentals, what will that mean? We thought we ought to step back and take a look. There were some odd, almost funny things that came out of that; like, we now have a rule that prohibits putting furniture on the roof. Things we hadn’t encountered before, I mean, who would think to put furniture on the roof!" Other new rules include limiting overnight street parking to two vehicles per home and no large parties in driveways, front yards or streets.
Bernardy says the HOA felt it was important to take a proactive approach before the new OSU-Cascades campus opens in the area next year. "There’s nothing about those rules that prohibit students from living here, it just tightens up what seems to be some loopholes. We hadn’t anticipated the possibility that somebody might throw a party with 300 people in our neighborhood park. But that has happened in other cities, including Corvallis."
He notes that the changes closed loopholes in the existing rules, and are all in an effort to preserve the character of the neighborhood with potential changes. "I don’t think that anybody believes that all students are going to be a problem. But, the reality is, some students can be a problem; some renters who aren’t students can be a problem and some owners can be a problem. Every year we have one or two who think of something that no one has ever thought of before."
TUMALO, OR -- A man trying to fly his paraglider from the Madras airport to the Bend airport became tangled in power lines when he attempted an emergency landing in Tumalo.
Initial calls to 911, just before 5:30 Thursday evening, reported the man was hanging from his tangled parachute. By the time Deschutes County deputies arrived, two witnesses had freed the pilot from his harness and he was safely on the ground. He received only minor injuries and power was restored to nearby homes a short time later.
The pilot, 29-year-old Tobias Osborne from London, tried to land the paraglider in a field near Half Mile Lane and Tumalo Road due to increased winds, but came in too low to clear the power lines.
BEND, OR -- A Bend man was arrested for allegedly assaulting an acquaintance then trying to assault a police officer attempting to take him into custody. Bend Police suspect 29-year-old Justin Corley was involved in a fight with a 62-year-old man, Wednesday night, but say he took off when officers arrived at the Northeast Bend home.
A K-9 unit eventually tracked Corley to the bed of a parked pickup. He refused to cooperate with officers and they say he became aggressive when they approached. One officer deployed his taser at close range, while another deployed his K-9.
Corley was taken to the hospital for medical treatment before getting booked at the jail. No officers were injured.
BEND, OR -- Although we’re still two weeks away from Halloween, Marie Dodds with AAA Oregon tells KBND it’s not too soon to make those holiday travel reservations. "If you do plan to travel, for Thanksgiving especially, do so as soon as possible. Especially if you’re flying, book that airline ticket now. One thing to keep in mind, if you have flexibility on the days that you travel, you will have much better pricing."
Dodds suggests consulting your calendar for the best prices. "The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is always the busiest travel day of the year, and everyone wants to come back the Sunday after Thanksgiving. So, if you can avoid those two days – go out Tuesday, or better yet, if you can actually travel early in the morning on Thanksgiving – you’ll find a price break there. And likewise, if you can postpone your return trip to Monday or Tuesday the following week, you can save as much as several hundred dollars on that ticket."
"The other thing to keep in mind, if you’re trying to book, say for a family of four, and you’re buying those airline tickets, buy them one at a time. If you’re trying to purchase four tickets at once but there’s only one economical fare left, you will not get that fair with four tickets. The catch is you have to make sure you have four seats on the plane," says Dodds. She adds, tickets can be linked up at the airline's website after the purchase, so the family is recognized as traveling together.
BEND, OR -- Deschutes County has more than 200 miles of gravel roads that require maintenance. County Commissioners heard how a new plan is doing, to improve these mostly rural roadways. Chris Doty, head of the Public Works Department, says between the two most common treatments, the Otta Seal is better suited for the High Desert than traditional grinding. "Grindings, unfortunately, we don't have a big window. In the summer, when it's hot, we're out doing chip sealing. Maybe there's one or two weeks a year that we could bust off and do some grinding projects. So, it doesn't fit into our regime very well. Otta Seal, on the other hand, that's something that can be done early, late and in the middle of the season as well. It does lend itself to something that we're excited about."
Commissioner Alan Unger says the work appears to be improving roads and reducing costs. "My experience is, this is a great idea moving forward, with creating roads that have a better seal and can last longer. And, the trade-off, positively, is we have happy customers - the people who use those roads. Cars hold up better and they can travel faster on those roads, like they do anyway. I think this is a great direction to go."
Doty says how to best pay for the project going forward, possibly getting residents on those roads involved, is still being worked out. "There's always going to be more cost up front. The goal of providing a surface and matching maintenance costs on it appears to be within reach. But, it's that upfront cost that we need to potentially develop into a program where, if you want this you need to put some skin in the game."
VANCOUVER, WA -- A Bend man and his cousin are headed to prison in connection with a deadly robbery last year in Clark County, Washington. Both 20-year-old Shawn Fortner of Bend and 23-year-old Jonathan Hensey of East Wenatchee had previously pleaded guilty to manslaughter and robbery charges.
A judge sentenced Fortner to nearly 11 years in prison, earlier this week. Hensey was given a 10-year sentence. Both men had faced murder charges in the February 2014 death of a 21-year-old man, but the prosecution lessened the charges as part of a plea deal.
Court records say the victim was shot by a third co-defendant, Zacheriah Douglas of Vancouver, after Fortner and Hensey tried to rob the man in an alleged drug transaction.
Douglas is serving a 38-year prison sentence.
Photo: Courtesy The Columbian
BEND, OR -- At 10:15 on 10/15 – Thursday – Oregonians will “Drop, Cover and Hold On” for the largest earthquake drill ever. Cory Grogan, with the state office for Emergency Management, tells KBND the Great Oregon ShakeOut is part of a worldwide one-day effort. "It raises awareness about a threat we have here in Oregon. We know that an event similar to Indonesia in 2004 and also in Japan in 2011, can happen here in Oregon. And really, the best way to get prepared for that is to practice." More than 40 million people are expected to participate in the ShakeOut, across the globe.
Grogan says it's easy to participate and anyone can join in. "We have such a great variety of participation – whether that be individuals, families, business/industry, tribal, state and federal government entities, and we’re actually very pleased to say that in the last two years we’ve nearly doubled participation. For the ShakeOut, we have more than 530,000 Oregonians registered now," says Grogan. That jump is likely due to all the publicity in recent months about the risk of a catastrophic earthquake on the Oregon coast. He adds, "No matter where you are, you can participate by dropping, covering and holding on. And, the reason we do the Drop, Cover and Hold on Drill, during the earthquake shaking there will be flying objects, you could fall. So, the number one priority is to make sure you are safe by dropping, covering and holding on before evacuating."
Registration is free but encouraged. Click HERE
to sign up to participate and learn more.
REDMOND, OR -- A transient is accused of stealing a car from a Redmond area home and using it to commit additional crimes near Madras.
