Local News Archives for 2014-09

Bend City Councilors Deny an Appeal of the OSU Cascades Site Location

A hearings officer approve the site in southwest Bend following two days of testimony earlier this summer.


The group "Truth in Site" that opposes the location appealed.


But the City Councilors supported the hearings officer's approval with a few amendments. Bend City Councilors Mark Capell and Sally Russell made the motion.


"Mark Capell:  to move to approve a hearings officer's decision with modification from staff reports and changes we discussed.  Sally Russel:  I'll amend my second."


Before their final decision, Councilor Russel, expressed some frustration.


"This is a very difficult decision and frankly I resent having to make it.  As a community leader I really expected a more inclusive process and I hope the university hears us and going forward, I hope this process is a much broader process."


In the end, the council voted to deny the appeal and support the hearings officer's decision to approve the site.


But they did put some conditions on parking and preventing congestion with area schools to help reduce potential problems.


The group can appeal the decision to the State Land Use Board of Appeals.

Rebublican Senate Candidate Monica Wehby Defnds Herself on Charges She's Avoiding Debates

KGW and the Oregonian have cancelled a debate in a couple weeks, because the Wehby campaign wouldn't commit.


She talked about it with Lars Larson.


"They had set a specific deadline and we were still working around when they pulled the offer.  That's my understanding.  Again, the campaign does all that, but we were still negotiating."


Wehby now has proposed three more forums involving Oregon Public Broadcasting, KOIN TV and the Portland City Club.


But Merkley's campaign spokeswoman Lindsey O'Brien says Merkley had accepted a series of debates six weeks ago and Wehby has ducked, dodged and turned down the traditional Senate debate in Portland.


She says they'll look at their campaign schedule, but right now they're focused on what's already on the books.

The Bail is Raised for a Man Charged with a Deadly Accident Between Bend and Redmond

32 year old William Fix of Redmond had his bail increased to 500-thousand dollars from $122-thousand.


He faces charges of second degree manslaughter, third degree assault, DUII and reckless driving.


The judge also stipulated that he can't have any contact with any of the victims or their families.


He is due back in court early next month.

Redmond Man Arrested in Drunk Driving Accident that Kills Young Girl

The accident happened Friday night just after 7 P.M.


Oregon State Police say a suburban driven by 32 year old William Fix of Redmond was northbound on Highway 97 in a reckless manner when he lost control and struck a rock embankment and rolled the vehicle.


A 7 year old girl was pronounced dead at the scene and two other females ages 14 and 10 were critically or seriously injured.  One was transfered to Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, the other is at St. Charles in Redmond.


A fourth girl was taken to St. Charles in Redmond with minor injuries.


Fix faces charges of first degree manslaughter, second degree assault and drunk and reckless driving.

Bend City Council Will Hear the Appeal of the Approved OSU Cascades Site Monday

The group "Truth in Site" made up of homeowners near the proposed site on Southwest Century and Chandler Avenue, oppose the site believing it will lead to traffic and parking problems in the area.


The City Council opted to hear the appeal and will rule on it.


But if the group doesn't like their decision they can appeal again to the State Land Use  Board of Appeals.


The public hearing will be held Monday at noon at City Hall in the Council Chambers.


It will be broadcast live on COTV Channel 11 on Bend Broadband and the city's website.

Redmond Voter Speaks Out in Favor of Open Primaries in the State

That would mean that anyone could vote in the primaries, so Democrats could vote for Republicans and vice versa.  It would also allow independents to vote.


Life long Oregonian and moderate Republican Mike Shiel of Redmond wrote a recent "Letter to the Editor" advocating for Measure 90 allowing for an open primary.


"So much in favor of open primary and so disappointed in both parties being against it.  I guess they have to take care of their own.  But there are so many independents in Oregon and that doesn't have much value for the two parties right now."


"Mike Shiel:  The moderate Republican that ruled the day for years and years in Oregon just isn't there anymore.  Kelly Bleyer:  What happened?  Mike Shiel: The party was taken over by the right wing of the party.  They're the ones that go to the meetings, set the tone, write the platform.  And don't get me wrong.  I can't stand the extreme on the left loonies drive me crazy."


The latest polls show the measure probably won't pass, with only 34 support for the measure while 43 percent oppose it.

Crook County Says Its Getting a Great Return from Its Visit Bend Marketing

Six months ago, the county joined visit Bend's marketing program to promote Brasada Ranch.


Crook County Commissioner Seth Crawford say they've seen a tremendous response.


"Seth Crawford:  And in this beginning trial period, we've seen a two to two and a half times return, which is a great return.  Kelly:  What do you attribute that to?  Seth Crawford:  Being able to get in front of Visit Bend. They get over a million hits a year.  Getting in front of that amount of people gives you large returns."


Crook County signed up for an initial six month period with Visit Bend and they're signing up for another six months.


Crawford says Visit Bend was the number one website referrer to the Brasada Ranch website, outpacing all other websites by thousands.

OAB Hosts Gubernatorial Debate at Sunriver Resort

The debate started with a qustion to Republican candidate Dennis Richardson about how he's been fined for failing to report his rent-free stay at a Lake Oswego donor's home.


Richardson defended himself at the Oregon Association of Broadcasters debate on Friday.


"Secretary of State is challenging us living in Portland with a friend who didn't charge us rent.  We didn't report their in-kind donations, but they're not going to charge rent.  But we'll make good on that. But what we've seen with the Patrica McCaig story, of how she was on thr staff giving advice to Gvoernor Kitzhaber on thr Columbia River Crossing while also getting a $554,000 salary from the chief contractor for the project.  That's criminal.  It's certainly unethical."


Democratic Governor John Kitzhaer has faced criticism he didn't report the work of a political consultant.


PERS was another subject addressed.


The candidates were asked whether they believed further PERS reform is needed.


"Dennis Richardson:  PERS is one of those issues that just keeps coming up.  We're waiting for the Supreme Court to decide this.  But these reforms did not solve our PERS problems, it only lowers the PERS increases.  The way to deal with it is to decide what is contarctual and what is the decision of the legislature.  John Kitzhaber:  I believe we have a strong case before the Supreme Court.  I think we have made dents and we need to move on to other things.  We need to work on increasing the minimum wage and pay equity.  Our hard working public employees have sacrificed enough.  It's time to move on to other ideas."


The candidates were also asked how they would improve rural Oregon's economies.


"Richardson:  What we need to do in our rural areas is to deal with our natural resoruces and make sure our products are sold internationally.  Kitzhaber:  Its' been said if you've seen one county in Oregon you've seen one county in Oregon.  Each county is different.  We have regional economies in this stae.  That's why we set up regional solutions process which prioritize community and economic development processes and then we bring state, federal and local and non profit resources.  That's how this area got a four year institution from a regional solutions process."


