Local News Archives for 2015-08

Grill Blamed for Early Sunday Morning Fire

BEND, OR -- The Bend Fire Department blame a Bar-B-Q left on for a house fire on NW Delaware, early Sunday morning. The homeowner and her two boys awoke to the sound of smoke detectors and the smell of smoke at about 1 a.m. They all safely evacuated.


Investigators say radiant heat from a Bar-B-Q on the back porch ignited the home’s siding. That blaze caused an estimated $45,000 in damage.

City of La Pine to Discuss Pot Business Ban

LA PINE, OR -- La Pine City Councilors take up the topic of recreational marijuana sales during Monday afternoon's work session. Mayor Ken Mulenex tells KBND the discussion is just beginning. "It's basically a work session designed to talk about HB 3400 that was passed by the legislature and what the effects and implications are as we go down the road towards deciding about shall we allow recreational retail sales of marijuana in the city of La Pine, or will it be banned."


HB 3400 allows cities and counties to ban marijuana businesses under certain conditions. If 55% of residents voted no on Measure 91, legalizing recreational marijuana in November, jurisdictions can impose a ban. If a communities vote was less than 55% no on Measure 91, a moratorium can be put in place until a ban can be considered by voters in November of 2016. 


Mayor Mulenex says La Pine voters have spoken on the issue. "You know, La Pine voted against recreational marijuana by 53.36% and, you know, that's the voters speaking. But, I couldn't say now how it would go, but there will be a good discussion."


The city of La Pine allows medical marijuana dispensaries. Mulenex that Council held a thorough debate on that issue, and he expects the same for recreational sales. 


Crook County has already banned all cannabis businesses from operating outside of the Prineville city limits. Deschutes County is considering a similar prohibition. The city of Madras will take up the issue on Tuesday.

Bethlehem Inn Fights For More State Funds

BEND, OR -- In response to an affordable housing crisis that reaches nearly every corner of Oregon, state lawmakers have allocated $40 million in bonds to combat homelessness. Gwenn Wysling, Executive Director of the Bethlehem Inn, says it’s money the northeast Bend homeless shelter could really use. "We are finalizing the purchase of this building. We’ve been here since 2007 and we still need a half a million dollars to secure ownership of this particular site so we can look at future development, someday."


Wysling met with State Representative Knute Buehler (R-Bend) and his wife on Friday. She's hoping he will advocate in Salem for the Bend facility to receive at least part of those bonds. The money wouldn’t be available until 2017, but Wysling says, "We need to meet with Rep. Buehler now and explain why that money is needed, the work that we are doing here in our community - the importance of that - and how vital a service and a safety net such as Bethlehem Inn is to all of Central Oregon." She tells KBND, "He has done a lot in our community, understands what some of the issues are. But this is a very complicated issue and we want to get to an understanding for him and for others what difficulties there are for affordable housing, the mental health concerns, substance abuse, all the things that contribute to the difficulties that people have when they finally hit that rock bottom and have no place to go. "
Initially, lawmakers set aside $100 million in bonds for homelessness, but Wysling says that money has been cut to $40 million. "It’s an education process. We always want people to come by and tour the facility and see the work that we’re doing, the people that we’re helping and the overall benefit that it is for our community for a service such as Bethlehem Inn."

Redmond Kicks Off U of O Sustainable Cities

REDMOND, OR -- A sustainable city conserves resources and energy, and is efficient and livable. That's the foundation of the "Sustainable Cities Initiative," which kicked off Friday in Redmond. 

Professor Nico Larko tells KBND it's a joint venture between the city and the University of Oregon. "The students, instead of working on hypothetical projects, are coming to the city and learning on the ground with the people who are here, with the professionals who know these issues, with citizens who are going to be affected by these issues." Those issues include marketing city utilities and Roberts Field, and creating safe bike and school routes.


Redmond Mayor George Endicott says many of the projects "Are things that have been on the boards for a long time, and we just don't have the resources to do them. So, we can make a pretty reasonable investment and get a huge return."


He adds, "For a community the size of ours, there's a lot of work that needs to be done all the time, and we don't always have the resources to do them. I think we're spending about $375,000; but of that, we get about 40,000 man-hours of time to devote to all these different projects." That translates to about $.09 per hour of labor.


Bend Transient Accused of Burglary, Car Theft

BEND, OR -- A Southeast Bend resident woke up just before 7 Sunday morning to find a stranger standing over him as he lay in bed. When he yelled at the intruder and called 911, the man took the victim’s keys, and drove off in his car. 


A short time later, a Southwest Bend resident called 911 to report a man had parked a car in his front lawn and was trying to get into his house. The suspect ran off when confronted by the homeowner.
Deschutes County Sheriff’s deputies arrested 43-year-old David Latta as he allegedly tried to take another car. 
Latta is also accused of an attempted burglary at the Bend Walgreen’s at 1:25 Sunday morning. He's charged with burglary, attempted burglary, trespass, criminal mischief, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle. 

Investigators Determine Cause of Cove Fire

CULVER, OR -- Firefighters were able to stop the Cove Fire at approximately 200 acres, by Saturday evening. Local farmers first spotted the blaze at about 10:30 Saturday morning, and tried to suppress the fire until crews arrived. Oregon State Police, Warm Springs Police and Jefferson County Sheriff's personnel went door-to-door to evacuate around 40 campers and 60 residents. A Red Cross shelter was set up at Culver High School for about an hour, when evacuation orders were lifted.


Investigators with Oregon State Police and Oregon Department of Forestry say the wildfire began in Cove Palisades State Park northwest of Culver. They determined the cause to be improperly disposed of Bar-B-Q briquettes. 


Two vacant homes and several outbuildings were destroyed, but no injuries have been reported. 


Firefighters continued to work hot spots and maintain containment lines overnight, and expect crews from Deer Ridge Correctional Institution in Madras to join efforts on Sunday. While winds have moderated, firefighters continue to watch for new starts in the area. 




Cove Fire Near Culver Grows to 200 Acres

COVE PALISADES, OR -- The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office has evacuated 60 people in a small subdivision west of Culver, after two homes and several outbuildings were destroyed in Central Oregon's newest wildfire. The Red Cross has established a shelter at Culver High School.


The Cove Fire reportedly started two miles northwest of Culver, in the campground at Cove Palisades State Park and fire managers say it was human caused. Oregon State Police are investigating the specific cause. High winds and dry conditions are fueling the fire which, as of 3:30 p.m. Saturday, had grown to about 200 acres. 


At this time, there is no containment and firefighters are challenged by steep slopes out of the park. The area received little to no rain today and wind remains a main factor in fire spread. 


The fire is being jointly managed by the Oregon Department of Forestry and Jefferson County, with help from Prineville BLM and Deschutes and Ochoco National Forest. Two helicopters on loan from Warm Springs, along with 10 engines, two airtankers, two hand crews and a water tender are on scene to battle the blaze.

Two Teens Arrested for Car Prowls

BEND, OR -- Two teens were arrested on 10 counts of stealing from vehicles last week, and Bend Police are trying to return property to its rightful owners.


According to police, 18-year old Rico Lazzereschi and a 16-year old boy were contacted early Wednesday morning after they had allegedly broken into several vehicles near Southeast 15th and Twin Lakes Loop.


Investigators ask that anyone who may have had something taken from their vehicle to call Bend Police at 541-693-6911.

Friday Wildfire Update

CRATER LAKE, OR -- The National Park Service reopened the north entrance to Crater Lake National Park, following burn out operations related to the Crescent Fire, which is part of the National Complex of fires. Visitors are advised that smoke may persist and future temporary closures may be necessary, depending on fire behavior or suppression actions.


The Pacific Crest Trail from the park's north boundary to the junction with Lightning Springs Trail remains closed, along with the Boundary Springs Trail, Bald Crater Loop Trail and Bert Creek Trail. The National Complex is now more than 13,000 acres and is 40% contained.


The Canyon Creek Complex, south of John Day has reached 44% containment, at nearly 87,000 acres. Evacuation notices remain in place. Six National Guard units are assisting with firefighting efforts, working on mop up and suppression repair.


On the Warm Springs Reservation, the County Line 2 Fire has grown to 66,390 acres. It's 72% contained, with full containment expected Monday. The fire is not expected to impact the Airshow of the Cascades at the Madras Airport, Friday evening and Saturday. 

Whitewater Park To Open Mid-September

BEND, OR -- Bend's Whitewater Park on the Deschutes River will open on schedule, despite recent rumors to the contrary. Chelsea Schneider with Bend Parks and Recreation says at one point, they were very optimistic on the opening. “We had, at the early part of this summer, hoped that we might be able to open it a little bit early. So that was kind of the end of August goal to be able to open up the channels. As we’re getting closer to the end of the project, we’re finding that there’s just quite a few things that need to be wrapped up so realistically we need to push that toward the middle of September for the true opening." That's still well ahead of the official November deadline for the project.


Schneider tells KBND, “The focus right now is to get the bridge rails installed. They’re installing what are called the cable rails - That’s the upper portion of the rails to protect bicyclists. And they are also installing the final parts and pieces for the pneumatic bladder which controls the river elevations and also can help shape the waves.”  And vegetation along the new river bank is being planted.


A mid-September opening should still give floaters and kayakers a couple of weeks of use before irrigation flows drop.

LUBA Overturns County Ruling on Farm Weddings

SISTERS, OR -- More than four months after a Sisters-area man received county approval to hold weddings on his farm, the state Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) overturned that ruling. Paul Dewey with Landwatch is pleased with the decision, saying it sets a precedent for the state. "The issue is whether or not events such as weddings can qualify as private parks allowable on agricultural lands. The reason we wanted that interpreted very narrowly, is that the more non-farm activity you have on agricultural lands, the less agricultural activities can occur and the more conflicts can happen."


John Shepherd tells KBND he was shocked by last week’s ruling. "When the LUBA trial actually went on, my attorney said most of the questions were directed to our opponent, Central Oregon Landwatch, and that they had a hard time answering the questions. My attorney received very few questions so we were still very confident that the appeal by Landwatch would be denied."


Shepherd has been holding weddings and other events at his property all summer, following Deschutes County Commissioners' approval to designate his property, zoned as Exclusive Farm Use (EFU), as a private park. "For some reason they just [LUBA] really hate the idea of a wedding ceremony happening on private land. Which is strange because all the public parks, both county and city, allow weddings along with the ceremony. So, why they would single out a private park and prohibit a ceremony, we don’t understand." 


Dewey says the issue is about fairness. "There are entirely different rules and restrictions on weddings and other events under the county ordinance. The Shepherds should do like what everyone else is doing, and apply specifically for a wedding event venue under the county ordinance."


Shepherd declined to say how many are scheduled in the coming months, and says the fight isn't over. "We’re appealing it to the state board of appeals, and again we’re optimistic that the state board will review this and either overrule LUBA’s prohibition or send it back to the County Commissioners for their review where we can work something out that’s more acceptable. If the state board of appeals upholds LUBA’s decision, then we’ll take Plan B, which is to seek a permit as a winery or a vineyard." He says if that fails, he will take it back to court as a civil rights issue. He is an ordained pastor and says he has a First Amendment right to hold weddings at his church, which meets on his property. 

Telfer to Run for Treasurer

BEND, OR -- Former Bend City Councilor and State Senator Chris Telfer announced Thursday, she will seek the Independent Party of Oregon’s nomination for Treasurer in 2016. The local CPA tells KBND she has contemplated the run for several months. "I just got to the point that I was seeing a crisis that was going to hit the state in 2017 in the financial area, and I felt that I am the one who has the skill set as a CPA. I teach government accounting for OSU and I thought, well, this is a way I could help the state out."


She adds, "We’ve got about a $3 billion crisis that we’re going to be facing. I actually developed the “back to basics” budget back in 2010, I guess it was, trying to balance the budget without increasing taxes. I have the skill set, nobody else does that’s running, so I thought well, I’ll throw my hat in the ring." Beaverton Democrat Tobias Read is the only other person to publicly announce a run for Treasurer, although campaigns can’t officially register until September 10. 


She registered with Oregon’s newest “major party” a few weeks ago and says it’s the best way to run her kind of campaign. "I want to keep politics out of the Treasury. It’s not about getting coerced by the left or the right dogma. It’s about protecting Oregonians’ money, so I want to keep politics out of it."
It can be difficult for candidates from east of the Cascades to run for statewide office. But, Telfer says she already has name recognition across Oregon, having served as a State Senator and Lottery Commissioner, along with her bid for Treasurer as a Republican in 2010. She lost that race to Ted Wheeler. "I don’t think people understand what the Treasury does, but it’s critical. Somebody’s got to wrap their hands around a $3 billion shortfall. There’s all kinds of issues there. I think part of my attempt is going to be getting Oregonians to understand that this is a critical time for the Treasury, for Oregonians’ money and somebody who knows what they’re doing needs to be protecting it."


Drug Arrests at Redmond Walmart

REDMOND, OR -- The Central Oregon Drug Enforcement team (CODE) arrested two men in a Redmond parking lot, and seized a large amount of methamphetamine, Wednesday night.


CODE detectives learned that a significant quantity of meth was on its way from Portland and identified the suspects as 30-year-old Jose Ramon Castelo, Federal Way, WA, and 26-year-old Yahir Acosta, a transient. At about 9 p.m., Wednesday, detectives located their car at the Redmond Walmart and took the men into custody. 
During a search of the vehicle, detectives say they found about a pound of meth hidden in the dashboard, with a street value of around $16,000. Additional user amounts of cocaine were found on Acosta.
Both men face a number of drug related charges.
                Jose Ramon Martinez Castelo                                           Yahir Acosta

Oregon Taxpayers to Get "Kicker"

SALEM, OR -- Oregon’s latest revenue forecast was released Wednesday, and House Republican Leader Mike McLane (R-Powell Butte) says it shows the state’s economy is headed in a positive direction. "The good news is that we’re going to have a kicker. As a result of tax increases this biennium, we exceeded expectations. We’re going to send back to the taxpayers $402 million of their money. There will also be a corporate tax kicker of around $59 million." McLane says that corporate kicker goes directly to state education funding. 


Despite the surplus, McLane says revenue for the 2013-15 biennium weren’t as good as previously projected. "Based upon our forecast, which, our previous one was in May, showed generous growth in our economy. He did downgrade that forecast by $48 million, but it still shows the economy will be growing and we can expect employment growth to continue and stabilize with no real projected downturn ahead that should alarm us."
The average taxpayer will receive a $244 dollar credit. "The last kicker was 2007, that was $1.2 billion. So, this is the first kicker in eight years and it’s less, of course, only $402 million. But, this time it won’t be in the form of a check, it’ll be in the form of a credit when you file your taxes in the upcoming year. The reason the legislature voted on that was to save money," McLane tells KBND. He says he’d like to see the state continue to grow revenues by increasing the number of taxpayers, and decreasing unemployment. Governor Kate Brown called the revenue forecast “encouraging.”
Oregon's kicker rebate was created in 1979 and goes into effect when revenues come in at more than 2% over what was forecast for the biennium. 

