Local News

Brad Soto, a math teacher with Bend-La Pine Schools Online, is named the Outstanding Educator of the Year. Soto has served as a math teacher for nearly three decades and worked at Mountain View and Skyline high schools before moving to the online program. Bend-La Pine Schools Superintendent Steven Cook presented the award during a surprise ceremony yesterday. Soto was one of six teacher finalists considered by a committee of six community members. Mid Oregon Credit Union sponsored the $500 award. Details.

The Redmond School District is pausing three bus routes and will pay some parents who end up driving their children to school. Beginning Tuesday, October 19th, three school bus routes, serving about 160 students, will be paused due to a persistent shortage of drivers. The District will provide $10-per-day-per-family to eligible families. The school district closed the three in-town routes to ensure the continuation of rural ones. In the meantime, the Redmond School District is actively recruiting new drivers, offering incentives, and asking the Oregon Department of Education for assistance. Paused Routes: 12, 18 and 24;   Elementary Schools: Hugh Hartman, John Tuck, MA Lynch and Tom McCall; Middle Schools: Elton Gregory and Obsidian; High Schools: Redmond and Ridgeview .Bus Updates

Early this morning, 30-year-old Steven Ransom, of Bend, has been arrested for Luring a Minor for Sexual Conduct. Yesterday, a Bend Police Officer posed as a 15-year-old female on a mobile app. Ransom began conversing with the fictitious child and made very graphic and detailed references about his intentions when they met. Early this morning, Ransom agreed to meet with the fake kid. Upon arrival, Ransom was taken into custody and lodged at the Deschutes County Adult Jail.

At yesterday’s meeting, Commissioners voted 2-to-1 in favor of using the profits to expand the courthouse, which has been an ongoing, long-term plan. Commissioners discussed finalizing the sale of a county-owned property in Bend at 27th Street and Conners Avenue. The county is selling the land for approximately $1million dollars to Housing Works, which is building affordable housing and providing clinic space. Commissioner Phil Chang proposed using the profit for additional affordable housing projects. But Commission Chair Tony DeBone and Commissioner Patti Adair disagreed. They argued that the proceeds would be better spent on the expansion of the courthouse.

Oregon Republicans have filed a lawsuit against the new congressional districts that were approved by the special session of the legislature last month.  Former Oregon Secretary of State Bev Clarno is one of three Republicans behind the lawsuit.  They accuse Democrats of gerrymandering.  The lawsuit says the boundaries of the districts make it likely that Democrats will win five of the six seats in the House.  Oregon got a sixth congressional district, because the U.S. Census showed enough population growth in the state.

A Bend man is facing a hate crime charge for an alleged road-rage incident this summer. Yesterday, 34-year-old Christopher King appeared in Deschutes County Circuit Court. The State alleges that King became upset over the driving of Portland resident Isaiah Evans, a Black man. After pulling over, King reportedly threatened Evans with a knife; smashed out his car window; slashed his tire; and used a racial slur against him. King’s facing five counts, including the felony of first-degree bias crime. 

Eighty-two COVID-19-related-deaths set a new daily record for Oregon. Those deaths occurred over several days and the reports were confirmed on Tuesday. Hospitalizations continue to decline with 59 fewer patients for a total of 585. There have been 4,084 deaths and 345,344 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began. OHA says that the best way to reduce COVID-related deaths is by getting vaccinated. Third doses and booster doses are also recommended. Getting vaccinated is helping to control the surge due to the Delta variant and reduce the likelihood of other variants emerging.

The City of Bend is seeking feedback on proposed housing code changes that would allow homeless shelters in most areas of city. An interactive, online tool called “Houselessness in the City of Bend,” explains the homeless shelter types and is available in English and Spanish through November 1st. The proposed amendments were developed by a City-Manager-appointed group called “the Sounding Board to House Our Neighbors.” In November, the Sounding Board will review the public feedback and further refine recommendations for January committee meetings and a public hearing.

At last night's Crook County School Board meeting, board members were told that only 8 employees out of more than 500 have resigned due to a COVID-19 vaccine mandate.  The statewide mandate is scheduled to go into effect next Monday, October 18, 2021.  Crook County Schools say 110 employees have taken religous exemptions, six have medical exemptions while the rest showed proof of vaccination.

