BEND, OR -- Bend Police say a Corvallis man failed to stop at a stop sign, leading to a crash that tied up traffic on Neff Road during much of Friday's morning commute.
BEND, OR -- Bend Police say a Corvallis man failed to stop at a stop sign, leading to a crash that tied up traffic on Neff Road during much of Friday's morning commute.
SISTERS, OR -- The Sisters City Council is undergoing some changes, with three Councilors stepping down within the last four months. Amy Burgstahler was selected to replace Bill Hall, who resigned after just one month on the council due to the hostile political climate.
Burgstahler tells KBND she's looking forward to the new challenge, despite the recent upheaval. "I'd like to be a part of helping Sisters remain competitive and rich in opportunity, but also maintain that balance with exceptional levels of safety and overall livability. We do have a great level of that in Sisters."
A former reporter for the Sacramento Bee, Burgstahler moved to Sisters about a year ago. She says she's not intimidated by the controversy. "I'm not really that concerned. I'm just going to do the best job I can do. We've got a lot of really fine people serving, and a good team. I'm just excited about moving forward and helping to keep the community positive. There are a few people who tend to want to be negative, but overall, the community is just tremendous and there's a lot of positivity."
Second term Sisters Councilor Wendy Holzman resigned last week, citing the need to care for her daughter who was in a serious bicycle accident; but she also admitted the climate on the council can be challenging. Her replacement has not yet been selected.
REDMOND, OR -- The head of Oregon's Department of Veterans Affairs will visit with local vets Friday in Redmond, to hear about issues they face.
Redmond VFW Commander Judith Burger expects Director Cameron Smith will hear a lot about healthcare. "I think we're going to be talking about the Veterans Care Initiative, the card that has come out that's supposed to allow us get medical care outside of the VA under certain conditions, and how that's working or not working."
Burger also told KBND she'd like to discuss the recent appointment of an LGBT coordinator for the VA. She doesn't think the position is necessary. "I should be able to walk into any Veterans Service office and know that my unique needs are going to be represented by whoever it is that helps me. I shouldn't have to go to 'this person does women veterans only.' Every veteran of every generation has unique needs."
Before he was appointed to the post by Governor John Kitzhaber in 2013, Smith served as a Marine in three tours of duty in Iraq.
Friday's meeting in Redmond is from 10 a.m. until noon, at the VFW on Veterans Way.
BEND, OR -- Bend Police arrested a 47-year-old Bend transient in connection with Thursday's early morning fire that caused $265,000 in damage to an office building on Shevlin Hixon Drive. Investigators say Eric Noell broke into the building and started the fire from the inside.
ROSEBURG, OR -- Wildfire crews are battling two large fires in Douglas County. The Stouts Creek Fire, located 11 miles east of Canyonville, was reported yesterday afternoon, and grew from several hundred acres to about 6-thousand acres in a matter of hours. A Red Cross shelter has been established for residents of several neighborhoods that have been evacuated near the blaze.
Governor Kate Brown invoked the Emergency Conflagration Act Thursday night, in response to the Stouts Fire, saying the fire threatens about 50 homes and another 300 are at risk. In a statement released Friday morning, the Governor said, "As temperatures rise across Oregon this week, the Stouts Creek Fire has explosively grown amid record setting fuel conditions and extreme drought. This declaration allows us to quickly dedicate more resources to the fire in the effort to save lives and property." The declaration authorizes the State Fire Marshal to mobilize structural firefighters and equipment to assist local resources battling the fire.
REDMOND, OR -- City officials revealed plans for the historic building that will become Redmond’s next City Hall, Wednesday night. Neighbors got their first glimpse at an open house, and had a chance to ask questions and provide feedback to the city and architects.
BEND, OR -- The American Red Cross hopes to capitalize on recent nationwide attention given to the risk of a large-scale earthquake in Oregon, with a special campout event, offering Oregonians a chance to test their own personal emergency readiness.
LA PINE, OR -- A Tigard man is in the Deschutes County Jail for allegedly eluding several state troopers multiple times throughout the state, Wednesday. According to Oregon State Police, the first trooper attempted to stop 27-year-old Tyler Harp on Highway 31 in Lake County, but he and a passenger took off on his motorcycle, speeding at 120 then 149 miles per hour.
BEND, OR -- Central Oregon’s only wildlife rescue facility is bursting at the seams, this summer. Dr. Jeff Cooney, full-time volunteer veterinarian and President of High Desert Wildlife Rescue tells KBND they're taking in five to 10 new animals each day, right now. "With all the nesting birds and all the mammals are having their litters. It’s a beautiful time of year, people are outdoors and we see a lot of people encountering wildlife. Many times there are babies out there that need to be rescued, but there are other times those babies are better off with their parents." Dr. Cooney says it's better to contact them before touching an animal if you're not sure whether it actually needs rescuing.
Dr. Cooney says, despite the rise in patients, they try not to turn any away. "If there’s a way for us to make space, we do. Sometimes, the kitchen floor where we do food prep might have an osprey in a playpen, then a great blue heron in another one, and a porcupine in a third one. It looks a little crazy in there sometimes, but that’s actually a good way to keep an animal safe and quiet and protected while it’s healing."
The non-profit opened its facility east of Bend two years ago, and saw about 200 animals that first year. "Last year we saw 900. This year, we’re not even through the year, and we’re already at 900. We’re probably going to get up to 1,500 animals this year, maybe 2,000. We really can’t predict. I think the more people know about us, the more people call, the more animals we get and the more help we need," Says Dr. Cooney.
He and his volunteers respond to wildlife calls 24/7, and work with local law enforcement, Fish and Wildlife and Oregon State Police, along with the general public. Animals are treated for injuries or illness and returned to the wild, when possible.
"Iggy" is a flying squirrel who lost his paws in a wildfire and wasn't able to be returned to his natural habitat.
He has become the mascot for High Desert Wildlife Rescue.
TERREBONNE, OR -- Redmond firefighters say oil-soaked rags are likely to blame for a Terrebonne vehicle fire, and they say the result could’ve been much worse. A work van filled with wood stains and tools was parked next to the owner’s Fifth Street home.
BEND, OR -- Bend Fire officials continue to investigate the cause of an early morning fire that severely damaged an office building in southwest Bend.
Firefighters responded to SW Shevlin Hixon Dr. near Colorado, just before 1 a.m. and found flames coming from under the first floor balcony. The blaze quickly spread to the second floor.
REDMOND, OR -- With a year and a half left in her term, Ginny McPherson has resigned from the Redmond City Council. McPherson has served on the Council since 2013, and recently accepted a temporary position with Redmond’s Community Development Department.
In a written statement, McPherson said, "What I have enjoyed most about serving on City Council is the involvement I have had in shaping Redmond. My new position affords me the opportunity to increase that involvement in a very hands-on manner."
REDMOND, OR -- When the Deschutes County Fair opens Wednesday morning, only a handful of Redmond businesses are likely to benefit from the increase in traffic. Straw Hat Pizza, located just off Highway 97 on the way to the fairgrounds, expects it'll be the busiest week of the year.
BEND, OR -- 12:30 p.m.: The Bend Fire Department is on scene of a house fire in southeast Bend.
The blaze was originally reported as a garage fire just before 12:30 p.m. on Grand Targhee Drive, near Wasatch Mountain Lane. The fire quickly extended into the attic and nearby brush and trees.
The U.S. Forest Service and the Oregon Department of Forestry are assisting with the fire.
Fire officials ask people not to come into the area, as it is an active and ongoing operation.
UPDATE: Bend firefighters managed to keep the fire confined to the garage and attic. The fire broke out just after noon, near the Bend Golf and Country Club. Crews stopped the blaze before it spread to the living quarters, but it destroyed the roof.
Investigators believe the fire started with lithium batteries plugged in to charge in the garage. Damage is estimated at $200,000.
BEND, OR -- The Murphy Road project on the south end of Bend is about halfway done. The $27 million project is designed to make travel from the west side of Bend to the east side easier, and improve access to Third Street.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- Officials confirm the Crook and Jefferson County Sheriffs Offices received suspicious letters sent to Sheriffs Departments across Oregon. Oregon State Police and Hazardous Material teams began responding to reports of suspicious packages, Monday. In one case, the Grant County Sheriff was reportedly rushed to the hospital with a rash.
The FBI confirms field testing showed no toxic substances on any of the more than 20 letters or envelopes, nor was there evidence of any powder found. OSP, FBI and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service continue to investigate the letters' origin.
OSP warns those who receive suspicious mail to be cautious, especially if it contains excessive postage or tape, no return address, or anything else unusual.
Deschutes County Sheriff Shane Nelson says his office has not received anything suspicious, yet.
Photo Courtesy, Tillamook County Pioneer
BEND, OR -- The owner of Deschutes Brewery participated in a video conference Monday, with U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI). The two have co-sponsored legislation that could provide tax relief for craft brewers, cider makers, vintners and distillers.
Gary Fish, founder of Bend-based Deschutes Brewery, says excise taxes are an added burden to the industry. "We get to pay excise taxes simply based on our production. One of the features of this legislation is that it relieves a percentage of that tax burden, freeing up capital for these small entrepreneurial businesses to continue to grow."
Fish added, "Craft beer is healthy across the country and in Oregon. That's something we're very proud of. This isn't a reward for that health, this is an incentive to continue to drive this industry to greater heights; to get these businesses to invest more money back into their businesses. Really, this is something that the cost is nominal, the benefit is substantial."
LA PINE, OR -- It's still unclear whether a majority of south county residents support moving forward with the formation of a sewer district. The Deschutes County Planning Commission held a meeting to gauge public opinion, last week. But, Planning Manager Peter Gutowsky tells KBND public opinion remains split. "There's been a long history of Deschutes County and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality addressing groundwater quality in the La Pine sub-basin. I think the real challenge comes to this isn't an imminent public health hazard, it's a slow moving situation."
Supporters say a sewer district would help reduce the risk of groundwater contamination from septic systems used in the area. Gutowsky says, "I think Deschutes County, the DEQ and Land Conservation and Development are trying to provide flexibility so that if the vulnerability persists, property owners have the ability to rely on different wastewater treatments than just septic systems."
