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Foodie Crawl To Benefit Local Food Bank As Need Grows

BEND, OR -- NeighborImpact continues to see a rise in food insecurity in the tri-county area. "In the last year, we served over 800,000 food boxes and meal sites across Central Oregon, which is absolutely a record," says Food Program Manager Jordan Reeher, "And numbers just, unfortunately, keep going up around the region."

The nonprofit is a regional food bank, "We receive a lot of food from Oregon Food Bank and then distribute it to a lot of our partner agencies around Central Oregon," says Reeher, "They’re a lot of times where someone is receiving the food directly. That’s where people go if they’re getting hot meals, if they’re getting a food box." He adds, "The bulk of the work we do is providing food to those partner agencies. We want to support that network, make sure that we have food available and that we can distribute that." Reeher tells KBND News the need for food has grown since the pandemic, "Through our network, we did four million pounds that we distributed to our partner agencies, and then another two million pounds that our food pantries and meal sites distributed themselves. So, six million pounds that went out in just the last year."

Much of their work is donor supported. But an upcoming fundraiser will help continue efforts through the year. The US Bank Foodie Crawl is April 28th, from 2-4 p.m., "We always call it a pub crawl meets progressive dinner. It’s basically the best of both. You get to just walk around, try out some new spots, try out some new food." Reeher says, "You get to walk around on a beautiful day downtown and eat some little sampler plates from the best restaurants in Bend. It doesn’t get much better than that." There's also an after-party at McMenamins, from 4-6 p.m., "And all of it just supports the food program, and makes it so the work we do is possible."

Tickets are available now HERE

 


REDMOND, OR -- Oregon’s Department of Transportation kicks off a series of public workshops and open house meetings this week in Central Oregon, focused on safety. ODOT’s Transportation Safety Office will host eight meetings around the state over the next six weeks, starting Thursday in Redmond. ODOT's Mindy McCartt says others are scheduled for southern and eastern Oregon and The Gorge, "These are those rural areas where we haven’t been in very often."

The agency wants to hear ideas from the public about how to improve safe road user behavior, "It’s the getting the right information in front of the people that need to know, in order to elicit a behavioral change," says McCartt, "And the only way we know, right now, to influence the public is to get out there and ask them how they want to learn."

She says existing tools, like tickets and social media campaigns, aren't enough, "We’ve worked with our legislative partners and our law enforcement partners and increased the fines for distracted driving. Well, that’s still not working; we still have distracted drivers out there. So, now we’re going to be looking at what’s going to get your attention? What’s going to get your attention to re-think is it worth picking up that phone?"

The information will help determine how grant money is spent in each community on a variety of issues, "We’re looking at aging road users, we’re looking at bicycle safety, commercial vehicle safety, commercial traffic safety, distracted driving, drivers education, emergency medical services; impaired driving, intersection safety - when you think about, ‘is it legal to turn right on a red?’ Those kinds of things; U-turns, motorcycle safety, seatbelt awareness, child protective seats, pedestrian, Safe Routes to School, work zones." 

Thursday’s all-day workshop in Redmond requires an RSVP via email or by calling 541-508-9690. The open house starts at 5 p.m., at Redmond City Hall. Later stops include The Dalles, Roseburg, North Bend and Island City. 

 


Sisters Ranger District Hosts Open House, Walking Tour

SISTERS, OR -- The Deschutes National Forest invites the public to an open house at the Sisters Ranger District, Tuesday evening. "It’s an opportunity for the public to come and hear about a range of activities that we have planned for the upcoming year," says Kaitlyn Webb, with the Forest Service.

They'll talk about the upcoming wildifre season and projets planned for the season, "Vegetation management in the Green Ridge and Cougar Rock areas, anticipated prescribed burn plans - So, great opportunity to hear more about a community-focused overview of those plans, the new ranger station’s construction, predictions for fire season and also several watershed restoration projects." Webb tells KBND News, "It is a great opportunity for folks to come, hear updates, but then also have one-on-one conversation with the specialists."

