Local News

Redmond Pair Suspected Of Drug Trafficking

REDMOND, OR -- A Redmond couple faces charges following an investigation by the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Street Crimes Unit. DCSO says they conducted a short term investigation into 32-year-old Michael Meston for the sales of fentanyl pills imported from Portland and later distributed in Deschutes County.

At about 5 p.m. Wednesday, detectives executed a search warrant at the Village Squire Motel where Meston and his girlfriend, 24-year-old Katelynn Davis live.

During the execution of the search warrant, they say they found evidence of the sales of counterfeit oxycodone pills containing fentanyl. Detectives also located a user amount of methamphetamine and a user amount of fentanyl.

Meston and Davis were taken to the Deschutes County Jail. Meston is charged with an outstanding warrant and Davis for violating probation. 

This is an ongoing investigation and additional charges may follow.

Bend PD Investigates Double Homicide

BEND, OR -- Bend Police discovered the bodies of two teens inside a garage on the south end of town late Wednesday. Officers were called the home on Mt. Faith Pl just after 11 p.m. when the homeowner reported finding a dead body in the garage. The two victims are from Bend and were identified as Angela Pastorino and Alfredo Hernandez, both 18.  

An initial investigation found that on Tuesday, Aug. 16, the victims and 41-year-old Wesley Abel Brady were doing work around the house for the homeowner. While drinking alcohol at the home later that evening, Hernandez and Brady got into a fight, and police say Brady murdered both Pastorino and Hernandez. He then put their bodies in the home’s garage before eventually traveling to a property in Christmas Valley. The victims had been reported missing earlier in the day by a concerned family member. 

While police were at the scene, Brady arrived in the area of the home and was detained. He is now at the Deschutes County Jail on charges of Aggravated Murder, Murder in the Second Degree, two counts of Abuse of a Corpse, Sodomy, Sexual Abuse, Strangulation, Tampering With Evicence, Arson and Burglary. 

Bend Police applied for and received search warrants for the home on Mount Faith Place, two vehicles and the property in Christmas Valley. The Central Oregon Major Incident Team was activated. The investigation is ongoing. 

Bend North Corridor Project Starts This Fall

BEND, OR -- After years of planning, Oregon’s Department of Transportation begins the much-anticipated Bend North Corridor project this fall. ODOT’s Kacey Davey says most of the early work will happen at night. In February, they’ll begin major work on Highway 20, "We’ve got two roundabouts coming to US 20. So, one at Robal and one at Cooley," says Davey

Then, comes work on Highway 97, later next year, "The current US 97 will become like future Third Street - you know, a business local access," Davey tells KBND News, "And then where the railroad tracks are, just a little further east, we’re actually building an extension of the Parkway, which will be 97. So, if you don’t want to stop and use the businesses or anything on the north end of town, you can just go right on through and bypass all of that without hitting any traffic lights."

There are also improvements coming for non-drivers, "Things like multi-use paths, and more and wider bike lanes, a new bus transit stop up there, enhanced pedestrian and bike crossings. You know, those crossings where you push a button and the lights flash at cars to warn people that people are going to be crossing." Click HERE for more information. 

Davey says all the work is to achieve a set of goals, "Improve safety, mobility and accessibility, and relieve congestion and improve travel times on that part of town; because everyone knows that can get a little bit congested right now."

The $175 million project is expected to be fully complete by December of 2024.

Redmond Approves Psilocybin Ban Request

REDMOND, OR -- Redmond City Councilors spent nearly an hour, this week, discussing how to approach the impending statewide legalization of psilocybin, also called "magic mushrooms," and how to ask voters in November to ban related businesses.

The conversation centered around the overall lack of information from state authorities and confusion over how mushrooms are grown and processed. They took no public comment. Several Councilors asked whether the decision could be pushed, but the City Attorney said they need to meet the Friday deadline to submit a ballot title for the General Election. 

