Local News

RSD Promotes Decreased Social Media Use Among Students

REDMOND, OR -- Redmond Schools officials are working to educate parents and families about the dangers of spending too much time online. Superintendent Dr. Charan Cline says what kids do and see outside of school has a significant impact on their behavior in the classroom, "Social media, when kids are really invested in that, they feel much more isolated. Through that isolation, they kind of lean into it. And it’s funny because what should connect you together actually isolates you from personal and human interaction."

He says principals report problems with kids as young as second grade, "All of them report how much modeling students are doing after social media feeds. They see something online and then they do it on the playground." Dr. Cline tells KBND News, "They have social media 'challenges,' where they go out and destroy bathrooms or they go and start a fight club. And they video these things and they’re interest, of course, is being liked on social media. But what it creates in our school environment are students that are overly aggressive, students that are imitating that as they go through it." There are also concerns about cyberbullying in what Dr. Cline calls an unsupervised space, "Kids bullying each other online; they have access to inappropriate content at a flick of a finger."

Cline tells KBND News he worries about the mental health impacts, "Kids that are involved in SnapChat and Facebook and Instagram and Twitter and TikTok, it all leads to increased feelings of depression and anxiety, poor body image, loneliness. Kids are doing a lot of their communication while looking at a screen and again, they’re not talking with other adults, and the influences that are coming in can be tough."

He offers a few clues that it might be time to take a break from social media: "Kids not having fun on their feed anymore or what’s coming in is very negative, they’re spending all their time comparing themselves to other people, when sometimes posting what’s happening is more important than enjoying the moment you’re in - that can be pretty unhealthy. Kids are feeling really anxious because they don’t have their phone with them at all moments, or you notice they just have these wildly swinging moods that go up and down."

Redmond Schools partners with mental health providers to connect families with resources, if needed. 


Redmond City Council Takes Time-Out During Meeting

REDMOND, OR -- Redmond City Councilors briefly left their Tuesday evening meeting, after a shouting match during the opening public comment period. Members of the far-right group People's Rights Oregon (PRO) took turns speaking to the Council. They defended themselves and fellow members, in response to comments made about PRO by a citizen at a previous Council meeting. 

Following four others, Scott Stuart stepped to the podium (above) and spoke about pandemic-era mandates; at one point, referring to the "plan-demic." He also expressed frustration with a previous request to meet with City Councilor Clifford Evelyn. Stuart is Chair of the Deschutes Republican Party and a member of PRO. He also admitted to the large crowd he dressed as a Confederate soldier in a 2021 parade in Redmond.


Councilor Evelyn (left) denied allegations he refused to meet with Stuart and Stuart pushed back. Mayor Ed Fitch asked Stuart to stick to current city business and eventually called for a brief recess, at which time Council left the room.


During the pause, Police Chief Devon Lewis tried to calm the agitated crowd (pictured, right) before Council returned and resumed the meeting without further interruption. 


Listen to the exchange: 





RPD Seeks Information On Cats Abandoned At Park

REDMOND, OR -- Redmond Police are asking for the public's help tracking down the person responsible for 15 cats abandoned at Paul Hathaway Park, on the upper rim of the Dry Canyon. Officers responded to the park on NW Rockcrest Ct. Monday morning after 10 adult cats and five kittens were discovered in totes near the canyon edge. The cats smelled of urine and feces and didn’t have access to food or water. They also found a suitcase with cat food inside. 

The cats were taken to Brightside Animal Shelter in Redmond, where they were evaluated, treated, and vaccinated by veterinary staff. If you know who the animals, totes, or luggage bag belongs to, please call non-emergency dispatch at 541-693-6911.  Reference RPD case #23-8507.   

RPD thanks the young person who reported the abandoned cats and Brightside Animal Shelter for evaluating and treating the animals.  

As a reminder, it is against the law to abandon a domestic animal or equine at a location without providing minimum care. It is also against the law to fail to provide minimum care for an animal in a person’s custody/control.   