Facebook Gets Thumbs Up for Expansion

PRINEVILLE, OR -- The Prineville City Council and the Crook County Commissioners approved Facebook’s request for Enterprise Zone Status for an expansion project, late Wednesday. Crook County Commissioner Seth Crawford tells KBND, “What that entails is a 15-year tax break, and the company needs to spend a minimum of $200 million, hire not less than 10 people at no less than 1.5-times the average income of Crook County and pay, in lieu of taxes, $190,000 a year in grants." 


Crawford adds, “I’m ecstatic. Facebook has been an amazing partner. In addition to their in lieu of tax dollars they’re also putting a hundred-thousand-plus into our community through grant processes. The infrastructure they’ve brought to our community lined us up so we’re able to attract other data centers."


Facebook representatives attended both special meetings, but did not announce a timeline for the expansion project. 

Multi Million Dollar Lottery Ticket Sold in Bend

BEND, OR -- There is likely a multi-millionaire walking the streets of Bend, and they may not even know they’ve struck it rich. Monday night’s $6.4 million winning Megabucks ticket was sold in Bend. Chuck Baumann with the Oregon Lottery says they won’t release the store location until the winner has been confirmed. "If you’ve got the ticket and you’re not sure, or you think ‘gosh, I bought my ticket in Bend, I’d better check.’ You can go to our website and the winning numbers will be there. You can call the Lottery office in Salem (503-540-1000) and we can give you what the winning numbers were. Or, they can take the ticket into a retail location and have it scanned at one of the Check-a-Ticket devices that we have there. And, if they are indeed the winner, give us a call!"


Those winning numbers: 15 - 27 - 32 - 39 - 44 - 45.


The odds of winning Monday's drawing? One in 6.1 million, nearly the amount of the prize. Baumann has some advice for the winner. "Before you come in, and even after you come in because you can validate your ticket then step away and get your ducks in a row – what sort of a plan can we put in place that would be the wisest for us with this newfound wealth that we have? Talk to a financial planner, an accountant, an attorney, a team of those folks and get a plan in place; so that when it does come time for that check to be cut, you have a plan there."


Whoever the winner is has a big decision to make in the coming days. "They can take it as an annuity or they can take the cash option. If they choose the annuity, which is over 25 years, after taxes that prize would be $171,520. Every year for 25 years, that’s what they would get. If they take the cash option, it’s a little over $2.1 million," Baumann says. The winner has one year to claim their prize. 


In the 30-year history of Oregon Megabucks, there have been just four other winning tickets sold in Bend, most recently $3.5 million in 1994. This week's prize is by far the largest for a Bend retailer. 

Facebook Expansion in the Hands of Councilors

PRINEVILLE, OR -- Facebook's desire to expand its data center in Prineville could be in jeopardy if City Councilors and County Commissioners don't both agree to a property tax exemption.

The social media giant has two large buildings and one small building in Prineville, thanks to an Enterprise Zone that defers property taxes for 15 years. Facebook is seeking the same status for another proposed large building.


Prineville Mayor Betty Roppe tells KBND, "I believe there is support for an exemption for Facebook. It will give us an opportunity to increase the size of Facebook - the local building site - and for us, it will be more jobs. It will also mean an increase in franchise fees."


Roppe says an Enterprise Zone is often seen as a benefit for both sides. "They would have a 15-year tax free zone on the improvements to the land, but they would have to pay a payment in lieu of taxes on an annual basis, just like they did last time."


The Prineville City Council and Crook County Commissioners are both scheduled to take up the issue at special meetings, Wednesday afternoon.

Redmond Police Pursue Suspect Through Field

REDMOND, OR -- A Redmond man fled a traffic stop, leading police on a wild chase, Tuesday night. An officer attempted to pull over the V-W Jetta for several traffic violations at about 9:15 p.m. But, police say the man took off, driving through a field near 17th and West Antler Ave.
The driver ran from the scene after his car hit a sidewalk and became disabled. A K-9 unit helped track the suspect to a nearby apartment complex.
Police eventually found Ronnie Peters hiding inside an apartment. They say witnesses and nearby residents helped in the search effort.
Peters is accused of reckless driving and attempting to elude, along with charges stemming from an unrelated July investigation.

Drug Investigation Leads to Manhunt, Arrests

BEND, OR -- A Salem man suspected of trafficking narcotics, led Central Oregon Drug Enforcement detectives on a pursuit and was eventually arrested after an hours-long manhunt, last week. 


According to CODE, Chad Pomelow was a frequent visitor to the Bend home of Kristine Kyner, who was under investigation by the team. Detectives tried to stop Pomelow, last week, as he was parked near the Bend Airport, but he took off. After driving over spike strips, he ran from his car and detectives lost him. 
Later Wednesday morning, police stopped Kyner’s vehicle near 27th and Butler Market Road. Pomelow was found hiding in the vehicle and was arrested. Kyner’s 6-year-old daughter was taken into protective custody.
Detectives executed a search warrant on Kyner's home on Barton Crossing Way, where they say they found user amounts of heroin and meth. 

Pomelow is charged with Attempt to Elude, Reckless Driving, Reckless Endangering, Criminal Mischief, Attempted Assault and a Parole Violation. Kyner is charged with Heroin and Methamphetamine Possession, Hindering Prosecution and Child Neglect.

Central Oregon Counties See Jobless Rise

BEND, OR -- Central Oregon unemployment rates ticked up in July, following the statewide trend. Employment economist Will Burchard tells KBND, " We have seen an increase in the unemployment rate and that’s happening all across the state. The state’s unemployment rate increased from 5.5% to 5.9% in July and a big chunk of the group contributing to the higher unemployment, they’ve entered the labor force looking for work."


Deschutes County’s jobless rate increased from 6.2% in June to 6.6% in July. Jefferson County is one of the highest performing rural counties in the state, although unemployment rose from 6.7% to 7.2% last month. And, in Crook County, the unemployment rate increased by .4%, to 8.6%. 


In Deschutes County, Burchard says, "The big story is still hiring. In July, it was consistent with what we’d expect for this time of year. But, Central Oregon continues to grow more quickly than other areas of the state. And its over-the-year growth rate was higher than any other area in the state."


He admits, though, the region lost more jobs than anticipated, "When we look at the balance of jobs gained and lost in Deschutes County, in the private sector, there was a gain of about 1400 jobs (not seasonably adjusted). And, that was offset by losses in government. We saw a loss of about 1300 in local education, which is normal for this time of year because those who work in schools are heading out for the summer."


But, Burchard says there is good news, "The unemployment rate has increased and there are more people looking for work. But, as Deschutes County continues to add jobs at a higher rate than the state, these unemployed people looking for work will have opportunities to find jobs."

Smoky Air Causes Problems for Sensitive Groups

BEND, OR -- With smoky conditions blanketing Central Oregon for the last several weeks, asthma specialists are staying busy. Dr. Adam Williams, an allergy and asthma specialist with Bend Memorial Clinic, tells KBND his phone has been ringing off the hook. "We’re getting a lot of calls, especially with asthma [patients] needing inhaler refills who haven’t needed inhalers for a long time, or needing emergent treatment to get them through these attacks they're having because of the smoke."


"Every year this happens, we have so much trouble with respiratory issues. People who have lung problems, especially emphysema (also known as COPD) and then of course, asthma, people really struggle. This is probably one of the most difficult irritants that the lungs have to deal with, for people with those conditions," says Dr. Williams. 


Central Oregonians may be used to fire season, but it's the prolonged nature of the poor air quality that is really causing problems. "The duration that people have to the exposure that causes their symptoms definitely will increase the inflammation in their lungs and make it a lot harder for them. They may have been ok at first, but the longer it sits around the more likely they are to have problems with it." He suggests those with asthma who aren’t yet having symptoms consider restarting regular medications as a precaution.


And, it's not just his patients who are complaining. Dr. Williams says, "Probably over half of people in Central Oregon will tell you their eyes are itchy or nose is runny, or their throat is itchy and scratchy. And, as long as those are the only symptoms you have, it’s a matter of palliating the symptoms with whatever you can and trying to avoid the exposure."


And, because the smoke is everywhere, he suggests those suffering with itchy eyes and throats stay indoors, if possible. Oregon's DEQ has issued an Air Quality Alert "until further notice," due to smoky air. 

Rep. Buehler Not to Run for Governor, Yet

BEND, OR -- State Representative Knute Buehler announced Tuesday he will not run for Governor in 2016, opting instead to run for reelection in House District 54.


"I was asked late in the legislative session to give some consideration to running for Governor, both from local and national sources. And, I did that. But, after careful consideration, mainly for personal reasons, I felt that 2016 was just not my time to jump into the Governor’s race," he tells KBND News.  Rep. Buehler (R-Bend) adds, "I’m flattered by that, but it’s also something that’s not a lifelong goal. I don’t wake up every morning and look in the mirror and say ‘that guy should be Governor.’ My public service, I see more as a journey than any particular destination. And my journey will take me where I think I can serve the people of Oregon the best."
Buehler released a statement to supporters Tuesday morning, saying in part, "Serving another term in the Oregon House will allow me to continue serving the community and the state I love, while also engaging in a profession that is both fulfilling and allows my patients to lead better lives."
The freshman Representative tells KBND his decision was more personal than political. "I was thinking about things like the simple fact that I’ve really enjoyed being the voice and vote of Bend in the state legislature. I also very much enjoy being a physician. So, there’s just a number of aspects that come into play. But also, importantly, I’d have had to quit being a physician completely, and I’m just not prepared to do that quite yet."
Governor Kate Brown has not yet announced whether she'll run. If she does, Buehler believes she can be beat. "This is kind of a special interim race in 2016 and there will be another race in 2018, which is unusual." Buehler wouldn't rule out a run in 2018, "Way too many things can happen between now and 2018. Right now, I’m focused on creating a better Oregon. We need better quality schools, we need more and higher paying jobs, and we need to improve our woeful transportation network. Those are the things I’m going to really put my attention to over the next couple of years."


He has launched fundraising efforts for his reelection campaign to Oregon House District 54.

Local Investors React to Market Roller Coaster

BEND, OR -- Stocks fell 3.5% Monday and another 1.3% Tuesday, causing many investors to cringe and blame foreign markets. But, Troy Reinhart with Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management says, not so fast. "Computers are becoming a bigger and bigger part of trading. All this programmed trading will shove things, especially in the summer months where most traders are in the Hamptons enjoying the beach, not trading, so there's not a lot of volume out there. That can shove markets wildly one way or another."


Reinhart says most of his investors are in the market for the long haul and should not get caught up in sell-off emotion. Although, the fluctuations are thinning out some. "People who shouldn't be in stocks, speculated way too much, took risks they weren't willing to take - those are the people getting out of the market," Reinhart tells KBND. 


He suggests investors take a deep breath, and enjoy the summer, "This too shall pass."

Bend Residents Wanted for Gas Tax Discussion

BEND, OR -- City officials are hoping regular citizens will take an active role in creating proposals to fund Bend street improvements. According to City Manager Eric King, a number of local groups are already expected to participate, including the Bend Chamber of Commerce, Commute Options and Bend 2030. "We’ve asked them to send a representative. And then, we have a few open slots that we’ve advertised for and we encourage citizens to go onto our website and apply to be a part of that group. We’ll select those folks at the end of this month or the first part of September. Our intent is to have our first meeting on September 14." He says they're looking for a variety of participants, ranging from a local gas station owner to a small business that relies on fuel.

King tells KBND the City Council’s tight vote in favor of putting a gas tax on the March ballot does not mean it’s a done deal. "It was really an intent. They didn’t really make any move to put something on the ballot. There’s actual ballot language, a whole other step that would have to take place. So, if that scenario plays out that the committee comes up with something other than a fuel tax and it has traction and support, I think Council would be interested in seeing what that recommendation would be and perhaps could support it." And, if a local gas tax is chosen as the best option to fund road improvements, King says more discussion would follow before anything goes to the ballot. "Council needs to adopt a resolution and that resolution has the ballot title language, and that goes to the County Clerk. That would turn over into a campaign of sorts, a Political Action Committee that would then advocate for that measure."
The Street Maintenance Funding Committee is tasked with coming up with two proposals – one with a local gas tax for approval by voters, and one without. Applications will be accepted until August 31.

Deschutes County Prosecutor Honored

BEND, OR -- A Deschutes County Deputy District Attorney is singled out for his prosecution of wildlife offenses. Drew Moore was honored as the 2014 "Wildlife Prosecutor of the Year" at the Oregon District Attorneys Association conference held in Bend, last week.


The award recognized Deputy D.A. Moore for his support, hard work, dedication and enforcement of Fish and Wildlife laws. 


Central Oregon's Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife Team nominated Moore for the award. 

Bend Mass Transit Growing

BEND, OR -- Bend’s public bus system is growing. City Councilors have approved a three-year boost in funding for the Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council to add bus routes and provide service later in the evening. COIC Executive Director Andrew Spreadborough says the changes could come by the end of September. "We also are moving the headways and cycle times to a 30- and 60-minute schedule. Right now, we’re on a 40-minute headway and cycle times vary. Headway is the frequency that a bus shows up at a bus stop and cycle time is how long it takes to ride through a route. The idea, on an urban system, you want to be around 30 or 15 minutes."  He told the City Council, "It will be a more intuitive system. If you have a bus stop, you’ll know a bus comes every 30-minutes, generally, on the 30-minute mark. And, there is more frequency built into the system." Busses will also run later in the day, until 8 p.m. instead of the current 6 p.m.


COIC worked with OSU Cascades and St. Charles to develop a master plan designed to help alleviate congestion related to the two big Bend employers and to develop a bus system that is more user friendly. "The transit master plan really calls out improvements over time: Additional routes within the city, increased frequency and later service; those were the three highest priorities that were included in the transit plan. And, the plan was developed by public involvement, technical analysis, and other input. It was really recognition that an improvement in one part of town wasn’t sufficient."
The City Council voted last week to spend $300,000 a year for the next three years on the bus expansion, in addition to the $1 million it already gives Cascades East Transit. Expanded routes could begin as soon as September 21. 


Wildfires Prompt Scam Concerns

BEND, OR -- With emotions running high following three firefighter deaths in Washington, and dozens of homes lost to fires in eastern Oregon, the Better Business Bureau warns scammers may try to take advantage. Sophie Dichter with the Oregon BBB tells KBND it’s not unusual for con artists to set up fake, official-sounding charities during a natural disaster. "We want to help, we want to donate, we want to do whatever we can. But, scammers prey on that. They know we’re already emotionally charged and we’re so eager to help. What we’ve seen happen in the past is that they’ll actually go door to door and use high-pressure tactics to try and get people to give to them and pocket the money."