Councilor Ed Fitch - who is running for Mayor - pushed for a temporary ban on service centers to see how areas like Bend handle these newly legal businesses. He told fellow Councilors he'd like to discuss it again in two years, "[In] June or May of 2024, to start getting the information, getting some public input, which we don’t have this year. And, it really just puts us in the same position now, but with more information, more lead time to actually make the best decision."

They agreed to send two measures to voters in the fall: a two-year temporary ban on service centers and a permanent ban on manufacturing facilities, "Which would give Redmond voters a chance to decide whether they want the manufacturing of psilocybin to occur in Redmond at all, and whether or not they want service centers - essentially, medicinal therapeutic use of psilocybin to occur," City Manager Keith Witcosky told KBND News on Wednesday. 
It means Redmond voters will see a total of three psilocybin-related measures on their ballot in November. The third is a request to ban all psilocybin facilities in unincorporated areas of Deschutes County, approved by County Commissioners earlier this month. Witcosky says, "County is doing the same thing. And for them, I think the likelihood of manufacturing is more than with the city. Within city limits, we just have different agricultural rules, from a land use perspective."

Redmond voters did not support Measure 109 in 2020, which legalized psilocybin in Oregon. "We looked at each precinct, and I would say on average about 45% voted yes and 55% voted no," said Witcosky. 

Madras City Council also agreed this week to ask voters to ban psilocybin businesses.


Wednesday Procession For Fallen Bend Firefighter

BEND, OR -- The procession carrying Bend Fire & Rescue Engineer Daniel Harro and his twin brother Mark Harro home to Bend will pass through town on Highway 20/Greenwood Avenue on Wednesday August 17, sometime between 4:15 and 4:45pm. The brothers were killed in a plane crash Monday morning, while returning home from a camping trip in Idaho. 

They will be transported home from Idaho by a Bend Fire & Rescue medic unit and escorted by Bend Fire & Rescue personnel. They will be escorted to the Idaho border by the Idaho State Police and then escorted by the Oregon State Police home to Bend. 
Those wishing to pay respects to the Harro families by viewing the procession are encouraged to line the sidewalks of NE Greenwood Avenue between 8th Street and 12th Street. There is ample street parking along the Greenwood Avenue side streets, and Bend Fire encourages people to respect the designated parking lots of local businesses and maintain a safe distance from the roadway as traffic will be flowing normally on both ends of the procession. On-duty Bend Fire & Rescue crews will stage at the Pilot Butte Drive-In, 917 NE Greenwood, to view the procession. 
The public should expect traffic congestion in the area of Niswonger-Reynolds Funeral Home on Irving Avenue during that time as well, as fire apparatus break free from the procession and return to quarters. Bend Police and Public Works may temporarily close streets near the funeral home to assist with traffic congestion from fire apparatus.

Bend Fire thanks our community for their patience and support during this difficult time for the organization and Harro families. 

Madras Voters To Decide Psilocybin Ban

MADRAS, OR -- Madras voters will decide in November whether the city should ban psilocybin-related businesses.

In a special meeting on Tuesday, Madras City Councilors voted unanimously to approve an ordinance, pending voter approval. No one spoke during the public comment period.

The ordinance prohibits psilocybin product manufacturers and service center operators once they become legal in Oregon in January.

Jefferson County Commissioners agreed last month to refer a similar ban to voters.

Gas Prices Fall For Ninth Straight Week

BEND, OR -- Drivers are getting more relief at the pump this week. The national average for regular is down 8 cents to $3.95 a gallon, while Oregon’s average fell 4 cents, to $4.87. In Bend, the local average dropped 7 cents to $4.88. "This is the ninth week in a row that we’ve seen pump prices decline," AAA's Marie Dodds tells KBND News, "We are seeing crude oil prices remain below $100 a barrel and demand for gas is lower than it was a year ago." She adds, "Demand for gasoline is bigger than it was a week ago, so we are seeing growth in demand. But it’s still significantly less than it was a year ago - about 307,000 barrels a day lower than it was a year ago at this time."

