MADRAS, OR -- A pedestrian died while crossing Highway 97 last night near milepost 108.
On Wednesday, March 14, 2019, at approximately 9:20 P.M. Oregon State Police and Emergency Personnel responded to a vehicle crash. Their investigation shows a commercial motor vehicle stopped on the Northbound shoulder and its operator got out and started to cross the road.
28-year-old Megan Kelly of Bend was traveling southbound, and struck the pedestrian.
The pedestrian sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased at the scene. Their name will be released when next of kin has been notified. Kelly was transported to St. Charles in Bend.
OSP was assisted by Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, Emergency Medical Services, and ODOT.
UPDATE: 08/16/2019 The pedestrian who died has been identified as Sarabjit Singh (66) of Kent, WA.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- A driver, traveling at more than 65 miles per hour, according to Prineville Police, collided with vehicles waiting in road construction near the Tom McCall Roundabout this morning.
Sergeant Jimmy O'Daniel says Bradley Vokes was cited for Careless Driving after he hit the vehicle in front of him, causing a chain reaction that involved 4 cars total. He was injured and transported to St. Charles Bend.
Prineville Police were assisted by the Crook County Sheriff's Office.
BEND, OR -- Local high schools are opening their doors to incoming freshmen this week as part of Bend-La Pine Schools’ Base Camp. About 180 kids are meeting their new teachers, touring schools, and learning how to become successful freshman.
Steph Bennett, of Bend LaPine Schools, is the coordinator for Base Camp. "By having that base and that foundation, when they walk in the door, they're not just walking into school like a deer in the headlights. They're actually going to go in very prepared."
Bennett says if a 9th grader succeeds, they're much more likely to stick with school all the way through to graduation. "What we know is that if a freshman fails any class their freshman year, they're always trying to catch up, but if they do really well their freshman year and they pass all their classes and they get the rhythm of high school, they do much better." She says Base Camp helps get them the information they need before what can be a hectic first day of school. "It's kind of a big transition time for them and so it's a really healthy way to start."
The kids have the chance to meet their teachers and spend time with them, learn how their new high school is laid out, and learn what classes they'll be taking.
REDMOND, OR -- The Juniper Golf Course, already a popular Redmond venue, could be getting a new addition - an events pavilion.
Annie McVay, Redmond Parks Director, says leadership wanted to reevaluate Juniper and see how it's meeting the community's needs, when the idea of adding a larger events venue to the property came up. "There is a restaurant out there now that handles a lot of events, but it is kind of small, so the idea of having a larger event pavilion where we could do larger weddings and other events like that might be sort of a catalytic change for Juniper Golf Course."
Tuesday night, the Redmond City Council decided to study the cost and impact of the proposed pavilion over the next year or so, do targeted market research, and determine demand. "We want to understand what our events pavilion would look like, howmuch it would cost, and then also, would it get the use that we think it will get. It's really an exciting idea and Juniper Golf Course is a beautiful setting for an events center."
City Council will revisit the idea after the market research phase is completed. If approved, the events pavilion would enter design phase and funding.
TUMALO, OR -- Severe thunderstorms brought golf ball-sized hail last weekend, and devastated acres of growing hemp. Matt Cyrus, of Triple C Farms says that hail storm could cost farmers millions. "In lost production value, my best estimate is that there were somewhere between 4 and 500 acres that were affected by the storm, of hemp. My guess is it's somewhere between 20 and 25 million dollars in lost value at what they would have harvested."
According to Cyrus, hemp is the number one crop in Oregon, bringing in over a Billion dollars in income. "Dollars and cents-wise, hemp is an expensive crop to raise, and so those who've got complete losses are going to have a significant total loss, certainly on their income side, and outright cost of production." He says that means money that Central Oregonians won't see. "Currently, there's 60,000 registered acres in Oregon, and the total value of the hemp industry in Oregon is expected to top a billion, probably closer to 1.5 billion."
Hail is so destructive because it strips the leaves off the plants, and Cyrus says hemp relies on numerous leaves to contribute to the plants' biomass.
Cyrus is the President of the Deschutes County Farm Bureau. He says he and the Deschutes County Sheriff's office emergency management division are working together to bring in disaster relief funds for the affected farmers.
REDMOND, OR -- Industrial hemp farmers in Redmond will soon have amended time, place, and manner regulations for their crops. Since the 2018 Farm Bill classified hemp as a crop, the Redmond City Council set forward their amendments that will allow for the processing of industrial hemp.
