LA PINE, OR -- A Deschutes County Sheriff's K-9 Unit tracked a wanted man to a tree in South County, Friday afternoon. According to the Sheriff's Office, deputies spotted 32-year-old Robert Edmondson just after 2 p.m. at a home on Green Forest Road in La Pine. He had a felony warrant for a parole violation, and was recently indicted in Deschutes County for Burglary.
When the deputy attempted to contact Edmondson, he allegedly ran from the property. Deputies and State Troopers set up a perimeter and they tracked him through the snow and forested terrain for more than a mile. K-9 Deputy "Brolo" found the suspect hiding about 30' up a tree near Buena Vista Drive. He was given verbal commands to climb down, which he complied.
BEND, OR -- The family of a Bend man shot and killed by police says he was unarmed and wearing his seatbelt when he was shot. Bend Police were responding to a report of an erratic driver on December 23 when they approached a minivan driven by Michael Jacques stopped in a parking lot. Within five minutes, shots were fired, killing him.
State Police are investigating the shooting and haven't released details. The attorney for the Jacques family released a statement saying police fired at close range while Jacques was belted into the driver's seat. He was reportedly traveling with his service dog. The family urged police to conduct a fair and honorable investigation.
On Friday, Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum announced the Department of Justice assuming the lead role in reviewing the case. The Deschutes County District Attorney asked for help after discovering a potential conflict of interest within his office. John Hummel retained the Bend law firm of Brothers, Hawn and Coughhlin to represent him in litigation related to a car crash in which he was injured, several months ago. It's the same firm now representing the Jacques family. In a statement released Friday, Hummel said, "I would try my best to disregard my relationship with my personal injury attorney when deciding whether the officers in this case acted lawfully. However, because I have the same attorney as the family of Michael Jacques, the public would rightfully question any decision I made in this case. For this reason, I proactively asked Attorney General Rosenblum to take over this case. I am confident that her team will conduct a thorough and fair review of the facts of this unfortunate incident."
SISTERS, OR -- A Sisters man is hospitalized and another is arrested, following a Thursday afternoon stabbing.
The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the incident.
Detectives searched a home on South Pine Street in Sisters and say evidence shows that 28-year-old Peter Kanzig stabbed 29-year-old Kyle Benhower several times, causing serious injuries.
Kanzig is charged with Attempted Murder, First Degree Assault and Unlawful Use of a Weapon. Bail is set at $150,000 and he's due back in court, Friday.
SISTERS, OR -- A new homeless shelter is expected to open Sunday in Sisters. It's a community that lacked a place for those living outside in the winter. Earlier this month, a man living in his car in Sisters died of exposure. But, Pastor Ron Gregg, with Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church says members of the faith community began meeting in October to address the issue.
He tells KBND News, "We advertised for a volunteer night and we had over 60 people show up and receive training and a lot of them have volunteered to spend the night. They've all had to have background checks and training, and there has to be at least two people there at all times." He adds, "The neatest thing in my mind, is the way the community has come together - not just church people. I don't want to put a percentage on it, but the majority are probably not church people; it's the whole community that's come together. The churches are the facilities that are going to be used, but the volunteer-base is a broad group that I think is pretty cool."
Pastor Gregg says the location will rotate. "On January first, at the Westside Church in Sisters, their facility will be open the entire month of January. Another church in February, Sisters Community Church will be hosting it. Hopefully, we'll have a place in March. But, it will be [open] from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m."
REDMOND, OR -- Winter is just getting started, but local students have already enjoyed several snow days. Redmond Students got a few extra days of winter break when a massive snowstorm canceled several days of class. But, as they prepare to return to class, Superintendent Mike McIntosh is hoping the forecast will stay favorable.
McIntosh tells KBND News so far they don't have to make up any lost days. "We’re required by the state of Oregon to have our high school students in session for 990 hours; our elementary folks for the most part are around 900. So, what we’re expected to do is have kids in school. What we have is a calendar that has more hours than that. So, at this point, we’ve cut three days and do not have to make them up; we have enough hours not to be below that minimum. But there are not very many left." But, he acknowledges we've got a lot of winter still to go. "We don’t normally get days in November, December; most of our days off come in January and February. So, we’re going to cross our fingers and hold our breath. We build a calendar hoping that we get students in class a lot of time and make up for those times when snow is not going to be an issue."
If the district does decide to make up days, McIntosh says he wants to avoid adding to the end of the school year. "Graduation dates are set, last day of school is set, family vacations are set. So, tacking on days in June is difficult without a lot of warning. We will do our best to warn folks when we need to make up those days and when they will be."
CULVER, OR -- Several law enforcement agencies in three counties
were involved in a pursuit that stretched from Prineville to Culver, Wednesday. The incident started just before 10 a.m. when a Prineville officer attempted to stop a car and it took off.
The chase went through Redmond and Terrebonne and eventually ended when officers used spike strips to stop the vehicle in Culver.
23-year-old Eddie Villagomez-Lopez of Prineville and 21-year-old David Castaneda-Valerio of Salem were arrested and taken to the Jefferson County jail.
Top: Eddie Villagomez-Lopez in November 2016. According to the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, he has refused to participate in a new photo.
Bottom: David Castaneda-Valerio, following his December 28 arrest.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- Law enforcement agencies across the state will participate in high visibility patrols to crack down on impaired and dangerous drivers, over New Year’s weekend. In Prineville, police will team up with a local cab company to offer free rides to revelers.
Crook County’s DUII Victim’s Impact Panel will donate ride vouchers with Country Cab, from local bars to Crook County homes within a 10-mile radius.
Enhanced police patrols are paid for through a grant from the Oregon Department of Transportation.
REDMOND, OR -- A Redmond man was killed in an accident on Highway 126, just east of Roberts Field, Tuesday night. Oregon State Police say 19-year-old Brianna Cerullo, of Powell Butte, was driving a Ford pickup eastbound at about 8:30 p.m., when she hit and killed 22-year-old Anthony Mason, who was walking in the eastbound lane.
Officers say he was wearing dark clothes and was pronounced dead at the scene. The highway was closed for three hours while officers investigated the crash.
REDMOND, OR -- Redmond Police arrested a 17-year-old from Aumsville after he allegedly eluded police and crashed into a canal, early Wednesday morning. An officer tried to pull over the pickup at about 1:30 a.m., but lost sight of it in southwest Redmond. A few minutes later, the truck reportedly hit a snow berm and flew over a canal, landing about a hundred feet away. The driver left the scene and was found near the Comfort Suites at about 5 a.m.
Investigators say he had permission to borrow his grandparents pickup but drove it from Marion County to Redmond without their knowledge.
He was treated for minor injuries and arrested for a list of charges. The vehicle was totaled and towed from the scene.
BEND, OR -- It’s been a deadly month in Central Oregon. Eight people have died in five separate crashes in the past week; all on Highway 97. A father and son died in a crash south of Madras, December 19; a Redmond women died Tuesday night, December 20; a pedestrian was struck and killed in Bend, December 21; Friday, December 23, it was a woman near La Pine; then, December 26, three people were killed near Warm Springs.
Peter Murphy, with the Oregon Department of Transportation says it’s too early to know the cause of each one. "We just don’t have all the information that we need to have. And, we have to be not emotional about it; we have to be logical about what took place, because that path will lead us to solutions that we can implement to prevent this in the future." But, he tells KBND News, ODOT has found a common factor among crashes that have occurred on 97 over the past five years. "We have people who run reports, and virtually across the board, as those reports have come back, it appears that driver error is the leading factor in many of these crashes." According to ODOT statistics compiled between 2010 and 2015, from Madras to Lava Butte, the leading cause of crashes on Highway 97 was following too close. Driving too fast for the conditions, failing to yield and careless driving were also in the top five.
With the most recent string of accidents, It's easy to blame the weather. But Murphy says, "During the week when we had the worst weather we’ve had so far, we didn’t have any fatal crashes. Now, we’ve had a moderation of the weather and we’ve had the holiday come up, and we have crashes. I can’t go from point A to point B to point C with that; but what I can do is say that driver error is the most significant contributor to crashes we have on Highway 97. Hands down."
"In the 10 years that I’ve been working for ODOT, I’ve never heard of this happening with such frequency on a highway in Central Oregon," says Murphy. "To me, to have eight people die on Central Oregon highways in a week is unprecedented. It’s not just unprecedented, its hurtful; it hurts those families, it hurts the other people who are part of it but don’t die, it hurts the actors in it, it hurts society as a whole, it hurts our engineers. I mean there’s just hurt."