She expects we’ll see even bigger price declines later in the fall.

ODOT Continues Summer Maintenance Projects

SISTERS, OR -- Oregon Department of Transportation crews are repairing a portion of Highway 20 in Sisters this week. Kacey Davey says “patch paving” from Locust to Pine should be complete before the weekend, "So, that’s from 10 o’clock at night to 5:30 in the morning, and Thursday will be the last night. There will be one lane of traffic impacted while we’re working on the pavement of the other lane." Click HERE to learn more about the project. 

Davey tells KBND News, "In Redmond, we’re doing a little patch paving work on US 97 between Yew and Evergreen. But again, that’s going to happen at night and just be one lane at a time. So it should be minimal impact to folks." Both the Redmond and Sisters projects should be complete by the weekend.

In Crook County, they’re doing pavement repairs on Paulina Highway - that’s Highway 380. That work could take three to four weeks. 

Families Frustrated By BPRD Fall Registration

BEND, OR -- Complaints came pouring in to Bend Park and Recreation Tuesday from families struggling to register for fall programs. Registration opened at 6 a.m. but the district’s website crashed intermittently until 8:30, as thousands tried to sign up for swim lessons, ice hockey, and non-school day programs all at the same time. 

Those trying to sign up in those first two hours were met with spinning circles and log-in errors. BPRD's Julie Brown called it a "disappointment" for the district, "It was a confluence of a couple of different things and the underlying issue that we are having is that we have very, very high demand and stress on our registration system, all at exactly the same time."

Brown says it’s common for demand to be high in the first couple hours, "But what we have seen recently - and it has been an incremental increase over the last couple of years - it is doubling and tripling in volume in those first couple of hours in a way that we have not been able to keep up the technology piece of it. But, it also tells us that our community has probably grown to a size where we do need to think about opening registration differently, and maybe having some staggered openings."

Brown says BPRD had 8,400 registrations between 6 a.m. and 1 p.m. Tuesday. That's 200 fewer than opening day for summer registration in April 2022, which set a Bend Parks and Rec record. The first day of fall registration in 2018 saw 1,000 registrations by 1 p.m. For fall of 2019, there were 1,500.

She says discussions of staggering registrations are longside talk of expanding current technology and possibly changing the time of day registration opens. But the biggest issues are with those most favored activities, "Our swim lessons are a very, very popular program that have high demand, as well as when we have those non-school day programs and summer camps, as well as our ice season programs. You know, hockey and curling and our learn-to-skate programs are very, very popular. And what happened was that several of those high-demand programs were opening at the same time."

According to BPRD, 85% of registrations on Tuesday occurred online. The remaining 15% were in person or by phone. If you didn’t get into the programs you wanted, Brown encourages you to sign up for the waiting list. Here are the most popular registrations on Tuesday:

  • 2,800: swim lessons including 1,400 enrolled and 1,400 on waitlists
  • 1,500: ice programs including skate lessons and hockey
  • 1,400: sports programs

Image: BPRD posted to their Facebook page Tuesday morning

Habitat Townhomes Get Additional Funding

BEND, OR -- Bend-Redmond Habitat for Humanity received a $10,000 grant from the U.S. Bank Foundation to fund the construction of eight Watercress Townhomes in Bend.

Bend-Redmond Habitat for Humanity is honored to continue to partner with U.S. Bank in building community though affordable homeownership. When a family has a safe, stable, and affordable home, they experience lasting change that impacts not only generations in their family, but also in our neighborhoods and community. U.S. Bank’s partnership and support enables us to serve more families and widen our impact, and we are grateful,” Mellissa Kamanya, Bend-Redmond Habitat for Humanity’s Director of Grants Management, said in a statement.

