Local News

BEND, OR -- The Bend City Council has sent a letter to the state asking them to reopen elementary schools January 4TH. The letter asks that the state mobilize resources in the next month and take a systematic approach to testing students and teachers who choose to participate in in-person learning. Mayor Sally Russell says the Bend La Pine Schools Board, the Chamber of Commerce and some other community leaders, have also signed the letter. Schools in the Bend La Pine District have not reopened due to the county’s failure to meet state metrics for reopening.

BEND, OR -- Deschutes Health Officer Doctor George Conway participated in a public health briefing yesterday. He said many people believe the young are largely invulnerable to COVID-19. However 6-per cent of those hospitalized are under 20,,,13-per cent are between 20 and 39…and 15-per cent are 40-to-49. Conway says this means 35-per cent of those in the hospital are under age 50. Conway also said the virus signals from wastewater testing in Bend remain very strong and that indicates more virus cases coming. He continues to urge everyone to mask, social distance and wash hands



BEND, OR -- A Bend man who was shot on November 19th in the 600 block of Riverfront Street has been charged with three crimes. 27 year old Jordan Thorn went to the home of Marshall Rogers and the two had brief contact. Rogers shot Thorn at the front door. Thorn drove away from the scene but stopped within a block and was helped by citizens and police. He was taken to the hospital for wounds to the lower abdomen and left arm. The investigation led to evidence police say shows Thorn was not the victim. Yesterday Thorn was charged with Burglary 1, Robbery 1 and Unlawful use of a Weapon. 



Deschutes County officials are considering taking further action to help protect communities in the county from wildfires.  Two measures are being considered by the county’s Wildfire Mitigation Advisory Committee.  The measures involve changes to building codes to require the use of fire-resistant building materials for new rural residential construction, and altering regulations involving the use of land to require defensible space for all rural properties.  The regulations would only apply in the rural parts of the county that fall outside of city limits.  The committee has created a story map and survey online to gauge the community’s perspective.  

A federal prison term has been slapped on a man from Bend for possession and distribution of child porn through a local distribution ring.  The charges against 25 year old Pierce Morrow who grew up in Bend also include chatting online about having sex with minors and threatening and harassing his victims online.  He’s been sentenced to 7 years in federal prison.  Investigators say the offenses took place between July of 2017 and January of 2018, and say he took part in a kid porn trade group that posted images, videos, and links online tied to child porn.  They say he used a fake identity to make his victims think it was someone else luring them in, providing nude photos of kids to try and get them to consider having sex with children.  He pled guilty to distributing child porn this past September.

The pandemic is having an impact on the reporting of potential child abuse cases in Bend.  Bend Kids Center Development and Marketing Director Robin Antonson says they’ve seen a reduction in the number of reports of suspected child abuse since the schools closed because teachers can’t act as that second set of eyes to spot potential abuse.  As a result, she says they’re asking the public to be extra vigilant this holiday season.  If you suspect a child is being abused, she says you can report it by calling Kids Center or by going to their website at “kids-center-dot-org.”

                                            Pile Burning to Occur Today near Sisters

Melvin Butte area will be the focus


Sisters, Ore.-  Beginning today firefighters on the Sisters Ranger District of the Deschutes National Forest will ignite several burn piles outside the City of Sisters in the Melvin Butte area.


As conditions remain favorable, firefighters will begin igniting approximately 120 acres of hand piles within the Vin Stewardship area. The units proposed are along the 1628 road system in the Melvin Butte project area. Please see attached map for exact location. Once ignited, units are monitored by firefighters until they are declared out.


The intent of the project is to reduce hazardous fuels and to reduce slash in areas to allow ponderosa pine to be planted in the future. Smoke will likely be visible from Sisters, Highway 20, Plainview and other greater Sisters area communities. If smoke drifts on to roads, motorists should slow down, turn on headlights, and proceed with care.  Piles may smolder, burn, and produce smoke for several days after ignition. 


