Local News

Emergency Roadside EV Charging Comes To Bend

BEND, OR -- Roadside assistance for electric vehicles is coming to Bend. AAA's Marie Dodds tells KBND News a pilot program is expanding to members in Central Oregon, offering mobile charging for EVs that run out of "juice."

She says, "We’ve been doing it for drivers of gas and diesel-powered cars for decades, and now we can provide a similar service providing ‘fuel,’ if you will, to drivers of electric vehicles. So, we can charge your depleted EV right there on the roadside and get you back on your way." Dodds estimates it takes about 30 minutes to charge enough to drive 10-14 miles, "What our service does is give you enough electric vehicle charge, if you will, so that you can drive safely to your home or to a close charging station."

She says having an emergency service like this could ease worries for car buyers interested in purchasing an EV, "‘Range anxiety’ is a top concern for folks who are thinking about purchasing or leasing an electric vehicle. They worry about having enough range to be able to drive where they need to go."

Portland was one of just six cities in the pilot program when it launched in 2011. It’s now in 14 cities nationwide. Dodds says it’s a sign of how mainstream EVs have become, "To have Portland and Bend on the list, two of only 14 cities across the country, this is a big deal for our area. And, of course, for Oregon it makes sense because electric vehicles are very popular here. They continue to grow. Oregon is fourth per capita in the nation." Of the 14 cities where the mobile roadside charging service is now available, only three are on the west coast: Bend, Portland and San Francisco. 

BPD Closes Safeway Shooting Investigation, Releases Video

BEND, OR -- Bend Police released surveillance footage from the August fatal shooting at Safeway, Thursday, as the investigation comes to a close. In addition to at least 90 videos collected during the investigation, Bend Police say they logged another 173 pieces of evidence. 

Bend PD's Sheila Miller says the extensive footage available from nearby Costco and Big Lots, as well as an apartment’s Ring camera and security cameras inside Safeway were critical to piecing together what happened. "It confirms that the suspect acted alone; it confirms that he got to Safeway on foot by walking through the shopping complex. And, it also confirms that he died by suicide at the end of the incident," she tells KBND News, "We ran down a lot of rumors and a lot of suggestions that there were additional people involved. And this helped us confirm that none of that is the case." The video released to the public has no audio and all faces are redacted, covered with a black square. 

The video sheds light on the shooter's movements just after 7 p.m. Sunday, August 28, "That starts at the apartment complex, moves through the Forum Shopping Center, into Safeway," says Miller. The gunman is seen shooting out windows of the Big Lots before getting to the grocery store. Once inside Safeway, he's seen firing at shopper Glenn Bennett, who died at the scene. The gunman then randomly fires at store shelves, moving through the store. He interacts with another shopper laying on the floor and fires a shot near his feet. 

About 70 seconds after entering the store, the shooter is confronted by produce worker Donald Surrett. Chief Mike Krantz tells KBND News, "Mr. Surrett obviously was aware something was going on. He made the decision to take action by hiding behind a rollable or moveable shelving unit and then, as the shooter approached him or passed him, Mr. Surrett attempts to attack him to try to disarm him." Surrett was shot and killed in the struggle.

Previous Coverage: Slain Grocery Store Worker Heralded As Hero In Bend Shooting

About a minute later, the shooter sits down on the floor and turns the gun on himself as police enter the store. "What the video shows is that the four initial officers that went in, went in on their own without waiting for a whole team or additional units," says Krantz. "What happens in those scenarios, or those incidents, when an officer goes in, they don’t know exactly where a suspect may be, so they’re listening for indicators as to where to go. And the video shows the officers going in one direction, they hear an indicator, they immediately change directions and approach and then confront, at that point, the shooter who had already committed suicide." Police reports also released Thursday reveal around 30 off-duty Bend officers arrived to the scene after the initial response by on-duty teams. 

Chief Krantz says the video’s release is in response to public records requests by the media, "This is material that we felt we were obligated to release, legally. However, we also feel that it’s pretty horrific material; it’s violence that doesn’t need to be really released into the world, and it doesn’t need to be watched by people." KBND News will not name the shooter nor provide the footage released Thursday.

Bend Police say they provided advance notice of the video's release to Safeway management and the District Attorney's Victims Assistance office, who made sure the victims' families were made aware. Additional support is available at the Community Assistance Center on Friday, December 2 through Sunday, December 4, from 3-7 p.m. at the Crisis Stabilization Center (63311 NE Jamison St. Bend). Other mental health resources are available HERE



Re-elected Commissioner Seeks Affordable Housing Opportunities

Bend, OR -- Following her re-election last month, Deschutes County Commissioner Patti Adair is ready to move forward with her plan to create more affordable housing.