Bend-Redmond Habitat for Humanity plans to complete the Watercress Townhomes and welcome eight families into their new homes in early 2023.  This is Bend-Redmond Habitat’s third site using a permanent affordability model, leaving a legacy of affordable homeownership by ensuring that the homes are only available for resale to low-to-moderate income families forever. When Watercress Townhomes are complete, there will be 39 Habitat homes permanently affordable in Bend and Redmond, 12 more to be added in late 2023, and many more in the early planning stages.

The Watercress Townhomes are being built with green building and energy efficient practices such as such as heat pumps, high efficiency windows and insulation, and solar panels. These homes will contribute less overall greenhouse gas to the atmosphere, but also drastically reduce utility bills for the homeowners for years to come.

More Arrests In SE Bend Drug Investigation

BEND, OR -- Bend Police arrested more suspects in connection with an ongoing drug investigation on Foxborough Lane. Two people were caught during an initial search warrant on August first: 25-year-old Chelsea Kelly and 36-year-old Clayton Kirkey. Hayden Liapes, age 29, was issued a citation and 30-year-old Christine Witham was released pending additional investigation. But, at that time, BPD said one suspect, 27-year-old Erick Kelly, could not be located. 

Later, investigators learned Erick Kelly and Christine Witham were also suspected in a La Pine-area shoplifting case. Witham was arrested Sunday; police say she had 400 fentanyl pills, meth and cash, as well as stolen goods in her car.

On Monday, August 15, Bend Police, with assistance from Deschutes County deputies, observed Erick and Chelsea Kelly enter the Foxborough Lane home. Officers made contact, but the suspects refused to come out. BPD got a search warrant, then entered the home. They arrested Erick Kelly on outstanding warrants, as well as four counts of mail theft, frequenting a place where controlled substances are used, kept or sold and delivery of fentanyl.

Chelsea Kelly was re-arrested, as well, on multiple warrants. Charles Anthony Mansfield was also taken into custody on a probation violation and frequenting a place where controlled substances are used, kept or sold. They were all transported to the Deschutes County Adult Jail. Brittany Nichole Miller, Kamilla Makenzie Thomas, Laura Lenore Wattenbarger and Sierra Jodi Connell were at the home and were all cited and released for frequenting a place where controlled substances are used, kept or sold. 

Sen. Wyden In Bend To Push New Profiteering Act

BEND, OR -- Oregon Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) met with a local farmer, student and nonprofit organizer in Bend Monday, rallying support for a new effort he says will reduce fuel prices.

He introduced the “Taxing Big Oil Profiteers Act” last week, and says it’s different from the “Big Oil Windfall Profits Tax” proposed by a group of Democrats earlier this year, "The tax is based on profit margins, not oil prices. Then, we close some accounting loopholes. For example, there’s one that allows big oil companies to game the value of their inventory. And then, we have a very significant stock buyback penalty." He tells KBND News the bill applies applies a 21% additional tax on excess profits of oil and gas companies with more than a billion dollars in annual revenue. Wyden says normal profits, money used to invest in workers and green energy would be exempt, "But if you’re profiteering rather than taking steps to help people in Central Oregon with efficiency, more productivity and improvements in terms of environment, like the carbon capture, then you’re going to face the tax."

"This is a chance to get more stability when you’re going to a gas station," says Wyden, adding that the outcome of the bill sends a message, "For example, in Central Oregon, who do you care about? Do you care about the farmer? Do you care about mill owners in Central and Eastern Oregon and moms trying to afford gas to take their kid to childcare? Or do you want to see money just sent to wealthy executives for stock buybacks?"

Bend Considers Changes To Short-Term Rental Code

BEND, OR -- The city of Bend is considering a major change to its short-term rental rules. Senior Planner Pauline Hardie says the goal is to increase housing options and inventory, "One direction from City Council is to propose an exemption to the Bend Development Code, as well as to the operating license that a property owner can use their short-term rental for over 12 months and not lose their short-term rental permit." She tells KBND News, "The City Council is interested in incentivizing short term rental permit-holders to use their property as long-term rentals. And the code today doesn’t really allow that." Currently, a permit-holder must use the unit as a short-term rental at least once every 12 months. 

