LAPINE, OR -- LaPine is set to receive more than $8 million as part of the new Federal Rural Development Fund in order to upgrade the City's wastewater management system.
Public Works Manager Jake Obrist says the system will be expanded into the Cagle and Glenwood Acres subdivisions. "We're doing water and sewer improvements. On the water side, we're going to be doing a new well site and 500,000 gallon reservoir, new transmission lines, the whole works. Some of the sewer improvements are, we're doing all new main lines into those areas, doing an expansion of our wastewater treatment plant, and several new lift stations."
The US Agriculture Department has granted LaPine $3.7 million dollars to complete the project, and loaned them another $5 million, to be paid back over the next 40 years. Other grants have come from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the town of LaPine, with more grants anticipated.
Obrist says this will be a significant infrastructure project, helping hundreds of LaPine residents. "We're going to expand our services into two areas in town, what they refer to as Cagle and Glenwood subdivisions, which takes in another 275 customers. I know DEQ and Deschutes County have done quite a lot of testing up there because the groundwater is so shallow up there and being on City infrastructure would solve a lot of those issues."
Wells in the Cagle and Glenwood Acres Subdivisions have shown elevated levels of nitrates due to residential septic seepage, and this upgrade should eliminate that contamination issue.
Obrist says the overall project will cost about $25 million and is at the very beginning stages. "We've got an RFP open for design and engineer for the project, so we anticipate hiring somebody in the next month or so for that, and then it's going to be for the next nine months to a year, we're going to be designing the projects, getting it ready so we can go out for construction for the bidding process on that. So, ideally, construction could start in 2019. That would be optimistic."
The plan calls for the wastewater project to be completed at the same time as the town's water system improvements, which were funded by a previous USDA loan and grant.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- With a string of thefts in the Prineville area, local police are working with other law enforcement officers in the area to identify the culprits.
Sergeant Troy Wiles of the Prineville Police Department says it's easy for criminals to travel to all the local communities, so it's important for all the agencies to work together. In the meantime, Wiles suggests citizens change their habits. "We're encouraging people, although this is a small community, and everybody, for the most part, knows everyone, however, in today's day and age, things are growing, and obviously, the result of that is some unwanted crimes are occurring, so we're encouraging everybody to lock their doors and leave lights on, keep shrubberies down. This time of year, especially, there's a lot of packages being delivered, and being left out, so do what you can to be vigilant."
Wiles says until they catch the culprits, it's hard to know the motive. "I think it's probably an opportunity thing that's occurring. Someone or somebodies have found out that this method is working for them and they're continuing to do it, the problem is, it's not going to last for very long, they will get caught. What's fueling it? Are drugs related? Based on my training experience, that's usually a common factor, but you can't say for sure until you get those people into custody."
Two Crook County businesses have had their ATMs stolen in the last few weeks, and there have been several cases of daytime housebreaking, but Wiles says they're following leads and hoping to make an arrest soon. He says the benefit to living in a small town is that neighbors know each other and part of Prineville's community spirit comes in helping each other protect their homes and businesses. He suggests paying extra attention to what's happening in your neighborhood. "The biggest tool we have at the Prineville Police Department is the community. There's hundreds of thousands of eyeballs out there that may see something that seems insignificant, but a lot of times it helps out quite a bit."
Wiles says Prineville PD is following some leads and working with law enforcement agencies all over Central Oregon to track down those responsible for the recent crime spree.
UPDATE11/30/2017: Prineville Police Department is listing Alysa Bennight, 21, as connected to more than a dozen of the home burglaries. She allegedly has stolen a Ford truck and is on the run. Anyone with information is asked to call the Prineville Police Department.
BEND, OR -- Deschutes County Commissioners approved a permit for a Cloverdale property, Wednesday, to allow a marijuana production facility on Goodrich Road. The area east of Sisters is currently zoned as Exclusive Farm Use.
After a number of recent applications from out-of-town business owners and people who moved to the area to open pot grows, Commissioner Tammy Baney is pleased a local property owner is requesting necessary zoning changes and permits. "The fact that a property owner who’s been in the area since 1974 and a member of the community, I think it poses a different face for this particular issue in terms of regulations and what it means. So, I’m pleased to see that someone who’s been in the community is going through this process and sees it as a path that they can use." Commissioner Phil Henderson agreed, but remains concerned about long-term community impacts, "It’s the business they plan to do, are different than many we’ve had that are just newer to the area that are just looking at this as an opportune area to do marijuana grows. These are people that have had this property, I recognize that. I still think they’re judged all the same – it doesn’t change the regulations, to me, because you don’t know if they’ll be the ones to keep it or if someone else becomes an investor; so you don’t really know how it all goes in the long run."
Henderson also expressed continued concern about water usage during the irrigation off-season, and whether the proposed odor control system will protect neighbors from the smell of pot. "I think there needs to be more proof given by applicants, as to the odor control system and proof that it works. And, the same somewhat with sound, so we can actually test the statutes." Baney says the applicant met all current requirements but admits adjustments may be needed to protect both the legal businesses and neighbors. "I think we have some changes that we would like to see, in terms of the regulations going forward. And, we’re actively engaging the community in that, but I think they’ve met the criteria as we’ve laid out. In terms of odor, I think there are a lot of community members in this particular area who will be keenly aware if it’s not working."
The permit allows for a 3,600-square foot structure with a maximum mature canopy of 2,500 square feet.
BEND, OR -- A local transient is accused of making and passing counterfeit money in Bend. Police say at least six businesses received fake $50 bills in the past month.
Officers discovered a pattern and identified 24-year-old Travis Nelson as a suspect. Nelson was arrested earlier this month, and was allegedly in possession of a gun stolen in a Deschutes County burglary, as well as a suspected meth pipe.
Bend Police and Sheriff’s Deputies later searched a Dobbin Court property, east of Bend, where they found computer and other equipment used to make counterfeit cash. Nelson faces seven counts of Forgery, as well as drug and weapons charges; more could be added.
REDMOND, OR -- A Redmond motorhome was destroyed by a late-night fire that also damaged nearby buildings.
Firefighters responded to the blaze near Antler and Jackson Street, just before 11:30 Wednesday night. Arriving crews found the RV fully involved with flames extending to a large shed, as well as a neighbor’s garage. They quickly knocked down the fire and were able to protect the other structures.
The fire caused about $25,000 in damage and its cause is under investigation. The Red Cross is helping provide basic needs to the one adult impacted by the blaze.
LA PINE, OR -- La Pine schools were locked down for 15 minutes, at about 4:40 Wednesday afternoon, after Deschutes County 911 received a report of an armed subject on Coach Road.
A woman reported that a man with a gun tried to grab her and she ran to the La Pine Community Health Center for help. Due to the proximity to La Pine Elementary, Middle and High schools, all three were put in lockdown as a precaution.
After witnesses were interviewed, Deputies determined the third-hand report of an armed man was unfounded.
BEND, OR -- A girl in the Woodside Ranch neighborhood, southeast of Bend, says a suspicious man ran toward her while she was walking to a friend’s house, Wednesday afternoon at about 2:30. The Sheriff’s Office says the 10-year-old’s mother reported the incident last night, and says her daughter was able to safely run away.
Deputies investigating the circumstances are looking for anyone who may have seen the man around Woodside Road and Pine Vista Drive. He's described by the girl as a 40-year-old white male with black hair. He was wearing a red jacket, grey pants and black shoes. Anyong with information is asked to call non-emergency dispatch at 541-693-6911. They don't yet know why he ran at the girl.
BEND, OR -- Morning Star Christian School won the Firebusters award this year.
Bend Deputy Fire Marshall Cindy Kettering says 25 schools plus some homeschool families took part in the contest, which aims to help kids learn about fire and life safety. "So, we take all of the schools, region-wide, that have at least 50% participation in the program, and we draw for a grand prize winning school. We chose Morning Star Christian School as our winner this year."
The grand prize earned Morning Star a visit from AirLife yesterday, which landed a helicopter in the schoolyard with Ronald McDonald aboard.
Brothers, Christian and Riker Dorman, who are in third and first grade, were pretty excited. "It was cool seeing the helicopter...It was awesome."
Kettering says the Firebusters school program teaches life skills. "They learn important fire and life safety concepts such as home fire escape planning, they learn cooking safety, pedestrian safety, bicycle safety, we teach a lot of different things."
Ryan Cartmill, the Airlife Pilot, calls days like today great opportunities to interact with the Central Oregon Community. "I'm glad we were able to beat the snow to get in here. It's always fun to see the kids' faces light up and it's a great award ... give everybody some credit."
McDonald's restaurants sponsors the program, so Ronald Mcdonald was an honored guest at the event.
REDMOND, OR -- As the Redmond area continues to grow, more infrastructure is needed to accommodate stormwater runoff and create safer streets as traffic increases.
Mike Caccavano, Redmond City Engineer, says there are different needs across the area that require different solutions. "We've got, as far as City projects, we've got a couple of large infrastructure projects underway ... one water project, one waste water project, we just recently finished up a transportation project and a stormwater project."
Caccavano says it's important to increase safety and accessibility for residents. "We're hitting all our main areas, those are the areas we focus on, transportation, stormwater, water, wastewater, and we've got decent sized projects on all of them."
The Reservoir 6 and Eastside Sewer Interceptor projects are under construction, and Caccavano says the goal is to have them complete before irrigation season starts in April of next year.
The turn lane at Highway 126 and 35th street has been open for under a month, along with the stormwater project at SW 34th and Xero.
BEND, OR -- Bend Police arrested a West Linn man, yesterday (Wed), after a woman said he took her cell phone while she was in Food 4 Less.
The suspect, later identified as 23-year-old Blakely Hickman, allegedly took the Molalla woman’s phone just after 6:30 a.m. He left the store and took off in a car. When police tried to stop him in the parking lot, he ran from the car and was later tracked down by a K-9 unit.
Hickman was taken into custody without incident and faces several charges, including theft, attempting to elude and an outstanding warrant.
REDMOND, OR -- Redmond Schools officials are finalizing details for a $70 million property tax levy expected to go to voters next year. But its success could be jeopardized by a proposed public safety fee. Superintendent Mike McIntosh says the school bond would add 50-cents per thousand dollars of assessed property value and is needed to fund safety and security improvements, maintenance, and efficiency upgrades at several schools, as well as reconstruction of Lynch Elementary. "We did the same exact thing with Terrebonne School a few years ago. We looked at that structure and said, ‘how do we make this modern; how do we make this efficient and appropriate?’ And so, we literally tore down Terrebonne and built a new school around the gym. Same kind of thinking with Lynch. It’s probably going to be more cost effective to tear it down and start over, so that’s about a $20 million portion of the $70 million we’re asking for."
McIntosh is concerned about how receptive voters will be to a new property tax in 2018, if the City Council approves a $6 monthly fee on utility bills to fund the hiring of more police officers. But, he he doesn't believe the school district has a choice. "Oregon does not have a mechanism that allows me to do it any differently. There’s no way for a school district to get $70 million to do these urgent and necessary things. So, our way to do that is to go to our voters and ask them to increase their own taxes and, in essence, support their schools." He adds, "What I know is there are people on a fixed income; whether you’re retired, elderly or just out of work, that it’s an incredible inconvenience – not just inconvenience, but imposition. I want to be very, very sensitive to that. And so, having that $6 every month tacked on to your city power bill is going to be a significant issue for those people, as well." McIntosh tells KBND News, "I don’t want to ever say ‘it’s just a small amount.’ I get it; It’s a big amount. But, it’s also important."
The Redmond City Council is expected to decide in the spring whether to approve the public safety fee. Another public meeting to discuss the fee will be held December 5 at 5:30 p.m., at City Hall. McIntosh says the school district hasn’t decided whether to send the bond measure to the ballot in May or November. He plans to meet with a group next week to discuss the formation of a Political Action Committee.
Click HERE to listen to our full conversation with Superintendent Mike McIntosh, or visit our Podcast Page.
Photo: Lynch Elementary was forced to close when last winter's immense snowfall caused the roof to sag. It reopened after snow was removed.
BEND, OR -- A Bend man wanted in connection with a prior domestic assault was arrested Tuesday without incident. Friday afternoon, Bend Police responded to a report of an assault at a home on Northeast 12th. Ryan Atkins allegedly tried to keep a woman from calling 911 to report that he’d previously assaulted her. The victim is described as a 43-year-old Redmond woman. The CERT team activated and closed streets in the area for a short time, but Atkins escaped.
Law enforcement contacted 45-year-old Atkins at the Mt. Bachelor Motel Tuesday morning, where he was taken into custody. He's charged with Assault IV, Coercion, Interfering with a 911 Call, Criminal Mischief II and Tampering with a Witness.
SISTERS, OR -- The Sisters Planning Commission is working with the Sisters City Council to determine if vacation rentals in the area should be further regulated.
Roger Detweiler, Sisters Planning Commissioner, says putting a cap on the number of short-term rentals makes sense. "There are concerns about how vacation rentals affect the neighborhood nature of where they are placed, and they also diminish the amount of long-term properties that are so badly needed. We have a lower income work force that we need to support the tourist industry and no place for them to live."
The Planning Commission is recommending a maximum of 8% of total housing units as the cap.
45 short-term vacation rentals that are located within the City limits of Sisters are currently under review, and Detweiler says they're working with the City Council to determine what regulations would help the residents of the community, without hurting the tourist industry.
Detweiler's main concerns are that the short-term rentals don't provide long-term housing and that they're businesses operating in neighborhoods. "These really are commercial ventures. These vacation homes are licensed, and they are taxed, just like any other business, and yet they are allowed in areas that are zoned residential. I think there's an argument to be made to prohibit them altogether."
A vacation rental in Sisters is described as a unit that is occupied for rent for more than ten days, but fewer than 30.
SUNRIVER, OR -- The beloved Sunriver trumpeter swan 'Chuck' was killed Thanksgiving Day.
Sunriver Police Chief Marc Mills says shooting swans is illegal because they are not considered game birds in Oregon. He also says the incident took place in an area where hunting is not allowed. "We do not believe that it was an accident. It does appear to be a very direct and specific shot, to and or at 'Chuck,' that caused his injury. I think it was just cruel, and intentional, and we're certainly hoping that we can come to some kind of conclusion in the near future."
'Chuck' and his mate, 'Gracie,' had been placed at Lake Aspen in an attempt to reintroduce trumpeter swans to the area after the bird was hunted nearly to extinction in the 1990s. Four cygnets were hatched to the pair in early July.
Chief Mills believes whomever shot 'Chuck' did so deliberately and could face criminal charges for killing a non-game bird, with a $5,000 fine and up to a year in jail. "We're working the investigation alongside the Oregon State Police, Fish and Game, with assistance, of course, from the Sunriver Nature Center, and we're doing our best to try and run down leads or any information that may lead us to the identity and potential arrest of the individual or individuals that shot 'Chuck'."
A reward is also being offered by the Sunriver Nature Center and Observatory. Anyone with information is asked to call the OSP Fish and Game tipline or Sunriver Police.
UPDATE 11/29/2017: The Sunriver Nature Center and Observatory is offering a reward for $1,000 for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of tghe person or persons who shot and killed Chuck on Thanksgiving Day. To contribute to the reward, call 541-593-4442. If you have any information, please contact the Sunriver Police Department or the Oregon State Police Fish and Game tipline.