Shortly after the car was reported stolen Wednesday morning, Jefferson County dispatch received a report of a hit and run crash on Highway 97. A woman was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.
Jefferson County deputies stopped the stolen vehicle south of Madras and arrested 22-year-old Jacob Landers. Investigators have also tied Landers to a burglary at a vacant home near the initial Redmond location.
He faces a long list of charges in two counties, including DUII (drugs), hit and run, and theft. Landers was lodged at the Deschutes County Jail.
BEND, OR -- Bend's whitewater park will close starting Monday, October 19, through the end of the year. Construction will resume to fine-tune the final aspects of the park. Chelsea Schneider is the Project Manager. She tells KBND, "In the last couple of days, the river flows have dropped considerably and they're basically down to the bottom that we'll see. This is a unique opportunity along the Deschutes to get in and get the final pieces of work done for the Bend Whitewater Park." Water levels are expected to return to seasonable levels by the end of November.
Schneider says booms will be in place preventing both land and water access. "The contractor is getting in to make adjustments to the mechanical systems, the pneumatic systems that were put in place for creating the whitewater features, and also controlling the river flows to the two active channels."
The new whitewater park, which just opened last month, will remain closed through December 31. Click HERE to follow the progress on Facebook.
BEND, OR -- Despite House Speaker John Boehner’s resignation announcement, House Republicans have yet to identify a clear front-runner for his replacement. Congressman Greg Walden (R-OR) is fifth in line for party leadership but he tells KBND, at this point, he’s not interested in the position. "I’ve got plenty to do on my own and I very much support Paul Ryan. I was asked if I would step in on an interim basis or something. I said I’ve never turned down a tough job that I’ve been asked to do. If the conference came to me and said ‘you’re the one who can bridge on an interim basis and get us healed up and back together’ I wouldn’t say no. Then that got interpreted that I’m off running for speaker – No."
He adds, "I have an important job to do, but I’ll do what I can to help, it’s that helpful. But, my full focus and goal is seeing to it Paul [Ryan] has all the information he needs to make a decision that’s right for him, his district and his family." Walden calls Ryan "An incredibly smart policy wonk, a dear friend, we were both elected together back in ’98. I’m a big fan of his, I think he’s one of very few in our conference that can bridge the ideological divides that exist when you any 247 people in a common room literally from every corner of the country." Ryan has said he doesn’t want the job, despite the support of several in the GOP.
Walden says selecting a new Speaker is no easy task – partly because of the tough job description - and partly because the appointment requires a majority vote of the entire House.
To hear our full conversation with Congressman Greg Walden, visit our Podcast Page.
LINN COUNTY, OR -- A Bend climber was rescued from Mt. Washington after spending the night in freezing temperatures. Deschutes County 911 received a call from 20-year-old Sarah Ford Sunday night, with just 1% battery left on her phone.
Linn County Under Sheriff Jim Zon tells KBND she had been hit in the head by a falling rock while rappelling down from the 7700-foot level. "This caused her to fall 15' where she sustained a serious leg injury with the bone exposed. At this time, I do not know her current status, she was flown to Riverbend Hospital in Springfield."
Ford tried to hike down to the 6200-foot level, but was unable to continue due to her injuries. Because of the rugged terrain, A National guard unit flew in from Salem to help in the rescue.
REDMOND, OR -- For the first time, a city is being recognized by the Deschutes Cultural Coalition for its efforts to promote local art and culture. Redmond has received the Ben Westlund Award, in honor of the late Central Oregon lawmaker who co-founded the Oregon Cultural Trust.
City Manager Keith Witcosky tells KBND efforts over the past few years have created a “sense of place” for the community. "We’ve created really good public places where there’s public art, where there’s well thought out sidewalks and nice street lighting, with flowers and banners and all these kinds of things that make this place attractive, rather than just making a place be redeveloped."
Along with the award comes a $1,000 charitable contribution, and Witcosky says that will be donated to the city’s Commission for Art in Public Places. "Art is really what helps create a sense of place and the work that they’ve done and the effort that they’ve put into public art in Redmond and culture in Redmond. It’s really, in some ways, an economic development tool as well. And, people want to be able to hang out in a place, and live in a place, that they’re not just working and living, but they can appreciate some of the amenities and design that’s around them."
The Deschutes Cultural Coalition says the city was chosen because of its high aesthetic standards in urban renewal planning and development. Witcosky says Redmond’s transformation of downtown isn’t over yet. "The work is continuing with Evergreen. When that project is done in about a year, that’ll be the next opportunity to show how we do public redevelopment. The opportunity following that, will be the block that Evergreen is on, as it gets redeveloped. The work of the Arts Committee continues. They do the Art Around the Clock, basically selecting a number of different public pieces and placing them out for a year or two; that’s going to go on as well."
BEND, OR -- Individual Health insurance plans are changing across the board, in advance of next month’s open enrollment period, and many Central Oregonians have received letters saying the provider is discontinuing their current plan. Jason Epple, with Century Insurance in Bend, tells KBND, "It is very very important that everybody pay attention to that letter. Whether you’re in the federal exchange or outside the exchange, now more than ever we really need to pay attention to what’s going on and take an active part in our healthcare; and look at what plans we’re getting funneled into or look at the new price of the current plan that you’re on and make some decisions." He says rates are rising because insurance companies reported major financial losses this year, with premiums coming in much lower than the amount of claims paid out.
If you have not received a letter from your insurance carrier but you're not covered by an employer plan, Epple says you still need to act. "If you, for some reason, didn’t get a letter and you’re in the federal exchange, you absolutely need to go into your account inside the federal exchange starting November first, and take a look at your account and what’s happening with your plan." And, he adds, "If you’re an individual or a family and you’re on a plan inside the federal exchange – it was Cover Oregon once upon a time, and then we all got to move to the federal exchange – if you are in that and you’re receiving a subsidy, you absolutely need to log into healthcare.gov November first and reapply. If you do not reapply, you may not get your tax credit or your subsidy, or you may get an incorrect one."
Epple suggests customers not only shop around for the best insurance carrier and plan for your family, but also price out medical services before seeking treatment, when possible. He says the cost of procedures can vary widely depending on the provider. Open enrollment begins November first.
To hear our full conversation with Jason Epple, visit our Podcast Page
BEND, OR -- The Forest Service has launched a new interactive map to help Central Oregonians track when and where prescribed burns are happening.
Jean Nelson Dean with the Deschutes National Forest tells KBND the online mapping system was designed to be user-friendly for the general public. "It covers the Ochoco and Deschutes National Forest, Crooked River National Grassland and the Prineville BLM and it’s all our prescribed burns. You can look at the map and see what’s very active, what’s burning that day, what’s coming up or has just been completed, and somewhat what’s down the line for what we’re looking at."
She says you can also track future burns planned for throughout this fall’s prescribed burn season. Click HERE
to access the new interactive map.
