Local News Archives for 2016-03

Sunriver Area Resident Appeals Code Violations

BEND, OR -- A property owner near Sunriver is appealing a hearings officer's ruling that he violated county development rules. He built a dock, garage and other structures on his property on Satterlee Way in the Oregon Water Wonderland subdivision, but failed to apply for necessary permits. The property owner is now appealing to Deschutes County Commissioners.


A number of neighbors testified at Wednesday's public hearing on the issue. Joseph Craig told Commissioners, "It's a very nice property, there's no doubt and I've told him that. It's a very well-kept, maintained property. The issues are a result of illegal structures on the property. There are things I wanted to do on my property after I moved in, contacted Will [at the Community Development Department] and found out I can't do it and I follow the rules. Then I said, 'what about my neighbor?'" He went on to say, "If you're going to do all this and ask for forgiveness, it's kind of like when you were a kid. The standing joke was 'I'm going to do it and ask Mom and Dad for forgiveness later.' That's what's going on here. If I can't get permits to do something right now, why should we give him permits to give a blessing after he's done all this."


County Commissioners will continue to take public comment on the issue for the next couple of weeks and plan to make a decision by the end of April. 

Bend High Archery Heads to Nationals

BEND, OR -- For the third consecutive year, Bend High’s Archery team is headed to the national tournament, as Oregon State Champions. Amber Greenwalt’s daughter is a sophomore on the team. She tells KBND News, "They’re very nervous; they know they have some very stiff competition, coming up. There’s supposed to be about 14,000 competitors total." Despite those nerves, she says, "We're very excited. Our first year, one of our gals brought home a $10,000 scholarship, so the students have seen that it can be done. We’ve got some all-stars on our team and I fully expect at least one, if not a couple of them, to podium at Nationals."


But, Greenwalt says the 22-member team still has work to do. "We have a pretty hefty bill going into Nationals - a little over $19,000; $12,500 of it is just in travel fees, alone." A spaghetti feed and silent auction will be held Friday night at Aspen Hall in Shevlin Park, and the event is nearly sold out. "All the proceeds – 100% are going toward the students. We’ve invited 120 ticket holders to this event."


She says fundraising for the team, even just getting publicity, can be tricky because they're often overlooked by a community focused on more mainstream athletics. "Literally, there are kids on our team that would not be able to participate in any other sport any other way, whether it’s financially or physically. This is a sport that we encourage and love on kids with disabilities, on kids that are shy. We are truly a team. You can walk in and feel the love of Bend High in our team."


Other fundraisers are in the works for the next six weeks. Donations can be made at Bend High or Central Cascades Archery. For more information on Friday's spaghetti feed, click HERE


COCC Launches Sustainability Series

BEND, OR -- Central Oregon Community College kicked off a series of sustainability lectures and workshops, Wednesday. Professor Owen Murphy says events within the five week Sustain: Central Oregon series will cover a broad array of topics, "To reach out and remind people about sustainability, engage them, educate them about aspects of sustainability they may not have previously been aware of, and hopefully engage them and start to change behaviors."


Murphy tells KBND the concept of sustainability goes beyond the obvious. "From a cultural perspective, we focus a lot on recycling perhaps on recycling. But, if you backup and take the systems view, if you didn’t use things in the first place, that would be even more sustainable. So, reduce and then reuse and then recycle; and that’s actually one of the topics that will be covered by the Environmental Center towards the end of April."


The series began with a discussion on climate change. "Then we segue into essentially a week of food and agricultural-based events," says Murphy. "We’ve got a showcase of local farmers on Saturday, and then various lectures on seeds and biodiversity and garden planning." Saturday's showcase is at COCC’s Wille Hall, in Bend.
Sustain: Central Oregon is a joint venture between COCC and the Central Oregon Environmental Center. Most events are free. Click HERE for a complete schedule.

Injured Hiker Rescued Near Sisters

SISTERS, OR -- A Bend woman was injured while hiking the Black Butte Trail, west of Sisters. Deschutes County Search and Rescue teams were dispatched at about 1 p.m., Wednesday, after 30-year-old Kendra Owens slipped on ice, less than a mile from the trailhead. 


Rescuers reached Owens at about 2:20 p.m. and stabilized her injury before wheeling her out to waiting medics who transported her to St. Charles Bend.
The Sheriff’s Office warns that hikers can experience dry ground, ice and snow on the same trail, this time of year. They urge recreators to be prepared for a wide range of trail conditions. 

Three Killed in Highway 20 Crash

BEND, OR -- Three people were killed in a Wednesday afternoon crash on Highway 20, east of Bend. A preliminary investigation by Oregon State Police indicates a westbound van drifted onto the shoulder, crossed back onto the highway and into oncoming traffic, hitting a Ford Explorer head-on. 


The driver of the van, 54-year-old Wesley Earp of Redmond, was pronounced dead at the scene. Jim and Fayme Reynolds, both 65 and both of Bend, were the driver and passenger in the Explorer; they were also killed in the crash.
The highway was closed for about an hour; the investigation is ongoing. 

April Fools Free Skiing Offered at Hoodoo

SISTERS, OR -- For the first time, Hoodoo will offer free skiing on Friday, April first - no foolin'. Leif Williams tells KBND News the ski hill has had a much better season than last year, with 80 days of operation, compared to just eight in the 2014-15 season.


He says a free ski day is a way to thank their guests. "Traditionally, we've had some pretty slow Fridays following Spring Break. Our General Manager Matthew McFarland decided that instead of offering a two-for-one like we've done in the past, we're just offering a free ski day and hopefully driving a lot of traffic up there to the mountain."


Williams expects it'll be a busy day. "The snow coverage is great. We still have 75-77" on the ground at the base of the  mountain and Friday's looking to be an amazing 55-degree day full of sunshine and great spring skiing." Hoodoo will be open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and no coupons or reservations are needed to ski for free on Friday. 

Tower Theatre Hosts Active Shooter Training

BEND, OR -- Public mass shootings are increasingly common in America. Bend Police held its first public Active Shooter training session, Tuesday. Bend PD Training Officer Scott Vincent addressed 50 Tower Theatre volunteers. He stressed awareness. “What looks out of place? What’s outside what I call the arc of normalcy? If you see something, say something. Don’t make excuses for people’s behavior.” He told the crowd, “Thinking ahead and planning really pays dividends when these things happen.”


Brad Ruder is the volunteer coordinator for the Tower Theatre. He tells KBND News, “One of the first things I wanted to do was make sure that this particular situation, an Active Shooter situation, that we were prepared as a business to take care of our patrons and our staff.”

Redmond Man Pleads Guilty to December Murder

BEND, OR -- It was an emotional day for the family of Rebekah Gomes, the 23-year old woman shot and killed outside her Redmond home in December. The man accused of her murder changed his plea to guilty, Tuesday.


Mario Morataya was charged with Aggravated Murder, Attempted Kidnapping and Unlawful Use of a Weapon. By pleading guilty, Morataya avoids the death penalty. Judge Wells Ashby sentenced Morataya to life in prison. He won't be eligible for parole for at least 30 years. Morataya addressed the judge during sentencing: "Your Honor, apologies, sorry, nothing comes close to what I feel inside. There's nothing I can say."


During a Tuesday press conference, Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel described about how the 23-year-old man killed Gomes on December 11, 2015. He says Morataya was trying to kidnap her when she rolled out of his pickup. "Morataya slammed on the brakes and put the truck in park. He then methodically, and with the cold-bloodedness of a contract killer, picked up the shotgun. He exited the truck. He walked around the back of the truck, and as he came around the back of the truck he lowered the shotgun, took aim and shot Rebekah in the back, killing her. This incident was witnessed by one person: Rebekah's five-year-old son." Attorneys say Morataya decided to plead guilty to all charges after hearing the young boy had witnessed the shooting. 


Gomes' father Randy Wallace spoke during the hearing, "We're all extremely traumatized by the crime. We don't hate Mr. Morataya; he's our enemy. But, we've been commanded to love him, and we do forgive him. His life is lost and his options have put him in a position that he has no way out." Following the sentencing, Deeana Wallace expressed gratitude to prosecutors and those who investigated her daughter's murder, "Actually, the words 'thank you' aren't enough for our gratefulness for how this case was handled. It was the most traumatic thing we've ever experienced, the most painful thing our family has experienced, and we're really thankful for the outcome and extremely thankful for this team."