Emergency crews responded to another serious crash, Tuesday night. Details have yet to be released, but when crews arrived at the scene on Highway 126, just east of the Redmond Airport, they reported a pedestrian unconscious and not breathing. KBND News will provide more information when it becomes available.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- Prineville Police say an elderly man reported missing over the weekend has been found safe. The agency released a missing persons alert Monday night, for 81-year-old Thomas Kirkpatrick, with possible onset of dementia. Police tracked his cell phone, which pinged to a tower near Sunriver.
At about 6:30 Tuesday morning, Kirkpatrick was involved in a non-injury accident on Highway 97 near Klamath Falls. Oregon State Police notified his family and made arrangements to reunite them.
WARM SPRINGS, OR -- Three people died in a multi-vehicle crash west of Warm Springs, Monday evening. Oregon State Police believe 31-year-old Nathan Verhaeghe, of Spokane, was westbound on Highway 26 when he rear-ended a car driven by 37-year-old Adam Clausen, of Portland. Clausen’s vehicle was then pushed into oncoming traffic and hit a van.
Clausen and his passenger, 39-year-old Shannon O’Leary, were both pronounced dead at the scene; a four-year-old in their car was taken to St. Charles Bend with minor injuries. The driver of the van, 34-year-old Robert Burke, was also killed in the crash. His passenger, 29-year-old Rachel Burke was flown to St. Charles with serious injuries; a toddler went to the hospital with minor injuries. Verhaeghe also suffered minor injuries.
OSP is investigating speed and other factors as potential causes of the crash.
SATURDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: Detectives continue to investigate Friday night’s fatal officer involved shooting, in downtown Bend. Police pulled over a minivan just before 10:30 p.m., after multiple people reported seeing it driving erratically, including nearly hitting a bicyclist and driving into snow banks.
During the traffic stop near Franklin and Bond, Bend police say the driver – later identified as 31-year-old Michael Jacques – did not cooperate with officers trying to place him under arrest. A taser was deployed without success and at least one officer fired his duty weapon, striking the suspect.
Jacques was pulled from the vehicle and officers provided first aid, but the Bend man was pronounced dead at the scene by medics. Oregon State Police is leading that multi-agency investigation.
BEND, OR -- A Bend Police officer was involved in a shooting during a traffic stop, Friday night. Police pulled over the vehicle near Bond and Franklin at abou 10:30 p.m. According to officials, an occupant of the vehicle got into an altercation with police and at least one officer fired their weapon. The man was pronounced dead at the scene.
Streets were closed in the area of the incident for several hours to accommodate the investigation. Multiple agencies are involved, including the Deschutes County District Attorney, the Sheriff's Office and Oregon State Police.
More information is expected to be released following a Saturday briefing.
LA PINE, OR -- A La Pine woman died in an icy crash on Highway 97, Friday night. According to Oregon State Police, the woman was driving an SUV lost control while driving southbound, near Vandervert Road, north of La Pine. The car crossed into oncoming traffic and was sliding sideways when it was struck by a tractor-trailer.
The woman was pronounced dead at the scene; the driver of the semi was unhurt. Highway conditions at the time were reportedly snow and ice. Highway 97 was closed for almost three hours for the investigation.
SATURDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: Oregon State Police identified the woman as 57-year-old Lola Maye Stanphill, of La Pine.
REDMOND, OR -- A 24-year old Redmond woman was killed in a crash south of Redmond, earlier this week, and now a Facebook post from her grieving boyfriend has gone viral. Brandon Forseth posted a picture Wednesday of three Christmas stockings - labeled "Brandon," "Kylee" and "Baby." On top is a sonogram photo.
He writes, “You made me promise not to announce our baby to the world until 20 weeks” and he goes on to describe how Kylee Bruce was 18 weeks pregnant when she died Tuesday.
According to investigators
, the Redmond woman lost control while passing on Highway 97, near Tomahawk Ave., Tuesday evening. She crossed into oncoming traffic and struck two other vehicles. Two other drivers were injured in the crash; Kylee Bruce was pronounced dead at the scene.
has been shared 160,000 times. As of Thursday morning, a GoFundMe page
had raised more than $16,000 to help cover funeral expenses.
REDMOND, OR -- A local home builder has filed a formal ethics complaint against Redmond City Councilor Anne Graham. Kevin Fitzpatrick, with Alder Creek Homes, submitted his claims last month with the Oregon Government Ethics Commission, "One for a conflict of interest that I thought she had with the Community Development Department. The other one was using her office for financial gain."
Fitzpatrick believes Councilor Graham attempted to influence the approval of permits
for homes he is building in her neighborhood. He thinks she was motivated by concerns over possible impacts on her own property’s value. He tells KBND News, "My first problem I had with her in ’15 - that cost me a bunch of money to redo, that I didn’t really have to do. And then when I went in this year, I was treated a whole lot differently. And, I think part of it is her interaction with the Community Development Department and not going through the City Manager, which she was supposed to do." In previous interviews with KBND News, Graham has said she didn’t know she wasn’t supposed to interact directly with city staff.
He decided to take it to the state board after he submitted a public records request for emails between Graham and Community Development Department staff. Fitzpatrick says, "There were some emails that I saw, different departments and different people commenting that ‘Anne Graham was in here.’ And, I think some of the younger planners were intimidated by her calling in or her talking directly with [City Planner] Deborah McMahon; and I think she just crossed the boundary, there."
Mayor George Endicott says he’s aware of the filing, which is still under preliminary review. "They take these complaints; they take them very seriously. They do an investigation and then they make a decision on whether it’s warranted or not. The furthest they go is they can fine people." This is the first ethics complaint filed against a sitting Redmond Councilor in at least the last 10 years, according to the Commission. "I do know other cities are a lot more contentious; they have some filed from time to time. But, in Redmond, I’ve never heard of one before."
Graham says the allegations are “without merit” but refused further comment.
POWELL BUTTE, OR -- A Powell Butte home was destroyed in an early morning fire. Crews arrived at the two-story house near Northwest Reif and Copely Road just after 1:30 a.m. Thursday, and found it fully involved with several other structures threatened.
The large home was a total loss and firefighters say there was minor damage to one out building. The owners were not home at the time and the cause of the fire is under investigation.
BIRMINGHAM, AL -- A Smokejumper from Redmond has died following a November accident in Alabama. Ray Rubio died Monday. The 52-year-old fell over a rail into a parking garage on November 23 while on his way to a Birmingham hotel. He fell 15 feet hitting his head.
Rubio was deployed to Alabama to help with large fires in the region. He was staying overnight in Birmingham on his way back home.
Governor Brown called the loss of the Oregon native and Army veteran heartbreaking and says he will be remembered as a loving husband and father who dedicated his life to service.
LA PINE, OR -- Two people are dead and one other is hospitalized, following a Wednesday morning domestic dispute at a home north of La Pine.
Few details have been released, but the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office confirms the person flown to St. Charles Bend with life threatening injuries received a gunshot wound. They say two deceased adults were found inside the home on Mountain Sheep Lane.
The investigation is ongoing, with multiple agencies taking part.
BEND, OR -- A pedestrian was killed in a crash that shut down a portion of NE Third St. in Bend for several hours, Wednesday night. It’s the third deadly car accident in Central Oregon in as many days.
Bend Police continue to investigate the incident, which involved multiple vehicles near the Butler Market Road on ramp to the northbound Parkway, just after 6:30 p.m. The names of those involved are being withheld due to the ongoing investigation.
REDMOND, OR -- A 24-year-old woman was killed in a three-car crash south of Redmond, Tuesday night. Oregon State Police are looking for witnesses to the crash that occurred at about 6:30 and shut down Highway 97 for more than an hour.
Investigators believe Kylee Bruce, of Redmond, lost control while making a pass, near Tomahawk Ave. She slid into oncoming traffic and hit two cars. The other two drivers, 46-year-old Chavez Soriano and 37-year-old Jennifer Oulman, both of Redmond, were taken to area hospitals with non-life threatening injuries. Bruce was pronounced dead at the scene.
Anyone who may have seen the crash occur is asked to call Oregon State Police at 503-375-3555.
BEND, OR -- Bend City Councilors are expected to sign a proclamation, Wednesday, denouncing bullying and hate crimes. Michael Funke, with the group “Building Common Ground,” helped draft the statement. He tells KBND News, "The Council recognizes that when people stand silently by and allow these things to happen that more intolerance and hatred and violence can occur. And, across the nation, people have successfully stood up against racist and anti-immigrant and anti-Semitic bigotry and things of that nature. And, that here in Bend, no one should be discriminated against because of race, faith, ethnicity, national origin, legal status, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation or any other real or perceived difference." It’s modeled after similar proclamations issued by other cities through a national movement called “Not in Our Town.”