REDMOND, OR -- Redmond police are looking for leads in a hit and run that occurred Saturday, just after 10:30 a.m. at the Goodwill parking lot on North Highway 97. Investigators say an 18-year-old woman was walking through the parking lot in front of the store when she was struck by a vehicle. The victim received a head injury and was hospitalized.
The only investigative lead is that the vehicle was a newer, shiny four-door vehicle. The victim says it may have been either grey, black or silver. There is no video surveillance available and Redmond PD is asking for anyone who may have witnessed the incident to call non-emergency dispatch at 541-693-6911, reference case 15-286418. Callers can remain anonymous.
BEND, OR -- After more than six months of negotiations, union nurses at St. Charles Medical Center in Bend are expected to vote this week on a contract offer from management. It has been the lengthiest contract negotiation in decades. The Oregon Nurses Association represents 720 nurses at the Bend hospital, and they've have been working with an expired contract since July.
As recent as last week, an informal survey of the union membership showed overwhelming disapproval of what the hospital administration was offering at that time. But following last Thursday’s second mediation session, enough changes to that offer were made that the union leadership decided to take a revamped contract offer to the entire bargaining unit.
One of the main sticking points for the nurses is the issue of adequate staffing of nurses for what they consider reasonable patient loads.
This week's ratification vote will likely be a physical ballot vote with negotiating team members present for questions and discussion.
BEND, OR -- Three men were arrested over the weekend, accused of firing a gun near Cascade Middle School in Bend. James Morris, Samuel Brooks and Alexander Brooks are accused of shooting out security cameras and windows at the school Friday evening.
Two maintenance workers were inside the school at the time, and one employee’s truck was also damaged. Investigators say the 27-year-old men later drove around Shevlin Park Road, where witnesses say more shot were fired from their vehicle.
James Morris (pictured) was contacted in a vehicle Saturday at 2 p.m. on SW Brookswood near Amber Meadow. Samuel Brooks was contacted in a vehicle near NE First and Greenwood just after 4 p.m. They're both charged with Attempted Assault II, Unlawful Use of a Weapon, Criminal Mischief I, Criminal Trespass with a Firearm and Conspiracy.
Alexander Brooks was contacted at his residence just after 4 p.m. Saturday. He's charged with Conspiracy to commit Criminal Mischief I and Conspiracy to commit Unlawful Use of a Weapon.
BEND, OR -- In January, the state conducted a one-day homeless count to found out how many Oregonians are without permanent housing. Local numbers were released in May, but the statewide stats just came out this week. Kati McDonald with NeighborImpact says, despite an improving economy, lack of affordable housing is leading to an increase in homelessness. "2013 versus 2015, we have more than in 2013. Our chronically homeless folks - those experiencing homelessness longer who have a disability, are actually up."
She tells KBND the local numbers are higher than what the state shows, because Central Oregon statistics include those who are living in motels or staying with friends or family. The statewide report only counts those living outside, in cars or in emergency homeless shelters. "They are reporting there were 503 homeless individuals in Deschutes County, and we reported 1624."
REDMOND, OR -- Ridgeview High school went into lockdown Thursday morning after a student reportedly texted threats to the school. Redmond Schools Superintendent Mike McIntosh says the lockdown started at 8 a.m. and lasted about 12 minutes. "Two students report text messages to Ridgeview administration. We immediately took them seriously, as we do all threats. We called law enforcement and proceeded to go into what we call lockdown protocol. At that time, we didn’t know the location of the student who had sent the texts, so we treated it as if he were on campus."
Superintendent McIntosh tells KBND the 15-year-old student accused of sending the text was located off campus and taken into custody. "The kids were as safe as ever possible, we took all kinds of precautions to make sure that was the case. Lockdown is not to be considered a feared thing, or a fearful thing, it’s just a protocol that we’ve implemented." He adds, "The protocols that we’ve been putting in place with respect to student safety and critical incidents were tested in a real way and I’m pleased with how they functioned. A great partnership with law enforcement, both Redmond city and Deschutes County; school officials did a great job making decisions based on the input they were gathering from multiple sources in very short order; all in an effort to maintain student safety."
McIntosh acknowledges frustration by parents who weren’t notified by the district until the incident was over. "I can say with a clear conscience that our intent is never to deny parents access to their child. But, in these events, if they receive a text from their student saying ‘we’re in lockdown, I’m scared.’ Do their best from their location to text them back reassuring messages, encouraging them to listen to the adult in the room, be safe, make good choices and don’t overreact." He says if concerned parents suddenly showed up at the campus it could've caused an even bigger logistical issue.
LA PINE, OR -- The Deschutes National Forest is joining forces with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to create a plan for responding to wildfires across jurisdictional boundaries. Jean Nelson Dean with the Forest Service says the new Greater La Pine Cohesive Strategy Project means “all hands, all lands.”
"That applies both to wildfire fighting and treating areas. And, one great thing is the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Forest Service have received funding to do cohesive strategy work down in the La Pine area," Nelson Dean tells KBND. "The idea is that treating both federal lands – BLM, forest service - treating state lands. And, also through the NRCS, being able to treat private lands. So, private landowners being able to apply for grant dollars that they can then do work on their own lands if they’re interested."
She says it's a long-term plan that includes guidelines for how to treat 300,000 acres of designated land. Agencies involved in the Cohesive Strategy Plan will kick off the multi-year project in La Pine, Friday morning.
BEND, OR -- First came the new roundabout on Brookswood Blvd in southwest Bend. And as of 10:30 Monday morning, the new Murphy Road extension from Third Street to Brookswood is open for traffic.
Peter Murphy with the Oregon Department of Transportation says the new road will help move east/west traffic. “People will be able to use Murphy Road, Murphy Bridge to get across from the west side to the east side and back which is something we really didn’t have before. You know we had to go through a couple of stop lights to get across or go a real roundabout way to get across the parkway basically."
This project will eliminate the traffic light at Pinebrook Boulevard on the Parkway. There will also be a median barrier placed on the parkway at Pinebrook.
A ribbon cutting ceremony will take place at the new Murphy Road extension Monday at 10 a.m., and traffic will begin flowing at 10:30 a.m.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- A Prineville man was killed in a forklift accident, Thursday afternoon. Emergency crews responded to a property on NW Lamonta Road just before 5 p.m. and found the 70-year-old man underneath the machine.
Investigators say the man was working on the forklift when it fell and pinned him. It appears he was working alone and was pinned for several hours before the accident was discovered.
BEND, OR -- A Bend man was killed in a head on collision in southeast Bend Thursday afternoon. The accident happened at about 1 p.m., in front of the Knott Landfill and shut down Southeast 27th for four hours.
The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office says 54-year-old David Matthew McDermott was southbound when his pickup crossed the centerline, hitting a semi head on. The semi driver was not injured, but McDermott was pronounced dead at the scene.