The other proposed change is likely to reduce the overall number of short-term rentals in Bend. Hardie says Council wants to change density requirements following public feedback, "They directed staff to bring back a proposal increasing the distance between short-term rentals from 250’ to 500’." 

Hardie says there is a timeline in place for the changes and opportunities for the public to weigh in, "The Planning Commission is holding a work session on August 22nd at 5:30 p.m. and then a public hearing on September 12. And then, the City Council will hold a public hearing on October 5th. And the second reading, if all goes as planned, would be on October 19th. And then it would go into effect 30 days after that." That August 22nd Planning Commission work session will be hybrid - in person in Council Chambers, and virtually. Attendance instructions for the virtual meeting will be on the meeting agenda which will be posted on the Planning Commission webpage prior to the meeting. Comments can be sent ahead of the September 12th public hearing to phardie@bendoregon.gov.

According to city officials, Council’s 2021-23 biennium goals include: “Take meaningful action to make this statement a reality: People who live and work in Bend can afford housing in Bend.” The goal includes a strategy to “Pursue policy actions to increase the supply of housing as a platform for equity.”

Sisters Parks And Rec To Expand Childcare Pgm

SISTERS, OR -- Sisters Parks and Recreation plans to expand its childcare program, thanks to new funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Executive Director Jennifer Holland says the $25,000 will help them serve about a third more three to five year olds this school year, "By getting these funds, we’re able to add an additional classroom, which can serve up to 20 more kids, so that those kiddos can be properly prepared as they enter into kindergarten; not only education-wise, but it can also meet that need for families." She tells KBND News the money will be used to recruit and retain new teachers for an additional 3- to 5-year-old classroom, cover start-up costs and possibly create scholarships for needy families, "It’s not only going to let us add that classroom, but it’s going to allow us to add additional staff to support the existing classrooms, so we can take those up to capacity. They were not at capacity last year because of staffing shortages."

She says there is a serious lack of childcare providers in Sisters, "We’ve had an ongoing waitlist, not only in our preschool program, but in our after-school program. And when we have that waitlist, we have parents that don’t have the ability to work in the community even though they really want to." That waitlist, she says, was 60 families long, last year, "And that’s insane. Not only do we have the lack of ability to run these programs. But then, being a small town, it’s hard to hire people - it’s hard to recruit people. So, people have these jobs in Redmond or Bend. It’s really trying to find those people here in Sisters who want to do these jobs and give back to their community in this way."

Deschutes County Commissioners recently approved the funding distribution. Also receiving ARPA funds in this latest county allocation, the nonprofit Furnish Hope. Commissioners approved $81,000 to help with their mission to provide basic household furniture to families in need. 

Portion Of China Hat Road To Get Work

BEND, OR -- A Deschutes National Forest road crew is repairing pavement edges and patching potholes on Forest Service Road 18 – also known as China Hat Road. They expect the work to last through this week and will cause delays of up to 30 minutes between Highway 97 and milepost 9. Beyond that the road is not impacted by the work and access from Highway 20 and other routes remain open.

Bend Firefighter Killed In Idaho Plane Crash

YELLOW PINE, ID -- Bend Fire & Rescue issued the following alert Monday afternoon:

Bend Fire & Rescue was struck with the tragic loss of a dedicated member on the morning of Monday, August 15, 2022. Engineer Daniel Harro, 38, was killed in a small plane crash near Yellow Pine, ID. The cause of the crash is unknown at this time and is under investigation by local authorities.  Engineer Harro and his twin brother Mark were returning to Bend from a back-country plane camping trip near McCall, ID. Daniel was the plane’s pilot and an avid flight enthusiast. He is survived by his wife, Elisif. “This is a devastating loss for our family,” Bend Fire Chief Todd Riley said in a statement, “Daniel was well-loved and well-respected by everyone who worked with him. We will miss his presence every day.” 