SISTERS, OR -- The Small Business Administration is offering low-interest loans for small businesses impacted by the Milli and Nash Fires that burned tens of thousands of acres in the Deschutes and Willamette National Forests between August 10 and September 25. A number of Sisters businesses reported big declines in summer revenue due to intermittent road closures and the heavy smoke that blanketed the area.
The SBA is making $2 million in loans available to help businesses cover financial obligations and operating expenses. The SBA declared a disaster, freeing up the funds, following a request from Governor Kate Brown on November 13. Tanya Garfield, with the SBA's Disaster Field Operations Center, says, "These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can't be paid because of the disaster's impact." Applications will be accepted online through August 16, 2018. Click HERE for more information.
Photo: Milli Fire 8/17/17
REDMOND, OR -- The Redmond Airport officially unveils its new Flybrary on Wednesday. Airport Director Zach Bass says the joint partnership with the Deschutes Public Library provides travelers with reading material for their flight, "We’re going to keep it stocked as well as we can, and people can grab a book if they like it and hopefully leave a book if they’re done with theirs." And, it also features information on how to download books and magazines on to a mobile device. "I think it supports about 50,000 books that are available so, even if you don’t want to have a hardcopy of a book in your hand when you’re flying, if you have a Kindle or something along those lines, you can download a free book, too."
Two mini libraries are situated on either side of security. "We did a soft opening right before Thanksgiving; we wanted to have that option out there for our holiday travelers." Bass tells KBND News the idea is already catching on with flyers, "Hundreds of books, probably, already, truthfully. It’s very successful as it is, and I think as more people realize it’s there it’ll become more successful and it’s going to be that challenge of making sure there’s good books out on the shelf for them."
Wednesday's ribbon cutting at Roberts Field is at 11 a.m. and is open to the public.
BEND, OR -- Smoke alarms woke a sleeping family early Tuesday, prompting them to evacuate their two-story home on NE Decatur and call 911. Bend Fire crews responded at about 2:40 a.m. and arrived to find heavy smoke in the garage, extending to the second story of the house. Two cars in the driveway were also on fire.
Fire officials say the blaze was primarily contained to the garage but smoke damaged part of the house, as well. A fire-rated door stopped the flames from entering the first floor of the home. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
BEND, OR -- Central Oregon unemployment rates stabilized in October, but as the largest private employer in the area begins to dismiss staff, those numbers could climb.
Regional Economist Damon Runburg doesn't think layoffs at St. Charles Health system will have too much of a negative effect on the overall economy. "The healthcare industry has seen some pretty strong growth over the last year, it's up over 400 jobs from this time last year, and so, I don't think those layoffs are going to completely negate the gains that they've seen over the last year."
According to a recent report by EDCO, St. Charles employs over 4,000 people.
The company announced last month it would lay off at least 30 workers, and another 70 had accepted buy-outs, in an attempt to close a 35-million dollar budget gap.
Runburg says St. Charles' layoffs could lead to more skilled workers on the market. "It could definitely help to slow down the job growth that we've seen in general. We've already seen that happen. A couple of years ago or even close to a year ago, we were seeing levels of job growth over the year around 7%, and we're down to 3.5% now, so really a slowing down of the expansion that we were seeing. It's becoming a more mature expansion."
The layoff process should be complete by the end of 2017.
BEND, OR -- Christmas time is here, but a Christmas tree may be hard to come by.
Five to seven years ago, due to the recession and other factors, fewer tree growers planted fewer seedlings, which means this year, there's more demand than supply.
Tom Coburn, owner of Tom's Trees for the last thirty years, says there's a Christmas tree shortage, and that's making some folks worry. "There are people that can't even get trees. I am fortunate because I've dealt with these growers as long as I have, and they both told me they had numerous people contact them mid to late summer, inquiring about trying to buy trees and they just don't have any more. They're just servicing their regular customers."
Tom says he'll have plenty of trees, but depending on the specie, buyers should expect to pay $5 to $10 more per tree.
Coburn says the Christmas tree market is surprisingly cyclical, and though the recession hit tree growers hard, there were other problems, too. "There was a shortage of good seedlings. All of them are hybrids, Christmas trees, that's how they grow them, and so they had some problems with some of the seedlings, how they grow them, and that equated to a shortage. It takes approximately five to seven years for them to get a size tree to where they can harvest it and sell it."
Tom's planning to bring weekly loads of trees into Central Oregon, and his Christmas wish is that everyone who wants a tree, can get one.
SISTERS, OR -- “Bubbles” the camel has become quite the internet sensation since escaping his tether while visiting Sisters, just over a week ago. Deschutes County Sheriff's Sgt. William Bailey tells KBND News, "One of the deputies was dispatched to a found camel call in a pasture and the deputy was able to get a quick video clip; him and his partner. I put it out on social media and I didn’t expect how big it would get." He adds, "I’ve talked to a lot of the major news stations; it was featured on FOX News. So, it’s been quite a topic of conversation around the office, when it comes to this little brief camel video."
Click HERE to view the video.
Bailey says the camel lives in Bend and was tied up in a Sisters front yard when it somehow managed to walk away. A neighbor later called to report a camel was in her pasture scaring horses. Another person in the area happened to have experiencing tethering a camel and Deputies quickly reunited “Bubbles” with its owner.
BEND, OR -- Firefighters responded to a blaze in the Cimarron City subdivision, northeast of the Bend Airport, Saturday afternoon, and discovered a detached garage fully involved.
The two-car garage on Lariat was a total loss, as were numerous restored antique motorcycles and other rarities that had been stored inside. The cause of the fire is under investigation. No other structures were damaged and no injuries were reported.
UPDATE: Following an investigation by the Bend Fire Department, officials say the exact cause of the blaze could not be determined. Investigators say the fire started near a workspace and quickly spread throughout the garage, causing extensive damage. The amount of plastics, foam, paper, auto and bike parts, solvents, equipment and vehicles, as well as numerous combustibles stored in the rafters contributed to the rapid spread fo the fire and heat throughout the enclosed space.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- The Central Oregon Major Crime Team is investigating a homicide in Crook County. Thursday morning, Crook County Deputies responded to a request to check on a man who lives on Myrtlewood Lane, in the rural Juniper Acres subdivision.
At about 11:30 a.m., they discovered 51-year-old Dennis Stewart deceased on his property, with what were described as suspicious injuries. Investigators are talking with a person of interest, but no arrests have been made; they don’t believe there is any current threat to the public.
The Crook County Sheriff's Office and District Attorney's Office are also involved in the ongoing investigation, along with the Oregon State Police Crime Lab.
BEND, OR -- A 69-year-old Tumalo-area man was killed Friday evening, when he was struck by a pickup on Cline Falls Highway. Michael Porter crossed the street to get his mail, just after 5 p.m. One witness told the Sheriff’s office he’d nearly hit Porter, who was bent over in the middle of the highway, possible retrieving dropped mail. Another driver then struck the man.
A passing nurse provided immediate medical attention, but Porter died at the scene. The driver, 59-year-old Lance Hitson of Bend, is cooperating with investigators. Neither alcohol nor distracted driving are thought to have been factors.
The Sheriff’s Office believes Porter’s dark clothing and position in the roadway contributed to the incident.
LA PINE, OR -- A Boise man was arrested Friday after allegedly leading Sheriff's deputies on a pursuit near La Pine. A witness reported a man was “going crazy” in the parking lot of Ed Staub and Sons, then stole a pickup and took off.
A Deschutes County deputy caught up to the truck on Highway 97 but called off the chase due to public safety concerns. A short time later, a resident on West Drive reported a pickup had crashed into his gate; other witnesses said they saw a man run off. Following a brief K-9 search, 33-year-old Shawn Wood was found in a crawl space of a nearby home and arrested without incident.
Investigators say it appears Wood ran out of gas and left his vehicle on Highway 31, south of La Pine, prior to stealing the truck.
MADRAS, OR -- A new residential subdivision may be built near Madras' water tank.
A public hearing is scheduled for December 13th, to determine whether to approve the application. City of Madras Assistant Planner Morgan Greenwood says the application in question proposes a 10 lot subdivision and land set aside for a city park. "As you come into town, you can see a large water tank on the east side of the highway. So, it is the approximately 40 acre parcel that surrounds the water tank. So, it's that 40 acre parcel and then it is also the 40 acre parcel that's immediately to the east of it."
Greenwood says the City of Madras is named on the application because a portion of the land required for the subdivision is the site of the water tower, which the homes and park would be built around, while leaving the tower intact. Greenwood says the proposal is in its very earliest stages. "It is kind of a pre-subdivision subdivision. A 40 acre parcel is being divided into phases, basically, so within each of these phases, that will be further subdivided into residential lots. So, whomever purchases them, or whomever ends up ultimately developing them, wouldn't, necessarily, develop them all at the same time."
The public hearing is scheduled for mid-December and written public comment will be accepted through Sunday.
BEND, OR -- For some, Thanksgiving signals the start of the holiday shopping season. But, Rod Porsche, with The Downtown Bend Business Association, hopes Central Oregonians won’t spend too much on Black Friday and save some for Shop Small Saturday. "We get that Black Friday, there’s a role to play. But, let’s remember that Saturday is the place to get items oftentimes locally produced; you can’t find them online. Shopping small really helps your community. I mean, keeping your money in your community is really important on that day and throughout the year."
Bend is getting decked out for the holidays, and the city’s historic lamp posts feature something new. "Because we had such a successful Bend Oktoberfest, we got funding for 100 lit snowflakes in downtown Bend." Porsche tells KBND News they've been a long-time coming. "They’re up now and they just bring such holiday joy. It’s a game-changer for our downtown." Porsche says the snowflakes cost around $8,000, including the 10 more put on standby. Also new this year, twinkle lights in the tree canopies. Porsche hopes those will stay up year-round.
For those on your list who are tough to shop for, Porsche recommends Downtown Dollars. "If you buy Downtown Dollars, they are redeemable at any one of 125 downtown businesses; virtually every retail and restaurant, bar, they all accept them. It’s a great way to keep your money local." On Saturday, shoppers can enter to win a gift basket valued at over a thousand dollars, with downtown Bend’s Passport Event.
Also this weekend:
Sisters' annual tree lighting takes place Friday at Fir Street Park at 5:30 p.m.
The Sisters Christmas Parade is Saturday at 2 p.m.
In Redmond, the Starlight Parade begins Saturday at 5 p.m., immediately followed by the tree lighting at Centennial Park.
Prineville’s Lighted Christmas Parade starts at 5 p.m. on Saturday, as well.
Bend and Madras Christmas parades are slated for Saturday, December second.
SISTERS, OR -- The first chance to hit the slopes often happens over Thanksgiving, but skiers and snowboarders will have limited options this weekend. Hoodoo Ski Area had planned to open Friday, but must postpone due to the warm, rainy forecast for the weekend.
Hoodoo General Manager Matthew McFarland had initially hoped to open earlier than normal, this year, but they now don't have quite enough snowpack to make it worthwhile. Hoodoo is offering its pre-season pass sale through Friday and discounted season passes and AnyCards are available at their website
PRINEVILLE, OR -- A Prineville man is recovering from stab wounds, suffered during an alleged altercation with his girlfriend at their Barnes Road home, Monday.
According to Deputies, 48-year-old Larisa Rollins was arguing with her roommate when her boyfriend intervened. After breaking up the fight, 51-year-old Michael Cross went into the kitchen and got into another disagreement with his girlfriend. Deputies say she grabbed a knife and stabbed Cross seven times.
He’s being treated for non-life threatening injuries. Rollins is charged with Domestic Assault.
BEND, OR -- Central Oregon unemployment rates stabilized in October after a volatile September. Regional Economist Damon Runburg says he didn’t expect those previous job losses to continue, "That big drop we saw in September, which was largely effected by the wildfire smoke, was really just some of these seasonal jobs lost sooner than typically would be lost. But they were going to be shed at some point anyway, so we’re kind of back on track."
Runberg tells KBND News, "We had some pretty significant seasonally adjusted losses; the unemployment rate ticked up significantly in September. And then, we roll around to these October numbers and it turned out that we had actually slight seasonally adjusted gains in the month of October." Deschutes County’s jobless rate held relatively steady at 4.2% in October; Jefferson County’s rate was unchanged at 5.6%; and, in Crook County, the unemployment rate ticked up 2-tenths of a point, to 6.5%.
While unemployment rates are leveling off, more people are looking for work, which is expanding the labor force. And, they're finding jobs. "In general, Central Oregon has this tendency where, if jobs are available, people are going to move here for those jobs," says Runberg. "We have such high quality of life that we don’t have that much of an issue attracting folks. So, the market’s responding; the labor force is growing. With the expanding labor force and the strong population numbers that we just got from Portland State University, the question’s obviously, ‘how are we going to deal with this continuing challenge of housing affordability and availability?’"
MADRAS, OR -- A Madras man is accused of trying to kill his girlfriend's two-year old son. Jefferson County Deputies arrested 21-year-old Josue Jair Mendoza-Melo early Monday morning on several charges, including Attempted Murder and First Degree Assault. He's scheduled to appear in court Wednesday.
The boy's mother says she returned home Sunday night to find her son Ezra unresponsive with a bump on his head and blood in his mouth. She rushed him to the Madras hospital where he was evaluated before being air-lifted to OHSU in Portland. She says he's undergone brain surgery, has had seizures and suffered a brain bleed, among other injuries.
She says in a Facebook post that Mendoza-Melo admitted to abusing the toddler. He's being held on a million dollars' bail. A Go Fund Me page has been set up
to help cover Ezra's medical expenses.
SISTERS, OR -- The City of Sisters is preparing for winter, and they have a plan to make the City as friendly as possible for both residents and guests.
Paul Bertagna, Sisters Public Works Director, says getting 70 inches of snow last year has made the City ready to handle whatever happens this winter. "As far as normal snow removal operations, it'll be status quo with us, we're just getting out in front of who is responsible for what when it comes to the public street and sidewalk system, to make sure that we've got pedestrian continuity and as much parking as we can in town."
Bertagna says the City will give residents four hours of warning to pull their cars and garbage cans off the street so they can plow roads as widely as possible, and other vehicles can come behind to sweep up the berms left across people's driveways. Their primary focus will be on emergency routes and school zones, but Bertagna wants to assure residents that crews will be working to clear neighborhoods as quickly as possible. "We're going to post the snow removal at least four hours ahead of the work beginning, and this requires people to move their cars off the street. If they don't, we'll have to have them towed, and we'll just end up towing them out of the snow zone. If we're able to go in and widen out the parking areas without cars in the way, we're just making it easier for people, and that's what we're trying to do."
Bertagna says another helpful thing Sisters residents can do this winter, is not leave their garbage cans on the street overnight, as the snow plows will have to navigate around them. He says the streets are too narrow to plow to the middle, which can cause problems for residents. "When we do plow, obviously, the snow has to go somewhere. We do our best not to berm driveways, and if we have a heavy snow, we will have equipment coming behind to help people, but it could take us 4-6 hours to get there, so the biggest challenge of living in snow country is those darn berms across the driveway and we are sensitive to that, and I guess we apologize ahead of time, and we will try to help you out as much as we can."
Bertagna says that snow removal in alleys and parking areas is the adjacent property owners' responsibility, while the City focuses on Emergency Routes and School Zones before clearing neighborhoods.
DISTRICT 59, OR -- Commissioners from the four counties that make up District 59 met yesterday to choose a new representative to finish out the remainder of John Huffman's term. Daniel Bonham of The Dalles was appointed with 39 of the 46 votes, with Redmond's Robert 'Bob' Perry and Jefferson County's Mae Huston splitting the remainder.