The cause of the crash remains under investigation.
REDMOND, OR -- The Deschutes County District Attorney announced he will not file charges against a man who rescued two people from a crash then held the driver at gunpoint until police arrived. D.A. John Hummel says Joshua Dornon discovered the single-vehicle rollover crash on August 15 in Redmond and extricated both people inside the car.
When the driver took off, Dornon went to his vehicle, grabbed his gun and chased the driver. He found him in a nearby alley and held him at gunpoint until police arrived. That driver now faces criminal charges.
D.A. Hummel admits what Dornan did was against the law, but taking into account that he rescued two people first, Hummel says he's declining to file criminal charges against Dornon.
LA PINE, OR -- Highway 97 was partially blocked for about two hours Thursday morning, while law enforcement investigated a crash involving a semi and a passenger car. The crash occurred at about 4:40 a.m. near State Rec Road.
According to Oregon State Police, 32-year-old Richard Moller of Roseburg was southbound when he crossed the centerline and drove into the path of a northbound semi.
Moller and his passenger, 46-year-old William Liles of Bend, were transported to St. Charles Bend with non-life threatening injuries. The driver of the semi, 51-year-old David Hendricks of Idaho, was not hurt.
Updated at 1:45 p.m. to correct the name of the pickup driver and passenger, based on incorrect information provided to KBND.
REDMOND, OR -- Ridgeview High school in Redmond went into lockdown earlier this morning due to what is being described as a potential hazard. Redmond Police secured the facility and the school day has resumed.
District officials say the lockdown began at about 8 a.m. when a student shared that a threat to the school had been made by a person via text. The lockdown lasted 12 minutes, when students, staff and visitors were instructed to move out of site, lock doors, turn off lights and stay quiet.
Once the source of the threat was located, off campus, police and administrators released the lockdown protocol. Redmond Police say there is no further threat.
The school has made counselors available to any student or staff who may need additional assistance.
BEND, OR -- Volkswagen says up to 11 million vehicles worldwide contain the diesel engine with software used to cheat on U.S. emissions tests. So, what do you do if you drive one? “Well, at this point in time there’s nothing to do. There’s not a retrofit available or a change to the car,” says David Thompson, General Manager of Kendall Volkswagen of Bend. He tells KBND owners of the affected VWs have received form letters apologizing for the deception and asking for patience.
Thompson, too, is waiting for officials to come up with a plan. “There’s no fix available at this time. Once that information is created with a fixed plan and all that, we’ll be informed at that time as well.” He adds, “It’s the highest priority of that company, Volkswagen that is, to get the plan approved and get those repairs and changes out to the dealers.”
Until then, Thompson says cars are safe and the Environmental Protection Agency says they’re legal to drive.
Impacted vehicles include:
VW Jetta TDI (Model Years 2009-2015)
VW Jetta Sportwagen TDI (Model Years 2009-2014)
VW Golf TDI (Model Years 2010-2015)
VW Golf Sportwagen TDI (Model Year 2015)
VW Beetle TDI and VW Beetle Convertible TDI (Model Years 2012-2015)
VW Passat TDI (Model Years 2012-2015)
BEND, OR -- Merchants are still in the process of switching over credit card machines, despite an October first deadline. Businesses without the new EMV card readers are now liable if fraud occurs on a customer’s card. But, Ray Spreier, Chief Information Officer for Mid Oregon Credit Union in Bend, tells KBND transitioning to the new technology is no simple task. "Any part of that transaction chain that is not EMV compliant bears the liability. So, we’ve seen this mad scramble to suddenly update point of sale terminals. And, I don’t think people realize all the moving parts that are between the place where you insert, or used to swipe your card, and the financial institute that’s actually approving the transaction based on the balance."
And, he admits many retailers have seen delays. "So, in a lot of cases, it would be the merchant software systems maybe have not been updated, or aren’t ready to handle the nature of the EMV transaction compared to the old style transaction. What we see at the point of sale is relatively easy, it’s just a different terminal - you just get rid of 'Box A' and replace it with 'Box B.' But, until all that software is placed all the way back into the financial institution, you can’t really support the EMV security." A recent Wells Fargo survey revealed about a fifth of small businesses nationwide have no plans to upgrade.
Spreier says once the new technology is fully functioning, customers shouldn't ignore their own personal responsibility. "I think the general maxim that any consumer should be looking for in handling your finances is what I refer to as “total visibility,” and back that up with control. Most card issuers and most financial institution online banking systems now offer live alerting. So, the minute a transaction hits your card or account, you can get an email or a text message alerting you to that fact. And you can get balance alerts and other things."
To hear more of our conversation with Ray Spreier about EMV technology, visit our Podcast Page
BEND, OR -- A 19-year-old Walmart employee is accused of setting several fires inside the Bend store. Bend Police and Fire investigators say the Monday fires were suspicious in nature, and were located in two areas of the store. Damage was limited to the items ignited and the immediate areas and no one was injured.
Investigators say employee Travis Kyle, of La Pine, started the fires with a pocket lighter. Kyle was arrested on arson charges and lodged at the Deschutes County Jail.
ROSEBURG, OR -- The Douglas County District Attorney has released more information about the death of the man responsible for last week’s shooting rampage at Umpqua Community College. Investigators say the gunman fired at two officers as they arrived at the college Thursday morning, and those officers returned fire, striking the suspect in the side.
Roseburg Police Chief Jim Burge says Detective Sgt. Joe Kaney and Detective Todd Spingath are heroes. "They knew they could be injured or killed during this confrontation as they ran toward the sound of gunfire. I have spoken with both officers and they don’t want to be heralded as heroes, they feel they are only first responders who got there first."
Investigators say after exchanging gunfire with police, the shooter ducked back into a classroom and turned the gun on himself.
At a Wednesday morning press conference, Douglas County D.A. Rick Wesenberg said, "Sgt. Kaney and Det. Spingath used their training and discipline to determine the best time to take a shot at the shooter. Once the suspect engaged the police officers, he did not shoot another student."
Det. Sgt. Kaney is former Marine and 23-year veteran of the Roseburg Police Department, Det. Spingath is a 16-year veteran of the force. They are asking the public to remain focused on the victims.
SISTERS, OR -- Deschutes County Commissioner Alan Unger is trying to reboot efforts to build a paved path in Sisters. He tells KBND he's been gathering feedback from area residents over the past several months. "In the time that I've been working on this, 1200 people have contacted me - people and groups. And, basically, 93% of those contacting me supported this concept and want this to move forward."
