Local News

Deschutes County Seeks New Budget Committee Member

BEND, OR -- Deschutes County is looking for a new member to serve on its budget committee. The vacancy is for a three-year term, through 2026. 

"The budget committee is three public members associated with our budget, and the three Commissioners," says County Board of Commissioners Chair Tony DeBone, "We have a meeting four days in May, kind of going through the whole $500 million budget; and then a mid-year meeting in December." 

DeBone hopes to fill the volunteer position quickly, "To be able to attend in December and then take that position and be involved in next year’s budget." He tells KBND News there are no prerequisites, "Just a resident of the area and engaged in what we do. A lot of services at Deschutes County: the Sheriff’s Office, the Assessor, the Treasurer, the Clerk, the Health Department, the Road Department. So you just get to see the big budget and that’s where the rubber hits the road when we talk about budget."

Applications are accepted on the county’s website through October 23rd. '


BEND, OR -- St. Charles Health System has come to agreement with Pacific Source for patients enrolled in the Oregon Health Plan and Medicare Advantage through 2024.

Dr. Mark Hallett, St. Charles’ chief clinical officer, praised the insurance provider. “Pacific source has done a great job of partnering with us to create a new process that will allow our cancer specialists to be able to care for not only Medicare advantage but all Pacific Source patients,”

Dr. Hallett tells KBND News the deal streamlines service, “The agreement with Pacific Source reduces administrative burden and improves access and speed and reliability of cancer care for people of Central Oregon.”

Pacific Source is the first company to secure an agreement since St. Charles announced in August it would re-evaluate its contracts with Medicare Advantage plans.

Chief Financial Officer Matt Swafford tells KBND News the deal could guide negotiations with other insurance providers, “This is a groundbreaking opportunity for a health system and an insurance company to take the large numbers of administrative burden that are quoted out there and actually drive specific levels of change that impact patients’ lives directly.”

“The challenges are thorny that makes the discussions challenging. But Pacific Source has really partnered with us extremely well in that collaboration. And I want to give them credit for stepping up and meeting our concerns and our mutual concerns for the benefit of advancing care for patients in our community.” Swafford says the deal covers not only Medicare but all Pacific Source policies through the end of 2024, and will then be reviewed.  

The health system is still negotiating with other providers. Officials say the goal is to have deals in place before Medicare open enrollment starts on October 15th.

A statement released Friday from Pacific Source president and CEO Dr. John “Espi” Espinola, also praised the deal, “This agreement is a positive result for our region’s Medicare-eligible seniors, and also some of its most vulnerable community members,”

“Pacific Source will continue to advocate for our members to make certain that they can continue to access affordable, high-quality healthcare in Central Oregon. We are pleased to have secured this successful outcome with St. Charles and will continue to work with them to improve the Medicare Advantage experience for their patients.”


Tumalo Food Cart Destroyed By Fire

TUMALO, OR -- A Sunday afternoon fire destroyed a Tumalo food cart. Bend Fire & Rescue responded to the Bite food cart lot on Seventh Street at about 3:10 p.m., after several people called 911. Crews quickly knocked down the flames, but the Rogue Chef cart is a total loss.

Investigators believe the fire started in the ductwork of the kitchen hood, due to grease accumulation. It originated above the suppression system, rendering it ineffective. The loss is estimated at around $100,000. 


Photo courtesy of Bend Fire & Rescue

Scammers Target Sunriver Vacation Rentals

SUNRIVER, OR -- Sunriver Police are investigating a spike in rental scams. Sgt. John Beck says incidents are rare in the small resort town, but they've received three reports in just the past week. They all share common threads: vacation rentals found on Marketplace, CraigsList, even E-bay, and the alleged rental company sends over a contract. "They get paid and then basically they disappear," Sgt. Beck tells KBND News, "They never send them codes to get into the homes. Once they get payment, they’re gone."

In at least one incident, the victim was left stranded. "The people that had paid the money to rent the house did show up at the house and then never received a code, so weren’t able to get into it. And then, as they start understanding that there’s a problem, they kind of had a feeling that they’d probably been scammed," says Beck. "It's Kind of a sad deal when you’re all excited to spend a few days away in Sunriver and it turns out like this." 

Sgt. Beck says the cases all present red flags people should watch for, like, if the deal seems too good to be true, it almost alway is. "I assume people realize what the rates are here in Sunriver. But the one, they were like $150 a night, which is just kind of unheard of down here." He adds, "Are you renting a house for half of what everybody else is trying to get for rent? Other things to watch for: absolutely, how the payment is made. Are they asking for - as funny as it sounds - iTune cards? A payment through a web app or phone app that doesn’t offer any protection?"

And, he suggests doing a little online research before you book, "The contract they sent that has the property management name on it, had they Googled that name, they would have found that it really doesn’t exist." In Sunriver, Beck says, most of the rental homes are managed by a local company, and not rented out by a homeowner. 

Beck says they are issuing subpoenas for bank records and other evidence to track down the scammers. But he admits, they're likely not operating locally and may be outside the U.S.


Nosler Sign To Remain At MVHS For Now

BEND, OR -- Bend-La Pine Schools officials say a promotional sign for an ammunition company will remain below the football scoreboard at Mountain View High, pending a review of district policies. The district recently heard from people concerned about advertising Nosler, a local company that makes and sells ammunition, weapons and hunting gear. 

The school district issued a statement, saying in part, "After considerable consultation with the District’s legal department, the superintendent will allow a Nosler-sponsored sign to be displayed this fall below the Mountain View High School football scoreboard. The District will maintain the status quo with respect to Nosler’s sponsorship at MVHS and other schools while conducting a review of its existing policy and procedures related to advertising displayed on school property." Officials say Nosler and its owners have supported MVHS for over 25 years. 

Bend-La Pine Schools' administrative regulation states: “Advertising which is consistent with community standards, school curriculum and academic goals, and which is age-appropriate and consistent with district non-discrimination policies, may be accepted for placement in school publications and on certain district property.  Advertising on district property shall be prohibited where the circumstances, in the judgment of the superintendent or designee, may be considered exploitative of the students of the district or may otherwise compromise the District?s educational mission.” It also says the district cannot accept advertisements that "promote the use of illegal drugs, alcohol, tobacco, gambling or firearms; are associated with any company or individual whose actions are inconsistent with the District?s mission and goals or community values; or promote any product or service not permitted to minors by law."

But authorities say they need time to interpret how that applies to Nosler: 

  • What is meant by “promote,” and does a sign featuring the company name/logo promote the use of firearms?
  • Would an interpretation extend to any business, including sporting goods stores and general retailers, that sell firearms and/or ammunition? What about businesses that produce and sell alcohol, such as local breweries?
  • In Oregon, minors under age 18 may not purchase or possess a firearm, although minors are permitted to use firearms for hunting and target practice. 

The district notes, "Those who questioned the placement of the Nosler sign in early September asked if it’s appropriate to allow a business name associated with firearms to have such prominent placement at a school. Some referenced the shooting by a former MVHS student at a Bend Safeway store in August 2022, an event that was deeply upsetting for students, staff and our entire community. As awareness of the sign in question has grown in recent weeks, the school and district also heard from community members supporting how the school recognizes Nosler for its tradition of supporting students in our District."

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