Bonham says he's looking forward to representing the diverse district. "I'm passionate, I'm energetic, I care about people, and I definitely think there's real issues that we face as a population, and I think we need both pragmatic and responsible solutions to those and I think it's going to take a diverse cross section of Oregonians with bright ideas that can truly sit down and listen to each other and create positive solutions for everybody."
Bonham says it was a short timeframe between deciding to apply and actually being chosen for the job. "It was a whirlwind. Ultimately super excited with the results and eager to get to work."
Even though he's a small business owner, husband, and father, Bonham says he's up to the challenge. "The businesses we own have managers in place that know what they're doing, responsible people that can get the job done. And then, a very supportive wife and kids who are excited about the opportunity and 100% behind me."
He will serve the remainder of Huffman's term and would be eligible to run for the position in November of 2018.
Bonham says he understands that District 59 has diverse issues, and he wants to be at the forefront of coming up with solutions. "Right now, I am in listening mode. I am going to be making my way around the District talking with the different County and City officials and trying to figure out what the District's needs are. Realistically, I need to hear from the folks in the District."
The other contenders for Huffman's seat were Redmond patriots founder Robert 'Bob' Perry and Mae Huston, a Jefferson County commissioner.
LA PINE, OR -- The body of a La Pine man was discovered by elk hunters near Davis Lake, Sunday afternoon.
Gary Humbard was reported missing in September. His pickup was discovered near Davis Lake about a week later but several search efforts were unsuccessful. The body was found less than a mile from where Humbard's truck was parked. Based on evidence located at the scene, the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office identified the remains as 61-year-old Humbard.
BEND, OR -- Despite recent high-profile reports, workplace sexual harassment isn't limited to Hollywood and Washington, D.C. It's happening in Central Oregon, too. Local Employment Attorney Geoffrey Chackel says there is a lot of confusion, right now, for both business owners and employees. Although, he admits, most supervisors understand they can’t make a sexual relationship a condition of employment. "That’s called ‘quid pro quo harassment,’ and that’s the type that people readily understand. It’s the hostile work environment harassment – the second form of sexual harassment – that people are struggling with. They don’t understand that it’s a form of unlawful gender discrimination."
In the past month, Chackel's Bend office
has seen about a 25% increase in calls from both supervisors and workers concerned they've been involved in potentially illegal actions or conversations. "They’re calling and asking, ‘Gosh; what’s going on? What can I do? Can I get ahead of this? Can we do a training?’ because people’s eyes have been opened up and they’re starting to see and hear conduct in the workplace that previously may not have alarmed them." He tells KBND News, "You see this nationally – it’s called the ‘Weinstein Effect.’ Women are feeling more empowered. Whether it’s a legitimate legal issue or not isn’t really the point. Some of them are, some of them aren’t. A single isolated comment, or even a few isolated comments, are not enough under Oregon or federal law to constitute sexual harassment." He says in some cases, the full workplace culture needs to be considered.
"I have nervous clients who just aren’t sure if they’re in compliance and they want to know what to do. Or, maybe they’ve seen some red flags." Chackel believes the best defense is a good offense, with supervisor training and investigating incidents as soon as they’re reported. He also practices in California and says cases he's worked in Los Angeles should be used as an example of how to tackle the problem here. "Things I saw were amazing. I mean, they blew me away. I could not believe some of the cases I handled; it would make you blush. But, in California, they have mandatory training for supervisors if you have 50 or more employees. Oregon doesn’t have that requirement."
Photo: (Clockwise from upper left) Film Producer Harvey Weinstein, Newsman Charlie Rose, Actor Kevin Spacey, GOP Senate Candidate Roy Moore, Democratic Sen. Al Franken, Comedian Louis C.K. all face allegations of inappropriate and potentially illegal conduct.
TERREBONNE, OR -- The Deschutes County Sheriff’s office is looking for a Terrebonne man who allegedly ran from a car chase, Monday morning.
A Deputy attempted to pull over a car for a traffic violation at about 9:45 a.m., near Lower Bridge Way. The driver failed to stop and eventually turned on to BLM land where the car high centered on a rock. Despite an extensive search by multiple agencies and two K9 units, the driver wasn’t found.
Investigators worked throughout the day and determined 34-year-old David Stryffeler was the driver. He has a felony outstanding warrant. The investigation is ongoing; anyone with information on Stryffeler's whereabouts is asked to contact the Sheriff's Office at 541-693-6911.
BEND, OR -- A Redmond man was hurt in a rollover crash, Monday morning, and the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office is looking for the second vehicle involved.
Investigators say 20-year-old Cody Bean was southbound on Butler Market when a dark colored passenger car turned in front of him at Hamby Road, just before 10 a.m. Bean swerved to avoid a collision and lost control of his pickup. It rolled, trapping him inside. He was extricated by Bend Fire personnel and later taken to the hospital with unknown injuries.
Anyone with information on the second vehicle, or who may have witnessed the incident, is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at 541-693-6911; Reference case # 17-359048.
BEND, OR -- A bicyclist was killed in a car crash near downtown Bend. It happened Monday at about 11:15 a.m., on the corner of Olney and Wall, across from Pioneer Park.
Lt. Clint Burleigh spoke with KBND News shortly after the incident and says, "We are in the middle of just trying to piece some of this stuff together, and figure out what happened. It's still pretty dynamic." He released few details, "It was a bicycle versus a small semi truck with one trailer on it, and unfortunately, it was pretty tragic, and the bicyclist is deceased."
Roads in the area of the crash were closed for about four hours to allow for the investigation.
UPDATE: Bend Police released more detailsTuesday afternon, on Monday's fatal crash. Investigators believe a Fed Ex semi, driven by 51-year-old Trenton Sage of Terrebonne, was northbound on Wall Street when he attempted to turn east onto Olney. The truck collided with the bike in the intersection, just east of Wall. Jonathan Adams, a 31-year-old Bend man, was killed. The investigation continues and Police have not yet determined who was at fault.
REDMOND, OR -- The historic Redmond Depot finally has a potential buyer. Redmond City Manager Keith Witcosky says the deal with Staffenson Resources LLC is for them to purchase the Depot for $250,000, and still make it available for the City to use.
He says Staffenson won't be able to change much about the building. "By being on the historic register, it means that, basically, the outside of the building and what you can see from the outside, really can't change. So, you've got to maintain the stone, you can't build a fence in front of it so somebody can't see it, you can't add clutter to the roof. Inside, the building, the historic elements aren't as significant, but on the outside, you're very limited in what you can do."
Witcosky says the doors to the Depot will always be open, with literature available from the Chamber of Commerce and other historical organizations, to let visitors learn about Redmond's past whenever they visit, and Witcosky says what's important about this sale is that the Depot, though transferring into private ownership, should still seem to be owned by the citizens of Redmond. "They're always going to have the ability to go into the Depot. Their friends and family come to town and want to see some of the important history associated with Redmond, the Depot's going to be able to be on that tour. The front door is always going to be open, the Chamber is going to highlight it, so I think that the Council struck a good balance between getting a building back in use, but also maintaining it as an important historical resource."
The Redmond Depot was built in 1911 and was moved to its current location to make room for the Highway 97 reroute in 2004. Formerly home to the Red Dog Depot restaurant, it's sat empty since 2012.
BEND, OR -- Several schools in the Bend LaPine District are slated to receive security feature upgrades over the next two years.
The Elementary Schools affected are High Lakes, Lava Ridge, Pine Ridge, Ponderosa, William E. Miller, and Westside Village Magnet at Kingston.
Other schools on the list to receive upgrades are Sky View Middle School and Summit High school.
The design phase determining what the secure lobby upgrades will be is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2017.
The retrofits will be paid for out of the School Bond that was passed by voters last May. In addition, the bond will pay for the building of the new elementary school that will be located near OB Riley and Cooley Roads in NE Bend and the new High School, to be located at the corner of 15th and Knott Road in SE Bend.
BEND, OR -- Bend Fire crews responded to a small brush fire in a vacant lot, early Monday morning, that started several "spot fires" near Pilot Butte.
The first firefighters on scene near 12th and Hawthorne discovered flames in brush and a Ponderosa pine pushed by high winds, at about 3:30 a.m. They called for additional units, including a brush engine and water tender. Crews held the fire at about a half acre. The cause is undetermined.
BEND, OR -- The latest statewide population study reveals what most Central Oregonians already know: the region continues to grow. "There’s demographers at Portland State that estimate population based on building permits, based on building permits and a whole formula. And they do that every year," says Bend City Manager Eric King, "So, Bend’s population based on their estimate was 86,700-something, and that’s about a 3.9% increase, year over year." In fact, according to PSU's Population Research Center, Bend has over 3,200 more people than a year ago and now has a population near 86,800.
King wasn’t surprised by the numbers. "It just confirms what we all sometimes – you know, there’s the anecdotal information and there’s the actual data. And, those two things match up." He tells KBND News the data is important for planning future infrastructure, housing and other needs. "Our population forecast and all the land that we have available, and the infrastructure that serves that land, it’s all based on basically a 2030 forecast of 130,000 folks. And, we’re on track to meet that."
Deschutes County was the fastest growing county in Oregon, with a 3.6% increase over last year. Crook county came in second with 2.4% growth. Oregon's statewide population has now topped 4.1 million; mainly from people moving in from out of state.
MADRAS, OR -- A Madras man was cited for bringing a deer infected with Chronic Wasting Disease into Oregon. A Montana hunter harvested a deer that tested positive for the disease, last week - the first in that state. CWD is a neurological disease that Fish and Wildlife is trying to keep out of Oregon.
The Madras man, who is related to the Montana hunter, brought the deer to Oregon where it was butchered. Oregon State Troopers recovered some parts that were disposed of locally, but others went to a landfill and couldn’t be recovered. Experts say they're safe since they’ll be covered with other garbage.
ODFW considers CWD one of the most devastating wildlife diseases in America. Anyone who sees or harvests a sick deer or elk should report it to the ODFW Wildlife Health Lab at 866-968-2600. Hunters interested in having their deer or elk tested for CWD can make an appointment with a local ODFW office
CROOKED RIVER RANCH, OR -- Central Oregon Drug Enforcement (CODE) team members discovered a Butane Honey Oil lab in Crooked River Ranch while searching a neighboring property for heroin and meth. In the first search, last week, police arrested 41-year-old Justin Hamilton (pictured), who lives at the Buckskin Lane home. He faces numerous drug charges, as well as being a felon in possession of a firearm. Detectives say they found a small amount of meth, heroin, digital scales and cash, as well as a handgun.
Brandon Darrow, of Redmond, was also arrested. He arrived at Hamilton's house while police were executing the search warrant. He's charged with frequenting a place where drugs are used. Both men were taken to the Jefferson County Jail.
During that investigation, Detectives learned of the BHO lab next door, and found Kailey Berg hiding in that house. Berg has not been charged in the ongoing investigation, and her case will be referred to the District Attorney's office.
(Sisters, OR) -- Oregon's camel incident is over but it took a little effort by Descutes County authorities. Sheriff's deputies got a call the day before yesterday about the animal walking around near the high desert town of Sisters. They managed to corral it relatively easily and say it was pretty good-natured about the whole thing. To make things even more smooth, there just so happened to be someone in the area who had experience with camels, and that helped get a halter on it. Its owner had brought the animal from Bend on a visit to a friend and the camel is doing just fine.
REDMOND, OR -- On Monday, Commissioners from the four counties that make up House District 59 will appoint a candidate to finish out the remainder of Representative John Huffman's term.
Robert 'Bob' Perry of Redmond, who is known for being the founder of the Redmond Patriots and active in the Deschutes County Republican Party, explained the replacement process, now that Huffman has resigned. "Precinct committee folks of the Republican Party, from everyone in District 59, which is the northern part of Deschutes, Wasco, Wheeler, and Jefferson Counties, they got together on November 11 and they selected three people who could be considered by County Commissioners from the four counties, and the County Commissioners are actually the ones who are doing the voting or selecting one person from the three applicants."
Perry withdrew his name from consideration yesterday and expressed his hope that the Commissioners will appoint Daniel Bonham of the Dalles, who along with Mae Huston of Jefferson County, remains in the running to represent District 59. "I've decided to support Daniel Bonham of The Dalles. I believe that Daniel will provide a fresh voice for this District in the legislature, I'm very impressed with his moral compass and his ability to communicate. Now, Daniel is 40 years young and I see that as a real benefit for the Republican Party and the legislature needs some youth and vigor to more effectively communicate our common sense conservative message."
According to Perry, the Commissioners who are tasked with naming the alternate will be making their decision soon. "On Monday, the County Commissioners from the four counties that are involved in District 59 will sit down at 11:00 in the Jefferson County Courthouse and they will make the final selection of who will fill out the rest of John Huffman's term."
He says making the decision on Monday is paramount. "If they don't come up with a decision, what happens is, Kate Brown, our Governor, will make the decision for us, which I don't think anybody wants to have happen."
Whomever is chosen to take over Huffman's term, will serve until November of 2018 when they will be eligible for election to the post.
REDMOND, OR -- Redmond officials continue to discuss the possibility of imposing a six dollar monthly public safety fee, "To bring on board six officers," says Mayor George Endicott, "So, some would go on patrol duty, some would be specialized into things like some of our task forces."
Endicott believes adding the additional charge to monthly utility bills, the Redmond Police Department could help an understaffed police department. He tells KBND News, "Our crime rates are not the best in Oregon, and a lot of that is drug driven. So, some of these folks that are the new officers that will come on board will be dealing with that project in particular. We also don’t have enough officers on duty during the day for traffic and those sorts of things, so we’ll add an officer to each of the shifts if Council goes ahead and approves it."
The first of a series of public meetings took place this week, which drew about 40 people. Mayor Endicott says there was, "A lot of input, a lot of interest – as you’re always going to get, a couple of people want no fee- no tax. Overall, I think that staff did an excellent job – and Lt. Chambers from the police department – in talking about the need and why it’s a fee instead of property tax, that sort of thing." So far, the fee is still just a proposal, "That’s what we’re trying to decide. I’m not sure we really have the answer yet. I mean, I don’t want to pay it either. We just have to keep watching and, is it so necessary that Council is willing to vote in the fee?"
Two more community feedback open house sessions are scheduled:
Tuesday, December 5 at 5:30 p.m.
Monday, January 22 at 5:30 p.m.
Both take place at Redmond's City Hall and include a presentation and question/answer session. Mayor Endicott expects Council will vote on the proposal by spring.
BEND, OR -- Bend voters could be asked in May to renew an operating levy for the fire department. Deputy Fire Chief Bill Boos told City Councilors this week a recent survey of 600 residents showed broad support for the department, "60% of those people said, ‘yes, we do excellent service;’ 21% just below excellent. The one piece I think we were kind of shocked about, only 1% said we did a poor job. If you think about government, we thought it was going to be higher than that."
Voters approved a five-year levy in 2014, imposing a property tax of 20 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. City Manager Eric King says a approval of a new ballot measure would extend the levy another five years, "What’s being proposed is to keep that levy at the same rate it is currently. So, there’s not an increase in taxes or anything; it’s just to continue to maintain it." He believes there is community support throughout the fire district, "So, as part of that survey, we asked the very question that we would ask of voters, and the result was over 70% in the rural district and over 80% approval in the city." He tells KBND News, "Voters approved that levy to provide additional staffing and that additional staffing helped to improve response times and ultimately resulted in a major improvement in cardiac survivability. So, we went from 20% chance of surviving cardiac arrest, to 70% chance."