Unger is asking the Forest Service to conduct another environmental assessment on the idea. "I basically took what I heard, that was positive and what was negative, from the people who contacted me and put it in a letter that I then sent to Kristi Miller, the District Forest Ranger for the Sisters Forest. What I learned was that people support a paved path, and they would engage in the process if the Forest Service brought it up for a new environmental assessment." A new assessment would include a lot of public input and could take a couple of years. "They would handle that with a lot of public process, because that's what the federal government requires, and that's a good thing. They would look at all possibilities, listen to everybody and through that process, come come to a conclusion," he says.
The USFS conducted an environmental assessment several years ago, but stopped progress on the plan when public opposition grew. Currently there is no funding in the agency's budget for an assessment, so payment would need to be worked out.
REDMOND, OR -- The Redmond School District is now one month in to the first year of all-day kindergarten, and officials say it is going smoothly. Amber McCloud is the Pre-K to Kindergarten Transition Coordinator for the district, and tells KBND adjustments have been made to accommodate the young age of these 468 students. "Our teachers are making sure their activities are short – five to ten minute spurts of time, getting them up and moving; transitioning them from a sitting position working with their fine/gross motor skills, to getting up and singing songs. There’s a lot of action going on in that kindergarten room and a lot of learning."
Superintendent Mike McIntosh says alternating activities helps build up their stamina. "I know we get reports from parents who are getting their kids everyday that kids are going home tired; that’s normal for first and second graders too. So, we’re hearing the normal things, things to be expected. But, I’m not hearing or seeing any great big red flags saying this is an impossible task or a challenge that we can’t do." He encourages parents to create a regular after-school routine with kids, and maintain open communication with teachers.
All-day kindergarten launched statewide September, mandated by the Legislature.
BEND, OR -- The head of the Oregon Health Authority will be in Bend Wednesday evening, to gather feedback on the state's mental health services. OHA Director Lynne Saxton and Senator Sara Gelser (D-Corvallis) are conducting a listening tour around the state. Patricia Fenny with the OHA tells KBND they've already been to Klamath Falls and La Grande. "They shared things that were working for them, like finding affordable housing, to what was challenging, finding permanent employment. But other challenges were the fact that there was just a single psychiatrist for that area, and there was only one child psychiatric expert for that entire area."
Fenny says there will be a total of six town hall meetings across the state. "The goal is to identify areas within the behavioral health system which could be strengthened by legislation or created by legislation."
Bend's meeting is at Central Oregon Community College's Willie Hall from 5-8 p.m. "In order to encourage good conversation in a safe environment where people feel supported, it's fairly intimate. We have table-top discussion, so there are about six to eight people per table with a trained facilitator and questions are what's working for you and what are your challenges?" Fenny says.
BEND, OR -- After more than two years of construction, Bend’s Reed Market Road is open in both directions from Third to 27th Street. The project was finished a month ahead of schedule, but not a moment too soon for Tom Healey, who owns the Expressway Corner Market at 15th and Reed Market. “It was 2 1/2 years of different sections of the road, as you well know, being blocked off and alternate routes and it’s been difficult to say the least.” He tells KBND, “It’s finally happened and we’ve got traffic back and a lineup at the pumps and cars going by. Doesn’t get much better.”
In addition to a new center turn lane, there is a new railroad crossing and the bridge at American Lane was rebuilt and moved to the west. There are also new bike lanes. The project cost $18.3 million, and was paid for by a $30 million traffic bond.
Traffic is flowing east and west, but some landscaping and signage is still to come.
TERREBONNE, OR -- A semi crash on Lone Pine Road near Smith Rock Way in Terrebonne blocked the roadway for several hours, early Tuesday morning. Crook County Sheriff’s deputies discovered the truck on its side with severe damage, just after 1 a.m. The driver was uninjured.
Investigators say the man was driving too fast for the conditions when he drove onto the shoulder, jumped an irrigation canal and rolled the truck onto its side, spilling a load of asphalt.
No citations were issued at the time.
MADRAS, OR -- One block from the current Jefferson County Courthouse in Madras, sits the original courthouse, now nearly 100 years old. Steve Jansen now owns the building, and is thrilled it received approval to be listed in the National Registry of Historic Places. "The county declared it surplus back in 2013 and put it up on the market for sale and nobody ever bid on it. Back in December 2013 I just threw a lowball offer to purchase it because the next step, it was going out for bid to demo it and I wanted to save it," Jansen tells KBND.
The original courthouse was built in 1917 as the Madras City Hall, but housed county offices and court until 1961, when the current courthouse opened a block away.
He says shortly after he purchased the building in January 2014, he began looking in to ways to preserve its history. But, inclusion on the National Register wasn't easy. "One of the reasons was, there was no history on the building. None of the records, nothing existed, they were all lost over the years. It took quite a bit of research to get as much info on it as we do have." According to Jansen, the courthouse is the second oldest building in the county, behind the original train depot in Metolius, and it is the third building in Jefferson County to make it on the National Register.
He calls his restoration effort an "ongoing act of love" for what is now referred to in Madras as "the Old Courthouse." He hopes to eventually rent out the second-floor courtroom for special events. Work should be completed in time for the building's centennial in 2017. He’s in the process of leasing out first floor office space.
Jansen also owns the original jail that sits in front of the Old Courthouse, but says its history would be lost if he were to renovate the small concrete structure.
BEND, OR -- After more than a decade without much in the way of multi-family housing construction in Bend, developers have proposed a slew of new apartments. The city could see more than 1,500 new units in the next few years.
But, Pat Kesgard with Compass Commercial
tells KBND opposition is mounting by neighbors of those developments. "About 500 of those are still in the preliminary stages; we don’t know if they’re going to move forward or not. And, so it’s really a challenge. You’ve got the city that’s agreed to pass on some SDC fees for affordable housing; Park and Rec opted out, they may well change that decision. So, there’s a lot of momentum to make things happen and we just have to wait and see."
Kesgard believes that opposition doesn’t have much of an argument, but could put development at risk. "By far, the majority, if not all of them, are outright allowed use. But, when these people say 'I don’t want this built in my backyard,' then the developer has to decide whether to fight it. Can these people potentially delay the project? Yes. Just like OSU [Cascades]." And, he says developers could decide the fight isn't worth the cost. "Interest rates are going to go up and in some point in time, it’s no longer going to be affordable for that developer to build those apartments. So, it’s a real issue."
ROSEBURG, OR -- As Oregonians try to rationalize last week’s shooting at Umpqua Community College, many speculate that the gunman was suffering from a mental illness.
But Psychiatrist Dr. Dan Bristow says it’s important to wait on such discussions until all the facts are known. "The fear that often accompanies an act like that in the general population sometimes it leads to certain reports from the media that aren’t good. We try to explain the unexplainable in these situations, and I think a lot of times that leads us down political roads and discussions about gun control, someone has to have a mental illness to commit an act like this. And those are things that are way premature in talking about, when we should be talking about how do we support the survivors, how do we support the city of Roseburg?"
A neighbor told the New York Times that the shooter’s mother said her son was dealing with “some mental issues.”