She says demands for immediate cash should be a red flag. "Once you hand [cash] over, it’s gone. They will convince you, saying ‘it’s so much easier if you just give me a $20 bill.’ You’re so eager to help, a lot of times you don’t take that second to think clearly and say, maybe a check would be a better idea."
She also suggests you do your homework, "As a consumer, as a donor, it is up to us to do our research and get as much information as possible. So, ask them questions. Say, ‘specifically tell me where this money is going to go?’ And, a lot of times, scammers are not prepared. They can’t give you any specifics, they’ll talk in general terms and that will be a red flag. She says a legitimate charity should respond positively to requests for more information and offers to mail a check directly to an organization.

Eugene Hiker Injured, Rescued Near Green Lakes

BEND, OR -- A Eugene woman was injured while hiking near Green Lakes west of Bend, prompting a response by Search and rescue, Sunday morning. Another hiker called 9-1-1 at about 8:30 a.m. to report 55-year-old Nancy Allender was hurt and not able to hike back to the trailhead on her own. 


Two SAR teams assembled and proceeded the four miles into her location with medical supplies and a wheeled litter. They transported her back to the trailhead.
Her hiking companion then took her back to Eugene for further medical treatment. 

Bend Man Arrested for Eluding Police

BEND, OR -- A Bend Police officer attempted to pull over Seth Morningsun Sunday night for a traffic violation near NE Fourth and Greenwood. Officers say Morningsun refused to pull over and drove south on NE Third Street, just before 9:20 p.m. He stopped near Third and Brosterhous but drove off as the officer tried to approach the vehicle.


Eventually, the 35-year-old Bend man drove into the Fred Meyer parking lot where a number of officers approached his vehicle. They say he initially failed to comply with commands, but was finally taken into custody a short time later without incident.


Morningsun is charged with Attempting to Elude Police and Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants. 

Bend Man Dies Following Crash

BEND, OR -- A Bend man died following a car crash into a Canal, Sunday morning. According to Bend Police, 64-year-old Lewis Bingham likely had a medical crisis while driving westbound on Knott Road. He lost control and crashed into the canal near Pine Vista Road, just after 10:30 a.m.


His vehicle ended up partially submerged, and witnesses entered the water to pull Bingham out. He was unresponsive and medics immediately began life-saving measures.  He was transported to the hospital but did not survive. 
Bend Police ask that any other witnesses to the crash call non-emergency dispatch at 541-693-6911 to speak with investigators. 

Desch. County Urges Emergency Preparedness

BEND, OR -- Due to the prolonged risk of wildfire, the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office is urging residents to be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice. While there are no new fires reported in the area, County Emergency Manager Nathan Garibay encourages everyone to be prepared well in advance of an incident, by creating an evacuation kit and plan.


He says an integral piece is making sure your cell phone is registered through the county to receive emergency notifications. Click HERE to register your cell phone. 
The state has developed three evacuation levels:
Level 1: Be Ready
There is an incident in your area and residents should be aware of potential evacuation. Be aware of the danger, monitor emergency services sources and local media for information.  Those persons who will need additional time to exit an area or have health conditions (especially respiratory conditions that could be made worse by smoke) should consider leaving. You are encouraged to prepare or even move livestock and pets out of the area.  Be prepared to leave if conditions worsen.
Level 2: Get Set
There is significant danger in your area and residents should be prepared to leave at a moment's notice. You are encouraged to leave and should do so as soon as possible. If you choose to stay, you should be able to leave immediately if conditions worsen.  You MAY have time to gather necessary items, but doing so is at your own risk.  Entry to evacuated areas may be denied until the hazard subsides.
This may be the only notice you receive. Emergency services cannot guarantee we will be able to notify you if conditions rapidly deteriorate.
Level 3: Go Now!
There is immediate and imminent danger and you should evacuate immediately. DO NOT DELAY LEAVING to gather any belongings or make efforts to protect your home. Leave immediately and as quickly as possible. Drive carefully, turn on your headlights, and follow any directions from emergency services personnel. Entry to evacuated areas will be denied until the hazard subsides.
“During fire season, making sure that you and your family are always on ready for an emergency evacuation can make all the difference,” explains Garibay. “Having a plan and a emergency 72-hour kit ahead of time can allow for your family to take some extra precautionary measures if you are given a Level 1 Notice.”


Suttle Lake Parasite Postpones Weekend Event

SUTTLE LAKE, OR -- An outbreak of Swimmers Itch has forced Sisters Multi Sport to postpone its annual “Swim Across Suttle," originally scheduled for this Sunday. Jean Nelson Dean, with the Forest Service, says visitors to Suttle Lake began experiencing Swimmers Itch about a week ago. "It’s a rash you get when you’re swimming or wading outdoors. Usually, it’s in freshwater lakes and ponds like Suttle Lake. Essentially it’s an allergic reaction to these parasites that come from the waterfowl and some animals that live near the water," she tells KBND. "Because we are not suitable hosts for those parasites, they die when they’re in our skin and become kind of itchy. It’s usually short-lived, maybe a couple days, and most over the counter prescriptions medications for itch will help in treating it." She says it has been several years since any local lakes have had documented outbreaks. 


Nelson Dean agrees postponing the event was necessary. But, she says Swimmers Itch is not a public health concern, "It’s more of an irritation. People can go up to the lake and go boating, canoeing and spend time there, they probably just don’t want to spend a lot of time in the water. I do want to emphasize that Swimmers Itch is vastly different than blue-green algae that is a toxin and can affect dogs and humans. Swimmers Itch is something that’s on whole different scale; it’s irritating, it isn’t really a health hazard."
Swim Across Suttle has been rescheduled for October 4, and participants are encouraged to be prepared for much cooler water temperatures. 

Group Says 2/3 Disagree with Bend OSU Site

BEND, OR -- Truth in Site released the findings from its recent online survey on the proposed site for OSU Cascades. The opposition group says more than a thousand people responded to the poll which was posted on its website.


Tracy Pfiffner with Truth in Site tells KBND, "We found that, of the over 1,000 respondents, 66% believe the current location is not the best placement for a regional university in Central Oregon."

Critics have argued the public survey was not scientific. Pfiffner concedes to that argument; however, she adds, "First of all, it's a picture of public opinion at a point in time. It's like an election process where people show up and voice their opinion. That's what we're claiming. We are sharing the questions and we're trying to be transparent." She says the group is open to a more scientific version. "We would be happy to team up with OSU and Now For Bend to create a survey where we all agree on the questions, and do a scientific survey to make a lot of folks happy. Conducting a scientific survey is challenging in today's world."
Truth in Site's survey also found that 64% of respondents felt the college should stop development at Chandler and Mt. Washington Drive and select a location that is less congested. Portland-based DHM Research conducted surveys considered more scientific, for Rep. Knute Buehler (R-Bend) and Now For Bend, and say 2/3 of people support the university's Westside location. 

Bend Officials Work on Commercial Pot Rules

BEND, OR -- The city of Bend is working toward developing regulations surrounding commercial marijuana operations. City Manager Eric King says there are more than a dozen medical marijuana dispensaries in Bend, many of which intend to offer early recreational sales allowed October first. 


He says City Councilors will spend the next month working with stakeholders to create appropriate guidelines prior to that date. "We talked about some potential regulations that we’d like to include on spacing requirements for marijuana facilities, including distance from existing facilities as well as distance from schools, parks, libraries. Really, the concern with council is making sure that marijuana outlets are not near where kids might be," King tells KBND. "Ensuring that we’re really aligning toward some type of intent; what are we trying to accomplish through that. So, we’re also looking at not only placement, but also what we call ‘time and manner’ - when these facilities are open – odor issues and display. We’re digging a little deeper into that and we’ll most likely have something in the next couple of months." Councilors have also expressed concerns about industrial land being used for growing pot.
King says it’s been difficult  to gauge what type of rules are needed on the local level, when the state has yet to release its regulations. "And, they’ve got to go through a process and so we didn’t want to duplicate anything they’re doing. Really, our role is to fill a gap. Where they’re at a pretty high level, at a local level we have an opportunity to really fine-tune what’s important for Bend."


Friday Morning Wildfire Update

BAKER CITY, OR -- Extreme fire weather continues: high temperatures, low humidity and winds could pick up again today; none of it good news for firefighters battle blazes across the state. The Canyon Creek Complex has burned nearly 54,000 acres near John Day, and is 10% contained. The fire has destroyed 36 homes and threatens 700 other structures. 


U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell says firefighters are doing all they can to curtail the complex of fires. He toured the fire camp earlier this week with Governor Kate Brown and State Forester Doug Decker. If officials had all the resources they wanted, Tidwell says there would be 1500 firefighters on-scene. As of Thursday, there are more than 600 making up the more than 900 total personnel.


The County Line 2 Fire near Warm Springs has burned more than 64,000 acres and is 55% contained.
The Cornet Windy Ridge Fire is Oregon’s largest. It has burned nearly 104,000 acres south of Baker City and is 75% contained. 

Sam Johnson Park Playground Progressing

REDMOND, OR -- Central Oregon’s first playground designed to be accessible to all ages and abilities has been delayed, but work is progressing. Redmond Mayor George Endicott tells KBND part of the delay was finding just the right equipment for the unique playground at Sam Johnson Park. "This park is going to be fully ADA accessible on all of the 70 events we’re going to have there, so you have to find the right vendor to make sure that that works right and it took us a long time to do that." 


But, he says vendor decisions and fundraising efforts weren't the only things that delayed Hope Playground from opening as planned in May. "One of the other things that held us up was having the right kind of mat, and we decided on a pour. It’s a rubberized compound kind of a deal; if a kid falls, you want to make sure they don’t get hurt." He adds, "It’s taken a long time to get all of the excavation just exactly right. It’s exciting, I mean, it’s under construction now. You first build it, then you pour the concrete to firm it up, then you pour the floor. The concrete pour, I think, is early next week."


The city is hoping volunteers will come help install the newly delivered playground equipment on Friday. Click HERE for more information. Mayor Endicott expects the playground to be open for visitors in mid-October. 

Crook County Approves Pot Ban

PRINEVILLE, OR -- Crook County Commissioners voted Wednesday not to allow any marijuana businesses within unincorporated areas. The unanimous vote came after public testimony during a packed County Court meeting.


Commissioner Ken Fahlgren explains what the decision means, "We did vote on and approved our ordinance prohibiting the operation of six licensed and registered marijuana businesses and declaring an emergency. Declaring an emergency means that starts today [Wednesday] with our signatures; and that we will not allow in our county, all of these six items." That list includes medical marijuana processing sites and dispensaries, recreational marijuana producers and processors and recreational wholesalers and retailers. The ban does not include any businesses within the Prineville city limits. Currently there is one medical marijuana dispensary operating near the Prineville Airport. 


Retired Circuit Court Judge Gary Thompson spent 11 years overseeing the county's drug court. He brought the issue to Councilors, saying he's seen the problems drugs inflict on the community. "Most of the people were addicted to methamphetamine, heroin or cocaine; but they were also addicted to marijuana. And, the drug they had the most difficult time giving up was marijuana. Marijuana is addictive; it addicts 9% of adults and 17% of teens," Thompson tells KBND. 


Following the vote, Thompson said, "I'm pleased. It took courage, but it also followed the vote of the Crook County voters."


Because more than 55% of those in Crook County voted against Measure 91, the County Court was allowed by state law to ban commercial operations without further ballot measures. 

New Redmond Councilor Sworn In

REDMOND, OR -- Redmond's newest city councilor was sworn in Wednesday. Heather Carlin was appointed to fill the seat vacated when Ginny McPherson resigned to take a job with the city's Community Development Department. 


Carlin is a 17-year resident of Redmond and has served on the city's budget committee and planning commission, and has led a number of Boards of Directors, including Saving Grace and Central Christian Schools.
Her term expires at the end of 2016. 

Duplex Fire Blamed on Smoldering Materials

BEND, OR -- A home in the Broken Top neighborhood of Bend suffered $30,000 in damage due to improperly disposed of smoking materials. The fire started on the deck of a duplex on Bridge Creek Road, Wednesday afternoon. 


Firefighters knocked down the flames within 13 minutes of arriving on scene, and damage was confined to the exterior of one unit of the duplex.


Investigators say smoking materials on the back deck smoldered for hours before actual flames were seen. 

Fatal Stabbing Victim Identified

LA PINE, OR -- The Deschutes County Sheriff's Office has identified the man stabbed to death in La Pine. According to investigators, 46-year-old James Drake, Jr. was killed inside a home on Dustan Road, Tuesday afternoon. Paramedics attempted life saving measures, but Drake died at the scene.


During the course of the investigation, deputies learned that a neighbor was also the victim of a crime. They arrested 44-year-old Mark Fisher on burglary and assault charges in connection with that second victim.


The investigation continues, and more information is expected to be released by the Deschutes County District Attorney's Office. 

Redmond Man Killed in Culver Crash

CULVER, OR -- A Redmond man was killed in a single vehicle crash near Culver, Wednesday morning. Oregon State Police report a car driven by 36-year-old Robert Topliff drifted out of its lane on Highway 97 and struck a guardrail. He was pronounced dead at the scene. 


His passenger, a 29-year-old Salem man, was taken to St. Charles Madras with minor injuries. 
Fatigue is being investigated as the cause of the crash, which occurred at about 10:15 a.m. 

Prineville Reservoir Boat Ramp Closed

PRINEVILLE, OR -- The remaining developed boat ramp at Prineville Reservoir will close for the year on Friday, due to low water levels. Park officials say the ramp is unsafe for trailered boat launching because water has receded to the end of the ramp. 


Low water prompted the early closure of the two other developed boat ramps, earlier this summer. 
The reservoir is still open to watercraft that can be launched manually from the beach. 
And, the main campground and day-use area will remain open year-round. The Jasper Point Campground is slated to close September 30. 
File Photo

Central Oregon Rural Highways Get Faster

BEND, OR -- Oregon’s Department of Transportation is in the process of implementing major changes to speeds allowed on rural highways. And, ODOT’s Peter Murphy tells KBND, that includes major roadways in Central Oregon. "The speed limit on most of Highway 97 will be 65 MPH; not here in the city, in the more rural areas – south of town, for example, then from Redmond to Madras, and also on the stretch between Bend and Redmond. So, people will legally be driving faster."


Murphy says preparations are already underway, "Passing lanes, passing zones are changing because as you go faster you need more room and we don’t have that kind of room on some of our highways. And then there are curves, for example, that are marked for whatever speed they are. And, if you’re now traveling 65 instead of 55, you’re approaching the curve a little faster, so you have to put the warning signs further away from the curve." 


When the new speed signs go up March first, they will alert drivers of the maximum speed limit. Current signs only show the basic rule speed, without a "limit." 
Murphy says the increased speed brings an increased need for caution. "The energy related to the crash, for example, between 55 and 65 MPH is not a direct linear equation; it’s exponential. The energy is by a square greater when you collide. It’s much more dangerous."