The Planing Commission will meet again August 13 to discuss whether to ask for an exception from the state, which would allow for the creation of a sewer district. The commission ultimately will offer a recommendation to the full Deschutes County Board of Commissioners.
Many in La Pine remain concerned about the potential cost of the project.
BEND, OR -- The Oregon Department of Transportation reports a dramatic jump in traffic fatalities this year, compared to 2014. According to statistics obtained by KBND, the state has seen a 44% increase in fatal crashes, so far this year.
BEND, OR -- Consumer groups are warning used car shoppers to be aware of scam artists trying to unload cars damaged in floods that ravaged the south earlier this summer. Sophie Dichter, with the Oregon Better Business Bureau, tells KBND it’s not unusual for criminals to take advantage of natural disasters in another part of the country. "Usually when you hear about flooding in Texas, you don’t think it’s going to effect us here in the Northwest, even in Bend. But, that’s exactly what scammers do. They take damaged cars and do 'Title Washing.' They re-title it from different states, like from Texas to Oregon, and it makes the car appear clean."
BEND, OR -- Bend Fire crews responded to two destructive structure fires, Monday morning. The first was spotted by a passerby just before 5:30 a.m. at a commercial building near Ninth and Wilson. Investigators say the blaze started when an extension cord was pinched by equipment inside the Eagle Mountain Fellowship church.
BEND, OR -- Despite Public Use Restrictions, Forest Service officials report a troubling increase in the number of human-caused fires in Central Oregon.
Kassidy Kern, with the Deschutes National Forest, tells KBND they take the extreme fire conditions very seriously. "We were at 10% of our normal snow pack heading into the fire season, then we had a very dry spring – with the exception of a few thunderstorms that came through in May. So, our brush is about one to two months ahead of their normal moisture levels, and our sagebrush in particular is currently at its lowest moisture level in 7 years. So, we look at those fuel moisture contents and we realize those forest fuels are really receptive to fire right now."
BEND, OR -- Job growth remains strong in Deschutes County, especially in the tourism industry. Regional Economist Damon Runberg says it's one of the region's dominant fields. He tells KBND the three fastest growing sectors were Leisure/Hospitality, Accommodations/Food Services and Retail Trade. "We are at all time records of employment in Deschutes County for those kind of tourism jobs. Pretty much every summer over the last three, we've broken the record for summer employment in those tourism-related industries. It continues to be really strong."
But, Runberg says, "I think we're starting to see this plateau a bit, or approaching a plateau, because the growth over the last year is a little bit slower than it has been in years prior. So, I think we're starting to see a point where we're starting to hit capacity with some of those in tourism jobs, perhaps."
In June, the three primary tourism-related sectors accounted for more than 31,000 jobs in Deschutes County.
BEND, OR -- Three local artists were selected by Bend's Arts and Beautification Commission to adorn four storm drains with messages addressing the connection with the Deschutes River.
Artist and river guide David Kinker began work Friday on two storm drains next to Harmon Park. “The river is what we’re really talking about and what we put into it. And keep an awareness that you can’t just throw your oil out in the street or anything like that and expect to have a river full of fish. Because it’s a metaphor for life.”
BEND, OR -- A Bend man is accused of driving under the influence, in connection with an early Saturday morning hit and run near Southwest 15th and Galveston.
BEND, OR -- A Canadian bicyclist had to be rescued after crashing in the Phil's Trailhead area west of Bend. Another bicyclist in the area called 9-1-1 to report that Catherine Laurendeau was injured near Kents Trail.
A Deschutes County Sheriff's deputy and Forest Service officer were nearby and hiked in about 1.5 miles and confirmed Laurendau was not able to walk out under her own power.
Two Search and Rescue volunteers and one SAR deputy responded with ATVs and assisted Bend Fire in transporting her to the trailhead, where she was loaded into an ambulance and taken to St. Charles Bend with non-life threatening injuries.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- A Washington couple suffered serious injuries when their motorcycle struck a deer in Crook County, Saturday night. According to the Sheriff's Office, 66-year-old Michael Freeman was driving westbound on the Ochoco Highway when a deer ran into the side of the bike, causing them to crash.
Freeman's wife, 65-year-old Patricia was a passenger, and the pair was pulling a trailer at the time of the crash. Michael Freeman was transported to St. Charles Bend by LifeFlight, his wife was taken to St. Charles Prineville by ground ambulance.
BEND, OR -- A Bend man was arrested early Saturday morning after his landlord was found dead. Bend Police responded to the duplex on NE Nova Loop, near 18th and Empire, just after midnight. Officers discovered 30-year-old Andrew Cordes deceased by gunshot wounds inside the home of Daniel Norquist.
Investigators say the two were neighbors, and the 34-year-old Norquist rented the neighboring unit from Cordes. Cordes was reportedly in the duplex with Norquist for over two hours prior to the shooting.
Norquist was detained at the scene and subsequently arrested for murder. One neighbor tells KBND News the two may have been arguing because the victim was trying to evict the suspect.
The investigation is ongoing.
SISTERS, OR -- A Lane County man was killed in a rollover crash outside of Sisters, early Friday morning. According to Oregon State Police, 35-year-old Troy Crabb was eastbound on Highway 20 when his 1996 Honda left the road and struck a tree just west of Sisters.
Emergency crews responded at about 6 a.m. and discovered the Blue River man deceased at the scene.
OSP troopers believe fatigue may have been a contributing factor, although the investigation is ongoing.
BEND, OR -- Bend-La Pine Schools hope to renew funding to continue two popular lunch programs. Terry Cashman, Director of Child Nutrition for the district says a grant is set to expire this year, which pays for the two-year-old programs. One, he calls Pork to Fork: "We had the kids from Mt. View who were actually raising pigs for the program. Then, once the pigs were ready to be – I guess you would call it ‘harvested’ – we’d have the kids at both Bend High culinary and Mt. View culinary butcher them for us; then we would utilize the products in our program."
Another new program. called Boat to School, provides Oregon seafood for Bend-La Pine student lunches. "We actually had sushi grade tuna we’re providing the kids through this grant, it’s just a phenomenal product and a really tasty treat, once you get to try these things. If you think about where we are in Bend, we have a pretty amazing food culture. So, kids are exposed to a wide variety of foods that they may not be in some other areas."
REDMOND, OR -- A quarter of a million people are expected to attend the 95-year-old Deschutes County Fair, next week. That's about 8,000 cars filling parking lots. But, there is a way to avoid fighting traffic.
BEND, OR -- Police body cameras have been in the spotlight, lately, whether it’s catching officers behaving badly elsewhere in the country, or local agencies dropping camera programs in light of a new state law. But, Deschutes County Sheriff Shane Nelson says it’s technology his department won’t be using anytime soon. "We had looked into body cameras because you always want to be aware of the options that are out there. But, the body cam issue in the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office came down to: we try to be as transparent as we can be and we have an excellent working relationship with the citizens we serve. We do hold ourselves accountable and we very much know the citizens who pay their tax dollars hold us accountable. I felt that sometimes body cameras don’t necessarily tell the whole story."
BEND, OR -- In the past couple of days, the Central Oregon Drug Enforcement (CODE) Team has arrested more than half a dozen people suspected of selling drugs in the region. Wednesday afternoon, officers arrested a Bend man in the Deschutes County Health Services parking lot on NE Courtney. He's accused of illegally selling prescription drugs.
BEND, OR -- Oregon's Fish Passage Task Force meets in Bend today. The group gathers together quarterly to advise on fish passage policies and issues, to help fish better connect with habitats where they can thrive.
Greg Apke, with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, tells KBND they'll also examine local dams. "The sites we're going to be visiting near Bend include the North Unit Dam, Mirror Pond Dam and the Colorado Street Fish Passage Project. And, on Saturday, we'll be visiting Opal Springs Dam as well as the Pelton Round Butte Dam facility." He says obstructions can sometimes prohibit fish from getting to important waterways. "For example, the Oregon Department of Transportation who owns thousands of culverts that are impeding fish passage. The cost associated with fixing a magnitude that large is millions, if not billions of dollars."
They'll also get a progress report. "As an overview, I think we're doing great. We've got a long way to go. We have made marked improvements throughout the state in addressing fish passage barriers, but one of our primary limitations is funding, as is always the case. While we've done great things to date, we have a lot of things yet to do," Apke says.
The public is welcome to attend the meeting at the Holiday Inn Express from 8-2 p.m. Friday. A question and answer session will begin at 1 p.m.
LA PINE, OR -- A La Pine woman was seriously injured in a crash Thursday night in Northern Klamath County. The head-on crash occurred after Oregon State police received a report of a pickup driving erratically in the southbound shoulder.
BEND, OR -- When a truck slammed into a power pole in northeast Bend early Monday morning, many Bend Broadband customers questioned why the impact was so widespread.
BEND, OR -- Continued hot and dry conditions mean the region remains under extreme fire danger. That means if people are careless, fires can start very easily.
Deputy Fire Marshal Dan Derlacki tells KBND everyone needs to know what is and isn't allowed during these conditions. "Burning, especially debris burning is closed throughout Central Oregon and also in Bend. That includes burn barrels, trash, yard debris or burning of grass. It's not allowed this time of year due to the serious nature of how dry it is and how quickly that fire can get out of control."
Derlacki recommends spark-generating work be done by mid-morning to reduce the threat of fire. "We actually had two lawn mowers, people mowing grass fields and the blades hit rocks and it started grass on fire. And, a contractor was working on doing some demolition and using a saw to cut through metal. Those sparks landed on combustibles and caused a fire there."
And, he hopes parents will use this time to talk to kids about how dangerous fire is. "We had several kids on the north end of town misusing fire and caught multiple bits of brush on fire and it spread. They ended up with citations for reckless burning."
Regulations vary between jurisdictions. Derlacki says if you aren't sure what is allowed in your area, you can call your local, state or federal fire agency with questions.
REDMOND, OR -- The state Housing Council has approved funds for 13 affordable housing projects around the state. In Central Oregon, Housing Works will use those funds to oversee two new developments for seniors in the Redmond area.
Tom Kemper, Housing Works Executive Director, tells KBND there is a big need. "It's creating 48 new homes and 8 newly rehabbed homes for residents here in Redmond, which is a big deal. Some of them are probably in single-family homes that they've been in forever. Presumably, that will create an opportunity for young families to buy into a house or rent a house."