When asked to name the top three thigns they plan to do to help Oregonians, Governor Kitzhaber said expand affordable healthcare, improve early learning and implement low carbon standards.  Richardson says he would work for equal pay, improved education and restoring trust in government.

Only One Debate is Scheduled Between Monica Wehby and Senator Jeff Merkley

Merkley agreed to the October 23rd debate by mid August, but Wehby's campaign never did.


The TV station and newspaper gave the campaign until last Friday to commit -- and Wehby's campaign only said they were keeping their options open and will ultimately make a decision that works best with the campaign's schedule.


The only debate the two have agreed to is on October 14th at KOBI TV in Medford.

School Bus Problems in Northeast Bend Friday Morning

They believe steam from antifreeze in the engine caused an engine fire.


About 40 students had to be transferred to a new bus so they could get to Skyview Middle School.


The bus was near the roundabout at 8th Street and Butler Market Road around 7:20 when the engine started smoking.


The kids were only delayed a couple minutes because another bus arrived there quickly.



Bend Again Hosts the International Association of Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors

For the fifth year, Bend is hosting the regional training conference of the International ASsociation of Law Enforcement Firearms instructors.


The conference provides state of the art firearms training.


Sgt. Todd Fletcher with the Bend Police Department says people come from all over the country and world.


"Well, part of it is the reputation of the Bend Police law enforcement training.  The other part is people want to come to central Oregon especially in the fall.  And some of the people who come are able to attract big name instructors and spread the word far and wide about this conference."


The conference gets underway this Sunday and runs through Wednesday.


During the conference, Nosler will be hosting a fundraising shooting match that will raise money for Sparrow Clubs USA.  The nonprofit helps kids with medical needs.

BLM Will Drop Its Fire Restrictions Starting on Friday

The Prineville District BLM, the Deschutes National Forest and Ochoco National Forest including the Crooked River National Grassland will remove campfire restrictions to level one.


That means that all public use restrictions across central Oregon will be lifted except in portions of the John Day River and portions of the Lower Deschutes, and White and Crooked Rivers until October 15th.


This means that commercial operators and woodcutters can use chainsaws in the forest at any time in designated areas.


The BLM does remind the public to make sure campfires are "dead out" before leaving them unattended.

The Tumalo State Park Campground is Closing for the Season

The closure is needed to replace restrooms and shower buildings.


The day use area will remain open.


The project costs about 800-thousand dollars and will be funded by Oregon lottery dollars.


The campground is scheduled to reopen on July first.

County Moves Forward on Plans to Design a New Roundabout Along the Powell Butte Highway

The Deschutes County Road Department asked the county commissioners to approve right of way acquisition of land in the area of the Powell Butte Highway and Alfalfa Market Road.


George Kolb with the Road Department explained their request.


"Kolb:  Any right of way, if you're looking north, there's a curb.  It's a rural roundabout and there is a lot of design considerations.  We have to extend the legs out.  Commissioner Baney:  Well, I'm happy to see wer'e moving forward."


This rural roundabout will be larger than an urban roundabout and wil  be able to accommodate trucks and TV's.  It is hoped it will help reduce the high number of crashes in that area.


Construction on the roundabout is expected to be started next summer and finish up in the fall of 2015.

Crash on Highway 26 Near Government Camp Closes the Highway for Several Hours

It happened around 6:30 A.M. when a van and semi were eastbound on Higwhay 26 trying to make left hand turns.  The van turned in front of the semi and got hit and they collided with another semi.


The collision blocked most of Highway 26 for three hours while the road was cleared.


The driver of the van was ticketed for failing to yield to the right of way.

St. Charles Will No Longer Allow Pets in to Visit Their Owners in the Hospital

The hosptial had an open pet visitation policy, but starting October first, only service dogs and pet therapy animals will be allowed in.


St. Charles Vice President of Quality, Pam Steinke says people were abusing the privilege and it was getting to be a hazard.


"You know we are onl of the few hospitals with an open pet visitation policy. Because the CDC looks at pets as being disease carriers, infection carriers. And we've had some santitation issues, issues where there was pet feces in the hallway or a patient's room or elevator.  Caregivers are supposed to be taking care of patients, not picking up after people's pets."


The hospital feels the risk of infection poses too big a health risk for its patients.


Also many patients and visitors also suffer from allergies to animal dander.

Thousands of People in Bend Lost Power for Half An Hour Wednesday Afternoon

We talked with Ry Schwark with Pacific Power shortly after the power went out.


"So we had a power outage that affected 5,148 customers at its peak. It happened at 1:49 when we lost transmission into one of our substations.  Power should be restored by now.  By 2:17 all power had been restored.  We currently have crews on scene investigating what caused the loss of transmission."


People near the otuage at 13th and Donovan say a Red Tail Hawk was electrocuted and fell onto the transformer knocking out power.


Traffic lights were out and people were reported to be trapped in elevators in downtown buildings.


The outage also knocked some TV and radio stations off the air.

Deschutes County Commissioners Take Steps to Improve Cell Phone Coverage in the Sunriver Area

AT&T is asking for expanded conditional use for a cell tower in the area.


Cynthia Smidt with the county's Community Development Department presented the request to the  commissioners.


"The planning commission reviewed the proposal on July 24th and recommended approval. There was only one letter of opposition from Melissa Black who lives on Evergreen Loop.  She has health concerns and properyt values concerns, but offered no evidence by Miss Black."


The commissioenrs approved the  first reading, but a second reading will be held in the next two weeks.


Any specifics on what the cell tower would look like wil  be addressed in the conditional use permit process following approval.

Congressman Greg Walden Will Be in Central Oregon Friday

He will be hodling town halls and other meetings to give residents an update on his legislative work.


He willbe meeting with the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce Friday morning at 11:30 at the Madras Airport.


At 1:30, he will be meeting with Redmond Fire and Rescue.


And he'll end the night at the Sunriver Resort where he will speak to the Oregon Association of Broadcasters.  The group is holding its convention there.

Head On Crash on I-5 Kills Husband of Portland City Commissioner

The accident happened just after 8 A.M.


Killed was Dr. Steven Fritz, husband of Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz.


He was employed as a psychiatrist at Oregon State Hospital in Salem.  He was 54.


Oregon State Police say a pickup driven by a Salem man was northbound in heavy rain when it collided with the left side of a tanker trailer.


The pickup then crossed the median into the southboudn lanes and collided head on with a Nissan Sentra driven by Dr. Fritz.


He was pronounced dead at the scene and his pasenger a 64 year old woman also employed by Oregon State Hospital is in critical condition.

Pacific Green Party Gubernatorial Candidate Crashes Debate

Jason Levin of Portland showed up and demadned to be included and he was.