Bend Internet Reliability to be Discussed

BEND, OR -- For many Central Oregonians Internet service is no longer a luxury; it’s a necessity for students, small businesses, corporations and those just trying to stream their favorite show on Netflix. But, several recent widespread outages highlight the region’s bandwidth vulnerability.


The city of Bend’s Business Advocate, Ben Hemson, says the City Council has heard from many who are concerned about Internet reliability. "We know Bend, anecdotally, has this growing population of telecommuters from the Bay Area, from Portland, from Seattle and they’re moving up here and working from their homes but when an expectation of being able to use the same sort of bandwidth with the same sort of reliability that they expect back in their former workplace." He says some have suggested the city should consider a municipal Internet Service Provider. "Council has certainly heard from folks in the community saying, ‘we’re not happy with our internet speeds, our internet reliability.’ That’s a big leap to any sort of municipal broadband from there. Council has not discussed that at any large level. But, we want to talk more about what the city can do to help the private utility providers."
Hemson and Jamie Christman, with the Bend Chamber of Commerce, will co-moderate an event next week, featuring representatives from two of the region's biggest Internet service providers: Bend Broadband and BendTel. Christman tells KBND News, "It’s not pointing any fingers; this isn’t even to necessarily go to Council who needs to do a municipal utility. We just need to get this on deck because it’s affecting businesses." She says if Central Oregon wants to attract more tech industry, the region needs to protect and expand its bandwidth. Two representatives from the business community will round out Tuesday's panel. 
For our complete conversation with Hemson and Christman, visit our Podcast page or click HERE. The Bend Chamber’s “What’s Brewing” event begins at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, at Deschutes Brewery. Click HERE for event details.

Bend Man Arrested for Drug Trafficking

LINN CO., OR -- Central Oregon's Drug Enforcement Team arrested a Bend man accused of trafficking methamphetamine, following a four-month investigation. Detectives believe 52-year-old Krishna Desaigoudar frequently traveled to Salem to obtain drugs that he would later sell in Central Oregon. He was found sleeping in his pickup in Linn County, late last week, and taken into custody.


During a search of his truck, detectives say they found a half pound of meth, scales and packaging material, along with four pistols and a semi-automatic rifle. Three of the five weapons were confirmed stolen out of Deschutes County; two of them in just the past two weeks.


He faces a number of drug and weapons charges.

Oregon Primary Could Impact Presidential Race

BEND, OR -- Former State Representative Jason Conger is closely watching the political climate as we get closer to Oregon’s May primary. The Bend Republican says the controversial figures currently leading the race to the White House could impact our state elections. "I do think that the top of the ticket matters, especially in terms of turnout."


Traditionally, nominees are clear by the time Oregon’s primary comes around. But, Conger tells KBND News this year is different. "We’re definitely trailing the herd, so to speak, in terms of timing of primaries. And, in terms of Presidential race, usually the nominee would be decided by now, or if not by now, before we get to Oregon. But that might not be the case this time." He says it’s possible the fight, especially for the GOP nomination, could go all the way to the convention in August.
Click HERE to hear our full conversation with Conger, and former Democratic State Rep. Judy Stiegler. Or, visit our Podcast page
Conger says the contentious battle has divided the GOP, turning some off from voting altogether. "A lot of people who are pretty die-hard Republicans have told me if Donald Trump is the nominee they won’t vote for him. In fact, a few, and I’m not going to name names, have said that they would even consider voting for Hillary Clinton. Which is, for the people who are saying this, is pretty remarkable." He adds, "The truth is, there’s so much misinformation, I think as a voter, for my own personal view, it’s becoming more and more difficult to make an informed choice about who is the lesser of two evils?" He says some voters may choose to not vote for President, but he’s hopeful they will still help decide important statewide races up for grabs this year – including Governor, Secretary of State and Treasurer.
Oregon’s primary is May 17. 


Tiny Houses Considered for Housing Fix

BEND, OR -- Some believe "tiny houses" could be a fix for Bend's affordable housing problem. These small homes are usually built on trailers and are 200 to 300-square feet in size.

Brian Jennings, with The Source Weekly, spoke with Hayley Murphy about building a tiny house in Bend. "It really interested us in the fact that we would be paying ourselves to live somewhere and investing in a house that we could take somewhere else when we want to move to a new location." She says they had a professional crew put on the roof and bought a trailer, but they're doing the rest of the work.


Jesse Russell is the owner of Tongue and Groove, a tiny home builder. He tells Jennings, "There's no code that says that tiny homes can't be in the city limits. What we'd like to do is get the conversation going and have the city understand that yes, this does fill a niche; no, not everybody is going to go out and buy a tiny home. But, they do fit in neighborhoods, they're low impact, they solve part of the housing crisis - student housing, mother-in-law housing, retirees, people trying to downsize." He adds, "There are plenty of neighborhoods that have homeowners associations and rules that don't allow for it; we understand that, they're not going to fit everywhere. However, every little bit helps with every person out there that's trying to be part of the community and they need a place to live. 

City officials are less thrilled with the idea of tiny houses because they are often on trailers and not connected to a sanitation system. They consider them more like RVs. Click HERE to listen to the full Podcast. 


Dogs From Korean Meat Farm Now in Central OR

BEND, OR -- More than two-dozen dogs rescued from a South Korean meat farm are now safe in Central Oregon. Lynne Ouchida, with the Humane Society of Central Oregon, tells KBND News the goal is to eventually find families for every dog. "The condition of these dogs arrived in, some are very, very malnourished and thin and others are OK. But, these guys have also been held in a facility by the Humane Society International and they’ve been fed for a certain amount of time. They’re in better condition now then they were obviously on that farm."


Staff from the Bend shelter and Redmond’s Brightside Animal Center traveled to San Francisco to get the dogs over the weekend. The Bend shelter took in 17 of the Korean dogs; the other 11 are at the Redmond facility. Ouchida says this was a unique opportunity for her organization and Brightside to get involved in an ongoing international rescue operation. "Since the dogs were coming from Korea and being flown directly to San Francisco – this is the fifth farm that has closed. Most of the dogs were dispersed either on the west coast or the east coast, just based on where the flights were coming in. Then, they’re reaching out to those shelter partners that can take them in." She says that has typically kept dogs from similar rescue operations out of Central Oregon. "We have, unfortunately and fortunately, had empty kennels so we actually get to use it for a really, really rewarding experience." Both facilities are seeking donations to help provide proper food and medical care to the animals. 
Ouchida says there is a wide range of ages, sizes, breeds and health conditions, but some should be ready for adoption very soon. "All of these dogs, although they were bred for a certain purpose, just like the companions that we have in our homes, they really do look at you and seem to seek out that human-animal bond. And, that’s what we hope to nurture."


Studded Tire Deadline is Thursday

SALEM, OR -- The deadline to remove studded tires is Thursday, March 31. The deadline will not be extended, this year. Dave Thompson, with the Oregon Department of Transportation, says studs cause a lot of damage. "Even after all the improvements in asphalt, even after the decline in the use of studded tires across the state, they still cause about $8.5 million in damage each year to state highways." 


Thompson tells KBND News studless traction tires are a better alternative and provide more traction when the roads aren't icy. "If you look for the little emblem on the tire sidewall, a three-peak mountain with a snowflake, those traction tires cause no more damage than standard all-weather radials."


A driver caught with studded tires after the deadline could be charged with a Class C traffic violation and fine. 

Former State Rep Stiegler Weighs in on Trump

BEND, OR -- The number of Republican presidential candidates has dwindled, but the party remains divided on who should be the nominee.


Former Democratic Oregon state lawmaker Judy Stiegler the fissures within the GOP are eye opening. "The Republican party needs to take sort of a look-see at themselves, just as the Democratic party did in the late 60s and early 70s, and had to sort of get pretty introspective and say 'ok, what's going on here.'" In 1968, a violent Democratic National Convention in Chicago divided the party and, in part, led to the victory of Republican Richard Nixon that November. 


Stiegler tells KBND News the Republican race has taken a new tone, "It's been hard this time. It's been hard to overcome the drum banging and the shouting that Trump has provided. And, it's been very difficult for some of these other candidates to put their mark on the election process."

Flood Victims Receive Some Compensation

BEND, OR -- The city of Bend and its insurance company, CIS, have provided closure for some residents impacted by a June water main break. Scott Jennrich and his wife were left with one of the biggest repair bills. He tells KBND News he received a check for a little over $39,000 from CIS, earlier this month. "Up until actually hearing from CIS and the city that they were going to reimburse us for those costs, it was very stressful, as you can probably imagine. We’ve already paid a good portion of that $39,000 out of our pocket to do repairs that needed to be done, either before winter or immediately."