She says she has a pilot project headed to the legislature, “Senator Knopp has picked it up. The single-wide manufactured home park north of bend with over 300 single wide homes for people who work in Deschutes County. So, if I can get that project through legislature, the long session, that will really be a coup for all of Deschutes County. I’m really appreciative of Senator Knopp’s team being behind that.”

Adair acknowledges the cost of building affordable housing is a concern alongside other projects including expanding the county courthouse.

Adair says legislation to allow ADUs in rural parts of Deschutes County is held up in SB-762, the state’s sweeping wildfire mitigation bill, but she’s hopeful it will move forward eventually, “I really felt like the Accessory Dwelling Units need to be started as soon as possible. We are short 5,000 homes in Deschutes County. We’re short them now; it’s going to be even worse next year if we don’t get something done.” 

Redmond Plans Wastewater Wetlands Complex

REDMOND, OR -- Redmond is moving its wastewater treatment plant out of the Dry Canyon. Wastewater Division Manager Ryan Kirchner says the current facility is near capacity and expanding the current site would cost around $104 million. Instead, he says the city plans to develop a new wetlands complex, at a cost of around $70 million. "The Redmond Wetlands Complex is going to be a brand new wastewater treatment system for the city of Redmond," Kirchner tells KBND News, "We’re completely relocating our treatment plant from the Dry Canyon, and moving it out to the irrigation and biosolids disposal site." Orchard grass grows on that site now, where hundreds of goats are currently chomping away to clear the land before winter.

Kirchner says this will be a natural site, similar to the Crooked River Wetlands Complex in Prineville, but larger. "We’ve mirrored some other utilities throughout the region," he says, "And did a lot of knowledge sharing to try to find a treatment solution for Redmond because it’s been growing drastically over the last 20 years and it’s hard to keep up with that population growth. Our current plant is about at its capacity for what it can accept; we’re within three to five years. And so, this new plant will add an additional 20 years." It will also be cheaper to operate, he says, because there are fewer mechanical parts.

And, city officials hope it will become a community asset, "Instead of our current plant which is cyclone fence and we keep the public out, the new plant is actually going to have park amenities: ADA trails, park features, passive park features. We’re building water conservation areas to show the community how they can change out their land and go to xeriscaping. We’re also working with Redmond School District and a lot of the organizations throughout the region to build curriculums for public education."

Kirchner says they plan to develop the 607 acres of city-owned land currently growing orchard grass, and lease an adjacent parcel of 625 acres from the BLM. He expects they'll break ground in August, with completion slated for early 2026. 

The BLM is now taking public comment on the city’s lease request. A required 30-day public scoping period ends December 30. The Bureau will also conduct an environmental assessment. Public comments must be submitted by mail (Deschutes Field Office; Deschutes Field Manager, 3050 NE 3rd Street 491, Prineville, OR 97754) or email by 4:30 p.m. on December 30. Please refer to Redmond Wetlands Complex Project.  

Entire comments, including personal identifying information, may be made publicly available. People can ask to withhold personal identifying information from public review; however, it cannot be guaranteed. For additional information about the expansion request, wastewater treatment facility, or associated wetland complex, visit the City of Redmond’s website

Image: City of Redmond rendering

Local RSV Cases Still Increasing, Along With Flu

BEND, OR -- St. Charles hospitals are seeing a steady rise in RSV and flu cases, and officials worry the peaks for both could still be several weeks away. St. Charles Health System Pediatric Hospitalist Dr. Suzanne Mendez says pediatricians are treating more co-infections, "We’re starting to see some RSV plus flu, together. When you have two viruses together, then it can be much more severe. Or, if you’ve just gotten over RSV and then get flu within the next couple weeks, that can make a much more serious case of flu as well."

Public Health reports 283 Central Oregon cases in, as of last week - the last week for which numbers are available - that's up from 275 the week before. At one point Wednesday afternoon, St. Charles reports there were nine admitted patients with RSV, and another five in the Emergency Department. There were also 17 patients with influenza. In a typical year; officials say 12 would be a high number. Eight other patients have tested positive for COVID-19.