The public’s health is important to the Forest Service. While significant preventive measures are taken, many factors influence a person’s susceptibility to smoke, including severity and duration of smoke exposure and a person’s health. If individuals feel impacted by smoke, they should avoid outdoor physical exertion and remain indoors. If people experience serious health impacts from the smoke, they should contact their doctor. For more information about smoke and health, visit the Oregon Health Authority recommendations through this link: http://www.oregon.gov/oha/PH/Preparedness/Prepare/Pages/PrepareForWildfire.aspx#health

Fuels specialists will follow policies outlined in the Oregon Department of Forestry smoke management plan, which governs smoke from prescribed fires (including pile burning) and attempts to minimize impacts to visibility and public health.


For more information, visit the Deschutes website at www.fs.usda.gov/deschutes and follow us on twitter @CentralORFire. 


USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender



BEND, OR -- A Deschutes County Grand Jury has indicted the mother of a 6 month old infant for Criminal Mistreatment and First Degree Assault. The incident occured in April 2019 when police were called to Saint Charles Bend Because of suspicious injuries to the infant which included fractures. After a lengthy investigation by police it was determined that the mother, 33 year old Kristine Ann Bellinger of Bend caused the injury to her son. District Attorney John Hummel thanked The Kids Center and the Department of Human Services for helping Bend police with the investigation.


BEND, OR -- District Attorney John Hummel says he has suspects in the murder case of Ray Atkinson Junior and Natasha Newby who were found murdered in the basement of their home last August. The Bulletin reports D-A John Hummel made the announcement during a Zoom briefing with reporters. More than 40 search warrants have been issued since the crime was discovered. Hummel says the investigation is active but he’s not prepared to release any more information at this time.

Activities at Bend Parks and Rec are being impacted by the Governor’s new extreme risk level assigned to Deschutes county today tied to Covid-19.  Community Relations Manager Julie Brown says they’ve had to cancel all of their indoor activities.  She says Juniper Swim and Fitness Center will remain closed for all fitness and swim activities, and limited registration for programs at the Pavilion are being accepted.  All of their trails and parks remain open.    

The Oregon Water Resources Commission is awarding almost five million dollars to help fund water projects throughout the state, including the Lone Pine Irrigation District in Deschutes, Jefferson, and Crook counties.  $1.6 mil will be going to the construction of a new river crossing and the piping of ten and a half miles of open canals in the district.  The hope is that those enhancements will improve the efficiency of the system and will add legal protection to the conserved water instream.

Family Access Network Receives $30,000 from

Central Oregon Health Council



The Family Access Network (FAN) received a $30,000 grant from Central Oregon Health Council (COHC) from their 2020 Central Oregon Community Health Projects grant cycle. Funds from this grant will focus on COHC Regional Health Improvement Plan priority area of addressing poverty and enhancing self-sufficiency. FAN works to break the cycle of poverty in Central Oregon by providing kids and families with the basic resources needed for children to thrive such as food, clothing, school supplies and shelter.


“COHC is a key partner in enhancing the collaborative spirit of Central Oregon. We are honored to be a part of the work and place a high value on the incredible investments made by COHC to improve the health of all community members,” says Julie Lyche, FAN Executive Director.


The COHC is dedicated to improving the health of the region and providing oversight of the Medicaid population and Coordinated Care Organization (CCO).  COHC was officially created by to promote the health of the region’s residents and seeks to achieve the Triple Aim of improving health outcomes, increasing satisfaction with the health system, and reducing cost. The COHC and Central Oregon’s CCO, PacificSource Community Solutions (PSCS), works together to transform health care in the region and to use integrated and coordinated health care systems to improve health; increase quality, reliability, availability, and continuity of care; and reduce the cost of care.


Unique to Central Oregon, FAN began in 1993 and currently employs 26 advocates in 62 public schools (K-12) and early childhood sites across Central Oregon. The direct placement of FAN advocates within the public schools and early childhood sites allows FAN to effectively reach and connect disadvantaged children and families to essential basic needs.