John Roberts, Deputy City Manager, says Councilors voted 6 to 1 to accept the amendments to the City Code at their meeting Tuesday. But, they won't go into effect immediately. "If the regulations were approved unanimously, the regulations would've gone into affect September 12th. However, because there was a dissenting vote, the ordinance needs to return to them next month, thus, effectively putting the regulations into play around October 12th." That second reading will take place on September 10th.
The 6 amendments to the ordinance clarify the area of the city where processing can take place, building specifications, odor and outdoor storage regulations, retail sales, and compliance to state and federal laws regarding hemp. The Redmond City Council voted 6 to 1 at their Tuesday meeting to approve amendments to their current time, place, and manner regulations regarding hemp. "The first one is to allow for the processing only in the M-2 Heavy Industrial Zone, second is processing be conducted in a permanent and enclosed structure that requires a building permit, third: odor is not detectable from the property line, fourth: no outdoor storage allowed, fifth: on allowing limited retail sales, and then the sixth is that the business stay compliant with existing and changing State and Federal laws."
Roberts says he doesn't think anything will change for the Councilors with a second reading. "It goes back to them September 10th, they reread the ordinance for adoption, and they take another vote. I'm making the assumption the vote will be the same."
The soonest the ordinance changes could go into effect will be October 12th.
BEND, OR -- A dog on dog attack left one dog with fatal injuries and the other quarantined. The attacking dog's owner, Phillip Briley, has been cited for Animal at Large and Nuisance Animal, civil infractions that carry fines.
Sergeant William Bailey says the owner of the whippet mixed-breed dog who was killed says she and her dog were about to leave Reynolds Pond near Alfalfa when a pitbull attacked her pet. Bailey says they've found that dog. "We do believe that the dog we've located, the 7-year-old dog named Lily is the suspect dog that attacked the other dog out at Reynolds Pond, and we still need to do some more background investigation to determine if there's any other history, other acts of aggression, other incidents where this dog has attacked either another dog, or another animal, or bitten another person." The attack lasted nearly an half hour, with the owners and witnesses trying to free the smaller dog, unsuccessfully. It was taken to a veterinary emergency room, and had to be euthanized due to severe injuries. "Lily has been placed into a 10-day quarantine, because that same day, she did bite the victim dog's owner, during this dog attack."
Bailey says during the suspect dog's 10-day quarantine, deputies are investigating her background. The statute for determining how severe the consequences for the attacking dog can be is clear - serious physical injury or death to a person, or prior incidences of aggression. "So that's that prior incidences that we're looking into, we're reviewing information, talking to people to see if there are other prior incidents where this dog would meet the definition of a dangerous dog."
Bailey says the Department is investigating all leads, and once the investigation is complete, a judge will determine any consequences.
BROTHERS, OR -- A Bend man was killed in a motor vehicle collision, early Wednesday morning, just West of Burns. The crash occurred at about 4:30 a.m. and shut down the highway for several hours.
According to State Police, 77-year-old Nicholas Fagen was traveling West in his Ford F-350, hauling a 40' gooseneck trailer, carrying two other pickups when, for an unknown reason, His Ford became disabled and he pulled over, partially blocking the Westbound lane.
He was outside the truck, working under the hood, when his vehicle was struck by a Kenworth, operated by Lloyd Theen, a 69-year-old Winlock, Washington man. Theen's Kenworth pushed both the 350 and the trailer off the road and onto the shoulder, killing Fagen. Fagen's passenger, Danny Reinhart, 61, was treated for minor injuries.
Theen was not injured in the crash. 100 to 125 gallons of diesel fuel spilled on the roadway and into the nearby ditch, resulting in a Haz-mat cleanup.
Oregon State Police Troopers and Emergency Personnel responded.
Image courtesy of Oregon State Police.
MADRAS, OR -- An acre of grass, sage and jumper near City View and B streets in Madras was burned Tuesday after dumped ash from a burn barrel ignited.
Jefferson County Fire responded and two crews battled the blaze, it was an half acre when they started, but doubled in size before they were able to put it out.
Crews stayed for 4 hours doing mop up and checking for hot spots. There were no injuries.
DISTRICT 55, OR -- One of Central Oregon's newest lawmakers was sworn in Tuesday.
District 55 Representative Vikki Breese-Iverson says she was honored to be given the oath of office by her longtime friend, Secretary of State, Bev Clarno. She plans to get right to work. "Getting to know my District very well, and frankly, just want to see how our District's working together and see how we can represent them in Oregon and talk about local control."
Breese-Iverson is a business owner and realtor, and she believes the skills she's learned growing her professional life will stand her in good stead in Oregon's fractured legislature. "Problem solving is Number 1 in being a realtor, and I do look forward to using those skills in conversations in Salem."