"All the hospitals in Oregon are really - especially pediatric hospitals are really overwhelmed at this point. So, we’re hoping at least RSV will peak in the next few weeks. But then, we’re starting to see more flu," Dr. Mendez tells KBND News, "So, just being cognizant that there are somewhat limited resources due to some many people being sick at the same time." She asks everyone take steps to stay healthy and says this year's flu shot formula is helping keep people out of the hospital, "A lot of the tests that we do, the swabs will show up positive for influenza 2009, which was our last really, really severe flu season, when we had H1N1. So, [we’re] seeing some of that virus again and it does look like the flu vaccine is very effective." She also suggests families keep kids home and hydrated if they do get sick, and keep them away from younger siblings who may be more prone to severe RSV.

File Photo

Expansion of Parole & Probation Facility Reaches Midway Point

BEND, OR -- Deschutes County’s Community Justice Parole and Probation division is halfway through a $6.5 million building renovation and expansion.

Department director Deevy Holcomb is looking forward to having the department in one place after years of separate locations on the public safety campus at the city's north end, “All staff assigned to Bend will report to and work out of one building. And that building will have offices for everybody. There is going to be some shelled out space that doesn’t have any offices yet but will be ready in 5, 10 years when we need it.”

“We will have a large conference room that will be sufficient for training. So, our parole and probation officers have kind of a similar level of law enforcement training you might imagine. Lots of physical activity and training that needs to happen to make sure folks remain safe. So that can all happen on site,” said Holcomb of the 8,400 square-foot addition.

Construction began last spring and is expected to be completed in late spring or early summer next year.

“I think it’s going to be really good for cohesion and it’s just a nicer space. It’s a little bit bigger; we do lots of physical activity. We need to have room that’s sufficient for safety; for working with clients, sometimes we’re conducting arrests or searches. That kind of thing. We need wide hallways, lots of sufficient light to keep things safe. We’re just really excited,” said Holcomb.

Bend Public Survey To Guide City Council

BEND, OR -- City Councilors will get public feedback on potential future goals, through a 10-minute survey that launches Thursday.

“It's a very general, open-ended kind of set of questions to ask people what are their priorities, or where do they think the city should be prioritizing its resources and time,” Anne Aurand, Communications Director for the City of Bend, says it will roll out in two parts, starting with phone calls and texts to 400 people selected at random adding “This first round is that representational, kind of ‘gold standard’ of survey methodology, with the phone survey. And not everyone will get called.”

The second phase is an online survey, starting December 12th asking the same questions and open to everyone who lives in the city.

Aurand says City Council will use the feedback during goal-setting sessions scheduled for January, “It’s taken in context; and they’re going to get input from all of their advisory committees - they’ve got a handful of advisory committees, and different community groups and neighborhood associations will all be able to come as part of this listening session. So, it’s not the only input that influences them.”

Surveys are conducted every two years after a Council election. Past feedback has pushed for prioritizing transportation and affordable housing.

Four Animals Taken In Reptile Store Break-In

BEND, OR -- Bend Police are investigating a burglary at the Reptile Zone on Northeast Greenwood. Owner Jeff Jensen says surveillance cameras caught one man breaking in through the back, after 11 p.m. Sunday. He believes two people are responsible and thinks they've been in the store before. "They spray painted the back parking lot camera, cut the line, found the second camera that they were actually being filmed on a little bit later, cut it," he tells KBND News, "They knew exactly what they were doing, they knew where the animals were." 

Jensen says four animals were taken, including one that wasn't for sale, "They took a very expensive what’s called Leucistic Ball Python - also known as a ‘blue-eyed lucy’ because they’re the only snake in the world that is blue eyed when they’re all white, like that - a very large, beautiful ratsnake, a Pacman and then they also stole a baby rattlesnake that I had back there that’s mine." They also stole supplies, including a snake hook. Jensen says it all totals around $3,000, "I just never felt so violated; and disappointed because it’s obviously someone that’s been in my store, that knew my animals and knew what they wanted. I don’t think this is something they did for resale or profit, because they took cages to go with them." 

Jensen says he's offering a reward for information leading to an arrest, "As of right now, we don’t have a lot to go on except for the one blurry image of the guy. He was wearing a ski mask and a hood, but he’s got a sweatshirt that’s got a logo that’s reflecting in the night camera that I had." More photos are available on the Reptile Zone's Facebook page. He says he just wants his animals back. If the burglars turn themselves in and return the animals, he says he won’t press charges.


