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Local News

SISTERS, OR -- Oregon State Police, Black Butte Police and Fire, Sisters Fire and ODOT are on-scene of a fatal crash involving a school bus and a passenger vehicle on Highway 20, just east of the Santiam Junction and about two miles west of the summit.


First responders report the driver of the car is deceased. Both directions of Highway 20 are blocked and drivers should expect lengthy delays. 

LA PINE, OR  -- A suspected hit and run has shut off the water supply to the entire city of La Pine. City Manager Rick Allen says residents and businesses are urged to take immediate precautions. "We are under a boil water alert, so people need to boil water before they drink it or have bottled water. We’d like people to stop watering, basically conserve water all they can until we can get the full water system back up and operating."


Allen says, "There was a car accident, well basically, a hit and run at some point at our water supply a few miles east of La Pine. They hit a fire hydrant, which then broke our water main and they didn’t know it until someone went out there. La Pine only has one water main, one water source coming into the city. So, when that’s shut down, it impacts the entire city."


He says the boil order is likely to remain in effect for several days, while they test to make sure no contaminants made it into the system. "The greatest threat, of course, is when you have a break, dirt from around the water where the break is, things can get into the line so you can end up with a little color in your water. And, you just need people to be aware of that and make sure to boil water in case any contamination got in. We will, obviously, be doing a lot of testing on that over the next couple of days. And, we’ll notify people, when that threat is no longer out there."


The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the crash, which occurred either Wednesday night or Thursday morning. 

PRINEVILLE, OR -- The Crook County Sheriff's Office and Central Oregon Major Crimes Team are investigating an early morning fatal shooting.


Investigators are releasing very little information, but did confirm a man was found dead inside a vehicle on SE Davis Loop, south of Prineville. Initial reports of a shooting came into 911 just after 4:30, this morning. 
The investigation is ongoing, and deputies have shut down Davis Loop from Tumbleweed to Cayuse and no traffic is allowed through the area until further notice. 

REDMOND, OR -- The Redmond School District has launched a sudden recruitment effort for school bus drivers. "This just happened last week, so it just hit me like a brick wall. This is a little unusual for this to happen right at the beginning of the school year," says Transportation Supervisor Michelle Rainville. She tells KBND the loss of five drivers in the past couple of weeks won't impact regular school routes. "But, being shorthanded limits what we can do for athletics and field trips and emergency circumstances. Right now, I have five regular driver positions open. We do need school bus monitors as well, for our special needs routes."


While it's not unusual for school districts to see high turnover within their driver pool, due to the nature of shifts, Rainville says this time was a perfect storm of resignations. "Someone’s moving and someone’s retiring, it all kind of just hit us. We were just looking for substitute drivers over the summer, but I didn’t have any applicants. So, we weren’t doing any training really over the summer that would’ve put us in a better position having these people resign so soon."

Superintendent Mike McIntosh says, "Our bus drivers are, if not the most critical, certainly one of the most critical positions we have. Besides maintaining the physical piece- between the lines, and going up and down the road and stopping at the right time without throwing kids out of their seat – but a bus drivers job is bigger than that. They’re the first person from our district they see and the last person they see in the afternoon. So, how they greet kids and how they interact with kids and families is paramount."
The district is offering salary advancement and a $500 bonus after 90-days, as an incentive for new regular employees. Click HERE for more information. 


MADRAS, OR -- Madras voters may get the final say in whether recreational marijuana businesses will be allowed to open in the city. Mayor Royce Embanks says about 60% of those who spoke at this week’s town hall favor a ban, but the Council hasn’t yet made a final decision. "Most of the councilors want to be better educated, so some have already gone to some of the medical dispensaries – one in Bend, and one here in Madras. And, I think they were even going to visit a grower’s site. So, we want to be better educated in this because it is a big decision."


Because 56% of Jefferson County voted against Measure 91 in November, HB 3400 allows the city to impose a ban on pot businesses. But, Madras Mayor Royce Embanks believes Councilors are leaning toward sending the issue back to voters. "I really think it’s because we want the voters to make this decision; it’s their city and they need to weigh in on it. There’s very seldom that cities have the option to decide what laws or what ordinances from the state- to decide if they want to keep them or not." He tells KBND, "This is almost like a once in a lifetime chance. The state has offered us this opportunity. And so, I think people are really leaning toward that to say ‘we’re not the same as the Willamette Valley.’ There really is an emotion and a feeling that Willamette Valley dictates what all of us in the rest of the state have to live with." 


Councilors can choose to impose a ban, allow the businesses or send the question to voters. Public comment will be accepted at City Hall through Monday. They are expected to discuss the issue at their regular Council meeting on Tuesday, September 8. But, Embanks says a final decision could be pushed to their September 22 meeting.

BEND, OR -- A Bend man was arrested Wednesday night, after allegedly trying to avoid a traffic ticket. According to the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office, a deputy tried to stop a car after it ran a stop sign in northeast Bend, but the driver sped off. 


The pursuit was discontinued when the vehicle entered the St. Charles hospital parking lot. About a minute later, the deputy spotted the car abandoned in the lot and witnesses reported seeing a man and woman running away.  
Bend Police caught up with the two suspects north of Ensworth Elementary. Police arrested 20-year old Kenneth Eyle; the female passenger was questioned and released. 

SISTERS, OR -- Two teens have been arrested in connection with an early Sunday morning burglary in Sisters. Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office investigators believe 18-year-old Jacob Glatz, of Sisters, and a 16-year-old accomplice broke into the home on Lasso Street, but fled when the homeowner woke up. They left behind a mountain bike. 


Read more on the Lasso St. burglary.


Detectives say the pair are also responsible for a burglary on East Horse Back Trail in Sisters last Thursday. 
Glatz was booked into the jail last night (Wed), the 16-year-old was taken to Juvenile Detention.

WASHINGTON, D.C. --  Pope Francis will address Congress on September 24, and Andrew Malcolm, with Congressman Greg Walden’s office, says it will be an historic event. "The visit of Pope Francis to the U.S. Capitol, which is the first time a Pope has ever visited the Capitol and addressed the Congress, will be historic for our nation."


Rep. Walden's office has been allocated a limited number of tickets so that Oregonians can participate in the event. "If you are a resident of the Second Congressional District, in Southern, Central or Eastern Oregon, and are interested in requesting tickets, you can visit Congressman Walden's website," Malcolm says.


Ticket-holders will watch the Pope’s address via a live broadcast in a location on West Front of the U.S. Capitol. You’ll be responsible for your own travel, lodging and other trip expenses.

BEND, OR -- The last World War II veterans from east of the Cascades will travel to the WWII Memorial in Washington, DC in a couple of weeks. Over the past five years, the Bend Heroes Foundation has sponsored 240 veterans on the trips. 


Yvonne Drury, Vice President of the foundation, says WWII vets are now in their 90s. The group has offered all of them in eastern and Central Oregon the opportunity to go. "It's really important because I know all these guys, they changed the world, they saved the world from tyranny. 70 years has gone by, and they just came home, went to work and raised their families and didn't say another word about it. But now, it's really nice for them to see their memorial, which wasn't even built until 2005."


Drury took her first trip with her 96-year-old father in 2001. "It's life changing for them, it's life changing for their family members that go along with them, and it's life changing for all of us volunteers who have worked on it. I just am overwhelmed when I stop and think, even though I've been on two trips. I can still get tears in my eyes when I see things about honoring the veterans and remembering what they did."


The final Honor Flight for local vets will be September 16. Veterans visit different war memorials in the nation's capitol and meet with Oregon's Congressional delegation during the four-day trip. 

BEND, OR -- As construction continues at Chandler Ave. and Mt. Washington Drive, the group opposing the OSU-Cascades west side expansion in Bend continues to call for a halt to the project.


The Bend City Council and state Land Use Board (LUBA) both have approved the west side location. Tracy Pfiffner with Truth in Site tells KBND, "It’s currently at the Court of Appeals. There was a hearing on August 26 and we’re waiting to hear back what the results will be."


She says most Central Oregonians don’t support the current plan and the group will continue their fight. "Even if the Court of Appeals does not rule in Truth in Site’s favor, it’s not an endorsement that this is a well thought out plan or that it has community-wide support. I can tell you that we have launched a petition and over a thousand people have signed it asking OSU to cease development and to push the pause button and to rethink other sites in and around Bend."


Jane Teater, with Now for Bend, says any pause could be devastating to the region. "If we were to delay this, we could very likely lose funding from the Legislature; as well as, Oregon State University could decide that they’re just not going to invest in this community. So in a lot of ways, it’s a very, very real possibility; it’s not an empty threat." Now For Bend is a grassroots effort supporting the expansion of OSU-Cascades.
The Court of Appeals decision is not expected for at least several more weeks. To hear our full conversation with Tracy Pfiffner and Jane Teater, visit our Podcast page

BEND, OR -- With cooler temperatures and a holiday weekend ahead, some campers are anxious for fire restrictions to lift in area forests. Officials with the Willamette National Forest began allowing campfires in designated campgrounds, Tuesday. But, Jean Nelson Dean with the Deschutes National Forest tells KBND local conditions aren't changing anytime soon. "The west side got tremendous amounts of rain in certain areas, and apparently the Willamette got enough to pull back on their public use restrictions. That’s great for the people who want to go out Labor Day. But, unfortunately, here in Central Oregon, we still did not get much precipitation. We still have extremely dry fuels." She adds, "As we saw in the Cove Fire, things can really take off. We still have our full campfire ban. Essentially, what’s allowed is your traditional propane stove and that’s it."