If you no longer wish to keep your cat or other domestic animal, please call your local animal shelter.  They will provide guidance and help you make the best decision for your animal(s). 

Central Oregon Unemployment Holds Relatively Steady In February

BEND, OR -- Deschutes County’s unemployment rate held at 4.4% in February, for the third straight straight month. The county gained 160 jobs, with Private Education and Health Services leading the way; followed by Government and Construction. The biggest losses were in Leisure and Hospitality, which cut 110 jobs.

Jefferson County’s jobless rate dropped a tenth of a point to 5.8% in February, gaining 70 jobs in the month.

Crook County’s rate rose a tenth of a percent, to 6.2%, despite a net gain of 60 jobs last month.

Mayor Kebler At Congressional City Conference

WASHINGTOND, D.C. -- Bend Mayor Melanie Kebler is in Washington D.C. this week, at the Congressional City Conference. The non-partisan event includes talks from government officials, and learning about new funding programs, with a special focus on infrastructure planning.

Mayor Kebler tells KBND News she’s made valuable contacts, “We have connected with a pallet shelter provider that is going to be providing shelters in Bend, but is also in a bunch of other cities. It was great to talk with them about how they’re kind of expanding their services in support for cities.”

She says the conference helps make high-level connections, “We’re really focused on infrastructure and so is the federal government right now. So that’s a good synergy we’ve got going on. And hopeful that we can secure some more funds to support infrastructure in Bend. Things like the Hawthorne Bridge concept which would connect downtown and our core area and would be a real game changer.”

A highlight for her was hearing from Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge, “She had a couple of distinct statements about how we have to ‘bring people home’ is what she says, and put people into housing that need it. She recognizes that that means we kind of have to push back against Not In My Backyard attitudes, and say we need to build housing everywhere.”

Kebler says the plan for "education to career" pathways could also help Bend, “That really hit home for me knowing that we have our own great community college and we also have OSU-Cascades and I know they’re both really good partners in trying to create new and innovative ways to get our youth hooked up into the career development that gets some good paying jobs in Bend.”

Kebler is set to meet with Oregon’s Congressional delegation Tuesday, the final day of the conference.

Bend Parks District Cracks Down On Off-Leash Dogs

BEND, OR -- Bend Park and Recreation District staff is looking for people who violate the city’s leash ordinance. As part of this week’s Dogs in Parks Awareness Campaign, the district is working with Bend Police, "The Community Services officers are joining us to be out there this week to give reminders to people about having their dogs on-leash, and just the importance of it," says Park Stewardship Manager Jeff Hagler. 

"We do a program of rewards for people that have dogs on leash. We hand out dog treats and other little items to encourage that," says Hagler, "And then we’ll just be reminding folks that they do need to have that dog on-leash, or there are consequences. It is a city of Bend law the police department can enforce." Violators face up to $200 citation from police; parks staff can also issue up to a 30-day park exclusion.  

"I want to emphasize that just where there’s an open grass area is not a good place to have your dog run off-leash to run or chase the ball. It really does cause problems for other park users," he tells KBND News,"A lot of people don’t realize it but just seeing an off-leash dog, to somebody who has a small child or they have a dog on a leash, brings up fear right away. What is that going to do? The unknown. And often we do have conflicts with other dogs, off-leash to a leashed dog."

BPRD has nine dog off-leash areas in local parks:

  • Alpenglow Community Park (61049 SE 15th St.) 3.9 acres, fenced with small dog area and agility amenities.
  • Big Sky Park (21690 Neff Rd) 5 acres, fenced.
  • Discovery Park (1315 NW Discovery Park Drive) 1.6 acres, fenced.
  • Riverbend Park (799 SW Columbia St) 1.1 acres, fenced with river access and small dog area.
  • Ponderosa Park (225 SE 15th St) 2.9 acres, fenced with small dog area.
  • Bob Wenger Memorial Off-Leash Area at Pine Nursery Park (NE Purcell Rd) 18.8 acres, fenced with seasonal splash pad and small dog park.
  • Hollinshead Park (1235 NE Jones Rd) 3.7 acres, unfenced.
  • Overturf Butte Reservoir (Skyliner Summit Loop) 4.6 acres, fenced.
  • Awbrey Reservoir (NW 10th and Trenton) 5 acres, partially fenced (not fully enclosed). Note: acreage is approximate.