Redmond School District Focuses On Student Kindness

REDMOND, OR -- School districts around the country have reported behavioral issues among students, following pandemic-related closures. In Redmond, Superintendent Charan Cline says this fall school staff are focused on student kindness, “We took a survey with our kids last year and asked them about school and how it was going, and what they told us was school is doing pretty well and the teachers were pretty good and they cared about them. But, they, themselves, the students didn’t treat each other well. So, we’ve been thinking and working really hard this year to reinforce treating each other well, treating each other kindly and respectfully. It is across all grades. We surveyed from kindergarten to seniors in high school, and it was a consistent message across the entire spectrum.”

Cline says staff are seeing more aggressive behaviors since returning from virtual learning, “I think there was an issue of students somewhat being unsupervised during the pandemic; plus, what we see in online behavior tends to be very extreme and aggressive. And so, what we’ve had come back to us is students who treat each other poorly with poor negotiation skills.”

Dr. Cline asks the community to help by reinforcing positive behaviors outside the classroom, as well.

ODF Grants Mitigate Wildfire Risk

SISTERS, OR -- A delay in the state’s wildfire risk map put a portion of Senate Bill 762 on hold, but another piece of that sweeping wildfire mitigation legislation is seeing some success, including in the High Desert. SB762 set aside $20 million in grants for nonprofits, local governments, conservation districts, even private landowners and federal partners to make their landscapes more resistant to wildfire.

Grant Coordinator Jenna Trentadue says it provides reimbursement for everything from prescribed burning to forest thinning, to invasive grass removal, "It really covers how we’re doing some actionable items out on the ground to really minimize that risk to communities [and] to resources and kind of address the landscape-scale type of projects that we need to be implementing to help keep our state safe from those catastrophic wildfires." The U.S. Forest Service has implemented similar federal grant programs, but Trentadue says this is the first time the state has had "skin in the game."

So far, the Oregon Department of Forestry has doled out about $9 million, with 153,000 acres treated around the state. Trentadue tells KBND News a number of those projects are in Central Oregon, including in Sisters and Black Butte Ranch, "There’s just a lot more people living in the wildland-urban interface, so it’s even more crucial that we have programs like this that do address that risk for people who are starting to build in areas that are higher risk due to being on the outskirts." The Upper Deschutes Watershed Council received money for thinning. Those trees were then used to improve habitat in a nearby stream.

Trentadue says the goal is to improve overall forest health, "How do we keep our trees healthy so that they can survive through drought? And sometimes, removing some of the trees and thinning out the areas can reduce the competition between the trees. So that’s the type of thing we’re looking for in this type of grant, where we can emphasize the health of the trees and the resiliency to both drought and wildfire."

ODF plans to treat more than 200,000 acres before the Landscape Resilliency Grant Program ends in June. 

Submitted Photos: (Top) A group tours an Upper Deschutes Watershed project receiving ODF funding. (Upper Right) State Forester Cal Mukumoto lights a slash pile.

Prineville Debuts ADA-Accessible Wagons

PRINEVILLE, OR -- Two new wheelchair accessible community wagons made their debut in last weekend’s Prineville Christmas Parade.

The project started in the spring of 2019, after City Engineer Eric Klann asked a group of first graders to become junior land use planners for the Barnes Butte Recreation Area. "After they were onsite multiple times, they really appreciated the open space and kind of the natural beauty," he tells KBND News, "And from there, they said we should try to keep it as natural as possible; you know, open space is important." But the kids realized not everyone could enjoy the area, "One of the young ladies that was in that group was bound to a wheelchair, and so she wasn’t able to participate in any of the outings because - we did have old wagons, but they weren’t ADA accessible."

So, Klann says, they turned to the community to create large accessible wagons - trailers that can hold up to 50 people. "We designed these parade wagons with wheelchair lifts. We had Crook County High School welding construct one, and Mountain View High School out of Bend construct the other over the course of several years. We finally finished them and we debuted them at the Christmas Parade, last Saturday, here in Prineville."

That original Barnes Butte Elementary class got to take part in the inaugural ride on Saturday, "Now they’re fifth graders," says Klann, "And the young lady that was bound to a wheelchair, she was able to attend and ride in the wagon. It was a long time coming, COVID and just material supplies really kind of drug it out. But, now these wagons will be staged at the fairgrounds for the fair, for the horse races, for the rodeo we’ll use them to get people around, and then any other activities in the community when we’re working with the school district." 

Klann says the project cost the city very little and was made possible by donations from community sponsors. 