Despite the possibility of precipitation this week, Nelson Dean says that won't be enough to lift bans for several more weeks, at least. "Essentially, we would need a fairly dramatic change, in terms of moisture, to make a change. I would not anticipate anything changing for Labor Day weekend. I know that not having campfires is a challenge for the kind of experience people want to have. But, if you really want to come back the forest and you really want to enjoy it in the future, it’s essential that people pay attention to this."


She suggests checking the website for the specific area where you plan to camp before heading out. Restrictions vary by jurisdictions and whether land is managed by the state or federal government. 

LA PINE, OR -- The city of La Pine is considering a ban on recreational marijuana sales. City Councilors will decide whether to allow medical marijuana dispensaries to sell recreational pot after October first. They will also decide whether to ask voters to ban recreational sales permanently.


La Pine Mayor Ken Mulenex called for the work session, which was held earlier this week. "Nothing at any time had been said or brought up about recreational marijuana and that's why I asked for a special council work session to gather information and start thinking about what our efforts needed to be to bring it to the public and have a clear understanding and then take a vote one way or the other."


Mulenex tells KBND he's still undecided on the issue. "I look at the several issues around it: public safety, substance abuse and what the voters spoke before. Those are some of the things I have to come to grips with as we approach making some decisions about this."


The City Council will meet again September 9 to discuss how to proceed. Mayor Mulenex says, "It may be that we hear enough testimony that we need to have another meeting, or another discussion about it. But, it's very likely it could be voted on at our next meeting."


He says he's heard from a lot of people who want a ban. Councilors must decide on a moratorium within the month. 

PRINEVILLE, OR -- After working in the legislature to create a specific tax structure for high-tech firms in Oregon, House Republican Leader Mike McClane (R-Powell Butte) is happy with Facebook's announcement that it will soon begin construction on a third data center in Prineville. “I’m very pleased. You know Prineville is an exceptional place to locate and do business. And we have wonderful opportunities for Facebook and Apple and other technology companies to hire some very talented and hard working folks. And that’s exactly what they’ve done in the past.”


Read more on the tax deferral granted by the city of Prineville and Crook County. 

Rep. McLane tells KBND the project means more jobs. “The construction phase, on what will be their largest data center, is going to employ hundreds of construction workers, including a lot people from IBEW the electrical workers union which is fantastic. Those are great jobs. And they’re going to add, when its all done, to a permanent employment in Prineville that will certainly exceed 200 employees.” Facebook currently employs 147 people. 
The facility's own Facebook page says it loud and clear: "We have jobs open".


SISTERS, OR -- A Sisters resident awoke to find an intruder in their bedroom, early Sunday morning. According to the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office, the man ran when he realized the person was awake. One homeowner called 911 at about 2 a.m., while the other chased the suspect.


The homeowner reported seeing a second man waiting outside, but lost sight of the two in the dark. The intruder is described wearing grey pants and a black sweatshirt. The witness described the second suspect simply as male. 


Deputies searched the area with the help of a Redmond Police K-9 unit, but were not able to find the two men. However, they seized a Novara Bonanza red and black mountain bike (pictured) left behind at the scene. 


Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the DCSO Detectives Division at 541-617-3327. 

PRINEVILLE, OR -- Prineville residents are being asked to help maintain clean air this winter. Planning Director Phil Stenbeck tells KBND the city has been instructed by the EPA and DEQ to reduce particulates in the air.


Monitors record about 12 days of unhealthy air in Prineville, between November and February, often caused by smoke from wood stove and yard debris burning. "We’ve looked at adding a free yard debris day during the winter-months. We also had an ordinance which allowed burning from 7 a.m. - 12 p.m. from Wednesday through Saturday. So, what we’ve done also is we’ve expanded the days. 'Dilution is the solution to pollution,' as they say. So, instead of that burning going on over four days, it’ll go on over seven." Stenbeck adds, "And then what we did was, we increased the hours during the day and shifted them a little later because what happens is, earlier in the morning it still gets trapped in the inversion. But, about 9 o’clock or so, around 10 o’clock then when you burn it lifts up in the atmosphere and it dilutes and it goes out and doesn’t have the same negative effect."


The city began an effort to help educate residents last month. He says another big contributor to reduced winter air quality is wood stove burning - a common heat source in the region. "And so, we’ve done outreach to several organizations. The Governor’s, what is called Community Regional Solutions Team has gotten involved. So, they’ve helped us reach out to the USDA, NeighborImpact. And the Gas Company has come forward with programs that help provide upgraded heating systems which, in theory, will reduce the amount of particulates that are released during the winter months." Stenbeck says many are already signing up for a program that provides financial assistance to those willing to trade out wood stoves for more efficient heating. City officials hope some homeowners will be able to upgrade heating systems by October, prior to cooler air moving into the area. 

BEND, OR -- When student head back to class next week, many in Bend will walk the halls of a brand new school. Superintendent Shay Mikalson tells KBND opening Pacific Crest Middle School and Silver Rail Elementary helps balance enrollment. He says 28 out of the last 29 years have seen enrollment increases. "We’re a growing district. In the last 10 years, we’ve grown over 3,000 students, actually almost 4,000 students and continue to grow. Thanks to the support of voters in the 2013 bond, we’re able to balance some of those enrollments, specifically at the elementary and middle school. So those to come on and obviously those have impacted schools across our district."


Mikalson says about 17,000 students will head back to class next week, along with 1800 employees. "We anticipate almost 300 [new] students this year. I think our projections start to say another 3,000 over the next 10 years – that’s 120 new classrooms. While we’re building, we’re constantly looking forward; and in fact this year, we start that sites and facility visioning process forward again."


The public is invited to tour the two new schools, starting Wednesday. "Pacific Crest Middle School is having their ribbon cutting and dedication. That’s on the Westside over by Miller Elementary School. That’s at 4:30, open to the public. We’d love folks to be there, it’s a way for them to see what their support has done for our schools. You can get tours, meet the staff, there’s even a Bar-B-Q." Thursday, Silver Rail Elementary will hold its public dedication, beginning at 4 p.m. That school is near Brosterhous and American Lane. For more information, click HERE

MADRAS, OR -- Jefferson County and Madras residents voted against legalized pot during last November's election approving Measure 91, statewide. Now, the city of Madras wants to hear from citizens, whether to allow recreational cannabis sales inside the city. 


Madras Mayor Royce Embank tells KBND they're holding a town hall meeting Tuesday evening, “In order to better serve our public here, what we’re asking for is input from our citizens. We wanted to have a town hall meeting and invite all of our voters and even people outside of the city to weigh in on what is their preference? What do they want to see?” He adds, “The city and county all voted against Measure 91. We want to see if that’s still their feeling given the information that they’ve had over time."
Tonight's town hall meeting takes place at council chambers from 6 to 9 p.m.
Madras allows medical marijuana dispensaries; there is currently one, with two more requesting permits. 

Bend, OR -- Bend Police are warning bike owners of a rise in thefts, this summer. Lt. Clint Burleigh tells KBND, "In 2014, we had 127 reported thefts and this year we've had 147, which is about a 16% increase." 

Burleigh isn't sure exactly why there has been a spike in Bend, but says, "A lot of times they become crimes of opportunity. Sometimes, you have people that find some kind of value in, when they steal a bike, if they can sell it or trade it illegally. So, it doesn't matter who it is; if it's there and they need it, they're going to take it."


He recommends bike owners invest in a decent lock and use it. He suggests registering your bike with the police department so it can easily be returned if it is stolen, and take pictures as documentation. "Even when we have bikes that are found by citizens that are called in as found property, we are tying a lot more of bikes to criminal or thefts cases. But, we are also seeing more cases resolved, not only by recovering the bike, but arresting the person with the bike."

BEND, OR -- The Bend Fire Department blame a Bar-B-Q left on for a house fire on NW Delaware, early Sunday morning. The homeowner and her two boys awoke to the sound of smoke detectors and the smell of smoke at about 1 a.m. They all safely evacuated.


Investigators say radiant heat from a Bar-B-Q on the back porch ignited the home’s siding. That blaze caused an estimated $45,000 in damage.

LA PINE, OR -- La Pine City Councilors take up the topic of recreational marijuana sales during Monday afternoon's work session. Mayor Ken Mulenex tells KBND the discussion is just beginning. "It's basically a work session designed to talk about HB 3400 that was passed by the legislature and what the effects and implications are as we go down the road towards deciding about shall we allow recreational retail sales of marijuana in the city of La Pine, or will it be banned."


HB 3400 allows cities and counties to ban marijuana businesses under certain conditions. If 55% of residents voted no on Measure 91, legalizing recreational marijuana in November, jurisdictions can impose a ban. If a communities vote was less than 55% no on Measure 91, a moratorium can be put in place until a ban can be considered by voters in November of 2016. 


Mayor Mulenex says La Pine voters have spoken on the issue. "You know, La Pine voted against recreational marijuana by 53.36% and, you know, that's the voters speaking. But, I couldn't say now how it would go, but there will be a good discussion."