Learn more on the district's Dogs in Parks webpage. Click HERE to listen to our full conversation with Jeff Hagler. 


After Almost Seven Years, Smith Rock Master Plan Nearly Complete

TERREBONNE, OR -- Smith Rock State Park will soon have a new Master Plan. Park Manager Matt Davey says the draft expected to be released in the next few weeks focuses on a few key themes, "Parking congestion, flow of visitation, trail enhancement and education and interpretive opportunities at the park." It's expected to be approved by the Oregon State Parks and Recreation Commission in June. 

Master Plans function as a 20-year vision for a State Park, and upgrades and needs not outlined in a plan don’t get funded. Davey tells me the last Master Plan for Smith Rock was developed in 1991, when it saw about a quarter of the visitors it sees now, "The park has changed a lot. Visitation has dramatically increased and there’s a need for some new physical infrastructure to help accommodate that too; more restrooms, we’re proposing a welcome center to help orient people who come visit the park." He says a parking reservation system could also be implemented, to help manage crowds during peak times. 

Davey tells KBND News Master Plans typically take two years to develop, but this one has taken nearly seven, "The Smith Rock Master Plan is an anomaly. It started in 2016, it had a series of three advisory-committee and public meetings in 2017 and 2018, all of the assessments were done - like wildlife and recreation assessments - and surveys were done back then. It stalled due to some staffing changes that happened right after 2018, and then the COVID pandemic." He adds, "The welcome center and that specific type of parking that we’re proposing with those projects, because they weren’t part of the ‘91 Master Plan, we couldn’t actually do them until we updated the plan. So, that’s why we’re pushing this process through so that we can move forward with those projects that were already set to go." 

A draft of the new Smith Rock Master Plan is due to be released in the next few weeks and will be posted HERE. Then, the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department will host two meetings on April 10th to get public feedback:

  • An online Zoom meeting is set for 3-4:30 p.m. Register HERE
  • A 6-7:30 p.m. in-person meeting is scheduled at
    Bend Parks & Recreation Riverbend Community Room
    799 SW Columbia St. Bend OR, 97702

Once the plan is posted, comments can be submitted by email or online form or in writing to: 

Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, Attn. Jenna Marmon

725 Summer St. NE, Suite C

Salem, OR 97301. 

Comments received during the comment period (April 10- May 15) will be collected and reviewed for inclusion into the draft document, which will then be presented to the Oregon State Parks and Recreation Commission for adoption at the June 2023 meeting. 

Deschutes Co. To Award Wildfire Reduction Grants

BEND, OR -- Deschutes County is accepting applications for Fuel Reduction Grants to help pay for projects that create defensible space and reduce the risk of wildfire. Individual property owners are not eligible - applicants must be working at the neighborhood or community scale, and projects should go beyond regular maintenance.

Applications are due April 7 by 5 p.m. A total of $72,000 is available.

Preference will be given to communities or neighborhoods working to be recognized as a Firewise USA ™ site or are currently recognized as a Firewise USA™ site and are proposing projects consistent with their Firewise action plan and community assessment.

Interested applicants can learn more and ask questions about the grant opportunity by attending an in-person and virtual meeting Thursday, March 30 at 10:30 a.m. at the Deschutes County Road Department, at 61150 SE 27th St. in Bend. Please RSVP to Kevin.Moriarty@deschutes.org.

Find more information and an application HERE. by 


file photo

Drought Declarations Highlight Slow Recovery Despite Snowpack

BEND, OR -- Central Oregon is now in its fourth year of drought. Governor Tina Kotek declared drought emergencies for Deschutes and Grant counties Friday; Crook and Jefferson counties received their declarations in mid-February. State Climatologist Larry O’Neill sits on the committee that recommended the declaration, "The soil conditions are actually the most worrying right now. What that means is there will be a lot of ground left fallow, but of the people who do plant, they’ll be planting crops that don’t use as much water. Because of the dry soils, we actually expect an increased demand in irrigation water when we have very little supply of it."