But most of the forums have refused to include him.


Like the Oregon Association of Broadcasters debate in Sunriver on Friday.


"I contacted them and asked if I could participate in their debate and they said no, voters don't need to hear from you.  We're only including viable candidates and that's too bad, not for myself, but for the voters when they are deciding who they can hear from when there are other legitimate candidates on the ballot. This is ridiculous."


The League of Oregon Cities Conference on Saturday in Eugene will include all six candidates for Governor.


Besides Governor Kitzahber and Dennis Richardson, it will also include Aaron Auer of the Constitution Party, Paul Grad of the Libertarian Party and Chris Henry of the Progressive Party.

Bend City Council Candidates Discuss Neighborhood Safety in a Forum Wednesday Night

The group "Slower Safer Bend" formed to address speeding cars in neighborhoods is holding the forum.


Foster Fell started the group four years ago, along with his partner, Bend City Council candidate Barb Campbell after noticing the unsafe conditions in many neighborhoods.


"We're talking about neighborhood livability such as speed traffic and the issue of chidlren walking and biking to school safely.  Whenever you go to neighborhood association meetings, the topic that comes up most frequently is unsafe traffic and street traffic in neighborhoods."


Eight candidates will be vying for three Bend City Concil positions this November.


The forum will be held at the Deschutes Public Library from 6:30 to 7:30 Wednesday night.

The Redmond Boys and Girls Club Reaches Their Fundraising Goal to Reopen

The clubs closed down the month of September to raise money to make sure they could keep their doors open for the year.


They had to raise 170-thousand dollars and Executive Director of the Redmond and Terrebonne clubs, Jenny O'Keefe says -- they did it.


"Since the end of August, the Redmond communiuty has stepped up to keep our doors open.  It's been amazing to see that they value what we do.  We've received several large donations.  St. Charles Redmond has donated 50-thousand dollars and has been our primary supporters getting the doors open."


The clubs aim to serve between 125 and 225 children each day, with a total membership of more than 500 children.


The Redmond and Terrebonne clubs will reopen Monday October 6th.  Families can enroll at the clubs in the next couple weeks.

A Week of Gubernatorial Debates Kicks Off

They will be participating in four debates.


The first one was Monday in Portland with the Pamplin Newspaper group.  They own several newspapers around the state  including a couple here in central Oregon.


The editorial board asked the candidates about the state's unemployment and got very different responses.


"Richardson:  First of all, the Governor needs to recognize that Oregon's unemployment rate has gone up to 7 percent while the national rate is going down.  We need a different approach.  Kitzhaber:  I'd be happy to stand on my numbers.  We created 120 thousand jobs.  I think Dennis was looking at different unemployment numbers.  We gained jobs in July and August because people are more optimistic about the eocnomy and more people are looking for work."


The two candidates have three more debates this week.


KBND will be broadcasting the debate at the Oregon Association of Broadcasters Conference in Sunriver this Friday at 11 A.M.

Missing Prineville ATV Rider in the East Fort rock Area is Found

62 year old Charlie Kerbow was riding in the East Fort Rock area Sunday.  He was last seen Sunday night just before 6 and at 10 P.M. his wife called authorities.


Search and Rescue volunteers set out Monday morning at 6 A.M. and found Charlie Kerbow around 10:30 A.M.  He was in good condition.


He told officers he becamne disoriented by dust on the trail and followed the wrong trail.  He also encountered mechnical problems during the night and decided to wait until daylight to locate a main trail.


He did not have a phone at the time of his trip and was not able to communicate his location or condition.

Health Advisory is Issued for the Wickiup Reservoir in Deschutes County

Dangerous toxin concentrations in the water can be harmful to humans and animals.


You can be exposed to these toxins thorugh acccidental swallowing.


The toxins can lead to numbness, tingling, dizziness, weakness, dairrhea, nausea, cramps and fainting.


These symptoms usually occur in less than 24 hours.


Drinking water directly from the Wickiup Reservoir is especially dangerous.


Children and pets are at increased risk because of their size and level of activity. 


The public will be adivsed when the concern no longer exists.

Central Oregon Has Seen Its First Cases of Enterovirus

Over the last week, St. Charles Bend has treated at least two children with enterovirus.


They've done testing to confirm the virus, but it could take a week or longer to get the results.


St. Charles is asking the community to be aware of the symptoms.  They inlcude fever, runny nose, sneezing cough, body and muscle aches, rash and conjunctivitis.


Most people don't require treatment and recover completely, but some with asthma or other conditions often have to be hospitalized.

Fewer People Were Seeking Medical and Dental Services at This Year's Project Connect

The event held at the Deschutes County Fairgrounds provided free services for homeless and low income people from around central Oregon.


More than 17 hundred people were helped, but demand for medical and dental services were down from past years.


It's believed the additional insurance coverage provided through the Affordable Care Act help meet some of that need.


In previous years, as many as 24-hundred people came out to Proejct Connect seeking medical and dental services.


One of this year's most popular service offerings was free veterinary care.  


More than 450 animals were treated.

Redmond's St. Vincent De Paul is Close to Realizing Their Goal of Buying Their Building

Last year they set a goal of raising 1.2 million for its building on Veterans Way.


They were just awarded a 200 thousand dollar grant from the Meyer Memorial Trust.


Jamie Kanski with St. Vincent De Paul says this will help cut their mortgage payment in half.


"The price of the building is 1 million 150 thousand.  It looks like we will only have 450-thosand to mortgage and that will be a really sginificant savings."


St. Vincent's has also recently received a 100-thousand dollar grant and is waiting to hear about another one for 150-thousand dollars.


They hope to formally buy the building by the end of the year.


The mortgage savings will allow them to put more money toward the meals and social services they provide.

Bend Will Host the 2014 Desert Conference This Weekend

The Oregon Natural Desert Association meets biennially and this is the second time Bend has hosted the event.


Corie Harlan with the Desert Association says members want to defend, protect and restore desert lands.


"We tend to say the rocks and mountains and rocks have plenty of folks looking out for them.  These are the things we think of iconically when we think of Oregon.  But we have such diverse beauty in the desert landscapes and ONDA wants to be a strong voice for those lands."


Some of the panel discussions will address sage grouse management and conservation, stream restoration and renewable energy.


The conference will be holding a Wilderfest Party Saturday afternoon at their office off of Arizona and Bond.


They will have bands, food and drink from 4 to 9 P.M.

Oregon's Poverty Rate Goes Up While the Nation's Goes Down

Oregon's poverty rate went from 13.5 percent to over 15 percent in the most recent numbers, while the national poverty rate is actually going down.


Juan Carlos Ordonez with the think tank, the Oregon Center for Public Policy feels its time for lawmakers to take action.