Crook County Discusses Pot Business Ban

PRINEVILLE, OR -- Crook County Commissioners are expected to decide today whether to limit marijuana businesses outside of the Prineville city limits. Ken Fahlgren says because 58% of Crook County voters said no to Measure 91, Commissioners can choose to ban six different types of businesses, ranging from medical dispensaries to recreational marijuana retailers and producers. "If we were to restrict these six directions that the state allows us through the opt-out, it doesn’t stop someone to grow for themselves and for personal use. And, it doesn’t stop the allowed grow in that personal way for others who carry a medical marijuana card."


Commissioner Fahlgren tells KBND it's a difficult decision, "I don’t know yet. I look at this as being a problem for our public safety. I’ve got grandkids here as well, and I’m one of the voters who voted it down. So, I guess in my mind at this time, I would probably opt out unless I hear something different; and that’s where a discussion is helping me to be more open-minded. I really, I don’t know."
HB 3400, approved by state lawmakers at the end of the legislative session, allows a ban in communities where more than 55% of residents voted against Measure 91 last November. 
Currently there is one medical marijuana dispensary in Prineville; it would not be impacted by a ban, since it’s inside the city limits. A county ban also would not impact personal pot use, which became legal July first. Well, it’s something we’ve worked on now for many years. "It’s coming to a head with the state. We really want to listen to what the voters have to say. We know there’s a need for medical marijuana in this process, the city has allowed a medical marijuana dispensary in the city; there was a lot of discussion around that," Fahlgren says. 


If approved at today's County Commissioner meeting, a ban could go into effect immediately. 

Truth in Site to Release Online OSU Cascades Survey

BEND, OR -- Truth in Site is planning to release the results of its recent online survey on the OSU Cascades expansion this Thursday.


More than one thousand people responded to the poll, but critics say, it's not scientific.


John Horvick with DHM Research in Portland explains what qualifies as scientific: "If someone tells me a survey is open to everyone,  that's not scientific.  The sample needs to be randomized and representative of the community.  If you want to test if the same is good, you need to know the demographics of those who participate."


Truth in Site officials don't claim their survey is scientific, but they do claim its a valid reflection of public opinion on this issue.

Deschutes County Approve Study of Landfill for OSU

BEND,OR ---  The Deschutes County Commissioners have agreed to move forward on examining whether a former landfill could be used by OSU Cascades.


The commissioners unanimously agreed to a non binding agreement Monday between the county and college.


OSU Cascades Vice President Becky Johnson says the college is keeping their options open.


"I think there are a lot of win-wins here.  If we can find a way to clean this up and as a representative of OSU we're uniquely situated to bring some expertise to this.  The Dean of the College of Engineering plans to bring out his best faculty to think out of the box."


The assessment of the former landfill is expected to take up to two years.

Deschutes County Deliberates Pot Ban

BEND, OR -- Deschutes County Commissioners are starting to consider whether to allow marijuana businesses in rural areas. They listened to hours of testimony during two public hearings last week. During Monday's Board of Commissioners meeting, they reflected on what they heard and where they want to go with the process.


Commissioner Tammy Baney said, "I'm not in favor of a blanket opt-out. I think the easiest thing we can do is a complete opt-out. The hardest thing, and I think the right thing to do is to parse through this and craft a decision that's right for Deschutes County. I think we can find some middle ground."


Commissioner Alan Unger agreed, but added, "I don't want to take [an opt-out] off the table. The challenge I see is then we have a vote, then a campaign. Do we want to go down that road or not? I'm not happy with that."


They plan to devote their September second work session on deciding how to proceed. Commissioners are considering forming a citizen committee to help give them further input. 


Dogs From Overcrowded California Shelter Now in Redmond

REDMOND, OR -- Staff from Brightside Animal Center traveled from Redmond to California Monday to increase the chances of finding adoptive homes for seven young dogs. "We’re bringing them here because the Red Bluffs shelter called us because they desperately needed help making room for the animals that they already have at their shelter," Brightside Executive Director Becky Stock tells KBND. "Imagine you want to adopt a dog and you keep looking at, for example, the Brightside website and the same dogs are always up there and you go, ‘none of the ones I came to visit really tripped my trigger.’ Having new animals to look at is a good thing. It helps stimulate people who are looking for dogs, it gives us something new to let people know to check out the seven new dogs we have at Brightside Animal Center."


She says the Redmond shelter has room for the new arrivals thanks to last weekend’s national Clear the Shelter event. "We got rid of probably 1/5 of the cats and we adopted out five dogs and we have three more with holds, all of our roosters are gone, and we’re down to only two rabbits."
The seven new dogs are a mix of breeds, and Stock says all are healthy. She expects most will be ready for adoption by the end of the week.  
Above photo: Carla is a Corgi mix with a sweet disposition. She gets along with other dogs but not cats!
Diesel: 1-year-old, very sweet.      Fonzie: Loves attention!         Nova: Is great with people!

Prineville, Others Struggle with Smoky Skies

PRINEVILLE, OR -- Crook County is one of Central Oregon's communities most impacted by smoke pouring in from the County Line 2 Fire in Warm Springs. Prineville City Planner Phil Stenbeck says residents need to be aware of the conditions, especially if they have existing respiratory conditions. "The air quality monitor has indicated moderate conditions on several days due to the wildfires, and one unhealthy day  - clearly unhealthy for everybody. We’re watching the monitor and informing people of the quality of the air. Of course, the suggestion is don’t go running, don’t go play sports in the weather, try to reduce your exposure and stay indoors if it’s really thick where you’re at."


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) asks communities to limit particulate levels to 35 micrograms per thousand. But, Stenbeck says exceptions are made during fire season. "During the summertime when you have wildfires, that’s something that if your numbers are going to be pushed over by a wildfire event, then they don’t count it. If it’s not, then they do. They’ve got all this math that we don’t necessarily agree with. But at the end of the day, the wildfire events that occur in the summer months don’t effect you the same as crossing over the particulate level during the winter months. They feel communities have more control over that."


Stenbeck says the city and Crook County are working with the EPA and the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to improve air quality during the winter, when wood stoves and outdoor burning take Crook County over federal pollution thresholds for an average of 12 days each year. 

An Air Quality Alert has been issued for Deschutes County until 11 a.m., Wednesday, due to area smoke.  



County Line 2 Fire photo courtesy Spilyay Tymoo.



County Line 2 Fire Grows to Nearly 60k Acres

WARM SPRINGS, OR -- The County Line 2 Fire near Warm Springs continues to burn and as of Monday evening, had destroyed nearly 60,000 acres. It's estimated at 31% contained. Bob Medina, head of the Warm Springs Dispatch Center, tells KBND, "Right now, we're still pretty active. In fact, we just picked up another smoke report on Mt. Jefferson, which is also on the reservation; we've got some resources going to that one, as well." He says that new fire is likely a holdover from lightning a couple of weeks ago. 


Kah-Nee-Ta Resort reopened at around noon on Monday, after evacuating guests and employees on Saturday.


Nearly 600 firefighters are battling the blazes. "The relief is kind of - the pressure is getting a little better. Tension is still there because there are a lot of concerned community members, concerned people on the outside that call about road closures and the highway closure. It's all a big concern for many people, so it gets hectic."


The Pacific Northwest currently has a high volume of fires, including 30 large uncontained wildfires, which is squeezing state and federal resources. 


Photo courtesy Spilyay Tymoo.

Independent Party Gains Major Party Status

SALEM, OR -- Secretary of State Jeanne Atkins Monday announced that the Independent Party of Oregon (IPO) has qualified to be a major political party. The designation permits the party to participate in the May 2016 Primary Election.


In order to qualify for major party status in Oregon, a party needs to claim 5% of the registered voters, or 108,739 registered voters. As of August 16, 2015, the Independent Party had 109,363.


Sal Peralta, Secretary of the Independent Party of Oregon, says IPO has grown from 10,000 just seven years ago. During a recent forum in Bend, Peralta said, "Roughly one in four IPO members are former Democrats or Republicans who switched. Demographically, half of IPO members are under the age of 40, so that makes us the youngest political party in the state. And, the main ideology consistency among our membership is frustration with the Democrats and Republicans."


In Oregon, about a third of voters do not identify themselves as Democrat or Republican. 

Redmond Police Search for Wanted Man

REDMOND, OR -- Police are looking for a 39-year-old Redmond man with several warrants for burglary and firearm theft, and are asking for the public's help in tracking down Matthew Romine.


Officers contacted Sabrina Hammon as she stood in the front yard of a home on Northwest Way, just outside of Redmond, at 4:45 p.m. Saturday. The 37-year-old woman was arrested for an outstanding warrant. During that investigation, the officer had reason to believe Romine lived at the same house and he believed the wanted man was inside. 


The Central Oregon CERT Team was attempted to contact Romine. Despite a search by a K-9 unit, Romine was not found. Officers cleared the scene at 1:30 a.m., Sunday.


Redmond Police ask anyone who may know Romine's whereabouts, is asked to call local law enforcement. 


Sabrina Hammon (37), of Redmond

County Line 2: Hwy 26 Open, Kah-Nee-Ta Closed

WARM SPRINGS, OR -- The County Line 2 Fire continues to burn tens of thousands of acres on the Warm Springs Reservation. Firefighting efforts twice forced the closure of highway 26; the second time lasted nearly two days. It reopened Saturday morning. 


The Red Cross is offering shelter at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds to those forced to evacuate their homes. Kah-Nee-Ta Resort management say they plan to reopen the resort at noon, Monday. They ask visitors to be aware of moderate to heavy levels of smoke in the air, although they say it should clear this afternoon. DEQ air quality monitoring sites across the region report moderate to unsafe conditions, Monday morning, due to the smoke. 
The wildfire began Wednesday, when a trailer lost a tire, sending sparks into brush along Highway 26. 
As of Monday morning, the fire had burned approximately 59,150 acres and its perimeter is 25%contained.  
Photo Courtesy of Jayson Smith, via KWSO.

Crook County Schools Undergo Major Changes

PRINEVILLE, OR -- Construction crews have worked all summer on nearly every school in Crook County and School District officials say they’re on track and will be ready for students in three short weeks. District Project Manager Jerry Milstead tells KBND, "The big to-do is the new elementary school, to get that ready and online for this fall school year. We’re doing remodeling at the high school, the middle school; we’re going to start remodeling at Cecil Sly this fall, and we’re remodeling Paulina School."


He says middle and high school students will notice changes when they first enter their buildings. "What the students will see, and the public will see, is a new, more secure entry into the High School. And, a remodel is taking place on the front office, in order to accommodate the different traffic flow for security purposes."


But the biggest changes are at the elementary level. "Ochoco Elementary school will no longer operate. This coming year, Crooked River Elementary School will operate as an elementary school, as well as the new Barnes Butte Elementary School. Cecil Sly is shut down for this school year, so we will go in and remodel it. In the fall of 2016, Cecil Sly will reopen and Crooked River will no longer be an elementary school for the district," says Milstead. By the time the dust settles next fall, Crook County will have only two elementary schools: Barnes Butte and Cecil Sly.


Milstead says the district just received its occupancy permit for Barnes Butte, and teachers are anxious to get classrooms ready for its first students. The school district will host an open house at Barnes Butte Friday, August 21 at 5:30 p.m.


There have been a few delays on a number of the projects, but he says crews will work behind the scenes once students are back. 

OSU Cascades Landfill Decision Expected Today

BEND, OR -- OSU Cascades is increasing future land expansion options. The college is looking at Deschutes County's former demolition landfill, located just north of the site it already owns on Chandler and Mt. Washington Drive. 


County Administrator Tom Anderson tells KBND County Commissioners will discuss Monday morning whether to help OSU Cascades study whether the land is viable. "It's non-binding, so it doesn't lock either the county or OSU Cascades into anything. It's a partnership, really, to provide assistance to them in doing some additional assessment of what that site really is, in terms of environmental waste and cost of clean-up."


He says studying the property is important because there are many variables. "It differs by areas of the site and the amount of remediation necessary, depending on the kind of use that would be done over the impacted areas of the site."
If the agreement is approved, it could take up to two years to evaluate whether the land can be used for the college's expansion. 

Understaffed Bend PD Hiring Officers

BEND, OR -- During its busiest time of year, the Bend Police Department is struggling to put enough officers on patrol. Chief Jim Porter tells KBND it’s due to a combination of recent retirements and the changing face of police forces across the country. "We have a unique challenge we haven’t had before. With the new officers we’re hiring, if you will, millennials, they are more engaged with their family, which is a good thing. They take longer time off with their family, and that’s a good thing; they have to build that resilience to come back and face challenges. But, they also take longer time off when a child is born. That’s a staffing that’s hard for us to predict. We’re at the highest call volume in the summer, with the lowest number of staff."


The hiring and training process takes longer than in past efforts, further delaying the ability to put more officers on the streets. "When we follow federal and state guidelines, it takes us a little while to get the hiring process rolling. And then we want to do very extensive background investigations into our applicants, that way we ensure we have the highest quality of applicants, someone who’s suited for the philosophy of Bend; and someone who isn’t going to move somewhere they’re going to fail, because it costs everyone money and time for that. So, we want to make sure we have the best applicants and that takes time," Chief Porter says. 


And, he says law enforcement agencies across are struggling to recruit good candidates due to recent negative publicity. "People hyper-critically scrutinize what we do. We make mistakes. Every profession has individuals within it who make mistakes. Every profession has individuals who have criminality in them – doctors, lawyers, no matter what it is. And, those are the folks who people in America now see. They don’t see the officers, like I get daily calls, ‘your officer took the time to talk to my child,’ ‘Your officer was so polite.’"


Chief Porter hopes to have seven new officers hired by later in the fall.


C.O. Breeze Continues Despite Closure

BEND, OR -- A 30-mile stretch of Highway 26 near Warm Springs remains closed due to the County Line 2 Fire, and the Oregon Department of Transportation estimates the closure will remain in place all day, Friday. It’s a closure that impacted truck drivers, tourists and anyone else trying to get from the High Desert to Portland, via Mount Hood.


Morrie Christensen, with Central Oregon Breeze, tells KBND they’re taking a lot of calls from customers confirming busses are running between Portland and Redmond. "They want to know about the delay, so we are telling them right now it’s between a 30-60 minute delay because we’re detouring Madras through Maupin and back down to 26. Our morning bus got through this morning pretty close to on time."


Christensen says if things worsen, the bus would detour through The Dalles, "We try not to cancel any bus routes, as long as there’s any way to get around them. We’ve only missed one trip in over 30 years, due to road closures and snow. I mean, we’re always running, we’ll just take the detour over to The Dalles and go up I-84 into Portland."
Drivers report increased congestion on eastbound Highway 20 in Sisters, likely due to those trying to avoid the Highway 26 detour. 