Oregon's snowpack is strong, with every basin currently more than 120% of normal for this time of year. But, the High Desert needs rain. "Right now, about 50% of the state is below 75% of its average for this water year, which began at the beginning of last October. That’s despite the really good snowpack, and that also includes the snowpack too. It’s just been persistently cold all winter, which has helped preserve that snowpack," says O'Neill, "That snowpack really influences more the water supply, rather than the general landscape conditions. So, there are a lot of fields, some dry land agriculture and things like that - if those fields aren’t under snow, which a lot of them aren’t, they’re actually in quite a bit of trouble right now because not enough rain fell on them." He tells KBND News, "Crook, Jefferson and parts of Wasco County, and then going down into the Klamath, since October 2019, this region has missed out on at least a full year’s worth of precipitation." O'Neill says, "We’re not expecting any sort of significant recovery in this region. Unless, you know, there’s 10 inches of rain or something, and then we might see some movement."

Other drought-stricken areas are recovering, thanks to recent atmospheric rivers that just missed Central Oregon, "Just to the southeast, in Harney, Lake and Malheur counties, there have been some good improvement. These regions haven’t fully recovered from the drought, but they’re seeing some really good partial recovery," says O'Neill.

He believes climate change has prolonged the drought and he expects to see longer dry cycles in the future. 


Image: Oregon's snowpack as of 3/27/23, according to the NRCS

Studded Tires Season Ends Friday

BEND, OR -- Despite recent snowfall around the state, drivers need to switch out their studded snow tires before this weekend. ODOT's Kacey Davey says Friday is the last day you can legally drive with studs, "That is the end of studded tires season, so it is time for the studded tires to come off. The sure sign that spring is hopefully coming."

Davey tells KBND News if you’re caught driving with studded tires after March 31, the ticket is nearly $200 dollars, "You can be cited by law enforcement; it’s a Class C traffic violation if you have them on longer than the season allows. And in the past, there have been instances where the studded tire season was extended, but we’re not seeing that happening this year."

She says it’s also a good time to consider all-weather or studless snow tires, "There’s a really narrow window of conditions that studded tires really work on. So, if you are on clear ice, right around the freezing point, your studded tires are going to out-perform other tires out there. But in pretty much all other cases, your studless snow tires are going to really out-perform the studded tires." Oregon Department of Transportation Studies show studded tires cause an estimated $8.5 million in damage every year to roads. 


OSP Seizes 36 Pounds Of Meth In La Pine Stop

LA PINE, OR -- State Police seized 36 pounds of meth and two pounds of heroin from a car pulled over in Deschutes County for a traffic violation. The trooper stopped the car on northbound Highway 97, just north of La Pine on March 21, and was suspicious of the pair from Sunnyside, Washington. 

An OSP narcotics K9 alerted to the presence of drugs, leading to the search. The driver, 38-year-old Anabel Torres, and passenger, 38-year-old Audel Torres Perez, were interviewed and released, pending charges.

Madras Men Suspected Of Trafficking Fentanyl From Mexico

MADRAS, OR -- The U.S. Attorney’s Office is considering federal charges against two Madras men accused of trafficking drugs into Central Oregon from Mexico. On March 15, detectives with the Central Oregon Drug Enforcement team, DEA, FBI, State Police and Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office simultaneously raided a home on Timothy Drive, in Culver, and an apartment on Jefferson Street, in Madras. Authorities say they found commercial amounts of counterfeit oxycodone pills, believed to contain fentanyl, along with cocaine, meth and multiple firearms.

Also March 15, CODE arrested 29-year-old Israel Serabia and 22-year-old Sebastian Norato. The case was forwarded to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Portland, and the two suspects were lodged in the Multnomah County Jail on several drug-related charges. The jail in Portland is where federal suspects are held.