"We see Oregon's poverty rate remained unchanged from 2012 to 2013 statistically, even though Oregon's economy is growing.  This really speaks to action that needs to be taken by Oregon lawmakers to strengthen the economy."


Oregon's poverty rate remains four percentage points above its rate in 2007, right before the Great Recession.


The Oregon Center for Public Policy wants lawmakers to invest more in education, worker training and child care and to increase the minimum wage.

Plagerism Scandal Continues to Plague the Monica Wehby Campaign

The Wehby campaign removed portions of these plans from her website.


She is accused of stealing the plans from Karl Rove's group "Crossroads."


Wehby blamed a staffer for plagerizing the plans and said this person had previousy been fired for unrelated reasons.


Her former campaign manager Charlie Pierce, who now works for Gubernatorial candidate Dennis Richardson, denies he authored either of the policy positions and said any statement to the contrary would be false in the extreme.


Seantor Jeff Merkley's campaign has jumped on the scandal saying it undermines her entire campaign.

Former Wehby Staffer Denies Involvement In Plagiarism

(Portland, OR)  --  GOP U.S. Senate candidate Monica Wehby says a former campaign staffer is responsible for plagiarism that appeared in some of her issue documents.  The content was removed from Wehby's campaign website after it was reported that some of the passages were copied from a report by Republican Senator Rob Portman of Ohio and from a plan by a GOP congressional candidate from California.  "The Oregonian" reports that the former staffer likely in question, ex-Wehby campaign manager Charlie Pearce, has denied any involvement with the plagiarism.  Pearce is now handling Dennis Richardson's gubernatorial campaign.

Oregon's Unemployment Went Up in August But There Are Positive Signs

The rate rose from 6.9 percent in July to 7.2 percent in August.


State Economist Nick Bielichicks says more college graduates and discouraged workers are looking for work.


"Oregon's unemployment rate didn't increase because more Oregonians lost thier jobs, rather Oregon's rate grew because more people than usual were looking for work and when the labor force growth is greater than the nubmer of jobs created, the unemployment rate will go up until entrants can find work."


In August, Oregon added 2900 jobs and that was the 12th increase in the last 14 months.


In the last year, Oregon has added nearly 41-thousand jobs.

Bend City Council Will Discuss Vacation Rentals at Wednesday Night's Meeting

Some feel the city should play a bigger role in regulating this practice.


Councilor Jodie Barram says there's a lot of interest in the subject and she's hearing rom a lot of residents about it.


"Because I'll tell you from emails, it's beeen pretty even handed.  There are people who are really supporitive and there are others that don't want them in their neighborhoods.  I'm really interested to see where does the entire community want this policy decision to go."


Citizens can come out and voice their opinions Wednesday night during the city council meeting.


City employees are also gathering information for the meeting on whether vacation rentals have had extensive code violations or other problems.

Bend Councilor Jodie Barram Wants the Council to Hear the Appeal of the OSU Cascades Site

The group opposes the location in southwest Bend believing it will create traffic and parking headaches for neighbors.


Bend City Councilor Jodie Barram says the council will decide whether they will hear the appeal Wednesday.


"Me personally, I can't speak on behalf of the council, but I think the community would like the city counci  to hear it and that's where I'm leaning.  We'll have that conversation and come to the decision as a group."


If the council decides to hear the appeal, they will schedule a hearing in the coming weeks.


If they decide not to, the group can then directly appeal to LUBA, the State Land Use Board of Appeals.

Commissioners Take a First Step to Approve Reducing Overnight Stays Required at Destination Resorts

Currently Deschutes County requires 45 weeks out of the year be made availabe for rent, but Tetherow is looking to decrease that number.


Will Groves is the Senior Planner for Deschutes County.


"To date Deschutes has kept the more restrictive 45 week requirement, but is looking at allowing 38 weeks.  Tetherow has applied to make the changes to Title 19.  A separate amendment to Title 18 occurred in 2007 and implemented these same changes to include Caldera Springs, Pronghorn and Eagle Crest."


Title 19 concerns land that is adjacent to Bend like Tetherow and TItle 18 deals with land not directly adjacent to Bend.


Monday was the first reading and the second reading will be coming up in the next two weeks.


Commissioners believe the change will make thse individual units more marketable and allow owners to use them more during the year.

Truth in Site Appeals OSU Cascades Site Approval

The Bend City Council will decide during Wednesday night's meeting whether to hear the appeal.


Portland attorney Jeff Kleinman represents the group "Truth in Site" that is appealing the decision that gives the campus the green light to go forward.


"If the city council decides to hear the appeal, we're hoping they will recognize the errors in the hearings officer's decision and in particular the requirement for a master plan as well as other steps to be taken."


The group feels the college should have to file a master plan for not just the current parcel of land it owns for the college, but for future expansion plans.


It's possible the Bend City Council may opt not to hear the appeal and then "Truth in Site " can direclty appeal to LUBA, the Land Use Board of Appeals.

Police: Man's Death Appears To Be In Self-defense

(Madras, OR)  --  Police say the shooting death of a man by his wife appears to have been in self-defense. Jefferson County sheriff's deputies say Mark Province was intoxicated when he arrived at his home in the community of Metolius late last night, and was shot once with a handgun after he had attacked his wife and his father. Authorities say no arrests have been made and all witnesses are cooperating with the investigation.

Latest on the Transition in the Deschutes County D.A.'s Office

He was elected to the office back in May, but won't assume the office until January.


He talked with KBND'S Kelly Bleyer about the transition.


"Kelly:  You still haven't met with Patrick?  Hummel: No, I haven't.  I hope that does happen."


Hummel has been meeting with District Attorneys from across the state though.


"The transition is going well. I'm traveling around the state meeting with D.A.'s and I've met up to 13 of the 36.  I'm asking them how they run their office and picking their brains.  It isn't one size fits all.  I'm learning bits and pieces from all of them and its going to help me hit the ground running."


Hummel says he wants the office to play more of a role in crime prevention.


He wants to help community groups and law enforcement to work together in this area.


He has also met with Deschutes County Commisioners, civil leaders and local law enforcement to get ready for his job which will start in January.

Latest on the Showdown Between COID and Homeowners Along the Pilot Butte Canal

COID wants to pipe the canal in northeast Bend to conserve water, but the homeowners are fighting those plans -- saying it will ruin their views and property values.


COID Director Craig Horrell says they have brought in a facilitator to mediate.


"Her name is Anne George.  She has been contacting neighbors and meeting with them.  I'm staying out of it.  I'm an interested party.  We initiated the process, but we're not direting the process."


So this mediator will meet with both sides and see if there's some common ground that can be reached on piping the canals.