Click HERE to read the full proclamation.
Hate crimes and bullying are, of course, not new. But Funke says there was a significant spike in incidents in Central Oregon, following the November election. "You can’t just hide from this stuff, I don’t think. You have to acknowledge that it’s happening and you have to stand up and say that we think it’s wrong that this is happening, and stand with the people who are being harassed and bullied," says Funke. "And, it’s not a law. You can’t legislate, necessarily, human behavior. But, you can certainly say that these kinds of things have no place in our schools or in our community." A handful of Bend residents who have recently experienced harassment are expected to speak at tonight’s City Council meeting.
He hopes the proclamation will raise awareness, locally. "Those of us who are involved these activities will utilize the proclamation moving forward in a variety of ways yet to be determined, depending on what the need is. But, basically try and create a safer environment for people, a safer community for people. Which, I would assume is the goal of everybody in our community – that we have a community that provides a safe environment for everybody."
BEND, OR -- The Oregon Department of Justice has cleared Deschutes County Sheriff Shane Nelson of any wrongdoing, after allegations of intimidation surfaced during the election. Nelson’s challenger, Deputy Eric Kozowski, claimed in May that he and supporters were subjected to unlawful retaliation by supervisors in response to Kozowski’s campaign for Sheriff.
A DOJ investigator interviewed both candidates and 12 other employees and were unable to corroborate any specific instance of undue influence. The agency closed the case after concluding there was no evidence that election laws were violated.
REDMOND, OR -- Two people lost their home, Tuesday night, when a trailer and attached temporary structure exploded east of NE 9th and East Antler, in Redmond. Firefighters saw a large column of black smoke and a fireball as they responded to the scene, just after 4:30 p.m.
According to investigators, a woman was in the trailer, transferring gasoline into a smaller container to be used for an outside generator. Fumes ignited when vapors accumulated and found an ignition source inside the trailer, resulting in a flash fire. She grabbed her child and evacuated. The Red Cross is assisting the family and their pets.
Redmond Fire reminds everyone that it's unsafe to have open sources of flammable liquids or gasses inside an enclosed space. They say fumes can accumulate and, if an ignition source is near, it can ignite. Always transfer fuels in a well-ventilated area to prevent the accumulation of vapors.
MADRAS, OR -- A Madras man and a child were killed in a three-car crash near Madras, Monday night. One driver, 36-year-old Nicole Sly, of Crooked River Ranch, and an eight-year-old girl were flown to St. Charles Bend with serious injuries. Her two other passengers, 34-year old Richard Mullins and a 10-year-old boy, were pronounced dead at the scene.
Oregon State Police say a car driven by 19-year-old Mateo Smith, of Warm Springs, crossed the centerline and clipped one vehicle, then struck Sly’s car head-on. Smith and his 17-year-old passenger received non-life threatening injuries. No information was released on those in the third vehicle.
OSP is investigating fatigue as a contributing factor in the crash.
Few details have been released on Tuesday night's fatal crash south of Redmond, involving multiple vehicles. That accident shut down Highway 97 for several hours.
BEND, OR -- The Deschutes County District Attorney says he will not pursue criminal charges against hospital staff responsible for providing a patient with incorrect medication, which resulted in her death. Loretta Macpherson died at St. Charles Medical Center in December 2014.
Read more about the case and a settlement reached between St. Charles and Macpherson's family.
SISTERS, OR -- The Deschutes County Medical Examiner says a man found inside his parked car in Sisters did not die of carbon monoxide poisoning, as investigators initially thought.
Read more about the Saturday discovery.
The M.E. conducted a detailed exam on 39-year-old Edward Fones and now says the cause of death was hypothermia. Other medical conditions likely contributed, but carbon monoxide, drugs and alcohol were not associated with what is being called an “accidental death” caused by exposure to temperatures reported to be below zero.
BEND, OR -- Hundreds of local college students are waiting to hear whether a state tuition assistance program will be renewed. Central Oregon Community College Dean of Student and Enrollment Services Alicia Moore says the first students to benefit from “Oregon Promise” just wrapped up their first term. She tells KBND News, "The combination of student success factors that we put in place, the advising, orientation and student success class, is a package of services that is pretty critical to a student being successful their first quarter and beyond. Looking forward, we’ll still include those elements as we move forward to next year, however we really still aren’t sure if the Legislature is going to pass Oregon Promise. We’re moving ahead as if it is. We know it’s been incredibly successful; we know our high schools are very thrilled with it; we know our students are thrilled with it."
Moore is optimistic state lawmakers will renew the program for a second year, in the next Legislative session. "This was meant to be a pilot year. And, the hope is that if Oregon Promise moves forward, the Legislature will pass a longer term commitment so not only colleges, but most importantly our students can know if that financial resource is available for them beyond just the first year." Oregon Promise provides tuition funding after all other state and federal financial aid options have been exhausted. Students must be enrolled in an Oregon community college within six months of graduating high school to be eligible.
"COCC actually has about 570-580 Oregon Promise students, which represents almost 8% of all Oregon Promise students, statewide. Overall, COCC sees about 5% of the state’s overall community college enrollment, yet 8% of students chose to come and receive their Oregon Promise dollars with us. So, that’s a huge boon for us, in an enrollment sense, but we also know it’s really reaching those students who may not have otherwise thought college was possible." Moore says COCC is moving ahead as if it will be available for next year and she suggests students do the same by making sure applications are submitted by the March sixth deadline.
BEND, OR -- Dozens of Deschutes County Search and Rescue volunteers were back out near Cabin Butte, Monday, to search for a Texas man who has been missing for the last week. Lester Hyder’s truck was found Saturday off China Hat Road, southeast of Bend. Lt. Bryan Husband says, "The search conditions are extremely difficult for our volunteers; extremely taxing – physically taxing. And, at this point, we are hopeful that Mr. Hyder was able to move away from his vehicle and set up some type of shelter or get into some type of shelter; there are a number of caves in that area." He tells KBND News they changed search tactics after finding the truck, "We’re pinpointing those areas where Mr. Hyder could have potentially got shelter. So, we are pinpointing those areas in the area of Cabin Butte. Our Detectives unit is also searching around neighborhoods that are within a close proximity to that area, as well- contacting residents out there."
Hyder was traveling from Texas to Prineville and was supposed to follow his brother from Crescent on Tuesday, December 13. But, when Roy Hyder got to La Pine, he realized Lester wasn’t behind him. "The truck had about 12 to 15-inches of snow on top of it. So, yes we are working under the theory that he did get stuck prior to the large snowstorm that we received on Wednesday. But, we are hopeful that he was able to find some type of shelter," says Lt. Husband. "It does appear that he was confused about the area he was in, but how he ended up in that area, specifically, is totally unknown.
LA PINE, OR -- A La Pine man is accused of stealing nearly 200 pieces of mail throughout South County, including Christmas packages from mailboxes and porches. Dennis Wayne Anderson, Jr. was arraigned Monday on numerous theft, burglary and drug-related charges. According to the Deschutes County District Attorney, a patrol deputy discovered evidence of the crimes during a December 15 traffic stop in which Anderson was not involved and a search warrant was later executed at his home. Investigators recovered 178 pieces of mail.
BEND, OR -- The three newest members of the Bend City Council continue New Councilor Orientation, this week, while remaining Councilors prepare for their arrival. City Manager Eric King says there won’t be any major policy changes until after Bill Moseley, Justin Livingston and Bruce Abernethy are sworn in. "There is this transition period over the last few months. For example, there was one Councilor interested in short term rentals; maybe making some decisions on that issue before the new Council takes office. Something like that – putting in new laws or regulations – the way the process works, there’s a first reading then a second reading and then those policies don’t take effect until 30 days after that second reading." And, he tells KBND News the group that votes on a first reading really should vote on the second reading, as well.
King says major decisions will wait until the new Council can decide where to focus its efforts. "We go through a goal-setting process that we begin in January and it lasts through February and the first part of March. And so, the goals they’ll establish for themselves are really for the next two years. Those goals really set the policy framework, so I don’t anticipate, right out of the gate, some type of policy work because we haven’t formed what our goals and priorities are, yet." And, some of that will depend on state lawmakers. "That’s one of the other things they’ll do early on in January, is firm up their Legislative priority as the State Legislature begins their session in February."