Bend Parks And Recreation Winter Programs Registration Next Week

BEND, OR -- Bend Parks and Recreation opens winter registration next week. In an effort to avoid the technical problems seen in the fall, Julie Brown says there will be three different days to sign up for programs, “Monday the 5th we’re going to be opening our enrichment and art and cooking type of activities. And then on Tuesday, we’re going to open our swim lessons. And then on Wednesday, we’re going to open our sports program.”

Brown says the district has also upgraded its website to better handle demand, “Breaking it up into three different days, that’s going to spread out the activity on our registration system. In addition to some technology improvements that we made, too. So, fingers crossed everything is going to be a lot smoother when we open registration next week.”

She tells KBND News, “We’re also introducing a new virtual waiting room. It basically mimics standing in line and it helps to moderate the number of people who are trying to do their transactions at the same time. So, we’re really hopeful that those things are going to make it a lot smoother next week.” 

You can browse available programs starting this Thursday on the Bend Parks and Rec website.

Bend Police Arrest Assault Suspect

BEND, OR -- Bend Police are searching for a 35-year-old Bend man they believe is responsible for two weekend assaults in the Hunnell Road area. Kenneth James Sommerset is wanted for Robbery, Theft and Aggravated Assault.

Just before 8 a.m. Sunday, officers responded to a report of a man with blood on his face stumbling along Highway 97. He told police someone struck him with what may have been a CO2 gun. The suspect then pointed the gun at him and emptied his pockets, taking his wallet and cigarettes.

Sommerset is also accused of  spraying bear spray into a person’s face during a Sunday evening argument.


UPDATE:  Bend Police tracked Sommerset down in a trailer on Hunnell Road. Just after 5 p.m. Monday, CERT responded and worked for several hours to try to get him to come out. After receiving a search warrant, officers forced entry into the trailer and deployed K-9 Kim to help take him into custody just after 8:30 p.m. 

Ochoco National Forest Celebrates Winter With Free Event

PRINEVILLE, OR -- The Ochoco National Forest hosts a free event this weekend, in coordination with Discover Your Forest, the non-profit stewardship partner of the Forest Service.

Saturday, December 3 from 1-3 p.m, families can take part in a winter scavenger hunt, story time with Ranger where Forest Service staff will read winter-themed children’s stories, enjoy a visit from Smokey Bear and more. Christmas tree permits will also be available for purchase at the event for $5.
Field Rangers will also lead a guided snowshoe tour at 2 p.m. starting at the gated entrance to Walton Lake. A limited number of snowshoes are available for on-site use but the public is encouraged to bring their own if they have a pair.

Directions to the Ochoco Ranger Station Pavilion - From Prineville, Oregon, take Highway 26 north for 16 miles. Turn right on Ochoco Ranger Station Road and go 9 miles to the Ranger Station, then turn left, proceed across the small bridge and take a right into the Forest Camp fee station. Continue on to the pavilion group site.

Bend Man Accused Of Weekend Hostage Situation

BEND, OR -- A Bend man is accused of Kidnapping and other charges after what police are calling a "hostage situation." Bend Police responded to a home on Alpine Drive, Saturday night, for a reported unwanted person. The suspect, identified as 36-year-old Austin Michael Supica, reportedly refused to leave and threatened to shoot himself with a flare gun. Witnesses told officers Supica had been asked to leave earlier in the evening, but returned and forced his way inside. 

When officers arrived at about 9 p.m., two people were able to leave, but Supica allegedly refused to allow a third person to exit. Police say he repeatedly refused to come out and continued to prevent another person from leaving. The Central Oregon Emergency Response Team was activated and arrived just after 10 p.m. 

The alleged hostage escaped the home at 10:34 p.m. while the suspect was using the bathroom. Once Supica was the only person remaining in the house, CERT negotiators talked him out, and he was taken into custody without incident at 10:45. 

He was jailed on charges of first-degree kidnapping, first-degree burglary and a felony in-state warrant.

Commissioners Split In Vote On Rezone Proposal West Of Terrebonne

TERREBONNE, OR -- Deschutes County Commissioners have given the initial go ahead to change zoning in an area west of Terreboonne, to allow a new housing project to be built. The approximately 710 acres would change from Exclusive Farm Use to Rural Residential, if final approval is given. Commissioners Patti Adair and Tony Debone both voted in favor of the first reading, after county planners approved of the rezoning. 

Commissioner Phil Chang wasn’t convinced the land is unsuitable for farmers and ranchers, "Speculative rezones like this are driving up the price of land and again, making it more difficult for farmers and ranchers to do their agricultural business. So, I’m very concerned about this trend,” said Chang while casting the lone ‘No’ vote.