The timeline to reach some kind of agreement is by March of 2015.

Senator Merkley Pushes for a Bill to Reduce Student Debt

A couple years back, student debt surpassed credit card debt in the U.S.


U.S. Senator Merkely supports abill that would allow students with high interest loans to refinance them.


The bill was filibustered last session, but Merkley hopes to revisit it.


"I view college as a public good that is an investment in the next generation.  Some of my colleagues say any loss of profit from student loans has to be offset somewehre else.  My feeling is this should not be a profit making proposition.  We should be breaking even or even subsidizing it to strengthen our economy for the next generation."


Student loan debt in the U.S. hit the one trillion dollar mark in 2013.


For most middle class families, college costs are the second biggest expense they face, second only to buying a house.


So far this bill has not beeen scheduled for a vote.

St. Charles is Offering Free Lung Cancer Screenings for Smokers and Former Smokers

The screenings are made possible thanks to funding from the St. Charles Foundation.


Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. but if caught early, treatment is much more successful.


Jessica Keegan is the cancer screening coordinator for St. Charles.


"We are looking to diagnose individuals before they have symptoms.  Usually lung cancer patients don't know they have the disease until the later stages and by promoting the screenings we get individuals in to be screened."


Starting Monday September 15th, people between the ages of 55 and 74 who are current smokers or who have quit in the last fifteen years can receive the screenings.


If you are interested, call your primary care provider to schedule an appointment.

Latest on the Search for the Source of the EColi that Killed a Young Oregon Girl

The two children shared a turkey sandwich at a Otis Oergon resaurant over Lab Day weekend.


But Dr. David Long, the Health Officer for Lincoln County says it's a leap to believe that is the definite source.


"We've tested what we feel could be the likely source ,things like food.  We went to the restaurant they ate it.  We haven't ruled it out, but we haven't ruled it in.  It's unfortunate early on the public assumed it was the source and that was unfair."


It will be a couple days before test results will come back.


Because the incubation period for EColi is up to twelve  days, the source could be something the two kids were exposed to a week before Labor Day.  


The five year old boy in Washignton State is in serious condition at a Tacoma hospital.

Deputy D.A. Pleads with County's Health Insurance to Approve a Life Saving Liver Transplant

Dan Reesor was diagnosed with liver cancer earlier this year and his doctors at UCLA say the only treatment is a liver transplant.


The problem is, the county's health insurance has rejected his plea to approve the transplant.


They claim its experimental and not medically necessary.


Reesor begs to differ.  


"If I don't get a liver transplant, I'll die, plain and simple."


Reesor's freinds and family have appealed to the Deschutes County Commissioners asking them to intervene and approve the life saving transplant, but they claim they can't do that.  All they can do is try to expedite the process.


Without approval, Ressor can't even be placed on the wait list for a new liver.

Three Car Crash in LaPine Sends People to the Hospital

The accident happened at the intersection of Burgess Raod and Meadow Lane just before 1 P.M. Wednesday.


A Ford van was eastbound on Burgess Road and was stopepd waiting to turn left onto Meadow Lane.  A Blazer was stopped behind the van.


A Dodge pickup driven by 21 year old Kameron Michael of LaPine rear-ended the Blazer and struck the Ford van.


Occupants of the Blazer and van were injured as a result of this collision and transported to St. Charles by ambulance.


The road was closed in both directions for one hour during the investigation.


The driver of the truck was ticketed for following too closely.

Believed Cause of a Garage Fire in Northeast Bend

They found cigarette butts stored in a plastic garbage container under the carport, against the side of the house on Northeast Lesley Place.


A neighbor claims he heard sounds like a freight train and witnessed flames coming from the carport.  Aerosol cans, flammable liquids and ammunition were stored near the garbage container and exploded in the fire.


The homeowners were not home at the time of the fire.


The estimated loss in building and contents is 43 thousand dollars.

COCC Will be Holding Training This Friday on How to Handle an Active Shooter

The event will run from 9 A.M. to noon.


There will be numerous police cars, fire trucks, ambulances and even helicopters as part of the drill.


They are not letting people know which buildings are being used for the exercise, but will notify those affected by email. They will also rope off the area, so people don't wander into the training.


Drivers and pedestrians in the area should be aware of the influx of emergency vehicles into the area.

Deschutes County Judge Sentences Bend Man to 50 Years in Prison for the Rape of a Nine Year Old Girl

William Paul Cisneros was found unanimously guilty by a jury of his peers Tuesday after a four day trial.


The defendant showed no remorse for the rape and molestation of the young victim and offered no apology.


Judge Forte sentenced Cisneros to 50 years in prison.


The defendant's crimes were subject to provisions known as "Jessica's Law."


He wil  be subject to supervision for the rest of his life.

Deschutes County's District Attorneys Make a Plea to County Commissioners to Save the Life of a Deputy D.A.

Dan Reesor has liver cancer and has been told by doctors he needs a liver transplant or he will die.


The county is self insured and the claims administrator has denied his claim.


Patrick Flaherty and John Hummel are appealing to the county commissioners to overturn that decision and save Dan's life.


John Hummel hopes the commissioners will step in.


"The problem Dan has is he's not eligible to be put on the waiting list until payment has been approved from insurance.  So he's not even on the waiting list.  So once it's approved, then he's on the waiting list and you have to wait until a liver becomes available."


Dan Reeser has served as a Deputy D.A. for Deschutes County for seven years and is the sole support for his wife and their four year old twins.

Republican Senate Candidate Monica Wehby Gets Some Support from the Gay Community

One of the plaintiffs who sued the state of Oregon to marry his partner is throwing his support behind Wehby.


Ben West is featured prominently in an ad just hitting the airwaves.


"Whether it's standing up for equality for the unemployed or for the next generation, we need leaders who have the courage to do what's right.  That's why I support Monica Wehby for Senate.  I know she'll fight for every Oregon family, including mine."


In the past, Wehby has said she doesn't have a problem with gay marriage, but doesn't believe it's a government decision.


Her opponent, Senator Jeff Merkley released a statement after the ads starting airing, saying as a long time advocate for equality and opportunity for our LGBT community, he welcomes Wehby's change of heart in support of marriage equality.

St. Charles Hires a New CEO

Jim Diegel announced in January he would be stepping down and the St. Charles Board of Directors has just hired Joe Sluka as its new CEO.


Sluka comes from Rapid City, South Dakota, where he was Executive Vice President and Chief Adminstirative Officer for Regional Health for four years.


St. Charles has had a lot of administrative turnover in recent years.


Sluka knows he has work to do.


"It's rallying around the common vision.  As long as we are keeping patients at the center of our focus.  That's a vision or a mission that anyone in healthcare can rally around.  That's the most important thing.  We know there's been change and we'll continue to assemble a great team at St. Charles and we'll continue to assemble a great team."