The city of La Pine allows medical marijuana dispensaries. Mulenex that Council held a thorough debate on that issue, and he expects the same for recreational sales. 


Crook County has already banned all cannabis businesses from operating outside of the Prineville city limits. Deschutes County is considering a similar prohibition. The city of Madras will take up the issue on Tuesday.

BEND, OR -- In response to an affordable housing crisis that reaches nearly every corner of Oregon, state lawmakers have allocated $40 million in bonds to combat homelessness. Gwenn Wysling, Executive Director of the Bethlehem Inn, says it’s money the northeast Bend homeless shelter could really use. "We are finalizing the purchase of this building. We’ve been here since 2007 and we still need a half a million dollars to secure ownership of this particular site so we can look at future development, someday."


Wysling met with State Representative Knute Buehler (R-Bend) and his wife on Friday. She's hoping he will advocate in Salem for the Bend facility to receive at least part of those bonds. The money wouldn’t be available until 2017, but Wysling says, "We need to meet with Rep. Buehler now and explain why that money is needed, the work that we are doing here in our community - the importance of that - and how vital a service and a safety net such as Bethlehem Inn is to all of Central Oregon." She tells KBND, "He has done a lot in our community, understands what some of the issues are. But this is a very complicated issue and we want to get to an understanding for him and for others what difficulties there are for affordable housing, the mental health concerns, substance abuse, all the things that contribute to the difficulties that people have when they finally hit that rock bottom and have no place to go. "
Initially, lawmakers set aside $100 million in bonds for homelessness, but Wysling says that money has been cut to $40 million. "It’s an education process. We always want people to come by and tour the facility and see the work that we’re doing, the people that we’re helping and the overall benefit that it is for our community for a service such as Bethlehem Inn."

REDMOND, OR -- A sustainable city conserves resources and energy, and is efficient and livable. That's the foundation of the "Sustainable Cities Initiative," which kicked off Friday in Redmond. 

Professor Nico Larko tells KBND it's a joint venture between the city and the University of Oregon. "The students, instead of working on hypothetical projects, are coming to the city and learning on the ground with the people who are here, with the professionals who know these issues, with citizens who are going to be affected by these issues." Those issues include marketing city utilities and Roberts Field, and creating safe bike and school routes.


Redmond Mayor George Endicott says many of the projects "Are things that have been on the boards for a long time, and we just don't have the resources to do them. So, we can make a pretty reasonable investment and get a huge return."


He adds, "For a community the size of ours, there's a lot of work that needs to be done all the time, and we don't always have the resources to do them. I think we're spending about $375,000; but of that, we get about 40,000 man-hours of time to devote to all these different projects." That translates to about $.09 per hour of labor.


BEND, OR -- A Southeast Bend resident woke up just before 7 Sunday morning to find a stranger standing over him as he lay in bed. When he yelled at the intruder and called 911, the man took the victim’s keys, and drove off in his car. 


A short time later, a Southwest Bend resident called 911 to report a man had parked a car in his front lawn and was trying to get into his house. The suspect ran off when confronted by the homeowner.
Deschutes County Sheriff’s deputies arrested 43-year-old David Latta as he allegedly tried to take another car. 
Latta is also accused of an attempted burglary at the Bend Walgreen’s at 1:25 Sunday morning. He's charged with burglary, attempted burglary, trespass, criminal mischief, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle. 

CULVER, OR -- Firefighters were able to stop the Cove Fire at approximately 200 acres, by Saturday evening. Local farmers first spotted the blaze at about 10:30 Saturday morning, and tried to suppress the fire until crews arrived. Oregon State Police, Warm Springs Police and Jefferson County Sheriff's personnel went door-to-door to evacuate around 40 campers and 60 residents. A Red Cross shelter was set up at Culver High School for about an hour, when evacuation orders were lifted.


Investigators with Oregon State Police and Oregon Department of Forestry say the wildfire began in Cove Palisades State Park northwest of Culver. They determined the cause to be improperly disposed of Bar-B-Q briquettes. 


Two vacant homes and several outbuildings were destroyed, but no injuries have been reported. 


Firefighters continued to work hot spots and maintain containment lines overnight, and expect crews from Deer Ridge Correctional Institution in Madras to join efforts on Sunday. While winds have moderated, firefighters continue to watch for new starts in the area. 




COVE PALISADES, OR -- The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office has evacuated 60 people in a small subdivision west of Culver, after two homes and several outbuildings were destroyed in Central Oregon's newest wildfire. The Red Cross has established a shelter at Culver High School.


The Cove Fire reportedly started two miles northwest of Culver, in the campground at Cove Palisades State Park and fire managers say it was human caused. Oregon State Police are investigating the specific cause. High winds and dry conditions are fueling the fire which, as of 3:30 p.m. Saturday, had grown to about 200 acres. 


At this time, there is no containment and firefighters are challenged by steep slopes out of the park. The area received little to no rain today and wind remains a main factor in fire spread. 


The fire is being jointly managed by the Oregon Department of Forestry and Jefferson County, with help from Prineville BLM and Deschutes and Ochoco National Forest. Two helicopters on loan from Warm Springs, along with 10 engines, two airtankers, two hand crews and a water tender are on scene to battle the blaze.

BEND, OR -- Two teens were arrested on 10 counts of stealing from vehicles last week, and Bend Police are trying to return property to its rightful owners.


According to police, 18-year old Rico Lazzereschi and a 16-year old boy were contacted early Wednesday morning after they had allegedly broken into several vehicles near Southeast 15th and Twin Lakes Loop.


Investigators ask that anyone who may have had something taken from their vehicle to call Bend Police at 541-693-6911.

CRATER LAKE, OR -- The National Park Service reopened the north entrance to Crater Lake National Park, following burn out operations related to the Crescent Fire, which is part of the National Complex of fires. Visitors are advised that smoke may persist and future temporary closures may be necessary, depending on fire behavior or suppression actions.


The Pacific Crest Trail from the park's north boundary to the junction with Lightning Springs Trail remains closed, along with the Boundary Springs Trail, Bald Crater Loop Trail and Bert Creek Trail. The National Complex is now more than 13,000 acres and is 40% contained.


The Canyon Creek Complex, south of John Day has reached 44% containment, at nearly 87,000 acres. Evacuation notices remain in place. Six National Guard units are assisting with firefighting efforts, working on mop up and suppression repair.


On the Warm Springs Reservation, the County Line 2 Fire has grown to 66,390 acres. It's 72% contained, with full containment expected Monday. The fire is not expected to impact the Airshow of the Cascades at the Madras Airport, Friday evening and Saturday. 

BEND, OR -- Bend's Whitewater Park on the Deschutes River will open on schedule, despite recent rumors to the contrary. Chelsea Schneider with Bend Parks and Recreation says at one point, they were very optimistic on the opening. “We had, at the early part of this summer, hoped that we might be able to open it a little bit early. So that was kind of the end of August goal to be able to open up the channels. As we’re getting closer to the end of the project, we’re finding that there’s just quite a few things that need to be wrapped up so realistically we need to push that toward the middle of September for the true opening." That's still well ahead of the official November deadline for the project.


Schneider tells KBND, “The focus right now is to get the bridge rails installed. They’re installing what are called the cable rails - That’s the upper portion of the rails to protect bicyclists. And they are also installing the final parts and pieces for the pneumatic bladder which controls the river elevations and also can help shape the waves.”  And vegetation along the new river bank is being planted.


A mid-September opening should still give floaters and kayakers a couple of weeks of use before irrigation flows drop.

SISTERS, OR -- More than four months after a Sisters-area man received county approval to hold weddings on his farm, the state Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) overturned that ruling. Paul Dewey with Landwatch is pleased with the decision, saying it sets a precedent for the state. "The issue is whether or not events such as weddings can qualify as private parks allowable on agricultural lands. The reason we wanted that interpreted very narrowly, is that the more non-farm activity you have on agricultural lands, the less agricultural activities can occur and the more conflicts can happen."


John Shepherd tells KBND he was shocked by last week’s ruling. "When the LUBA trial actually went on, my attorney said most of the questions were directed to our opponent, Central Oregon Landwatch, and that they had a hard time answering the questions. My attorney received very few questions so we were still very confident that the appeal by Landwatch would be denied."


Shepherd has been holding weddings and other events at his property all summer, following Deschutes County Commissioners' approval to designate his property, zoned as Exclusive Farm Use (EFU), as a private park. "For some reason they just [LUBA] really hate the idea of a wedding ceremony happening on private land. Which is strange because all the public parks, both county and city, allow weddings along with the ceremony. So, why they would single out a private park and prohibit a ceremony, we don’t understand." 


Dewey says the issue is about fairness. "There are entirely different rules and restrictions on weddings and other events under the county ordinance. The Shepherds should do like what everyone else is doing, and apply specifically for a wedding event venue under the county ordinance."


Shepherd declined to say how many are scheduled in the coming months, and says the fight isn't over. "We’re appealing it to the state board of appeals, and again we’re optimistic that the state board will review this and either overrule LUBA’s prohibition or send it back to the County Commissioners for their review where we can work something out that’s more acceptable. If the state board of appeals upholds LUBA’s decision, then we’ll take Plan B, which is to seek a permit as a winery or a vineyard." He says if that fails, he will take it back to court as a civil rights issue. He is an ordained pastor and says he has a First Amendment right to hold weddings at his church, which meets on his property. 