Prosecutors now believe the two men accused of a 2020 double murder in Bend were involved in a murder-for-hire scheme. Yesterday, 57-year-old Ken Atkinson, and 31-year-old Nathan Detroit, appeared in Deschutes County Circuit Court to face a new indictment and a new charge. The co-defendants now stand accused of first-degree murder under the theory Atkinson paid his nephew Detroit to kill Atkinson’s brother and the brother’s fiancée. The pair was arrested October 1, 2021, more than a year after Ray Atkinson Jr. and Natasha Newby were found dead in their home on 12th Street. The co-defendants are being held without bail at the Deschutes County jail.

Central Oregon Community College is celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day today with discussion and events, both virtual and in person. In a press release, Christy Walker, director of the college’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion program says that the inaugural celbration will feature learning opportunities and forums for opening dialogue. The day will include: a virtual talk about the purpose and impact of acknowledgements (9-10 a.m.); a talk on Christopher Columbus from a Native perspective (noon-1 p.m.); Incorporating Indigenous Perspectives in the Classroom (4-5 p.m.); and a video screening of “The Columbus Controversy” (5:30-6:30 p.m.). For details: https://www.cocc.edu/home/events/indigenous-peoples-day.aspx

Today is officially recognized as Indigenous Peoples Day. This spring, Oregon joined 12 other states to recognize the second Monday of October, long known as Columbus Day, as Indigenous Peoples Day. The Legislature’s only Indigenous lawmakers, Rep. Tawna Sanchez and Rep. Teresa Alonso-Leon sponsored the bill.

  • Federal offices and courts are closed.
  • Post Offices are closed.
  • Many banks are closed – check with your institution
  • State offices in Oregon are open

The City of Bend is taking action to increase affordable housing. On Wednesday, City Council approved amendments to the Bend Development Code and the Bend Comprehensive Plan that will implement House Bill (HB) 2001. In 2019, the Oregon State Legislature passed HB 2001, which requires cities with more than 25,000 residents to allow the development of “middle housing,” such as duplexes, triplexes, quadplexes, cottage cluster developments and townhouses. The new code allows middle housing in all residential areas of Bend, regardless of zoning. The updated code will go into effect in November 5, 2021.

Do you remember when we told you about the man who was arrested after a police stand-off? Well, there's a new wrinkle to the story. Earlier this week, on Wednesday, a 33-year-old man accused of domestic violence, barricaded himself inside his house. The incident involved threats to set his house on fire and ended with a K-9 named Ronin biting the suspect. After the standoff, the man, who is yet to be identified, was taken to St. Charles. However, the following morning, without authorization, he left on his own two-feet through the Emergency Department entrance. St. Charles reported this and within ten minutes of arrival, Bend Police officers found him in the 2100 block of Kim Lane.  Just like on Wednesday, K-9 Ronin and his handler Deputy Mangin from the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office, assisted the apprehension of the suspect.  Bend PD took him into custody there, and then Bend Fire & Rescue transported him back to the hospital.  Later, the man was released from the hospital and then jailed at the Deschutes County Adult Jail. There are no new additional charges from this incident.

Fireworks are now banned citywide. Last night, the Bend City Council unanimously voted to permanently prohibit the sale and use of fireworks within city limits. Several people spoke against the proposal, saying the ban was an overreach that would impact fundraising efforts for local nonprofits. A temporary ban went into effect in June due to the extremely dry conditions and fire dangers at the time. Neighboring towns like Sisters and Sunriver haven’t allowed fireworks for years. Professional fireworks shows like the annual display from atop Pilot Butte would still be allowed under the new city code. Violators could face a $750 fine.

The Bend City Council will consider a permanent firework ban at tonight’s 5 o’clock meeting. It will read an ordinance that would amend the law, and then vote on whether to change it or to move forward. A temporary ban went into effect in June. Public comment will take place alongside the consideration of the ordinance, so the public can speak to this issue directly.