While Debone supports the rezoning, he acknowledged there are different views, “As I say, it’s awkward because it’s a hearings officer approval. The land use system in the state of Oregon has authorized this path with other previous approvals.”
The second reading for rezoning the area is scheduled for next month.

Hundreds Of Goats Clear City-Owned Property In Redmond

REDMOND, OR -- A herd of goats is still chomping away on 138 acres of city-owned property, northwest of Redmond’s wastewater treatment plant. Wastewater Division Manager Ryan Kirchner says the city gets two cuttings a year of orchard grass from the field and sells it to local farmers. On November 16th, the goats started eating what’s grown since the second cutting, which can't be harvested. "It’s really good for the orchard grass, and it’s beneficial for a local farmer," Kirchner tells KBND News, "Instead of him having to utilize hay that he’s bailed up or stored or purchased for the winter, he’s able to utilize this hay, which otherwise would just go to waste because the grass would die over the winter."

He says the city isn't paying for the animals to take the grass down to bare dirt, "Around 600 goats came out to the property. The goat herder set up the fences. There’s a goat dog that protects the goats; and he’s quite ferocious."

The goats are working around the Wastewater Division's schedule, as the property is used for their operation. "We actually spread biosolids this time of year. Those biosolids are what’s produced at the wastewater facility," says Kirchner, "We use those biosolids as nutrient fertilizer for the orchard grass; we typically spread in the fall and the spring." He says the goats eat a section of the parcel, called a "pivot," before the farmer shifts them to another area, "We’ll move them to another pivot, so then we can spread the biosolids on the one that they were previously on." The farmer must wait 30 days before the goats can return to a section where biosolids have been spread. 

"The goats, right now, in that short amount of time since the 16th, have eaten the grass down to bare earth. They’ve eaten about 15 acres of it." They’ll keep rotating around sections of the property as long as the feed lasts and the weather holds. This is the first time Redmond has used goats to clear the property. Kirchner says it’s going so well, he’s sure they’ll do it again.


Senior Holiday Program Aims To Combat Isolation

BEND, OR -- After two years of limited, virtual giving, “Be A Santa To A Senior” trees laden with tags are up around Central Oregon, ready to collect gifts. Gloria Vloedman helps organize the program for Home Instead. She says recipients typically have no family around at Christmas, "More than likely, they’ll be waking up alone Christmas morning. And that breaks my heart saying that, but it really is such a big impact, especially for those seniors who are alone. It’s not just folks that are low-income; we have folks who might have money but they’re still lonely. Money doesn’t buy companionship." She says the pandemic worsened that feeling of loneliness for many seniors, "Being thought of means the world to them and helps combat isolation."

In 2019, before the pandemic, Home Instead provided gifts to 1,300 seniors through the program. That number plummeted to 300 in 2020, and 500 in 2021, when the program was forced online. This year, Vloedman says they're back up to 800 recipients, nominated by local senior service organizations. She tells KBND News the number was held lower than pre-pandemic levels because of a potential lack of help. "I really rely on folks who work in the senior care world to be volunteers for me, and so many people left and jobs changed and, with the employee crisis that we’re in right now in the healthcare field, especially, there’s just not as much availability for volunteers." But, she says, that concern turned out to be unnecessary as volunteers appeared anxious to get back to "normal."

To Be A Santa To A Senior, visit one of the ten trees around Central Oregon, choose a tag, buy the gifts listed for that senior and return them unwrapped to the tree by December 9th. 

Tree locations:

  • Bend Senior Center – 1600 SE Reed Market Rd. in Bend 
  • Bend Fred Meyer – 61535 S Hwy 97 in Bend 
  • DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel – 300 NW Franklin Ave. in Bend 
  • Verizon Wireless – 1120 SE 3rd St. Suite 300 in Bend 
  • The Alexander – 1125 NE Watt Way in Bend 
  • All Star Labor & Staffing – 550 NW Franklin Ave Suite 348 in Bend 
  • La Pine Activity Center – 16450 Victory Way in La Pine 
  • Prineville Soroptimists Senior Center – 180 NE Belknap St. in Prineville 
  • Redmond Senior Center – 325 NW Dogwood Ave. in Redmond 
  • Redmond Fred Meyer – 944 SW Veterans Way in Redmond 

Volunteers will wrap them the following week at the Eastside 10 Barrel. "Anyone who is good at wrapping presents, or bad or otherwise, please come to the wrapping party on December 13th, 5 to 7 p.m. at 10 Barrel," says Vloedman. Those gifts will be delivered in time for Christmas. 