BEND, OR -- Former Bend City Councilor and State Senator Chris Telfer announced Thursday, she will seek the Independent Party of Oregon’s nomination for Treasurer in 2016. The local CPA tells KBND she has contemplated the run for several months. "I just got to the point that I was seeing a crisis that was going to hit the state in 2017 in the financial area, and I felt that I am the one who has the skill set as a CPA. I teach government accounting for OSU and I thought, well, this is a way I could help the state out."


She adds, "We’ve got about a $3 billion crisis that we’re going to be facing. I actually developed the “back to basics” budget back in 2010, I guess it was, trying to balance the budget without increasing taxes. I have the skill set, nobody else does that’s running, so I thought well, I’ll throw my hat in the ring." Beaverton Democrat Tobias Read is the only other person to publicly announce a run for Treasurer, although campaigns can’t officially register until September 10. 


She registered with Oregon’s newest “major party” a few weeks ago and says it’s the best way to run her kind of campaign. "I want to keep politics out of the Treasury. It’s not about getting coerced by the left or the right dogma. It’s about protecting Oregonians’ money, so I want to keep politics out of it."
It can be difficult for candidates from east of the Cascades to run for statewide office. But, Telfer says she already has name recognition across Oregon, having served as a State Senator and Lottery Commissioner, along with her bid for Treasurer as a Republican in 2010. She lost that race to Ted Wheeler. "I don’t think people understand what the Treasury does, but it’s critical. Somebody’s got to wrap their hands around a $3 billion shortfall. There’s all kinds of issues there. I think part of my attempt is going to be getting Oregonians to understand that this is a critical time for the Treasury, for Oregonians’ money and somebody who knows what they’re doing needs to be protecting it."


REDMOND, OR -- The Central Oregon Drug Enforcement team (CODE) arrested two men in a Redmond parking lot, and seized a large amount of methamphetamine, Wednesday night.


CODE detectives learned that a significant quantity of meth was on its way from Portland and identified the suspects as 30-year-old Jose Ramon Castelo, Federal Way, WA, and 26-year-old Yahir Acosta, a transient. At about 9 p.m., Wednesday, detectives located their car at the Redmond Walmart and took the men into custody. 
During a search of the vehicle, detectives say they found about a pound of meth hidden in the dashboard, with a street value of around $16,000. Additional user amounts of cocaine were found on Acosta.
Both men face a number of drug related charges.
                Jose Ramon Martinez Castelo                                           Yahir Acosta

SALEM, OR -- Oregon’s latest revenue forecast was released Wednesday, and House Republican Leader Mike McLane (R-Powell Butte) says it shows the state’s economy is headed in a positive direction. "The good news is that we’re going to have a kicker. As a result of tax increases this biennium, we exceeded expectations. We’re going to send back to the taxpayers $402 million of their money. There will also be a corporate tax kicker of around $59 million." McLane says that corporate kicker goes directly to state education funding. 


Despite the surplus, McLane says revenue for the 2013-15 biennium weren’t as good as previously projected. "Based upon our forecast, which, our previous one was in May, showed generous growth in our economy. He did downgrade that forecast by $48 million, but it still shows the economy will be growing and we can expect employment growth to continue and stabilize with no real projected downturn ahead that should alarm us."
The average taxpayer will receive a $244 dollar credit. "The last kicker was 2007, that was $1.2 billion. So, this is the first kicker in eight years and it’s less, of course, only $402 million. But, this time it won’t be in the form of a check, it’ll be in the form of a credit when you file your taxes in the upcoming year. The reason the legislature voted on that was to save money," McLane tells KBND. He says he’d like to see the state continue to grow revenues by increasing the number of taxpayers, and decreasing unemployment. Governor Kate Brown called the revenue forecast “encouraging.”
Oregon's kicker rebate was created in 1979 and goes into effect when revenues come in at more than 2% over what was forecast for the biennium. 

PRINEVILLE, OR -- The Prineville City Council and the Crook County Commissioners approved Facebook’s request for Enterprise Zone Status for an expansion project, late Wednesday. Crook County Commissioner Seth Crawford tells KBND, “What that entails is a 15-year tax break, and the company needs to spend a minimum of $200 million, hire not less than 10 people at no less than 1.5-times the average income of Crook County and pay, in lieu of taxes, $190,000 a year in grants." 


Crawford adds, “I’m ecstatic. Facebook has been an amazing partner. In addition to their in lieu of tax dollars they’re also putting a hundred-thousand-plus into our community through grant processes. The infrastructure they’ve brought to our community lined us up so we’re able to attract other data centers."


Facebook representatives attended both special meetings, but did not announce a timeline for the expansion project. 

BEND, OR -- There is likely a multi-millionaire walking the streets of Bend, and they may not even know they’ve struck it rich. Monday night’s $6.4 million winning Megabucks ticket was sold in Bend. Chuck Baumann with the Oregon Lottery says they won’t release the store location until the winner has been confirmed. "If you’ve got the ticket and you’re not sure, or you think ‘gosh, I bought my ticket in Bend, I’d better check.’ You can go to our website and the winning numbers will be there. You can call the Lottery office in Salem (503-540-1000) and we can give you what the winning numbers were. Or, they can take the ticket into a retail location and have it scanned at one of the Check-a-Ticket devices that we have there. And, if they are indeed the winner, give us a call!"


Those winning numbers: 15 - 27 - 32 - 39 - 44 - 45.


The odds of winning Monday's drawing? One in 6.1 million, nearly the amount of the prize. Baumann has some advice for the winner. "Before you come in, and even after you come in because you can validate your ticket then step away and get your ducks in a row – what sort of a plan can we put in place that would be the wisest for us with this newfound wealth that we have? Talk to a financial planner, an accountant, an attorney, a team of those folks and get a plan in place; so that when it does come time for that check to be cut, you have a plan there."


Whoever the winner is has a big decision to make in the coming days. "They can take it as an annuity or they can take the cash option. If they choose the annuity, which is over 25 years, after taxes that prize would be $171,520. Every year for 25 years, that’s what they would get. If they take the cash option, it’s a little over $2.1 million," Baumann says. The winner has one year to claim their prize. 


In the 30-year history of Oregon Megabucks, there have been just four other winning tickets sold in Bend, most recently $3.5 million in 1994. This week's prize is by far the largest for a Bend retailer. 

PRINEVILLE, OR -- Facebook's desire to expand its data center in Prineville could be in jeopardy if City Councilors and County Commissioners don't both agree to a property tax exemption.

The social media giant has two large buildings and one small building in Prineville, thanks to an Enterprise Zone that defers property taxes for 15 years. Facebook is seeking the same status for another proposed large building.


Prineville Mayor Betty Roppe tells KBND, "I believe there is support for an exemption for Facebook. It will give us an opportunity to increase the size of Facebook - the local building site - and for us, it will be more jobs. It will also mean an increase in franchise fees."


Roppe says an Enterprise Zone is often seen as a benefit for both sides. "They would have a 15-year tax free zone on the improvements to the land, but they would have to pay a payment in lieu of taxes on an annual basis, just like they did last time."


The Prineville City Council and Crook County Commissioners are both scheduled to take up the issue at special meetings, Wednesday afternoon.

REDMOND, OR -- A Redmond man fled a traffic stop, leading police on a wild chase, Tuesday night. An officer attempted to pull over the V-W Jetta for several traffic violations at about 9:15 p.m. But, police say the man took off, driving through a field near 17th and West Antler Ave.
The driver ran from the scene after his car hit a sidewalk and became disabled. A K-9 unit helped track the suspect to a nearby apartment complex.
Police eventually found Ronnie Peters hiding inside an apartment. They say witnesses and nearby residents helped in the search effort.
Peters is accused of reckless driving and attempting to elude, along with charges stemming from an unrelated July investigation.

BEND, OR -- A Salem man suspected of trafficking narcotics, led Central Oregon Drug Enforcement detectives on a pursuit and was eventually arrested after an hours-long manhunt, last week. 


According to CODE, Chad Pomelow was a frequent visitor to the Bend home of Kristine Kyner, who was under investigation by the team. Detectives tried to stop Pomelow, last week, as he was parked near the Bend Airport, but he took off. After driving over spike strips, he ran from his car and detectives lost him. 
Later Wednesday morning, police stopped Kyner’s vehicle near 27th and Butler Market Road. Pomelow was found hiding in the vehicle and was arrested. Kyner’s 6-year-old daughter was taken into protective custody.
Detectives executed a search warrant on Kyner's home on Barton Crossing Way, where they say they found user amounts of heroin and meth. 

Pomelow is charged with Attempt to Elude, Reckless Driving, Reckless Endangering, Criminal Mischief, Attempted Assault and a Parole Violation. Kyner is charged with Heroin and Methamphetamine Possession, Hindering Prosecution and Child Neglect.

BEND, OR -- Central Oregon unemployment rates ticked up in July, following the statewide trend. Employment economist Will Burchard tells KBND, " We have seen an increase in the unemployment rate and that’s happening all across the state. The state’s unemployment rate increased from 5.5% to 5.9% in July and a big chunk of the group contributing to the higher unemployment, they’ve entered the labor force looking for work."