Jennrich says the reimbursement is a kind of loan, with an agreement to pay back the city with anything he receives from his homeowners insurance. "That stress is lifted; there are still numerous repairs we have to do so we’re looking forward to getting those done. And, from my perspective on how the city handled it, I’m still a little bit disgruntled. I think it could’ve went a lot differently; it wasn’t very transparent," says Jennrich. "Probably most people, if they put themselves in my shoes, they would realize that 9 months is kind of a long time to not know what’s going on. But, we obviously are relieved that we’re going to be reimbursed for the majority of the damages, and for that we are very grateful."


Read more about neighbors' fight for reimbursement from the city


His next door neighbors' home suffered the most damage. They submitted their repair estimate to city officials in January. They tell KBND News they are optimistic the city will come through with their reimbursement soon; but if not, they are prepared to take legal action.
That water main break occurred under NE 8th St. in June. City officials have said there was no indication the pipe was failing.  

Wyden Promotes New Food Bank Bill

BEND, OR -- A new bill passed by Congress offers tax incentives for food producers who donate to food banks. On Friday, Oregon Senator Ron Wyden visited The Giving Plate in Bend, a non-profit that provides food to local needy families. 


He tells KBND News, prior to the new bill, there were limited incentives for farmers to donate food. “One, you get and expanded credit. Two, it is permanent. And three, it will be something that will be useful to you all year round.” Instead of one-time food donations at the end of the year, businesses and farmers can donate any time of the year. 
Carly Sanders, Food Program Manager at NeighborImpact, says “We always are looking for ways to receive more perishable nutritious foods, and if that encourages our local farmers and ranchers to do so, then that’s just more inventory that we can then give to your clientele.”
The food donation provision included in the "Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes" Act permanently extends the enhanced deduction for charitable contributions of food inventory for non-corporate business taxpayers. 

Lost Hiker Rescued in Badlands Area

BEND, OR -- A 21-year-old Washington woman was found safe, Friday morning, after getting lost in the Badlands Trail Area, southeast of Bend. The Deschutes County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue received the call at about 8:45 a.m.


Three SAR teams were dispatched to the area to find Samantha Riedman, of Olympia, after she hiked off trail and got disoriented. Riedman was found in good condition at about 11:25 a.m., and escorted back to her camp.


The Deschutes County Sheriff's Office reminds people to hike on existing trails when in a trail system, take plenty of snacks and water, as well as reliable GPS. 

Local Attractions Full with Spring Break Crowds

BEND, OR -- Spring vacation for Oregon and California schools makes for a crowded Central Oregon. Two major local attractions are seeing big business this week.


Mt. Bachelor’s Stirling Cobb tells KBND News, “Snow conditions have been good and we’re sitting on a solid base of 125" here at West Village. So we’ve more than doubled our total snowfall from last year already this year.” And, that big snowpack is attracting visitors. “We’ve seen steady business all through the week and kind of comparable to a normal mid-season weekend, just all through the week.”
Meanwhile, at the High Desert Museum south of Bend, Sandy Cummings says it’s been a constant stream of visitors. “I think the weather is helping. We’re at about a thousand people a day during Spring Break.” She adds, “Admissions are actually up close to tenfold over last week. So it’s a tremendous week down here.” Cummings believes about 60% of their guests are from out of town and 40% are locals.
More out-of-towners are likely headed to Central Oregon next week, when Washington schools are on spring break.

Bend Police Investigate Fatal Crash

BEND, OR -- A Bend man was killed when the car he was driving crashed into a tree, early Friday morning. According to Bend Police, 41-year-old Troy Beck was northbound on NW 12th Street just before 1 a.m. when he collided with a parked vehicle near Lexington Ave. He then hit a large ponderosa pine in the front yard of a home on Milwaukee Ave. 


Beck, the only occupant in the vehicle, was pronounced dead at the scene. The investigation into the cause of the crash is ongoing.

Search for Two DCSO Captains Continues

BEND, OR -- The Deschutes County Sheriff continues to search for qualified candidates to fill key command positions, following the departure of two captains. Sheriff Shane Nelson admits he’s received advice to look outside the department, in light of the recent upheaval. "I reached out and wanted to hear from my teammates at the Sheriff’s Office. I’ve gotten input from ‘take a look on the inside’ and ‘take a look outside,’ and nothing is off the table right now. I want to do what’s best for the organization." He tells KBND News, "I think there’s benefits to taking a look at all types of scenarios because eberybody brings something positive to the table. And, the important thing to remember is, if you find out that somebody didn’t bring something positive to the table, and they’re not in line with your mission and values, or there’s unethical behavior, they’re not going to work with us anymore."


Former Captain Scott Beard faces criminal charges he embezzled more than $200,000 of investigative funds from the department. He was indicted and then fired, late last month. Less than a week later Erik Utter resigned amid an investigation into policy violations. Their departures leave just one Captain left - Deron McMaster, Corrections Division Commander.
Sheriff Nelson says, "I would like to have two new captains seated within six weeks, or maybe less. But, I also don’t want to rush the process. I want to thoroughly vet the decision making process and do the best we can."

Warm Springs Woman Named Poet Laureate

WARM SPRINGS, OR -- Oregon's newest Poet Laureate is a member of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs. Governor Kate Brown named Elizabeth Woody as the state's eighth poet laureate since 1921. It's a two-year appointment.


The Warm Springs woman was born on the Navajo Nation reservation in Arizona, but has lived in Oregon most of her life. She received a master's degree through the Executive Leadership Institute of the Mark O. Hatfield School of Government at Portland State University. 
Woody has published poetry, short fiction and essays; she's also a visual artist and a founding board member of the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation and Soapstone, Inc., an organization dedicated to supporting women writers.
As Poet Laureate, Woody will encourage literacy and learning, while fostering the art of poetry. She's expected to provide at least six public readings per year, across the state. 

Massage Therapist Charged with Sexual Assault

BEND, OR --  A 37-year-old massage therapist at Massage Envy in Bend is accused of sexually assaulting two of his clients during massage sessions.

Christopher Rosario was charged this week with multiple counts of sexual abuse, unlawful sexual penetration and sodomy. Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel called the accounts shared by Rosario's victims "chilling." Hummel says if the allegations are proven in court, he will recommend a significant penalty.
This case will soon be presented to a Deschutes County Grand Jury. Rosario's bail was set at $250,000. His arraignment is scheduled for Monday. 

Madras Police Investigate Home Invasion

MADRAS, OR -- Madras Police are searching for four men involved in an armed home invasion, early Thursday morning. Officers responded to the home on NE Lakeside Drive, just after 2:30 a.m.


Two residents report the robbers demanded money and drugs and got away with cash, jewelry, and a gold 2000 GMC Sierra, Oregon plate 915-EZX. The stolen pickup has a black bed liner with chrome strips and is registered to one of the victims.


The two men don’t know why they were targeted and deny using or possessing drugs. They say the suspects had at least two guns, a pistol and a rifle, and one of the victims was struck with a blunt object. Both men were treated and released at St. Charles Madras.


Investigators say the suspects concealed their faces and are only described as Hispanic men between 5' 10" and 6' tall. They were of average build and unknown ages.
Anyone with information is asked to call Officer Isiah Duarte at Madras PD, at 541-475-2424.
UPDATE: Madras Police located the stolen pickup truck at about noon, Thursday, four miles away. They say it was driven off the side of the canal road near Depot Lane in Madras, where it was stuck in the loose dirt and had nearly rolled. Investigators towed the truck from the site so it can be processed for potential evidence. 

Central Oregon Drivers Respect New Speeds

BEND, OR -- Not quite a month after speed limits rose on rural highways across the state, Oregon State Police and the Department of Transportation report local drivers are handling the change well. ODOT’s Peter Murphy was initially concerned there would be more crashes or speeding tickets.