To learn more about the Family Access Network, please visit www.familyaccessnetwork.org or call (541) 693-5675.


Family Access Network’s mission is to offer assistance, possibility and hope to Central Oregon families in need by connecting them with crucial resources that will help children flourish in school and in life. Every year, FAN advocates improve the lives of over 8,000 children and family members in Deschutes, Crook, and Jefferson counties.


Family Access Network

# # #

Gift the outdoors this season: 2021 licenses and other gifts to support conservation

Buying licenses for others is easier thanks to online Group Purchase


SALEM, Ore.—Give a year of the outdoors this holiday season to the hunter, angler, wildlife viewer or conservationist in your life.


2021 licenses, tags, wildlife area parking permits and conservation stamps are available now online at https://odfw.huntfishoregon.com/login or at license sale agents.


The cost of licenses and tags is the same as it was in 2020. For residents, an annual fishing license is $44, an annual hunting license is $34.50 and a combination hunting and fishing license is $73.


Youth licenses (for ages 12-17) remain just $10 for a Combo License (angling, hunting, plus shellfish and Columbia River Endorsement) for both residents and nonresidents and $55 for a Youth SportsPac (residents only).


The new Group Purchase feature in ODFW’s online licensing system makes it easier to buy for family and friends who already hunt or fish in Oregon. See directions on how to use group purchase at https://myodfw.com/articles/how-make-group-purchase-els   

Need your gift to be a surprise? A receipt is automatically emailed only to the person who purchased the license as a gift. The gift recipient will be able to see their 2021 license once they login to their account. 


Other gift ideas:


Big game raffle ticket (prices start at $4.50 per ticket):

The perfect stocking stuffer for big game hunters. Raffle tickets are a chance to win a four-month long season in an expanded hunt area for deer, elk, bighorn sheep, Rocky Mtn goat, pronghorn or the Combo Deer/Elk tag. Ticket prices vary from $4.50 to $11.50 per ticket, with discounts for buying multiple tickets. Buy online via ODFW’s licensing system. More info at https://myodfw.com/articles/big-game-raffle-and-auction-hunts


Wildlife area parking permit ($30 annually):

A great gift for wildlife viewers or anyone who enjoys the outdoors. This $30 annual wildlife area parking permit allows parking at all of ODFW’s 20+ wildlife areas where you can watch wildlife and also fish, hunt, bike, hike and run. (Note this parking permit is also included with the purchase of an annual hunting license.) Wildlife areas have remained open during Covid-19 restrictions.


Habitat conservation stamp or art print ($20 - $35):

Conservation stamps are a great gift for both art and wildlife lovers. Funds raised from sales support conservation of Oregon’s most imperiled fish and wildlife and their habitats. Collector stamps can be purchased for just $20 through ODFW’s licensing page (under General Category). Most signed art prints are $35; purchase art prints by mailing or faxing this form: https://www.dfw.state.or.us/conservationstrategy/contest/docs/2020_ORDER_FORM_Habitat_Conservation_Stamp.pdf  

Revenue from your purchase helps restore habitats vital to declining species including wetlands, grasslands, oak woodlands, and ponderosa pine forests. More info at https://www.dfw.state.or.us/conservationstrategy/habitat_conservation_stamp.asp


Watch for Wildlife License Plate Voucher ($40)

Vehicle collisions kill mule deer and other wildlife every year. Wildlife crossings and other projects can reduce collisions and help wildlife safely migrate but dedicated funds are needed to implement these types of projects. The non-profit Oregon Wildlife Foundation (OWF) is currently selling vouchers for a Watch for Wildlife license plate featuring a mule deer and Cascade Range mountain in the background. Funds raised will go towards projects that support safer wildlife migration. OWF has a long history of providing grants for projects that benefit fish and wildlife in Oregon, including helping rid Diamond Lake of tui chub to restore the trout fishery and supporting the Bonneville Fish Hatchery Sturgeon Viewing Pond.