Harro, who had previously worked for the Scappoose Fire Department, began his career with Bend Fire on January 13, 2014 as a Firefighter/Paramedic. Daniel quickly established himself as a proven leader, and became heavily involved with the Bend Fire & Rescue specialty Rescue Team as well as serving on the Bend Professional Firefighter’s Local 227 Executive Board. A strong paramedic, Harro worked with department administrators and physician advisors to assist in the updating of Emergency Medical Service (EMS) protocols, maintaining Bend Fire & Rescue as a top-level provider of emergency medical services in the state of Oregon.

The Bend Fire Department family is shocked and heartbroken by this tragedy. Bend Fire & Rescue administrative staff and Local 227 representatives are coordinating active member honor services for Engineer Harro with the Oregon Fire Service Honor Guard and the Harro family. 

Weekend Fire Closes Hwy 26

MADRAS, OR -- Several pieces of equipment were destroyed in a weekend fire north of Madras. According to Jefferson County Fire & EMS, crews initially responded to a backyard fire on NW Columbia Drive on Saturday, just before 7 p.m. They accessed adjacent properties and formed a fire line.

BLM fire crews mopped up the perimeter while other firefighters extinguished outbuildings and other equipment. The fire was contained to 4 acres, but damaged a large greenhouse, small outbuildings, a 4-wheeler, motorcycle, RV and other vehicles. 

Sunday morning, crews returned to check for hotspots. Around 5:30 p.m. they were called back to the scene when fire rekindled and jumped containment lines. It burned grass and juniper along Highway 26 for about 3/4 of an acre. Firefighters remained on scene late into the evening and plan to check on hot spots again Monday. 

Investigators believe the fire started with a campfire too close to other combustible materials. 


State Says Fire Map Won't Impact Insurance

SALEM, OR -- Insurance companies do not plan to use the statewide wildfire risk map to determine their rates, according to Oregon’s consumer protection agency. Mark Peterson, with the Department of Consumer and Business Services, says they’d had informal conversations with companies before the original map was released in July, "Once the concerns were raised during some of the public listening sessions about the map, we decided to put out a formal ‘data call,’ which is a formal inquiry that insurers are required by law to answer truthfully. What we found is that all of the insurers responded that they don’t use the map for rating and underwriting and they have no plans to use it." He tells KBND News, "The thing with the insurance companies is that they’ve been using their own maps and their other risk management tools to assess things like wildfire risk, for years."

Because the situation could cause confusion, DCBS urges insurance agents to be honest and careful how they describe underwriting decisions. "We obviously take any policy cancellations very seriously," says Peterson, "And if consumers have concerns they can contact our Division of Financial Regulations Consumer Advocacy Hotline." That number is 888-877-4894. You can also file a complaint at dfr.oregon.gov.

Fire Season Off To Mild Start

BEND, OR -- While a number of wildfires continue to burn in Oregon, we have not seen the mega-fires agencies expected at the start of the season. Oregon’s Office of State Fire Marshal continues to shift crews into regions at high wildfire risk, Oregon's Department of Forestry is flying recon flights to watch for new starts after lightning storms.

ODF’s Christie Shaw says the proactive moves are possible because there are - so far - no large fires, "This year definitely didn’t play out as the fire season we all thought it was going to, in March, when we start making all our fire season plans and we start planning for people to come on. Back in March we were - low snowpack, hadn’t seen moisture in forever and there were dire concerns about what fire season was going to be like." 

Those late rains pushed out the start of fire season, which Shaw says typically starts after Memorial Day, "In early June, we’re having team deployments and things like that. And we didn’t see that this year because we had all that moisture that kept coming through in May and June, where it was like cyclic rain. So then our concern - ‘oh, we’re going to have all these fuels out there, when fire season comes!’ And we do. But the thing that we haven’t seen play out is we haven’t had all those lightning storms come through." While multiple lightning storms have moved through in recent weeks, she says they’re much weaker than what we normally see this time of year.