He tells KBND News many drove faster than the posted speed, prior to the March first switch. "Most people were probably going in the 60-65 range, so it’s not that big an increase for a lot of folks. I think enforcement has stepped up because now there’s kind of a firm limit on the top end; the OSP is keeping an eye out for that. In fact, on that day, there was some increased presence."
OSP reports in general, drivers are respecting the new speed limit. Troopers have not seen an increase in speed-related crashes on Highways 97 or 20 around Bend, nor have the written more citations. 
Murphy says he’s still concerned, especially since winter in the High Desert isn’t quite over, despite what the calendar says. "It all comes down to, the driver who is going down the road at whatever speed, using his or her best skills and abilities and if that means you don’t go 65 – up on the upper levels, as you go to La Pine and then south of there, you’ve still got a good likelihood that there’s ice on the road this time of year."
And, he says despite their speed, drivers still need to pay attention to conditions. "Driver behavior is the factor in by far and away the majority of the crashes we have. Whether it’s speed, or not paying attention, or taking a turn in the wrong place or trying to pass in the wrong spot, driver behavior is the principle cause of crashes throughout the state of Oregon."


Local Farmers React to Spotted Frog Ruling

MADRAS, OR -- Farmers in the Madras area are preparing to get started with spring planting, now that a federal judge has denied a request by environmental groups to limit water for local irrigation districts. WaterWatch of Oregon and the Center for Biological Diversity argue the changing water levels in the Deschutes River, caused by irrigation season, harm the threatened spotted frog.


Madras Farmer Martin Richards says many throughout the region were very nervous. "The judge giving us a ruling, definitely gives us a chance to possibly salvage some spring crops. But we've held off because it cost money for seed and fertilizer and chemicals. If we would've spent that money and then she [the judge] ruled against us, we would've lost all that." He tells KBND News, "North Unit Irrigation relies almost completely on stored water out of Wickiup Reservoir. If we would have lost the possibility to store water, North Unit Irrigation would have had a fraction of what we normally would have, that would have spelled disaster to a lot of growers."


But, Richards warns local irrigation districts are not out of the woods yet. "The judge's ruling was just based on the preliminary injunction; we still have the lawsuit with WaterWatch and CBD to deal with. We're just very hopeful that the judge's comments were very positive for us and that CBD and WaterWatch will come back to the table and work with us in a collaborative way so that we can solve these problems. We don't feel the lawsuit was the best way to deal with it." Richards, who is also the chair of the North Unit Irrigation District board, has been part of the group trying to come up with a habitat plan to put more water in the Deschutes to help the spotted frog.

Concealed Handgun License Requests Spike

BEND, OR -- There are 12,000 Concealed Handgun License (CHL) holders in Deschutes County, and that number is growing, quickly. Deschutes County Sheriff Shane Nelson tells KBND News his agency is trying to clear a backlog of new applications. "We’ve hired a part-time worker to try and assist us in getting caught up. We have also changed the way we’re doing CHL classes so that we can actually issue the license at the time of class." He explains, "It was an excellent idea by my teammates. They came up with an idea where we do a Concealed Handgun License class, and then issue the licenses at the time. It’s a Saturday class, so those attendees don’t have to make an appointment."


Sheriff Nelson says, "We’ve just seen an overwhelming increase in the applications, due to some of the things that have gone on, nationwide." He says there was a significant spike in applications following the December terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California: "In September of 2015, we had 144 renewals a month; now we see 200 renewals a month. In September of 2015, we had 99 new CHLs that month; now we see 150 new CHLs in a month." That's a 39% increase in renewal requests, and a 51% jump in new applications.


For more information on how to obtain a Concealed Handgun License in Deschutes County, visit the Sheriff's Office website

Costs Increase for Refuge Clean Up

BURNS, OR -- The cost of repairing damage to the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge is soaring. Federal officials say the septic system is clogged and will need significant repairs. The trench dug by occupiers, and used as a latrine, had to be cleaned out before it was refilled. 


Crews also found garbage left in many buildings, fences had to be replaced because they were removed by occupiers and there was damage to the Visitors Center. The bill, so far, is more than $6 million, and is expected to go higher.


Work continues at the Visitors Center to get it ready for the opening of the refuge, later this year. 



Photos released by the USFWS


Prineville Transient Charged in Tire Iron Attack

PRINEVILLE, OR -- A Prineville transient is accused of assaulting an acquaintance, late Tuesday night. The victim was seriously injured at a home on SE Melrose Drive, when he was struck in the head with a tire iron. 


Investigators say 44-year-old Mike Ford left the scene on foot. Police arrested him Wednesday at Redemption House, a Prineville homeless shelter. Ford is charged with Assault, Criminal Trespass and Strangulation. 

Seismic Upgrades Coming to Highway 97

BEND, OR -- Oregon has received federal highway money to make seismic upgrades to Highway 97. Peter Murphy, with the Oregon Department of Transportation, tells KBND News, "It’s $35 million that came along with the new FAST Act - it’s the big bill that passed through Congress. Central Oregon is ground zero for when the ‘big one’ hits the coast and I-5 goes ‘south.’ So, what we have to do is be ready."


Murphy explains, "There’s some money for some bridges up by The Dalles, Biggs area, and then there is some paving that needs to be done to strengthen the roadway here on Highway 97, and then in addition to that, over on Highway 58."
He says Highway 97 is especially important because of its proximity to Roberts Field. "The big game plan is that when stuff happens we have to be ready at the Redmond Airport to start moving supplies, people, whatever, to other parts of the state." And, Murphy acknowledges that if a large-scale earthquake causes I-5 to fail, Highway 97 would become the main north-south route in Oregon. 
Murphy believes it'll be another year or two before work begins on those seismic upgrades.

Deschutes Brewery to Open in Virginia

ROANOKE, VA --  Deschutes Brewery is setting up an east coast operation. A crowd of several hundred residents and dignitaries turned out for the announcement in Virginia.

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe made the announcement, Tuesday. “And I’m proud to announce that Deschutes Brewery will invest $85 million and create 108 new jobs here in the city of Roanoke, Virginia.” The announcement was met with loud applause from the Roanoke crowd, a city of about 100,000. 


Deschutes Brewery owner Gary Fish was on hand for the event, which was live streamed to company headquarters in Bend. He says city officials courted the brewery for more than four years, and he's glad the secret negotiations are finally over.  “We can make beer anywhere. We’re very happy to be here in Roanoke. Now we can end the cloak and dagger portion of this project, and look forward to making some great beer here in Roanoke. Thank you very much.”
At the conclusion of the announcement event, Governor McAuliffe made a toast and the entire gathering was treated to bottles of the beer from Bend, Oregon.

Redmond Success Highlighted in Annual Speech

REDMOND, OR -- Redmond Mayor George Endicott discussed growth within the airport, police department, and overall livability, during his eighth annual State of the City address, Tuesday, at Juniper Golf Course.  He presented a number of positive stats, including the city’s doubling of business licenses in the past year, growth at the airport, a 21.3% increase in transient room tax revenue and a decline in violent crimes, with the hiring of several new police officers. Although, he admitted property crimes are up from last year. He also touted the work of road crews and the city’s lack of potholes. “Miles of street improved: we have 154 miles of streets. We were able to improve, that’s chip seal and so forth, 10 miles over 5 1/2 [miles] the year before. Our pavement index is 82, which, if you drive around town, we do pretty good.”


And, he looked ahead, discussing several infrastructure projects he says will help the city accommodate anticipated growth over the next five years, including the eastside sewer interceptor, runway reconstruction at Roberts Field, and a new transit center: “We’re seeking state funds to be able to build a transit hub. Right near Fred Meyer, there’s a piece of vacant property that looks like we’re going to be able to build that on. And, of course, we are the hub, right? We’re right in the center and we’ve been providing that service already in Redmond, but in a temporary facility near the library. We want to build a permanent facility with restrooms and be able to buy tickets at a kiosk and all that kind of stuff. So, hopefully a year from now, you’ll see that in place.” The city is working with COIC, managers of Cascades East Transit, on that project.
Endicott was elected Mayor in 2008 and announced at the end of his presentation that he plans to run for another two-year term in November.
After his speech, Mayor Endicott told KBND News Redmond plays a big part in the region’s success. “The whole state, as a whole, I think the economy has been improving. We’ve come out of the recession in pretty good shape. The areas that are really booming right now, that seem to be carrying the day, are up in the metro areas - in particular Washington County, with Intel and Nike and those guys - and then Central Oregon.” And, he anticipates more growth over the next five years. “I think we’re going to continue to see downtown and around town continue to develop. I’m really excited about it. We do everything we can at the government level to make that happen.”


Federal Judge Denies Irrigation Injunction

EUGENE, OR  -- A federal judge in Eugene denied an injunction, Tuesday, by environmental groups that would have limited the water local irrigation districts could use. WaterWatch of Oregon and the Center for Biological Diversity filed a request for an immediate injunction to force districts to put more water in the Deschutes River to help the threatened spotted frog.


