Local News

Gull Point Campground Closed For The Year

LA PINE, OR -- Gull Point Campground and boat ramp at Wickiup Reservoir will close for the entire camping season this year, due to public safety concerns. The Deschutes National Forest has identified 679 dead or dying trees in the area and are deemed hazardous. Officials with the Bend-Fort Rock Ranger District believe drought conditions contributed to the die-off.

The campground and boat ramp will reopen once hazard trees are removed - likely in 2024. Reservations for this season will be refunded.

Boating access to Wickiup Reservoir will be available at North Wickiup Boat Ramp, Sheep Bridge Boat Launch and West South Twin Boat Launch. Camping options in the area include North Twin Lake Campground, Sheep Bridge Campground, South Twin Lake Campground and West South Twin Campground.

Additionally, hazard tree inspectors identified more than 300 hazard trees within Paulina Lake Campground. Crews removed a majority of these trees last fall; however, some hazard tree removal work remains. The remaining tree work will resume as soon as snow levels permit this spring. In anticipation of this work, the opening date for Paulina Lake Campground will be delayed by two weeks to June 30. Visitors with camping reservations between June 16 and June 29, will receive a full refund from Recreation.gov.


Gull Point Campground file photo

One Hurt In Snowmobile Crash Near Elk Lake Lodge

BEND, OR -- A snowmobile rider was flown to the hospital Sunday night, following a crash near Elk Lake Lodge.

Deschutes County Search and Rescue was dispatched at about 7:30 p.m., and says the snowmobile slammed into a tracked snow vehicle stopped on Cascade Lakes Highway. Speed appears to have been a factor in the crash. The rider was thrown about a hundred feet and his vehicle caught fire.

The driver of the tracked vehicle is an Elk Lake Lodge employee and was not hurt. Other lodge workers responded with cold-weather gear for the two people involved.

Chang Proposes Using Room Tax Dollars For Housing

BEND, OR -- Following the Governor’s executive order aimed at increasing affordable housing, one Deschutes County Commissioner wants to approach the issue locally this year.

Commissioner Phil Chang says the county could help mitigate the rising cost of land, construction, and System Development Charges, “Take all those three things and add them up, and it’s really hard to deliver a unit of housing that’s attainable to our local workers. So, we have to buy down those costs somehow, in order to make more housing attainable for more people and to build more housing.”

He’s proposing the county use some of the revenue generated by the Transient Room Tax, the fee paid by visitors at hotels and resorts. 

TRT dollars go to the Sheriff’s Office, Sunriver Service District, and the Fairgrounds, but millions remain unallocated. Much of the unallocated funds will likely be used for reconstruction of the courthouse, now expected to cost $40 million.

“There was a decision made about five or six years ago to reduce our assessed property tax rate by three cents, and then three cents again. If we hadn’t done that, we would probably have about $10 million in the bank for our capital reserve right now, to put towards the courthouse project,” says Chang adding he hopes TRT money will be left over for workforce housing following the courthouse expansion, “In the ideal world, I would like us to not use all of it. Because this housing need is so critical for our community. A lack of workers, which is driven by a lack of housing opportunities is breaking our local businesses.” 

BEND, OR -- Deschutes County and Bethlehem Inn are partnering to provide more beds and services for those experiencing homelessness and mental illness or substance abuse disorders.

Colleen Thomas with the county’s Homeless Outreach Services Team (HOST) tells KBND News six beds will be made available at Bethlehem Inn’s shelters; three in Bend and three in Redmond.  “By having those beds set aside we have the ability to kind of wrap around intensive case management and peer support services for folks that need it. And it gives them an opportunity to have a safe place while they access different treatment opportunities and services through the county.”  Thomas said details are being finalized and the program should begin in a month or two, “We have folks that we are working with that would be ideal candidates for this program and so we’re just looking forward to getting it started.”

Deschutes County Health Services will reimburse Bethlehem Inn $70 a night, per bed.  Funding comes from a Measure 110 Behavioral Health Grant. 

There is a possibility the program could expand, “We from Deschutes County as well as Bethlehem Inn are open to conversation and how that might look as we get going. We might see that we have a greater need, and I think that that will just open conversation for how we can support more folks in the community,” said Thomas.

New Health Ctr. Planned For MVHS

BEND, OR -- Mosaic Medical plans to develop a new School-Based Health Center (SBHC) at Mountain View High in Bend. Mosaic manages five other SBHCs in Central Oregon: Bend High, Madras High, Redmond High, Lynch Elementary in Redmond and Crook County Kids Clinic in Prineville. Centers provide physical, behavioral and preventive healthcare for anyone 18 or younger, regardless of ability to pay. Almost 30% of MVHS qualify for reduced lunch and the Oregon Health Plan. 

Much of the money for the project comes from donations from Bend Foundation, Cow Creek Umpqua Indian Foundation and First Interstate Bank. Mosaic officials say the nonprofit health system is less than $100,000 away from the $200,000 fundraising goal.  

The MVHS health center is expected to open in spring, through a partnership with Bend-La Pine Schools and Deschutes County Health Services. 

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