The three new Councilors are scheduled to be sworn in January. Their first City Council meeting will be January 18.
To hear our full conversation with City Manager Eric King, click HERE
or visit our Podcast Page
SISTERS, OR -- A transient was found inside his car Saturday afternoon in Sisters. The Sheriff’s Office says he died of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Investigators believe 39-year-old Edward Fones fell asleep with his car running. The vehicle was surrounded by snow, causing exhaust fumes to fill the car from underneath.
The Fossil man had been working at a local business for several months, but hadn’t been seen since Thursday night.
The Medical Examiner does not suspect foul play.
BEND, OR -- The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office continues to search for a Texas man, missing since Tuesday.
Lester Hyder was traveling from Texas to Prineville when he ran out of gas in Crescent. His brother Roy drove from Prineville, helped put gas in his truck, and had Lester follow him. The two became separated and Roy waited for his brother in La Pine, but Lester never arrived.
A Search and Rescue team discovered the 69-year-old’s pickup off China Hat Road, Saturday, but Lester was not there. The Sheriff’s Office, Oregon State Police and personnel from the US Forest Service are all taking part and have shifted the search effort to the area around where his truck was found, near Cabin Butte.
BEND, OR -- Heavy snow caused a roof collapse at a Hooker Creek storage facility in Bend, Thursday morning.
Fire crews responded at about 8:30 and searched the building on Nels Anderson Road to determine no one was trapped inside. They also assisted with salvaging equipment and materials.
The collapse started in the middle of the peak, so the roof was still attached to the walls.
Bend Fire says the weight of snow can weaken roofs over time. They recommend finding a safe way to remove snow from the lower edges of a roof to relieve some of the stress on structures.
BEND, OR -- Bend Police are investigating an armed robbery at 7-11 on SE Third Street that occurred early Thursday morning. An employee says two men entered the store at around 3:45 a.m., displayed a firearm and left with an undisclosed amount of cash. Investigators say the suspects left in a dark colored four-door passenger car.
Asking for the public’s help in identifying the suspects, police released surveillance photos of the men dressed in hats, scarves gloves and jackets. Anyone with information on the case is asked to call 541-693-6911.
BEND, OR -- As Central Oregonians dig out from Wednesday's snowstorm, it’s tempting to try and get shoveling work done as quickly as possible. But, Bend Physical Therapist Barrett Ford, with Step & Spine Physical Therapy, says not so fast.
He tells KBND News shoveling should be treated just like any other physical activity. "In fact, it’s more difficult than most of the other exercises you may be doing. You’re doing a lot of bending, lifting and twisting – So, there are a lot of things that we don’t even do during our normal physical activities; we should be more prepared. So, it’s important to warm up and hydrate, because you are going out to exercise, really."
And, Ford says listen to your body, "It’s important, if you feel something, that you stop and assess, ‘do I move on here, or not?’ One thing about shoveling, for example, it’s a very bending, biased activity. And, a lot of our back and neck injuries happen because of bending, biased stuff, and lifting. So, just a simple thing you can do is actually just do the opposite: stand and actually do a few backward bends and oft times things will mellow out and go away." Ford admits - if you’re out of shape - you may not be able to avoid post-shoveling soreness. But, he says if pain lasts more than a few days, you should seek medical attention.
It’s also a common time for people to slip on slick roads and sidewalks, which can lead to serious injuries. "You’re going to see a lot of actually wrist and shoulder, elbow injuries, as you slip and fall," says Ford. "Actually, we’ve had our fair share of concussions; you’ve probably had that slip where it just goes so fast and you come back and hit your head. We get hip fractures, ankle fractures and knee injuries, obviously."
To hear our full conversation with Barrett Ford, click HERE or visit our Podcast Page.
BEND, OR -- Two men were arrested this week for poaching, after a state trooper tracked bloody deer prints through the snow, north of Bend. A neighbor reported hearing gunshots near Bowery Lane, Sunday morning. OSP responded and the officer followed the tracks for about a mile and a half through private and public land before contacting 27-year-old Joshua Gibb and 29-year-old William Chapman-Prescott.
The two admitted to shooting the buck deer with a bow and arrow, out of season, and trespassing on multiple properties.
The reported gunshot appears unrelated to the poaching.
BEND, OR -- The Bend-La Pine School Board is considering asking voters to approve another bond measure this spring. Staff is recommended a nearly $269 million bond to fund construction of two schools and renovations at other district buildings.
School Board member Andy High says the district is growing more quickly than expected. He tells KBND News, "Basically, this year alone, our average elementary school is about 550; we added a whole new elementary school just in new students - they weren't all elementary kids but you can see, to get perspective, the type of growth we're seeing in young people." The district expected 350 new students this year, but got 550.
High says the bond may be necessary to keep up with the pace of growth, "[The bond] would involve one new high school. If the voters passed it in May, if we decide to go that route, it would be another school similar to Bend High in size. And, what staff told us with that high school is, the day we open it in 2021, if everything were to pass, it would be about 1400 students already, at that time."
He expects the board to decide in the next month whether to move forward with a bond measure on the May ballot. If they approve the proposal, it would be the district's largest bond request ever.
BEND, OR -- Due to inclement weather, all local school districts closed Thursday, 12/15:
- Bend-La Pine Schools
- Redmond Schools
- Sisters Schools
- Jefferson Co. School District 509-J
- Crook County Schools
- Culver Schools
- Central Christian School
- Trinity Lutheran School
- Powell Butte Community Charter School
- All state offices in Deschutes, Crook, Jefferson, Wasco, Sherman and Gilliam counties.
- Deschutes County Circuit Court
- Crook/Jefferson County Circuit Court
- Boys and Girls Clubs of Bend
- REACH (frmrly: Boys & Girls Clubs of Redmond/Terrebonne)
BEND, OR -- Deschutes County residents, volunteers and elected officials – past and present – honored the county’s centennial at a special birthday party, Tuesday, at the Deschutes Historical Museum.
Ruth Burleigh was there. She was Bend’s first female mayor and has lived in Deschutes County since 1946. She tells KBND News she's seen many ups and downs. "One of the maybe biggest changes, in the earlier part of it, was when the mills were no longer operating in Bend. That was a decided place that we kind of all – when we heard that this was happening, we all thought, ‘what will happen here?’ Because it’s been that the whole town was centered around the fact that there were two big mills going." And, she looks ahead to what the future holds for the region. "I’ve always felt that if it didn’t grow at all that we’d be going backward and declining in what we did have in the area. I predict a lot of growth and probably some things I can’t even imagine they’ll be doing for power and for many different sources of energy. I think it’s kind of hard to predict; but I don’t doubt at all more and more people will come to this area."
Mike Meyer was County Administrator for nearly 30 years, beginning in 1979. He agrees a lot has changed. "The number of amenities, the medical community moving in, the brewery scene, all of the recreational things have been enhanced, we’ve got a bigger jail; everything’s just gotten bigger." But, he says Oregon’s youngest county is still its best. "We’ve got a wonderful county to live in. The growth hasn’t diminished the desirability to live here, I don’t think. I know there’s a little bit more traffic, but there’s still a lot to share with new people coming in. We’ve got good government, great businesses and we’ve got a wonderful medical community and good schools." Deschutes County is the youngest in Oregon. Despite its relatively young age, Meyer says it’s the best county in the state.
There were just 5,000 residents when Deschutes County was formed on December 13, 1916, following a vote approving the split from Crook County. The most recent stats say Deschutes County is now home to more than 176,000 people.
Current Deschutes County Commissioner Alan Unger reads a proclomation declaring December 13, 2016 "Centennial Day."
MADRAS, OR -- Oregon State Police are investigating two local cases of elk poaching. The first bull elk was discovered gutted and decapitated November 19 along the Crooked River Highway in Crook County. Poachers also removed the hide, but No meat was taken. It's illegal to waste edible portions of an elk.
December 10, a bull elk was found dead on Grizzly Road in Jefferson County. Investigators believe the animal was shot December 9. There were active cow elk hunts in the area, but not bull elk hunts, at the time.
A $500 reward is offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction in each case. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Oregon Hunter Association Turn-In-Poacher (TIP) hotline at 800-452-7888.
BEND, OR -- Bend Fire and Rescue reminds everyone to take responsibility for their property, during the snowstorm. They’re asking for help keeping fire hydrants clear of snow, especially after plows come through. Also, keep a path clear from the hydrant to the road. Officials say firefighters lose precious time if they have to search for a hydrant during a fire.
They also ask for clear paths to and from the entrances of homes and businesses to help emergency responders ... and make sure snow is not piled up in front of emergency exits.