The bigger project will be a four-story building adjacent to the Lowe's parking lot off of Veteran's Way. The rehabbed property is about a block away, and is an eight-unit development built in 1977.
Kemper says now that the funding is available, it's full steam ahead. "Hopefully we'll start construction by the end of the year or the beginning of 2016, with the idea that we can have the property built by the end of the year, 2016." He adds, "It's going to be a very nice property. Our rents will vary between $428 to $557; they will be very attractive from a renter's standpoint." To be eligible, applicants must earn less than $30,000 a year.
BEND, OR -- Nurses at St. Charles Medical Center in Bend have been working with an expired union contract since the end of June. Now both sides have agreed to bring in a federal mediator to help find common ground.
BEND, OR -- In the past month, the Bend Fire Department has responded to eight gas leaks, seven of those just in the past week. While it may seem like a sudden spike, Mark Hanson with Cascade Natural Gas tells KBND the total number of accidents is similar to this time last year. "The number of line hits is kind of in the same neighborhood, but there have been a lot more line locates this year, so it’s definitely a busier construction time, or people doing activities that require line locates. There were about 160 more line locates from April to June this year, than last year, and that resulted in one additional line strike than we had last year."
BEND, OR -- Bend Police are investigating a late night crash that critically injured a Colorado man. Emergency crews responded to SE 3rd Street and Cleveland at about 10:40 p.m. Wednesday, where 22-year-old John Weiss was struck by a car.
BEND, OR -- A Deschutes County Sheriff’s deputy has been honored with a prestigious award from the state police academy. Sheriff Shane Nelson says Shadoe Majetich is not the first in his family to receive this award. "He won the Victor G. Atiyeh award. It’s a tremendous award for the most outstanding student at the academy. I went over, along with Captain Utter, to watch the graduation. It was a wonderful surprise to hear his name read when he won that award. Ironically, his father won the very same award when he went through the academy."
Photo courtesy of Deschutes County Sheriff's Office
r-l: Sheriff Nelson, Dep. Majetich, Capt. Utter
MAUPIN, OR -- A Clackamas County man was killed in a motorcycle crash west of Maupin, Tuesday night. According to Oregon State Police, 48-year-old Guy Medgin was westbound on Highway 216 when he failed to negotiate a curve.
A witness told investigators Medgin was traveling at a high rate of speed prior to the 8 p.m. crash. The Mulino man was ejected from his motorcycle and was pronounced dead by emergency crews at the scene.
The investigation continues, with the assistance of the Wasco County District Attorney's Office and the Wasco County Sheriff's Department.
BEND, OR -- Several surveys have already been conducted on the new Westside location for OSU-Cascades. And now, the opposition group is conducting its own study. Truth in Site is asking nine questions, soliciting public input on the location.
Previous community surveys have shown a majority support the site off Chandler Ave. and Mt. Washington Drive. But, Marie Matthews with Truth in Site doesn't believe those surveys are an accurate reflection of public opinion. "There are an awful lot of people in Bend who are concerned about the site. There are at least three other viable locations that are located closer to Highway 97, that offer more land- economically buildable land. Since there are alternative sites, we wanted to give Central Oregonians an opportunity to weigh-in on what they would like to see for a brand new university campus," Matthews tells KBND.
She says they're asking, "If they feel the campus is in a good location for Central Oregon, or would it be more accessible if it was located closer to Highway 97? Were they were given adequate opportunity to participate in the site selection process for this new university campus? Then, we're asking them if they would like for OSU Cascades to actually cease development of the 10-acre proposed campus and work with the community to select a campus location that would be optimal for Central Oregonians and the university?"
Truth in Site will offer the survey on its website until August 7, after which time they plan to release the results to the public.
METOLIUS, OR -- A Jefferson County rancher suffered thousands of dollars in losses when water was shut off to his cattle, last week. According to Jefferson County deputies, someone turned off the water that feeds a number of cattle troughs near Alma Lane and Elbe Drive, west of Metolius.
McMINNVILLE, OR -- Howard Hughes’ famous H-4 Hercules flying boat - most commonly known as the "Spruce Goose" - has called McMinnville’s Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum home since 1993.
The museum’s Melissa Grace announced Tuesday, an agreement with the Aero Club of Southern California to keep the giant wooden plane in Oregon. She says the museum will take title of the historic plane in a matter of weeks. "The museum actually bought the aircraft in 1992 under a long-term payment. The Aero Club uses the payments to fund a scholarship program, and it's annual presentation of the Howard Hughes Memorial Award to outstanding aviation and aerospace pioneers."
PRINEVILLE, OR -- A new state law requiring certain mandates for law enforcement agencies that use body cams could bring one such local program to an end.
Prineville police have been using body cams for several years, and Interim chief Les Stiles is a big fan. But the new law requires the blurring of faces on video released to the public, and Chief stiles tells KBND the requirement could place a big financial burden on the department. “Everything that I’ve been able to find out so far is that for every hour of video we’re going to release it could take three to potentially four hours to blur out any faces for privacy concern. That’s the problem. Because if it comes down to having a cop on the street or a technician that’s being paid almost compatible wages I’m going to go for the cop every day in Prineville.”
Stiles says more data storage will be required under the new law, as well. Stiles says his force already complies with 95% of the new law, which took effect last month.
MADRAS, OR -- A project to provide Madras with more affordable housing gets underway Tuesday, by Housing Works and NeighborImpact. The plan is to construct six new homes for agricultural workers.
Kelly Fisher with Housing Works tells KBND, "Some of the studies we looked at by the American Community Survey show that 42% of households in the city of Madras are rent burdened, which means they're paying more than 30% of their income on their housing. So, we think this will be a really great opportunity to get a family in; and, while they are leasing a home, they're actually getting equity in the property before they even buy it."
Those who get the new houses will pay $650 a month in rent for 10 years. After that, they can buy the house for around $125,000.
Heart of Oregon Corp's Youth Build Program will supply the labor. Youth Build participants are 16-24 year old high school dropouts who earn a high school diploma and gain construction experience in the program. Fisher says, "It's unique partnerships like this with different organizations, public and private, coming together to create affordable home ownership opportunities. We're really excited that our partners are all working together to make this happen and we look forward to doing more."
Partner groups, government officials and local youth will come together to raise the walls on a new affordable home Tuesday at 11:30 a.m. at Third and H Streets in Madras.
BEND, OR -- The Boys and Girls Clubs of Bend has doubled in size, this summer. The nonprofit is able to accommodate the increase in kids by renting more space from St. Francis on NE 27th Street.
In the past, the Bend club could only handle about 250 kids during the summer, with a long wait list. Derek Beauvais, Executive Director of the Bend club, tells KBND, "Between the two clubs, we've been able to service everyone, so we don't have a wait list right now. We have over 580 kids registered for the summer program. We're averaging over 200 at the downtown facility; and 170-200 at the St. Francis site, each day." They have doubled staffing to accommodate the growth.
Beauvais says they couldn't do it without the help of St. Francis. "Our facility use is a large ask from any organization. We needed 10 to 11 weeks of programming, 55 hours a week for up to 250 kids. There aren't a lot of facilities that have that capacity in Bend. So it did take us a full year to find a space that was a good home."
Between the two sites, he says the Boys and Girls Club of Bend is on track to serve more than a thousand children, this year.
BEND, OR -- When a semi hit a power pole in northeast Bend yesterday morning (Mon), it knocked out TV, phone and internet service to thousands of Bend Broadband customers in Redmond, Terrebonne, Sisters, Black Butte and Prineville.
BEND, OR -- Bend-based Saving Grace is praising the state Legislature’s passage of a bill last month designed to protect the privacy of sex abuse victims. The so-called “Advocate Privilege Bill” provides confidentiality protections to domestic violence and assault victim programs.
REDMOND, OR -- Redmond will soon increase its affordable housing options by two. Deschutes County Commissioners approved the projects Monday, donating two foreclosed upon properties to Housing Works and Redmond Habitat for Humanity.
James Lewis, with the Deschutes County Property and Facilities Department, told Commissioners one home needs to be renovated, while the other is an open lot. "This is a vacant property located in an existing neighborhood. It would need a new house built on it. Working with Housing Works, addressing the ownership issue, they retain ownership of the property but they're able to sell the home. The homeowner would gain equity in the home but would not be able to sell the property in its entirety. It would be retained by Housing Works so it can remain in the affordable housing stock."
The foreclosed house is located on SW Black Butte Avenue; the vacant lot is on SW Valleyview Drive. County Commissioner Tammy Baney says it's a great outcome from a bad situation. "Obviously, someone was in dire straits when those properties came back to the county. And, to be able to take those two opportunities and build those back to the county and to our residents as a way to get them back into the community, I think is the right path to take."
Housing Works and Redmond Habitat for Humanity hope to have a family in the existing house within the next couple of months. To qualify, potential homeowners must earn between $15,000 and $30,000 a year.
BEND, OR -- Last week saw the dedication of Bend’s newest park, Discovery Park, in NorthWest Crossing. And the Bend Park and Recreation District is working on a handful of other new parks, slated to open soon.
Work will soon begin on Rockridge Park in northeast Bend, adjacent to Sky View Middle School and Lava Ridge Elementary School. Pat Erwert is the Bend Park and Recreation District’s director of park services. “It’s a unique site with a lot of topography with a little picnic shelter and playground and some green space and then we’re projecting lots of trails for biking and the addition of a skate park up there as well to kind of mirror what we put in down at Ponderosa Park.” Rockridge Park has a price tag of $1.3 million.
Canal Row Park is also planned for northeast Bend. Erwert tells KBND it'll be situated on the corner of Butler Market Road and Brinson Avenue, “It’s going to be a nice little neighborhood park with neighborhood park features. It sits right on the North Unit Irrigation canal." He adds, "And then, a renovation of an existing park that’s in need of upgrade. It’s called Hillside Park on the side of Awbrey Butte.”
KLAMATH COUNTY, OR -- A cement truck driver was injured in a rollover crash near the Lake and Klamath County lines, Monday morning. La Pine Fire responded to Highway 31, along with the Outback Fire District of Klamath County and a Sunriver Fire ambulance, at about 5:15 a.m.