Dr. Bristow tells KBND, "The vast majority of violent crime in America is committed through criminal behavior – in other words, the person knows that what they’re doing is wrong and they do it anyway. To say that that’s mental illness is basically falsely connecting any sort of abnormal criminal behavior with a mental illness, which is very rarely the case." He adds, "Some studies have shown that people with severe mental illness are no more likely to commit a violent act than the general population. So, when that connection is made, I think it makes people who are experiencing mental health problems less likely to get help for them because it creates more fear.
A doctor with the Oregon Psychiatric Physicians Association, Dr. Bristow traveled to Roseburg Friday to meet with first responders. What he found was a community caring for its own. "I met with a couple of State Police officers down the road from UCC. It was about 10:30 Friday night and I just wanted to stop in and thank them for their work. And, as we were talking a family dropped off a couple of boxed meals for the officers. And, immediately seeing the support and the heart of the people of Roseburg, it made me think the national media isn’t getting the whole story here, because this community is really banding together."
BEND, OR -- A grant from the Helen Lorenz Foundation is helping put 32 defibrillators in Bend Police cars. The devices are being installed and will be used during patrol operations.
The department has also initiated CPR training to allow for seamless patient care in emergency situations, no matter the first responder on scene.
Recent statistics show a 50% survival rate for cardiac arrest patients in Bend with a shocakable rhythm who are treated with a defibrillator in the field. Nationwide, the survival rate is about 33%.
BEND, OR -- Deschutes County Commissioners have decided to weigh in on whether solar farms should be allowed in rural areas. Norwest Energy plans to build two of these farms along Neff Road, near Big Sky Park.
Commissioner Alan Unger says a hearings officer approved the developments, but some neighbors have appealed. "The board decided to accept the appeal. And, as we look it, this is the first time solar farms have been introduced into Deschutes County. We feel like it's good for us, when there are new applications for new things coming into the county, to bring it up for appeal, to strengthen the decision."
He tells KBND they will hear arguments during a public hearing on October 19. "So, when they go to LUBA, the Land Use Board of Appeals, which it seems like everything does, the county's case is stronger. I'm not saying we won't overturn the hearing officer's decision and I'm not saying we'll affirm it. But, we're going to have a hearing to accept the appeal and listen for more."
Commissioners expect to make a decision by November 7. If neighbors aren't happy, they can appeal to LUBA.
"This is the kind of policy we have, which is if there are new things, let's firm the record up and a solid decision that's supportable by the county up to the board, not just a hearings officer. Because it makes a difference when they go to the Land Use Board of Appeals, and it gives us standing if they were to remand this back to us," Unger says.
GRANTS PASS, OR -- Classes were canceled at Rogue Community College Monday, following a bomb threat. The Josephine County Sheriff’s Office immediately responded to the school, working with campus officials to evacuate and investigate.
Officials believe the threat was directed at the Redwood campus, although RCC's Riverside campus in Medford and Table Rock campus in White City were also evacuated as a precaution.
The Redwood campus in Grants Pass is just 80 miles from last week’s shooting at Umpqua Community College.
REDMOND, OR -- Redmond Police are applying for additional grant money to fund DUII patrols over the next year.
In the final month of the current grant year, Redmond Police arrested seven people suspected of driving under the influence. One of those arrests in September was made during an overtime shift funded by grants.
The primary intent of the increased patrols is to prevent deaths, injuries and property damage caused by those driving while impaired.
BEND, OR -- A second mediation session between Oregon Nurses Association members and St. Charles Medical Center in Bend is planned for this week. But a survey taken by the union shows little support for the hospital’s contract offer.
The nearly 720 nurses at the Bend hospital have been working without a contract since July. And if last week’s informal survey of members is any indication, it might be a while longer before the two sides come together.
ONA members were offered a survey by union leadership asking if they approve of what the hospital is currently proposing in a new contract. Nurses were asked about salary increases, earned time off, shift premiums, disability and staffing. The union has been vocal about what it considers inadequate staffing of nurses for patient loads at St. Charles. 609 Bend nurses took the survey; 606 said they do not approve of the hospital’s current offer.
It is important to clarify this was not a ratification vote of the contract offer, rather a survey to see what the ONA membership is thinking.
Union leaders say they’ll take the overwhelming results into Thursday’s federal mediation session between the two parties.
St. Charles does not comment on contract negotiations but has stated, ”St. Charles remains focused on reaching an agreement on a contract that is competitive across the industry and provides a work environment that is consistent with our vision, mission and values."
BEND, OR -- Two teens were arrested Saturday morning, after they were seen allegedly entering unlocked vehicles in northeast Bend.
According to police, a concerned citizen called to report two 15-year-old boys trying to open car doors in the parking of apartment complexes near Northeast Purcell. An officer arrived in an unmarked car and says the two were observed in the act. They were quickly taken into custody.
Investigators say the pair was looking for unlocked vehicles with items in plain view, including clothing, marijuana and marijuana paraphernalia.
BEND, OR -- A Bend man discovered an intoxicated man in his apartment Saturday night, trying to steal an unloaded shotgun. The victim was home at the time of the burglary, but initially thought the suspect was his roommate. He ordered the man out and called police.
Officers responded to NW 11th and Newport and spent a long period of time trying to call the suspect out of a hallway at the apartment complex. They eventually arrested 24-year-old Eric Koester.
He was taken to St. Charles Bend with cuts on his hands. He's charged with Burglary I, Theft I and Criminal Mischief II.
The shotgun was recovered at the scene. Based on its appearance, police believe Koester threw the gun over the balcony during the burglary.
ROSEBURG, OR -- The Douglas County Sheriff's Office is releasing more details of how events unfolded at Umpqua Community College Thursday morning. The first 911 calls came into the dispatch center at 10:38 a.m. and the first law enforcement units were on scene at 10:44.
According to investigators, two Roseburg Police officers engaged the shooter with gunfire just two minutes later, at 10:46 a.m. And, two minutes after that, they reported "suspect down." The Oregon State Police Medical Examiner has determined the gunman's cause of death to be suicide.
Previous accounts have identified the shooter as 26-year-old Christopher Harper Mercer, although Sheriff John Hanlin has refused to name him. A spokesperson for the suspect's family released the following public statement: "We are shocked and deeply saddened by the horrific events that unfolded on Thursday, October 1. Our thoughts, our hearts and our prayers go out to all of the families of those who died and were injured."
Read more about the nine killed in the rampage, including statements from some of their families.