The Redmond School Board is fighting for local control over COVID-19 mask and vaccination rules. In a special school board meeting last night, board members voted 4-to-1 to hire the Thenell Law Group, a Portland-based law firm that specializes in insurance-related cases. Students and staff in Oregon K-12 schools are required to wear masks indoors, and all school staff is required to be vaccinated by Monday, October 18th . The district already contracts with the High Desert Education Service District for attorney services, but the board has requested additional legal assistance for this case.

Starting, Monday, October 18th, visitors to St. Charles facilities must be fully vaccinated. This is the same day that all health care workers are also required to be fully vaccinated by the state of Oregon. In a press release, Dr. Jeff Absalon, the chief physician executive, says that safety is the top priority and they have had to make changes to the visitor policy to keep all patients, caregivers and others safe. Visitors will only be allowed with acceptable proof of vaccination.

Bus driver shortages are causing havoc for Redmond Schools. Sunday night and Monday morning, seven school bus drivers called in sick, leaving about 140 students to find other ways to get to campus. Three routes had to be canceled Monday. The Redmond School District was already short 14 drivers due to hiring difficulties, forcing consolidation of routes and longer rides for some students. Bus routes are expected to run as normal today.

Two suspects are in jail in connection to the August 2020 murder of Ray Atkinson Jr. and Natasha Newby. 54-year-old Bend resident Kenneth Atkinson, and 31-year-old-Nathan Shane Detroit, of Redmond are charged with two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of first-degree conspiracy to commit murder. Kenneth Atkinson is the brother of Ray Atkinson Jr., Nathan Detroit is his nephew.

A kayaker is missing in the area of Lava Island Falls. Friday, Bend Fire and Rescue and Deschutes County Search and Rescue (SAR) responded to a call with one deputy and eleven volunteers. The kayaker was last seen by his party near Lava Island just upstream from Meadow Camp in Class 4/5 whitewater. Search activities included shore searches, drones and water rescue teams. SAR teams continuously searched the area Friday through Sunday. Searchers later found the kayaker’s belongings including his kayak and paddle. At this time, the kayaker’s body has still not been located and he is presumed drowned.

The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office and Deschutes County 9-1-1 is encouraging Deschutes Alerts-subscribers to update their contact information. Tomorrow morning (Wednesday), Deschutes Alerts will send a message to the 775 alert-subscribers who have specialized needs such as oxygen dependency or mobility challenges. Current subscribers who do not have additional needs will not receive the message.  Deschutes Alerts sends messages via phone, text and email, about emergencies such as natural disasters or endangered and missing people. Service areas include Deschutes County, Crooked River Ranch, and Camp Sherman. 

Staffing shortages are hitting many businesses right now in Central Oregon and the Humane Society of Central Oregon (HSCO) can be added to the list. HSCO is closed today, 9/24/21, due to lack of staff. While the doors will be closed, staff will be on hand to take care of the animals.

Corrected from the a.m., on-air reports:

  • For stray dog pickups, call non-emergency dispatch at (541) 693-6911. 
  • For lost and found animals, call the shelter at (541) 382-3537 and leave a message, providing a description of the animal, the area lost and contact information.

A Redmond elementary school teacher is keeping her job despite her refusal to wear a mask. Last night, Superintendent Charan Cline led a termination hearing for fourth grade Terrebonne Community School teacher Tori Caudell who refuses to wear a mask. The rule adopted by the Oregon Health Authority at the direction of the Governor is that all staff and students wear face masks at school. Cline stated the school district has 184 students currently in quarantine. Caudell argued that mandating masks infringes on her safety and her liberty. After statements, the board voted 3-to-2 to not approve the termination. Caudell is still not allowed in a school building without wearing a mask and the issue will now go back to the district as a matter of operations and not personnel. For more information:  Redmond School Board; Superintendent Charan Cline, Ed.D 

The Sunriver Nature Center and Observatory is just one week away from completing a $500,000 observatory expansion. Astronomy fans will enjoy six new telescopes, one of which shows solar prominence around the sun. Both nature and astronomy lovers can see the new additions and explore the center at the annual fall open house, tomorrow, 9/18/21. Admission is free for the entire day. Programming is offered from 10 to 3 and will include talks and demonstrations about meteorites, volcanoes, telescopes, rocket launches, eagles beavers, and beekeeping. Reserve tickets online.


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