La Pine Fire helped extricate the driver, who was injured and trapped in the Redi-Mix truck. He was flown by Air Link to St. Charles Bend.
Highway 31 was closed for about an hour and a half while emergency crews responded. Oregon State Police continue to investigate.
BEND, OR -- A semi crash led to widespread phone and internet outages, Monday morning. At about 6 a.m. a semi truck hit a power pole at Empire Avenue and Nels Anderson. The accident tangled power, phone and fiber lines.
Cindy Tomlinson with Bend Broadband tells KBND phone, TV and internet service has been cut to Redmond, Terrebonne, Sisters, Black Butte Ranch and Prineville. Some phone customers in Bend and Sunriver are also impacted.
Repair crews are on scene, but Tomlinson says there is no estimated time for service to be restored.
KBND will continue to update this information as it becomes available.
1:00 p.m. UPDATE:
Bend Broadband says fiber lines are being spliced, but there is still no ETA for completed repairs. Some customers in Sisters and Redmond report restored service.
The outage has forced the closure of DMV offices in Bend, Madras, Prineville and Redmond. According to ODOT, the DMV is not able to service customers without power or computer connections. Officials are hopeful they will reopen on Tuesday.
BEND, OR -- The Bend City Council plans to meet with other stakeholders in the coming weeks to discuss a transportation package that could include a local gas tax. Councilors must decide by early August whether to put the issue on the November ballot.
Bend 2030 recommends building a more comprehensive transportation package with public support before moving forward. But, Bend resident Bob Brell says the time to move forward is now "I don't see this as a political issue, I'm baffled. If we want tourists to come into this community and get bounced around, they're going to think twice before coming back. And, tourists are what are funding our businesses."
Brell tells KBND, "I'm a proponent of moving forward and moving forward aggressively. I've recommended to the council in writing that we go with a 10 cent a gallon fuel charge. The financial impact is absolutely minimal on an individual and our businesses who are benefiting from good roads in our community."
The Council is considering a five cents per gallon gas tax to help fund $80 million in deferred street maintenance. Groups like the Deschutes Republicans have already come out against the idea, saying additional funds could be found through cost savings and increased revenue.
REDMOND, OR -- A motorcyclist was severely injured in a crash near the Jefferson and Crook County Line, over the weekend. A Crook County Sheriff's Sergeant found the 23-year-old Lincoln City man's bike 75 yards from the road, through a barb wire fence, just after 2:30 Saturday morning.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- A Prineville man died after he tried to flee from police early Saturday morning during a traffic stop.
Prineville Police attempted to stop 23-year-old Chaz Evans at 2:30 a.m. Saturday. Evans failed to stop at a stop sign and collided with another car. He lost control of his vehicle and hit several parked vehicles before being ejected from his pickup.
He was taken to St Charles in Bend and died while being treated for his injuries.
The driver of the other vehicle sustained non life threatening injuries and was treated at St Charles Hospital in Prineville.
This is an ongoing investigation.
BEND, OR -- Local firefighting officials say dry conditions are a couple months ahead of what's normal for this time of year -- and that concerns them.
John Allen with the Deschutes National Forest told Senator Wyden during their briefing this weekend, they're prepared for a challenging season. "Because of the low snow pack in the Cascades, obviously its a tough situation. But because off the low snow pack and the fuels drying out faster, what we will see is a longer fire season especially at the higher elevations. The season it'll go into October." Allen says usually the wildfire season is over by mid September, but he expects area agencies will be fighting wildfires into October.
So far this summer, firefighters in the region have battled more than 200 wildfires, more than half of them were human caused. Luckily 93% have been kept to less than 10 acres.
BEND, OR -- Senator Ron Wyden was briefed by local forestry officials over the weekend on how the fight against wildfires is going in the region.
Representatives from the Bureau of Land Management, the Deschutes National Forest and the Oregon Department of Forestry told the Senator the area has seen more than two hundred wildfires destroying more than 44-thousand acres. Luckily, most were kept to under ten acres.
Senator Wyden is nervous. "Oregon is less than a month into the summer and already we're looking at a terrible trifecta -- drought, high temperatures and fuel build up on the forest floor."
Senator Wyden says his legislation that would put more funds into prevention and help avoid these large infernos is gaining traction in congress -- as lawmakers realize our firefighting system is broken.
DAYVILLE, OR -- Firefighters plan to conduct burn out operations along the southern boundary of the Corner Creek Fire, which continues to burn 11 miles south of Dayville. Controlled burns will range between 400 and 600 acres in the Black Canyon Wilderness, just east of Mud Springs Campground.
Rain fell in the area over the past week, providing crews with much needed relief and moderating fire behavior. The fire remains 90% contained at 29,407 acres.
The fire was first spotted June 29, 2015 and is believed to have been started by lightning.
BEND, OR -- Central Oregon's population is expected to increase by 76% in the next 30 years. Dr. Arthur Nelson talked about the expected housing needs for the area with the Bend City Council and City Club of Central Oregon, this week.
The Professor of Planning and Real Estate Development at the University of Arizona told the groups, "A lot of people sense that Bend is a magnet for elderly retirees, and it is, certainly. But, what surprises me is the share of the population over the age of 65 is less than the national average, and slightly less than Oregon. Yes, you'll be adding more seniors moving in, but they're going to be a smaller share of the population change than the national average and the state as a whole."
"About a third of the household growth will be in the peak demand housing group - those who need homes. But that's half of what it's been in the last 20 years, so your demographic composition is changing," he told the audience. "They're favoring something less than the larger single-family detached homes. Maybe something more like smaller homes, smaller lots, apartments, condos and townhouses."
Dr. Nelson adds, "But if you're looking ahead from a planning perspective between now and 2020 to 2030, I would recommend you, at least for now, assume that maybe 45% of the net change in demand for housing would be single-family detached homes - many of them renters; ten percent attached - town houses, basically; and 45% multi-family attached - apartments and condos and so forth." He says demand for single-family homes will continue, but many will seek smaller homes on smaller lots, due to younger people moving to the area and older Central Oregonians looking to downsize.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- We’re used to seeing the big fire retardant air tankers in local skies during fire season, but nimble new Single Engine Air Tankers (also called "SEATS") are designed to keep forest fire outbreaks small until reinforcements show up.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- An Eastern Oregon man was seriously injured in a motorcycle crash east of Prineville.
Crook County deputies and medics responded to Highway 26 near the Ochoco Reservoir just before 6 p.m. Thursday, and found the 59-year-old Enterprise man lying on the ground a few feet from his bike.
BEND, OR -- A gas leak just south of Drake Park led to evacuations in the area, Thursday afternoon. KBND News spoke with Bend Fire Battalion Chief Dave Howe while he was at the scene on standby, as a precaution.
Howe said a company was drilling a new gas line under Riverfront Street using a technique that doesn’t require digging a trench. "They were drilling along and they hit a 2” gas line under pressure under these streets. In order to actually locate the leak, it took some time to dig around in the general area that they know it was and finally home in on it. At the same time, make sure the gas isn’t migrating into people’s basements, and also making sure people are actually evacuated out of the area."
REDMOND, OR -- Smith Rock State Park in Terrebonne is a well-known rock-climbing Mecca, but climbing faces are mostly vertical. Ian Caldwell, sometimes called the "Mayor of Smith Rock," is an elite climber working to bring a horizontal climbing opportunity to Central Oregon.
SISTERS, OR -- The Sisters area rental market is very tight, just like Bend. Hayden Homes is looking to build a housing development that could be a mix of single- and multi-family housing.
City planners are hosting a public workshop to get community input on the Village At Cold Springs development. Sisters Community Development Director Patrick Davenport tells KBND the builder is looking to change its original plan. "We don't have all the details of the proposed revisions, but the eastern half of the subdivision they have entitlements for 273 dwelling units, which are in 109 attached single-family homes, or townhomes, and 164 apartments."
However, Hayden Homes is proposing changes that could involve fewer multi-family units. "There's a definite need for workforce housing and affordable housing. Units like townhouses and apartments and other multi-plexes, there's certainly a need for that in the region and in Sisters. Our housing types are mostly single-family and single-family detached. We don't have too many apartments in town," Davenport says.
The public workshop on the Village At Cold Springs begins at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, at Sisters City Hall.
BEND, OR -- Bend 2030 is wading into the local gas tax debate. City Councilors are considering putting the issue to voters in November, but a recent survey by Bend 2030 found that many think there could be a better way to pay for much-needed road maintenance.
Erin Foote Marlow, Executive Director of Bend 2030, tells KBND the city should not move too quickly like she feels they did with water system changes, instead following the pattern set by sewer system improvements. "Let's try for that same outcome. Let's not slap dash something on the ballot. Let's actually reach out to stake holders in the community and see if we can together a package of funding options that feels more equitable and comprehensive in the community, where people really have a say. We'll get a better outcome and one which is much more supported."
The group presented the findings of the survey at Wednesday night's City Council meeting. "The big take-aways are that people have an expectation there will be more funding for street maintenance and repair and also more funding for safety projects like pedestrian crossings, sidewalks and safer, better bike lanes around Bend."
The survey of 1600 respondents found a majority favored a studded tire fee to fund street improvements, followed by a gas tax or a tourism tax on food and beverage purchases. City Manager Eric King tells KBND Councilors will make a final decision within three weeks on whether to put a gas tax before voters in November.
BEND, OR -- A maintenance worker was allegedly threatened with a knife by a resident at a northeast Bend apartment complex, Wednesday morning.
Bend Police responded to the apartment on Full Moon Drive, and evacuated neighboring units while they attempted to contact the suspect. Investigators say 41-year-old Michael Fuller threatened the worker who was trying to perform maintenance on a fire extinguisher on Fuller's front porch.
BEND, OR -- Work will get underway this week on expanding the parking lot at Phil's Trailhead. Kassidy Kern with the Deschutes National Forest tells KBND there are only 20 parking spots right now. "Currently, we have a lack of parking which creates some safety issues and traffic flow problems, and potentially some resource damage. Because there isn't enough parking, people parking off the road."
The facelift will increase parking capacity to 76. "It will still be open to the public during construction, which we anticipate will last through the fall. It's going to include a couple of phases."