We’re not out of the proverbial woods yet. Oregon’s fire season typically stretches into September.


Photo courtesy Oregon Department of Forestry

New Armor For K9 Deputy Safety

BEND, OR -- Deschutes County K9 deputies are getting new body armor. Sgt. Jayson Janes says, "We’ve tried different armored vests for our dogs for years, but they were all basically one-size-fits-all; small, medium and large. So, they didn’t work for our dogs because not all dogs are the same size. And they would get raw spots from the vests, and they just didn’t work out." He tells KBND News, "It wasn't until we found this company, K9 Storm, that we found body armor that was actually custom fit for each individual dog. So they could actually wear it and it doesn’t give them rub marks or injuries from wearing the vest all day."

Janes says the vests are more than just bullet- and stab-resistant, "If they’re searching a construction site, or somewhere out in the woods, it’ll protect their belly area from getting punctures or scrapes while they’re out searching around, as well."

Riko, Ronin and Roper are the first to be outfitted. The other two patrol K9s will get theirs in the next few months.

Bend Man Accused In Southern Oregon Carjacking

SHADY COVE, OR -- A 33-year-old Bend man is accused of trying to steal a car in Southern Oregon with a baby inside. Jackson County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a carjacking and attempted kidnapping at the Shady Cove Chevron gas station Friday morning at 10:45.

Investigators say a man stole the victim’s running vehicle parked with her 1-year-old child inside. A few feet away the mother saw what was happening and ran to the car, opened the driver’s door and pleaded with him to stop so she could get her child out. Knowing the infant was in the car he still attempted to flee with the mother hanging on the outside of the door. The mother fought with the suspect and was able to get him to stop in the middle of Hwy 62. The suspect ran and JCSO deputies and a K-9 unit began to track him. He was located hiding under a tarp and arrested.

Jason Lee Cheatham, of Bend, is charged with unlawful use of a motor vehicle, two counts of second-degree kidnapping, two counts of recklessly endangering, first-degree robbery, second-degree disorderly conduct, and harassment. He is lodged in the Jail under several Measure 11 felony charges and is not eligible for pre-trail release. Further information will come from the Jackson County District Attorney’s office.

Gov. Brown Visits Warm Springs

WARM SPRINGS, OR -- Governor Kate Brown visited the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs last week for government-to-government meetings with tribal leaders. During the visit, her office says the Governor attended a Tribal Council meeting where she received a briefing on ongoing water treatment issues; toured the Tribe’s Native American Youth Suicide Hot Line office, as well as Warm Springs’ shelter units, which are helping people experiencing homelessness transition to permanent housing; and visited the Museum at Warm Springs. She was joined by Tribal Council members, including Vice Chair Raymond Moody and Acting Secretary-Treasurer Michael Collins, General Manager for Health and Human Services Caroline Cruz, as well as Executive Director of the Legislative Commission on Indian Services Patrick Flanagan.
“I want to thank the Warm Springs Tribal Council and staff for their hospitality, and for showing me how they are working to invest in the next generation and make quality-of-life improvements to tribal facilities for their members,” Governor Brown said in a statement. “Ongoing water treatment infrastructure challenges are incredibly concerning, and I appreciated the opportunity to hear directly from the Tribe on how they are working to use state and federal resources to address these issues. I am grateful for every opportunity to strengthen Oregon’s long-standing government-to-government relationship with the Warm Springs Tribe.”

CODE Continues Investigation Into International Cartel

MADRAS, OR -- The Central Oregon Drug Enforcement team says detectives executed another search warrant in Madras Friday, related to an ongoing investigation into an international drug cartel. At approximately 7:30 AM, detectives with the Oregon State Police, CODE, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Deschutes County Illegal Marijuana Enforcement team, and United States Homeland Security Investigations executed a search warrant at 637 NE 10th St. 