She's taking over mid-term for Mike McLane who retired in July, and she wants to continue his good communication, listening, and problem solving practices for District 55. That starts, Breese-Iverson says, with the County Commissioners from each of the 5 counties District 55 encompasses. "My experience thus far with the local leadership throughout the District has been phenomenal. They're a great group of Commissioners. I look forward to meeting more of the leadership, but the ones that I have met have been very open for communication, which is going to be key in making a difference for them in Salem."
Breese-Iverson wants to use her experiences as a rancher, community leader, and real estate broker to help build a collaborative experience for District 55. It's a large district, and she plans to work hard to represent it. "I want to advocate for the hard-working families of house district 55! I hope I can do as good of a job and build on the success that he's created down here and I do feel like I've got some experience to bring to Salem."
District 55 covers all of Crook County, and parts of Deschutes, Jackson, Klamath, and Lake Counties.
MADRAS, OR -- An unoccupied trailer caught fire Monday in the Green Spot Mobile Home Park in Madras.
Jefferson County Fire was dispatched, and found light grey smoke coming out under the eaves of the trailer, but no visible flames. The crew quickly found and extinguished the fire.
The trailer was empty, and the fire cause is under investigation. One person was transported via EMS for smoke inhalation.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- A Prineville man will spend the next 18 months in federal prison, followed by 3 years’ supervised release.
33-year-old Michael James Friesen was sentenced for conspiracy to transfer and unlawful possession of a machine gun.
In May and June of 2018, Friesen agreed to broker the sale of a machine gun for 38-year-old Prineville man John Widener Jordan, and discussed the sale with an undercover ATF agent posing as a purchaser.
Friesen met with the agent at a Prineville motel room and transacted the sale for 3,000 dollars. Jordan allegedly also met with the agent and paid Friesen for arranging the sale.
Friesen pleaded guilty - Jordan is awaiting trial.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- Work begins Wednesday on a curb reconstruction project for the Tom McCall Roundabout.
Peter Murphy from the Oregon Department of Transportation says the Tom McCall Roundabout was the first of its kind in Central Oregon, and was a learning experience. "What we've learned was that having vertical curbs can cause problems, particularly for trucks, who are trying to navigate that roundabout. So, what we decided was having a mountable, kind of an angled, curb, is much better."
Crews will only be working Wednesday and Thursday nights from 7 pm to 7 am, and Murphy says that could mean construction could last awhile. "It's, really, relatively speaking, kind of a small job, but the way we have to kind of squeeze it in with our contractor, it means it's going to take a couple of weeks, maybe even 4 to 5 weeks to get the job done."
He says the work is necessary because, while the roundabout only opened in June of 2018, it has proven to be less easy to navigate than ODOT had hoped. "The idea at the time was a vertical curb, well that doesn't work, trucks have to go up and over that, so a mountable one works a lot better for the freight industry, and it actually works better for everybody when it comes to winter and icy conditions out there."
The work is expected to cost $185,000, which ODOT will cover.
BEND, OR -- It's a first - Bend Fire has a new Battalion Fire Chief, and she's a woman. Patricia Connolly has been part of the Bend Fire Department for 19 years. "I was hired as a firefighter in 2000 and I've been promoted up the ranks. My last held position was as Captain. And before I worked for the Fire Department, I was a wildland firefighter for 5 years, so I've really kind of grown up in this industry."
Battalion Fire Chief Dave Howe says the Fire Department is doing a lot of promoting from within, as they move deserving people up the ladder. "So, we have quite a bit of movement going on in our department right now. It's really, really healthy for an organization to have this kind of movement, and we have the depth to do it, pretty seamlessly."
One of the biggest changes coming to Bend Fire is the retirement of longtime chief, Larry Langston - for the second time, and his job will be filled by new Chief, Todd Riley.
Connolly says the changes are good ones, and she's happy to be on the ground floor. "I love being a female in our industry, and I think it's really important that we have more women become firefighters, so I love talking to females about the fire service and becoming a firefighter." She says it's an exciting time at the department, because a lot of change is happening. "We have some big changes that are going to happen with our leadership team, and all positive, and we really have some talented people coming up through the ranks, so our city is in good hands, for sure."
A Promotion Celebration is planned in the next few weeks.
BEND, OR -- The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office is hosting its Second Annual Deputy Day Camp. Nearly 200 kids went last year, and Sergeant William Bailey hopes even more can attend this time. The event lets young recruits catch an inside look at law enforcement.