Deschutes County’s jobless rate increased from 6.2% in June to 6.6% in July. Jefferson County is one of the highest performing rural counties in the state, although unemployment rose from 6.7% to 7.2% last month. And, in Crook County, the unemployment rate increased by .4%, to 8.6%. 


In Deschutes County, Burchard says, "The big story is still hiring. In July, it was consistent with what we’d expect for this time of year. But, Central Oregon continues to grow more quickly than other areas of the state. And its over-the-year growth rate was higher than any other area in the state."


He admits, though, the region lost more jobs than anticipated, "When we look at the balance of jobs gained and lost in Deschutes County, in the private sector, there was a gain of about 1400 jobs (not seasonably adjusted). And, that was offset by losses in government. We saw a loss of about 1300 in local education, which is normal for this time of year because those who work in schools are heading out for the summer."


But, Burchard says there is good news, "The unemployment rate has increased and there are more people looking for work. But, as Deschutes County continues to add jobs at a higher rate than the state, these unemployed people looking for work will have opportunities to find jobs."

BEND, OR -- With smoky conditions blanketing Central Oregon for the last several weeks, asthma specialists are staying busy. Dr. Adam Williams, an allergy and asthma specialist with Bend Memorial Clinic, tells KBND his phone has been ringing off the hook. "We’re getting a lot of calls, especially with asthma [patients] needing inhaler refills who haven’t needed inhalers for a long time, or needing emergent treatment to get them through these attacks they're having because of the smoke."


"Every year this happens, we have so much trouble with respiratory issues. People who have lung problems, especially emphysema (also known as COPD) and then of course, asthma, people really struggle. This is probably one of the most difficult irritants that the lungs have to deal with, for people with those conditions," says Dr. Williams. 


Central Oregonians may be used to fire season, but it's the prolonged nature of the poor air quality that is really causing problems. "The duration that people have to the exposure that causes their symptoms definitely will increase the inflammation in their lungs and make it a lot harder for them. They may have been ok at first, but the longer it sits around the more likely they are to have problems with it." He suggests those with asthma who aren’t yet having symptoms consider restarting regular medications as a precaution.


And, it's not just his patients who are complaining. Dr. Williams says, "Probably over half of people in Central Oregon will tell you their eyes are itchy or nose is runny, or their throat is itchy and scratchy. And, as long as those are the only symptoms you have, it’s a matter of palliating the symptoms with whatever you can and trying to avoid the exposure."


And, because the smoke is everywhere, he suggests those suffering with itchy eyes and throats stay indoors, if possible. Oregon's DEQ has issued an Air Quality Alert "until further notice," due to smoky air. 

BEND, OR -- State Representative Knute Buehler announced Tuesday he will not run for Governor in 2016, opting instead to run for reelection in House District 54.


"I was asked late in the legislative session to give some consideration to running for Governor, both from local and national sources. And, I did that. But, after careful consideration, mainly for personal reasons, I felt that 2016 was just not my time to jump into the Governor’s race," he tells KBND News.  Rep. Buehler (R-Bend) adds, "I’m flattered by that, but it’s also something that’s not a lifelong goal. I don’t wake up every morning and look in the mirror and say ‘that guy should be Governor.’ My public service, I see more as a journey than any particular destination. And my journey will take me where I think I can serve the people of Oregon the best."
Buehler released a statement to supporters Tuesday morning, saying in part, "Serving another term in the Oregon House will allow me to continue serving the community and the state I love, while also engaging in a profession that is both fulfilling and allows my patients to lead better lives."
The freshman Representative tells KBND his decision was more personal than political. "I was thinking about things like the simple fact that I’ve really enjoyed being the voice and vote of Bend in the state legislature. I also very much enjoy being a physician. So, there’s just a number of aspects that come into play. But also, importantly, I’d have had to quit being a physician completely, and I’m just not prepared to do that quite yet."
Governor Kate Brown has not yet announced whether she'll run. If she does, Buehler believes she can be beat. "This is kind of a special interim race in 2016 and there will be another race in 2018, which is unusual." Buehler wouldn't rule out a run in 2018, "Way too many things can happen between now and 2018. Right now, I’m focused on creating a better Oregon. We need better quality schools, we need more and higher paying jobs, and we need to improve our woeful transportation network. Those are the things I’m going to really put my attention to over the next couple of years."


He has launched fundraising efforts for his reelection campaign to Oregon House District 54.

BEND, OR -- Stocks fell 3.5% Monday and another 1.3% Tuesday, causing many investors to cringe and blame foreign markets. But, Troy Reinhart with Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management says, not so fast. "Computers are becoming a bigger and bigger part of trading. All this programmed trading will shove things, especially in the summer months where most traders are in the Hamptons enjoying the beach, not trading, so there's not a lot of volume out there. That can shove markets wildly one way or another."


Reinhart says most of his investors are in the market for the long haul and should not get caught up in sell-off emotion. Although, the fluctuations are thinning out some. "People who shouldn't be in stocks, speculated way too much, took risks they weren't willing to take - those are the people getting out of the market," Reinhart tells KBND. 


He suggests investors take a deep breath, and enjoy the summer, "This too shall pass."

BEND, OR -- City officials are hoping regular citizens will take an active role in creating proposals to fund Bend street improvements. According to City Manager Eric King, a number of local groups are already expected to participate, including the Bend Chamber of Commerce, Commute Options and Bend 2030. "We’ve asked them to send a representative. And then, we have a few open slots that we’ve advertised for and we encourage citizens to go onto our website and apply to be a part of that group. We’ll select those folks at the end of this month or the first part of September. Our intent is to have our first meeting on September 14." He says they're looking for a variety of participants, ranging from a local gas station owner to a small business that relies on fuel.

King tells KBND the City Council’s tight vote in favor of putting a gas tax on the March ballot does not mean it’s a done deal. "It was really an intent. They didn’t really make any move to put something on the ballot. There’s actual ballot language, a whole other step that would have to take place. So, if that scenario plays out that the committee comes up with something other than a fuel tax and it has traction and support, I think Council would be interested in seeing what that recommendation would be and perhaps could support it." And, if a local gas tax is chosen as the best option to fund road improvements, King says more discussion would follow before anything goes to the ballot. "Council needs to adopt a resolution and that resolution has the ballot title language, and that goes to the County Clerk. That would turn over into a campaign of sorts, a Political Action Committee that would then advocate for that measure."
The Street Maintenance Funding Committee is tasked with coming up with two proposals – one with a local gas tax for approval by voters, and one without. Applications will be accepted until August 31.

BEND, OR -- A Deschutes County Deputy District Attorney is singled out for his prosecution of wildlife offenses. Drew Moore was honored as the 2014 "Wildlife Prosecutor of the Year" at the Oregon District Attorneys Association conference held in Bend, last week.


The award recognized Deputy D.A. Moore for his support, hard work, dedication and enforcement of Fish and Wildlife laws. 


Central Oregon's Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife Team nominated Moore for the award. 

BEND, OR -- Bend’s public bus system is growing. City Councilors have approved a three-year boost in funding for the Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council to add bus routes and provide service later in the evening. COIC Executive Director Andrew Spreadborough says the changes could come by the end of September. "We also are moving the headways and cycle times to a 30- and 60-minute schedule. Right now, we’re on a 40-minute headway and cycle times vary. Headway is the frequency that a bus shows up at a bus stop and cycle time is how long it takes to ride through a route. The idea, on an urban system, you want to be around 30 or 15 minutes."  He told the City Council, "It will be a more intuitive system. If you have a bus stop, you’ll know a bus comes every 30-minutes, generally, on the 30-minute mark. And, there is more frequency built into the system." Busses will also run later in the day, until 8 p.m. instead of the current 6 p.m.


COIC worked with OSU Cascades and St. Charles to develop a master plan designed to help alleviate congestion related to the two big Bend employers and to develop a bus system that is more user friendly. "The transit master plan really calls out improvements over time: Additional routes within the city, increased frequency and later service; those were the three highest priorities that were included in the transit plan. And, the plan was developed by public involvement, technical analysis, and other input. It was really recognition that an improvement in one part of town wasn’t sufficient."
The City Council voted last week to spend $300,000 a year for the next three years on the bus expansion, in addition to the $1 million it already gives Cascades East Transit. Expanded routes could begin as soon as September 21. 


BEND, OR -- With emotions running high following three firefighter deaths in Washington, and dozens of homes lost to fires in eastern Oregon, the Better Business Bureau warns scammers may try to take advantage. Sophie Dichter with the Oregon BBB tells KBND it’s not unusual for con artists to set up fake, official-sounding charities during a natural disaster. "We want to help, we want to donate, we want to do whatever we can. But, scammers prey on that. They know we’re already emotionally charged and we’re so eager to help. What we’ve seen happen in the past is that they’ll actually go door to door and use high-pressure tactics to try and get people to give to them and pocket the money."

She says demands for immediate cash should be a red flag. "Once you hand [cash] over, it’s gone. They will convince you, saying ‘it’s so much easier if you just give me a $20 bill.’ You’re so eager to help, a lot of times you don’t take that second to think clearly and say, maybe a check would be a better idea."
She also suggests you do your homework, "As a consumer, as a donor, it is up to us to do our research and get as much information as possible. So, ask them questions. Say, ‘specifically tell me where this money is going to go?’ And, a lot of times, scammers are not prepared. They can’t give you any specifics, they’ll talk in general terms and that will be a red flag. She says a legitimate charity should respond positively to requests for more information and offers to mail a check directly to an organization.