King acknowledges the current levy doesn’t expire until 2019; but, he says it’s important an extension request be sent to voters a year early, "In case it doesn’t pass, we want to have a year to plan through that." He expects City Councilors will decide on a ballot resolution in mid-December.
To listen to our full conversation with City Manager Eric King, click HERE or visit our Podcast Page.
BEND, OR -- Four candidates vying for the top job at one of Bend’s new small high schools will take part in a community forum Friday afternoon. The educators applying for the principal job at the school slated to open next fall are:
Michael Franklin, assistant principal at Bend's Mountain View High School,
Brad Linn, principal at Clackamas Web Academy,
Linda O’Shea, former principal at an arts and tech school in Eugene and
Dr. Phillip Pearson, principal of Corbett High
Friday's forum starts at 4:15 p.m. at the Bend-La Pine Schools Education Center at 520 NW Wall Street. Attendees will see presentations from and interact with each candidate.
BEND, OR -- Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel launched a new countywide initiative Thursday, designed to help low-level drug offenders get addiction treatment instead of jail time. Hummel calls it Goldilocks, "We're going to find the intervention that's just right for each suspect. We're not going to be too hot or too cold."
Hummel says trying something new can be risky, but he feels the county has nowhere to go but up because the current system isn't working. "Somebody who's suffering from addiction, how do we get them into treatment? With 15 court hearings over a year's time; it took too long to get that person into treatment. Now with a drug dealer, at the end of a case when they only get 30 days in jail, we say, 'that wasn't tough enough.'" He says Goldilocks does away with the typical criminal justice response that treats all suspects the same. "Anyone who wants to defend the status quo needs to look at those recidivism rates. Because, with some exceptions - the family drug court being a notable exception - we need to do better. And, I'm confident that the medical system know how to improve people's health better than the criminal justice system."
He says eligible offenders are given the option participate in a diversion program and in some cases could receive addiction treatment at a local community health center. Law enforcement will help identify eligible suspects who will be offered a chance to attend an orientation for the "Clean Slate" level of the program. "If they show up, their court hearing is removed from the docket and at that point, the person is in the medical system; they're out of the criminal justice system. When they're in the medical system, they have to participate in their care and not get arrested for a new crime. If they participate and don't get arrested, at the end of a year, the case is gone for good. If they pick up a new charge, that person has indicated that they need a little more incentive to get the help they need. So, we will then prosecute." That traditional prosecution model is the second level of Goldilocks. For the third level, Hummel says he will seek the maximum sentence for those charged with a commercial drug offense or for selling to a minor.
Goldilocks is a collaborative effort between the D.A., local law enforcement agencies, drug treatment centers and community health clinics in Bend and La Pine. Hummel says for now, it's just a trial program, "If we see a significant reduction in recidivism rates, meaning people who go through this program re-offend at a significantly lower rate than people who go through the criminal justice system, than it's a success; then we're going to keep doing it, then we're going to look to expand it, then we're going to hope other communities also adopt it. If it doesn't work, then we're not going to keep doing it." Deschutes County received a grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation's Safety & Justice Challenge, as well as funding from the Bureau of Justice Assistance and the Association for Prosecuting Attorneys. Grants are for six months, but Hummel would like to try Goldilocks for at least two years before determining whether it's successful.
Photos: (top) Deschutes County D.A. John Hummel explains the Goldilocks program, with Sheriff Shane Nelson
(right) Eligible offenders are given a "Clean Slate" card explaining the program.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- A Prineville man faces charges of Luring a Minor and Online Sexual Corruption of a Child, following a month-long investigation. Prineville Police received information in October that 31-year-old Patrick James Adams was sending explicit photos and trying to lure girls from the Prineville area, through social media.
Officers executed a search warrant on his home this week and found items linking Adams to the crimes. Investigators believe he may have had multiple online interactions with underage girls. Juveniles who have had contact with Adams are encouraged to contact police at 541-447-4168.
BEND, OR -- Central Oregon Irrigation District plans to begin piping 3,000 feet of its main canal west from the Brookswood Bridge, in southwest Bend.
COID's ShanRae Hawkins says this move will not only benefit the ecology of the Deschutes River, but also the residents of the area. "Piping canals is a really important part of the irrigation system. When we have open canal systems, we lose about 50% of the water that's coming in off the Deschutes River to evaporation and leakage. And so, by piping the canals, we're able to conserve a significant amount of water and all of these conservation efforts directly benefit the wildlife." But, conserving five cubic feet of water per second won't be the only benefit of the piping project, according to Hawkins. "The pipe is going to be buried, and we're going to build trails over the top of it, we're working with Bend Parks and Rec, and so people won't even realize that they're walking over the top of a piped canal. And so, aesthetically, it's going to be very appealing, and it's a great partnership between Bend Parks and Rec and Central Oregon Irrigation District and we're excited to have a great new trail system that really hasn't existed in the past."
Hawkins tells KBND News, "The projected start date is December to January. The process of getting the contractor lined up and getting the pipe in will really dictate when we start the process. Certainly, if we have a really heavy snowfall this winter like we had last year, it could slow the process down, but the project will be completed by the end of March of 2018 because we have to have the system back up and running in time for irrigation season which starts in April." During construcition, stock runs will not take place, and COID is working with local agriculturalists to ensure they still get the monthly water they require.
Piping this portion of the canal will cost approximately $5 million, with funding provided by a grant from the Bureau of Reclamation, a loan from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, and in-kind services and cash contributions from COID.
REDMOND, OR -- As the holiday season approaches, more people will be using the Redmond Airport to travel, and parking their cars for long periods could lead to a parking shortage.
The Redmond Airport Director, Zach Bass, says while they await the completion of their expansion plans, they have a solution to assist travelers with their parking needs. "On the FlyRDM website, every thirty minutes, we're going to be posting how many parking spots are currently available in the parking lot. We'll be doing that for 24 hours a day during the holiday season. And so basically, you click on it, you see that there's 150 spots open, you probably should feel pretty good about having a parking spot, but if you see 20 or 30, depending on the time of day, you may want to make alternate ways to get to the airport."
There will also be a priority line to help those who are Pre-TSA and some other members to move more quickly through the screening line.
Bass says more people travel during the holidays, which can make for longer wait times and some frustration. "What we're seeing, and what we have seen for the last few years, is pretty exponential growth each year and when we built the terminal and we built the parking lot about ten years ago, we built for growth, but we're starting to see that we're meeting that capacity. We are expecting or anticipating to run out of parking spots."
Bass is also suggesting travelers arrive at the Redmond Airport two hours before their scheduled flight during the holiday season, instead of the more typical hour and an half.
BEND, OR -- A Bend man is accused of stealing at least 10 coats since 2015; police say 51-year-old Mark Mahoney admitted to taking the coats for sexual gratification.
Bend Police began investigating the thefts after receiving a theft report from a Central Oregon Community College student, November 7. She said someone stole her coat from inside the Barber Library. Police contacted COCC Public Safety, which reported thefts from the library had been taking place since November 2015. Some cases were reported to BPD, some to COCC, and some were reported to both agencies.
Campus Public Safety identified Mahoney as a suspect in all of the thefts. He was contacted at his southeast Bend home on November 8, where Bend Police recovered several stolen coats, including the one reported taken November 7. Another coat was reported stolen from OSU-Cascades in April. Officers also say Mahoney stole two coats from the same victim, on two separate occasions, while she was inside Barber Library.
Mahoney was arrested and charged with Theft II, and Criminal Mischief II. Bend PD asks other potential victims or anyone else with information in the case to call 541-693-6911.
BEND, OR -- An inmate in a Georgia prison is accused of posing as law enforcement in a scam targeting Deschutes County residents. Since late 2015, The Sheriff’s Office has investigated reports of calls threatening victims with arrest, saying they failed to appear for jury duty or had an outstanding warrant.
Investigators say 42-year-old Jay Baron Wright, and possibly other inmates, used a contraband cell phone inside Jimmy Autry State Prison. They allegedly accessed websites to identify contact information for potential fraud victims, then called them, posing as a Deschutes County Deputy.
The Deschutes County Sheriff's Office says several residents fell for the scam and provided account information for pre-paid cash cards to pay "fines." Wright then allegedly turned the information over to two South Carolina women, who laundered the money and transferred it back to Wright and possibly other inmates. Jay Baron Wright (pictured, left) who is now at Georgia's Calhoun State Prison, 24-year-old Christine Wright (center) and 43-year-old Barbara Lynn Clayton (right) were indicted Wednesday for Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud.
During the investigation, Detectives found additional victims in Colorado, Kentucky and Virginia. Local investigators from DCSO and State Police worked with law enforcement in South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, Kentucky and Colorado, due to the complexity of the case. The investigation is ongoing and more indictments and arrests are expected. Victims of the "warrant" scam who have not yet reported a loss are urged to call Sgt. Kent VanderKamp at 541-693-6911.
BEND, OR -- Oregon State University released its Master Plan for expansion of the Bend campus, Wednesday night. Christine Coffin, with OSU-Cascades, says it’s the result of two years of talking with area residents and students about how the school should grow.
Coffin tells KBND News public feedback revealed a desire that matched that of school leaders: a campus that's less traditional and more integrated into the surrounding area. "So, that means, in terms of the natural areas that the campus might provide – the trails to walk and bike through, meeting spaces that might be offered as part of the campus, and gathering spaces for the public; dining facilities that would be open as restaurants for community members, too." It also includes recreation fields and parking, as well as academic residential and research space. Coffin adds, "One additional aspect of the 128-acre campus is the Innovation District area. It would integrate commercial, retail and industry partnerships; so it might be where some of our faculty researchers partner area tech companies to advance their work – both the company’s work and the faculty researchers’ work. And, it’s an opportunity to engage students in that work."
The plan outlines development of the former pumice mine
and demolition landfill
adjacent to the existing 10-acre campus, to reach the goal of eventually serving as many as 5,000 students. "It’s a campus that we hope will be here for a century or more to come, and it’s going to be a slow process to build it out," says Coffin. "The next thing that community members will see will be the preparation of the land. Those are two very interesting sites – the pumice mine and the landfill – so, there’s a lot of work to do on the remediation of the landfill and some filling of the pumice mine, too." She expects another academic building and a student success center will be the next facilities built.
OSU-Cascades continues to gather community input, "We’ll have an online feedback form where community members can contribute their feedback up through November 29. By the end of the calendar year, the plan will get submitted to the city of Bend, and the city of Bend will then start its Master Plan process, which includes a public comment period, also." Click HERE to view the full Master Plan presentation and to submit feedback.
BEND, OR -- A lawyer, an economist, and a businessman will take on the topic of immigration in Central Oregon, Thursday.
COCC Economics Professor Jon Wolf believes that America and Central Oregon benefit from having immigrants as part of the community. "Interestingly enough, in Central Oregon, our total immigrant population is less than 10% of our community, and yet, from a policy perspective, we have jobs to fill, and jobs that aren't being filled by our local community. Then one perspective is, we'd be better off having an influx of a large number of individuals from any location."
Wolf joins attorney Micaela Guthrie of the Bend Immigration Group and JELD-WEN Vice President Wallace Dale Corwin at Thursday's City Club of Central Oregon forum.
Wolf says that from an economic standpoint, having immigrants in the workforce gives all residents more choices. "If you can choose to do one job or another, and that leaves a job vacant, then I think that the business industry has to understand that they have to look for alternatives. If the job that's available is beneath somebody's skill set, it may not be beneath somebody else's skill set, so we find the labor necessary to do the work."
Thursday's City Club luncheon takes place at the Riverhouse on the Deschutes Convention Center from 11:15am to 1pm.
BEND, OR -- Three healthcare experts answered questions at a forum Tuesday evening about the current medical system, possible changes, and the importance of dialogue.
Joe Sluka, President and CEO of St. Charles Health System, Dr. Stephen Mann, President of High Lakes Health Care, and Lindsey Hopper, VP of Medicaid Programs for Pacific Source, made up the panel.
After brief introductions, the panelists answered questions submitted by the audience that ranged in topic from increasing costs and appropriate allocation to the current chaos of repeal and replace. When asked to explain one of healthcare's main problems, St. Charles' Joe Sluka said, "So, healthcare is too expensive. It's 28% of the federal budget. Now, to put it in another perspective, the highest cost raw material of a car made in Japan is steel, but the highest cost raw material of a car made in America is health care."
The evening's moderator was long-time Bend resident and health care expert, Jim Lussier, who likened the need to reform healthcare to growing up in the sixties and America's success at being first to reach the goal of walking on the moon. "When we have a focus on something, we're able to pull it off, in America. We're not that focused on healthcare, and it's going to take a lot of small steps, but it's going to take some big ones, as well."
Dr. Mann, a Primary Care Physician, made a case for a long-term relationship between doctors and patients. "The areas in multiple studies find that the more money that is put in primary care, in any health system, the better the access, the higher the satisfaction for the patient, and the higher the satisfaction for the professionals who are caring for them."
He says In Central Oregon, only 8% of overall medical funding is spent on primary care, as opposed to up to 30% in other nearby markets.
Medicaid expert, Lindsey Hopper, says that without conversation and attempting to find solutions together, no one will be adequately served by the healthcare system. "We also need to talk about how we get to be where we are in life, and how that changes how we use the healthcare system and what we expect from it. So, when it's highly expensive and it's really personal and it's really polarizing, it's hard to have a dialogue that gets us to a place of compromise."
Tuesday night's event was hosted by the Bend Chamber of Commerce as part of their "What's Brewing?" series.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- The Great American Smokeout is Thursday, to encourage smokers to kick the habit. It's also the day a new rule takes effect in Crook County, requiring tobacco retailers to post the contact information for the state’s quit line. County Tobacco Prevention and Education Coordinator Kris Williams says the timing is purely coincidental, "The County Court passed the ordinance in August – August 16th, actually." Unless deemed an emergency, ordinances take effect 90 days after approval, which puts it on November 16.
Williams tells KBND News the new rule is in response to public feedback, "We had done in our community a couple of surveys, recently, and one of them was of adult tobacco users. And, 50% of those smokers indicated that they were interested in quitting." She says most businesses reported they would to voluntarily post the information. However, "We found that there were a few retailers who were parts of chain stores that were not able to post anything in their stores unless it was a law."
There are about two dozen tobacco retailers in Crook County. The cessation help information will be posted with new state issued signs at the point of sale. "Currently, the state of Oregon requires tobacco retailers to post a sign that says, ‘the sale of tobacco products, smoking instruments and inhalant delivery systems to person under 21 years of age is prohibited by law.’ Just as part of that posting, we also put on there the Oregon Tobacco Quit Line
information." Oregon's "Tobacco 21 Law" limiting sales to those over 21, goes into effect January first.
More than 60 Crook County residents die each year as a direct result of tobacco use.
BEND, OR -- The Bend-La Pine School board got an early look at the proposed location for the district's new elementary school at Tuesday night's board meeting. The new 600-seat school could be built near the intersection of O.B. Riley Road and Cooley Road on the north end of Bend.
District officials have said the new facility is needed to balance enrollment and ease overcrowding in existing schools.
It's set to open as early as fall 2019.
Renderings are conceptual and are meant for illustrative purposes only.