"School's out, and this is a great event to come down. They're welcome to walk around and do stations as many times as they want, parents can hang out, take photographs, participate, and just watch their kids' excitement as they become a junior deputy for that day." Kids will get to solve crimes, rescue someone, work with a K-9 officer, and dress like a Deputy. And, they'll learn important lessons like firearm safety at the squirt gun firing range. "We have simulated traffic stops where they can talk on the radio, we have a Search and Rescue station where they can use some of the Search and Rescue gear and we have a Squirt Gun Range Course and then also talking about firearms safety. They can do some crime scene investigation, take photographs, and work to solve a crime with our detectives , and we also have K-9 on site for our K-9 demonstrations for the kids and their parents."
There are 2 chances for kids, aged 6 to 12 to have fun, learning how to become deputies. "We want to accommodate as may kids as we can. And so, we have 2 time slots, the morning is from 9 in the morning until noon, and then we have the afternoon from 1 until 3:30."
Bailey says there will also be SWAT vehicles on hand to tour, new surprises, and younger kids are welcomed, too. It helps kids and their parents see what the Sheriff's Office is all about, Bailey says, and it's good on-the-job training for future deputies. "You know, we are always looking for great teammates to join us, and I know the Sheriff is always recruiting, always looking and telling kids, 'Hey, when you turn 21, come apply with us at the Sheriff's Office'." Bailey wants kids to come to the second annual Deputy Day Camp so they can learn about law enforcement - how they show up when bad things happen, but when good things happen, too. "We're always looking for ways to find positive experiences where our deputies, and law enforcement in general, can interact with kids."
Everyone's welcome. The stations are set up to accommodate 6 to 12 year olds, but parents and younger kids can participate, too.
BEND, OR -- It's the start of fire season in the Deschutes National Forest, and Fire Managers are preparing to handle any wildfires sparked before snow hits. Jean Nelson Dean, with the Forest Service, says a lot of years there are already big fires by this time, and that may be why people think the fire season has been slow to start this year. "Oftentimes, we get some larger fires out in our shrub and grass and we didn't really see that this year. That's because it started warming in June, and then we had a fairly wet July."
Every year, she says, is different when it comes to carelessness and lightning, and there's no way to know if this could be a busy one. "We still have a lot of fire season left to go, and I would say we're more on-trend than really, slow, it's just we haven't had fires like we've had in recent years." She says this is really the time of year when things start to get busy. "We, in firefighting, tend to call it 'Dirty August,' because that's when, usually, we really see the most of fire season. so, we're still in it and still have a lot of lightning ahead of us."
She says crews are prepared for whatever is going to happen this season. "The reason that we have a fire adapted ecosystem is because we tend to get these lightning storms, we tend to get them in August, and we tend to get them along the crest of the cascades that acts as a lightning rod, and at this point, we're starting to see that activity." They're preparing their gear and studying the forecast. "We're still ready for fire season. We have resources responding to what's out there now, just making sure we're in good shape, and hope that we continue to get a lot of moisture with the lightning, when we do get lightning."
She says the current fires are contained. There are 3 new small blazes, one on private lands near Sisters, and the others are east of Prineville. Nelson Dean says Fire Crews' main job right now is patrolling for new fires and following up on smoke reports.
BEND, OR -- A motorhome, abandoned in Juniper Ridge, was responsible for a column of black smoke seen coming from the undeveloped area in North Bend.
It was fully engulfed in flames when crews arrived on scene Sunday. The Bend Fire Department was called just before noon, and had some difficulty reaching the source of the flames due to the terrain. The motor home had been driven into a trench and appeared to have been stuck there for some time.
The owners of the vehicle couldn't be located at the time of the fire.
BEND, OR -- Deschutes County Search and Rescue volunteers were at Broken Top Sunday afternoon to help an injured woman.
Mary Ortman was coming down the trail near No Name Lake when she fell. A Sheriff's deputy was able to make phone contact with Ortman's group about 3:00 as they made a careful descent to get their friend to medics.
After about 2 hours Ortman was met by the search party, treated for her injuries and taken to the Todd Lake trailhead in a wheeled litter to meet a waiting ambulance which took her to St. Charles hospital in Bend.
Ortman sustained serious, but not life-threatening injuries.
BEND, OR -- Lightning struck a parked car Friday, piercing the windshield and setting the interior on fire.
A neighbor heard a car alarm, and investigating, discovered the car’s shattered windshield and a fire inside - shortly afterward, the airbag deployed.
Deputy Fire Marshal Susie Maniscalco says crews were called to a car on fire outside a house on the South End of Bend about 5:45 pm on Friday. The car was unoccupied and the owners were out of town. The fire caused about $7,000 in damage to the car.
The strike was part of a severe lightning storm in the area Friday evening that also caused heavy rain, high winds, and hail.