Attorney Joan Archer was hired by several Jefferson County farmers to attend the hearing and protect their interests. "The judge denied the motion for preliminary injunction, stating that the plaintiffs failed to meet their high burden of proof that is required when you are seeking an injunction that includes with it requirements that certain things be done - as opposed to an injunction that is designed to just preserve the status quo."


Archer adds, "[The judge] seemed to definitely praise the deliberate process that's gone on thus far in the region, and the citizens in the region, for proactively undertaking efforts related to conversation of fish and other species. She acknowledged that those activities are going on and encouraged environmental groups to continue that conversation to develop a good habitat conservation plan for the area."


Kelly Barnett of Madras was in Eugene for the hearing, along with nearly a hundred other local people. She tells KBND News, "I think it's safe to say everybody felt relief. I think, we didn't expect a favorable ruling in relation to this injunction. So, I think everyone was very pleasantly surprised at how even the whole situation was, and that we got a favorable ruling."


The environmental groups can appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Mystery Boat Washes Ashore in Oregon

COOS BAY, OR -- The front half of a boat, less than 20' long, washed up on the southern Oregon coast north of Coos Bay, Tuesday morning. The chunk of boat was discovered at sea, March 16. A Coast Guard crew attached a tracking buoy to the bow section and had been monitoring its direction. 


Chris Havel, with Oregon State Parks, says, "Biologists will be looking for algaes and animals attached that, could either be potentially invasive, but would also give a clue as to its origin." He adds, "We all suspect it’s tsunami debris, from the 2011 tsunami that struck Japan, but the plants and animals attached really help the biologists zero in on where it actually came from."


A salvage company will remove the boat and recycle anything that can be reused. The rest will go to a landfill.  

Discussion Over OR Minimum Wage Not Over

BEND, OR -- Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries will soon begin the process of creating rules for rolling out the new minimum wage. Governor Kate Brown signed the three-tiered system into law at the end of the February session. But, State Senator Tim Knopp (R-Bend) expects the conversation will continue next year. "Democrats are already talking about mistakes that were made, it wasn’t perfect, they want to make changes in 2017; and that’s exact reason you don’t do major policy issues in a short session because they’ve really messed it up."


He tells KBND News the current law may not help those it’s designed to help. "About 40% of the minimum wage gets paid to workers between the age of 16 and 24, most of them are single – not all of them, but most of them. And, the mantra we heard from Democrats was ‘you shouldn’t be working 40 hours a week and essentially living in poverty.’ While I agree, the answer really wasn’t to raise the minimum wage for essentially teenagers and people in their 20s who aren’t a head of household."
Under the new system, the state is split into three zones with different rates applied to each, increasing annually over the next six years. "I’m not aware of any other state that has done that, nor any other state that has raised their minimum wage so high, so fast. And there are other liberal states out there that are probably more liberal, quite frankly, than Oregon, who haven’t done that," says Knopp. "And you have to ask yourself ‘why didn’t they do that?’ And, I think they had probably figured it out that it’s going to be detrimental, long term, to the economic growth in their state and therefore in Oregon as well."

In Central Oregon, Crook and Jefferson County's minimum wage will see smaller increases, going up to $9.50/hour in July, with 50-cent increases each year through 2022. Deschutes County will go from the current rate of $9.25 an hour, to $9.75 in July; rising to $13.50 by 2022.


To listen to our complete conversation with Sen. Tim Knopp, click HERE or visit our Podcast Page

Monday Fatal Crash Shuts Down Highway 26

WARM SPRINGS, OR -- A California woman was killed in a head-on crash Monday afternoon, on the eastern border of the Warm Springs Reservation. Oregon State Police continue to investigate, and say the 69-year-old woman was eastbound on Highway 26 when she crossed the center line, colliding with an SUV just before 3:30 p.m.


She was pronounced dead at the scene. The other driver, a 61-year-old Madras woman, and her 88-year-old passenger were both taken to St. Charles Madras with minor injuries. 
The crash investigation and clean-up shut down Highway 26 for about an hour and a half. 
UPDATE: OSP released the name of the woman killed in Monday's crash. Investigators say 69-year-old Linda Cushing, of Fullerton, CA, was driving a VW Beetle at the time of the collision. 

Eugene Judge to Hear Spotted Frog Case Today

MADRAS, OR -- Central Oregon ranchers are watching what happens Tuesday afternoon in a Eugene courtroom. WaterWatch of Oregon is suing three local irrigation districts over management of the Deschutes River Basin. A federal judge will hear arguments at 2 p.m. 


The Portland-based environmental group says districts' storing of water in nearby reservoirs during the winter and releasing of it in the summer irrigation season creates an inconsistent habitat for the threatened Spotted Frog. They're asking for an immediate injunction limiting the water districts can use. 


Madras veterinarian Dr. Trish Becksen plans to attend the Eugene hearing. She tells KBND News, "There's got to be a balance. That's what I don't see happening. That's what should be looked at, as far as the economic damage and the people's lives that are going to be ruined. These groups are not accounting for the livestock or horses, or whatever, that could potentially starve if this thing goes." She adds, "The fertilizer companies are already ordering less fertilizer. It's really going to have a domino effect."


Read more about ranchers' concerns.


Madras Mayor Royce Embanks tells KBND News, "I'm all in favor of protecting our species, and don't want to make anything extinct. But, I also have five to 6,000 engaged directly with agriculture here, and it's their farms, their homes. These are family farms, not large corporates. And, these are people that grew up here, came back here and are living on the farm doing farming."


He's asking for a measured approach, "We're hoping, what they'll do is say, 'give us a year or five years to completely evaluate this and see where it is going, realistically.' If we're not endangering the Spotted Frog by changing water levels with irrigation, then fine. If we are, what can we do to mitigate that? And, there are things that can be done."

Cougar Response Will be Reevaluated

BEND, OR -- Ever since the state banned the use of dogs to track and hunt cougars, the big cat's population has continued to grow in Oregon. And, while encounters between cougars and humans remain rare in the High Desert, they are increasing.


Wildlife Biologist Corey Heath, with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, talked with The Source Weekly's Brian Jennings about the agency's handling of these encounters. "Our response in the middle of towns is a little bit different. From a human-safety standpoint, we’re not going to back away and let those cougars meander through town at will. We can’t do that; law enforcement agencies can’t do that, anyway."


Heath adds, "Right now, our policy is we’re not going to relocate those cougars. So, the cougars, if they’re sedentary in town like that, in a place outside their natural habitat, it’s going to get euthanized. Some people agree with that, some people don’t agree with that." But, he admits, "Our cougar plan will be revised in the next little bit – in the next year or so."  For those cougars seen on the edge of town or farther out, Heath says they are allowed to move on, as long as they don't threaten anyone or enter more populated areas.


For the full Podcast from The Source, click HERE




Early Crash Disrupts Mon. Morning Commute

TUMALO, OR -- A Bend man was cited for careless driving, following a crash that shut down Highway 20 for several hours Monday morning, between Bend and Sisters. According to the Sheriff's Office, 21-year-old Danny Sherfield and a passenger were eastbound when his pickup left the highway and struck a power pole near Fryrear Road, just before 4 a.m. No injuries were reported. 


The pole was sheared off, sending power lines across the roadway and shutting off service to more than 500 Central Electric Cooperative customers. CEC was able to reroute service for most, within the hour. Power was restored for the final 100 customers by 9:20 a.m.
Traffic was detoured around the crash site for more than six hours while the power pole was replaced. The highway reopened just before 10:30 a.m.

Cannabis Consulting Firm Moves to Bend

BEND, OR -- A Nevada-based cannabis consulting and testing firm is relocating its headquarters to Bend. Lori Glauser, President of Signal Bay, Inc., says the company recently acquired CannAlytical Research in Bend, and is in the process of buying two other labs in Eugene and Medford. "These labs ensure the safety of cannabis. They test for the presence of pesticides, as well as identify the potency of the cannabis and other microbiological contaminants and other contaminants that would be harmful to cannabis."


She tells KBND News moving the corporate operations to Central Oregon was just logical. "Aside from the fact that Bend happens to be our first acquisition, it’s really a lovely town. Of course, it’s somewhat geographically central to the state and we also see that it’s a great place to attract talent from other parts of the country. We find it to be really attracting an entrepreneurial mindset and people coming in from all over to join in a place with a great quality of life."