REDMOND, OR -- A section of Downtown Redmond is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Community Development Director Kate Porsche says the district includes 43 buildings mainly along SW Sixth Street, between Forest and Cascade avenues. "We’ve got this really great collection of historic buildings in the downtown core; many of them from the ‘30s." Porsche has worked on the designation request since spring.
The area is said to reflect the economic and commercial growth the city experienced from its founding in 1910 to 1960. It was formally listed by the Keeper of the National Register on October 30 and is Redmond’s second historic district
. The registry is managed by the National Park Service.
Photo: SW Sixth Street, looking south from Cascade Ave.
BEND, OR -- Democrats hoping to unseat Congressman Greg Walden in 2018 took part in a forum Monday, in Bend. Eric Burnette, Jamie McLeod-Skinner, Jim Crary, Michael Byrne and Tim White are vying for the Democratic nomination for the Second Congressional District. A sixth candidate, Ross Wordhouse, withdrew from the race during his opening statement Monday evening.
Candidates covered a wide range of topics, including federal land use and taxes. When asked whether Rep. Walden should feel safe because District Two is traditionally Republican, Jamie McLeod-Skinner said, "It's about holding Greg Walden accountable for what he hasn't done. He's going to lose on the healthcare issue because individuals across the district, including Republicans who have never voted for a Democrat, have told me to my face that they will not vote for him again."
Michael Byrne, a former Mt. Hood Mountain Rescue Volunteer, answered questions about healthcare. He told the crowd, "When I'm elected, the first thing I'm going to do in Congress is co-sponsor House Resolution 667, and get the ball rolling. The models are already out there. Whether you look at Japan or you look at Germany, which is a mix of private and public health systems." Eric Burnette, of Hood River, agreed the system needs to be fixed, "The litmus test for me is not 'Medicare for all,' it's 'Healthcare for all.' Any discussion we have has to start with that. We can't leave anybody out."
Jim Crary, a veteran and avid hunter from the Ashland area, was asked about the Second Amendment. "I don't call it gun control, I call it gun safety. I am not adverse to somebody owning a firearm for self defense, or for hunting." Tim White of Bend also addressed the issue, "It's not so much about rights. It's about a 14 billion dollar a year industry, okay? The NRA consists of about 5 million members. Why does 5 million people get to set policy for the other 295 million people?"
Monday's event was hosted by Indivisible Bend, the College Democrats of Oregon, and Vocal Seniority. It was moderated by Bend City Councilor Dr. Nathan Boddie, who is also campaigning for higher office as a Democrat in 2018. He plans to run for the Oregon House District 54 seat currently occupied by Dr. Knute Buehler (R-Bend). Buehler is giving up his seat to run for Governor.
BEND, OR -- With more snow in the forecast for this week, Mt. Bachelor announced Tuesday it would open for the 2017-2018 winter season on Saturday, November 18. The ski hill's Drew Jackson says, in addition to new runs and different activity sites this year, there's also new technology available, "It's real important to check our website conditions page before you head up; you can see what the actual weather is doing. There's a web-camera there, so you can see for yourself. And, new this year, ODOT has installed a camera along Century Drive, just close to Mt. Bachelor. So, for the first time ever, you'll be to see what the road conditions look like before you come."
Jackson tells KBND News, there will be plenty of new runs and old favorites for snow enthusiasts, this year. "If you haven't been to Mt. Bachelor in a while, you're certainly going to notice the new CloudChaser lift and all the new runs and terrain around that, over on the east side of the mountain, the weather-protected side of the mountain. It opened last winter. We've made improvements this winter, though, so even if you skied it last year, some of the runs will still feel new and different this year."
This fall brought over seven feet of snow, condensing to a base depth of 24" to 36". Jackson says the deeper-than-normal snowpack is leading to the resort opening sooner than the typical Thanksgiving weekend start. Conditions permitting, Pine Marten, Skyliner and Sunshine Accelerator lifts will operate from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nordic trails are also scheduled to open this weekend.
REDMOND, OR -- Redmond Fire crews were kept busy Monday, with two gas line breaks caused by excavation equipment. The first occurred at 8 a.m. near NW 23rd and Hemlock. Cascade Natural Gas quickly contained the leak. However, a few hours later, the same crews were called to a much more serious leak.
The second incident, near SE Deschutes and Franklin, forced the evacuation of several homes and businesses and roads were closed for four hours while the gas company worked to restore service to 30 customers. The area reopened at about 5 p.m.
BEND, OR -- The calendar may say winter is more than a month away, but the Oregon Department of Transportation started winter operations, Monday, in the High Desert. ODOT Assistant District Manager Jim Scholtes says traffic cameras are now outfitted with infrared capabilities so road conditions can be assessed at night, even in the most remote locations. "We may only have one truck that’s going to take care of Highway 20 from Brothers, all the way to basically Burns. So, which way does he need to go? So, we’ve got cameras that are up on Horse Ridge, if he has to come back and go west, if it’s snowing there. Or, we have cameras all the way out to Hampton. So, that way, he can make an informed decision on which direction he wants to go." Crews are now scheduled for near round-the-clock coverage, and they've already been out de-icing chronic trouble spots, like Lava Butte, over the past couple weeks.
ODOT has expanded its Incident Response program in Central Oregon, just in time for winter. Incident Response Specialist David Moyer tells KBND News they help drivers stranded on the side of the road, whether from a crash or simply needing help chaining up. It’s work that used to be done by snow plow drivers. "So, it keeps that snow plow on the road longer, so they’re not having to be outside their vehicle. Maybe if it’s a crash, we might be there for two hours. Well, if that snow plow guy is sitting there for two hours, that’s one loop of 12’ of highway that’s not getting plowed."
Moyer says last winter's extreme weather taught crews a lot about the importance of being prepared. "You have to anticipate the long days. Last year, it was just day after day after day after day after day; and, you know, making sure everyone gets the rest. That’s the biggest thing with our folks, is trying to get them rested because they’ll go and go and go and go." He adds, "I’m not ready for another one. But, I mean, who is – right? I think people are more prepared this year; I’d hope that they’re more prepared, just because of what happened last year. It’s one of those things – Mother Nature is just going to throw at us what she throws at us and all I can say is, please take the time to be prepared." He says that preparation includes winter tires, extra windshield wipers and be ready to slow down when things get slick.
Last year, ODOT spent about $4.5 million on winter operations, including plowing, de-icing and trucking out the massive amount of snow that crowded Central Oregon roads. Jim Scholtes says this year’s budget is again $2.7 million, which is what the agency plans for each winter.
PHOTOS: (Top) An Incident Response crew assists at a crash on Highway 97 in Bend.
(Right) ODOT Dispatchers monitor traffic cameras around the region.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- Crook County investigators say they recovered a stolen ATV and other evidence linking a Prineville man to multiple thefts, following a two-month investigation.
Law enforcement executed a search warrant Monday at a home on NW Edwards Road, north of Prineville. Along with the ATV, they found stolen car parts connecting 25-year-old Tyler Shinkle (left) to crimes in Prineville and Redmond. Shinkle was already in custody on unrelated charges. In 2010, Shinkle was arrested for passing counterfeit money
in Bend, when he was 18.
William Wilson (right), who lives at the Edwards Road home, was arrested for his alleged involvement in a September police chase. The 34-year-old is accused of operating the stolen ATV during a chase with an Oregon State Police Game Trooper. The Crook County Sheriff's Office says 23-year-old Kayly Smith and her child were home at the time of Monday's raid; she was cited for forgery and coercion.
BEND, OR -- While Veterans Day signals a long holiday weekend for most, it hasn't typically been a very busy time for tourists in Central Oregon.
Kevney Dugan, CEO of Visit Bend, says this year was different. "Late August, early September, just the smoke and wildfires, I think it just put a damper on things for awhile and I think people just kind of changed travel plans and we felt that impact through the beginning of October, and so it's nice to feel that rebound happening. October performed pretty well and we're starting to feel that happen again. The hope is that people are getting excited about winter and skiing coming upon us and early snows and things feel good."
Dugan says, in addition to the activities enjoyed over Veteran's weekend, this November is Bend's Ale Trail Month, with several runs and events for residents and visitors to enjoy. "This time of year has always been a little bit of a weird one. What is the weather going to be like and what's going on? The whole month of November is Bend Ale Trail Month, which gave us a new campaign to kind of go out there with some sort of programming and we're starting to see growth in Veteran's Weekend and that's been good to see."
In addition to the runs and events taking place later this month for Bend Ale Trail, Dugan says the number of visitors to Central Oregon will continue to rise as the snow falls.
BEND, OR -- The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says there’s a high likelihood a La Niña weather pattern will persist through winter; a warning that has many Central Oregonians bracing for another year of heavy snow.
Marilyn Lohmann is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Pendleton. She tells KBND News that Central Oregon's climate is deeply impacted by water temperatures off the west coast of South America. "When there’s a warming of those temperatures, it’s called an El Niño; when there’s a cooling of the temperatures, it’s called a La Niña. And, a lot of people are concerned because if you look back last year, we were in somewhat of a La Niña pattern and everyone remembers what the winter last year was like – a pretty brutal winter that we hadn’t seen in quite a while
." However, she says it's not typical for La Niña, "Each one of them is different. If we review a lot of the years, there’s no set pattern. A lot of the times, on the west side of the Cascades, the patterns are much clearer; but east of the Cascades, not so much."
"Based on the La Niña alone, we can say that there’s about a 65% chance of near to above-average snowfall," says Lohmann. "We should be looking for cooler than normal temperatures, and that’s especially indicated through the months of December, January and February – actually, more into the first part of the year; and, somewhat wetter than normal conditions, and those are general in the January-February timeframe, as well." Which means early 2018 could be similar to early 2017, although she stresses that's note a foregone conclusion. "In a La Niña year average, Bend itself gets 33” of snow. Snowfall in the past can range anywhere between 8.5”, in 2012-2013, up to the 63- almost 64” we saw last year. So, there’s kind of a difference sometimes in the amount of snowfall we get in any given La Niña." The good news: We're unlikely to experience drought conditions.
BEND, OR -- Special Olympics Oregon has announced the cancellation of this year's Winter Games in Bend. CEO Margie Hunt tells KGW-TV the nonprofit needs to save money after several years of explosive growth. In 2003, Special Olympics Oregon served 1200 athletes; today, Hunt says the number is closer to 14,000.
Winter Special Olympics include alpine and cross country skiing, snowshoeing and snowboarding. The organization pays to get about 200 athletes to Bend and covers food and lodging.
REDMOND, OR -- A Redmond retiree active in local politics is seeking the appointment to the District 59 House Seat, vacated last month by long-time State Representative John Huffmann (R-The Dalles).
Bob Perry spent 40 years in marketing, retiring as Director of Marketing for the Gillette Company. He served one four-year term on the Redmond School Board, beginning in 2011. And, since 2004, he's been a Precinct Committee Person for the Deschutes Republicans; he was elected Chair in 2015. In 2010, he founded the Redmond Patriots, serving as Chair for the last seven years.
The House seat Perry hopes to fill came available at the end of last month when Rep. Huffman resigned to take a position with the Trump Administration, within the Department of Agriculture. County Commissioners from Deschutes, Jefferson, Wheeler, and Wasco counties are charged with filling the open seat by the end of this month.
BEND, OR -- While most people honor veterans this weekend for their service, criminals focus attention on vets and their families for a different reason. "Unfortunately veterans and active-service military members are one of the most highly targeted groups by scammers," says Stephen Mayer, with the Oregon Better Business Bureau.
Mayer tells KBND News, "There’s many scams that scammers use to try to rip off veterans. One is, they’ll call you and say, ‘Hey, we’ve got to update your military file.’ They claim to be from the Department of Veterans Affairs and really what they’re doing is just phishing. They’re hoping you’ll give them you address, your Social Security number, you know, as much information as they can get."
He says the best scams have some truth to them; one claims that the victim qualifies for a lower VA mortgage rate, "They’ll call and say, ‘Hey, interest rates are incredibly low right now. We’d like to guarantee you a new interest rate. We want to refinance that loan for you.’ And, the second you hear the word ‘guarantee,’ that is a huge red flag.”
Criminals even pose as staff from the Veterans Choice program that helps connect rural vets with medical services, "Scammers have really exploited human error, and they’ve set up these fake telephone numbers that mimics the phone number used by this real program – the Veterans Choice Program. So, you think you’re getting a call from a legitimate organization, when in fact, you’re not. You’ve got to be really cautious with caller ID, these days." And, Mayer says false charities often try to take advantage of people’s emotions, around Veterans Day. He suggests checking Give.org
to make sure a nonprofit is legit before making a donation.
To hear our full conversation with Stephen Mayer from the BBB, visit our Podcast Page or click HERE.
BEND, OR -- This is the last weekend to visit two popular scenic areas by car - at least until spring. Access to Cascade Lakes Highway and Paulina Lake Road will close for the winter next Wednesday.
Deschutes County road crews will close Cascade Lakes Highway west of Mt. Bachelor, between the Dutchman Flat and Deschutes Bridge snow gates. Paulina Lake Road will close at the 10-mile snow park gate, restricting access to Paulina Lake and East Lake.
Both roads typically reopen by Memorial Day, weather permitting.
REDMOND, OR -- Deschutes County Commissioners heard from numerous neighbors, during a Wednesday public hearing, concerned about a marijuana operation proposed for the outskirts of Redmond. Evolution Concepts LLC wants to develop a 56-acre property near Highway 126 and Helmholtz, which would include four greenhouses and a processing facility.
Marijuana-related businesses are not allowed inside Redmond's Urban Growth Boundary (UGB); the proposed property is just west of that line. Redmond City Councilor Tory Allman says the business doesn't fit the values of the community. "This is located right at the western gateway to our community. I understand that right now it’s outside our UGB; it does border our Urban Reserve, so currently it’s governed by the county. But some of that land is scheduled for later residential development. We do not feel this would be an appropriate location for an operation like this at all." Mayor George Endicott also submitted a letter opposing the operation due to its proximity to churches and private schools.
Other neighbors testified about concerns over increased traffic, odor and water usage, including how the business' water needs could impact neighboring irrigators. Outside the irrigation season, the business plans to truck in water. Kay Sanborn has lived in the area for more than 40 years. She’s worried about how those water trucks and others connected to the business could bring more traffic to an already busy highway. "I have to make a left turn when I’m going west, to get on to our road. And, the speed limit is 55; people do not go 55. I turn my blinker on at approximately where that site will be, where they want to be, and I many times have to pump my brakes and I’m still afraid I’m going to get rear-ended." Monica Piett echoed that concern, saying it will increase congestion in an area known to be dangerous
. "Alfalfa continues to be an excellent example for the traffic impacts, as well, to residential areas, and the safety as well as the increased traffic accidents. So, this particular site in Redmond, there’s been at least one fatal accident, already, as well as numerous other accidents."
Other neighbors told Commissioners the operation will decrease property values and complained the owners are from out of the country. An attorney for the applicant assured the Board of Commissioners that they are local and want to be good neighbors by satisfying all land use and permit requirements.
Also Wednesday, Commissioners voted to allow a marijuana production facility on Goodrich Road, north of Highway 126 in Sisters. The Board said the applicant, Norma Tewalt, complied with all applicable sections of the county's code and asked staff to prepare the final approval documents.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- Prineville Police say they've caught a prolific car prowler, possibly responsible for a string of break-ins. Officers received seven reports of car break-ins, September 14, with more coming from outlying areas.
Evidence linked 53-year-old Martin Hollowell to the crimes, as well as to similar activity reported in Deschutes and Jefferson counties. The Bend man was arrested on an unrelated charge and car break-ins around Prineville dropped off.