Be A Santa To A Senior began in 2003. Click HERE for more information. 


Safe Parking Pgm Expands In Redmond

REDMOND, OR -- A “safe parking” program in Redmond is expanding to a third location. Mountain View Community Development Safe Parking Director Sierra Hopper says they provide space for adults and families living in a car or RV. But participants must agree to meet with a case manager regularly, "They help you towards overall stability. Maybe it’s getting a Social Security card or a birth certificate so you can get your license; it could be as basic as that. Writing a resume so you can get a job; working with other outside agencies to get on some affordable housing lists," she tells KBND News, "As well as allowing someone a safe place to park where law enforcement won’t be constantly asking them to move."

The Redmond program is run out of Mountain View Fellowship, the first safe parking location. Four participants are currently at the church, with another family at the Redmond VFW. This third location, set to open next week, is on county-owned land at SE Seventh and Evergreen. 

Hopper hopes eventually to expand to 40 participants spread across 10 host sites. But, she acknowledges the concept has been tough for the community to embrace, "People don’t just believe when I tell them, ‘no, our participants are good people that are just looking for some help.’ They need to see it. And so, I think with this new property coming available and with people being put on it, they will see that what we’re saying is true and that will open up a lot more opportunities for us, in terms of businesses and other churches and agencies willing to help." Many of the participants are families, the youngest is just one year old. 

"This is a low-cost, easy program that actually works and helps people, and it’s proven," says Hopper, "It’s a nationwide program, we’re not the first to invent the wheel. You can easily do a Google search and you will find this program in many other counties and areas of Oregon and in other states." 

Click HERE for more information, to volunteer or to sign up for the program. 


File photo


Bachelor Delays Season Opening To November 30

BEND, OR -- Despite a little precipitation this week, Mt. Bachelor will not open its ski and snowboard season this weekend, as planned. "There is just not enough snow on any of the lifted runs to get any of those runs open for this Friday," Mt. Bachelor's Johnny Sereni told KBND News Tuesday afternoon, shortly after assessing conditions, "It was really touch and go. We were just up on Little Pine run, under the lift, and it looks like there’s about 3-4” of snow once it had been groomed down, and it’s had a couple of warm days attacking it as well."

But, he's optimistic the season can open November 30th, "There is significant snowfall predicted for Sunday, Monday into Tuesday, Wednesday next week. And we believe that if that comes true and it arrives, then we will have a very good chance of getting both Little Pine and Pine Marten open on Wednesday."

Sereni says there will still be plenty to do on the mountain this weekend, for what they're calling "Thanks-jibbing." He says, "We will have the conveyor lift running, there will be retail and food and beverage open, and there will be some Stoke events going on here. And, people are welcome to come play in the snow and try out their first skiing and riding on the ‘magic carpet.’" Conditions permitting, that “chipmunk lift” conveyor belt will operate for beginners Friday through Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Mt. Bachelor will close Monday and Tuesday to prepare for Wednesday’s anticipated season opening. 


Bend Fire Santa Express Returns Monday

BEND, OR -- Bend Fire's Santa Express will visit neighborhoods starting Monday, collecting donations for the Salvation Army.

Deputy Fire Marshall Dan Derlacki says Bend Fire and Rescue personnel are excited to team up with Santa again this year after a pandemic pause, “We’re asking for new toys, clothing of all types, and then any food to fill out food baskets for the holiday meals. But also, just food baskets in general to give to people and help them out in these holiday times and then throughout the year.”

The Salvation Army would like to express the need for gifts to be given to teenage age kids as well.

“The fun part is we get to go with Santa and we get to come out to those neighborhoods. We make a ton of noise, run through with Santa and say hi. And you can donate your items right to us right there. If we don’t make it through your neighborhood, you can come to any one of our fire stations. We have bins out front to collect it,” Derlacki says they are excited this Bend tradition has returned, “This is the best part of the year. We get to go and talk to the community, and see the kids, and bring Santa with us. So, we’re super happy to be back. Weather looks like it’s mostly going to cooperate with us so we’re not going to be super cold. It’s a great way to celebrate the holiday and have fun out in the neighborhood.”

Bend Fire Stations, The Salvation Army, and local businesses will have donation bins set up through December 16th.

There a list of the neighborhoods with maps for the nightly walks on the Bend Fire Website.

ODOT Reminds Drivers To Be Cautious Traveling This Week

BEND, OR -- Oregon’s Department of Transportation asks drivers to mind their manners, this week.