The plate voucher can be purchased as a gift but the buyer will need to know the Oregon driver's license number of the person they are gifting it to. Find more info and purchase at https://www.myowf.org/watchforwildlife


Donation to the Oregon Conservation and Recreation Fund

This new fund is a way for everyone to help create new opportunities for wildlife watching, urban conservation, community science and other wildlife-associated recreation. While most of ODFW’s budget is funded by hunting and fishing dollars, this fund allows anyone to contribute to fish and wildlife conservation, especially for important species and habitats that need help. Round up your purchase through ODFW’s licensing system or donate in the name of your friends or family directly through the Conservation and Recreation Fund website at https://www.oregonisalive.org/ by writing their name in the donation box.



December 1, 2020

Governor Kate Brown Announces Updates to County Risk Levels

Risk levels and associated safety measures take effect Dec. 3, 25 counties in Extreme Risk

(Salem, OR) — Governor Kate Brown today announced updates to county risk levels under the state's new public health framework to reduce transmission and protect Oregonians from COVID-19. The framework uses four different risk levels for counties based on COVID-19 spread—Extreme Risk, High Risk, Moderate Risk, and Lower Risk—and assigns health and safety measures for each level.

Effective Dec. 3 through Dec. 17, 25 counties will be in the Extreme Risk level, five counties will be High Risk, two counties will be Moderate Risk, and four counties will be Lower Risk. A complete list of counties and their associated risk levels is available here.


Crook, Ddeschutes and Jefferson counties are on the Extreme Risk list.

"Counties that are facing extreme risk of virus spread will need to continue with strict health and safety measures, similar to the Two-Week Freeze," said Governor Brown. "I want to stress that there is no zero-risk category. Until COVID-19 vaccines are widely available and we have high participation, health and safety precautions will remain in place so that schools, businesses, and communities can reopen—and stay open. I am asking all Oregonians to take these measures seriously. The best way to protect those closest to you is by maintaining physical distance from others, avoiding gatherings, wearing a face covering, staying home when sick, and keeping up with good hand hygiene."

The Oregon Health Authority will examine and publish county data weekly. County risk levels will be reassigned every two weeks. The first week's data will provide a "warning week" to prepare counties for potential risk level changes. The next assignment of risk levels will take effect Dec. 18. 

Updates to Warning Week data and county risk levels will be posted to coronavirus.oregon.gov




Previous Press Releases
Natalie King • Communications Director, Office of Governor Kate Brown • (503) 378-5965


Three elk poached near Sisters; public’s assistance requested


BEND, Ore. — Poachers killed a bull, a cow, and a spike elk west of Bend on or about Oct. 28 and Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife troopers are looking for information leading to the culprits.

The animals were discovered separately, but all three were in the same area and appear to have been killed at the same time. Two were left to waste in a blatant demonstration of a thrill-kill. The third, a large bull, had its head and shoulders removed as a trophy.

OSP Fish and Wildlife Troopers discovered the first carcass, a cow elk, on Oct. 30 after a call to the Turn In Poachers (TIP) Line from a hunter who came across the carcass while scouting the Dry Canyon area East of Sisters near Hwy 126 and Quail Tree Drive. Troopers investigating the area around the cow subsequently discovered a large bull elk carcass. Although bull elk were in season at the time, the poacher had taken only the head, antlers and some shoulder meat. It is a crime to leave carcasses to waste even if it is legal to kill the animal.

Two days later, on Nov. 1, another call came through on the TIP Line from a hunter who reported finding a spike elk carcass. A spike elk is a one-year-old male. Troopers located the spike elk about 40 yards from where the cow had been. Based on decomposition, all three animals were shot at or near the same time, and certainly the same day according to OSP F&W Sergeant Lowell Lea.