After Hollowell was released on October 31, at least half a dozen more cars were broken into over the next two days. Again, evidence led investigators back to Hollowell.
He was arrested during a Monday traffic stop, and his car seized. Police executed a search warrant on the vehicle, Wednesday and discovered evidence connecting him to crimes in Prineville and Redmond. Hollowell faces dozens of charges in Crook County, including 13 counts of Unlawful Entry Into a Motor Vehicle and Meth Possession.
Anyone with additional information in these cases could contact Prineville PD at 541-447-4168.
SISTERS, OR -- Volunteers from the Sisters Rotary are teaming up with the Oregon Liquor Control Commission to help victims escape human trafficking.
Rotarian Hal Reitmeier says they'll stuff more than 12,000 envelopes Thursday, with letters and "Freedom" stickers that will then be sent to every Oregon business with an active liquor license. "They are encouraged to place the stickers on the interior of the bathroom doors, or the toilet doors. Those are the areas of privacy where the folks that are caught in this situation are by themselves, and they can see the sticker, which gives them a hotline number which to contact that can assist them in helping them get out of their situation."
According to Reitmeier, the "Freedom" sticker campaign is a joint project with the OLCC and has been successful, but human trafficking is far from being a thing of the past. "It is a major problem here, it's a major problem in the United States, but it's also a problem here locally, in Central Oregon. The [Highway] 97 corridor is a major route for trucking and other traffic, which unfortunately, is being used to convey young ladies that are trapped in situations they can't get out, and they are used for sex trafficking."
Reitmeier says the "Freedom" stickers, provided by the Bend-based nonprofit, In Our Backyard, are written in both English and Spanish, and carry the phone number for the National Human Trafficking Hotline, as well as other life-saving information.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- The Crook County Court unanimously approved a controversial Natural Resources Plan, Wednesday, following two days of public testimony.
Many of those opposed to the new policy
were frustrated the latest draft wasn’t released until Friday, giving them little time to review the large document before the first hearing. Judge Seth Crawford disagrees, "The plan’s been out there pretty much in its current form for at least a year, so I don’t agree with the fact that they didn’t have time. The changes that we made were very minimal; it just was changing some slight wording and legalese." He acknowledges some people were against the policy, but he tells KBND News it’s necessary. "The biggest thing I heard [at the public hearings] was that we were ‘taking over federal lands.’ And that’s not accurate at all; that’s not something that we’re trying to do. All we’re trying to do is work with the federal government and try and get to a place where we have healthier, more robust forests."
Judge Crawford has supported the Natural Resources Plan since it first came to a vote, last year
. It was voted down by the previous County Court; Crawford was the only "yes" vote. He says it's now time to move forward. "We’re going to work to find a coordinator that would be in charge of a committee that will review information and give ideas to the Court of which direction to head. There are a lot of questions about what’s that going to cost? And, what we need to figure out is, can we find somebody in a volunteer position that’s willing to do that? Or do we have to pay them? I’d like to spend the least amount of money as possible, but we also need to have a good product." He says that committee will then oversee the plan's implementation and develop priorities for future discussions with the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management.
BEND, OR -- Wildlife biologist Lauri Turner says visitors to local forests often don't realize the impact their presence has on the animals that live there.
She'll talk about that negative influence today, as part of the "Greatest Good" lecture series, at OSU Cascades. "Recreation use is increasing quite a bit. We are starting to see increased impacts out there. Most people think that because they're not in a motorized vehicle or snowmobile or motorcycle, that they don't have impacts, and so we're just trying to start the conversation, and educate people that, in fact, we all have impacts out there."
Turner believes it is possible to balance recreation and wildlife safety and says determining how best to do that starts with communication and education, because the impacts are so varied. "Displacement, habitat avoidance, trampling, garbage, dogs off leash, things like that, but most people don't see the animals, the animals may leave before they approach them, so they don't get to see what kind of impact they are having."
Turner uses Ryan Ranch Meadow as an example where recreation has caused the native elk to change their patterns, and believes, if we don't find a balance between recreation and wildlife needs, the results could be dire. "Many of our wildlife populations will suffer and it could lead to reduced populations, reduced reproductive success, and eventually, more species being listed as endangered or threatened and so we want to try and avoid that and provide for recreation while providing for the wildlife resource, as well."
The Wildlife Impact Lecture begins at 4 PM in Tykeson Hall at OSU Cascades, as part of the Discover Your Forest series, presented by Deschutes National Forest. It's free and open to the public.
MADRAS, OR -- The Jefferson County District Attorney has cleared two officers involved in last week’s shooting in Madras.
Investigators say 18-year-old Christopher Sweeney, of Sunriver, walked away from the J Bar J Youth Ranch, November first, six hours after he arrived. He was placed in an independent living program at the ranch after having been paroled from a youth correctional facility for an unrelated matter.
His grandparents were out of the area, but grew concerned he might burglarize their Deschutes County home. A family member checked the property and discovered two vehicles were missing. The two cars were later spotted on Highway 97, near Lava Butte.
One was stopped on the north end of Bend, and 19-year-old Corey Gallagher was arrested. The minivan continued to Madras where it crashed. Sweeney got out of the car and allegedly pointed a gun at officers and fired. A Jefferson County Deputy and State Police Trooper returned fire, hitting the teen. He is recovering at St. Charles Bend.
The gun allegedly used by Sweeney was recovered at the scene with a damaged bullet casing indicating a malfunction.
REDMOND, OR -- Airbnb, one of the largest community driven hospitality companies in the world, will now be responsible for collecting eligible transient room taxes and paying them directly to the City of Redmond.
Before November 1st, the individual proprietors of the Airbnb rentals in Redmond had been responsible for paying the taxes to the City for their establishments, resulting in a lot of extra paperwork. Jodi Burch, with the City of Redmond, says this new procedure will ease staffing pressure for the City, as they will now receive a single monthly payment directly from Airbnb, which will also make things easier for each host. "We have seen an increase in the number of properties listed on Airbnb through just casual checking of their website, which is great news for the tourism industry in Redmond and the local businesses that benefit from that. So now, Airbnb will collect and remit on behalf of all hosts."
Burch says this agreement makes things much easier for individual hosts to collect the 9% tax from their lodgers and pay it to the City. "The responsibility for collecting the transient lodging tax was on each individual host to register with the City of Redmond, and to collect the tax and remit directly to the City. Airbnb is now collecting on behalf of the hosts, all hosts, that rent rooms within the City of Redmond and remitting those taxes directly to the City."
Redmond joined 20 other Oregon cities with similar agreements with the hospitality giant. Airbnb began collecting the transient lodging tax on all eligible bookings in the Redmond city limits on November 1st, and will be making single monthly payments to the City, going forward.
MADRAS, OR -- The Madras Aquatic Center will continue to receive steady funding. More than 68% of voters approved the five-year operating levy, in Tuesday's special election. The measure continues the current property tax rate of 40-cents per thousand dollars of assessed value. MAC Director Joe McHaney has said the funding was necessary to maintain current athletic and recreation programs.
BEND, OR -- A Bend man faces criminal charges after police say he filed a false robbery report to cover up his own crime. Billy Showen told police he was robbed Monday afternoon, in the Bend Albertsons parking lot. The 39-year-old claimed he had a bag of cash from the 7-Eleven where he worked, and was on his way to make a deposit at the bank inside the grocery store, when someone hit him and took the bag of money.
Bend Police Lt. Clint Burleigh says around 90% of the officers on patrol at the time immediately responded. "In general, when we have a robbery call, obviously that’s a pretty high risk, high elevated event for our department – or, I think any department. It typically involves some sort of threat being posed to a citizen. They’re responding with lights and sirens, trying to get there." Lt. Burleigh says Showen provided a vague suspect description and officers spent the next hour searching the area. "We had our K9 out that tried to track the reported suspect where we were told he went, we had officers making perimeters for that K9 track. There’s a lot of interviews being done, checking for evidence throughout the area; especially in a busy business area, there’s a lot of people to talk to."
But, he says Detectives soon realized Showen's story didn't add up, "There are certain things you should see or hear, or people should hear or see. And, when you start putting those facts together, you start kind of understanding that maybe things aren’t exactly how they’re reported." After he was re-interviewed by Detectives, Showen admitted he’d made up the story. The bag of cash was later recovered from his southeast Bend home.
Lt. Burleigh says not only was the investigation into a robbery that didn't happen a waste of time and resources, it also put officers at risk, "Just imagine at 3:30 in the afternoon in Bend, responding lights and sirens, traffic is pretty tough to get through. So, there’s an increased, or a raised concern for just responding to that area."
Showen is charged with filing a false report and aggravated theft.
BEND, OR -- A Eugene teen is believed to be responsible for last week’s bomb threat at Mountain View High School. Bend Police say the 14-year-old boy sent the threat through the school’s website, last Wednesday, saying a former student would blow up a math class on Friday. By Monday, school district IT staff and the FBI were able to track the IP address of the sender and agents contacted the suspect at his Eugene home.
He reportedly believed he was threatening the school of a former online girlfriend. Police confirm the girl does not attend Bend's Mountain View High School, but may attend a school with the same name in another state.
The Deschutes County District Attorney will determine what, if any, criminal charges will be filed against the boy. Bend-La Pine Schools Superintendent Shay Mikalson said in a statement, "Our partnerships in Central Oregon are second to none and I applaud all of those who work diligently to keep our schools safe." He added, "Threats to our schools will not be tolerated and we will work hard to find their source. We support the prosecution of those who make threats to our schools to the fullest extent fo the law."
REDMOND, OR -- Redmond's newest City Councilor is a familiar face around town. Tuesday night, City Councilors approved the appointment of Jon Bullock to the vacant seat created by the August resignation of Anne Graham. The appointment is effective immediately.
Dr. Bullock is the Executive Director of Redmond Proficiency Academy and has worked in Oregon’s public school system for more than 20 years.
Prior to helping create the charter school, he served as Principal of Redmond High School. Mayor George Endicott says Bullock has a keen understanding of how public finance works, as well as policies that guide it. "He works with Redmond students and their families every day, bringing with him a unique and valued perspective to Council," Endicott said in a statement.
Bullock will complete Graham's term, which ends December 2018.
Photos: (top) Jon Bullock/Submitted Photo
(right) Dr. Bullock is sworn in by Mayor Endicott, November 7, 2017/Courtesy Councilor Ginny McPherson
BEND, OR -- The Deschutes National Forest will start selling Christmas tree permits Thursday, about a week earlier than in past years. "According to our folks that deal with the Christmas tree permits, people are buying them earlier and earlier every year," says Jean Nelson Dean, with the Forest Service. "You don’t have to go out and get your tree, but we’re selling them November ninth at all of our offices and then our vendors. Some of our offices are also going to be open on Saturday, so people should check. And then, of course, we have the Cascade Lakes Welcome Station that is open on the weekends and they will be selling the tree permits."
The $5 permit is require for each tree cut down on National Forest land, "Don’t go out and think ‘Ok, I have a permit to cut as many trees [as I want].' When you get your permit, there will be information attached to it to talk about the height of the tree you need to get. We prefer people to get trees that are in crowded conditions; it helps create a healthier forest." There's a five tree maximum. Click HERE for more information on size and location restrictions, as well as vendors where the permits are available.
For our full conversation with Jean Nelson Dean, visit our Podcast Page or click HERE.
BEND, OR -- Fall 2017 enrollment for Oregon State University across the three campuses grew 1.9%, and a lot of that growth was at OSU Cascades.
Steve Clark of OSU, says OSU Cascades isn't just for Central Oregonians. "We're also seeing more enrollment coming from throughout the state. We want to grow that. We think as we grow the enrollment that there are academic programs at OSU Cascades that are going to be a real strength for all of Oregon and the opportunity to educate Oregonians in the Bend area is not only good for the culture of Central Oregon, but for the economy of Central Oregon."
Clark says their emphasis for enrollment is on First Generation students, students of color, and students with GPAs in the top percentage of their high school classes. "Really high achieving, highly productive students have come to Oregon State throughout its 149 years, but what we're seeing, more and more each year, is that the best and brightest, and most productive students, are saying 'i want to go to Oregon state in Corvallis, I want to go to Oregon State in Bend'."
Clark says the most popular undergraduate majors are computer science, business administration, mechanical engineering, biology and kinesiology and that OSU Cascades is what's known as a 'Destination School,' with a growing enrollment of students coming from outside Central Oregon to study those programs. "I think what's really important for Central Oregon, and really the state of Oregon, is that OSU Cascades continues to grow. We see that there's 300 First Generation students that have enrolled at OSU Cascades that have the chance to get a college education for the first time of any member of their family. That's outstanding."
Clark says Oregon State manages their student enrollment, trying to maintain a slow and steady growth, to ensure each campus meets the needs of its individuals.
BEND, OR -- Representative and Oregon Gubernatorial Candidate Knute Buehler has sent a letter to Governor Kate Brown asking her to join him in getting to the bottom of the Oregon Health Authority's money problems.
Representative Buehler says Oregon used to have a proud tradition of innovation and bipartisanship when it came to health care, but on Governor Brown's watch, the Oregon Health Authority has wasted a tremendous amount of money. "The first thing we want to accomplish is, if the $74 million was paid inappropriately, we need to get it back to Oregon taxpayers as soon as possible. And she seems to want to ignore that, doesn't want to take responsibility for it, and it's really occurred under her watch, and we need to know, as legislators and the public, why that money hasn't returned to the State of Oregon."
According to Buehler, repair and renewal is needed in Oregon's Health care programs, and Governor Brown's office has shown no interest in getting the wasted funds back to taxpayers. "We propose an Independent Council to look into if this money is truly unaccounted for and paid inappropriately, and if it has, the Governor needs to demand that it's paid back, and if she's not willing to do that, I will try to pass legislation in the 2018 session to legally require the repayment from these providers."
One of the worse parts of this scandal, Buehler says, is that the Oregon Health Authority and Medicaid have wasted hundreds of millions of dollars that, now, isn't available to provide health care or promote better health for Oregonians. He reveals that the problems with the Oregon Health Authority were actually made public by the OHA itself, with Governor Brown's office keeping silent at the time, and still refusing to get involved. "So far, we're being ignored by the Governor's office, and it's astounding to me because we've already had the Cover Oregon fiasco, where $300 million in websites, computers, and failed enrollment technology went right down the drains, so it is hundreds of millions of dollars wasted through this state agency and I just find it unacceptable."
Buehler contends that Brown knows the details concerning the missing and wasted funds, or if she doesn't, she should be trying to learn them, and then share them with Oregon taxpayers, while working to return their money. He acknowledges that the problems with the Oregon Health Plan, Medicare, and Medicaid started while John Kitzhaber was Governor, but Brown was Secretary of State, and as such, was responsible for auditing government programs, which he claims she failed to do.
BEND, OR -- The Athletic Club of Bend
is garnering a lot of attention from prospective buyers despite a nearly $37 million price tag. Jay Lyons, with Compass Commercial Real Estate, says they started getting phone calls as soon as the group of owners decided to list the property on Century Drive. "[It’s] Truly unique to Bend, in a sense that it’s kind of been iconic and served the community for a long time – since the early 90s. They don’t intend on shutting the business down. They want to just find a new operator for the business and purchaser of the real estate and also the land that kind of surrounds the property." Lyons says the owners would consider splitting the parcel and selling separately the property available for development, but they would prefer to keep everything together.