Prior to the formal presentation, they'll offer a walking tour of the new ranger station site, "We’re in the middle of construction of a new ranger station in Sisters. So, it’ll be an opportunity for the community to come and take a walk, and take a look at the progress we’ve made on that construction so far," says Webb. 

That walking tour is at 4:45 Tuesday, April 9th. RSVP by calling 541-549-7700 or via email. The open house portion is from 5:30 to 7:30 at the Sisters Ranger District office on North Pine Street. No RSVP is needed for the drop-in event. 

 


Regional Homeless Count Shows Mixed Improvement

BEND, OR -- The Homeless Leadership Coalition has released more preliminary data from this year’s Point In Time (PIT) homeless count. While Bend saw fewer unsheltered homeless"There was a huge rise in Crook County for the number of people who are living unsheltered," says Coalition Chair Eliza Wilson. But she believes the spike is because of a better process, "We had a huge provider group and cross-systems group working to do the PIT count this year, and we’ve never had that level of engagement in Crook County." She adds, "The health department led the PIT count in Crook County and there were a number of organizations involved in that. Even the library, Redemption House were hugely involved. So they did such a great job of going out into more rural areas." She says most of those counted have been in that community for a long time.

The PIT count is a snapshot of where the unhoused spent the night of January 23rd. Wilson says volunteers counted 1,811 people in the tri-county region. That's 164 more than in 2023. As in past years, Wilson still believes this year's number is an undercount, "We do know that there are more people entering homelessness than exiting." She adds, "This is only what we can capture between 9-5, Monday-Friday; or, I think we had some people go out on Saturday and Sunday. If we were to really be able to have the capacity to count people when they’re off work, because we have a lot of folks who work."

Wilson says there is good news: In both Jefferson and Deschutes County, where state emergency funding increased shelter capacity, more people are accessing those services. "For the first time, there is a shelter in Jefferson County that opened, so we’re seeing more people in shelter in the count." And, "In Deschutes County, why we’re seeing more people in shelter, it’s because we’ve increased shelter capacity with the emergency order funding, and those investments. And in Jefferson County, the same thing: we have a shelter."

 


Mentors Needed For Children Of Incarcerated Adults

BEND, OR -- The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office is looking for volunteers for Central Oregon Partnerships For Youth (COPY), to mentor young people who have a parent in custody. COPY's Bob Moore says the program works with kids trying to process a lot of family upheaval, "If you’re a kid who has a parent dealing with drug offenses or a registered sex offender, those are really big, challenging issues and you’re probably not having a lot of safe places for you to process some of the feelings and concerns that you’re dealing with." He tells KBND News, "Our volunteers are one of those people that are often having those conversations with kids because they know that’s a safe environment."

After training and background checks, a COPY mentor is paired with a child. "What we ask of our volunteers is to spend a couple hours per week with that youth for a year," says Moore, "And what that time looks like kind of depends a little bit on interest and activities and all sorts of different things."

To keep costs down, COPY partners with local organizations to provide options, "Whether it’s the rock climbing gym or the trampoline parks or High Desert Museum or the park and rec districts. So, a lot of opportunities for the volunteers to be plugged in with their youth, doing things out in the community that don’t cost a lot of money through those partnerships." Moore says, "Mt. Bachelor just ended up setting up a partnership with us to do some projects around getting kids into the outdoor environment with some of the programs that they offer. We’ve got some partnerships around cooking, in particular, which I think are amazing." Moore adds, "Having the opportunity for our kids to go out and just have some positive connections in the community, but also having that stable adult that’s willing to be with them through that process and be that consistent person in their life."

COPY is grant funded. The next training for volunteer mentors is Saturday, April 13. The 3.5-hour class covers policies, how to establish a mentor relationship, the impact incarceration has on families and communication. A current volunteer will also take questions. It's free but advanced registration is required. To sign up, call 541-388-6651 or email. Click HERE for more information. 

 


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