“They were all killed at the same time-or close to it- on opening day of the season,” Lea said, “Even if someone makes a mistake and kills the wrong animal, at least if they report it they aren’t committing the additional crime of leave to waste.”

Senior Trooper Creed Cummings, who processed the scene, agrees.

“Sometimes people are reckless in shooting and they get the wrong species or gender. We were hoping that at least the cow (meat) would be salvageable, but it wasn’t,” he said, “It’s disappointing that they were just left. And it adds another charge to the initial crime.”

Oregon’s Stop Poaching campaign coordinator Yvonne Shaw agrees. “This is a blatant waste of Oregonians’ natural resources,” she said. “Not only have these animals been removed from legal hunting in season, they are also removed from chance encounters with hikers, photographers and others who appreciate the opportunity to experience wildlife. We treasure those memories for the rest of our lives.”

All three elk were most likely shot on opening day of the East Central Cascade elk season which runs Oct. 28 through Nov. 1. OSP Troopers would like anyone in the area who heard shots at night or noticed anything unusual on opening day of the season to call the TIP Line and report it.

The Stop Poaching Campaign educates the public on how to recognize and report poaching. This campaign is a collaboration among hunters, conservationists, land owners and recreationists. Our goal is to increase reporting of wildlife crimes through the TIP Line, increase detection by increasing the number of OSP Fish and Wildlife Troopers and increase prosecution. The Oregon Hunters Association manages TIP Line reward funds. This campaign helps to protect and enhance Oregon’s fish and wildlife and their habitat for the enjoyment of present and future generations. Contact campaign coordinator Yvonne Shaw for more information. Yvonne.l.Shaw@state.or.us.


SALEM, OR -- The 2016 Republican candidate for Oregon governor, Doctor Bud Pierce of Salem announced in an email to the news media a statement about the death last night of his wife, Doctor Selma Pierce, a retired dentist. The statement says "The glue of the Pierce family, an angel of a person, the only woman that I have ever loved, died this (Tuesday) evening in a sudden and tragic accident." Pierce's statement concluded, "We cannot believe that she has left us, but we are comforted in the knowledge that she is witrh God. and we will see her again." Earlier this week Pierce announced he would seek the GOP nomination for governor again in 2022. 

BEND, OR -- With the holidays coming up more people are shopping on-line and having products sent to their home.

The problem is, thieves are also on the lookout for packages on porches and stealing them. Bend Police Lieutenant Juli McConkey says consider having the items delivered to your workplace, or, go to the store you ordered from and pick them up. She says other options include having a neighbor pick up the package or, requiring a signature from the company dropping off the item.  McConkey says the problem of theft from porches has increased in recent years in Bend but  says the department's Probolem Oriented Policing Team is proactively working to prevent thefts.   

BEND, OR -- Last month in Bend there was a large crowd protesting the governor’s mandatory mask requirement.

Police received complaints but by the time they got to the scene the crowd had dispersed. The organizer told police the protest was because they think the mask order is unconstitutional. Police turned over the report to Deschutes County D-A John Hummel. He says the organizer was wrong in that the governor’s mask mandate is constitutional. However Hummel declined to prosecute because people were protesting an act by government and did so without any violence or damage of any kind. Hummel still says he encourages people to wear a mask


BEND, OR -- A correction to a story we reported. We said Cameron Fischer was appointed to the Deschutes County Behavioral Health Advisory Board. We reported Fischer was refered to apply for the board by Commissioner-elect Phil Chang. That is not correct. Chang confirmed they are in a relationship but he did not refer Fischer to apply for the position.

We apologize for the error.