Tom Sayeg is the Chair of the Hospital Board that hired Sluka.


"I did a site visit to Regional as part of our due diligence and I was very impressed with the way he interacted with his senior team.  He took me on a tour of the system and I was impressed how he interacted with people and how people were enthusiastic and excited about the things he's done and is trying to accomplish within the system."


Sluka will be taking over as CEO on December 1st.  Until then, Jim Diegel will continue to serve in the job.

Homeowners Along the Pilot Butte Canal are Concerned After a Leak is Discovered and Repaired

The leak was reported on Friday and district workers quickly repaired it.


COID Director Craig Horrell says this is part of routine maintenance.


"What we have is a 100 year old canal and new construction is part of standard repair of the existing facility.  This happens 6 to 12 times a year throughout the whole system.  It was a small leak."


Nearby homeowner Tom Hignell who opposes plans to pipe the canal, was alarmed by the leak.  He was the one who notified COID of it.


"You know, all it takes is one time.  And they can fix this, but it could happen again. They are propsoing a dam above ground and if that leaks it would do significant damge to property and possibly loss of life if its in the middle of the night or without any warning."


Horrell with COID says nearby residents were never at any risk and these small leaks occur along the canals are are routinely repaired.

Bend Restaurant Helps Raise Funds for a Bend Family Dealing with Brain Cancer

Longboard Louie's is helping the Harris family.


42 year old Dan Harris was diagnosed with a brain tumor earlier this year.


The famiy with eight children didn't have health insurance and they were forced to close their appliance business because Dan couldn't work.


His wife Andrea says it was overwhelming, so Jeff at Longboard Louie's is offering some help.


"It's to benefit our famiy.  My husband was diagnosed with brain cancer in Janaury.  And its the most deadly and fast growing brain cancer.  Since January, he's had two operations, chemo, radiation, you know, you name it."

Longboard Louie's is in northeast Bend near the eastside library.


All the profits from Monday's sales will go to the Harris family to help pay their medical bills.

Cougar Sighting in Southwest Bend

This time in the area of Buck Canyon Road, west of Brookswood Boulevard.


The person who reported the sighting was running and when the cougar saw this person, it ran away towards the Deschutes River.


When Sheriff's deputies arrived in the area, they observed cougar tracks, but didn't see the cougar.


They notified the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife about the cougar activity.

Latest Poll on Oregon's Senate Race

750 voters were polled in the state the first week of September.


It found Merkley had 48 percent of the vote, with Wehby getting 35 percent.


The poll was conducted by Rasmussen.  The margin of error is four percentage points.

Judge Miller Sworn In as Deschutes County's Newest Circuit Court Judge

Randy Miller was sworn in during a ceremony  Thursday at the Deschutes County Justice Buidling.


Judge Miller is taking over for Judge Barbara Haslinger who retired from the bench on June 30th.


He was elected in the May primary for a six year term beginning next January.


But Governor Kitzhaber appointed him to serve the remainder of Judge Haslinger's term.


In his remarks following his swearing in, Judge Miller said he's witnessed judges here in Deschutes County displaying honor, courage and commitment and its his intention to continue these high standards.

Temporary Closure on Sisters Ranger District this Weekend

The closure is to allow officials to use explosives to remove the last remaining concrete dam on Whychus Creek.


The area wil  be closed to the public beginning Sunday at 5 P.M. originally it was thought explosives would not be needed, but upon further review it was determined they would be.


Once the dam is removed, 13 miles of spawning and rearing habitat for Chinook Salmon, steelhead and trout will be restored in Whychus Creek.

Republican Candidates for November Races at Crooked River Ranch this Saturday

The annual event for Republcian candidates will be held this Saturday.


Such candidates as Greg Walden, Gubernatorial candidate Dennis Richardson and Senate candidates Monica Wehby will be there.


Kate Adams with Crook County Republicans says it gives people a chance to mingle with the candidates.


"This all started in '06 as a remembrance of 9/11 and its grown to a Republican political party rally.  Originally we had speakers and had 60 to 70 people and called it steaks and old fashioned politics back then and now its grown into something bigger."


The event is free and will be this Saturday September 6th from 2 to 6 at MacPherson Park.

Bend Forum Addresses the Lack of Affordable Housing Here

As housing prices continue to go up again, it is pricing more and more people out of hte market.


It was a topic of discussion during this month's League of Women Voters meeting.


Lynne McConnell with Neighbor Impact told the group they have several affordable housing complexes, but no availability.


"Housing Works currently has a dearth, a lack of affordable housing for 55 hundred in the city of Bend. These are people who work here, live here and need somewhere to stay."


The working poor often live at the Bethlehem Inn, the area's homeless shelter, or in rural areas like Gilchrist or LaPine that have cheaper housing, but they have to fund larger transportation costs.


Jim Long is the Affordable Housing Manager for the City of Bend.


He says the current median home price in Bend is 343-thousand dollars.


"So if you really want to play with the numbers.  If you can afford to put ten percent down, it would be 34 thousand dollars and say you get a five percent loan, maybe, maybe  not.  Your payments will be two thousand dollars a month.  That means you have to make $79-thousands dollars which is 126 % of the area's median income for owning a house in this town."


The Bend City Council is slated to look at several options to increase affordable housing in the area.

Governor Kitzhaber Declares a Drought Emergency in Baker County

Dry conditions continue to plague the state, resulting in water shortages, low stream flows and increased fire risk.


The Governor's drought declaration for Baker County allows increased flexibility in how water is managed to ensure that limited supplies are used effectively.


The Oregon Drought Council met and determined current water conditions and future forecasts in Baker County justify a drought emergency.

Update on How Cover Oregon is Doing in Its Transition to the Federal Website

Tina Edlund gave an update on how things are going for the November 15th start date for people to enroll for health insurance again.


She says they have a new "landing page" that will help direct Oregonians where they need to go.


"But if you don't know whether you should go to Medicaid or Healthcare.gov, the landing page will help you.  We like to say there's no wrong door policy.  We want people to go there and end up in the right place."


Edlund says they have had to move more services over to the state data center sooner than originally planned since Oracle refused to offer services outside what is stipulated in the current contract.


Of course Oracle and the state are suing each other over the failed Cover Oregon website.

Woman Ordered To Pay $7.9 Million In Restitution For Arson

(Portland, OR)  --  A Warm Springs woman, who prosecutors say started a brush fire because her bored firefighter friends needed work, will be paying for that mistake for the rest of her life.  Twenty-three-year-old Sadie Renee Johnson has been ordered by a federal judge to pay a minimum of 50 dollars a month until she pays off the seven-point-nine-million dollars it cost to fight the brush fire, which grew into a full-blown wildfire that scorched more than 51-thousand acres in central Oregon last year.  Prosecutors say Johnson posted a Facebook message saying she had started the fire, which devastated land on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation.  Johnson was also sentenced to 18 months behind bars and will be required to spend an additional six months at an in-patient drug-and-alcohol center.