Work will also include installation of a new double-vault toilet and a large kiosk.
BEND, OR -- A Redmond man was killed in a Bend crash, overnight Wednesday. According to Oregon State Police, 83-year-old Albert Haslebacher was westbound on Cooley Road at about 11 p.m. when he failed to stop at a red light at Highway 20. His Subaru was struck by a Dodge pickup and a Toyota Prius.
BEND, OR -- A number of homeowners who suffered extensive damage when a water pipe burst along 8th Street last month, told City Councilors last night they're disappointed the city hasn't taken more financial responsibility.
Shortly after the June 10 flood, the city announced its insurance provider, CIS, will only pay for limited things, like water removal and drying of homes. Homeowners like Scott Jennrich aren't happy. "That was a city-owned line on city property. The city claims no negligence, but 8th Street has been under constant work due to an old sewer line in the area. That sewer line was supposed to be replaced years ago but wasn't because the city ran out of funds. Response time to the break was not adequate, the water ran until 5:45 a.m. I personally watched Public Works employees frantically try to find the shut-off, to no avail." Jennrich also says not one person from the city offered them a word of condolence for the incident.
BEND, OR -- The City of Bend is now accepting license applications for short term rentals. The process is part of the city's new vacation rental rules and regulations.
Lorelei Williams, Short Term Rentals Program Manager, tells KBND applications starting coming in earlier this month. "People are understanding about the program. They get that it's like a license for driving or getting married. One of the misconceptions is that the City Council did this to benefit short term rental owners. When, they really did this to benefit the neighborhoods where short term rentals were growing at a rapid rate." In order to qualify for a license, applicants must already have a land use permit.
Williams says current rental operators will get a notice if they don't submit their application by September first. "If it gets to be October second and you haven't made the application, then the land use permit will become void. And that means applicants will have to reapply and will be subject to new rules and regulations; that includes the 250-feet density rules. If there's a short term rental within 250 feet of their property, they won't be able to obtain a permit."
There is an initial $275 application fee, with a $200 annual renewal. For more details on the process and rules, visit the City of Bend's website.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- The Crook County Sheriff’s Office now has more available jail space, thanks to increased funding for the fiscal year that began July first. Sheriff Jim Hensley says the county is now renting 25 beds at the Jefferson County Jail, taking Crook County’s total inmate capacity to 41. "The District Attorney’s office said they were quite amazed to have people to arraign on a Monday after the weekend’s arrests. Typically, in the past, we haven’t had beds to hold them and they just get released, and [the DA] might only have one arraignment. For the last couple weeks, they’ve had up to five people to arraign, and then they appear before the judge, like the system is supposed to work, and then they get released or held at the judge’s discretion."
However, Sheriff Hensley tells KBND he doesn't think the ability to hold everyone will last. "I believe this is short lived because we’re building back up to the numbers already. We only have 2 beds available now, and we still have a backlog of over 130 people waiting to serve jail time."
Sheriff Hensley says the money for nine more beds this year came from a county land sale, and may not be renewed next year.
SALEM, OR -- Unemployment ticked up slightly in Oregon last month, moving from 5.3% in May to 5.5% in June. State Economist Nick Beleiciks says he's pleased with the outlook. "Despite a slight increase in unemployment, it is still really low and is indicative of a strong job market. It's also significantly lower than last year's rate of 7% at this time."
Beleiciks says the bump isn't unexpected. "Unemployment rose more, but not because people lost their jobs. There are more people looking for work. Every summer people move to Oregon, recent graduates and students are looking for work, and they are considered unemployed until they find a job."
The state added 2300 jobs in June, mostly in the retail industry and government sector.
REDMOND, OR -- An assault investigation shut down Highway 97 in Redmond Monday, just before the morning commute. Initial reports were of a man lying in the road with serious injuries and may have been hit by a car, at about 4:20 a.m. However, as the investigation continued, Redmond police determined the 39-year-old transient had been assaulted.
REDMOND, OR -- The Redmond School District will launch a new initiative this fall, issuing electronic devices to every high school student. Jeremy MacDonald, head of Technology and Innovation for the district, tells KBND they tested the idea on a handful of incoming freshman, last year. "About 120 students last year had an iPad to use for academics in all their classrooms. This year, we’ve decided to expand that to all high school students. We’re moving away from a tablet device and going to a different device this year. But, now every student in grade 9-12 will have a device to use at school and at home for academics." Superintendent Mike McIntosh says instead of iPads, students will get a new model of Chrome-book, and training is already underway for teachers and staff.
BEND, OR -- "Go Set A Watchman," the sequel to the Pulitzer Prize winning "To Kill A Mockingbird," goes on sale Tuesday. Barns and Noble and other bookstores will open early so anxious readers can get their hands on the widely anticipated book, sooner. Harper Lee wrote "Go Set A Watchman" before "Mockingbird," but it was just released by the publisher.
Anita Bond, Assistant Manager at the Bend Barnes and Noble, tells KBND this is a literary event. "It's like Star Wars! Something that was old, it came out so many years ago, and yet here comes this new book. It's like introducing all these younger people to this great author and this great book, hopefully."
She adds, "Just the whole allure of it. The fact that this woman has only published one book - and it was such an iconic book - and that it was made into a great movie - and it was just a great iconic movie, as well. I just think that, in and of itself, is making this book highly anticipated."
BEND, OR -- Bend's Knute Buehler is considering a run for Oregon. The first-term State Representative is coming off his first legislative session, where he sponsored several successful bills, including on that will increase access to birth control.
Deschutes Republican Chair Reagan Knopp tells KBND he's glad Buehler is considering higher office. "We're always encouraged to see Republicans run for statewide office. It's going to be the next big election in 2016. Deschutes County Republicans would support him, whatever position he chooses to run for."
Rep. Buehler (R-Bend) said in an email to supporters that Oregon deserves a strong independent leader, and he believes the stat is not getting that with Kate Brown. He ran against Brown for Secretary of State in 2012, but lost with 43% of the vote. Knopp says, "I think the dynamics will be a lot different. The biggest thing for Republicans running for Governor is we saw a leadership vacuum with the Democratic agenda. They only focused on their agenda and didn't let anything else fly." Buehler believes Brown is vulnerable as Governor.
He plans to make a decision on whether to run for Governor, or for re-election as State Representative, by the end of September.
BEND, OR -- The popularity of Bend’s newest park has prompted Bend Parks and Recreation to issue warnings to swimmers. Discovery Park and its irrigation lake opened during one of the hottest Junes on record, and visitors flocked to the oasis in search of relief. "There’s a little beach on the south end, so it was quite tempting when the park first opened- because it was so warm, for people to start swimming in there. We’re not restricting swimming, but people need to be aware it was not designed for swimming," Park Services Director Pat Erwert tells KBND News.
REDMOND, OR -- A 100-year-old barn went up in flames Monday morning in Redmond. When firefighters arrived at the Wickiup Avenue property at around 11 a.m., the barn was fully engulfed.
The barn was filled with hay and cardboard and was a total loss. No one was hurt in the blaze. The loss is estimated at $75,000 and the cause of the fire remains under investigation.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The U.S. House has passed legislation that would speed up the development and approval of drugs to treat some of our most deadly diseases. The 21st Century Cures Act is a bipartisan bill supported by Congressman Greg Walden (R-OR). "All of us have known someone afflicted by a deadly disease. Most of us have seen people in our own families; my mother passed away from Ovarian Cancer; my sister-in-law had brain cancer. I lost a son to a congenital heart defect. My mother-in-law had Rheumatoid Arthritis from a very early age; my step-mother died of a stroke. We're all affected."
Rep. Walden adds, "This legislation would modernize the nation's biomedical innovation infrastructure and streamline the process for how drugs and medical devices are approved, in order to get new treatments to patients faster." It typically takes upwards of 15 years to bring a new drug to market.
The 21st Century Cures Act would boost medical research funding and streamline approval for new treatments. It now heads to the Senate, where critics feel a rush to approve drugs could sacrifice safeguards currently in place.
MADRAS, OR -- For the next month, expectant mothers in Jefferson County who go into active labor are asked to go directly to St. Charles Redmond, instead of the Madras hospital. St. Charles Madras CEO Jeanie Gentry says this is the first time her hospital has had to close to certain patients for such a long period of time. "This is something that all hospitals have to divert patients of different types, from one time or another. But, when it comes to OB, when we never know when a baby is going to arrive, it’s a little more difficult."
MADRAS, OR -- Farmers in the Madras area are being careful about how much water they use this summer. Because of dry conditions, many started irrigating earlier than usual; but, with only a set amount of water available, once it's gone, it's gone.
Mike Britton, General Manager of the North Unit Irrigation District, says farmers are being pro-active. "They'll have to look at their crops and determine how far they can stretch the water they're allotted. They can go out and search for water within the district - maybe a neighbor is fallowing some ground and has some water he can transfer or provide to his neighbor. That's typically how folks get by."
Britton says the district has helped conserve water by lining some irrigation canals and farmers have been aggressive about conserving water for their crops. "The farmers themselves have done a tremendous amount of work on farm efficiencies. A lot of them use sprinklers, pivots and drip tape on some of their crops, which puts water right on the ground at the base of the plant so you don't lose much."
The district serves about 850 farmers across 59,000 acres of farmland in the Madras and Culver area.
Derek Kyle Mach
BEND, OR -- The Deschutes County Sheriff's Office is searching for the owner of three calves found Saturday evening near Highway 20 and Gosney Road. A homeowner contacted deputies when she discovered the trio on her property.
MADRAS, OR -- Cooler temperatures over the weekend helped firefighters gain ground on wildfires burning across Central Oregon.
The Geneva 15 fire was reported south of Lake Billy Chinook at 4 p.m. Friday, near the Three Rivers Subdivision. Officials say it was started by lightning and, at 875 acres, it's now 90% contained.
MADRAS, OR -- A new wildfire reported Friday afternoon south of Lake Billy Chinook is burning near the Three Rivers subdivision. Firefighters continued burnout operations into the night on what is now called the Geneva 15 Fire, which has grown to 880 acres and is 20% contained. The blaze was reported at about 4 p.m., Friday, and the cause is under investigation. The Three Rivers subdivision has not been evacuated; however, Jordan Road is closed to the public.