BEND, OR -- A Eugene woman was injured while hiking near Green Lakes west of Bend, prompting a response by Search and rescue, Sunday morning. Another hiker called 9-1-1 at about 8:30 a.m. to report 55-year-old Nancy Allender was hurt and not able to hike back to the trailhead on her own. 


Two SAR teams assembled and proceeded the four miles into her location with medical supplies and a wheeled litter. They transported her back to the trailhead.
Her hiking companion then took her back to Eugene for further medical treatment. 

BEND, OR -- A Bend Police officer attempted to pull over Seth Morningsun Sunday night for a traffic violation near NE Fourth and Greenwood. Officers say Morningsun refused to pull over and drove south on NE Third Street, just before 9:20 p.m. He stopped near Third and Brosterhous but drove off as the officer tried to approach the vehicle.


Eventually, the 35-year-old Bend man drove into the Fred Meyer parking lot where a number of officers approached his vehicle. They say he initially failed to comply with commands, but was finally taken into custody a short time later without incident.


Morningsun is charged with Attempting to Elude Police and Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants. 

BEND, OR -- A Bend man died following a car crash into a Canal, Sunday morning. According to Bend Police, 64-year-old Lewis Bingham likely had a medical crisis while driving westbound on Knott Road. He lost control and crashed into the canal near Pine Vista Road, just after 10:30 a.m.


His vehicle ended up partially submerged, and witnesses entered the water to pull Bingham out. He was unresponsive and medics immediately began life-saving measures.  He was transported to the hospital but did not survive. 
Bend Police ask that any other witnesses to the crash call non-emergency dispatch at 541-693-6911 to speak with investigators. 

BEND, OR -- Due to the prolonged risk of wildfire, the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office is urging residents to be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice. While there are no new fires reported in the area, County Emergency Manager Nathan Garibay encourages everyone to be prepared well in advance of an incident, by creating an evacuation kit and plan.


He says an integral piece is making sure your cell phone is registered through the county to receive emergency notifications. Click HERE to register your cell phone. 
The state has developed three evacuation levels:
Level 1: Be Ready
There is an incident in your area and residents should be aware of potential evacuation. Be aware of the danger, monitor emergency services sources and local media for information.  Those persons who will need additional time to exit an area or have health conditions (especially respiratory conditions that could be made worse by smoke) should consider leaving. You are encouraged to prepare or even move livestock and pets out of the area.  Be prepared to leave if conditions worsen.
Level 2: Get Set
There is significant danger in your area and residents should be prepared to leave at a moment's notice. You are encouraged to leave and should do so as soon as possible. If you choose to stay, you should be able to leave immediately if conditions worsen.  You MAY have time to gather necessary items, but doing so is at your own risk.  Entry to evacuated areas may be denied until the hazard subsides.
This may be the only notice you receive. Emergency services cannot guarantee we will be able to notify you if conditions rapidly deteriorate.
Level 3: Go Now!
There is immediate and imminent danger and you should evacuate immediately. DO NOT DELAY LEAVING to gather any belongings or make efforts to protect your home. Leave immediately and as quickly as possible. Drive carefully, turn on your headlights, and follow any directions from emergency services personnel. Entry to evacuated areas will be denied until the hazard subsides.
“During fire season, making sure that you and your family are always on ready for an emergency evacuation can make all the difference,” explains Garibay. “Having a plan and a emergency 72-hour kit ahead of time can allow for your family to take some extra precautionary measures if you are given a Level 1 Notice.”


SUTTLE LAKE, OR -- An outbreak of Swimmers Itch has forced Sisters Multi Sport to postpone its annual “Swim Across Suttle," originally scheduled for this Sunday. Jean Nelson Dean, with the Forest Service, says visitors to Suttle Lake began experiencing Swimmers Itch about a week ago. "It’s a rash you get when you’re swimming or wading outdoors. Usually, it’s in freshwater lakes and ponds like Suttle Lake. Essentially it’s an allergic reaction to these parasites that come from the waterfowl and some animals that live near the water," she tells KBND. "Because we are not suitable hosts for those parasites, they die when they’re in our skin and become kind of itchy. It’s usually short-lived, maybe a couple days, and most over the counter prescriptions medications for itch will help in treating it." She says it has been several years since any local lakes have had documented outbreaks. 


Nelson Dean agrees postponing the event was necessary. But, she says Swimmers Itch is not a public health concern, "It’s more of an irritation. People can go up to the lake and go boating, canoeing and spend time there, they probably just don’t want to spend a lot of time in the water. I do want to emphasize that Swimmers Itch is vastly different than blue-green algae that is a toxin and can affect dogs and humans. Swimmers Itch is something that’s on whole different scale; it’s irritating, it isn’t really a health hazard."
Swim Across Suttle has been rescheduled for October 4, and participants are encouraged to be prepared for much cooler water temperatures. 

BEND, OR -- Truth in Site released the findings from its recent online survey on the proposed site for OSU Cascades. The opposition group says more than a thousand people responded to the poll which was posted on its website.


Tracy Pfiffner with Truth in Site tells KBND, "We found that, of the over 1,000 respondents, 66% believe the current location is not the best placement for a regional university in Central Oregon."

Critics have argued the public survey was not scientific. Pfiffner concedes to that argument; however, she adds, "First of all, it's a picture of public opinion at a point in time. It's like an election process where people show up and voice their opinion. That's what we're claiming. We are sharing the questions and we're trying to be transparent." She says the group is open to a more scientific version. "We would be happy to team up with OSU and Now For Bend to create a survey where we all agree on the questions, and do a scientific survey to make a lot of folks happy. Conducting a scientific survey is challenging in today's world."
Truth in Site's survey also found that 64% of respondents felt the college should stop development at Chandler and Mt. Washington Drive and select a location that is less congested. Portland-based DHM Research conducted surveys considered more scientific, for Rep. Knute Buehler (R-Bend) and Now For Bend, and say 2/3 of people support the university's Westside location. 

BEND, OR -- The city of Bend is working toward developing regulations surrounding commercial marijuana operations. City Manager Eric King says there are more than a dozen medical marijuana dispensaries in Bend, many of which intend to offer early recreational sales allowed October first. 


He says City Councilors will spend the next month working with stakeholders to create appropriate guidelines prior to that date. "We talked about some potential regulations that we’d like to include on spacing requirements for marijuana facilities, including distance from existing facilities as well as distance from schools, parks, libraries. Really, the concern with council is making sure that marijuana outlets are not near where kids might be," King tells KBND. "Ensuring that we’re really aligning toward some type of intent; what are we trying to accomplish through that. So, we’re also looking at not only placement, but also what we call ‘time and manner’ - when these facilities are open – odor issues and display. We’re digging a little deeper into that and we’ll most likely have something in the next couple of months." Councilors have also expressed concerns about industrial land being used for growing pot.
King says it’s been difficult  to gauge what type of rules are needed on the local level, when the state has yet to release its regulations. "And, they’ve got to go through a process and so we didn’t want to duplicate anything they’re doing. Really, our role is to fill a gap. Where they’re at a pretty high level, at a local level we have an opportunity to really fine-tune what’s important for Bend."


BAKER CITY, OR -- Extreme fire weather continues: high temperatures, low humidity and winds could pick up again today; none of it good news for firefighters battle blazes across the state. The Canyon Creek Complex has burned nearly 54,000 acres near John Day, and is 10% contained. The fire has destroyed 36 homes and threatens 700 other structures. 


U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell says firefighters are doing all they can to curtail the complex of fires. He toured the fire camp earlier this week with Governor Kate Brown and State Forester Doug Decker. If officials had all the resources they wanted, Tidwell says there would be 1500 firefighters on-scene. As of Thursday, there are more than 600 making up the more than 900 total personnel.


The County Line 2 Fire near Warm Springs has burned more than 64,000 acres and is 55% contained.
The Cornet Windy Ridge Fire is Oregon’s largest. It has burned nearly 104,000 acres south of Baker City and is 75% contained. 

REDMOND, OR -- Central Oregon’s first playground designed to be accessible to all ages and abilities has been delayed, but work is progressing. Redmond Mayor George Endicott tells KBND part of the delay was finding just the right equipment for the unique playground at Sam Johnson Park. "This park is going to be fully ADA accessible on all of the 70 events we’re going to have there, so you have to find the right vendor to make sure that that works right and it took us a long time to do that." 


But, he says vendor decisions and fundraising efforts weren't the only things that delayed Hope Playground from opening as planned in May. "One of the other things that held us up was having the right kind of mat, and we decided on a pour. It’s a rubberized compound kind of a deal; if a kid falls, you want to make sure they don’t get hurt." He adds, "It’s taken a long time to get all of the excavation just exactly right. It’s exciting, I mean, it’s under construction now. You first build it, then you pour the concrete to firm it up, then you pour the floor. The concrete pour, I think, is early next week."


The city is hoping volunteers will come help install the newly delivered playground equipment on Friday. Click HERE for more information. Mayor Endicott expects the playground to be open for visitors in mid-October. 

PRINEVILLE, OR -- Crook County Commissioners voted Wednesday not to allow any marijuana businesses within unincorporated areas. The unanimous vote came after public testimony during a packed County Court meeting.