Glauser says Signal Bay's new headquarters will move in with the existing lab on O.B. Riley Road. "Right now, it’s relatively small; a few thousand square fee. We can host about six or seven employees at that location; but that’s not to say we couldn’t grow into a larger location in the future as we grow as a company."

Redmond Mayor to Present State of the City

REDMOND, OR -- Redmond Mayor George Endicott will deliver his annual State of the City Address Tueday. He says this year’s presentation will be a little different, and a little more educational for his constituents. "I’m going to talk about how we accomplish what we do. There will be a short report card in the beginning, but most of the discussion will be how does the city and the staff and all, do the things that they do."


Mayor Endicott tells KBND News, "They’ve been working very hard on this approach to how to accomplish the projects and the activities for Redmond. I’m proud to get up there and give plugs and talk about how our community pulls together."


The Redmond State of the City Luncheon begins at noon at the Juniper Golf Course. Tickets are available through the Redmond Chamber of Commerce

Interior Secretary Jewell to Visit Burns

BURNS, OR -- U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell will visit Harney County, Monday afternoon.

Secretary Jewell and Deputy Secretary Michael Connor are scheduled to meet with employees impacted by the 41-day occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, as well as with community and tribal leaders working together on land management issues in southeastern Oregon. 
Jewell was last in the region a year ago to celebrate partnerships that helped sustain working ranch lands, and determine that the greater sage grouse did not need protection under the endangered species act. 

Prineville Truck Plunges into Canal

PRINEVILLE, OR -- A Prineville man was injured when his truck crashed into a canal, early Monday morning. Crook County deputies first responded to the scene on O'Neil Highway after a neighbor reported a man with blood on his hands, banging on a door just before 1 a.m. Witnesses report he claimed his truck had been stolen.


Deputies contacted 32-year-old Vernon Dixon and found his truck about 150 yards down a private driveway, on its top, submerged in the canal. Dixon was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The 

Sheriff's Office says there is no evidence to support the initial report the truck was stolen.
Environmental specialists responded to the scene to assess the potential of oil and other fluids leaking into the water. Alcohol does not appear to be a factor and the investigation is ongoing. 



Harney County Judge Looks Past Occupation

BURNS, OR -- The armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge is over, but the arguments behind it remain. Harney County Judge Steve Grasty, along with Sheriff Dave Ward, were the faces of those standing up to the occupiers.


Judge Grasty is the county's top elected official. He tells The Source Weekly's Brian Jennings discussions started during the standoff need to continue. "Should county government, should state government have more control, more say or even take over public land ownership? Personally, I don't think so. But, I also think it's really appropriate to have that conversation every few decades. Now's the time, and I think ought to talk through it. But, my hunch is, by the time we go through the economic impacts, the social impacts, perhaps even the environmental impacts, we may find it isn't a good idea."


But, he says, "The problem we've got right now is people are so angry, so much anxiety caused by this militia group, or these militia groups that walked around town with guns - and then with the Bundys; it's going to take a little while to heal that up so that we can get back to having those conversations. But, we're trying to do that, right now."


And, he admits, the issue of public land management doesn't have an easy solution. "If tomorrow the Feds said 'we're done, we're not sending any more financial assistance of any sort to Harney County, and here's all 4.6 million acres, now you do it and see if you can do it better than us.' Holy mackerel. At the end of the day, my gut reaction is we're probably going to have to sell most of it. If it was sold to private ownership, it won't be competitively bought; it'll be bought by those that have the most resources. You and I know what that typically means, is hunters or fisherman, we don't have access to it anymore. I'm not sure I like that."

Click HERE to listen to the complete Podcast.

Smith Rock Climber Rescued

TERREBONNE, OR -- A climber at Smith Rock lost his grip and fell 15-feet, Friday afternoon. More than a dozen Deschutes County Search and Rescue volunteers responded to the area of the fall, where there are no roads or maintained trails. The 37-year-old Portland man was located about 125 feed down a vertical rock face. 

The SAR team used a rope system to rappel down to him and bring him up from the ravine. Andrew Duncan was described as an experienced climber; he was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.   

Vehicle Sought in February Bank Robbery

BEND, OR -- Bend Police are asking for the public's help in identifying the vehicle used by a man suspected of holding up the Columbia Bank at Third Street and Revere on February 29. The same branch was broken into after-hours, Wednesday evening. 


Read more about the March 16 break-in


In the February robbery, investigators say the man was seen leaving the area in a white Honda Civic Coupe, model year between 1992-1995. They say the vehicle has distinctive characteristics, including body and paint damage on the bumper and passenger door and a decal or bumper sticker on driver's side trunk lid.


Anyone with information is asked to call Bend PD at 541-693-6911. 

Crook County Sees Gains in Community Health

PRINEVILLE, OR -- The latest statewide health rankings were released this week, and Crook County saw some improvements from a year ago. Katy Plum, with the Crook County Health Department, tells KBND News, "Our greatest improvement was actually in Health Behaviors. That includes smoking, access to physical activity and one of our greatest improvements was a reduced number of alcohol impaired driving deaths." Crook County went from 25th place to 12th, in health behaviors. She says much of those gains were by simply educating the public on health issues. 


Click HERE to view the complete report.


Overall, the county ranks 28th out of Oregon's 36 counties, up from 31st place. Plum says, "Between children living in poverty and the housing issues that we experience here, is what’s contributing to the low rank in social-economic factors." Deschutes County ranked fifth in Oregon, according to the report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; Jefferson County came in last, at 36th place. 

Local Schools Retool Sexual Abuse Prevention

BEND, OR -- Local school districts making changes to how they educate students about sexual abuse. KIDS Center Prevention Coordinator Kim Bohme is working with a number of Central Oregon school districts to help develop new curriculum in response to a law passed by the 2015 Legislature. She admits it’s taken the nine months since Erin’s Law was approved to work through the process. "That’s what I really appreciate with the schools is that they’ve taken a really thoughtful, strategic approach to looking at what they currently do, seeing where their deficits are and then taking a thoughtful approach to saying ‘what now, before the end of the school year, can we do to implement and meet the law that we need to be meeting?’"


Bohme tells KBND News, "All schools are required to develop and adopt child sexual abuse prevention curriculum for students kindergarten through twelfth grade, for all public Oregon schools." But, she says the new law is more extensive than previous efforts. "Past laws have only required information for students. Now, with this law, there’s a recommendation for students, parents and staff. There’s a three-tier approach that schools really have to look at: ‘what are we training our staff? What are we training our students and what are we teaching our parents?’"

For students, Bohme says, "There needs to be four sessions per school year for each grade level. That’s going to be a big change; a lot of times it was done in one session. And very detailed components of what that means: They need to talk about education on safe touch and unsafe touch, how to escape and report a child sexual abuse situation, measurable outcomes – we want to make sure we’re being effective in teaching and educating students." And, she says most districts are finding their current programs leave big gaps for high school students.


Staff will be trained on more than just their obligations as a "mandatory reporter." And, for parents, Bohme says, "Now, schools have to provide information on the characteristics of offenders, what grooming behaviors look like and how to discuss child sexual abuse prevention with their own children." She says most districts are narrowing in on their options in an effort to have programs in place before the end of this school year. 

Bend Bank Burglarized

BEND, OR -- Bend Police are looking for the man who broke into the Columbia Bank on NE Third Street, Wednesday night; although, they say he didn't take anything. The same branch was robbed February 29


Investigators say he intentionally shattered the front glass door to the bank at around 7:30 p.m. Witnesses saw the man enter the bank through the broken window. The man left before running into a custodian who was at the bank at the time.


The suspect is described as a younger white male with dark hair. He was wearing a bandana-style mask, dark pants and sweatshirt. He left the area in an older model Toyota pickup with a dark canopy. 


Anyone with information is asked to call Bend PD at 541-693-6911. 

Drug and Alcohol Counselor Arrested for Drug Trafficking

MADRAS, OR -- The Central Oregon Drug Enforcement (CODE) team arrested a local drug and alcohol counselor suspected of trafficking heroin throughout the region. After a nearly two-month investigation, detectives took 27-year-old Ryan Smith into custody during a high risk traffic stop in Madras, earlier this week.


During a search of his vehicle, they found a commercial amount of heroin, user amounts of meth and evidence of sales and manufacturing of the drugs. 
Investigators believe the Prineville man frequently traveled to Portland to obtain heroin and return to Central Oregon to sell the product.