Crews responded to 16 other confirmed fires in Central Oregon Friday, all started by lightning and held to under 1/10 of an acre.
The Ten Mile Canyon Fire burning north of Madras, near the junction of Highways 97 and 197, is now 90% contained. It continues to burn within established containment lines and is holding at 6,707 acres.
The Corner Creek Fire 11 miles south of Dayville continues to grow within containment lines and is now more than 29,000 acres. Little precipitation fell over the area on Friday, but cloud cover and cooler temperatures helped crews continue mop up efforts near fire lines. Corner Creek i now 60% contained.
CULVER, OR -- Oregon State Police are investigating a fatal crash in Culver that occurred during a police pursuit, Friday night. At about 9:20 p.m., investigators say a Jefferson County Sheriff's deputy attempted to stop a vehicle when it took off. The driver went several miles when the car crashed into a tree near SW Feather Drive and SW Imo Lane in Culver.
The driver was pronounced dead at the scene; the passenger was taken to St. Charles Bend with serious injuries. No other details have been released at this time.
WHEELER COUNTY, OR -- A Bend man was killed in a motorcycle crash in Wheeler County, Thursday night. Oregon State Police received a report that Michael Denmark was traveling from Bend to Baker City, but had not arrived at his destination as expected.
Law enforcement checked Highway 26, but attempts to find the 64-year-old man were unsuccessful. At around 9 a.m. Friday morning, an OSP trooper discovered the wreckage of a crash near milepost 93 of Highway 26, in Wheeler County.
According to the preliminary investigation by OSP, Denmark was eastbound on the highway when for unknown reasons, his 2007 Yamaha motorcycle left the road, traveled a short distance on the gravel shoulder and dropped off a steep embankment. Denmark's body was found at the scene. Because evidence of the crash was minimal, the location of the wreckage was not easily seen by passing motorists.
The investigation into the cause of the crash is ongoing.
BEND, OR -- Two Bend residents, along with police, helped save a woman who fell into an irrigation canal in northeast Bend, Thursday night.
According to Bend Police, 57-year-old Michelle Howard fell into the canal with her electric scooter, at around 9:30 p.m. She was swept downstream about 200 yards before she was able to grab vegetation on the side of the canal.
Melissa Thompson and Al Steiner heard Howard calling for help and called 911. Steiner found her and held on to her until officers arrived and helped pull her out of the canal. She was taken to St. Charles Bend for overnight observation.
SISTERS, OR -- Sisters merchants are bracing for big sales during this weekend’s 40th annual Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show. Retailers already report increased sales this week, as early-bird quilters blanket the town.
Judy Trego, Executive Director of the Sisters Area Chamber of Commerce, tells KBND News, "Attendee estimates vary from 12,000 to 30,000 people. All of our lodging properties are full and our vacation rentals as well. In fact we have a 75-person waiting list at Best Western Ponderosa Lodge.” She says big attendance translates to big business. "Our latest economic analysis showed a direct economic impact of $1.7-million, and a total economic significance of $2.4-million."
The Sisters Rodeo, the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show and the Sisters Folk Festival are expected to bring in around 100,000 visitors from just those three events, this summer. Retailers point to an improved economy as the reason for the increased attendance and sales.
SALEM, OR -- Oregon businesses reported more than 53,000 job vacancies in the spring - that’s the largest number ever reported by the state’s Job Vacancy Survey.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The U.S. House passed legislation to deal with the continuing wildfire funding problem in the west. The bill, called "The Resilient Federal Forests Act," includes several parts that would help pay for prevention and allow for quicker reforestation.
Congressman Greg Walden (R-OR) says this will modernize the Secure Rural Schools and Community Act, along with other past efforts. "The long and the short of it is, our communities are suffering. We have high poverty, our mills can't stay open, we have to fix this. We can't continue to search for obscure funding for Secure Rural Schools. We need sustainable forests to produce a sustainable resilient economy."
MADRAS, OR -- Central Oregon saw more than 150 lightning strikes yesterday, resulting in at least four small fires. Crews held most to under a quarter acre. The largest fire of Thursday afternoon was north of Tumalo Reservoir at .55 acres. Its cause is under investigation.
The wildfire north of Madras, near the junction of Highways 97 and 197, has been named the Ten Mile Canyon Fire. It’s now nearly 6,707 acres and 25% contained. That fire was first reported Wednesday and investigators say it was human caused.
BEND, OR -- Investigators are looking into the cause of a brush fire near Tumalo Reservoir. Bend Firefighters responded to a vacant farmhouse on Sisemore Road just before 4, yesterday afternoon.
BEND, OR -- Construction has started on the new OSU Cascades Campus on Bend's west side. The group opposing the site filed an appeal with the Oregon Court of Appeals, but the university is moving ahead with the project after being victorious in three previous appeals. OSU officials want to have the facility ready for students by next year.
"Now For Bend," a new group formed supporting the westside location, is pleased to see work finally underway. Co-coordinator Janie Teater says "Truth in Site" brought up legitimate concerns, but insists OSU will address them. "I think they've been cognizant of things - issues and concerns like traffic and housing. They've done extensive outreach to mitigate these problems and response in that area," she tells KBND.
More than 60 businesses have joined "Now For Bend" in supporting the campus off Chandler Avenue. Teater says, "It's time to get on board. It's time to go forward on a 30-year process. We've spent a lot of money on legal fees and delay costs. That's a lot of money that could have gone to professorships and scholarships."
Fellow co-coordinator Amy Tykeson reminds people this will be a branch campus, and will look different from larger universities. "As you know, education is really changing and OSU is in the top five nationally for online courses. This will expand opportunities for students here to take courses they need but potentially might not be available in Central Oregon."
The goals is to have the westside campus ready for 1,850 students by fall of 2016.
BEND, OR -- A steering committee has approved three options to expand Bend's Urban Growth Boundary (UGB). These plans map the area where the city will be allowed to grow, with a 20-year supply of land for housing, employment and other urban uses.
Brian Rankin, Bend's UGB Project Manager, tells KBND News, "We're going to take these three different scenarios, as well as the supplemental analysis area, and we're going to do more rigorous modeling - sewer modeling, transportation modeling and water modeling. And, we'll also do an additional analysis on these areas, as well, to learn more and see if there are advantages and disadvantages to one area versus another."
The state struck down the city's UGB expansion plan in 2010, saying it was too big of a land request. These new scenarios lower the request from 8,000 to 2,000 acres. Rankin says there's still much to be done before a plan can be sent back to the state. "This runs through our advisory committee first, then they report to a UGB steering committee made up of the full City Council, County Commissioners, as well as two planning commissioners. They will say which looks like the final scenario and we'll roll with that. But, ultimately it's the City Council and Board of County Commissioners that will end up needing to approve this."
Rankin hopes local approval of the final option will come by April. The plan would then be sent to the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development for ultimate approval. That could come by the end of 2016.
DAYVILLE, OR -- Several new wildfires dotted the Central Oregon landscape Wednesday afternoon; one shut down a portion of Highway 97 north of Madras for about two hours last night, and has grown to about 3,000 acres.
Five other smaller incidents are being monitored in the Deschutes National Forest and Oregon Badlands. Nearly all were caused by recent lightning.
SISTERS, OR -- The largest outdoor quilt show in the world takes place this weekend in Sisters. But the entire region is seeing economic benefits.
Thousands will descend on Sisters, coming from around the globe to immerse themselves in all things quilting related. Vicki Jensen operates BJ's Quilt Basket in Bend. She tells KBND News, "In the industry of quilting, people will seek out every quilt shop in the area; that's what we do. We know that every quilt shop is going to have a different genre of fabric, and we want to see what that quilt shop has. So, luckily in this industry, they'll seek us out."
"Yesterday, we had a bus come in from the United Kingdom; 24 ladies from the UK. They're coming in to shop. That was a good business day for me," Jensen says. "We all benefit from this. I am nearly 7,000 square-feet here, and I would certainly not be this big without the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show. It's what feeds us for the rest of the year." She believes interest in this 40th anniversary quilt show is greater than in years past, which means cash registers are ringing throughout the region.
The Oregon Department of Transportation has issued a congestion alert for Highway 20 through Sisters on Saturday, the main day of the festival. ODOT officials advise motorists to anticipate heavy traffic volumes through the area once the detour is in place on Cascade Avenue Saturday, from 6 a.m. through 5 p.m.
BEND, OR -- Investigators blame improperly disposed of cigarettes for a fire on Northeast Rachel Court, in Bend, Wednesday. Residents of a four-plex reported smoke on the back deck, just after 6 p.m.
THE DALLES, OR -- State biologists have determined that a number of dead and distressed sockeye salmon found this past weekend in the Deschutes River, appear to have died from a bacterial infection.
Early test results suggest the fish were from the Columbia River bound for upriver locations, and likely swam into the Deschutes in search of cooler water. However, the infection blamed for the deaths - Columnaris - is typically associated with warm water and/or low levels of dissolved oxygen.
POWELL BUTTE, OR -- Oregon lawmakers concluded the Legislative session earlier this week. House Minority Leader Mike McLane (R-Powell Butte) tells KBND it wasn't a terribly fruitful couple of months. "I think the session was sadly very partisan. I understand the majority party number lends itself to a partisan agenda; but previously, we really worked to build consensus about bills. And, Speaker Tina Kotek really did a disservice to Oregon for that."
The two parties were unable to reach a compromise on transportation funding. Rep. McLane says, "I think that's really up to the left wing of the Democrat party that runs the state, with the Governor, House and Senate. There's really a division. A fight is going on between the moderate and left wing of the Democratic party and, unless they're willing to compromise, I don't think there will be a special session this fall."
POST, OR -- A Crook County man got lost after going for a walk near his new home, leading to a search effort by the Sheriff’s Office.
Crook County Deputies were dispatched to the property in Post at about 7:30, Tuesday evening, after receiving a call from 32-year-old Jason Athanasopulos. He told 911 dispatchers he just moved to the area and got turned around. He'd reportedly walked for several hours before calling for help.
BEND, OR -- A Bend man has been charged with nearly 50 counts of theft and forgery, accused of embezzling money from his employer.