Commissioner Ken Fahlgren explains what the decision means, "We did vote on and approved our ordinance prohibiting the operation of six licensed and registered marijuana businesses and declaring an emergency. Declaring an emergency means that starts today [Wednesday] with our signatures; and that we will not allow in our county, all of these six items." That list includes medical marijuana processing sites and dispensaries, recreational marijuana producers and processors and recreational wholesalers and retailers. The ban does not include any businesses within the Prineville city limits. Currently there is one medical marijuana dispensary operating near the Prineville Airport. 


Retired Circuit Court Judge Gary Thompson spent 11 years overseeing the county's drug court. He brought the issue to Councilors, saying he's seen the problems drugs inflict on the community. "Most of the people were addicted to methamphetamine, heroin or cocaine; but they were also addicted to marijuana. And, the drug they had the most difficult time giving up was marijuana. Marijuana is addictive; it addicts 9% of adults and 17% of teens," Thompson tells KBND. 


Following the vote, Thompson said, "I'm pleased. It took courage, but it also followed the vote of the Crook County voters."


Because more than 55% of those in Crook County voted against Measure 91, the County Court was allowed by state law to ban commercial operations without further ballot measures. 

REDMOND, OR -- Redmond's newest city councilor was sworn in Wednesday. Heather Carlin was appointed to fill the seat vacated when Ginny McPherson resigned to take a job with the city's Community Development Department. 


Carlin is a 17-year resident of Redmond and has served on the city's budget committee and planning commission, and has led a number of Boards of Directors, including Saving Grace and Central Christian Schools.
Her term expires at the end of 2016. 

BEND, OR -- A home in the Broken Top neighborhood of Bend suffered $30,000 in damage due to improperly disposed of smoking materials. The fire started on the deck of a duplex on Bridge Creek Road, Wednesday afternoon. 


Firefighters knocked down the flames within 13 minutes of arriving on scene, and damage was confined to the exterior of one unit of the duplex.


Investigators say smoking materials on the back deck smoldered for hours before actual flames were seen. 

LA PINE, OR -- The Deschutes County Sheriff's Office has identified the man stabbed to death in La Pine. According to investigators, 46-year-old James Drake, Jr. was killed inside a home on Dustan Road, Tuesday afternoon. Paramedics attempted life saving measures, but Drake died at the scene.


During the course of the investigation, deputies learned that a neighbor was also the victim of a crime. They arrested 44-year-old Mark Fisher on burglary and assault charges in connection with that second victim.


The investigation continues, and more information is expected to be released by the Deschutes County District Attorney's Office. 

CULVER, OR -- A Redmond man was killed in a single vehicle crash near Culver, Wednesday morning. Oregon State Police report a car driven by 36-year-old Robert Topliff drifted out of its lane on Highway 97 and struck a guardrail. He was pronounced dead at the scene. 


His passenger, a 29-year-old Salem man, was taken to St. Charles Madras with minor injuries. 
Fatigue is being investigated as the cause of the crash, which occurred at about 10:15 a.m. 

PRINEVILLE, OR -- The remaining developed boat ramp at Prineville Reservoir will close for the year on Friday, due to low water levels. Park officials say the ramp is unsafe for trailered boat launching because water has receded to the end of the ramp. 


Low water prompted the early closure of the two other developed boat ramps, earlier this summer. 
The reservoir is still open to watercraft that can be launched manually from the beach. 
And, the main campground and day-use area will remain open year-round. The Jasper Point Campground is slated to close September 30. 
File Photo

BEND, OR -- Oregon’s Department of Transportation is in the process of implementing major changes to speeds allowed on rural highways. And, ODOT’s Peter Murphy tells KBND, that includes major roadways in Central Oregon. "The speed limit on most of Highway 97 will be 65 MPH; not here in the city, in the more rural areas – south of town, for example, then from Redmond to Madras, and also on the stretch between Bend and Redmond. So, people will legally be driving faster."


Murphy says preparations are already underway, "Passing lanes, passing zones are changing because as you go faster you need more room and we don’t have that kind of room on some of our highways. And then there are curves, for example, that are marked for whatever speed they are. And, if you’re now traveling 65 instead of 55, you’re approaching the curve a little faster, so you have to put the warning signs further away from the curve." 


When the new speed signs go up March first, they will alert drivers of the maximum speed limit. Current signs only show the basic rule speed, without a "limit." 
Murphy says the increased speed brings an increased need for caution. "The energy related to the crash, for example, between 55 and 65 MPH is not a direct linear equation; it’s exponential. The energy is by a square greater when you collide. It’s much more dangerous."

PRINEVILLE, OR -- Crook County Commissioners are expected to decide today whether to limit marijuana businesses outside of the Prineville city limits. Ken Fahlgren says because 58% of Crook County voters said no to Measure 91, Commissioners can choose to ban six different types of businesses, ranging from medical dispensaries to recreational marijuana retailers and producers. "If we were to restrict these six directions that the state allows us through the opt-out, it doesn’t stop someone to grow for themselves and for personal use. And, it doesn’t stop the allowed grow in that personal way for others who carry a medical marijuana card."


Commissioner Fahlgren tells KBND it's a difficult decision, "I don’t know yet. I look at this as being a problem for our public safety. I’ve got grandkids here as well, and I’m one of the voters who voted it down. So, I guess in my mind at this time, I would probably opt out unless I hear something different; and that’s where a discussion is helping me to be more open-minded. I really, I don’t know."
HB 3400, approved by state lawmakers at the end of the legislative session, allows a ban in communities where more than 55% of residents voted against Measure 91 last November. 
Currently there is one medical marijuana dispensary in Prineville; it would not be impacted by a ban, since it’s inside the city limits. A county ban also would not impact personal pot use, which became legal July first. Well, it’s something we’ve worked on now for many years. "It’s coming to a head with the state. We really want to listen to what the voters have to say. We know there’s a need for medical marijuana in this process, the city has allowed a medical marijuana dispensary in the city; there was a lot of discussion around that," Fahlgren says. 


If approved at today's County Commissioner meeting, a ban could go into effect immediately. 

BEND, OR -- Truth in Site is planning to release the results of its recent online survey on the OSU Cascades expansion this Thursday.


More than one thousand people responded to the poll, but critics say, it's not scientific.


John Horvick with DHM Research in Portland explains what qualifies as scientific: "If someone tells me a survey is open to everyone,  that's not scientific.  The sample needs to be randomized and representative of the community.  If you want to test if the same is good, you need to know the demographics of those who participate."


Truth in Site officials don't claim their survey is scientific, but they do claim its a valid reflection of public opinion on this issue.

BEND,OR ---  The Deschutes County Commissioners have agreed to move forward on examining whether a former landfill could be used by OSU Cascades.


The commissioners unanimously agreed to a non binding agreement Monday between the county and college.


OSU Cascades Vice President Becky Johnson says the college is keeping their options open.


"I think there are a lot of win-wins here.  If we can find a way to clean this up and as a representative of OSU we're uniquely situated to bring some expertise to this.  The Dean of the College of Engineering plans to bring out his best faculty to think out of the box."


The assessment of the former landfill is expected to take up to two years.

BEND, OR -- Deschutes County Commissioners are starting to consider whether to allow marijuana businesses in rural areas. They listened to hours of testimony during two public hearings last week. During Monday's Board of Commissioners meeting, they reflected on what they heard and where they want to go with the process.


Commissioner Tammy Baney said, "I'm not in favor of a blanket opt-out. I think the easiest thing we can do is a complete opt-out. The hardest thing, and I think the right thing to do is to parse through this and craft a decision that's right for Deschutes County. I think we can find some middle ground."


Commissioner Alan Unger agreed, but added, "I don't want to take [an opt-out] off the table. The challenge I see is then we have a vote, then a campaign. Do we want to go down that road or not? I'm not happy with that."


They plan to devote their September second work session on deciding how to proceed. Commissioners are considering forming a citizen committee to help give them further input. 


REDMOND, OR -- Staff from Brightside Animal Center traveled from Redmond to California Monday to increase the chances of finding adoptive homes for seven young dogs. "We’re bringing them here because the Red Bluffs shelter called us because they desperately needed help making room for the animals that they already have at their shelter," Brightside Executive Director Becky Stock tells KBND. "Imagine you want to adopt a dog and you keep looking at, for example, the Brightside website and the same dogs are always up there and you go, ‘none of the ones I came to visit really tripped my trigger.’ Having new animals to look at is a good thing. It helps stimulate people who are looking for dogs, it gives us something new to let people know to check out the seven new dogs we have at Brightside Animal Center."


She says the Redmond shelter has room for the new arrivals thanks to last weekend’s national Clear the Shelter event. "We got rid of probably 1/5 of the cats and we adopted out five dogs and we have three more with holds, all of our roosters are gone, and we’re down to only two rabbits."
The seven new dogs are a mix of breeds, and Stock says all are healthy. She expects most will be ready for adoption by the end of the week.  
Above photo: Carla is a Corgi mix with a sweet disposition. She gets along with other dogs but not cats!
Diesel: 1-year-old, very sweet.      Fonzie: Loves attention!         Nova: Is great with people!