The iconic nature of the business and its location are attracting a lot of attention, "We’ve had a few tours of the facility, already," says Lyons. "I mean, we can’t go into detail about who those individuals or parties are. I think it’s a unique opportunity and when it came on the market, we definitely received a number of phone calls right off the bat."
Lyons acknowledges the asking price is steep, but says there are many factors to consider, including the value of existing facilities, the business and potential future earnings, and the value of the developable land, "What we’ve found is there’s a number of different ways you can calculate or determine the value of the property and each individual party that we’ve spoken to has their own way. And, I think it’s going to be interesting to see how the parties come together and ultimately determine what the value is." He tells KBND News the ownership group hasn't set a timeline, "They’re in their 60s and 70s and just want to simplify their lives and kind of go their separate directions with the proceeds of the sale."
to listen to our complete conversation with Jay Lyons of Compass Commercial, or visit our Podcast Page
PRINEVILLE, OR -- Crook County officials are asking residents to start thinking about getting ready for winter weather now, by considering lessons learned last year. County Judge Seth Crawford says long-term forecasts predict another cold winter with above average snow pack. "It’s looking like a bad winter, so get prepared. If you live on a non-county maintained road in Crook County, come up with a plan. There are a lot of people that have plans, but if you don’t have a plan, start working on it today."
In January, a number of rural communities found themselves cut off after massive snowfall left eight to 10-foot drifts in some areas, and no plows were available to dig them out. Crawford tells KBND News it's not too early to start planning so the problem doesn't occur again, "Sit down with your neighbors, talk to a contractor and get them out there. Because, the county does a really good job of maintaining our county-maintained roads, but we do not have the resources to go out there on the non-county-maintained roads and take care of those roads, and I want to make sure everybody is safe and ready for this winter."
A Winter Weather Awareness and Preparedness meeting will be held November 20 at 6 p.m. at the county building in Prineville (320 NE Court St., Courtroom "C"). Residents can also sign up to receive emergency notifications, HERE
SISTERS, OR -- A Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire Captain injured six months ago in a 40-foot fall is now back at work. Capt. Thornton Brown was rappelling in Death Valley with two other firefighters when fell; he spent the night in a remote canyon and had to be air lifted out the next day.
Firefighters Rally To Help Injured Captain
Injured firefighters must pass a physical abilities test before returning to work. Officials say Captain Brown “breezed through” the process and reported for duty this past weekend.
MADRAS, OR -- It’s election day, and Jefferson County voters have two tax levies on the ballot.
The first would renew funding for the Madras Aquatic Center. The original five-year operating levy was narrowly approved in 2013. MAC Executive Director Joe McHaney says the money allowed for exponential growth in both programs and participants. If approved, the levy would continue the current property tax rate for another five years.
Crook and Deschutes counties do not have ballot measures this election.
REDMOND, OR -- Redmond’s Airport Director has been named 2017 Oregon Airport Manager of the Year. Zach Bass has led the airport since January 2016.
The honor, from the Oregon Airport Management Association (OAMA), is in recognition of a high level of service to the aviation community and the traveling public, as well as improving safety. Bass says the award is a testament to the hard work, dedication and professionalism of all airport employees and stakeholders. At the OAMA annual banquet, Bass said, "Over the past year, the RDM team successfully managed the $18 million construction of the airport's main runway and subsequent three-week closure, construction of a new USFS Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center, reconstruction of taxiway Bravo, added a new direct flight to Phoenix and five daily flights to existing destinations, as well as multiple customer service initiatives.
REDMOND, OR -- A Redmond barn was damaged by a Saturday morning fire, on NW 39th Street. According to Redmond Fire and Rescue, crews responded at about 8:30 a.m. and found fire on the outside of the building, with the interior "fully charged" with smoke and heat.
Firefighters ventilated the 1200 square-foot building, extinguished the blaze and checked for hidden hot spots. The property owner was able to salvage numerous tools and equipment from inside. The blaze left about $22,000 in damage.
Investigators believe the fire started with an electrical short caused by heat tape. Redmond Fire reminds everyone that "Artificial heat generating equipment or devices can be very dangerous and could potentially cause a catastrophic fire if not properly installed or used as per the manufacturers' recommendations," the department said in a statement. "With temperatures recently dropping significantly, extreme caution should be used when trying to keep pipes, rain gutters/down spouts or stock/pet water tanks from freezing by means of such devices."
BEND, OR -- It's been a year since marijuana land use regulations have been enacted for Deschutes County, and as promised, the Commissioners are reviewing the rules' effectiveness.
Matthew Martin, Senior Planner for Deschutes County, says they want to hear from all impacted parties. "The intent of the regulations is to address the impact of, in this case, production or growing. To address lighting, odor, noise and other related impacts. So, the effort was to mitigate those impacts, and what we're interested in hearing from the public is how those regulations are working, and if they're not effective, what are suggested changes to make them more effective?"
The County has a survey section on their website ... deschutes.or/marijuana ... that Martin says is open for public input until November 30th, and the findings will be presented to the Board in early December. "So, we've just kicked off this evaluation process. The Board was recognizing that this is a new industry, and a new set of regulations. So, with both being at the infancy of implementation, now's the opportunity to check in and determine how it's going. What's working, and what's not."
Martin says because these rules are still largely untested, now's the time to improve them. "Well, it's important to hear from all interested parties, and impacted parties, as to how the rules are working and as we compile the feedback that we receive, we'll report to the Board of County Commissioners in early December on our findings, and see what direction they provide at that point."
The County's Community Development Department will also be conducting stakeholder interviews and focus groups with both marijuana representatives and their neighbors.
LA PINE, OR -- Two people and their two dogs were able to safely escape a fire inside their La Pine mobile home, Sunday morning. The residents called 911 after finding the ceiling around the woodstove pipe on fire. They tried unsuccessfully to put it out on their own, with a fire extinguisher.
Arriving fire crews found smoke coming from the eves of the 140 square-foot double-wide mobile home. They were able to quickly knockdown the fire and stayed on scene just over an hour. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
BEND, OR -- State Representative John Huffman (R-The Dalles) resigned a week ago, to pursue a job with the Trump Administration. Commissioners who represent the vast area in his district are now responsible for choosing his replacement.
Deschutes County Commissioner Tony DeBone says there's a procedure for an event like this, but he's never been part of the process before. "What it is, is a partisan appointment, as in, he's a registered Republican that's in office that has resigned, so the Republican party in Deschutes, Jefferson, and Wasco and Wheeler counties are the four involved, so the commissioners will get proposed appointments from the party, and then, if there's multiple people, I think that's where the decision will happen."
Huffman officially resigned Saturday, October 28, and the Commissioners from the four counties affected by his leaving have thirty days to appoint his replacement. DeBone tells KBND News, "Every once in a while, somebody will just do this, mid-term, resign for whatever reason, and there's a process to do this. And it's a positive situation, if he's finding a career to serve on the federal level, then we'll find the next person to get appointed to his seat to finish the term."
He says Huffman won't be easy to replace. "[I] want to thank him for his representation in the state legislature, the terms he's been involved. He's seen the evolution of the Governor's office and the majority being the Democrats in the last couple of sessions and really having to figure out how to do good things for the citizens from the east side of the state. It gets pretty partisan when you're in the state legislature."
Representative Huffman is currently unavailable for comment.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- The first of two public hearings will be held Monday evening for Crook County’s latest draft of a Natural Resources Plan. County Judge Seth Crawford says it's necessary to better manage local public lands.
Barbara Fontaine worked for the Forest Service for 30 years, and plans to attend the meeting. She worries the plan would jeopardize the county’s relationship with the Forest Service and BLM. "It’s putting forward this inflated idea of coordination that isn’t a real thing. They’re expecting that the county will then have a relationship as ‘government-to-government,’ with the federal agencies that manage public lands."
Fontaine is a member of “Citizens in Support of Public Lands” and says the County Court is rushing to vote on the plan. "It’s a pretty important idea and concept, and there hasn’t been broad – or, basically any – public review of the particular policies that are included in the plan." The latest draft wasn’t released to the public until Friday morning, when it was posted to Crook County's website. "People don’t really get a chance to review it; they get three days to review it before the first public meeting." Fontaine admits the latest version is better than previous drafts, but she'd like to see it be fully vetted by the public before it goes up for a vote by the County Court. Click HERE
to download the latest draft.
She says others are also concerned about about the Political Action Committee that created the plan, and what the document could do. "They have a problem with this small special interest group that’s pushing the plan forward; they have problems with the actual contents of the plan; they have problems with what the county relationship, going forward, might be with the federal agencies that manage the public lands in our county."
Monday's public hearing begins at 6:30 p.m.; a second is scheduled for 9 a.m. Wednesday just before the Court is expected to vote.
BEND, OR -- The FBI and local law enforcement continue to investigate a bomb threat made last week, against Mountain View High School. Principal Katie Legace told families in a Thursday night email that someone had threatened to "blow up a math class."
Julianne Repman, with Bend-La Pine Schools, says Friday’s attendance was down by about 15%. But, those who did show up, felt safe, "What we’re hearing from students is that they do want to be here, that they do want to learn. They’re disappointed that there’s this type of disruption to their learning environment." Bend Police Lt. Clint Burleigh says they stepped up patrols at all schools in the district, and there were periodic sweeps of Mountain View throughout the day, Friday. "It’s our hope that we can find the people responsible for this and hold them accountable, because this just continues to make our families uneasy with the schools, and that’s the last thing we want." Repman says the person responsible for last week’s threat could face federal charges.
Lt. Burleigh says the FBI and State Police bomb squad were consulted right away. "We got this information on Wednesday. So, we sent the better part of two days utilizing multiple staff members from both the police department and the school district, as well as getting some advice from other agencies that have dealt with this more often than we have, to make sure we did this the right way. And make the school safe and make the environment safe for our kids to get their education."
The school was also the focus of a rumored planned shooting, October tenth. "There’s no indication that this is related to the incident last month, but certainly possible that you would see copy-catting; that’s something we anticipated," Repman tells KBND News. Lt. Burleigh says all threats are taken seriously, "The percentages on these threats are fairly low, on how legitimate they are. But, that doesn’t take away from how much time we put into them."
MADRAS, OR -- A Sunriver man shot by police in Madras after a car chase remains hospitalized. Investigators have released more details of last week's shooting. According to the Jefferson County District Attorney's Office, Deschutes County deputies noticed two stolen cars traveling northbound on Highway 97 near Lava Butte, south of Bend, late Thursday. They pulled over the SUV near Robal Road, on the north end of Bend, and arrested 19-year-old Corey Gallagher of Portland (pictured).
However, the minivan led police through Redmond, running over several sets of spike strips. The driver lost control and the pursuit ended at “L” Street, in Madras at about 11 p.m. The Jefferson County D.A. says 18-year-old Christopher Sweeney got out of the van with a pistol, and confronted officers. A State Police Sergeant and Jefferson County Deputy each fired their weapons. Both officers are now on leave, which is standard procedure after an officer-involved shooting.
Sweeney was airlifted to St. Charles Bend where he was listed in fair condition, Monday morning.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- The city of Prineville and Crook County's Air Quality Committee will provide four giant dumpsters, Saturday, to help residents clean up their yards before winter. City Planning Director Phil Stenbeck says the "100 Yards of Yard Debris Challenge" is designed to get rid of stuff that would otherwise be burned. "There's a lot of folks that will possibly rake up leaves and these kinds of things, and then burn them in their yard and put smoke in the air," Stenbeck tells KBND News, "And so what the committee is aimed at doing is reducing the amount of particulate, and this is one of the ways we do that. Just to make people breathe cleaner air, nicer air. Prineville has good air, but we're still making an effort to eliminate particulate when we can."
Saturday's free event is first come, first served, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Four dumpsters will be located next to Davidson Field
. Stenbeck says they'll accept most yard waste, "So, it's leaves, branches, cornstalks; things that you might consider burning in a small pile in your yard or in a burn barrel, to clean up the yard for company at Thanksgiving time."
Last year, nearly 100 people took part in the challenge. They collected 20,000 pounds of yard debris in 2017.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- Crook County Commissioners will hold two meetings next week, to gather public input on the latest draft of a county Natural Resources Plan. The plan has become a controversial topic for some residents, but County Judge Seth Crawford says it simply lays out guidelines for working with the federal government to manage forestland. "The Forest Service and BLM are not policy organizations. They’re there to do a job that they get rules from Washington, DC that they’re asked to follow. The county, though, it’s our job to look out for the best interest of the citizens. What I see is us working with the Forest Service to show them what the best use of our forest is, for our citizens, and come together and come up with a plan."
A previous version of the plan was rejected in August 2016. Then-Commissioner Crawford was the only member of the County Court to vote for it. The other two who opposed the draft are no longer on the Court. Crawford tells KBND News, "My conversations with people from the Forest Service is, they’re not going to say it publicly, but they’re not happy with the way things are being managed. I mean, look at all the smoke we had in our communities all across our state and the western United States, this year. There clearly needs to be a different way to manage our forests." Click HERE
to listen to our full conversation with Judge Seth Crawford, or visit our Podcast Page
The first public hearing starts Monday at 6:30 p.m. at the County building on Court Street; the second takes place during the regular County Court Meeting, Wednesday at 9 a.m.
BEND, OR -- Bend’s Equine Outreach has agreed to shut down after a lengthy investigation by Oregon’s Department of Justice. The DOJ investigation began when the entire board stepped down, last year. Investigators closed the case after the current board agreed to sever ties with the nonprofit’s co-founders who own the ranch where Equine Outreach keeps nearly 70 rescued horses. In a letter to attorneys dated October 25, 2017, the DOJ says it closed the investigation despite lingering concerns about how finances were managed by co-founders Joan Steelhammer and Gary Everett.
Bill Inman is the board President of Equine Outreach, but he says the nonprofit’s current leadership has only been together a short time. "The prior board resigned en masse in October 2016 and we came together out of concern for the horses. Our hope was that we were going to be able to get through it, and the DOJ investigation would be quick and we could move on. Unfortunately, it dragged out and that made fundraising more and more difficult." Inman tells KBND News, "We finally got to the point where, with winter coming, we knew that we should make the hard decision to start toward shutdown, because we didn’t want to be having this conversation in the middle of winter. It’s already closer to winter than we would’ve liked."
He acknowledges it will be difficult to find new homes for all 67 of the remaining horses at the ranch, "Most of the horses are older or have either illness or lameness issues that make them essentially what we refer to as 'pasture pets.' So, they’re not ridable. Some of them have training; some of them might be able to be ridden by a lightweight rider like a child, but not any serious riding."
Inman says the only way the nonprofit could continue operating is if a new location can be found, "A new location or the same location under new ownership. We would love Equine Outreach to continue to be a resource for the community; that would require an angel or angels to step up and are willing to purchase the property or have a property, or purchase a different property."
In the short-term, Inman says Equine Outreach will continue to care for the horses until they are adopted. But, he's hoping the community will help provide donations to help, "The horses that we have are going to continue eating and as that number diminishes, the ones remaining are going to continue to need feed and farrier care, and potentially vet care." Click HERE
to contact the ranch.
SISTERS, OR -- Two people were killed in a crash on Santiam Pass, Thursday afternoon. Emergency crews responded to Highway 20, just east of the Santiam Summit, at about 1:15 p.m.
State Police Investigators say it appears an eastbound Ford van crossed into oncoming traffic and struck a Subaru head-on. Both drivers died at the scene; their identities have not been released. There was no one else in either vehicle.