Civil penalties have been levied against two insurance companies in the state for violating Covid-19 emergency orders.  The penalties have been issued by the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services against Allstate Insurance and Root Insurance.  The department says the companies either cancelled or failed to renew insurance policies held by residents of Oregon while the emergency orders tied to the pandemic were in effect in the state.  Those orders were intended to provide some financial relief and peace of mind to residents who were facing financial hardship and potential ruin when the pandemic hit by providing grace periods for premium payments and assurances that policies wouldn’t be cancelled or renewals not granted.  The department says 84 Allstate customers and 100 Root insurance customers were impacted by policy cancellations or rejected renewals between March 25th and September 20th of this year.  Both companies have since taken steps to reinstate the customers that were impacted.

32 year old Kellie Cameron of Bend has been sentenced to almost two years in federal prison for constructing a hoax bomb and phoning in a threat to blow up the Deschutes County Courthouse in July of last year.  Cameron will also have to pay $43 thousand dollars in restitution and will be on three years supervised released after serving the prison term in a federal lockup for 21 months.  Federal authorities  say Cameron conspired with Jonathan Allen of Bend - a co-defendant in the case - at the end of July in 2019, to shut down the Deschutes County Courthouse in Bend by planting a fake bomb made of batteries, wiring, a circuit board, and a fuel filter and calling in the threat after placing the device on a ramp near the courthouse.  The threat shut down and prompted the evacuation of the courthouse, the D-A’s office, a bank, and several businesses in the area until the bomb squad to get to the scene and dismantle the device.  In August of last year, Cameron and Allen were both charged - Cameron pled guilty.


A local couple that owns five McDonald’s locally in Redmond, Prineville, Madras, and Hines has come up with a safe way for you to patronize their restaurants while giving to those in need.  Paul and Kathy Rodby are long-time Redmond residents and have been committed to helping needy families in the area for decades.  This year – in light of Covid – they’ve come up with a unique drive-through fundraising effort.  A portion of every purchase made at one of their McDonald’s drive thrus Wednesday night from 4 to 7 pm will be donated to one of three local charities  – Toys For Tots in Deschutes and Harney Counties, Operation Rudolph in Jefferson County, or Holiday Partnership in Crook County. 


The McDonald’s locations below are taking part: 


2456 South Highway 97 in Redmond

895 Southwest RimRock Way in Redmond

28 Northeast Oak Street in Madras

498 West Third Street in Prineville

And 641 North Highway 20 in Hines

BEND, OR -- Saint Charles Health reported  29 patients hospitalized with COVID-19…about twice as many as the previous week. Central Oregon Daily reports the hospital is delaying elective surgeries. Chief Physician Doctor Jeff Absalon says the numbers increased significantly in the last several weeks.  He says It takes a few weeks after the numbers go up to see the numbers go up in the hospital and that is exactly what has happened here. Deschutes County last week reported 459 new COVID cases – nearly 200 more than the week before.


CENTRAL OREGON -- Twenty-one Oregon counties, including Deschutes and Jefferson counties, will be placed under the "Extreme Risk" category of the state's new COVID-19 restriction framework when the two-week freeze ends Thursday.  Under the new guidelines, restaurants and bars will be limited to outdoor dining, while retail and grocery stores can only have half their usual capacity.  Indoor gyms will remain closed, but outdoor fitness classes can go forward with 50 people at max.  Churches are limited to 25-percent capacity.


LAKE COUNTY, OR -- Early Monday morning Oregon State Police responded to a report of a single vehicle wreck on Highway 31 at milepost 92 in Lake county. Investigators determined that in the evening of Sunday November 29th, a Chevrolet Silverado driven by 37 year old Scott Brasher of Bend was southbound when if left the road, rolled and hit a power pole. Brasher sustained fatal injuries and died at the scene.




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  • SB Lane of 15th St. CLOSED >< Reed Market Road and Ferguson Road (8/4 – 11/30)
  • Butler Mkt Rd CLOSED >< 27th and Weeping Willow Dr RAB (8/11 – 9/30)
  • Single Lane Closures/Flaggers/Pilot Car at Old Bend-Redmond Hwy/Tumalo Rd Intersection 7am – 6pm (8/9 – tfn) RAB Construction