County Line 2 Fire Forces More Closures

WARM SPRINGS, OR -- 10:30 a.m. Update: Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch has taken over management of the County Line 2 Fire. Officials have issued evacuation notices for Kah-Nee-Ta Resort and associated staff buildings. The County Line 2 Fire was mapped Thursday night at 36,154 acres and is expected to grow.


The fire has reached the Lower Deschutes River between Warm Springs and Mecca Flat, but has not jumped the river.


6:00 a.m. Update:


Highway 26 remains closed in Warm Springs due to the County Line 2 Fire, which has grown to over 19,000 acres. The Oregon Department of Transportation closed a 30 mile stretch of the highway between State Highway 216 and Warm Springs Thursday afternoon, for the second time in as many days, detouring traffic through Maupin.


Level 3 Evacuation notices were also issued Thursday afternoon for Sunnyside, Upper Dry Creek and West Hills subdivisions; others were given Level 2 notices and told to be ready to evacuate.
Smoke has blanketed much of the area from the County Line 2 fire. The DEQ says air quality is unhealthy in Prineville. In Madras it's considered unsafe for those with respiratory problems. Bend and Sisters have moderate air quality, Friday morning. 
The fire began Wednesday afternoon when a trailer lost a tire, sending sparks into dry brush along the highway.
Photo credit: Jayson Smith, via Spilyay Tymoo

Suspects Sought in Prineville Poaching

PRINEVILLE, OR -- Oregon State Police are asking for the public's help in a poaching case. The OSP Fish and Wildlife Division in Prineville is looking for those responsible for the unlawful killing and waste of an antelope. 


The doe was found dead east of Prineville, in the Ochoco Unit of Crook County. It was left to waste, in plain view, 40' off the road. The antelope was shot out of season and no meat was taken.

Troopers believe the animal was poached in the early morning of Friday, August 7, 2015. The Prineville chapter of the Oregon Hunters Association has offered a $500 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction for the illegal killing. 


Federal Mediator to Facilitate RN Contract Talks

BEND, OR --  Federal mediation has been scheduled in the contract talks between union nurses and St. Charles Medical Center in Bend. When both sides agreed to federal mediation, talks that began at the end of March, ended. 


John Nangle is a registered nurse and the ONA Bend Facility Bargaining Unit Chair. “What that means is that a third party federal mediator comes in, trying to resolve the issue and sort of keep, you know, peace between the whole process. The mediator can’t force decisions. They’re just there to facilitate resolution," Nangle tells KBND.
Staffing enough nurses for adequate patient care is the main issue for the 720 nurses represented by the Oregon Nurses Association. St. Charles reports that federal mediation has been scheduled for September first and second. 
Nangle says, “Both sides did try to get a contract but that was getting increasingly obvious to ONA that that wasn’t going to be happening. So we initiated the conversation with St. Charles to have a mediator and they agreed to that.”
The ONA contract that expired at the end of June is being honored during the contract negotiations. The labor issue affects only ONA nurses at the St. Charles Bend facility.

Two Men Arrested for DUII Following Crash

BEND, OR -- Two men were arrested early Thursday morning, accused of driving under the influence and crashing through a northeast Bend fence.


According to police, 20-year-old Miguel Ortega (pictured) of Bend, failed to negotiate the roundabout at 8th and Butler Market, and drove through landscaping, into a brick wall and through a residential fence. When officers arrived, they say Ortega was intoxicated.
During the investigation, officers contacted 19-year-old Erick Medrano, who they say was driving a separate car behind Ortega to make sure he made it home safely. Officers say Medrano was also impaired.
Both men face a number of charges, including DUII.

A Prineville Icon to Close Next Month

PRINEVILLE, OR -- Crook County's Pioneer Memorial Hospital will close September 21, the same day St. Charles Prineville opens its doors. The Prineville operation was acquired by St. Charles Health System in 2008. CEO Jeanie Gentry says the future of the current hospital building is unclear; a community board will manage the building once it’s decommissioned as a hospital. "I know that the board does want to sell that building. There’s been quite a bit of discussion over the last year or two about some different ideas that they could work with the county or city on, but there’s really nothing set in stone at this point in time."


Gentry says the transition from the 65-year-old Pioneer Memorial Hospital to a brand new building has had some challenges. But she tells KBND the community is ready. "Most of the in-patient rooms were for double occupancy, so many of our patients may have been in a room with another patient right next to them, with just a curtain between them. That’s not the standard of care anymore. In the new facility, all of the rooms are private; they all have their own private bathrooms, private showers, they’re much larger so family members can stay over."
And, she says changes to the Emergency Room should cut down wait times for patients. "I know that over the past few years, especially the last two years, we’ve seen a drastic increase in utilization of our emergency room. Sometimes people really have to wait to be seen because we only have 7 beds in our current ER. In the new one, we’ll have 15 different rooms we can use; we’re really excited about that. "


The community is invited to a special closing ceremony Monday, August 17 at 4 p.m. to celebrate Pioneer Memorial’s legacy. Gentry says they’ll collect items for a time capsule to be placed at the new Prineville St. Charles hospital.

County Commissioners Consider Rural Pot Ban

BEND, OR -- Deschutes County Commissioners heard hours of testimony from concerned citizens Wednesday, on whether to ban marijuana businesses in rural parts of the county. Commissioner Tammy Baney tells KBND the board wants to hear by those likely to be most impacted by the businesses. "We're not mandated to have a hearing, but we wanted to hear from the community because our vote was not a landslide [in Deschutes County] for ballot Measure 91. So, for us, we really wanted to hear from the unincorporated areas. What impacts are you concerned and not concerned about? What really do you want to see transpire in those areas?"


Baney says if they choose to ban commercial pot operations, it wouldn't necessarily be permanent. "This really would be a moratorium for a year. HB 3400 allows us to have this conversation with our community. Yes, the voters in Deschutes County voted yes for Measure 91; but, yes, they also have HB 3400 that guides us in allowing a one-year opt out until November 2016, of which the voters would again be able to vote whether or not to go forward with a ban into perpetuity."


Sheriff Shane Nelson was the first to speak Wednesday in favor of a ban. "I think the moratorium allows an opportunity for the citizens to get the information and weigh-in with their vote on what they would like to see this county do. From a Sheriff's point of view, and a community member's point of view, I do not think this is good for public safety." Sheriff Nelson says his agency devotes a lot of resources to deal with crime associated with black market marijuana, and he fears it would only increase if businesses were allowed to move into rural areas.


Hunter Neubauer owns OreGrown in Bend, a local cannabis business, and he serves on an OLCC marijuana advisory committee. He argued to Commissioners regulation will address those safety concerns. "I'm also a father and a husband. I'm a part of a generation that looks at this new industry as an opportunity to help regulate an industry that has been in the black market for decades. To comment on a lot of the safety concerns, I agree. And, I think the best way to navigate a lot of those safety concerns is to have a well regulated system."


If Commissioners vote to ban pot businesses in unincorporated Deschutes County, it would only be in place until voters could decide on a future ban, in November 2016. Commissioner Baney expects they will make a decision within the next two months. 


Damage Cost, Frustrations Rise for Flood Victims

BEND, OR -- With mounting repair bills, homeowners impacted by a June water main break and flood, are increasingly frustrated with what they say is a lack of action by the city of Bend. Scott Jennrich says he has already paid out more than $6,000 and hasn’t seen any reimbursement yet, and repair estimates are still coming in. "We have to have some cement work done; the force of the water undermined our stem wall, and it also undermined what they call a pier under the house. A new vapor barrier put in, a little bit of insulation work, and then some dirt work, repair landscaping and sprinklers. We need to bring in some more fill, because a good portion of our yard got washed out. Our next-door neighbor, we’re not even in the same ballpark; unfortunately for him and fortunately for us." Jennrich estimates those repairs will run near $20,000, and he says his next door neighbors are out even more.


Read more on the June 10 flood on NE 8th Street in Bend. 


He’s upset that, two months later, he still has heard very little from the city. "Once we hired an attorney, they refused to talk to us. We stood out in the hallway at City Hall for 2.5 hours to get our three minutes in front of City Council and that has literally been our only communication with the city. Even before we hired an attorney, we emailed them and called them and they didn’t return our calls or respond to our emails. So, that was what kind of forced our hand in hiring an attorney."
The city’s insurance company, CIS, originally said it would only pay for water removal and drying. Last week, City Councilors directed the insurance company to investigate the exact cost of fully repairing all effected homes, and say they hope to compensate homeowners. Scott Jennrich and his neighbors were asked this week by CIS to carefully document what was lost and what repairs are needed. "We just want our house put back together; no more or less. So, if that’s the steps we have to go through to do that, we’ll do it, and hopefully they’ll make us whole. I don’t have a whole lot of faith they will, but that’s the hope."
City officials tell KBND Councilors will determine how much to compensate homeowners beyond what CIS will pay once they have total estimates; those payments would be made to each homeowner in one lump sum. Jennrich tells KBND if that happens, he will drop plans to sue the city. 

Warm Springs Wildfire Forces Evacuations

WARM SPRINGS, OR -- A wildfire on the Warm Springs Reservation forced evacuations of several homes and closed Highway 26 for more than six hours, Wednesday night.


The Oregon Department of Transportation detoured drivers around the fire area, through Maupin. A shelter was set up by the Red Cross inside the Warm Springs Community Center, to assist those evacuated. Residents were reportedly allowed back in their homes around 11:30 p.m., and ODOT reopened the highway at about midnight.
Officials believe the County Line 2 Fire started when a trailer lost a tire, and scraped its axle on the roadway, sending a series of sparks into dry brush along the side of the highway. 
As of Wednesday night, it was estimated at about 5,000 acres.
Photo courtesy of KWSO, Warm Springs

Many Small Businesses Unprepared for Credit Card Shift

BEND, OR -- Credit card customers are already receiving new plastic featuring an encrypted computer chip, but a new study shows many small businesses may not be aware of the ramifications if they aren’t prepared to accept the new EMV cards. 


Kyle Frick with Mid-Oregon Credit Union in Bend explains how it works. "The EMV chip has a security feature that basically takes your data information, encodes it, sends it off into a packet then it comes back and approves the card, so it takes a little longer. So, when you stick your EMV chip card into the reader, it’s going to sit there for a couple of seconds and it’s going to do all this stuff and then it’s going to com back and say approved, rather then just a quick swipe."
However, according to a new survey conducted by Wells Fargo this month, less than half of small businesses that accept credit cards know about a shift in fraud liability. Frick says his institution is motivated to make the switch. "The liability currently is with the financial institution that carries the card. But, when we get to October, whoever has the higher level of security, that’s the one that will not be liable for any fraud or breach. It makes sense that, who’s protecting your information the best is not liable for it."
Businesses must upgrade card readers to use the EMV function, and the Wells Fargo survey revealed fewer than half of small businesses that accept credit cards were even aware of the shift in liability. Only 29% said they would upgrade machines before October first, and another 21% said they never plan to upgrade. 

Sam Johnson Park Playground Named

REDMOND, OR -- Redmond City Councilors unanimously approved a request by the Parks Committee to name the new playground under construction at Sam Johnson Park, "Hope Playground." The new playground is expected to open in October, and is designed to be 100% accessible to all ages and abilities.


"Naming the new play area 'Hope Playground' reflects the spirit of the playground as a gathering place for all abilities. It is truly a place built by the community, for the community and that is something to be proud of," Chelsea Dickens with Friends of Sam Johnson Park said in a written statement.


The project was funded in part by private donations and a number of community organizations, including the Kiwanis Foundation.


Custom metal entry signs designating the playground facility "Hope Playground - a Place for Everyone" will be installed as construction is completed. 


"Hope Playground" currently under construction in Sam Johnson Park.

Photo as of August 8, 2015

Madras Hospital Remains Closed to OB

MADRAS, OR -- St. Charles Madras continues to divert expectant mothers who go into labor, sending them to hospitals in Redmond or Bend. The hospital began diverting obstetric patients July 10, due to a lack of stable staffing. 


St. Charles Madras CEO Jeanie Gentry tells KBND, "We had hoped, when we first went on divert, that we would have enough nurses to go off divert within at least 30 days. But that has not happened; we actually have not been able to get any temporary OB. nurses here yet. And, we have to make sure that we put safety ahead of everything." She says training new nurses has taken longer than expected. "We were down to too few nurses; we’re still down too few nurses to care for all of our patients. And, we hope to have that resolved fairly soon, but we did not have that resolved within the 30 days. "


Read more on the July's closure to Labor and Deliver patients.


"Our long term plan is to have enough nurses so we can have two RNs that are OB. trained, on each shift," Gentry says. "In the meantime, we’re working with our physicians and continuing to look at what can we do with the nurses that are available. The closer we get to having more nurses who have completed with their training, the more options we’ll have."
Gentry hopes to re-open to Labor and Delivery patients within the next few months. With one OB. trained nurse on duty in the ER at all times, the Madras hospital can accept emergency OB. patients; however all others are encouraged to create alternative plans with their doctor.

Chamber Pulls Out of Gas Tax Talks

BEND, OR -- The citizen group tasked with creating a proposal for funding needed street repairs in Bend is running into problems before it even gets started. The Bend Chamber of Commerce has withdrawn from the group until the Chamber's board can vote on whether to continue.


The citizen group is supposed to come up with a road funding proposal that can garner public consensus. But, Chamber President Tim Casey tells KBND problems arose when City Councilors voted to narrow the options. "The City Council meeting on Wednesday, they got together and instead of moving forward with a committee, they decided to put a gas tax on the March ballot. In our mind, at least from my Executive Committee's perspective, that predetermines the outcome; it's contrary to what you form a citizens group for." He adds, "As Mayor Clinton has clearly stated, the City Council has every intention of moving forward with a gas tax. We're more than welcome to form our committee, and do whatever it is we decide to do within our committee, but he just wanted to be clear the city is moving forward with a gas tax. What is really the reason behind forming a committee if they already have a predetermined outcome?"


The Chamber's board is expected to vote Tuesday, August 25 whether to continue to participate in the committee. "One of our concerns we have is that the state legislature just passed the carbon fuels tax which is estimated to add 18-cents to fuel prices; we know that they didn't pass anything for transportation, which means there is going to be a transportation bill passed; and if the city passes their gas tax, that's a triple gas tax put on Bendites. That's going to have a significant impact."


City Councilors voted last week to place a local gas tax on the March ballot. Bend 2030, which initially approached the City Council about forming a citizen committee to work toward a consensus, is also threatening to withdraw from the group for the same reason. 

One Escapes Trailer Fire Uninjured

BEND, OR -- A 25-year-old travel trailer caught fire northeast of Bend, early this morning; however, the man sleeping inside escaped the blaze uninjured. Bend Fire responded to the fire on Pioneer Loop just after midnight and say the man awoke to "popping sounds."


Firefighters were able to contain the blaze to the trailer, preventing it from spreading to nearby brush, trees and buildings.
The exact cause is under investigation, but officials say it appears accidental.