ODOT’s Kacey Davey says the forecast is mostly dry for now but snow could hit the higher elevations Saturday or Sunday, “If you’re planning to go over the mountains and you’re coming back on the weekend, be prepared any time, but especially if it’s snowing. Make sure you’re driving for the conditions. So that means slow down, give more space, give our snowplows extra space, especially. Don’t ever pass one on the right.”

It’s important to plan for changing road conditions so you don’t get stuck. “Not only do you not get where you’re needing to go, but it means that a lot of other folks behind you might not also be getting where they need to go,” says Davey who also suggests packing an extra blanket and jacket, phone charger and medications in your car in case you do get delayed.

And Davey says there are a few things to do before you leave home, “Make sure your vehicle has appropriate tires. Make sure, if you’re going to carry chains, that you know how to use them. Things like windshield wiper blades, sometimes people forget about those; they need to be in good shape going over the mountains.”

Bend Top Thanksgiving Destination For AAA

BEND, OR -- With 777,000 Oregonians expected to travel this week for Thanksgiving roads in the High Desert will get very crowded, starting today.

“Bend is always a favorite. It’s not always number one, but this time it is the top regional destination for members of AAA Oregon. And, it’s no surprise. Bend has something for everybody. Sounds cliche but it’s true,” said AAA’s Marie Dodds noting, “We did see a lot of people travel last year; but still, people were hesitant to travel last year. This year, with pandemic restrictions lifted, people feel more comfortable about traveling, they are eager to go. And especially when it’s a family-oriented holiday like Thanksgiving, people are just really eager to carve out time with family and friends and loved ones.”

Holiday traffic congestion will start as early as Tuesday afternoon, “The days before Thanksgiving, those are the busiest travel days. So, if you can avoid traveling in the afternoon and early evening on Tuesday and Wednesday, great. Same thing when you’re coming home on Sunday; 4-8 p.m., that's the busiest time to travel” says Dodds who advises trying to avoid peak commuting times, “So that you don’t intermingle with folks who are trying to get home from work while you’re trying to leave on your Thanksgiving trip.” 

89% of holiday travelers are estimated to be driving, which will make for a very busy weekend for our roads. 

Single Day Ballot Return Record Set In Deschutes County

BEND, OR -- Election Day is almost two weeks behind us but final certification won’t happen until December 5th.

108,081 ballots were cast in Deschutes County this Election with nearly a quarter of those coming in right at the November 8th at 8 p.m. deadline.

“We had that late push of record numbers on the Monday and Tuesday. We had more ballots cast on Election Day than we ever have and it wasn’t even close. Over 27 thousand ballots cast on election day and we had never even reached 20 thousand ballots on a single day,” said Deschutes County Clerk Steve Dennison adding, “That late push really did help push up the turnout percentage. We’re still sitting under 70%. With the ballot being chalk full of contests that people were getting excited for one way or another I was hoping for a 75% turnout.”

While most ballots have been tabulated, more still need to be run before the next round of results are released on November 30th, “Voters have up until the 29th if they have a challenged signature. Meaning that their signature on their ballot did not match the signature we have on file for them; they have until the 29th to resolve that issue so we can still count the ballot,” said Dennison.

Some races were very close, but not tight enough to trigger a recount.

With so much election scrutiny, Dennison says the ballot counting observations went smoothly, “It’s a way for people to really see and hear what our process is. Those are the people that really see what we do, and have a better understanding of the security, and the measures that we take, the checks and balances, and just the overall process.”

HD53 Could Be Sign Of Shifted Political Landscape

REDMOND, OR -- One local race remains so tight, the losing candidate refuses to concede. 

In House District 53, Democrat Emerson Levy remains ahead of Republican Michael Sipe by a margin of 412 votes. Sipe said in a blog post last week he would not yet concede, and that Levy’s victory declaration was premature.

OSU-Cascades Political Science Professor Judy Stiegler says last year’s redistricting shifted the political dynamic, “I think you have to look at part of who the district is now taking up. But, even if you look at Redmond, and the numbers in Redmond, those numbers are changing. And a lot of that has to do with just the lay of the land of Central Oregon now, or in particular Bend/Redmond.”

Stiegler believes political affiliations in Redmond are changing, “You also have a growing non-affiliated group of voters. They now outnumber both D’s and R’s in the state. But, also I think you have a growing number of younger people that are starting to become more involved and saying, ‘ok, we have to pay attention.’”

District 53 now also includes Eagle Crest and Sisters, but lost Sunriver.


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