CODE says the investigation is ongoing and more arrests are expected. 


file photo: fentanyl pills

Drought Relief Among Topics At Commissioners' Legislative Update

BEND, OR -- Deschutes County Commissioners are carefully monitoring a proposed drought relief package in the legislature. Commissioner Tony DeBone wants local experts to weigh-in, “On the topic in Central Oregon we can get a lot of people in a room that can talk about what we have done in the last 20 years. So, whatever that looks like, maybe there’s a roundtable or a hearing. Hopefully we can add some substantive information from Central Oregon on that.” Commissioner Phil Chang wants the county to lobby in support of drought relief, “I am very interested in seeing that package, or at least some key components of that package be funded. The dollar decisions are the hard part it seems.”

Drought relief is one of many proposals progressing through committees, including funding renovations at the Deschutes County courthouse, affordable housing, and homelessness.

Bend State Representative Jason Kropf says there is progress on many pieces of legislation, but lawmakers are eyeing the financial impact, “You get the governor’s recommended budget. You get the co-chair’s framework. I think it points us in the direction that we’re heading in broad strokes but we’re still waiting for that May (revenue) forecast for what those actual numbers are going to be.”

Commissioners also finalized a letter to the legislature asking for a guidance on temporary RV Parking projects.

Bend Man Arrested Following Domestic Disturbance

BEND, OR -- Bend Police say a 41-year-old man fired a gun into the floor of a home during a domestic dispute Sunday evening. Officers responded to NE Cobble Creek Avenue at about 5 p.m. after witnesses reported hearing people screaming and at least one gunshot. The suspect left the house before police arrived and was believed to be armed.

Authorities were able to talk with the suspect, identified as Micah Reid, but they say he refused to share his location. Police used armored vehicles and drones during the search. Following two hours of negotiations, Reid turned himself in near NE Purcell and Lynda Lane. He was arrested for menacing, harassment, reckless endangerment, unlawful use of a weapon and being a felon in possession of a firearm. 

During a subsequent search of the house, officers say they found a 9 mm handgun. 

East Bend Managed Homeless Villages Set To Open

BEND, OR -- Central Oregon Villages expects to open its first managed village by mid-May. Board President Jim Porter tells KBND News there were a few delays during the permitting process, but the site at 27th and Bear Creek is almost ready for the small pre-fab shelters. Electrical wiring is installed, along with gravel to level the property, fencing is on the way and a grant allowed for an additional key piece of equipment, “We were able to locate and we’re going to be purchasing a shower trailer, which is on wheels, kind of like what they use on forest fires for firefighters. It’s ADA compliant; it has a ramp for people with ADA challenges. And we’re very excited about that, that we’re actually going to be able to provide a humane shower and toilet facility for the residents of the village,” said Porter.

Eventually, the site will have 20 Pallet shelters, “They literally, the walls fold up together and you pin them in place, then you put the roof on. And then they have two to four beds in them, depending on the size of them; they have a small working desk, and a heater and an air conditioner in it, and they also have a plug in for charging devices. The nice thing about those is, if we need to move them, we can easily move them.”

Service providers have also been employed, “We’ve hired a case manager to help people through; a navigator, case manager. We also have a camp host hired. Our next step is to set up the shelters.”

Porter acknowledges not everyone is happy with the idea of a managed camp in their area, but says it’s unrealistic to site them outside the city, “If you want these people to get access to mental health, to get food, they’ve got to be close to that. And there’s the balance: where do you find someplace close to that, that doesn’t threaten neighborhoods?” Primarily, Porter says, the facility is for at-risk women and children. 

To listen to our full conversation with Jim Porter, visit our Podcast Page


Four Local Organizations Receive Arts Grants

BEND, OR -- Four Bend-based organizations will receive funding from the Oregon Arts Commission. BEAT Children’s Theater, the Deschutes Public Library Foundation, Out Central Oregon and World Muse each get $5,000 from the Arts Build Communities grant fund, to promote arts access for underserved audiences:

BEAT Children’s Theater To support BEAT’s Community Outreach Educational Program. Funds will be used for artist fees, supplies (costumes, makeup, music, set pieces, etc.), royalties, printing and transportation.