REDMOND, OR -- Police say a southwest Redmond neighborhood is extremely lucky a Monday afternoon explosion wasn’t much worse. Two people suffered significant burns in the incident and were flown to Emanuel Hospital in Portland for treatment.
During the investigation, police discovered a butane honey oil (BHO) lab inside the garage where the explosion occurred. They also found a large marijuana grow operation, and seized 50 mature plants (right) along with $26,000 in cash and 14 firearms (bottom left). The State Police bomb squad responded to the home after investigators discovered 11 pipe bombs (bottom right) near racing fuel in the garage.
Police say BHO lab explosions have been known to cause large fires and knock homes off foundations. No arrests have been made and the District Attorney will review the report to determine whether charges will be filed.
BEND, OR -- Recognizing the region's largest homeless shelter needs to expand, locally-owned Bank of the Cascades donated to a major capital campaign for the Bethlehem Inn, Monday.
Gwenn Wysling, Executive Director of the Bethlehem Inn, tells KBND News it will sponsor a transitional unit for homeless families. "We received a $25,000 check, which was grant funding from Bank of the Cascades - their Community Grant funding. This is going to help us build one of our 10 new family units that we're going to start on next March, here at our existing location."
The shelter is in the final push of a $4.5 million capital campaign. Wysling says the proposed expansion will help the Bethlehem Inn serve 10 families, instead of the current five. "Bank of the Cascades has been a supporter for some of our annual events, sponsorships and things like that. This was something, I think, on a much larger scale than we've seen them do for us before; but it was a real help in terms of just that business partnership and folks understanding and knowing the work that we do and the number of families that we serve every year."
BEND, OR -- Deschutes County officially turns 100-years-old, Tuesday. County Commissioners, last week, read a proclamation recognizing the Centennial, which says in part, "Whereas, after years of heated debate, Deschutes County was created on December 13, 1916 and Bend was established as the county seat. Whereas, on December 19, 1916, leaders convened to select the first officers of Deschutes County. Appointments included Judge William Barnes, Commissioners A.L. McIntosh and Lou Smith, District Attorney Harvey DeArmond, Sheriff S.E. Roberts and many others."
Also at the meeting, Deschutes Historical Museum Executive Director Kelly Cannon-Miller thanked Commissioners and volunteers for organizing a year of events. "I’m very pleased that, as the Historical Society for the county, that we’ve had such an amazingly successful year in making history real for a whole lot of people. And, that wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the Commissioners and the Board."
Elected six years ago, Tony DeBone is Deschutes County's 49th Commissioner. He served on the Centennial Committee which organized a number of events over the past year, including a tour of the county’s first car. Commissioner DeBone tells KBND News, "We are the youngest county in the state of Oregon. There are 36 counties and we are the last one, by the vote of the people, that was created from Crook County. So, we basically split Crook County in half in 1916." He adds, "It’s kind of important just for citizens in the county and in Central Oregon to understand ‘hey, this was a significant event – 100 years. Where were our ancestors 100 years ago; what’s the history from a hundred years ago; how were people getting around, feeding themselves, making a living – so, just learning the history of it."
A birthday party, complete with cake, will be held at the Deschutes Historical Museum in downtown Bend, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The public is invited to attend.
To hear more of our conversation with County Commissioner Tony DeBone, click HERE
or visit our Podcast Page
BEND, OR -- A federal judge, Monday, sentenced a former State Police crime lab scientist to three years in prison for stealing drugs submitted to the lab as evidence.
Nika Larsen worked in the Bend lab. The investigation into her crimes prompted the re-evaluation of thousands of cases. More than 150 convictions or charges were dropped due to Larsen.
According to her plea deal
, Larsen was an addict for a year prior to her arrest. She’ll face 250 hours of community service while on supervised release after her prison term.
The 36-year-old Larsen was ordered to report to federal prison February 4.
BEND, OR -- A La Pine man was arrested Sunday evening for second degree attempted kidnapping after an incident involving a young boy at the Bend Walmart.
According to Bend Police, 32-year-old Dennis Anderson, Junior was seen following the two-year old and mirroring his actions. The toddler eventually wandered away from his mother and began walking with Anderson toward the exit.
When the mother realized he was missing, she called for the boy and he returned. Anderson then left the store. Officers reviewed surveillance video and recognized Anderson and believed he was likely headed back to his home in La Pine.
He was later contacted and taken to the Deschutes County Jail.
BEND, OR -- St. Charles Medical Center in Bend went into a brief lockdown, Monday afternoon. Hospital officials got a call from Deschutes County 911 reporting there was a man with a gun at nearby Bend Memorial Clinic. They advised the hospital to go into lockdown as a precaution.
The man was reportedly unhappy with his care but did not make any threats with the gun. He left BMC and SCMC lifted its lockdown about 30 minutes later.
BEND, OR -- A local nonprofit is spreading holiday cheer to those who don’t have the means or the energy to decorate their homes. Lindsay Greco says the “Christmas Tree Project” began in 2014 after her husband passed away. She says she was so distracted and overwhelmed during his illness, she couldn't bear to put up a tree and she says she missed out on making one last holiday memory with him. "From there, I began to realize that because of the expense of having a Christmas tree, there are those that just do not have the financial means to decorate for the holidays and have that sparkle of the Christmas tree. I have received so many wonderful donations from tree toppers, to skirts, ornaments, various different decorations that people can just have around their homes."
The nonprofit provides fully decorated trees and other items to the disabled and those who don’t have the means to buy their own. "When we think about priorities, certainly having a decorated, sparkling Christmas tree would not be the primary focus. However, when a family is not able to provide Christmas gifts, sometimes that tree serves as the family gift." She tells KBND News, "It’s a very emotional thing for families. I have been greeted with tears and hugs. And, it certainly is a small, small gift in the scheme of things over the holiday season; but oh so meaningful when you have so little to go around."
Greco says demand is already outpacing last year and she expects to deliver more than a hundred trees, this year. To get involved or find out how to donate items to the program, visit the Christmas Tree Project's website.
BEND, OR -- A Bend woman lost her 5th wheel trailer to fire, early Saturday morning.
Firefighters arrived just before 3 a.m. to find the trailer fully involved, with flames spreading to vehicles on Gribbling Road. Crews stopped the fire before it reached nearby outbuildings.
Investigators say smoke detectors woke up the woman living in the trailer and she and her dog were able to evacuate, uninjured.
The trailer and everything inside were a total loss.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- Three people escaped a Crook County crash without injuries, Sunday evening, after the driver lost control on the icy road. According to the Sheriff’s Office, the 17-year-old driver lost control on SE Juniper Canyon Road near SE Bonnie Road, south of Prineville, just before 7:30 p.m.
The pickup rolled once, coming to rest about 75 feet off the roadway. The driver and underage boy and girl walked away, unhurt.
The Road Department also responded to the crash to sand the road while the vehicle was towed from the scene.
BEND, OR -- A 32-year-old Bend man was arrested Friday in connection with at least five cases of indecent exposure, spanning more than six months. Police say David Walker Littlehale exposed himself inside the Blockbuster Video store on Revere, last Wednesday.
Once he was identified, investigators discovered he matched the description of previously reported exposures at the Bend River Mall in April, the Regroup Thrift Store in September, and TJ Maxx and October. He’s also accused of exposing himself inside a vehicle near 7th and Greenwood.
Littlehale learned police were looking for him and contacted investigators Friday. He was subsequently arrested and booked on five felony charges of Public Indecency.
Anyone with information on other incidents possibly involving Littlehale or his vehicle is asked to contact Bend at 541-693-6911.
BEND, OR -- Mt. Bachelor’s new Cloudchaser chair lift will open Friday, assuming load-testing goes well, this week. The ski hill is planning several public events to celebrate the lift and access to 13 new runs.
A dedication and ribbon cutting at Cloudchaser’s bottom terminal is scheduled for December 16. And, they’re holding a contest to choose the first person to ride up the lift.
Mt. Bachelor GM John McLeod says this is the largest improvement project in Bachelor history.
BEND, OR -- City Councilors voted this week to extend the amount of time some renters are given before they can be evicted without cause. The ordinance change would only impact month-to-month leases with tenants who have lived in a place longer than one year.