PRINEVILLE, OR -- Crook County is one of Central Oregon's communities most impacted by smoke pouring in from the County Line 2 Fire in Warm Springs. Prineville City Planner Phil Stenbeck says residents need to be aware of the conditions, especially if they have existing respiratory conditions. "The air quality monitor has indicated moderate conditions on several days due to the wildfires, and one unhealthy day  - clearly unhealthy for everybody. We’re watching the monitor and informing people of the quality of the air. Of course, the suggestion is don’t go running, don’t go play sports in the weather, try to reduce your exposure and stay indoors if it’s really thick where you’re at."


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) asks communities to limit particulate levels to 35 micrograms per thousand. But, Stenbeck says exceptions are made during fire season. "During the summertime when you have wildfires, that’s something that if your numbers are going to be pushed over by a wildfire event, then they don’t count it. If it’s not, then they do. They’ve got all this math that we don’t necessarily agree with. But at the end of the day, the wildfire events that occur in the summer months don’t effect you the same as crossing over the particulate level during the winter months. They feel communities have more control over that."


Stenbeck says the city and Crook County are working with the EPA and the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to improve air quality during the winter, when wood stoves and outdoor burning take Crook County over federal pollution thresholds for an average of 12 days each year. 

An Air Quality Alert has been issued for Deschutes County until 11 a.m., Wednesday, due to area smoke.  



County Line 2 Fire photo courtesy Spilyay Tymoo.



WARM SPRINGS, OR -- The County Line 2 Fire near Warm Springs continues to burn and as of Monday evening, had destroyed nearly 60,000 acres. It's estimated at 31% contained. Bob Medina, head of the Warm Springs Dispatch Center, tells KBND, "Right now, we're still pretty active. In fact, we just picked up another smoke report on Mt. Jefferson, which is also on the reservation; we've got some resources going to that one, as well." He says that new fire is likely a holdover from lightning a couple of weeks ago. 


Kah-Nee-Ta Resort reopened at around noon on Monday, after evacuating guests and employees on Saturday.


Nearly 600 firefighters are battling the blazes. "The relief is kind of - the pressure is getting a little better. Tension is still there because there are a lot of concerned community members, concerned people on the outside that call about road closures and the highway closure. It's all a big concern for many people, so it gets hectic."


The Pacific Northwest currently has a high volume of fires, including 30 large uncontained wildfires, which is squeezing state and federal resources. 


Photo courtesy Spilyay Tymoo.

SALEM, OR -- Secretary of State Jeanne Atkins Monday announced that the Independent Party of Oregon (IPO) has qualified to be a major political party. The designation permits the party to participate in the May 2016 Primary Election.


In order to qualify for major party status in Oregon, a party needs to claim 5% of the registered voters, or 108,739 registered voters. As of August 16, 2015, the Independent Party had 109,363.


Sal Peralta, Secretary of the Independent Party of Oregon, says IPO has grown from 10,000 just seven years ago. During a recent forum in Bend, Peralta said, "Roughly one in four IPO members are former Democrats or Republicans who switched. Demographically, half of IPO members are under the age of 40, so that makes us the youngest political party in the state. And, the main ideology consistency among our membership is frustration with the Democrats and Republicans."


In Oregon, about a third of voters do not identify themselves as Democrat or Republican. 

REDMOND, OR -- Police are looking for a 39-year-old Redmond man with several warrants for burglary and firearm theft, and are asking for the public's help in tracking down Matthew Romine.


Officers contacted Sabrina Hammon as she stood in the front yard of a home on Northwest Way, just outside of Redmond, at 4:45 p.m. Saturday. The 37-year-old woman was arrested for an outstanding warrant. During that investigation, the officer had reason to believe Romine lived at the same house and he believed the wanted man was inside. 


The Central Oregon CERT Team was attempted to contact Romine. Despite a search by a K-9 unit, Romine was not found. Officers cleared the scene at 1:30 a.m., Sunday.


Redmond Police ask anyone who may know Romine's whereabouts, is asked to call local law enforcement. 


Sabrina Hammon (37), of Redmond

WARM SPRINGS, OR -- The County Line 2 Fire continues to burn tens of thousands of acres on the Warm Springs Reservation. Firefighting efforts twice forced the closure of highway 26; the second time lasted nearly two days. It reopened Saturday morning. 


The Red Cross is offering shelter at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds to those forced to evacuate their homes. Kah-Nee-Ta Resort management say they plan to reopen the resort at noon, Monday. They ask visitors to be aware of moderate to heavy levels of smoke in the air, although they say it should clear this afternoon. DEQ air quality monitoring sites across the region report moderate to unsafe conditions, Monday morning, due to the smoke. 
The wildfire began Wednesday, when a trailer lost a tire, sending sparks into brush along Highway 26. 
As of Monday morning, the fire had burned approximately 59,150 acres and its perimeter is 25%contained.  
Photo Courtesy of Jayson Smith, via KWSO.

PRINEVILLE, OR -- Construction crews have worked all summer on nearly every school in Crook County and School District officials say they’re on track and will be ready for students in three short weeks. District Project Manager Jerry Milstead tells KBND, "The big to-do is the new elementary school, to get that ready and online for this fall school year. We’re doing remodeling at the high school, the middle school; we’re going to start remodeling at Cecil Sly this fall, and we’re remodeling Paulina School."


He says middle and high school students will notice changes when they first enter their buildings. "What the students will see, and the public will see, is a new, more secure entry into the High School. And, a remodel is taking place on the front office, in order to accommodate the different traffic flow for security purposes."


But the biggest changes are at the elementary level. "Ochoco Elementary school will no longer operate. This coming year, Crooked River Elementary School will operate as an elementary school, as well as the new Barnes Butte Elementary School. Cecil Sly is shut down for this school year, so we will go in and remodel it. In the fall of 2016, Cecil Sly will reopen and Crooked River will no longer be an elementary school for the district," says Milstead. By the time the dust settles next fall, Crook County will have only two elementary schools: Barnes Butte and Cecil Sly.


Milstead says the district just received its occupancy permit for Barnes Butte, and teachers are anxious to get classrooms ready for its first students. The school district will host an open house at Barnes Butte Friday, August 21 at 5:30 p.m.


There have been a few delays on a number of the projects, but he says crews will work behind the scenes once students are back. 

BEND, OR -- OSU Cascades is increasing future land expansion options. The college is looking at Deschutes County's former demolition landfill, located just north of the site it already owns on Chandler and Mt. Washington Drive. 


County Administrator Tom Anderson tells KBND County Commissioners will discuss Monday morning whether to help OSU Cascades study whether the land is viable. "It's non-binding, so it doesn't lock either the county or OSU Cascades into anything. It's a partnership, really, to provide assistance to them in doing some additional assessment of what that site really is, in terms of environmental waste and cost of clean-up."


He says studying the property is important because there are many variables. "It differs by areas of the site and the amount of remediation necessary, depending on the kind of use that would be done over the impacted areas of the site."
If the agreement is approved, it could take up to two years to evaluate whether the land can be used for the college's expansion. 

REDMOND, OR -- Redmond Police say a citizen held a drunk driving suspect at gunpoint until officers arrived, Saturday evening. Police responded to a single vehicle rollover crash on Southwest Canyon Drive at about 10:15 p.m. 


Investigators say a witness helped 24-year-old Brandon Danley of Redmond out of the pickup after it hit a parked car and rolled onto its top. Danley then allegedly took off, leaving two passengers in the car.
The witness ran after him, holding Danley until he could be arrested by police. He faces a number of charges, including DUII and felony hit and run. 
At least one of the passengers sustained minor injuries.

BEND, OR -- During its busiest time of year, the Bend Police Department is struggling to put enough officers on patrol. Chief Jim Porter tells KBND it’s due to a combination of recent retirements and the changing face of police forces across the country. "We have a unique challenge we haven’t had before. With the new officers we’re hiring, if you will, millennials, they are more engaged with their family, which is a good thing. They take longer time off with their family, and that’s a good thing; they have to build that resilience to come back and face challenges. But, they also take longer time off when a child is born. That’s a staffing that’s hard for us to predict. We’re at the highest call volume in the summer, with the lowest number of staff."


The hiring and training process takes longer than in past efforts, further delaying the ability to put more officers on the streets. "When we follow federal and state guidelines, it takes us a little while to get the hiring process rolling. And then we want to do very extensive background investigations into our applicants, that way we ensure we have the highest quality of applicants, someone who’s suited for the philosophy of Bend; and someone who isn’t going to move somewhere they’re going to fail, because it costs everyone money and time for that. So, we want to make sure we have the best applicants and that takes time," Chief Porter says. 


And, he says law enforcement agencies across are struggling to recruit good candidates due to recent negative publicity. "People hyper-critically scrutinize what we do. We make mistakes. Every profession has individuals within it who make mistakes. Every profession has individuals who have criminality in them – doctors, lawyers, no matter what it is. And, those are the folks who people in America now see. They don’t see the officers, like I get daily calls, ‘your officer took the time to talk to my child,’ ‘Your officer was so polite.’"


Chief Porter hopes to have seven new officers hired by later in the fall.



Traffic & Weather

  • Brookswood Blvd CLOSED >< Pinebrook and Lodgepole Dr. (5/14 - 9/4)
  • Bradbury Way closed through September 9th.
  • Lane Closure on Portland Avenue from College Way to 9th Street (9/1-3)
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