This is a continuation of the June 2022 investigation and series of search warrants related to the international drug organization that is alleged to be growing and processing illicit marijuana from Madras and Culver, Oregon before delivering it to Portland for nationwide distribution. 

During this search, 60 lbs of bulk unprocessed marijuana and 807 plants were seized. Several additional suspects, both foreign and domestic, have been identified. Detectives expect additional arrests are forthcoming once additional follow-up investigations and search warrants are complete. 

Detectives found this particular grow site used jerry-rigged copper wire that bypassed the circuit breakers, inferior extension cords, and power strips secured with zip ties as permanent exterior wiring for processing equipment, lighting, fans, etc. Overloaded electrical wiring has caused fires in other marijuana to grow facilities. 

CODE and DCIME investigators have found illegal marijuana grows diverted or stolen significant water from nearby homes, commercial farms, or directly from pumps connected to underground sources in the arid central Oregon high desert. It is estimated that indoor marijuana cultivation uses between 2.5 and 3.0 gallons per day per plant. That equals to about 2,421 gallons per day or 72,630 gallons of water per month at this grow site alone. US Department of Interior and the USGS estimates that an average person uses 3,000 gallons of water monthly, so a family of 4 would use 12,000 gallons for bathing, cooking, washing, recreation and watering.

Additionally, Illegal marijuana farms, including this one, often use pesticides and insecticides that threaten residential water supplies and endanger the end user. This particular grow site was also infested with black mold. According to the CDC, Black mold is dangerous to those with immune suppression, asthma, or other respiratory problems. There are reports that ingesting or inhaling toxigenic molds, like black mold, can cause unique or rare health conditions such as pulmonary hemorrhage or memory loss. 

This remains an active investigation. CODE and DCIME have identified additional grow sites operated by this organization. Investigators know the remaining locations and will continue to dismantle these sites as the investigation progresses.





BPRD Fall Registration Opens Tuesday

BEND, OR -- Bend Park and Recreation District opens registration for fall recreation programs beginning Tuesday, August 16 at 6:00 a.m. An online Fall 2022 Online Playbook is available for viewing and download.

Fall programs run from September through December and include youth and adult activities, no-school day programs, arts, outdoors, swimming, sports and ice season favorites including skating, hockey and curling.

Patrons are encouraged to register online or in person at the Juniper Swim & Fitness Center, Larkspur Community Center, and the District Office during regular business hours.

If establishing a household account for the first time, the process can take up to 24 hours. All new and returning patrons are encouraged to verify account details before Aug. 16 when many programs are expected to fill up quickly.

For additional information, contact the BRPD Customer Service Team at (541) 389-7275 or visit www.bendparksandrec.org.

OHA Launches Monkeypox Website

PORTLAND, OR -- Oregon Health Authority has launched a new webpage for information about the hMPXV outbreak. State Health Officer Dr. Dean Sidelinger says it’s more user-friendly, "Has more accessible information on who’s at risk for Monkeypox and how they can access testing, vaccines and treatments, and take additional steps to protect themselves and others. It has links to additional resources, including guidance on isolation, what to do if you’ve been exposed [and] answers to frequently asked questions." It will also provide weekly updates on the spread of the virus. Sidelinger says new information will typically post on Wednesdays.

As of Thursday, there are 95 confirmed and presumptive cases of hMPXV in Oregon, three are women. Dr. Sidelinger says cases are spread across seven counties, "Three in Clackamas, one in Columbia, one in Coos, 17 in Lane, one in Marion, 57 in Multnomah and 15 in Washington."

Lane County public health officer Dr. Patrick Luedke says access to the vaccine is critical, "Our recommendations to other jurisdictions that have not yet seen a case is to make sure that they secure a few doses of the JYNNEOS and TPOXX; when they get a case, they can jump right on it very quickly."

OHA stresses Monkeypox is not airborne, and, while men who have sex with men are most at risk, anyone can contract the virus through prolonged skin-to-skin contact with an infected person. 


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