Arleigh Santoro is the President of the Central Oregon Rental Owners Association which opposed the move. She says it could mean a sharp cut in the number of available month-to-month rentals, "And, [renters] will be faced with higher security deposits and potentially being put on to leases where they may face lease-break fees in the future should they not be able to maintain that lease." She believes the change is unnecessary. "Typically, when I give a 60-day, which has been most often the case because the tenant’s been there longer than a year, the tenant immediately goes out and starts looking for housing. And, in every case I’ve had this year, they’ve turned around and given me a 30-day notice; Or, in a couple cases, have been asked to be let out right away." She admits low-income families have more difficulty finding affordable housing.
Councilors approved the first reading of the ordinance; 5-to-2, saying expanding notice from 60 to 90 days is necessary to give renters more time to find a new place
in a tight rental market. Santoro tells KBND News, "Certainly, if it does go through, we will be advising our members immediately of any law change so they are making sure to be compliant with the law. My expectation is there will be, probably, increases in security deposits and maybe a tightening of those screening guidelines." She would have preferred city councilors wait to see what changes may come next year at the state level.
BEND, OR -- Bend Area Habitat for Humanity celebrates the completion of their latest project with a home dedication, Thursday. Robin Cooper Engle, with Habitat, says the family moving into the home on NW Huettl Lane put in a lot of sweat equity during construction, and is in awe that it’s actually happening. "Liz and her kiddos are constantly smiling. I think the whole process for them has just been pretty much incredible. So, to be able to move in before Christmas, it’s going to be such a gift for them."
She tells KBND News, the home has four bedrooms and two bathrooms, but is just 1300-square feet. "We got the lowest air exchange rating than we’ve had in probably six or seven years on this house, so it’s a super air-tight little house. It’s got in-floor radiant heating; it will be so efficient her heating bills will be extremely low. It’s a cute use of space; it’s definitely small but it’s kind of what Habitat does: simple, decent, affordable for the families."
Members of the Central Oregon Association of Realtors contributed the entire $75,000 needed for construction. "Many of the realtors were giving, when they would sell a house, some of those proceeds they would donate to the project. We’ve had title companies donating; and different offices related to the real estate community donating to this project, to make it happen. It’s a big deal. In all the years I have worked here, which is almost nine, we have not had an entity take it on at this magnitude." And, thanks to Ashley Furniture Home Store, it's the first time a local Habitat house is fully furnished for the new homeowners.
Thursday's home dedication is open to the public and begins at 11:30a.m.
SISTERS, OR -- Sisters City Councilors will discuss, next week, whether a Councilor-elect satisfied residency requirements to hold office. Richard Esterman owns a home in Tollgate, outside the city limits.
He rents a home downtown. However, city staff say the rental property had minimal water use and no garbage service, raising suspicion that he hadn’t lived there the required 12 months prior to the election. Esterman has denied the allegations.
Councilors will hold a hearing on the issue Thursday, December 15, at 6 p.m. to determine whether he is eligible to take his seat on Council in January.
BEND, OR -- There is more snow and ice in the forecast, which could pose dangers for those who have to work out in the elements. Oregon’s state-chartered workers’ compensation insurance company is warning workers and employers to stay safe in the cold.
Luke Betts, in Bend’s Saif Corporation
office, says one of the biggest hazards can be simply walking. "Try and think about a penguin and how it walks – shorten your step and point your toes slightly out, also turn very gradually. Keep your hands out of your pockets to avoid out of balance, don’t carry large loads and avoid distractions, such as cell phones; wear shoes with good traction and consider wearing over-the-shoe devices for better traction." Those include "yaktrax" and other traction devices. But, he tells KBND News, "Do keep in mind that while these devices provide better traction in the snow and the ice because they dig into the surface, they will also raise the shoes surface above hard surfaces, such as tile and concrete making them ice skates; so, make sure that when you come indoors you take those off."
"For employers, have an inclement weather program in place. That program should include designated walkways that are going to be cleared of snow and ice," says Betts. "If possible, consider delaying the workday or allowing employees work from home." He says slowing down is the best way to avoid injuries, whether driving or just walking.
Central Oregon remains under a winter weather advisory until 10 p.m., Thursday. More snow is expected over the weekend.
BEND, OR -- The Oregon Nurses Association is accusing St. Charles Health System of unfair labor practices. The union’s claims involve a new policy imposed this year, requiring all caregivers to either get a flu shot or wear a mask at all times while at work.
St. Charles officials stand by the policy, saying their highest priority is to protect patients and caregivers. They say the policy is modeled after similar rules in place at many other health systems across the state and the nation.
SCHS released a statement Wednesday, saying, "We have confidence the National Labor Relations Board will agree that this policy change is not subject to bargaining and will affirm our position and approach in protecting patients and caregivers."
CROOKED RIVER RANCH, OR -- A late night fire destroyed a Crooked River Ranch garage, Tuesday, but crews were able to save a nearby home. The homeowner noticed a "glow" outside and discovered her chicken coop and garage on fire, just before 11:30 p.m.
When firefighters arrived at the SW Quail Road home, the fire was fully involved and flames were threatening the home. It took crews over an hour to bring the fire under control; they remained on scene through the night to mop up.
The cause of the fire is undetermined and under investigation. It caused an estimated $100,000 in damage.
BEND, OR -- Frigid temperatures are expected to continue in the High Desert, at least for another couple of days; and local homeless shelters are doing what they can to help those forced to live outside.
David Notari, with the Shepherd’s House in Bend, tells KBND News generous Central Oregonians are giving needed items, but donations go out faster than they’re coming in. "Those sorts of cold weather items, they come and go really quickly. A lot of times a homeless person will need more than one jacket just because, in this kind of weather, a jacket will get weather and they’ll have to take it off and put another one on. So, it’s a whole management system that they have to negotiate; it’s really challenging."
Notari says they are limited in how many men they can house overnight, but they try to provide those who show up at their door with cold weather gear. "Jackets, blankets and then, if I were to add to that, it would be gloves and sleeping bags, even tents. Those five things, I think, are the most practical things for men and women who are just stuck and they need to be able to survive under a tree somewhere if they can’t find shelter. We do provide shelter, but we have limitations."
He says they’re feeding up to 200 people a day and try to help get them out of the cold, when they can. "It’s probably a bit of a transition for the homeless population because they’ve sort of been coping," says Notari. "But, now with the weather changing and the temperatures especially dropping, that’s when people realize ‘I can’t, literally, survive out here; I have to get inside.’ So, we will see an increasing number of folks knocking on our doors wondering if they can stay. We do our very best to get as many of them on a cot in a warm place with a meal."
BEND, OR -- Bend’s Urban Growth Boundary expansion plan received final state approval, Tuesday, following a required 21-day period without any appeals. The plan adds 2,380 acres of land for housing and employment to the city’s UGB and includes space for parks, open space and schools. Dozens of volunteers and staff worked on the plan over the last 12 years.
It will result in changes to the city’s Comprehensive Plan and Development Code, which will impact future development. City Councilors are expected to work with staff in February, during its goal setting process, to identify how to implement the new UGB plan.
CROOKED RIVER RANCH, OR -- A home in Crooked River Ranch was damaged by fire, Tuesday afternoon, and investigators say it was likely caused by a portable heater placed too close to a bed.
The resident, investigating the smell of smoke, discovered a bedroom on fire just before 2 p.m. They closed the door before evacuating, which officials say likely slowed the fire’s spread. Firefighters had it under control within 30 minutes.
The fire was confined to the bedroom, but there was smoke damage throughout the Geneva View Road home.
BEND, OR -- The Bend Fire Department received its fleet of new ambulances, this month. They should be ready to respond to calls once the agency receives licensing from the state.
Battalion Chief Dave Howe tells KBND News the six vehicles replace the current fleet, which were often in the shop with mechanical problems and he says at eight-years-old, maintenance costs were rising. He says the new rigs are much safer and more comfortable for medics and patients. "They have been crash-tested because they are a lighter truck with a modular box on top. So, they are a much smoother ride, they’re much safer, the brakes are better, the suspension is really smooth, they’ve got airbags all the way around, which the other ones did not have. There are four-point restraints that medics will be able to wear in the back while they’re working." Howe says the current fleet is eight years old and maintenance costs were rising.
It cost about $1.2-million dollars to replace the fleet, but Howe says the new rigs will save the agency money, down the road. The box on the back of the chassis is a modular unit and he says they can be reused when the truck reaches the end of its life.
Howe adds, "Two of them have new self-loading gurneys that are going to save our backs. We hope we can afford to buy self-loading gurneys for the rest of them; they’re extremely expensive. They can hold a 600-pound patient, and you can load it with one finger."