The Douglas County Sheriff released a number of ways those outside of Roseburg can help the community heal after the tragedy:
ROSEBURG, OR -- The Douglas County Sheriff's Office has released the names of the nine people killed in Thursday morning's shooting rampage:
18-year-old Rebecka Ann Carnes of Myrtle Creek
18-year-old Quinn Glen Cooper of Roseburg (family statement below)
18-year-old Lucas Eibel of Roseburg (family statement below)
19-year-old Lucero Alcaraz of Roseburg
20-year-old Treven Taylor Anspach of Sutherlin (family statement below)
34-year-old Jason Dale Johnson of Winston (family statement below)
44-year old Sarena Dawn Moore of Myrtle Creek
59-year-old Kim Saltmarsh Dietz of Roseburg
Assistant Professor of English at UCC: 67-year-old Lawrence (Larry) Levine of Glide
Officials have increased the number of wounded to nine, who are all being treated at area hospitals. The tenth fatality in yesterday's incident was the suspected gunman who was killed during a shootout with law enforcement.
Classes at Umpqua Community College have now been canceled through next week.
UPDATE: Some families of the slain victims released public statements through the Douglas County Sheriff's Office. Here they are, unedited, in their entirety:
Jason Johnson Family Statement: "Jason Johnson, age 34, was proud to be a Christian. Jason recently enrolled in school at Umpqua Community College. Jason's mother said that Jason was proud of himself for enrolling in school, and so was his mom. They felt that Jason had finally found his path. His family says that he will be loved and missed."
Lucas Eibel Family Statement: "We have been trying to figure out how to tell everyone how amazing Lucas was, but that would take 18 years. Lucas loved Future Farmers of America volunteering at Wildlife Safari, and Saving Grace animal shelter. He was an amazing soccer player. He graduated Roseburg High School with high academic marks. He was a Ford Family Foundation scholarship recipient. He was a Umpqua Community College scholars award recipient. He was studying chemistry."
"Memorial donations can be made to Roseburg High School FFA and to the injured victims."
Treven Anspach Family Statement: "The Anspach family would like to thank everybody for their heart felt thoughts and prayers during this most difficult time. Treven was one of the most positive young man always looking for the best in life. Treven was larger than life and brought out the best in those around him."
"In Justin's and Kim's words Treven was a perfect son."
Quinn Cooper Family Statement: "We are in shock this happened. Quinn was only 18 years old. He just graduated in June from Roseburg High school. Yesterday was his fourth day of college. Quinn was funny, sweet, compassionate and such a wonderful loving person. He always stood up for people. Quinn and his brother Cody are inseparable. Quinn was going to take his brown belt test on October 10th. He loved dancing and voice acting and playing Ingress with Cody, my oldest son. I don't know how we are going to move forward with our lives without Quinn. Our lives are shattered beyond repair. We send our condolences to all the families who have been so tragically affected by this deranged gunman. No one should ever have to feel the pain we are feeling."
"We are hearing so many people talk about gun control and taking people's guns away. If the public couldn't have guns it wouldn't help since sick people like this will always be able to get their hands on a gun(s). We need to be able to protect ourselves as a community and as a nation. Please don't let this horrible act of insanity become about who should or shouldn't have a gun. Please remember the victims and their families. Please remember Quinn."
"Thank you. The Coopers."
ROSEBURG, OR -- Umpqua Community College remains closed, following the deadly shooting where nine people were killed and a number of others were wounded in a classroom, Thursday morning. The gunman died during a shootout with police.
Governor Kate Brown held a news conference Friday, from Roseburg. She said, "As we move forward, we can honor lives lost by remember to be a caring community. This is a very difficult time, especially for those in Douglas County whose lives were changed by the events of yesterday."
No victims have been officially identified. That information is expected to be released by the Medical Examiner's office later today.
The gunman's motive remains under investigation. Authorities found six firearms at the school and another seven at his apartment. Governor Brown says action must be taken to prevent these tragedies, but says that discussion is for another day. "Oregon has worked constructively to stop these tragedies, but they keep happening here and across the country. We have to decide we want them to stop. There's no single solution. We must and will do better to prevent senseless violence."
Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) was at the press conference and said his family moved to Roseburg when he was in the first grade. He says UCC has joined a list of mass shootings no one wants to be on. "Eighteen schools have had shootings in 2015 and there have been 45 mass shootings in the U.S. this year. So, we will be carrying in our hearts, not only the sorrow and grief, but the responsibility of pondering what we can do to prevent the list from continuing to grow as it has." He says a great-granddaughter of one of his first cousins was killed in the shooting.
Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) also spoke, saying he believes Oregon can lead the way to prevent these violence tragedies. "For the future, it's clear it does need to be about more than words and good intentions. As a country, we can't just shrug our shoulders and move on." He says we need to strike a compromise that deals with rights and responsibilities.
College officials say the campus will reopen sometime early next week.
Photo Credit: OregonLive.com
BEND, OR -- Marijuana users celebrated the first day of recreational pot sales Thursday, many by visiting a local dispensary for their first legal purchase. Levi Vannoy, co-owner of 5th LMNT on the north end of Bend, tells KBND his store saw a big jump in business. "It has been a steady flow of new patients – recreational people and medical patients, also. It’s been about 10 to one, in favor of recreational; they’re very excited to be able to buy legal cannabis."
Without a licensed medical marijuana dispensary in Redmond, Brandon had to travel to Bend to shop. He was one of those excited customers at 5th LMNT. "I [had] seen that we’re allowed to come in at midnight, and I was thinking about it, but I decided to wait until I woke up. I knew what I wanted before I got here. Then I [saw] on the screen it’s the cheapest one here, so I’m pretty excited about that."
Vannoy says his staff answered product questions from nearly every customer. "Some questions are like ‘I want something to help me relax in the evening.’ In that case, we suggest an indica which is more a slow you down, relaxation type of cannabis. If they come in and say ‘I need something to get me going and help me do my housework.’ We suggest a sutiva, which is more a pep-up type of cannabis."
Joe, from Bend, didn't have to ask too many questions. "The first time I bought pot was in a hallway in Greenwich Village before a Fillmore East concert, that was the first time. And, it’s come a long way, and it’s good to see! It’s healthy, I think." He tells KBND, "It’s pretty happy and it’s good to see how laid back it is. It’s kind of fun that it’s laid back and it’s just open. People who smoke pot are cool and just laid back, and yet it’s a business."
The store only allows a small number of customers behind the closed door of the product area, and Joe and fellow customers were willing to wait 20 minutes or more, for their turn to shop.
At 5th LMNT, Vannoy says he doesn't think this uptick in business will last forever. "I believe it will taper off some, there are just a lot of patients waiting on October first and uh, they’re coming in to see. It’s the first time they’ve been in a dispensary and they all seem pretty happy."
BEND, OR -- The Redmond man who was driving drunk with five children in his car when he crashed, killing his step-daughter, was sentenced to nine years in prison. 33-year-old William Fix pleaded guilty Thursday to Criminally Negligent Homicide and Assault charges. His driver's license will be suspended for life.