Redmond Lacrosse Coach Arrested

REDMOND, OR -- Redmond Police have arrested an assistant lacrosse coach for allegedly having a sexual relationship with an underage girl.


Investigators say 22-year-old Dakota Harless had initial contact with the victim when he served as an assistant coach for a Redmond Lacrosse Club team. The club is not a school sponsored or managed club, but an independent organization.


Harless was arrested Tuesday and lodged at the Deschutes County Jail on multiple charges of sodomy, rape, sexual abuse and contributing to the sexual delinquency of a minor. 

Woman to be Charged with Double Shooting

WARM SPRINGS, OR -- A 24-year-old Warm Springs woman is in custody, following a Wednesday morning double shooting on the reservation. When police responded to a Warm Springs home just before 9 a.m., officers found two adults shot multiple times. 


Both were taken to St. Charles in Bend for treatment. A 34-year-old woman, a tribal member, is reportedly in critical condition. A 35-year-old man who is not a tribal member is in serious condition. There were two additional adults in the home who were not physically injured.
Just outside the home, officers found the suspect lying on the ground next to a rifle. She is expected to appear in federal court in Portland, Thursday. The FBI says the names of the suspect or the victims will not be released until the woman is formally charged. 

Cascade Lakes Welcome Station to Open

BEND, OR -- The Deschutes National Forest will open its newest facility, this weekend. Jean Nelson Dean tells KBND News visitors should think of it as the “Front desk to the forest.”


"We are very excited to open our brand new welcome center off of Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway, and offer visitor services up there, buying permits, the whole gamut of what you can do. Plus, there’s going to be some interpretive information out there," she says. Construction began in October 2014 on the $1.7-million project, which was partly funded by a 2011 federal grant from the National Scenic Byways Program.


Nelson Dean says, "We will be opening for the weekends, starting March 19, then it will be open all the week of Spring Break and we will be ramping up to basically being open all the time. But, it’s really going to be a great benefit for all the visitors we get in the summer, just providing great information." It's expected to be open daily, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., beginning May first. 


According to the Forest Service, the new post will feature interpretive panels, revolving displays and various retail opportunities. Additionally, visitors will have convenient access to a trailhead just outside of the station which accesses over 100 miles of non-motorized hiking and biking trails.


The new Welcome Station is located on Century Drive, just west of the Seventh Mountain Resort. 

Prineville Police Arrest Rape Suspect

PRINEVILLE, OR -- Prineville Police arrested a man Tuesday suspected of sexually assaulting a girl under the age of 16. According to investigators, the victim came forward in February to report crimes that occurred "over a long period of time," committed by a known suspect.


Police took 36-year-old Warren Arthur Doescher into custody during a Redmond traffic stop, Tuesday afternoon. The Prineville man was arrested on a felony warrant generated by the reported sex abuse. 


Doescher is charged with eight counts of Rape in the first degree and eight counts of Sex Abuse in the first degree, among others. The investigation is ongoing, but Prineville Police don't believe there are additional victims. 

Hospital Reaches Settlement in Drug Mistake

BEND, OR -- The family of the Sisters woman who died after a medication mistake at St. Charles in Bend has reached a settlement with the hospital. The amount of the settlement is not being disclosed. 


In December of 2014, 65-year-old Loretta MacPherson died after she was given the wrong drug in her IV bag. Read more on the case


St. Charles CEO Joe Sluka released a statement Tuesday saying in part, “All of us at St. Charles are deeply sorry for the loss of life that resulted from a medication error. We hope this settlement will bring some closure to the MacPherson family." He says the hospital will continue to strive to improve and work to ensure these types of errors don't occur again. 

Work Begins on Powell Butte Hwy Roundabout

BEND, OR -- Crews will soon begin constructing a roundabout on Powell Butte Highway, at Neff and Alfalfa Market Road. Deschutes County Engineer George Kolb tells KBND News, "It’ll be just your standard four-legged roundabout which, at that intersection, is needed because that was one of our highest intersections for accidents in the county."

Before work can begin on the actual roundabout, Kolb says they'll take steps to keep the traffic moving during construction. "The first order of business will be the installation of the bypass road on Powell Butte Highway. What that will allow us to do is to keep traffic going on Powell Butte Highway; we’ll keep Neff and Alfalfa [Market Road] open as best we can, but there will be intermittent closures and traffic delays throughout the duration of the project."


Kolb adds, "We allow construction to be from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. If you don’t have to go through there, I’d avoid it if you can; it’ll be busy." The roundabout is expected to be completed by the first of August. Landscaping and other esthetic work will continue through the end of the year. 

Bend Man Arrested for Rape After Party

POWELL BUTTE, OR -- A Bend man faces Rape, and other charges, stemming from a “rave” at a Powell Butte home in late February. Allegations surfaced several days after the party, which took place in the Twin Lakes Ranch neighborhood. 


Through a joint investigation by Bend Police and the Crook County Sheriff’s Office, 28-year-old Alex Stewart was identified as a suspect and arrested on a number of charges including Rape in the first degree, Assault in the fourth degree and Kidnapping in the first degree. 
Few details are being released and the investigation is ongoing. 

Young Driver Cited for DUII After Culver Crash

CULVER, OR -- Two people were injured in an early morning crash on Highway 97, between Madras and Terrebonne. Investigators say the driver of a Toyota Prius was eastbound on Iris Lane and failed to obey a stop sign at Highway 97. The vehicle hit a tractor trailer at about 3:30 Tuesday morning.


The truck driver, 72-year-old Warren Ramey of Powell Butte, told 

police the Prius was traveling at highway speeds when it ran the stop sign. He said he was unable to avoid the collision.


Oregon State Police say the car rolled several times and into a field. The driver, a 16-year-old Culver girl, was taken to St. Charles Redmond with non-life threatening injuries. Her passenger, an 18-year-old Metolius man, was flown to St. Charles Bend with life threatening injuries.


The cause of the crash is under investigation, but investigators say alcohol could be the primary contributing factor. Officers cited the 16-year-old driver for Driving Under the Influence, Reckless Driving and Assault in the Second Degree. 

Burns Business Returns to Normal

BURNS, OR -- Life has almost returned to normal for at least one business in the town that was invaded during the militia occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. During the standoff, America’s Best Value Inn in Burns saw a big uptick in business, ranging from law enforcement to international media. 


But, it's now been about a month since occupiers surrendered to authorities, and hotel manager Vickie Allen is enjoying the calm. “Well, I miss the business but I am relieved that it’s done. They got them out of there, at least something got accomplished anyway.” She tells KBND News,  “It's [now] almost like a normal winter - almost. I've still got Fish and Wildlife in. They’re cleaning up the mess out there.” Those officials are working to reclaim the refuge, following the 41-day occupation.


Allen is bracing for the next invasion of outsiders to Burns; this time a welcome onslaught of bird watchers. The Harney County Migratory Bird Festival begins April eighth. 

Sisters to Ask Voters for School Bond

SISTERS, OR -- The Sisters School Board has decided to ask voters to approve a new bond request in May. Board Chair Don Hedrick is hopeful the community will support this effort, despite the rejection of a similar bond a year and a half ago. "It was a little over $14 million, and we’ve reduced the amount, and therefore the amount it would cost taxpayers."


This new bond request is for $10.7 million. Hedrick tells KBND News some of that money would be used to repair the leaking roof at Sisters High School. "To replace it, the total cost is about $1.3 million, and that’s still a sticking point so we have decided to take that off the ballot and instead try and do some repairs that we hope will help make the roof last another five or six years."


He says the funds will go toward upgrades at other district schools. "The number one concern for this is some kind of additional security and safety for the buildings; automatic locking doors, perhaps some cameras so people in the building can see who’s at the door, teachers will be able to lock their doors more easily inside the building in case of an intruder."


Hedrick adds, "We’re trying to do a better job of communicating with all of the taxpayers and the community people concerning the bond."

Body of Redmond Man Found in Ravine

TERREBONNE, OR -- The body of a Redmond man was found Monday morning at the bottom of a ravine inside Smith Rock State Park. Family members reported 57-year-old Terry Hoyez had been missing for three days, and called the Sheriff’s Office after they found his truck in the State Park’s parking lot. 


Deputies searched the area and discovered his body about 150 feet below the Park Ranger’s office. More than a dozen members of the Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Mountain Rescue Unit responded to aid in the recovery effort. 
A death investigation is underway; foul play is not suspected.