Highway 97 Crash Snarls Traffic South of Bend

BEND, OR -- Three people were hospitalized following a head-on collision on Highway 97 just south of Bend, Tuesday morning. Oregon State Police Trooper Rich Brannin tells KBND it started when 19-year-old Richard Rose of Bend crossed the center line at about 8 a.m. “A gold 2002 Ford Explorer that was traveling southbound in the 'A' lane, the fast lane, drifted outside of its lane into the opposing traffic’s lane, northbound, and struck the other vehicle head on.” Rose and his passenger were airlifted to St. Charles Bend with critical injuries. 

The other driver, 60-year-old Terry Neil of Sunriver, was taken by ambulance with more than 20 broken bones. He's also listed in critical condition at St. Charles Medical Center.
All four lanes of Highway 97 were closed for more than an hour. The cause of the accident is under investigation. 


9:00 a.m. Tuesday

A head-on crash tied up traffic Tuesday morning, shutting down Highway 97 in both directions, south of Bend.  A number of patients have been transported to area hospitals with what is described as traumatic injuries. 


The Ford Explorer and Dodge Ram pickup collided near milepost 146, about six miles south of Bend, just after 8 a.m. Oregon State Police, the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office, ODOT, Bend Fire and Sunriver Fire all responded to the scene. First arriving medics then asked for two air ambulances. 


As of 9 a.m., the highway remains closed. 


10:05 a.m. Update:

Both directions of Highway 97 are open. Crash reconstructionists have been called to the scene. Three patients were transferred to area hospitals, two taken by air ambulance. 

Lake Billy Chinook Rocket Jump Slated for Fall

MADRAS, OR -- He wants to jump Lake Billy Chinook in a steam-propelled rocket. First, however, Mike Hughes of California has to jump through hoops for Oregon regulatory agencies. "We're getting to the point where they're getting ready to allow the permit process, from what I understand. Now, I have applied for permits with the Oregon State Marine Board, which controls, as I understand it, Lake [Billy] Chinook." He also is dealing with the Bureau of Land Management, the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department and others. 


Agencies are asking for, among other things, a rescue and recovery plan. "When you try to do something like this with a bunch of agencies, everyone is in 'cover your butt mode,' ok. Everyone wants to make sure all the T's are crossed and nobody is going to get fired and everything is hunky dory, and that's kind of where we're at."

He wants to jump over the lake in his 18' rocket, hopefully in November. "Mad Mike" Hughes calls himself the “Current King of the Daredevils” and claims the world record for longest jump in stunt history at 1,374 feet.

Wyden Talks Wildfires, Infrastructure in Bend

BEND, OR -- U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) spoke to county commissioners from around the state, Monday, during the Association of Oregon Counties' annual meeting at the Riverhouse Convention Center in Bend.


The Oregon Democrat promised county leaders a fix for wildfire funding is coming. "We are going to fix this in September. We are going to end fire borrowing and going to make sure we move forward on what counties have long wanted: Fire prevention." Sen. Wyden has sponsored legislation that would allow agencies to pay for fighting the largest wildfires through natural disaster funds, like those used for hurricanes and tornadoes. Currently, Wyden says 1% of the biggest fires consume about 30% of the federal fire budget.


Senator Wyden also talked about infrastructure. Congress failed to pass a transportation funding package, similar to state lawmakers; however, they did approve a two-month extension. "You cannot have big league economic growth with little league infrastructure. We've got potholes and other infrastructure problems all over the state. Congress has, over my opposition, punted this. But, we're looking to dealing with this at the end of the year." One of the sticking points is coming up with funds to put toward the highway trust fund. It's estimated $15 billion a year is necessary to fund necessary highway work. 

More Pressure on Parks Dept to Waive SDCs

BEND, OR -- A week after Bend City Councilors agreed to waive System Development Charges (SDCs) for qualifying affordable housing projects, the Bend Parks Board faces increased pressure to follow suit. Andy High, with the Central Oregon Builders Association, serves on the Affordable Housing Advisory Committee which suggested the City Council exempt SDCs to stimulate more affordable developments. He tells KBND the Parks board may have been confused about how it will work. "It’s just not someone walking in and getting an exemption. I think there are some misunderstandings, and I think some former park board members misunderstood what this really was. This is to help, usually, Housing Works, NeighborImpact, First Story, people actually doing affordable housing work. And, it also incentivizes a developer to come in and team up with one of those. " 


The Bend Park and Recreation Board of Directors voted at the end of June not to allow any SDC exemptions. High says builders are frustrated. He says a typical apartment complex could cost a developer up to a million dollars in SDC’s. "In that apartment example, where it was a million bucks, $480,000 goes to the Parks District; almost half goes to the Parks District. The City Council, at first, only said they would do it if the Parks District comes along. Luckily, the City Council decided to change their mind and move forward with it anyhow, so they can show where they’re helping as well."


But with two new board members, who took office in July, High is optimistic. "I think they’ll see a change there. There are some that just believe that’s only going to help the ‘greedy, rich developers.’ 99% of our builders - you know, there’s always one bad apple in the group – but they call this home, too. And, they want to have a community in which they’re proud of."

The only Parks Board meeting this month is tonight (Tue) at 5:30 p.m.; SDCs are not on the agenda. 

Fires Continue to Push Smoke into High Desert

DOUGLAS COUNTY, OR -- A number of fires burning in or near the Umpqua National Forest continue to pump smoke into Central Oregon. The Potter Mountain Complex is a combination of eight fires, burning 320 acres north of Clearwater. It’s 65% contained.


West of Potter Mountain, the Cable Crossing Fire is now 80% contained at just over 1800 acres.


The Crescent Fire is now burning 735 acres near Crater Lake.


And, the largest, the Stouts Creek Wildfire is now at 23,000 acres and nearly 50% contained. 

Deschutes County Considers Pot Business Ban

BEND, OR -- Local governments in Oregon have until the end of the year to opt out of allowing marijuana businesses in their communities, under certain conditions. Deschutes County Commissioners will hold two public hearings Wednesday to discuss whether to ban pot businesses from rural parts of the county. 


County Commissioner Tony DeBone says the meetings are an opportunity to hear what people have to say. "We're looking for input from people on what do you want to see in the rural community only, for land use and development for the different aspects of commercial marijuana and medical marijuana. Production, growing the plants is going to be different than warehousing and storage, which is different than processing, packaging for retail. So there are a lot of aspects to it."


Commissioner Alan Unger says there are livability considerations. "How do neighbors be neighborly? And, that's one of the issues we need to figure out is, when you have a person who decides to have a marijuana grow operation, they put their greenhouse that they're going to grow it in right on their property line next to their neighbor whose house is next door, then blow the skunky air out of their greenhouse toward their neighbor; that not neighborly." He acknowledges this is a unique issue. "Marijuana is an agricultural crop, but it's different than a lot of other crops. I don't know another crop that has that kind of aroma, except maybe mint or a feed lot. So, that's an issue that this crop has that's a long lasting issue that we need to pay attention to."

Supporters of the industry say a ban would hurt the local economy and prevent the area from participating in a growing business. 
Two public meetings will be held Wednesday, at 10 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. at the Deschutes County Services Building (1300 NW Wall St., Bend). If a ban is imposed, it would only involve unincorporated areas, not inside the city limits of Bend, Redmond, La Pine and Sisters. 


Body Found is Likely Missing Man

BEND, OR -- Bend Police have tentatively identified the body found in an irrigation canal Friday afternoon, as that of a man reported missing the week before. Bernard (Bernie) Paul Crisman was last seen leaving his home on Wells Acres on July 31. The 57-year-old left home without his medication and with little money. Police discovered his mountain bike along the COID canal east of Boyd Acres two days later.


Read more about Crisman's disappearance. 


Friday afternoon, a body was discovered in an irrigation canal adjacent to Juniper Ridge in northeast Bend. Police are waiting for final autopsy results, but say they believe it is Crisman. An autopsy will determine cause of death, but investigators don't think he was the victim of a crime. 

Trailer Show Highlights Campers of the Past

BEND, OR -- Nearly 40 vintage travel trailers were on display at a Tin Can Tourist Rally at J Bar J Ranch, east of Bend, over the weekend.


Dal Smilie is the show's organizer. He tells KBND, "It appeals to baby boomers because it’s shapes and stuff of their past and memories. And also a younger crowd because even if you put a lot of money into your vintage trailer it’s still cheaper than a new trailer. Better built, kind of fun. You see a lot of people with all their old vintage picnic and camping stuff, showing it off out here.”


To be a vintage trailer it must be from the mid-70’s or earlier. The oldest trailer at this show was a 1934 Covered Wagon…that’s a brand, not a description.
Wood paneling, avocado drapes and pink appliances were in abundance, as were the visitors from all over, including Arizona, Canada and California.

JCSO Arrest Four on Lake Billy Chinook

JEFFERSON COUNTY, OR -- The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office reportedly arrested four people during a recent saturation patrol on Lake Billy Chinook. Captain Marc Heckathorn says they were all arrested for operating a boat while under the influence of alcohol.


Marine patrols from Multnomah, Lane, Jackson, Marion and Klamath counties assisted JCSO over the weekend to crack down on drunk boating.


Read more on the saturation patrol. 


Capt. Heckathorn says the department will continue to patrol the lake for the rest of the season, in an effort to maintain boater safety.

Local Vets Struggle with Jobs After Deployment

BEND, OR -- Post 9/11 vets have continually reported higher unemployment than the rest of the population and the Director of Oregon’s Department of Veteran’s Affairs is concerned it could get worse.


Cameron Smith tells KBND more vets are looking for work as military activities wind down in Iraq and Afghanistan, and many don’t know how to market themselves in the civilian job market. "Often, returning vets pigeonhole themselves into a security job or fire department. If you’re coming out of the infantry or coming out of the artillery, it’s hard to show how those skills work across to the civilian sector. But, what employers are looking for are the education, commitment, leadership and initiative. And, that’s what our veterans bring back in spades – the reliability, to be able to make decisions and that team effort." He adds, "As they are coming home, whether active duty or National Guard, often it’s a challenge if they’re not diving back into school with community colleges and universities, to hit the ground running and to transition what are very much core values, leadership and military skills into the civilian sector and the civilian employment market."


Smith says often, families don’t realize local help is available. "Given the breadth of the population we serve and the issues – unemployment to education and healthcare – the best effort is to make contact with that Veterans Services officer. They are the center of gravity for all things veterans; boots on the ground. And sometimes it’s just a gap in awareness of what resources are out there, because there are more resources for our veterans and our military families than any other segment of our population."
For more information on what help is available through Deschutes County's Veterans Services office, visit the county's website

Rep. Buehler Talks Road Funding

BEND, OR -- Freshman State Representative Knute Buehler (R-Bend) held a recent town hall to reflect on this year's Legislative session. Buehler told the crowd at St. Charles Friday that the session got off on the wrong foot when Democrats pushed through five controversial bills with no Republican support, especially low carbon fuels legislation. "I really think the low carbon fuels tax was a swing and a miss. We're going to put a 19-cent tax on our fuel in Oregon. Many people will have a hard time paying their monthly expenses now. That tax revenue is actually going to go out of state, and it's going to have a minimal effect on climate change. I think a better way to attack this is to tax carbon emissions."


He admitted the lack of a state transportation package is funding cities like Bend to consider a local gas tax. But he says they may not be the best tool. "I really think we need to go to a carbon emissions tax or a mileage usage tax. I think that's going to be a 21st century way to generate this kind of revenue. I think a gas tax is a little bit outdated and old fashioned. And, I would encourage [the city of Bend] to put a sunset on it." He also criticized ODOT's OreGo road user charge, saying not enough residents have signed up for the plan and he feels putting a device on a person's car to track where they go is problematic.


One woman at the town hall asked Rep. Buehler about his vote against background checks for private gun sales in Oregon. "I think we certainly have a problem with gun violence in this country, but I the legislation that I voted no on, I don't think is going to have a significant impact. It's going to increase the costs and regulatory burden for our Sheriffs and others; and many of the the Sheriffs in Oregon were against it, mainly because we're not enforcing our current gun laws. Most of the mass shootings right now, would have been prevented if we had just enforced our current gun laws."


Buehler is still considering whether to make a run for Governor next year. He plans to make a decision in September. 

Two Weekend Fires Blamed on Cigarettes

BEND, OR -- Bend Fire investigators blame improperly disposed of cigarettes for two deck fires, over the weekend. The first was spotted Friday by a neighbor on NW Fifth St. 


Then, 6:17 Sunday morning, a passerby saw flames coming from a deck on Sierra Drive, near Boyd Acres Road. No one was home at the time and the passerby immediately called 9-1-1. 
The Fire Department credits the quick response of those witnesses and fire crews for preventing both fires from spreading to the homes.

Region On Track for Record Summer

BEND, OR -- Central Oregon is on track for a record-breaking summer tourism season. Alana Hughson with the Central Oregon Visitors Association says there was concern that numbers would drop off after a poor ski season and early spring. "While the outdoor recreation began earlier with some assets able to open up, the Cascade Lakes Loop opening early, we didn’t see a decline in visitation at all; just the opposite of that. We’ve seen off the charts visitation over this summer."

She tells KBND the drought does not appear to be stopping tourists, "I believe that because drought is really something the entire west is facing, people are still choosing to travel and they realize if they have to modify any of their activities because of the drought, that that’s just a part of the landscape that we find ourselves in. I believe we’re really fortunate that we haven’t seen impacts by fire tremendously this season, and certainly we’re only halfway through the summer season so we’ll keep our fingers crossed."
Hughson says COVA’s new Sunriver Visitors Center received nearly a thousand more people in July than expected. 


FAN Asks for Back-To-School Supplies

BEND, OR -- With less than a month before kids head back to school, more than a dozen school supply drives are collecting items for families in need across Deschutes County. Most benefit the Family Access Network in Bend-La Pine, Redmond and Sisters School districts.


Nancy Childers with FAN says for the past several years, they’ve provided supplies to more than 3,150 students each year. "Nearly half of that is distributed in September of each year. So, right now, the phones are ringing here in the FAN Foundation office with parents asking when they can get school supplies for their kids. A lot of students and families count on us to get those supplies at the beginning of each school year."
Childers says they need everything from paper to scissors to dry erase markers. "It’s a basic list, but especially the backpacks for high school students. A lot of people donate backpacks, and the cute little ones are always fun. But, it’s the high schoolers who need the big sturdy backpacks, so we always ask to focus on that for that age group."
And, she tells KBND, those donations make a big difference for families. "I was just talking to a mom on the phone this morning, who has 6 kids in the BLP school district. For her, every year it’s a major thing because she doesn’t want her kids to feel embarrassed that they don’t have what they need. So, knowing that they can go to their FAN advocate’s office and just pick out exactly what they need and have the supplies that everybody else does, so they just feel like a normal kid going back to school."
Donations can be made at a number of locations across the region, including any Mid Oregon Credit Union branch. 