MADRAS, OR -- A cargo train has derailed just North of Madras, near Gateway.
Gus Melonas from BNSF says the engineer noticed rocks on the track and went into emergency braking around 2:30 this morning. The train struck the rocks and the wheels were lifted off the tracks. He says 5 engines are derailed along with one railroad car. All the engines and rail cars are still upright.
Some diesel fuel has spilled from one of the engines, but hasn't gone near Trout Creek, and environmental agencies and protocol are being utilized to minimize any harm.
Melonas says the tracks are being repaired and the boulders removed. Equipment is being transported from Pasco, Washington, to lift the train back onto the tracks. The route will be closed for 24 hours.
There were no injuries and vehicle traffic in the area is not affected.
Deschutes County Search and Rescue volunteers were at Broken Top yesterday afternoon to help a woman who had fallen. Mary Ortman was coming down the trail near No Name Lake when she fell. A Sheriff's deputy was able to make phone contact with Ortmans group about 3 o'clock as they made a careful descent to get their friend to medics. After about 2 hours Ortman was met by the search party, treated for her injuries and taken to the Todd Lake trailhead in a wheeled litter to meet a waiting ambulance which took her to St. Charles hospital in Bend. Ortman sustained serious, but not life-threatening injuries.
POWELL BUTTE, OR -- Powell Butte Highway saw dangerous flash flooding near Alfalfa.
Crook County Sheriff's Sergeant Mitch Madden says the Highway and surrounding roadways were closed for nearly 2 hours Thursday while the County worked to clear them. At least 10" of water was running down Powell Butte Highway, according to Madden, with a lot of debris. "There was a large amount of between basketball sized up to, oh, about 2 feet in diameter rock coming down SW Bussett Road. Came down the middle of the road."
At least one house was damaged by water and rocks, and Madden says flooding could continue to be a problem with thunderstorms expected in the forecast. "I just strongly urge people to turn around and not drown. Don't travel through water coming across the roadway, as you don't know how deep the water is or if the roadway, itself, is washed out."
The road reopened about 8:30 pm.
MADRAS, OR -- Traffic was detoured and Highway 97 in Madras closed for nearly 90 minutes Thursday.
Jefferson County Fire Chief Brian Huff says he was called about a gas line rupture at Bi-Mart at 11:21 am. "It actually was across the parking lot, in front of East Cascades Veterinary Clinic, right on the corner of their property, and the highway." Huff says First Responders created a safety perimeter and started checking the nearby businesses in the Palisades Shopping Center. "There was a private contractor that was digging inthe corner there, they were looking for communications, and accidentally hit the gas line." The line had been located by Cascade Natural Gas prior to digging.
Law enforcement, firefighters, and CNG arrived, with the gas company capping off the leak and making the necessary repairs in under an hour. There were no injuries.
BEND, OR -- A third suspect has been arrested by Bend Police as a 'Person of Interest' in the Bomb Threat Hoax at the Deschutes County Courthouse.
40-year-old William Swanson of Redmond is charged with Possession of a Hoax Device, Disorderly Conduct, and Criminal Conspiracy.The other 2 suspects, Jonathon Tyler Allen, 23, and Kellie Kent Cameron, 30, were arrested by Police during a traffic stop Saturday night. They and the Dodge Van they were driving were searched. The Deschutes County District Attorney's Office dropped all charges against Allen and Cameron Friday when the United States Attorney for the District of Oregon's office filed charges against them in Federal Court.
The Bomb Threat Hoax on July 29th closed several Downtown Bend streets for most of the work day. The Oregon State Police Explosives Unit used a water cannon to neutralize the device. It did not contain any explosive materials.
Swanson was previously arrested by the Redmond Police Department when he was clocked going 76 in a 35 mph zone and attempted to elude officers.
BEND, OR -- The Deschutes County District Attorney's Office dropped all charges today against Jonathon Tyler Allen and Kellie Kent Cameron.
The 2 men are accused of Conspiracy, Disorderly Conduct and Possession of a Hoax Device in connection with a suspicious package that was left on the Deschutes County Courthouse steps last week.
DA John Hummel says he is handing the case over to the Feds because it's a serious offense when someone tries to disrupt the operations of a branch of government ... the case will now be tried by Federal Prosecutor Billy Williams. "The United States attorney for the District of Oregon just charged the Defendants federally. They've been charged with conspiracy to make a threat regarding explosive material, and also with false information, and hoaxes, which is a federal crime."
This does not apply to William Swanson of Redmond who was arrested in connection with this case Thursday. Swanson was previously arrested by the Redmond Police Department in April when he was clocked going 76 in a 35 mph zone.