Bend Chamber Holds Deschutes County Commissioner Debate

The Bend Chamber hosted the event that included KBND'S Kelly Bleyer as one of the moderators.


The debate started with opening statements.


First, Tony Debone.


"My priorites are jobs and the economy and cost effective government as well as protecting our natural resources. I'm open and honest and I'm a family man.  I'm a smal  business owner with a high tech background.  I've produced effective and proven leadership."


His democratic challenger, Jodie Barram is currently on the Bend City Council and wants to help run the county.


"I'm asking you to elect me because we need a commissioner who represents the whole county and is willing to lead giving full time attention to serving you.  I've lived in Terrebonne, Redmond, Bend and Sunriver so I understand the diversity.  I served first on the Planning Commission and then city council where I've been elected Mayor Pro Tem two times, recognizing my collaborative leadership style."


The canddiates also discussed the importance of OSU Cascades, funding for mental health and how they would manage smart growth.


On the issue of OSU Cascades, Councilor Barram has been critical of the county not doing enough.


"I think the county could have shown stronger leadership through partnerships with cities.  And not just with OSU Cascades but COCC which has a new technology center in Redmond.  Funding opportunities for higher education are going to be critical."


Incumbent Commissioner Tony DeBone believes the commission was prudent with the county's money when it comes to OSU Cascades.


"As commissioners we did have the chance to open the people's pocketbook for the philanthropy funds.  But we know with the site at the Simpson roundabout, the county is going to deal with this for many years."


When asked what would surprise people to know about them, Councilor Barram says she has five tattoos and Commissioner DeBone admits he cuts and bales hay, driving a tractor once a year for fun.





Hearings Officer Approves Plan for OSU Cascades Site on Bend's Westside

The officer heard public testimony from more than 200 proponents and opponents back in June in Bend.


Opponents wanted to see the colegee present a master plan for future growth, but the hearings officer ruled that wasn't required until the college buys more  land.  They currently own a ten acre parcel at southwest Century and Chandler.


OSU Cascades Vice President Becky Johnson is happy with the decision.


"Very relieved, very optimsitic and excited that we are finally getting around to building a campus, something the community has wanted for three decades.  I know there are more processes invovled in this, but it's a great first step."


"I want to reiterate that our goal is to be a good neighbor.  That doesn't mean that we'll stop listening.  We are moving forward on a campus and hopefully neighbors will be active participants in that planning."


The opposition to OSU Cascades has said in the past it would appeal if the decision did not go in their favor, so they have twelve days to do that.


Any appeal would be heard by the Bend City Council.

Several Small Grass Fires Crop Up on the South Side of Bend

The fires broke out just after 4:30 P.M. They occurred off of Highway 97 and the Baker Road overpass and China Hat Road.


The Deschutes County Sheriff's Office says a motor home's faulty exhaust system triggered the fires.  Apparently burning material from the exhaust was blown to the shoulder of the highway causing the fires.


Traffic was diverted off of northbound 97 for two hours.


The operator of the motor home fully cooperated with the investigation and no charges have been filed against him.

Bend Woman Faces Assault Charges Involving a 21 Month Old Little Girl

The girl was taken to the St. Charles Emergency Room with multiple injuries that doctors felt were not accidental.


28 year old Sarah Hendriks of Bend was the caretaker for the child at the time the child received the injuries.  


Police say after the child received the injuries, Hendiriks failed to provide medical attention to her.


Hendriks is lodged in the Deschutes County jail on 100-thousand dollars bail.


She will face asault in the first degree and criminal mistreatment in the first degree charges.

St. Charles Board Approves 16 Million Dollars of Improvements to Madras Hospital

It will add 26 thousand square feet to the facility and enhance outpatient and primary care services.


The 25 bed critical access hospital serves 21-thousand people in Madras and the surrounding communities.


The renovation will improve the hospital's current small laboratory, will expand the number of beds in the Emergency Department and the number of operating rooms.


The work is slated for construction in May of 2015.


The 16 million dollars for the project will be partially financed by bonds and fulfills the hospital's commitment to the Madras community to upgrade the hospital.

OSU Cascades Decision released

City of Bend issues decision on 10-acre site application for new campus 

BEND, Ore. – Oregon State University – Cascades today took a step closer to developing a four-year undergraduate campus on a 10-acre parcel it owns in southwest Bend, with the approval of a site plan application by the City of Bend’s hearings officer.

Approval of the plan by Hearings Officer Ken Helm includes certain conditions recommended by the City’s planning department, including public road crossing improvements and parking monitoring enhancements.  The hearings officer’s review process included public meetings that took place in early June, when Helm heard input from about 250 community members who testified or submitted written comments. 

Plans for the campus site, which is located at the intersection of Southwest Century and Southwest Chandler avenues, include plans for buildings for academic space, dining and student housing, as well as for outdoor gathering spaces, parking and pathways.  The facilities will accommodate a maximum of 1,960 students, faculty and staff, which reflects an additional 849 students than are currently taking classes from OSU-Cascades.

“We appreciate the City’s and Mr. Helm’s thorough review of our application, as well as the extensive community input regarding the site plan,” said OSU-Cascades Vice President Becky Johnson.

Kelly Sparks, associate vice president for finance and strategic planning, who has led both the application effort on behalf of the branch campus and many of the community planning meetings said, “We look forward to engaging in continued community collaboration as we develop the comprehensive undergraduate and research institution that has been long sought by Central Oregon residents and regional leaders.”

OSU-Cascades officials anticipate the new campus will open in fall 2016 for undergraduates.  Graduate programs will be conducted at the Graduate & Research Center, which is located a half-mile from the new undergraduate campus.  University officials plan to accommodate the first freshmen in fall 2015 using classrooms in both Cascades Hall, where undergraduates currently take classes, and in the Graduate & Research Center while construction occurs on the new campus site.

“The site approval marks another exciting step towards a four-year university for Bend and Central Oregon,” said Johnson.


OSU Cascades Craft Brewery Workshop

OSU-Cascades hosts second PACE craft brewery startup workshop

Oregon State University's Professional and Continuing Education (PACE) is offering a second Craft Brewery Startup Workshop beginning September 2014 at OSU-Cascades in Bend. Participants will learn how to start and run a successful brewery from industry professionals.  Instructors includes professionals from Ninkasi Brewing Company of Eugene, Karnopp Peterson LLP of Bend, Portland Kettle Works and Briess Malt & Ingredients of Chilton, Wis.