BEND, OR -- Due to continued hot and dry conditions, officials are increasing restrictions on federally managed lands in Central Oregon, beginning this weekend. Jean Nelson-Dean, with the Deschutes National Forest, says public-use restrictions typically don’t begin until early August. "We're really trying to get the message across that this is such a different year. Certainly, we’ve had dry years in the past, but this is extremely dry and we have all the conditions for natural starts. We're really working on making sure folks understand that a tiny spark this year can set off a pretty big wildfire."
DAYVILLE, OR -- Fire officials released the following update Tuesday afternoon: The Corner Creek Fire grew slightly to 27,166 acres on Monday due to fire line relocation and burnout operations along the fire’s western flank. Despite some gusty winds to 30 mph late Monday afternoon, the Corner Creek Fire stayed within containment lines.
The Corner Creek Fire remains at about 26,000 acres, 11 miles south of Dayville. It’s now 15% contained.
Monday's much-needed rain also brought more than 20 lightning strikes to parts of Central Oregon. Firefighters responded to two smoke reports, although officials say the rain should help keep new fires small.
Hazardous fire conditions remain. Central Oregon is under a Red Flag Warning through 9 p.m., Tuesday, due to continued risk of lightning.
SALEM, OR -- Oregon lawmakers finished up the session Monday night.
They approved spending more than one billion dollars on different infrastructure projects and earthquake upgrades for schools.
A Senate bill passed adds 118 million to the state school fund increasing the two year K-12 budget to 7.3 billion, which is 12 percent higher than the 2013 budget.
Lawmakers also approved 40 million on building affordable housing in the state.
Republican leaders called the session the most partisan in recent memory, while democratic leaders said it was the year we put opportunity for working families first.
SISTERS, OR -- The Sisters City Council has lost its second President in recent months.
Back in April, McKibben Womack resigned from the post because of the tough political climate in town.
Bill Hall was appointed to replace him and he has just resigned less than one month on the job -- for the same reasons.
Long Time Sisters City Councilor David Asson says its difficult to find those to serve in public service there. "I think in Sisters we have a lot of independents -- people who think differently. And that can be irritating. And the more vocal people are, it preys on people's nerves. I've been accused of that. It's a tough business for no money and a lot of work."
Asson says he doesn't care for the confrontations either, but it doesn't bother him that much.
The city is currently accepting applications for the council opening.
SALEM, OR -- Legislation to allow Oregonians to try experimental drugs and treatments for terminally ill patients is on its way to Governor Kate Brown's desk.
Steve Buckstein with the Cascade Policy Institute supports the bill, but just wishes it included children.
"The way the bill passes in both chambers is its only available for adults 18 and older and doctors have to sign off that these patients are only expected to live 6 months or less. No other state is that restrictive. Twenty one other states have approved similar legislation and often children are the biggest beneficiaries of experimental drugs."
Buckstein hopes the state can expand this legislation in the future to cover children who are terminally ill.
BEND, OR -- Summer is road trip season, but traveling in the heat poses some risks. Even if you're driving with the air conditioner blasting, experts suggest drivers drink lots of water to stay hydrated.
The Oregon Department of Transportation warns your car is essentially an oven, so make sure all passengers and pets are out of the car when you park. A child's body temperature can rise up to five-times faster than an adult.
For those heading over the mountain: Jered Castle with ODOT says, "every year, we see folks who are going over the mountain passes with older vehicles that have not been regularly serviced; and, of course, they've got their air conditioning turned up all the way, which leads to the vehicle - the engine specifically - overheating."
If you break down: "Give yourself plenty of distance from traffic itself. Get your passengers out of the vehicle and into a shady area if possible. Certainly, you want to make sure you're carrying in your vehicle supplies such as an emergency kit and water. You don't know how long it will take for someone to be able to get to your vehicle to help," Castle tells KBND.
Another option for beating the heat, drive at night when it's cooler.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- Low water levels at the Prineville Reservoir are creating headaches for boaters.
Crook County Sheriff's Marine Deputy Rick Stoltenberg tells KBND News, "We're experiencing extremely low water levels; we normally don't see this low of water until mid- to late-September. People are showing up at the ramps expecting to launch, and right now, the only serviceable ramp is the one in the state park. The ramp at Powder House Cove and Jasper Point are so low that we're actually advising people not to launch because it's easy to damage your boat."
He recommends boaters use that state park launch instead of Jasper Point or Powder House, "The smaller boats are making it OK, but they're still running a risk. If they can't see the bottom or if they're not paying close attention and maybe lower their engine too early, they're going to end up losing a prop, which has happened to a couple of boaters already."
Levels are at the lowest Dep. Stoltenberg has seen at the reservoir in eight years.
REDMOND, OR -- A house fire northwest of Redmond caused more than $70,000 in damage, Monday evening. Redmond firefighters originally responded to a report of smoke near Tetherow Bridge. They eventually discovered the fire at a two-story home on Northwest Zamia Avenue.
Crews found fire coming from an exterior wall and an attic crawl space. No one was home at the time, and the cause of the fire is under investigation.
SALEM, OR -- Preliminary results are in for new state testing, and they're better than expected. State education officials had predicted that about a third of Oregon students would pass the new Smarter Balance test. But, with about 95% of the tests scored, that passing rate is closer to half.
The new tests have higher standards and require students to think more analytically than in the past. Crystal Greene, with the Oregon Department of Education tells KBND, "We were very pleased with the preliminary results. We do emphasize that we expect a slight drop when the final five-percent come in, which include partial tests. Regardless, these results are much higher than expected, and for college and career preparation, that's really good news for our state."
Those early numbers show 45% of students passed in math and 55% passed in reading and writing. "Right now, English is coming in significantly higher than math, but that's not surprising given the shift. The approach in math, explaining their work, is a bigger change than in English," Greene says.
The final results are expected to be released by mid-September. When compared with neighboring states, Oregon's results fall in the middle. Washington was the highest, Idaho was the lowest.
BEND, OR -- The Deschutes County Sheriff's Office participated in a statewide effort to increase patrols during the 4th of July weekend and decrease the number of intoxicated drivers. According to federal data, between 2009 and 2013, 750 people lost their lives in crashes involving drivers with a blood alcohol level of .08 or more during the Independence Day holiday. Those fatalities account for 39% of all motor vehicle fatalities, nationwide.
According to the safety campaign, Deschutes County deputies issued four speeding tickets, three citations for no insurance, three for Driving While Suspended, two DUII arrests. One driver was cited for not having a license, and another for Reckless Driving.
DAYVILLE, OR -- A minor weather change made a significant difference for firefighters battling the Corner Creek Fire, 11 miles south of Dayville, now at 26,000 acres. Slightly cooler, moister air Sunday allowed crews to spend more time on creating fire lines. It’s now 10% contained.
MADRAS, OR -- A falling tree killed a 14-year-old Madras boy, Saturday morning, while he was cutting firewood with his family. According to Crook County investigators, the family was on Forest Road 27, about 20 miles northeast of Prineville when another family member fell a tree, and it hit the teen.
BEND, OR -- Three dogs reportedly killed a pair of Alpacas and injured several others, early Thursday morning. Deschtues County deputies arrived at the ranch on Arnold Market Road and found the dogs still in the pasture, although they ran off when deputies entered the area.
Two Suri Alpacas were initially killed during the attack, two others had to be euthanized due to their injuries, and a fifth is being monitored. The Siberian Huskies were tracked to a residencea bout two miles away and were taken into custody, pending the results of a Dog Control Board of Supervisors hearing.
On July 4, the dogs' owner, Norman Jensen, was cited for three counts each of Animal Nuisance, Unlicensed Dog and Dog vs. Livestock.
MADRAS, OR -- A California family was northbound on Highway 97 north of Madras, Thursday afternoon, when OSP investigators say the driver crossed the center line and collided with a semi truck.
According to Oregon State Police, 38-year-old Eduardo Martinez-Pureco, of California, was taken by air ambulance to St. Charles Bend with serious injuries. His four passengers, all relatives, were taken by ground ambulance to St. Charles madras with various injuries.
Investigators say the driver of the semi swerved to try and avoid the collision, but the SUV struck the rear wheels of the tractor. The tractor trailer combination left the highway and rolled on its side. The semi truck driver, also of California, was unhurt.
Martinez-Pureco was later cited for careless driving.
BEND, OR -- A Bend transient faces a number of charges, following a car and foot pursuit. According to Bend Police, 39-year-old Ronald Juarez-Wallace drove away from officers during a traffic stop, Thursday morning. Police pursued the man down Country Club Road, through Murphy Road and into neighborhoods near SE Aberdeen and SE Silver Sage.
Wallace crashed the Ford Ranger into an electrical transformer, causing it to explode. He then ran from the scene of the crash, climbing over a residential fence.
When a K-9 search was unsuccessful, officers broke down the perimeter. However, detectives continued to drive the area and eventually located Wallace walking down the road. He was taken into custody without incident.
Wallace is charged with attempting to elude, reckless driving, criminal mischief and hit and run. Bend Police say numerous community members helped officers narrow down the search area and were proactive in giving information to detectives.
YAPOAH LAKE, OR -- Deschutes County Search and Rescue teams responded to Yapoah Lake, near North Sister, to rescue an injured hiker, Thursday afternoon.
Deschutes County dispatchers received a call from International Emergency Response Center asking for assistance for one of their clients. Daniel Ravencraft sent a text message that she had fallen while hiking with her service dog. She indicated she was injured and non-ambulatory.
SAR responded with a horse team and reached the 43-year-old Eugene woman at about 1 p.m. Medics evaluated her and prepared for extraction by a Black Hawk Helicopter from the Oregon National Guard.
BEND, OR -- It will be pushing 100-degrees when thousands of pets march with their people through downtown Bend for the 4th of July Pet Parade. If you plan to take Fido to the parade, you’re going to want to take some sensible precautions.
Lynne Ouchida, with the Humane Society of Central Oregon, tells KBND News the parade isn't right for everyone. “If you are a person who has a senior, obese, short-muzzled dog, or northern breed dog, and you have thoughts of going down to the 4th of July Pet Parade, we strongly discourage you from doing that. Those types of animals, particularly dogs, are going to be susceptible to the extreme heat that is expected on the 4th of July.”