BEND, OR -- Rental housing is tough to come by in Bend, which can make it difficult for evicted tenants to find a new place to live. Bend City Councilors will talk Wednesday about a proposal to extend the amount of notice some renters get before being evicted from their homes. State law requires landlords to give 30 days notice prior to ending a month-to-month lease, if the renter has lived there less than a year; after a year, landlords must provide 60 days notice.
Councilor Nathan Boddie doesn’t think that’s enough time for tenants find a new place to live. "Bend has a vacancy rate for rental properties at or below 1%, and it’s been sitting there for really over two years, now, which is really stressful for a city to absorb that kind of rent stress; people being on the edge of homelessness, losing houses, struggling to find a place to rent."
Boddie is driving the effort to consider changing city ordinance. He tells KBND News, "One of the things that we can do is give folks a little bit longer to find a place, when they lose a home. With that in mind, back in the summer, I started talking about extending the notice from 30 or 60 to 90 days; basically giving them another month, acknowledging that it’s really hard to find a new place to live in 30 days or 60 days in the current housing market."
Councilors will discuss two proposals at Wednesday's Council meeting. "One version would have the notice go from 30 days to 90 days, for anybody in a month-to-month lease, regardless of how long they’ve lived in the house. The second version basically leaves as-is the 30-day notice for month-to-month, for the first year someone has lived in a house, and then it extends it out to 90 days after a year," says Boddie. Or, Councilors could decide not to do anything. Bend's Affordable Housing Advisory Committee recommends against changing the ordinance. Boddie says the group prefers to see a change at the state level.
"The important thing to remember is that most landlords are already doing this; and that’s good," says Boddie. "So, really, this is not a tectonic change of any kind. This is sort of acknowledging that some folks aren’t doing this and need to. I think it’s just a matter of we’ve got to do what’s right for the citizens of Bend and make sure we don’t kick people out on the street without giving them time to find another place to live."
PRINEVILLE, OR -- Organizers of a proposed summer festival face opposition from neighbors in a rural Crook County community. Ann Beier, Assistant County Planning Director, says a number of Paulina residents have expressed concerns the influx of visitors will compromise their rural lifestyle. "The main concerns are with traffic on the Paulina-Supplee Highway, which is a fairly narrow two-lane road, concerns about noise and concerns about anything that might cause wildfire."
The “Lazy Rockin’ Stirrup Music Festival” is expected to attract more than 3,000 people, the weekend of June 29. Jeff Foxworthy and Larry the Cable Guy are slated to kick off the event.
The County Court gave preliminary approval to the "mass gathering" permit in November. Beier tells KBND News she will meet with neighbors again Tuesday afternoon and then make recommendations to Commissioners on Wednesday. "When this issue first came to the County Court in November, we had quite a few people from Paulina and it’s my sense that they’re interested enough and concerned enough about this to come again to the County Court meeting on Wednesday."
She expects the Court to continue to support the event, "What they’re wondering about, are there conditions that they could put on the festival that would address neighbors’ concerns. So, conditions like hours for amplified sound, requirements to have water on the site to make sure if there are any fires that they are controlled, requirements that there wouldn’t be fireworks, for example."
Tuesday's meeting at Paulina School begins at 1 p.m.
SALEM, OR -- State lawmakers have their work cut out for them when they meet in February. Governor Kate Brown announced a number of cuts when she released her proposed state budget, last week, to account for a $1.7 billion shortfall. If Measure 97 had passed, supporters say it would have brought in an additional $3 billion a year.
But, voters soundly rejected the measure, which would have increased corporate taxes in the state. Tania Hunt and her group Children First advocated for M97. She tells KBND News she's disappointed with the result but voters learned some important lessons. "I think voters did express deep concern for education funding in the state. And also, I think our voters in Oregon now understand that Oregon's corporate taxes are lowest in the nation, which is incredible considering our children are going without."
Hunt supports former Governor John Kitzhaber's call for businesses to help fund education. "I do think they will," she says. "Whether or not they will step to the table to posture and to defend, or whether they will step to the table to really be a part of the solution to the degree that's needed, is yet to be seen."
Governor Brown proposes increasing cigarette and liquor taxes to help raise revenue. Business groups met in Portland Monday to outline their own strategy.
TUMALO, OR -- Tumalo Community School reopens Tuesday, after a water problem forced the cancelation of Monday classes. According to the Redmond School District, Laidlaw Water needed to fix a leak in its main line, which supplies water to the school.
The water district is now testing samples to ensure water safety. Until those results are back, students and staff will be provided bottled water and a modified menu in the cafeteria. Bathrooms are usable, with alternate hand-washing stations.
Test results are expected back, Tuesday morning.
UPDATE: According to the school district, Laidlaw water tests showed no evidence of contaminants and the school's water has been deemed safe for consumption. In a statement, the district said, "We are thankful for their fast response and support to ensure that our water is safe. Safety precautions will be lifted and students will be able to utilize drinking fountains and faucets." Final lab results are posted HERE
PRINEVILLE, OR -- A Prineville man was arrested, following a brief weekend police chase. According to officers, 23-year-old Jeremy Steele refused to pull over on Northwest Fourth, and ultimately crashed on Ryegrass Road, northwest of Prineville.
He tried to run from the scene but was eventually caught and taken into custody.
Steele has felony warrants in Crook and Deschutes County, and now faces additional charges including driving while revoked and eluding police. He’s also charged with theft in connection with other open cases.
BEND, OR -- Governor Kate Brown released her proposed budget, last week, with cuts to close the $1.7 billion budget hole. One of the drags on state coffers is the $22 billion shortfall involving the Public Employees Retirement System, known as PERS.
House Republican Leader Mike McLane (R-Powell Butte) says Senators Tim Knopp (R-Bend) and Betsy Johnson (D-Scappoose) are looking at options. "Tim Knopp is an expert. He's going to lead with Betsy Johnson on what can get done; there are clearly things that can get done and we need to do them, now. It's going to take political compromise by the Democrats to get there. Tim will be our leader in doing that; he's done that in the past and I'm confident he'll get it done." McLane tells KBND News, "Knopp has been quite astute at being able to build coalitions to get PERS reform done, in the past. He knows more about the system, he knows more about the details, than anyone I know."
Courts have struck down previous PERS reform efforts, ruling them unconstitutional. But some lawmakers believe they could succeed if they change the way pensions are calculated, as a way to save the state money.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- The Crook County Sheriff’s Office is actively recruiting for Search and Rescue volunteers. Nigel Ballard became interested in working with the team shortly after moving to Prineville a year ago. "I wanted to meet people in the community, I wanted to get out and get some exercise and explore the Ochocos; and what better way than with a team of people who know how to read maps and use a GPS and have lots of communications equipment, and it seemed like a good fit. Now, nine months later, I’m a full member of SAR."
, Ballard says in a new Crook County video
, "If you love the Ochocos and you’re reasonably fit and you’re looking for something to give back to the community, have a sense of being a part of something that’s really good and is essential, than Search and Rescue really does fit that bill."
Division Commander Michael Ryan says there’s no experience necessary; the agency provides training. "You probably already own some rescue gear, camping equipment, things like that, that all our members are required to have. Those types of things, and some aptitude for wanting to go out and help your community, that’s all that’s really needed; we’ll teach you the rest."
Volunteers must complete a basic academy and receive certification. The all-volunteer unit provides search and rescue services for people like lost hikers and hunters and missing snowmobilers. Those interested in serving should contact the Crook County Sheriff’s Office.
BEND, OR -- According to a new nationwide survey, two-thirds of drivers have a general distrust of the auto repair industry. Marie Dodds, with AAA Oregon, tells KBND News many are concerned they’ll get ripped off. "They worry about things like possibly being overcharged, being recommended to get unnecessary services done, and poor past experiences. At the same time, we also find that 2/3 of U.S. drivers have managed to find a good auto repair shop that they can trust."
But, finding that trustworthy shop takes some effort. Dodds says, "AAA does want to recommend to drivers that you do your homework. You want to make sure that you look for a repair shop and you have one you like before your car breaks down, because you don’t want to scramble to find that reliable mechanic when you need work done right now."
She suggests asking friends and family for recommendations. "Find out the basics – things like how long they’ve been in business; check with the Better Business Bureau to see if they have any consumer complaints against them," says Dodds. "Then, make sure you visit the auto repair shop in person; find it if this is an outfit you’re comfortable doing business with."
BEND, OR -- Winter work begins Monday at Bend's Whitewater Park, managed by the Bend Parks and Recreation District. Access to the Deschutes River will close at 8 a.m. to accommodate crews.
