Local News

Weekend Storm Sparks Wildfires

PRINEVILLE, OR -- Wildland fire crews responded to more than a dozen fires sparked by a Saturday lightning storm that moved through the area. More than 100 lightning strikes were recorded.

Officials say the largest was estimated at 7 acres near Prineville. It was largely extinguished by rain.

Smokejumpers were utilized in the Mill Creek Wilderness where a couple of fires were spotted in the Ochoco National Forest.

Fire managers tweeted Sunday afternoon, Firefighters across Central Oregon land management jurisdictions will remain vigilant for hold over fires in the next two weeks. A hold over (or “sleeper”) fire can start up to two weeks after the initial lightning strike. Thunderstorms are also forecasted for this PM."

For the latest, follow @CentralORFire on Twitter. 

HSCO Issues Safety Reminders Ahead Of Pet Parade

BEND, OR -- While tradition calls for fun at the 4th of July Pet Parade, precautions are necessary for pets and people. Parade host Bend Parks and Rec and the Humane Society of Central Oregon (HSCO) want parade participants’ pets to remain healthy and safe.

Everyone is welcome to participate in the Pet Parade. Organizers ask that your pet remains on a leash and that you clean up after your pet. Do not bring rabbits, cats or aggressive animals. Large animals need to arrive early and equestrians should wear a helmet. Be prepared to adapt your parade plans. Some considerations include bringing a stuffed animal instead, using a wagon to pull your pet or, if needed, leaving the parade route if your pet demonstrates intolerance towards the heat.

“We all know the dangers of leaving a pet in a hot car, but there are heat concerns when our pets are outdoors,” said Crystal Bloodworth, DVM, of the Humane Society of Central Oregon. “Dogs need to pant to cool themselves, as they do not sweat. This isn’t always enough, however, as cool water and shade can help. Paying attention to your pet while outdoors in the heat is critical to ensuring a fun day for everyone.” said Dr. Bloodworth. Senior, obese, short muzzled dogs (Pugs, Bulldogs, Boxers, etc.) and long-haired breeds are discouraged in extreme heat.  Another concern in high temperatures is hot asphalt which can cause damage to paw pads.

Tips for keeping your pet comfortable at the Pet Parade include:

  •  Before and after the parade, find a cool, shaded place to rest.
  • Do not arrive too early: staging begins at 9:00 am; the parade starts at 10:00 am.
  • Bring plenty of cool water for you and your pet. Water will be available at parade staging area and HSCO will provide water en route – just look for the orange flags.
  • Allow dogs to cool off in the water pools at the staging area.
  • Get creative and place your pet in a shaded, decorated stroller or wagon to keep them off of the hot asphalt.
  • Watch for signs of your pet’s paw pads overheating or soreness - picking-up paws, seeking shade and avoiding walking by sitting or lying down.
  • Do not leave your pet in the car, not even for a few minutes.
  • Learn to recognize the signs of heat stroke: Faster, heavier panting; excessive thirst and/or drooling with hanging strands of saliva; whining or signs of agitation; decreased responsiveness; glassy eyes; increased pulse/ heartbeat; elevated body temperature and staggering, weakness, collapse, seizures and/or unconsciousness.
  • If your pet shows heat-related symptoms, immediately go to a shaded area or a dog-friendly business that may let your dog cool in the air conditioned store so you can assess your pet’s condition.

If you think your pet will be challenged by warm temperatures, BPRD and the Humane Society of Central Oregon encourage you to leave your pet at home.

Should you need any emergency veterinary services over the holiday weekend, there are two emergency animal clinics in Bend, Bend Animal Emergency Center and Specialty Center (541 385-9110) and Veterinary Referral Center (541 210-9200) or call your veterinarian.

For additional information on the Pet Parade, visit www.bendparksandrec.org.


Investigation Continues Into Fatal Crash East Of Bend

BEND, OR -- A California man died following a Friday night crash east of the Bend Airport.

When Sheriff’s deputies responded to Nelson Road at about 9:30 p.m., they found a 1972 Porsche convertible on fire in a rock outcropping off the road. It had rolled several times, throwing the driver from the car.

The 64-year-old was the only person in the car at the time of the crash and was taken to the hospital where he later died. His identity has not been released.

DCSO is investigating the cause of the crash.

La Pine Receives Federal Money To Upgrade Water System

LA PINE, OR -- La Pine will get nearly $18 million dollars in USDA loans and grants to transition the city away from septic systems. Plans include a new 500,000 gallon reservoir and installation of new distribution lines. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden announced the funding Friday:


U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley announced the City of La Pine will receive more than $17.7 million in a combination of loans and grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for municipal water improvements to transition away from septic systems which are contaminating groundwater for residents and small businesses.

“The people in this part of Deschutes County have long suffered from groundwater contamination from the septic systems,” said Wyden, who introduced the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) Sector Development Act of 2022. “The city has already laid some of the foundation for a municipal wastewater system, so I’m gratified to see federal funds going toward getting this vital municipal wastewater project over the finish line.  This money will help La Pine reduce existing groundwater contamination and protect Oregon watersheds in this part of our state for years to come.”

“Access to clean, reliable water and a strong water infrastructure system is vital to growing and strengthening our communities and economies,” said Senator Merkley. “This USDA funding to La Pine will provide crucial support that will allow the city to improve not only their water infrastructure and wastewater system, but also the quality of the local watershed.” 

The city of La Pine municipal water system improvements will include the following: Construction of a new 500,000-gallon water reservoir, installation of new water distribution lines to enhance looping, circulation, and fire flow capabilities, and the addition of the Cagle and Glenwood Acres subdivisions to the municipal water system. Overall, this project will ensure that this rural area will have the needed funds to improve sewer system capacity, reduce contamination and improve the quality of the watershed for years to come.

“The City of La Pine would like to thank both Senators Wyden and Merkley, and Congressman Bentz for their efforts on behalf of all citizens that will benefit from these expansion improvements,” said Mayor Dan Richer. “We would also like to extend our appreciation for the efforts made by the United Stated Department of Agriculture and its regional representatives who greatly assisted in bringing this funding package and project to fruition. This will significantly improve the livability and long-term sustainability of our community for all current and future citizens.”

Minimum Wage Increases Across Oregon

SALEM, OR -- Those working for minimum wage in Oregon get a raise Friday, when the last phase of the state's minimum wage increase takes effect.

Oregon has three rates. Portland’s metro rate goes up to $14.75, the standard rate is now $13.50 - that includes Deschutes County, and those in non-urban areas - like Crook and Jefferson counties - will make $12.50 an hour.

Starting next year, the minimum wage will increase based on the Consumer Price Index.

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