In September 2014, Fix lost control of his vehicle on Highway 97 while driving home from a child's birthday party in Bend. His car rolled and struck a rock formation. His seven-year-old step-daughter, Phoenix Price, was killed instantly. The other four children injured in the crash ranged in age from seven to 14.
LA PINE, OR -- Two people were arrested by the Central Oregon Drug Enforcement team, after detectives say they found a large quantity of methamphetamine during a traffic stop.
According to the CODE team, Alex Barajas of Culver, was suspected of trafficking drugs in Deschutes and Jefferson counties. When officers stopped a pickup in La Pine Monday night, a K-9 unit alerted to the presence of narcotics.
Investigators say several pounds of meth were hidden in the dashboard and other compartments, valued at around $32,000. They also seized a small amount of other drugs.
The driver of the pickup, 34-year-old Bonita Leonard of Warm Springs, and 31-year-old Barajas were both arrested for drug possession and other charges.
BEND, OR -- A local alternative transportation advocacy group launches its third annual Drive Less Challenge on Monday. Kim Curley with Commute Options tells KBND, "This is our statewide challenge to anyone over the age of 18 to log those trips that they make by biking, walking, carpool, telework, compressed work week or taking the bus – and right now, in Bend, you can take the bus until 8 P.M."
Prizes will be offered for those who sign up and eliminate trips taken alone by car, but you must log eight or more one-way trips. "October 5, Monday, we want you to walk, bike, carpool, ride the bus to anywhere. Not just work, not just school, but soccer practice, the movies, carpool to the neighbors, walk to the mailbox; all those trips count, you just have to put in the address of the place that you’re going. And, we’ve got piles of prizes: Visa gift cards. We’ve got lots of local sponsors, too: Hutch’s, RuffWear, Worthy, Gear Fix, Savory Spice Shop."
Participation in the Drive Less Challenge is free, and Curley says should result in savings, in the long run. Learn more about the challenge and sign up HERE
ROSEBURG, OR -- 1:30 P.M. UPDATE: Douglas County Sheriff confirms the shooter is dead. He refuses to confirm the total number of fatalities. Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum has said there are at least 13 dead. It's unclear of that includes the shooter.
State Representative Knute Buehler (R-Bend) issued the following statement: "As someone who grew up in Roseburg and experienced many special times as a youth at Umpqua Community College, I am devastated by the horrific events that took place there today. I stand together with Oregonians across the state in offering my most heartfelt thoughts and prayers. There will be very difficult days ahead, but I know the people of the Roseburg community, as we always do, will emerge stronger and more united than ever before."
House Republican Leader Mike McLane (R-Powell Butte) issued the following statement: “I am deeply saddened by the terrible tragedy that took place today at Umpqua Community College. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims, our first responders and the people of Roseburg. Oregonians across the state are united in grief with the Roseburg community and resolved to bring help and healing to those impacted by today’s horrible events.”
1 P.M. UPDATE: The Oregon Attorney General confirms 13 are dead from this morning's shooting. Oregon State Police believes there was only one shooter who is "no longer a threat."
Staff and family are being taken by bus to the Douglas County Fairgrounds to meet family. Emergency personnel urge the public to avoid the area as it could hamper emergency efforts.
Gov. Kate Brown released the following statement prior to a 1:30 Portland press conference: "Today is heartbreaking for Umpqua Community College, the greater Roseburg community and all of Oregon. My heart is heavy as details of today's shooting become available. While it is still too early to know all of the facts, the effects of an incident such as this one are long-lasting. Please join me in keeping the victims and their families, as well as first responders, in your thoughts."
A gunman entered the Umpqua Community College campus at about 10:30 a.m. and opened fire. So far, seven are confirmed dead but some estimates have the death toll as high as 15. Twenty others are reportedly injured.
The shooter is reportedly in custody, but his condition is unknown.
Congressman Greg Walden (R-OR) issued the following statement on the tragedy: "Today's news out of Roseburg is heartbreaking. My thought and prayers go out to the victims of this terrible tragedy, their families and the entire community. Oregon and the entire nation mourn this senseless loss."
The FBI's Portland Division is responding to the incident. Agents and specialty personnel are responding from FBI offices in Medford, Eugene, Salem and Portland.
KBND will continue to monitor the story and bring you information as it becomes available. Stay tuned to FM 100.1 and 1110 AM for live updates.
BEND, OR -- Deschutes National Forest fuels specialists plan to light several prescribed burns, beginning Thursday. The first is an 80-acre burn expected east of Highway 97, one mile west of Horse Butte along the south side of Bend. Another 51-acre burn is expected three miles west of Sisters, adjacent to Black Butte Ranch.
Depending on weather, other burns could happen this weekend northwest of Wickiup Reservoir, including a 281-acre effort. They expect to begin work west of Bend by early next week.
In a statement, forestry officials said, "All prescribed burns have been scheduled to take advantage of the cooler and more humid fall season, which minimizes the detrimental impacts of a summer wildfire by consuming surface fuels and reducing shrub and small trees densities. These prescribed fire projects are being conducted to reduce the threat of large scale wildfire to the community of Bend." No road closures are expected, but the burns could send dense smoke into the area.
BEND, OR -- With recreational pot sales allowed starting today, comes increased concern by anti-drug advocates and some parents that minors will have easier access to marijuana. Hunter Neubauer, cannabis expert and owner of the Bend-based dispensary OreGrown, says there are simple steps users can follow to keep kids safe. "Keep it locked up; use some common sense. Ya know, the old liquor cabinet situation – normally, liquor cabinets haven’t been locked up and that’s just kind of been our society. I think with cannabis you’ll see a little bit different approach. I think people will maybe take a little more precaution, and I think a safe is a great way to completely get rid of that opportunity."
He admits parents are on the front lines of navigating the new landscape, but says making sure kids stay safe at the homes of friends and neighbors comes down to communication. "You really need to feel open and be approachable yourself, as much as you want the other person to be approachable to discuss that openly. And, not only have that conversation between parents, which is very, very important. It also comes down to parenting, though, too. You also need to educate your children. This is something now becoming part of your socio-economic culture."
Neubauer suggests similar conversations between cannabis users and non-smoking neighbors. While Measure 91 does not allow smoking marijuana in public, he admits some neighbors may still smell cannabis from a neighbor's house. Neubauer says users should talk to neighbors about potential conflicts before they arise. "There are a lot of people who are very excited about this becoming legal and feel proud and very protective of that. But, I think we also need to remember that we are neighbors and are part of a community. I think we just need to approach it correctly and politely and I think you need to have that conversation and discuss concerns that either party might have."
Limited quantities of Recreational pot can legally be purchased by those 21 and over with valid ID, from licensed medical marijuana dispensaries. You're allowed to buy up to a quarter ounce of dried leaves or flowers, seeds and immature plants. Those under 21 can still purchase pot with a valid medical marijuana (OMMP) card.