Major River Clean Up on Saturday

BEND, OR -- It’s no secret the Deschutes River gets a lot of use; what is not as obvious is how much trash and damage is done. Beer bottles, cell phones, wallets, cameras, bicycles, and even a safe have been found at the bottom of the river channel in Bend. 


The Upper Deschutes Watershed Council’s 19th annual Stream Stewardship Day is Saturday, and Kolleen Yake invites everyone to get involved. “Basically the goal is to get as many people out and on and along the river in order to remove in-stream debris from the river itself. Also to pick up litter along the riparian area and remove invasive weeds also from along the riparian area."
Yake tells KBND, “I think last year we had over a hundred large lawn bags of garbage as well as weeds and litter it’s great to get it out of there but it’s very frustrating that it’s in there in the first place.” 
River cleanup begins at 10 a.m. at RiverBend Park. Coffee and breakfast foods will be served, then crews will hit the riverbanks. You can also bring your boat if you’d like to help divers in the river. Cleanup will wrap up around 1 p.m. and then door prizes will be awarded from corporate sponsors.

Boys And Girls Clubs of Redmond/Terrebonne Board Chair Resigns

REDMOND, OR -- The man largely credited with the current success of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Redmond/Terrebonne suddenly resigned from its Board of Directors this week. Paul Rodby served as Chair for over a year, including during the non-profit's split from the regional organization.

In his letter of resignation, obtained by KBND, Rodby cites personal reasons and his current workload as his reasons for leaving; Rodby owns the McDonalds franchise in Redmond. He urged current board members to support the Clubs' Executive Director Jenny O’Keefe, calling her a “strong leader.”
Rodby did not return KBND's request for comment.  
O’Keefe issued the following statement:  

Paul Rodby was without a doubt Boys & Girls Clubs of Redmond/Terrebonne’s greatest champion, rescuing the Clubs from closure, ensuring the community the opportunity to collectively develop a new organization to meet the unique and growing needs of families in Redmond/Terrebonne.

His efforts to raise the initial funding required to open the doors was a testament to his giant heart and devotion to kids!  Moving forward into our second year, we have already begun to restructure our Board and have been transitioning a new Board Chair into place for the next phase of progress.

Board members have been working with Paul to assume his duties and aid in taking the Clubs closer toward a plan for long term sustainability.  Paul’s resignation came sooner than anticipated, but BGCRT recognizes his contributions thus far and respects his need to devote his attention to his own personal and professional endeavors at this time.


Redmond School Board with Sudden Vacancy

REDMOND, OR -- One of the newest members of the Redmond School Board submitted her resignation this week. Rhonda Etnire, who is also the manager of the Redmond Fred Meyer, has accepted a new position with the store in Boise.


Etnire was appointed to the board in January, to replace Ron Munkres, and was elected to the post in May. Superintendent Mike McIntosh acknowledges the seat has had a lot of turnover. "What we suffer from, is getting good people with active and busy lives. In Ron’s case, he had the opportunity to move out of state and pursue a whole different avocation. And in Rhonda’s case, she is a very successful business leader in our community at Fred Meyer and so she has opportunity to go serve in a different capacity out of state. We are certainly obliged to wish them well, and say ‘good luck with that,’ and we’ll do our best to replace them."


The rest of the board will select Etnire's replacement to serve out the remaining two years of her term. McIntosh tells KBND, the ideal candidate would be "Someone that loves kids, when you have someone who kids’ interest at the top of their list, than the decisions the board makes, make a ton of sense. Someone who has the capacity to devote some time, certainly in the spring of the year when we go through budgets and other annual business. We also would like them to be modern in the sense that they have a current perspective on what demands on education are out there."


Applications for Etnire's replacement will be accepted until September 11; McIntosh hopes the new person will be in place by later this fall. 

Local Trail Work Nearly Complete

BEND, OR -- Deschutes National Forest crews continue work on a number of high-profile projects during the height of the outdoor recreation season, much to the dismay of visitors. Kassidy Kern with the Forest Service acknowledges the frustration, but tells KBND the work is necessary to avoid problems later. "We have to put up with some closures right now. But the long term view of this is we’re going to have some really lovely overlooks, you’ll get back to be able to drive to Tumalo and Phil’s is going to have a great parking lot. So, these bumps in the road are really going to get us a nice forest."


She says one of the biggest involves tripling the parking lot at Phil’s Trailhead and installing a new kiosk and accessible toilet. "The real purpose of that is for better customer service, of course, but also, we’re seeing a lot of erosion and resource damage because people are parking along the side of the road. We can hardly blame them, everyone wants to go to Phil’s, but we really want to limit that resource damage. So, by putting this parking lot in, hopefully we’ll get people into the parking spots we have and make it a little bit safer and have better traffic flow." The Tumalo Falls Overlook remains closed while city crews finish work on the pipeline replacement project, and the forest service has closed Whychus Overlook while they create new trails.


All three projects are set to be completed in the fall. Kern says, "We do a lot of construction on the forest, whether it’s replacing bridges or doing trail work – we have to shore up an entire trail – it’s always being done all the time. It’s just that we happen to have some really high profile ones right now."


To hear our full conversation with Kassidy Kern, visit our Podcast Page

Hemp and Cannabis Fair to be Held in Redmond

REDMOND, OR -- The Deschutes County Expo Center will host a unique fair next weekend. The Hemp and Cannabis Fair in Jackson County earlier this month drew 2,500 people - nearly double what was expected. The THC Fair will come to Central Oregon August 15 and 16.


Naomi Forkash with the THC Fair tells KBND what they have planned. "What we're going provide is a safe and educational environment for people to come and learn about what the legalization of marijuana means to them. There will be educational sessions, vendors from grow shops, dispensaries, accessory shops and lots and lots of information."


She says one thing that won't be allowed: use of the product. "There are no sales at the fair. We have several samples in individual wrappers, but it has to be consumed off site. Our overarching theme is safe and educational. It's not a place where you're walking into a cloud of smoke."
The THC Fair takes place in the Middle Sister of the Expo Center next weekend. Other fairs are planned for Eugene and Salem in the fall. 


Bend Council Approves Spring Gas Tax Measure

BEND, OR -- After agreeing earlier this week not to ask voters for a gas tax in November, Bend City Councilors narrowly approved putting a local tax on the ballot next March.


The meeting got contentious at times. Councilor Sally Russell introduced the proposal to send a gas tax to voters in the spring. "As I stated it, I move to place a fuel tax measure on the March ballot in 2016. Certainly, it allows for a lot of conversation and a lot of discussion to go forward. I encourage that and I think that’s important and that’s one of the reasons this is a general basis to start." Councilor Doug Knight responded with, "But, your motion comes before we’ve had an opportunity to develop a timeline and potential funding sources for multi-modal and sidewalk needs." It was approved 4-3, with Mayor Jim Clinton and Councilors Russell, Nathan Boddie and Barb Campbell in favor.


The same four approved the formation of a subcommittee which would create other road maintenance funding options. Councilor Casey Roats was one of the three to vote against both proposals. "If this council has the votes to go ahead and get something on, then why do we need the committee? If the intention is, this is the only option, then just put it on the ballot. We don’t need to put these people through two months of meetings if there’s a predetermined outcome. One of the big reasons we want to make sure there are other options is that the fuel tax is a failing revenue stream." Roats cited the state's new road user charge known as "OreGo" as an example of other agencies that he says recognize the gas tax isn't sustainable.


Mayor Clinton said the next several months would be used to gather feedback from the subcommittee and come up with ballot language. That language must be finalized by December.
Photo courtesy City of Bend; l-r: Nathan Boddie, Casey Roats, Jim Clinton, Sally Russel, Barb Campbell, Doug Knight, Victor Chudowsky


Two Crashes Tie Up Highway 97 Tuesday

REDMOND, OR -- Oregon State Police and other emergency crews responded to a head-on crash about one mile south of Redmond. OSP investigators say a Ford Explorer was southbound on the highway when it crossed into the northbound lanes and struck a Honda Pilot and a GMC Yukon at about 4:30 p.m., Tuesday.


The driver of the Explorer, 38-year old Bobby Howie of Redmond, and her five passengers were injured. OSP says a six-year-old was critically wounded and flown to St. Charles Bend for treatment.


The driver of the Yukon, 66-year-old Virgil Wynia of Redmond, and the driver of the Pilot, 45-year-old Patricia Beamer of Redmond, were transported to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.


Highway 97 was fully closed for about an hour and a half. Partial closures continued to accommodate the investigation; the highway fully reopened after 8 p.m.


It was the second crash along the same stretch of Highway 97 on Tuesday. A two-car crash at about 10 a.m. held up traffic for about an hour. Investigators say 78-year-old Harvey Wax of Michigan pulled out of a driveway and into the path of a southbound car. Wax and his wife were taken to St. Charles Bend with non-life threatening injuries.

Fishing Restrictions Lifted on Lower Deschutes

BEND, OR -- Oregon’s Department of Fish and Wildlife has lifted fishing restrictions on the Lower Deschutes River. Rod French, with the ODFW, tells KBND conditions have eased and water temperatures are no longer stressing trout, salmon and steelhead, despite recent reports of die-offs. "The fish that died in the Deschutes were not from the Deschutes. We had some sockeye salmon that swam from the Columbia up into the Deschutes and that was the largest die-off. But, these fish became sick or diseased in the Columbia and sought the Lower Deschutes for some refuge and, essentially, a place to die."


French says water conditions typically become less stressful for native fish this time of year. "Temperatures have moderated considerably from when we enacted the regulations. River temperatures are considerably cooler now, day length is shorter and the amount of warming is considerably less." Restrictions on afternoon fishing were put in place about three weeks ago. 
However, improvements have not been felt statewide. "Rivers are at very low conditions and we’ve experienced very warm conditions throughout the summer and continue to experience them; hence, we only lifted the afternoon stream fishing regulation on the Deschutes and a couple of other rivers in very NE Oregon that are in very high elevation and stay relatively cool," French says.
ODFW will continue to monitor conditions on the Lower Deschutes, and could announce subsequent closures if necessary.

Crook County Expands School Options

PRINEVILLE, OR -- Crook County students will have a new educational option, beginning this fall. Curriculum Director Stacy Smith tells KBND the district chose not to renew its contract with the charter school that has provided online classes for the last three years. "We had approximately 30 Crook County residents who took advantage of that as a full-time online student. So, we wanted to make sure we had online education options for at least those students. We’re also reaching out to home school students whose parents may have realized their children’s progress, academically, has outreached their ability to continue to educate them. Or, perhaps they want kids to participate in Smarter Balance testing for things such as college placement."

Smith admits there have been challenges in creating the new program, but he says the new “Crook County School District Online Option” will be stronger than what was previously offered through Insight School of Oregon. "People are having to do some research and find a good partner, which I think we have. And, we have to develop our own space, we have to use our own personnel that may have been doing other things prior to this, so we had to redirect some people. But, at the same time, we’re excited; it’s a new thing. And, we’re anxious to be able to offer this to residents of Crook County."
He adds, "[Students] can take all of their required core content classes online. One of the things we like, as a smaller district, is to be able to use an online education to expand our elective options. For example, a world language, like Chinese, we wouldn’t have the funds and resources available to hire a Chinese teacher, but we can contract with an online provider to provide an online version of Chinese for our students."
A parent informational meeting will be held August 10. Click HERE for more details. 

Independent Party Talks Growth in Bend

BEND, OR -- More than 100,000 Oregonians are registered to vote as Independents; it's close to reaching "major" political party status. Tuesday evening, the Bend Chamber of Commerce hosted a discussion on its growth.


Sal Peralta, Secretary of the Independent Party of Oregon, told the audience, "There's a persistent 50% to 60% of the public, according to Gallop, that don't feel well represented by the two major parties and believe a third party, or an Independent Party is needed. That's what's driving the growth on a national basis."


State Representative Knute Buehler (R-Bend) was also a panelist and says partisanship is out of control. "In the Legislature, there's not a place where Republicans and Democrats can meet safely, that they can talk distinctly about policy without having what I call 'the cloud of the caucus.' It's one of the reasons I pushed and led the formation of the Independent party caucus in the Legislature." Buehler won the endorsement of the Independent party when he ran for the State Legislature in November 2014. 


State Senator Betsy Johnson (D-Scappoose) is known as an independent Democrat who has not voted along party lines on issues like gun control. She told the group, "The orthodoxy on both the right and the left is killing Oregon. I've been a Democrat, I've been a Republican, and I'm trying to serve as an Oregonian. We have lost the middle. There is no more middle, and we've polarized this to that point that if you even try to break bread with the other party you're an apostate in your own caucus."


Oregon's Secretary of State is set to decide on August 17 whether enough people have joined the Independent party to make it the state's third "major" party, therefore allowing it to field candidates in the May 2016 election. 


Walden Shares Thoughts on Trump Candidacy

BEND, OR -- The crowd of GOP presidential hopefuls hold their first debate Thursday. During his swing through Central Oregon, Congressman Greg Walden (R-OR) spoke with KBND about the large number of Republican candidates, and if Donald Trump is good for the party.

Joking that too many mothers told their children they could grow up to be president, Walden says the crowded GOP presidential field is what this country is about. “Actually it’s democracy in action. You know, that’s the great thing about America, anybody can run for president. You have seventeen sort of known candidates and a bunch that are unknown. It’ll sort out. And people are making their cases. First debate is Thursday night on the Republican side. I think what it really speaks to is people are fed up with what’s going on in Washington, or not going on. And I think that’s going to play out in this election cycle.”
The leader in the GOP polls is the outspoken and brash Donald Trump. Walden says, “He has certainly found his voice and fired up a group of people that maybe weren’t fired up before. Doesn’t mean I agree with everything he says, mind you, or how he says it. What he is, is kind of a barometer of the intensity of this electorate going into this election cycle.”
KBND News will air the FOX News debate with the top 10 GOP candidates, beginning at 6 p.m. Thursday. Candidates for this debate are: Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Mike Huckabee, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Chris Christie and John Kasich. 

Bend Couple Lost Near Horse Lake

ELK LAKE, OR -- A Bend couple spent more than five hours lost near Horse Lake, Tuesday. Deschutes County Search and Rescue got their first call from 69-year-old Jeanne Larson at about 5 p.m.  She told dispatchers she and her husband, Kurt, were fine, but needed directions back to the Elk Lake Trailhead.


Due to poor cell phone reception, further information was difficult. Eventually they were able to indicate they would await help at the intersection of Horse Lake Creek Trail and Red Hill Trail.
After a four-mile hike, the SAR team located the couple just after 8:30. They arrived back at the Elk Lake Trailhead at about 10:30 p.m.
The Sheriff's Office reminds those recreating in the wilderness to carry the "10 Essentials for Wilderness Survival," wihich include navigation tools, sun protection, insulation, illumination, first-aid supplies, fire resources, repair kit/tools, food, hydration and emergency shelter. 