“I think [the workshop] will be a good holistic look at what it really takes to be a part of this growing and dynamic industry,” Ninkasi co-founder and CEO Nikos Ridge said.

Founded in 2006 by Jamie Floyd and Nikos Ridge, Ninkasi Brewing Company continues to grow from its first batch of Total Domination IPA, to two brewhouses, a 55-barrel and a 90-barrel brewhouse, located in Eugene, Ore.  Ninkasi’s Flagship beers—Total Domination IPA, Tricerahops Double IPA, Believer Double Red, Oatis Oatmeal Stout, and Vanilla Oatis Oatmeal Stout—are sold throughout Oregon; Alaska; California; Idaho; Montana; Washington; Nevada; and Vancouver, British Columbia. The brewery remains privately-owned.

In the upcoming workshop, Ridge and Floyd will lead a day of lessons and host the final discussion panel where Ninkasi professionals will share their experiences and answer questions about the brewery business, processes and culture.

Participants will have the opportunity to network with other entrepreneurs, beer enthusiasts and professional beer brewers while learning to create a sustainable business plan. The workshop will cover best practices for growing and marketing a brewery, capital and infrastructure, and current industry trends.

The inaugural workshop in 2013 attracted more than 40 students who traveled from as far away as Taiwan to take part in the five-day, immersion workshop at OSU-Cascades. Many of the participants went on to open successful brewery startups and distribution businesses.

Participant Kevin Cuffe of Fort Point Beer Company in San Francisco wrote in a recent email, “In short, we are pleased with our progress and consider that the Craft Brewery Startup Workshop was an enormously useful step in our concept, planning and execution processes.”

For more information, or to register for the Craft Brewery Startup Workshop, go to pace.oregonstate.edu/brewerystartup, email learn@oregonstate.edu or call PACE at 541-737-4197.


Bend Broadband Merger Update, News Release

MADISON, Wis. (Sept. 2, 2014)—TDS Telecom, a subsidiary of Telephone and Data Systems, Inc. [NYSE: TDS], announces the completion of the purchase of substantially all of the assets of BendBroadband, a cable and broadband company headquartered in Bend, Oregon, effective September 1, 2014, for a purchase price of $261 million.

In May, Telephone and Data Systems announced its intention to acquire BendBroadband in Central Oregon pending regulatory approvals, which have been received. TDS Telecom will manage the acquired BendBroadband businesses.

“BendBroadband is an exceptional company,” states Mark Barber, vice president of Cable Operations for TDS Telecom. “BendBroadband customers should continue to expect the same great products and services, along with the strong local traditions BendBroadband has established.”

Transition teams have been anticipating the announcement and working to prepare both organizations for a successful start. TDS Telecom is focused on supporting the nearly 300 BendBroadband employees who have now joined the company. “Working together to implement a successful integration within the TDS organization is a top priority,” adds Barber.

In 2013, BendBroadband reported annual revenues of $70 million. BendBroadband businesses, including The Vault™ and Zolo Media, offer an extensive range of broadband, fiber connectivity, cable television and telephone services for thousands of commercial and residential customers. OneNeck® IT Solutions, a TDS company, plans to integrate The Vault into its portfolio of data centers across the U.S.

“Our success will be fueled by a geographic region that is exploding with business growth and residential development. It’s the hot spot of Central Oregon,” said David A. Wittwer, president and CEO, TDS Telecom. “I believe the BendBroadband businesses have significant potential to deliver increased returns over time and the team of talented employees in Bend will help us expand our cable operations and expertise in other states as well.”

16 Million Dollar Hospital renovation in Madras unveiled


Sept. 2, 2014


St. Charles board of directors approves $16 million renovation to Madras hospital


BEND, Ore. — The St. Charles Health System board of directors has approved a $16 million renovation to St. Charles Madras that will add 26,000 square feet to the facility and enhance outpatient and primary care services.


The 25-bed critical access hospital serves 21,000 people in Madras and surrounding communities. But the facility—built in 1967—does not meet current standards of care. Some of the most pressing problems include:


·         The hospital’s laboratory, which is located in an aging modular unit that is too small to accommodate staff and equipment.

·         An emergency department that is only equipped with seven beds separated by curtains.

·         Only one operating room.

·         HVAC, plumbing and electrical systems that are original to the 1967 building, and in need of significant upgrades.

·         Multiple entryways that have resulted from numerous additions over the years, making it difficult for patients to identify a main entrance.


Slated for construction in May 2015, the addition will include a new main entrance, a new combined operating room and emergency department, a new imaging department and laboratory. The existing infrastructure will also undergo upgrades.


St. Charles Madras and Pioneer Memorial Hospital CEO Jeanie Gentry said other options were considered, including renovating the existing space and building an entirely new facility. A renovation, however, would cost more than new construction and would interrupt critical services. And a new facility would cost about twice as much.


“After studying the needs of our community and the problems with the St. Charles Madras facility, we decided that building an addition as part of a longer-term plan was the most practical and economical choice,” Gentry said. “This renovation will help us improve efficiency and focus mainly on outpatient and primary care services, rather than inpatient volume.”


The Madras facility has been studied by architecture firms a number of times over the last decade. Master site plans were developed, and an entire replacement facility was proposed for HUD financing in 2011. This information, along with work performed in the last six months by The Neenan Company, was taken into consideration when identifying options for a building plan.


The $16 million for the project—which will be partially financed by bonds—fulfills St. Charles’ commitment to the Madras community to upgrade the hospital as part of the asset transfer agreement with the Mountain View Hospital District.


“The need for facility improvements has been recognized for years,” said James A. Diegel, FACHE, president and CEO of St. Charles Health System. “This renovation to St. Charles Madras is truly going to enhance the quality and safety of patient care, and serve the community for years to come.”


About St. Charles Health System

St. Charles Health System, Inc., headquartered in Bend, Ore., owns and operates St. Charles Bend, Madras and Redmond, and leases and operates Pioneer Memorial Hospital. It also owns family care clinics in Bend, Madras, Prineville, Redmond and Sisters. St. Charles is a private, not-for-profit Oregon corporation and is the largest employer in Central Oregon with more than 3,400 caregivers. In addition, there are more than 350 active medical staff members and nearly 200 visiting medical staff members who partner with the health system to provide a wide range of care and service to our communities.





Semi-Truck load on fire. HWY 97 North of Madras closed both directions.

Jefferson County 9-1-1- operators confirm an accident involving a semi truck that is hauling paper.
Apparently the paper is on fire and it's impacting traffic in that area.
It's north of Madras on highway 97. Emergency crews are closing the highway there in both directions-
it's at milepost 83 - which is roughly 8 miles north of Madras.


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