Work includes modifications to the whitewater channel to improve wave features and safety. Crews will increase pool elevations by raising the shoulders of the drops. They'll also grout shoulders to eliminate entrapment problems and install a concrete "floor" to help stabilize waves.
Click HERE for more information.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- A Prineville area man was seriously injured in an explosion, Friday morning. The victim, identified only as a man in his mid-50s, suffered significant burns in the incident, according to the Crook County Sheriff's Office.
They say he was burning debris near a home on Willowdale Drive, at around 10 a.m. It flared up when he poured gasoline on the fire, causing the gas can to explode in his hand. The man was flown to the hospital for treatment of his injuries. There is no word on his condition. No property damage was reported.
BEND, OR -- Bend is getting all decked out for the holidays. Rod Porsche, Executive Director of the Downtown Bend Business Association, says he’s been stringing more lights the past few nights, "To make downtown look as good as it can, every year. We had 40 volunteers help out with more wreaths, more ribbon, last Saturday; it was just an amazing turnout. And, they lit a lot of the trees."
The festivities begin Friday evening with the lighting of a live tree near Drake Park, "We’ve tied our community tree lighting to the First Friday Art Walk special holiday edition, just because everybody’s downtown and we thought more people could enjoy the tree lighting that way," Porsche tells KBND News. "So, First Friday Art Walk is 5-9, as usual. But, there will be some special things; you can write letters to Santa at Leapin’ Lizards Toy Store, that sort of thing."
The lighting ceremony begins near the Mirror Pond south parking lot at 6:15 p.m. "Santa reportedly is going to come from the North Pole at about 6:50-ish and he will lead the tree lighting countdown at 6:59 and 30-seconds."
But, Porsche says that’s just the beginning; there are more festivities on Saturday. "The crown jewel is the Christmas parade; it starts at noon. You do have the Jingle Bell Run, just before that. For our organization, the Downtown Bend Business Association, we’re all about creating memorable moments. And, these parades, they just really create that experience for the families in our community."
Santa will visit with kids after Friday's tree lighting, and again Saturday afternoon, near Starbucks on Wall Street. Then, the Santa Hut moves to the plaza near Bellatazza for the Saturday afternoons of December 10 and 17.
BEND, OR -- A student-founded, student-run arts nonprofit hosts its first public event, Friday evening in Bend. The gallery showing will showcase artwork created by Redmond Proficiency Academy students and teachers, and raise money for NeighborImpact.
Teacher Adam Mendel says RPA junior Cheyenne Doescher helped create "Pollywog Arts" and the event. "Her mother is a preschool teacher at NeighborImpact, so she wanted to find a way to give back. We’re really lucky at RPA to have good funding for our arts program. And, through talking to her mom, she found that NeighborImpact could use a little support for younger artists in the community."
Mendel owns Willow Lane Artist’s Creative Space, in Bend, which is donating space for the event. "One of our big missions as a studio is to create and support community within the arts in Central Oregon. Our big deal is getting artists out of their garage and spare bedrooms and into a community space where we can give each other feedback. And, we love supporting young artists." He tells KBND News it allows students to get real-life experience showing and selling their work. The artists will keep 60% of their proceeds; the other 40% goes to NeighborImpact. "It’s just a really great opportunity to do a little holiday shopping to support student artists, both at Redmond Proficiency Academy and at NeighborImpact. There’s everything from a 3D ceramic sculpture to some fine art paintings, drawings and photography."
The show begins Friday at 6 p.m. at the Willow Lane studios on SE Second Street. Click HERE
BEND, OR -- A Bend woman remained in critical condition, Friday morning, after a deadly day on Bend roadways, earlier in the week. A 60-year-old transient was killed while crossing Highway 97 near Cooley Road, Wednesday morning. Less than 14 hours later, 62-year-old Carolyn Stanfill was struck by a car on Mt. Washington Drive, near the Riverhouse. She suffered life-threatening injuries.
Bend Police Lieutenant Clint Burleigh says it’s important everyone look out for each other, especially this time of year when there is less daylight. "I think the safety part of this - just generally - it's to constantly be aware on the roadway, whether you're a pedestiran, a bicyclist or driving a vehicle. Make sure you're constantly aware of what's going on because the roadways are made for everybody and we just need to make sure to keep the safety of that in mind while we drive down the road, or as we're walking or bicycling down the road."
Both of Wednesday's crashes remain under investigation.
SISTERS, OR -- Hoodoo Ski Area plans to open for the season, this weekend. It’s the earliest Hoodoo has opened since the 2005-2006 season. They’ll have the Manzanita and Early Rider lifts running from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday and Sunday. Other lifts and the Autobahn Tubing Park are expected to open later in the season, weather permitting.
Lift tickets are discounted to $35, this weekend, and those who bring two non-perishable food donations can buy tickets for just $20. Donations benefit the Giving Plate, in Bend.
SALEM, OR -- Oregon Governor Kate Brown released her recommended budget for the 2017-19 biennium, Thursday. She says the state faces a $1.7 billion budget gap over the next two years, which means significant cuts, "To higher education, natural resource agencies and programs for vulnerable populations. This is both unavoidable and absolutely unacceptable."
Brown says there are revenue increases in her plan. "It closes the budget gap through a combination of budget cuts and new revenue. The new revenue increases include increases in tobacco taxes, hospital and insurance company assessments to help pay for healthcare and fills other gaps by closing loopholes in the tax code. She calls this a short-term fix and a starting point while continuing to focus on education, health care and job creation.
In response, House Republican Leader Mike McLane (R-Powell Butte) says he's disappointed with her recommendations, and he blames Democrats in Salem for putting the state on an unsustainable path. He issued a statement saying, "There will be much debate over the next few months over how to address our budget situation. My hope is that before we consider asking our community employers and working families to make up for the lack of financial discipline in Salem, Governor Brown and legislative Democrats will commit to having an honest conversation about our state's unsustainable rate of spending. Until we are willing to have this conversation and address the root of our budget problems, we will continue to experience the same kind of budget challenges we are facing today."
Senate Republican Leader Ted Ferrioli (R-John Day) echoed McLane's message, saying the Governor's budget is a self-inflicted wound caused by years of Democrat overspending.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Oregon Congressman Greg Walden was selected Thursday to serve as chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Walden is the only Republican in Oregon's Congressional delegation.
The new role gives him oversight over federal departments in charge of consumer protections, food and drug safety, public health, environmental quality, energy policy and others. It also means he’ll be heavily involved in the ongoing debate over the fate of the Affordable Care Act.
Walden says he’ll focus on what’s best for consumers, on creating better paying jobs and providing patient-centered health care. To read more from the Second District Congressman on his new position, click HERE.
REDMOND, OR -- After a one-week delay due to warmer than expected weather, Redmond’s Community ice rink is scheduled to open Friday. The popular winter feature will open at 2 p.m. It's located across from Centennial Park, and is managed through a cooperative agreement with Redmond Area Parks and Recreation District.
The 4,000 square-foot rink will be open seven days a week, weather permitting, until March. For information on cost and scheduling, visit the city of Redmond's website
BEND, OR -- A pedestrian was struck by a vehicle, west of the Riverhouse, Wednesday evening. According to Bend Police, the woman was trying to cross Mt. Washington Drive when she was hit by an SUV driven by a Bend man, at about 8:20 p.m.
She was taken to St. Charles Bend with non-life threatening injuries; there is no word on her current condition. The investigation shut down a stretch of Mt. Washington Drive for several hours, overnight.
BEND, OR -- A 60-year-old man was struck by a car and killed on North Highway 97, Wednesday morning.
Bend Police Lt. Clint Burleigh tells KBND News officer responded to the crash just north of Cooley Road, shortly after 6:30. "The pedestrian was hit as they were crossing from the east side of the road to the west side of the road on Highway 97. The pedestrian was wearing dark clothing and unfortunately the pedestrian was struck and killed during the crash. The driver, at this point, is
cooperating." He adds, "It did close down Highway 97 for a short time, then we were able to open up one lane both north and southbound, right around Grandview on the north end of town; it was shut down for almost two hours – or limited, for almost two hours."
The driver of the involved vehicle has not been named. Lt. Burleigh does not believe he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. "Everything’s still being investigated. It’s an ongoing process, so those are things that we obviously look for; but I don’t have any information that would lead us to believe anything in that direction at this time."
UPDATE: Thursday morning, Bend Police released the names of those inovlved in the crash. The victim was identified as Richard Kurner, a 60-year-old Bend transient; Police say the vehicle was driven by 31-year-old Jesse Shaw, also of Bend. The investigation is ongoing.