DRW Stand Off Leads to Arrest

DESCHUTES RIVER WOODS, OR -- Deschutes County Sheriff's Deputies responded to the home on Shoshone Road last night and found an Oregon City man outside, armed with a knife. He refused orders to put down the knife and deputies were able to get other family members to safety. 


Bend Police and Oregon State Police arrived to assist, and the man challenged officers to shoot him. He then started cutting his arms and stabbing himself and officers tried to subdue him using bean-bag rounds.
He retreated into the home while police continued to try to talk to him.
After 20 minutes, the man came back outside and was taken into custody without incident. He was taken to St. Charles hospital for treatment of his injuries and a mental health evaluation.

Man Arrested For Redmond PD Damage

REDMOND, OR -- Redmond Police arrested a 29-year-old man for trying to break the windows of patrol cars in their parking lot on Monday. When officers found the Redmond man hiding in the bushes, he threatened to cut his wrists with a box knife. When he refused to drop the knife, officers tased him and he was taken into custody. 


Investigators say he also attempted to break office windows at the Police Department, located at 7th and Evergreen. The suspect was taken to St. Charles Redmond for medical and mental health issues.


The suspect's name has not been released to to HIPAA regulations. He was later lodged at the Deschutes County Jail on Criminal Mischief, Criminal Trespass and Disorderly Conduct charges. 

More Spiders Making Their Way Indoors

PRINEVILLE, OR -- Central Oregonians are noticing more spiders in their homes right now, and the Oregon State University Extension Office in Crook County says more people are bringing in the creepy crawlers for identification, concerned they are dangerous. 


Pam Wiederholt tells KBND, "Any spider can potentially have a venomous bite and be dangerous. They’re like bee stings – some people are allergic some aren’t; spider bites are the same way. The Hobo probably has just a little more venom in it, but I’ve known people who have been bitten by Hobos and Black Widows and had nothing happen." Although, she adds, "If you have senior citizens in your home or young children, that the toxin can be a little stronger on, any spider bite can potentially be harmful."


She says, if you’re comfortable not squishing the little brown arachnids, simply catch and release. "Put a jar over the top, slip a piece of paper underneath and just carry it outside. They don’t really want to be in your house, they’ve come in there mistakenly. It’s not fun for them, because there’s probably not much feed in there, like mites and stuff. They’d much rather be outside."
Many confuse the Hobo with the much more dangerous Brown Recluse spider, which Wiederholt says does not live in Oregon due to our cold winters.

No Bend Gas Tax on November Ballot

BEND, OR -- The Bend City Council will not put a local gas tax on the November ballot. Councilors met in a special session Monday afternoon and were split 3-4, with the majority opposed to asking voters to approve a five- to ten-cent per gallon tax.  


Councilor Nathan Boddie favored the ballot measure, saying funding options are slim. "There are two options: a gas tax or slashing the public safety budget; and there's no way I'm going to support cutting police and fire. There may be some funds there, but not nearly enough. These are your two options."


Mayor Jim Clinton also voted for the measure, opposing those who want to wait to build a consensus. "I don't see why that has to be why the fuel tax has to be held hostage to making progress on this entire transportation package," He told fellow councilors.


Councilor Barb Campbell feels voters should have the final say. "I trust the voters on this one. Honestly, we all drive the streets, they know how they are."


Councilors Casey Roats, Victor Chudowsky, Doug Knight and Sally Russel were all opposed to sending the gas tax to voters in an effort to fund street maintenance. Russel acknowledged, though, that something needs to be done. "I really want to advocate that we have to reverse this non-action on this issue. And, it's only going to cost more, regardless of your demographics - old or young, it's going to cost us all more."
They decided to form a subcommittee to meet with Bend 2030 and create a road maintenance funding proposal for the March ballot. Campbell, Roats and Knight begin that process today, and hope to report to the full council at its regular meeting, Wednesday. 
Photo courtesy City of Bend; l-r: Nathan Boddie, Casey Roats, Jim Clinton, Sally Russel, Barb Campbell, Doug Knight, Victor Chudowsky

Missing Bend Man Without Medication

BEND, OR -- Bend Police are asking for the public's help in locating 57-year-old Bernard (Bernie) Paul Crisman. He hasn't been seen since he left his home on NE Wells Acres Road at about 3 p.m., Friday.


Crisman lived in an adult nursing home, but would come and go as he pleased; however, it is unusual for him to not return or check-in by phone. He is also an insulin dependent Diabetic and left home without his medication and with little money.


Police say his mountain bike was found on Sunday along the COID canal east of NE Boyd Acres Road. He was last seen wearing a green shirt that says "Alaska" on the front. Crisman is known to frequent Northside Tavern and Mavericks in Bend.


Anyone with information on Crisman's whereabouts is asked to contact Bend PD at 541-693-6911.

Billy Chinook Increases Drunk Boating Patrols

LAKE BILLY CHINOOK, OR -- Lake Billy Chinook will have a much larger law enforcement presence than normal, this weekend. Officers from agencies across the state will patrol the lake Friday and Saturday in an effort to crack down on drunk boating.


Jefferson County Sheriff's Captain Marc Heckathorn says drought conditions are bringing more people to Lake Billy Chinook this summer. "Lake Billy Chinoook is the highest recreated lake in the state of Oregon, especially with the water conditions across the state, so our lake has had an increase in overall activity and having some extra bodies to help detect and hopefully change some people’s behavior is the primary reason for wanting to step up our enforcement patrols this weekend."
Captain Heckathorn tells KBND, "We’re going to have units in marked and unmarked boats, somewhere in the area of 15-20 law enforcement people on the water. OSP, who has been a lead in helping coordinate this, and I know that our office, obviously, as well as Multnomah County, Linn County and Klamath County are all agencies participating this weekend." Oregon state Police will station its mobile DUII command vehicle at the lake on both Friday and Saturday, as well.
There will be space available at the Jefferson County Jail for those taken into custody, however Capt. Heckathorn says the increased patrols are simply an attempt to keep everyone safe. "I’ve been in charge of the marine program here since 2001, and I’ve been involved in some pretty bad tragedies, some you could argue could’ve been prevented if people hadn’t been consuming alcohol in the volume; it’s always a contributing factor in some of the deaths and major injuries that we’ve had." 


Prineville Father Accused of Injuring Infant

PRINEVILLE, OR -- A 20-year-old Prineville man has been arrested, accused of injuring his baby. The Crook County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a three-month-old who had been brought to the emergency room with suspicious injuries, Friday afternoon. 

The infant was later taken to St. Charles Bend with serious injuries. Nicholas Brown was arrested Saturday and is charged with Assault in the First Degree and Assault in the Third Degree.

Landfill Energy Contract Extended

BEND, OR -- Deschutes County Commissioners approved an extension the contract of a private developer that hopes to produce energy from gasses emitted by the Knott Landfill.

Director of Solid Waste Timm Schimke says California-based Waste To Energy Group has suffered numerous delays in securing funding, but finally appears ready to proceed. "They have given us documentation showing us they have secured financing for the project, and they have given us a fairly detailed milestones schedule; and they have given us some draft documents of both Community Development and DEQ permit applications. So, the county feels comfortable that progress is being made."
The original contract was signed last year, and was set to expire Monday, August 3 because commercial operations are not yet up and running. Schimke tells KBND, "We gave them 18 months from when they signed the contract and that anticipated they would get their funding very quickly after signing the contract; and that didn't turn out to be the case for any number of reasons. I guess I'm learning quite a bit that these projects are not very easy to fund at all. They've had several close calls from different funding sources and those appeared to fall through. Now, apparently they've been successful."
Schimke says the contract extension will require Waste To Energy to meet timing and achievement milestones or risk losing the contract. If the project is successful, the county could net at least a quarter of a million dollars a year in royalties.  
Read more about the project HERE.

Murder Charges Dropped in Landlord Shooting

BEND, OR -- The Deschutes County District Attorney has decided not to pursue criminal charges against a Bend man who shot and killed his landlord a little more than a week ago.  D.A. John Hummel's office released the following statement regarding the case against Daniel Norquist:


Today, Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel filed a motion with the Circuit Court requesting the dismissal of the case charging Daniel Norquist with the murder of Andrew Cordes. 
In the early morning hours of July 25, 2015, in Norquist’s house, Norquist shot Cordes four times, causing his death. Cordes was Norquist’s landlord and long-time friend. Norquist claimed he shot Cordes because he was scared of Cordes. Both were intoxicated. Bend Police Department detectives conducted an extensive investigation, and in the afternoon of July 25th, arrested Norquist.  
On July 28th Deschutes County Deputy District Attorneys Drew Moore and Matt Nelson began presenting evidence to a grand jury. Prior to the completion of the presentation to the grand jury, Moore, Nelson, and District Attorney John Hummel’s view of this case changed. Additional evidence pointed to Norquist’s innocence. Norquist was then asked to submit to a polygraph test and he agreed. The results of this test supported Norquist’s claim of self-defense and was consistent with the other evidence analyzed by the State. Consequently, Hummel withdrew the case from the grand jury and filed a motion to dismiss the case. 
“It is never too late to ensure justice is served” said Hummel. Hummel went on to say: “Based on the facts that were known on the day of the shooting, the arrest of Mr. Norquist was appropriate. And at the time we began presenting the case to the grand jury, I believed a crime was committed. As new facts were uncovered, Mr. Norquist’s claim that he acted in self-defense was bolstered.” 
Hummel praised the work of Bend Police detectives: “Starting shortly after midnight on July 25th up until today, Bend Police detectives worked tirelessly to gather evidence to determine the truth. Myself and deputy district attorneys in the District Attorney’s office worked with them every step of the way. I was impressed with the professionalism, dedication and competence of every officer who worked on this case. Bend residents are well served by their police department.” 
“This case is an example of the system working” said Hummel. “Police investigate and arrest based on a lower legal standard than is required for a criminal conviction. When I became convinced the evidence was insufficient to overcome Mr. Norquist’s claim of self-defense, I did not hesitate to dismiss this case. And I did not consider ‘passing the buck’ by having the grand jury vote on whether to charge Mr. Norquist. I only ask grand juries to charge someone with a crime when I believe the evidence is sufficient to support a charge. In this case, it was not.” 
Hummel concluded by extending sympathies to the family of Andrew Cordes: “Everyone involved in this investigation extends our sympathies to the family of Andrew Cordes. Andrew was 30 years old, with hopes and dreams for a wonderful life. He was loved and will be missed.” 

Bend Gas Tax Decision Expected This Week

BEND, OR -- The Bend City Council will decide this week whether to put a local gas tax on the November ballot. The group Bend 2030 has advocated Councilors wait to allow for more public input. Erin Foote Marlowe with Bend 2030 tells KBND Monday afternoon's meeting at city hall. "If the minimum thing we come away with is a really good understanding of different options, I think it's valuable information as you consider whether to put the gas tax on the ballot."


Bend City Councilors are considering a local gas tax to help fund deferred street improvements. Victor Martinez, Board Chair of Bend 2030 has warned against "rushing" forward with the issue. "We are concerned there is going to be strong opposition to this, and if we partner up with the opposition to work on a comprehensive plan - we won't have a strong effort without engaging the opposition to work closely with them."


The Council is expected to make a final decision on August 5, whether to put the issue on the November ballot. 

Bend Fire Asks for Information on Brush Fires

BEND, OR -- Bend Fire crews responded to three separate brush fires within a three-hour period, Saturday evening. Officials say each caused minimal damage but are suspicious. 


They occurred between 7:15 p.m. and 10:20 p.m. near NE Jones and Watson Drive, NW Buck Drive near Johnson Road, and NE 11th Place. 
Fire investigators are asking for the public’s help. Anyone with information on the fires is asked to call Deschutes County non-emergency dispatch at 541-693-6911.

Accused Burglar Found on Bi-Mart Roof

BEND, OR -- An 18-year-old Eugene man was arrested early Sunday morning, accused of breaking into the Bend Bi-Mart store on NE Second Street.


Bend Police found Andrew Ward on the roof of the business at about 12:30 a.m., and say he tried to get into the building through the HVac system, resulting in damage to the system.
Ward was taken into custody without incident. 

Three Motorcyclists Hurt in Crash

LA PINE, OR -- Three local motorcyclists were hurt when they failed to negotiate a curve on Huntington Road in La Pine, Sunday morning. According to the Sheriff’s Office, the three were traveling together when they entered a section of curves just south of Velvet Court and were thrown from their respective motorcycles. 
One rider, 56-year-old Kenneth Gipson of Culver, was flown to St. Charles Bend. He was listed in serious condition, as of Monday morning. The other two men, one from Redmond and one from Terrebonne, were transported by ground ambulance. 
Speed is believed to be a factor.

Veterans Choice Program Discussed in Redmond

REDMOND, OR -- The head of the Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs heard many concerns from local vets during a stop at the Redmond VFW on Friday. Fred Beebee, a Vietnam War Veteran, traveled from Madras to tell Director Cameron Smith that he's concerned about losing a counselor who served his PTSD group. "We did lose our counselor two to three months ago when he was transferred to Portland. We want to get someone else in there because they did a lot of good for a lot of veterans." Beebee says the group continues to meet every Thursday to offer support to each other until another counselor can be brought in. 


Fellow Vietnam Veteran Joe Russo of Crooked River Ranch brought up concerns about living east of the Cascades and how challenging it is to travel to the V.A. Hospital in Portland. "Whey they make cuts in funding, do they take into consideration this side of the mountain? They turn around and it's nice they give us travel money, but for a few dollars more, we wouldn't have to do all that traveling." The new V.A. Choice Program was supposed to offer vets an opportunity to see a local doctor if they live too far from a V.A. health center. However, Director Smith admitted too many are still forced to travel over the mountain because they are closer than 40 miles to a veterans clinic, even if the clinic doesn't offer the services they need.


Tom Weiss is the Veterans Services officer for Jefferson County. For 10 years he has helped vets navigate the system and get services. "I think here in the state we'll make progress. I think we have a good leader in Director Smith; he's young and has a lot of good ideas. As far as the federal system? I don't know." He adds, "This problem has been around for a very long time, and I know it's money driven. I think the state will work through them, we always have. It's just things are changing so fast and the problems are new every day."

Director Smith told the group the challenge is to better coordinate the federal V.A. system with state and county veterans services. 

California Woman Injured in Smith Rock Fall

TERREBONNE, OR -- A California woman was rescued following a fall at Smith Rock State Park in Terrebonne, Sunday afternoon. The woman was reportedly trying to climb a near vertical section of rock with her friend when she lost her hold and fell eight to 10 feet, then tumbled another 20 to 30 feet. 


Neither woman had appropriate equipment, according to the Sheriff's Office, and it was their first time at Smith Rock. 
Search and Rescue volunteers were able to safely get her back to the trail and used a wheeled litter to get her to awaiting medics. She was taken to St. Charles Bend with what is described as serious but not life threatening injuries.


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