The incident closed Highway 20 for more than an hour before one lane opened for alternating traffic. It was about three hours before the highway fully reopened.
BEND, OR -- The FBI and local law enforcement are investigating a bomb threat made against Bend’s Mountain View High School. Principal Katie Legace emailed families Thursday night (below), explaining the school would open Friday as scheduled, although sweeps of the property will continue throughout the day. The district is also increasing the police presence at Mountain View and other schools.
A person threatened to “blow up a math class,” and Legace says authorities are working to track down from where the threat originated so the person responsible can be “prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
The school was also the target of a shooting threat, October 10
. Legace says a student was disciplined for participating in that incident and the case has been referred to Deschutes County's District Attorney's Office for criminal charges.
Mountain View High Families,
I am writing you tonight to share information about a bomb threat received by our school and to ask that you help us identify the person, or persons, responsible.
Our school is committed to the safety and education of all our students and we want to clearly communicate with parents about safety issues when they arise. At this hour, we are working with local law enforcement and the FBI. They have an open investigation underway, and are allowing us to share that the threat came from a person threatening to blow up a math class at school tomorrow. Further details are being withheld to allow law enforcement the ability to properly interview and prosecute anyone found to be responsible.
We will not tolerate this, or any continued threats to our students, staff and school and will work diligently to find those responsible and to ensure they are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Further, sweeps of our school will take place between now and the start of school tomorrow morning, as well as at undisclosed times on Friday. We will have increased law enforcement at Mountain View on Friday and the law enforcement presence around schools throughout the district will be ramped up as well.
We will have school tomorrow and Mountain View High School will continue to be a safe place to learn.
We wanted you to have the facts so you can discuss them with your student and emphasize the seriousness of this issue. Students may face discipline for making verbal or written statements, even if perceived to have been in jest or in an effort to avoid a class/test, etc., if the statements cause a disruption to the learning environment. Additionally, the perpetrator will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, which could include restitution for the sweeps of our school and law enforcement efforts.
I want to reiterate that we take threats to our safety very seriously. Though we do not share specific discipline information sanctioned against our students for threats to school, I do want to let you know that we disciplined a student for their participation in the October 10 threat shared with you last month, law enforcement pressed charges and referred the case to the District Attorney’s Office and a threat assessment was completed.
If you discover anything that can assist in the investigation, please contact us immediately or call the non-emergency police phone line at 541.693.6911.
Thank you for your support, Cougar community.
Principal, Mountain View High School
MADRAS, OR -- The Central Oregon Major Incident Team is investigating an officer-involved shooting in Madras that shut down Highway 97, overnight. According to the limited information released by the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office, the incident began as a car chase in Deschutes County, involving a vehicle reported stolen. The pursuit ended in Madras, near 'L' Street.
When law enforcement attempted to make contact with a person inside the vehicle, at about 11 p.m., shots were fired and the victim was taken to the hospital. No officers were injured. Investigators closed Highway 97 just north of the south "Y" and established a detour.
REDMOND, OR -- Travelers using the Redmond Airport will soon have another option to entertain themselves. The Airport is partnering with the Deschutes Public Library to provide reading material at the airport "Flybrary."
The Library's Todd Dunkelberg believes the program will add flexibility to people's lives, especially during what can be a chaotic time. "Flybrary is creating a space for travelers to basically have a collection of books they can grab at the last minute and take with them on a flight, or if they have a book they've finished, and they want to donate that to the next traveler, they can leave that on the shelf of the Flybrary."
The shelves are still being built at the airport, but Dunkelberg hopes to have the Flybrary up and running in time for the holiday travel season. He tells KBND News it will offer several options, "Get a physical book that's sitting there, and we'll have information at the Flybrary about how to download free books from the library, because we have close to 50,000 electronic books and we have over 140 magazines that people could download to a tablet for their flight. Or use your smartphone and download an audio book."
BEND, OR -- Deschutes County Health Services began tracking the flu in October, and this year, they have confirmed cases a little earlier than usual. Heather Kaisner, with County Public Health, tells KBND News, "We get weekly reports from most local labs and they let us know how many flu tests they've performed and how many of those were positive. In the last couple of weeks, we're definitely seeing an uptick in cases, which means flu is here in our community."
She says getting the vaccine is the best way to make sure you don't contract the flu. If you have vacation plans, you want to think about getting it sooner rather than later, "The flu vaccine, once you get it, can take up to two weeks to build an immune response so you're protected, so if folks are traveling over the holidays, going on planes, that can cause germs to spread pretty easily, you want to think about getting your flu vaccine soon."
Because the vaccine has a time delay, following a few simple rules can help: "The big one is really good handwashing with soap and water." Kaisner also suggests covering your nose and mouth with tissue or your elbow when you cough and sneeze, not touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, disinfecting surfaces, and just being considerate. "All of us I know have trouble staying home when we're sick and getting enough rest. And really, we shouldn't be going back to work or school until 24 hours after our fever subsides."
A flu shot is especially recommended for people with chronic medical conditions, pregnant women, people regularly around babies under six months of age, and all health care workers.
BEND, OR -- Every year, Bend firefighters and paramedics respond to cold-weather related emergencies, and they’re asking the community to help, before winter returns, "We are collecting warm clothing, hats and gloves that we’ll gather up and then donate to various organizations in town that will help distribute those items to people in need," Firefighter Mitch Webb tells KBND News, "To try and mitigate the amount of cold weather-related issues that people in Bend experience."
Webb says, "Every year, we respond to multiple cold-weather related emergencies. We usually see first-hand the effects of people who aren’t warm enough with the clothing that they have." He adds, "Hypothermia would be the common one. Those cold nights that you and I are at home, bundled up, there are some citizens that don’t have the means to heat their house properly. Other citizens that we see that recently relocate to Bend from warmer climates that simply aren’t prepared and don’t have the financial means to get the entire family coats. Then, there’s also some of the population that is without a home."
Donations of all shapes and sizes will be distributed through local service organizations, including the Bethlehem Inn and WIC. For the first time, the fire department is also collecting professional clothing. "Suit jackets, sport coats, things like that," says Webb, "and we’re donating those to Bethlehem Inn, as well, to try and give those people that are trying to get jobs and trying to get back into the workforce, give them a chance to go into an interview feeling prepared for it and feeling properly dressed." Donations can be dropped off at any Bend Fire station through November 10.
BEND, OR -- A local maker of outdoor gear for dogs needs to expand its Bend facility and aims to help other start-ups in the process. Ruffwear President Will Blount says over the last decade, the company has seen consistent growth at its building near Summit High. "We have roughly a 20,000 sf facility here that used to house all of our warehousing and distribution. We outgrew that in March 2016, and so we saw an opportunity to open up this space and invite other outdoor-oriented companies to co-habitat, if you will, with us."
He says they’re finalizing plans to add a second floor, in effect doubling the building’s square footage and creating enough room to open a new co-working space. Blount tells KBND News, "There’s a lot of small start-up companies that are really looking for flex-space; as they grow, they’re not quite sure how much space they’re going to need. And so the nice piece to the co-working facility is, if you just need a one-person desk, then we’ll have that available – up to about a 6-person desk facility." He hopes the new space will also create a collaborative atmosphere where Ruffwear can help impart wisdom on fledgling businesses, so they don’t make the same mistakes.
Blount expects the project to cost around $4 million. With the help of Business Oregon
, the company has secured a $250,000 forgivable loan from the Governor's Strategic Reserve Fund, "Outdoor apparel industry is one of the state’s kind of targeted sectors, and so they saw this as an opportunity for us to really create some collaboration amongst the industry. And, that forgivable loan is tied to job growth as well as infrastructure around the co-working side of it."
He hopes to start construction in early 2018 and says the entire project will take about a year to complete.
BEND, OR -- Deschutes County Commissioners Wednesday approved the permit for the 2018 Four Peaks Music Festival, with an additional requirement for extra security measures. Neighbors had complained the event brought too much traffic, dust and noise to the area when it moved from Tumalo to Stevenson Ranch off Knott Road, this past summer.
Commissioner Phil Henderson expressed his lingering concerns at Wednesday's meeting. "I think that this location may not be the best for this kind of festival; we’ll see how it goes. If it really is true that they intend to grow it to 5,000, I don’t know, I see a lot of impacts. I just don’t know; we’ll see how this year goes."
Commissioners, though, noted they are required to approve permits if organizers agree to mitigate concerns. When the Board approved the mass gathering permit, it also required a security plan. Commissioner Tony DeBone says the event is allowed under current code. "Now, this is the land use process. It is a large Exclusive Farm Use parcel that has the opportunity for this application for events every 90 days. This is one event that’s gone through the whole process and getting authorized."
The four-day music festival takes place in mid-June.
BEND, OR -- Snow is expected to return to the High Desert as early as Friday morning, and the city of Bend is working to make sure those without permanent housing will have a warm place to sleep, this winter. City Manager Eric King told City Councilors at Wednesday night’s meeting, "I will be declaring an emergency – weather emergency that allows for temporary shelters to be opened, later this week." That declaration is expected to be made Friday. "We’ll come back to Council at the next Council meeting for you all to ratify that," King told Councilors.
In the past, declarations have specified that temporary shelters are allowed to open when temperatures dip below 25-degrees, and only in approved locations. King said Wednesday, "There will be some information coming out later this week about what’s the process to get certified. Traditionally, it’s been churches that have stepped up, but there’s other organizations that can offer assistance to those needing to get out of the cold and offer up their place for shelter, as long as they meet basic safety requirements."
REDMOND, OR -- A 75-year-old bicyclist was hurt in a hit and run crash south of Redmond, Tuesday afternoon, and Deschutes County Deputies are now searching for the suspect vehicle. According to the Sheriff's Office, Robert Thomas was riding northbound on S. Canal Blvd., north of 61st, when he was struck by a white "dually pickup" towing a white utility trailer. Investigators say the Bend man was side-swiped by the trailer at about 3 p.m.
State Police, Redmond Paramedics and DCSO responded to the crash. Thomas was treated at the scene and taken to St. Charles Redmond with non-life threatening injuries.
Despite a check of the area, Deputies were unable to find the pickup and trailer; the driver is described as "an older male." Anyone who saw the incident or has any information on the case is asked to call non-emergency dispatch at 541-693-6911.
BEND, OR -- Snow returns to the forecast this weekend, and for many Central Oregonians, it’s too soon.
Gretchen Woodruff, owner of Northwest Quality Roofing in Bend, says all the attention paid to roofing problems during last winter’s extreme weather led to heightened awareness and a backlog of work. "A lot of people in the community wanted to be pro-active and have their roofs inspected this year; also, there were a lot of people with repairs and/or re-roofs needing to be done, which caused a high volume for all of us roofing contractors." According to Woodruff, the promblem is compounded by a shortage of qualified workers.
She says crews can typically work through the winter, but that wasn't possible last year; and they're still catching up. "For someone to come take a look at your roof and give you a free estimate and/or an inspection, we’re the last week of December; and that’s, of course, weather permitting. And, right now for repairs, we’re January/February. And then, re-roofs are currently being scheduled into spring." Woodruff tells KBND News, many of their current jobs are for repairs to damage caused by last year’s ice dams - and the fixes some homeowners attempted themselves, "People tried to take axes and hammers just to get those suckers out of there, so it would eliminate the melting into their homes, and that caused a lot of damage. But, I think people were so desperate, everyone was so busy, not all of us contractors could get to them. So, they kind of just did what they thought was best at the time."
With schedules full through spring for most roofers, Woodruff's company is fielding 20-30 calls for new jobs a week; she's also hearing from homeowners asking for do-it-yourself advice or the name of another contractor. "Obviously, when we all get desperate, we just want someone there now. But, I always tell them to look on the CCB
and make sure the people are licensed, bonded and have experience. Because, the last thing any of us want is for them just to hire somebody just to get it done, and/or someone maybe who doesn’t live here. Because, if something happens and they need them to come back, that might not be an option for them and then they’re really in trouble."
REDMOND, OR -- Brightside Animal Center in Redmond has a plethora of pit bulls available for adoption. Kennel Manager Emily Rucker says they can be a difficult to get into permanent homes due to their bad reputation, especially when histories are unknown. "A lot of the ones we have right now were actually owner-surrenders, so we know a lot more about their history than if they would have come to us as strays. Then, one of them came to us from a high-kill shelter in California."
They currently have six “bully mixes” and Rucker says while their numbers can fluctuate, this is more than normal. "They’re all very friendly; they’re all very adoptable and they do tend to take a little longer to find homes for because of the stereotype and just the difficulty of owning one of the dogs, in terms of if you rent, home insurance, things like that."
Pit Bull is not a breed; it refers to a category of dogs that includes various bull terrier breeds. Rucker tells KBND News, "They are very affectionate with people; the majority of the ones we have are also very playful with other dogs, some of them are cat friendly and some of them are not. But, overall, I would say that just the general zest for life that pit bull-type dogs tend to have: They’re super energetic, they’re just always happy to see people, they want to go out, they want to do things. I have a pit bull mix myself, and he’s the most loyal, loving dog that I’ve ever had." Icey and Attila have been at the shelter more than a month and Rucker hopes they can stay together, "The pair that’s been with us the longest, we are trying to adopt out together, so that’s going to take a special home."
Hartley, Attila, Icey, Patty, Spike and Jimi Hendrix are all available at the Brightside shelter in Redmond.
MADISON, WI -- TDS Broadband Service LLC, the parent company of Bend Broadband, has completed its acquisition of a second Central Oregon cable provider. The Wisconsin-based company, operated by TDS Telecom, purchased Crestview Cable, which serves more than 21,000 homes in Prineville, Madras, La Pine, Crooked River Ranch, Culver and Metolius.
In a statement issued Wednesday, TDS Telecom COO Jim Butman says the company will make significant investments in Crestview's network and infrastructure, "to prepare these communities for long-term growth." TDS had previously announced plans to further expand fiber-to-the-home services in the La Pine area. It also plans to accelerate broadband speed upgrades along with modernizing video products and services in Jefferson and Crook counties.
"We welcome the employees from Crestview to our team," says Butman, "They will be working closely with their fellow employees in Bend, helping to create and implement expansion plans while continuing to serve customers as they do today."
TDS purchased Bend Broadband in 2014.
BEND, OR -- Studded tires are legal on Oregon roadways, starting Wednesday.
Local Tire Shops Already Busy
According to the Oregon Department of Transportation, studded tires cause $8.5 million in damage to roads, and ODOT wants drivers to consider using alternatives. Those options include chains and studless traction tires. For tips and information on winter driving, visit ODOT's website HERE
Studded tire season runs November first through March 31.
TERREBONNE, OR -- Three people were hurt in a four-vehicle chain-reaction crash in Terrebonne, Tuesday afternoon, and investigators say it was caused by a driver distracted by his cell phone.
According to the Sheriff’s Office, three cars were stopped on Lower Bridge Way at about 3:10 p.m., waiting for a school bus to drop off kids. A 46-year-old Eugene man driving a delivery van received a text and looked down at the phone attached to his dash. When he looked back up, he realized too late the cars in front of him were stopped.
The van crashed into a Jeep Wrangler, which was pushed in to a Chevy Tahoe that then hit a Ford F150 pickup. A Crooked River Ranch couple in the Chevy and a 66-year-old Terrebonne man in the Jeep were taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries; all three vehicles had to be towed. Don Caruso, the van driver, was cited for following too closely.