Deschutes Public Library Foundation To support the community read program, “A Novel Idea,” where residents are encouraged to read, discuss, create and explore the selected books together. The Library Foundation is seeking to bridge the socio-economic and cultural differences and foster a sense of community. Funds will be used to pay for bilingual author María Amparo Escandón’s honorarium, Spanish-speaking cultural experts and books in Spanish.

Out Central Oregon To support the inaugural Winter Pride LGTBQ Film Festival in partnership with The Tower Theatre Foundation. Funds will be used for artist fees and staffing.

World Muse To support the production of "A Reflection of Life," a full-length documentary film focusing on water issues and featuring Indigenous experiences and voices from five Northwest tribes as well as public policy makers and scientists. Funds will be used for artist fees.

The commission awarded a total of $265,000 to 53 organizations in Oregon. In recent years, the Arts Build Communities program has generated more than $600,000 in additional community investment, much of it representing salaries paid as well as products and services purchased in the funded communities. These grants are made possible through a funding partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.


Indigenous Languages Conference Starts Sunday

BEND, OR -- The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs hosts a four-day language conference in Bend, starting Sunday. The grant-funded event offers classes and presentations on linguistics, computer technology, and youth leadership.

Gina Ricketts, with the Warm Springs Culture and Heritage Department, says it’s important to preserve indigenous languages, “We’re seeing now this surge of learning our languages and the importance of how it increases student’s retention, and it lowers depression and suicide rates, and increases GPA.”

‘Healing Through Our Languages’ is the first of its kind in Central Oregon in almost 20 years. Experts say in that same time, fluency of languages spoken by the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs decreased.

Guest speakers will have a special focus on teaching youth. “The conference is all about how language can be used to heal generational trauma. We have a lot of instructors actually modeling how to teach indigenous languages in classes,” says Ricketts.

The Culture and Heritage Department’s Lori Switzler tells KBND News fluency of the three languages spoken by the confederated tribes has decreased, but schools are trying to reverse the trend, “The language department has really kicked it into gear to just keep the language alive. It was determined that children that learn their language in culture have more self-esteem and confidence and do better with their educational studies and goals.”  She says language programs run through all grade levels on the reservation, and have been very popular. 

‘Healing Through Our Languages’ runs Sunday through Wednesday at OSU-Cascades.

Gov. Declares Drought Emergency In Deschutes County

BEND, OR -- Following a request by Deschutes County Commissioners earlier this year, Governor Tina Kotek issued a drought declaration Friday morning for Deschutes County. The Executive Order also includes a declaration for Grant County, in eastern Oregon. Her order directs state agencies to coordinate and prioritize assistance to the region.
Both counties have portions of extreme drought (D3) and are experiencing well below average water year precipitation. Streamflow has also been well below average in both counties over the water year, with Deschutes at 78% and Grant at 44% of its average streamflow. Likewise, streamflow at their respective basins have been below average, with Deschutes at 71% and John Day at 39%.
Reservoir conditions in the Deschutes Basin are approaching historic lows and soil moisture conditions across surface, root zone and shallow groundwater profiles are extremely dry. Above average snowpack conditions, 117% in Deschutes and 154% in John Day, will provide limited relief to drought conditions in some parts of each county.
According to the Governor's office, the drought declaration unlocks a number of drought-related emergency tools for water users, including assistance to local water users. Drought declarations also allow the Water Resources Department to expedite review processes and reduce fee schedules.
The Oregon Drought Readiness Council received requests from the Grant County Court and Deschutes County Board of Commissioners in March requesting Governor’s drought declarations. The council received input from Oregon’s Water Supply Availability Committee on regional water supply conditions. The Council recommended the Governor declare drought in Grant and Deschutes Counties for the 2023 calendar year, pursuant to Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS) 536.740.
As state and local officials coordinate with federal partners, Kotek's office says conditions will be closely monitored by the state’s natural resource and public safety agencies, including the Oregon Water Resources Department and the Oregon Department of Emergency Management.