With highs expected in the upper 90s, asphalt temperatures could be around 140-degrees. Ouchida says dogs cannot cool off like we can. “Dogs have very poor cooling systems and so they cool off by panting. But when they’re that close to the asphalt and it’s 140-degrees, say, they are breathing in 140-degree temperatures and they’re not able to cool themselves down efficiently. Dogs only sweat through their paws, and they’re sweating on to that high temperature asphalt as well”. She suggests using winter snow booties to protect their pads.
Excessive panting, drooling, and agitation can indicate heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Dogs cool off through the mouth, so make sure you have ice-cold water on hand. If your pet shows signs of heat exhaustion, step out of the parade. A veterinarian and water will be on hand at the parade staging area. Staging begins at 9 a.m., Saturday's parade begins at 10 a.m.
LA PINE, OR -- Deschutes County Sheriff's investigators say four people are responsible for a fire that damaged La Pine Middle School. Fire crews responded to the school just after 5 a.m. Wednesday, after a school district employee spotted smoke and flames coming from the roof.
TERREBONNE, OR -- Talking up the state’s recreation economy, U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) sat down with a group of local outdoor recreation professionals in Terrebonne, Wednesday afternoon.
BEND, OR -- It is not an argument against solar power; rather, where a proposed solar farm plants its roots. Both sides of a proposed solar farm in east Bend laid out concerns before a Deschutes County Hearings officer last night in Bend.
MADRAS, OR -- The Madras Army Airfield north hangar is now among the state's latest entries in the National Register of Historic Places. The hangar was built to boost the nation's efforts during WWII.
In 1943, the U.S. Army transformed the area into a fully functioning air field to train B-17 bombardment squadrons. The location met the army's requirements for a secure site with your-round clear weather to train crews.
This surviving hangar is one of the few remaining base buildings. Read more about the city's request for a historic designation, HERE.
DAYVILLE, OR -- A temporary closure is now in place in portions of the Ochoco National Forest, due to the Corner Creek Fire. Mud Springs Campground and South Prong Trailhead Recreational Sites are included in the closure. The Corner Creek Fire now covers about 6,000 acres 11 miles south of Dayville.
BEND, OR -- A lot of development is expected in the coming years on Bend's west side, and city officials are asking for public feedback on how it proceeds. They have created a website to solicit comment on some of the projects.
Senior Planner Karen Swirsky tells KBND the survey takes only about 10 minutes to complete. "Because there is so much going on over there, obviously the OSU campus is part of it, but it was also identified as an opportunity area in the Urban Growth Boundary work. And Park and Rec obviously has two great big new facilities going in in the area. There's the possibility of the Deschutes County Landfill being partly redeveloped; it seemed like it was a good time to take a look at the area."
Click HERE to access the survey.
The online tool allows participants to identify priorities, provide feedback and develop transportation needs. Swirsky says, "We've used information that OSU has for the ten-acre parcel and also for the other 47-acre parcel, and built into the model are how many units of residency, how many jobs, how many square foot of buildings go into the Envision Tomorrow model." Data will be collected through August 7.
SALEM, OR -- Health insurance rates will go up for many Oregonians next year. The Oregon Insurance Division just approved new rates for 2016. Most Oregonianas are covered by employers, Medicare or Medicaid, but those buying insurance on the individual or small group marketplace will see increases from seven to 37%.
Oregon Insurance Commissioner Laura Cali told a House Health Committee, the prcocess is not an exact science. "Our primary responsibility is making sure the rates aren't too high to gouge customers, or not too low so they won't cover costs."
Records show Oregon insurers paid out $830 million on individual plans, while premiums covered $703 million. Reserves were tapped to pay the difference. The companies say the rate hikes are necessary to cover those losses.
BEND, OR -- Deschutes County released the following statement after Shane Nelson was sworn in as the county's ninth Sheriff, Wednesday morning:
Sheriff Nelson took the oath of office from Judge Michael Sullivan. Sheriff Nelson replaces retiring Sheriff Larry Blanton who served as Sheriff since 2007.
Sheriff Nelson will serve the remaining term of office for retiring Sheriff Larry Blanton, whose term expires January 2017. The four-year term of Deschutes County Sheriff opens for re-election in 2016.
Sheriff Nelson has been in law enforcement in Oregon for more than 20 years. Most recently, he served as the Corrections Division Commander. He was born and raised in Bend and graduated from Mountain View High School in 1988. After graduating from Oregon State University in 1993 he moved back to Bend.
“I am proud to serve the citizens of our great county alongside the admirable women and men of the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office. Your Sheriff’s Office has proudly served our community for nearly 100 years. We will continue to provide the quality public safety and service our citizens expect and deserve,” said Sheriff Nelson.
JEFFERSON COUNTY, OR -- The Oregon Health Authority has lifted a health advisory for Lake Billy Chinook, issued June 25. Water monitoring a the popular Jefferson County reservoir confirm the level of blue-green algae toxins are now well below dangerous levels for humans. However, the OHA recommends people continue to be cautious with pets, since levels are still above the very low exposure levels established for dogs. Jonathan Modie with the Oregon Public Health Division tells KBND, "Dogs have a particularly low threshold for getting sick. In other words, dogs are particularly vulnerable to getting sick or even dying if they have contact with the water. One reason is dogs, when they go in the water, they’re very active, they have a tendency to ingest the water, to drink it. Their bodies are less tolerant to the toxins."
Modie says our drought conditions could bring more warnings to Central Oregon. "[Blue-green algae] can be fed by just the sun, warm conditions, warm conditions of the water. So, I would say this summer, we are expecting to see a lot of algae blooms and thus, a lot of advisories. That said every year is a bad algae bloom year, and every year we see a number of these advisories being issued and encourage people to avoid contact with the water in those areas." He adds, "As water levels drop, water temperature can increase. When the temperature is warmer, algae blooms have a tendency to kind of stick around longer until conditions are such that the bloom may break up. That could be overnight, very sudden cold temperatures; if there’s rain, sometimes that can drop the temperatures enough to cause the algae bloom to die."
Officials advise visitors be alert to signs of algae blooms on bodies of water in Oregon, because only a fraction of the state's many lakes are monitored for blue-green algae. The OHA says humans and pets should avoid contact with water that is foamy, scummy, thick like paint, pea-green, blue-green or brownish-red, or if a thick mat of blue-green algae is visible.
For health information, to report human or pet illnesses due to blooms, or to ask questions, contact the Oregon Health Authority at 971-673-0400. Information also can be found at the OHA website.
REDMOND, OR -- Continued hot temperatures expected through the weekend have led one organization to pull out of Redmond’s annual Fourth of July Parade. Troy Meeder, co-founder and CEO of Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch, tells KBND its not the first time, but it wasn’t an easy decision. "We’ve got a lot of young kids and mature adults; the horses are ok – it’s tough on them, but the heat is just tough on those kids. Sometimes they can be out there waiting on that float for two or three hours in the sun, and then they’ve also decorated. We just felt like this year, much to our chagrin, that for the health of the kids and some of our older kids who want to be on the floats and the horses, we just felt like we should probably just step aside."
BEND, OR -- Oregon’s average price for a gallon of unleaded gas continues to climb, albeit slightly, this week. Marie Dodds with AAA-Oregon tells KBND the national average dropped 2-cents to $2.77, while the statewide average rose a half a penny to $3.15. "These prices sound high compared to where gas prices were a few months ago. But, if you compare them to last year’s prices, they look pretty good. And in Bend, a year ago, we were paying $4.03 a gallon, compared to $3.18, now."
Dodds says it's possible Central Oregon prices could go up even more as we head toward the weekend. "Often times, when we combine a holiday weekend with a popular area, we see gas prices go up in that area; certainly we see that in Central Oregon, we see that in some communities along the Oregon Coast. And, our advice is always Shop Around!" AAA reports this year's Fourth of July holiday will still see the lowest prices since 2010.
LA PINE, OR -- La Pine Fire officials say an alert school district employee first spotted flames on the roof of La Pine Middle School at 5:10 Wednesday morning. The worker called 911, triggering an immediate response from two engine companies, ten firefighters and deputies with the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office.
The flames were knocked down within 15 minutes, while deputies secured the scene and closed the access road to the school. The building was unoccupied and there were no injuries. Significant damage was discovered on the roof of the gymnasium, however there was only limited damage to the interior.
Preliminary investigation determined the fire originated on the roof, and officials are calling it a malicious arson event. Fire investigators, along with the Sheriff's Office, are working the case and school district officials are evaluating the scene.
BEND, OR -- The Bend Parks and Recreation Board of Directors has voted to not cut some Systsem Development Charges (SDCs) to help encourage more affordable housing development in the area. The city of Bend already decided to cut some SDCs for some devlopers and had asked the parks district to follow suit.
The board's vote was 3-2; Nathan Hovekamp voted with the majority. "We just felt the constituency that we're responsible to, the people who use the parks and trails did not send us a message they have interest in lowering the level of service in order to subsidize the development of that housing," he tells KBND.
This was the last Parks and Rec board meeting for Chairman Dan Fishkin who lost his reelection bid, partly on his stance against lowering SDCs. Brady Fuller won Fishkin's seat, and was very vocal about supporting a decrease to help encourage more affordable housing development in Bend. Fuller tells KBND he's disappointed in the vote and hopes to revisit the issue once he takes his seat on the board, after July seventh.
CENTRAL OREGON -- Firefighters continue to battle the Sugarloaf fire, burning near Dayville.
SALEM, OR -- Recreational marijuana is now legal in Oregon. But, before you light up, Tom Towslee of the Oregon Liquor Control Commission says you should educate yourself. "Know what the law is, know what's permissible and not permissible."
Using the slogan “Educate Before You Recreate,” Towslee says the OLCC's new website is part of a larger campaign that launched two weeks ago, and includes a social media campaign; radio, newspaper and digital ads.
Towslee acknowledges the legalization of recreational pot comes as the OLCC and the legislature continue to develop rules regarding the new law. He says the rulemaking process is moving along. "I think on the scale of 1-10, we're about a three on getting the rules ready; but they'll be done in the early fall and the Commission will get a chance to see them by then."
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