Image: Map issued 3/23/23 by the U.S. Drought Monitor

Mule Deer Zoning Meetings Planned

BEND, OR -- A Deschutes County proposal would create new zoning regulations to protect mule deer habitat. Senior Planner Tanya Saltzman tells KBND News the data used for the current Winter Range zone is 30 years old. "Mule deer populations have been declining in the county, and this is due to a number of reasons. Some of it is because of development, so we’re looking to explore a potential update to this area and kind of issue some regulations that would pertain to those areas, to help protect that habitat." The existing Wildlife Area Combining Zone would remain unchanged.

The new proposed zoning rules would impact mostly commercial uses on properties over 20 acres, "Things that have been noted by ODFW as disturbing to the deer or the deer habitat; things like shooting ranges and BMX bike parks, solar farms, that kind of thing," says Saltzman, "So, larger scale commercial things."

Saltzman says the goal is to find a balance to protect both mule deer habitat and and the rights of property owners, "People are very interested in conservation of habitat, but they’re also really interested in being able to utilize their property as they way they are entitled to by the zoning. So, our goal with these regulations is to try and center it." She says the hope is to work with property owners, "We’re trying not to ever say ‘no,’ essentially. There might be some limitations but our goal is, at the moment, to not prohibit anything because we want to allow people to have these uses available."

The proposed zone is about 180,000 acres. But because much of that is federal land, Saltzman says it would only impact owners of about 80,000 acres, "The main area, I would say, of this new proposed area, is kind of in a triangle between Redmond and Sisters and Bend." Click HERE for more on the proposed Mule Deer Winter Range Combining Zone. 

Public information sessions are scheduled for April 4-10. Click on the link of a meeting to RSVP (not required but helpful for planning purposes). 

The Deschutes County Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on April 13 at 5:30 p.m. The hybrid public hearing takes place at the Deschutes Services Center, Barnes & Sawyer Rooms (first floor) at 1300 Wall Street, Bend. Additional hearings may be scheduled after the April 13th meeting.


To hear our full conversation with Senior Planner Tanya Saltzman, visit KBND's Podast Page

New Art Considered For Colorado & Columbia Roundabout

BEND, OR -- Bend’s Art in Public Places team is in the process of selecting new roundabout art for the middle of Colorado and Columbia Street. Renderings of the five finalists will be on display at the Larkspur Community Center, from March 25 - April 1, then at the downtown library from April 3-10. 

The finalists were chosen from among more than 90 submissions. Once a sculpture is chosen, it will be installed either this fall or next spring and added to Bend’s public art collection.

Click HERE for more information on each piece.

Commissioners Updated On 'Safe Parking Program' Code Creation

BEND, OR -- Deschutes County will ask the legislature for help creating a code for a Safe Parking Program. Deputy County Administrator Erik Kropp told Commissioners Wednesday county staff is making progress in establishing limited overnight parking in unincorporated areas , “Safe parking is likely more restrictive in the county versus the city, because of Oregon land-use laws. At this point it’s unclear if Safe Parking would be allowed in certain zones in the county. Based on preliminary research it looks like its allowed in unincorporated communities and urban growth boundaries. So, at this point staff plans to come back in April with some options for the board.”

Commissioner Phil Chang suggested asking the legislature for help in overcoming land-use restrictions since they have a similar law already, “Some minor tweaks to that existing legislation could probably get us what we need in terms of clearance to allow this kind of use in the unincorporated county.”

County Staff will draft a letter to lawmakers asking for assistance. Commissioners will review the letter at Friday’s legislative update meeting.

Also at Wednesday’s board meeting, Commissioners agreed to fund full-time positions in Behavioral Health, and Outreach Services to help those experiencing houselessness. 

Rescued Farm Animals Ready For Adoption

BEND, OR -- Dozens of farm animals seized during a neglect investigation in Terrebonne earlier this year are now ready for adoption. 

Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Captain William Bailey says pigs, hogs, and goats were nursed back to health at the Sheriff’s Office rescue ranch, and multiplied, “A number of the pigs that we got were female and pregnant, and so I’m told as of yesterday we have about 18 piglets at the ranch. Those things are cute, running around with their moms. We had to do a little bit of adjustment at the ranch to help accommodate the mothers and the babies, just to make sure they were warm. We have about 16 goats that are available, 14 females and two males. We’ve been going through and getting their hooves all ready to go, dewormed, vaccinated, some of them will get fixed before they’re released to a family.”

Bailey says there is no cost to adopt from the Rescue Ranch, “The Sheriff’s Office does some basic background checks. We want to make sure that we’re giving animals to people that need to have an animal. So, people who are interested right now, we have approximately 50 females. They’ve all been dewormed and vaccinated.”

Contact the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office for more information.

Oregon Prepared Conference In Sunriver

Sunriver, OR -- The Oregon Department of Emergency Management hosts its Oregon Prepared conference in Sunriver this week. Deputy Director Matt Marheine tells KBND News the seminars and demonstrations helps governments and private agencies prepare, respond to, and recover from disasters. “We most certainly see the potential for earthquakes. We deal with wildfires, and floods, and winter storms, and landslides. So, there are a significant number of hazards that impact Central Oregon. And really across the entire state we see an increasing impact on drought,” says Marheine, adding the workshops help attendees build relationships, “Those hazards can be very difficult to plan for. The reason theses conferences are so special: it really builds the network. This conference allows these folks to build the relationship so that they can be that much more effective when things go bad.”

The approximately 500 participants also get hands-on training with techniques and equipment, “We offer the opportunity for people to see things like our emergency communications capabilities. We have Federal Emergency Management Agency resources here. We have our own agency resources from amateur radio. And really what this is trying to show people is how we can communicate during an event.”

Marheine says it's crucial to be alert for the eventuality of a disaster, “The people of Oregon need to put themselves in the driver’s seat about what could impact them, and what they’re going to do for themselves and their family. We live it 24/7. It is not if, it’s when.”

The Oregon Prepared conference continues in Sunriver through tomorrow.


Roadwork To Affect Mt. Washington-3rd St Turn Lanes

BEND, OR -- ODOT crews are rebuilding sidewalks and curb ramps in northeast Bend that could cause traffic delays over the next two weeks.

ODOT Community Affairs Coordinator Kacey Davey says the work is near the Riverhouse and Bend River Promenade, “Right where Mt. Washington meets Third Street, or Business 97. So, there’s going to be a few right turn lanes that are impacted as we’re rebuilding some corners. This week, it’ll be on to Third from Mt. Washington is going to be impacted. And this next week, it’ll be from Third to Mt. Washington. We’ll make sure people can make the right turn, but they’re going to have to share a lane with people that are going straight.”

Prep work continues on the major project in the area: North Highway 97. But Davey says that shouldn’t start impacting travel until later in the spring. 

May Election Positions Filed, Some Remain Open

BEND, OR -- A few Deschutes County Fire and Sanitary district positions remain open for May’s Election. Last Thursday was the filing deadline.

Many board candidates including positions with Redmond Schools, and COCC will run unopposed. County Clerk Steve Dennison says this can happen in off-year elections, “We do typically have a handful. I think last time around we had probably somewhere around 5 in 2021, and 2019, I think we had as many as 10 seats with no candidate filed,’’ adding some candidates waited to file, “We did have a lot of filers on Wednesday and Thursday. Some of these seats are tougher to fill, too. These smaller water and sanitary districts tend to have less interest.”

Ballots for the May special election will be mailed next month.

Today, the Clerk’s Office conducted another ballot count from last week’s election to establish Terrebonne’s Sanitary District. Unofficial results show the measure passing 24 to 16. Terrebonne Sanitary District Director has Tim Brown and Guy Vernon both receiving 23 votes.



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