Missing Bend Man Found Safe Near China Hat

BEND, OR -- The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office located a missing Bend man, following a broad search effort and a request for help from the public. Joshua Tharin Richardson was last seen Sunday morning; his family reported him missing after he failed to return that night. 


The Sheriff's office searched for him throughout the day, yesterday, including an aerial search by Life Flight. At about 7:30 Monday night, they received information that Richardson was stuck in deep snow, north of China Hat Road, southeast of Bend. Two OSP Fish and Wildlife Troopers and a Deputy responded to the area and were able to help him out.  




03/14/16 12 p.m. -- The Deschutes County Sheriff's Office is asking for the public's help to find a missing Bend man. According to Lt. Chad Davis, Joshua Tharin Richardson was last seen at 9 a.m. on Sunday (March 13) and was expected to return home by 11 p.m. that night. 


He was reportedly driving a white 2011 Ford F-150 crew-cab pickup, with OR license 153-HED. It has a sticker logo in the right rear window for "Downtown Ornamental Iron."


Richardson is described as a white male with short brown hair and brown eyes. He's 6'3" tall and weighs 202 pounds.


Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call Deschutes County dispatch at 541-693-6911.

Farmers Worried About Spotted Frog Lawsuit

MADRAS, OR -- A federal judge in Eugene will hear a challenge, next week, to how several Central Oregon irrigation districts manage water in the Upper Deschutes River. WaterWatch of Oregon filed a lawsuit claiming the districts are taking too much water and harming the endangered spotted frog.


Mike Britton, Director of the North Unit Irrigation District in Madras, tells KBND News the suit could deal a real blow to the local agriculture community. "The devastating part is North Unit is a junior water-rights holder on the river, and a significant supply to our farmers and patrons is Wickiup Reservoir. If we are unable to tap into Wickiup, or if it's drained for whatever reason, we don't have water  to deliver to our farmers and patrons." He adds, "We are predominantly an ag based economy and community, and any modifications in the system - the system being our storage at Wickiup and our ability to tap into that storage - would impact North Unit and the community significantly."


WaterWatch is seeking higher river flows in the winter and lower flows in the summer. They claim there's not enough water in the river and low flows are harming the spotted frog. Britton says farmers are nervous about the outcome of the lawsuit. "People are genuinely concerned about their livelihood and their lives. The uncertainty that all this brings; it's springtime and farmers are ready to get into fields and do the work and get ready for plantings, and watering and summer. They're not doing that because they're just uncertain that there will be enough water to carry out the farming operations that they need to do to make a living."


Click HERE to read more about the suit. A hearing is scheduled in Eugene for Tuesday, March 22. 

Local Impact of Oregon Motor Voter Law

BEND, OR -- Oregon’s Secretary of State last week released the first round of voter registration numbers since the state implemented its new “Motor Voter” law, showing more than 15,000 new registered voters. Deschutes County added about 5,000 registered voters in the past few months. But, Deschutes County Clerk Nancy Blankenship tells KBND News, "Since the Oregon Motor Voter went into effect January first, through the end of February, Deschutes County had an increase of 790 voters from Oregon Motor Voter; that’s only 16%. So, the other voters came through other means." 


She says it’s still too early to gauge how the new law will impact Central Oregon. "I think we’re going to need to have a few more months under our belt before we can make those predictions. If you’re just going to base it off of the first 21-day cycles, you would probably think it’s not going to have that big of an impact. But, I think you need to probably go through a full year to see the ebbs and flows that happen; because, maybe one month out of the year there’s a much higher level of people interacting with the DMV than other months of the year."


She says the biggest impact could be felt in special elections, when registering voters who may not be interested in casting a ballot could skew the state’s double majority rule. "In a March and September election, if you’re putting out a real property tax initiative, you’ve got to have that double majority; that means you have to have 50% of the voters in that district return a ballot. And, in order for it to pass, you have to have at least 50% vote yes. So, it’ll be interesting to see how this new dynamic affects those processes."

Blankenship says the boost in voter registrations is likely more due to the current political climate and not from the new law. "Interest in what’s going on politically because of this year, changes in address, a lot of different reasons; but I think a lot of it has to do with it’s a presidential year and people are interested in that process."

Unger to Face Challenger in November

BEND, OR -- Republican Phil Henderson has thrown his hat in the ring for the Deschutes County Commission seat now held by Alan Unger. Henderson, a Bend home builder and former attorney, says one of his pet issues is creating more affordable housing. “It’s gotten too expensive to live here. And I’m particularly interested in the affordable housing issue and both my background as a home builder and knowing quite a bit about land use law, it’s not just a city issue. It’s something the county can be involved with solving.”


He also plans to focus on water issues during his campaign. “Irrigation companies and entities just got sued by two environmental groups who basically want to shut down farming in Madras over the spotted frog and  Alan Unger is supposed to be an expert on the river and he hasn’t done anything to stop that or anticipate that. That’s a real difference between me and Alan Unger is I would do that.”
This is the second time Henderson has run for the position. He ran unsuccessfully in the 2012 primary. Because there is no Republican opposition in this year’s primary, Henderson will face Democrat incumbent Alan Unger in the November general election.

Bend 2030 to Host OSU-Cascades Workshops

BEND, OR -- Local civic group Bend 2030 plans to host a series of public meetings to get input on the vision for OSU-Cascades. Erin Foote-Marlowe, with Bend 2030, says these multi-media events will be very informal. “You walk in the door and you’re going to be facing cardboard models of what the campus could look like. These initial design concepts that we want people to look at and touch and gives us their feedback on. And it’s just a chance for them to think about what is their personal vision for this campus?”


She says community input will then be taken to the design teams. “These workshops are designed to provide them with a little bit more of an outside perspective in sort of a supplemental way to the work that OSU-Cascades is doing internally as well.”


Four "Envision OSU-Cascades" workshops will be held in April, beginning April 13 at Riverbend Brewing. The second will be at Broken Top Bottle Shop, April 14, then at Jake's Diner on April 19 and at La Rosa at Brookswood Plaza, April 20. All meetings are 5-7:30 p.m.

Challenger to Exit Deschutes Co. Sheriff Race

BEND, OR -- The three-way race for Deschutes County Sheriff was short-lived. La Pine resident Will Gibbons was the first to file as a challenger against current Sheriff Shane Nelson. Gibbons tells KBND News he decided to bow out after talking with Sheriff Nelson and Deputy Eric Kozowski – both of whom are running for the position. "I had a three-hour conversation in his office, with Mr. Nelson, explained to him the problems I’ve seen with the department in the last five years. Mr. Kozowski called me yesterday [Wednesday], just as a meet and greet. I informed him then that I was dropping out, so as to give him an opportunity with Mr. Nelson to go to November." If there are only two candidates in a non-partisan race, the contest bypasses the May primary and is decided by voters in the fall.


Gibbons says Sheriff Nelson contacted him last week after he filed with the County Clerk's office. "We spent three hours talking; I explained to him everything I’ve seen in the last five years, how defunct I’ve seen it is based on my past experience and my level of education and my knowledge of law enforcement." Gibbons refused to disclose where or for how long he served in law enforcement, other than to say it was a city in Oregon. Sheriff Nelson, who has been in office less than a year, did not respond to KBND's request for comment.

According to Gibbons, the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office is "beyond help" and he's not supporting either candidate. "You've got two candidates running now, both in the same department, who at this point, in my opinion, seem to have had no compunction as to have done anything about it any sooner - how defunct [the department] is in serving the citizens of this community." He believes the entire department should be investigated by the state "Top to bottom," and says the recent departures of two out of three captains are symptoms of a bigger problem. 
Deschutes County Clerk Nancy Blankenship confirms her office was notified by Gibbons of his plans to withdrawal. However, as of Thursday evening, he had not submitted paperwork to officially pull out of the race. 
FRIDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: Deschutes County Clerk Nancy Blankenship says Gibbons submitted his withdrawal form at 3 p.m., two hours ahead of the deadline. 

EDCO Luncheon Focuses on Explosive Growth

BEND, OR -- It was a full house for Thursday's annual Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO) luncheon at the Riverhouse Convention Center. Minoli Ratnatunga, Research Economist with California-based Milken Institute, and Nicole Kaeding, an economist with the Center for State Tax Policy at the Tax Foundation in Washington D.C., were the keynote speakers.


Ratnatunga tells KBND News Bend has seen some significant economic gains in recent years. "The Central Oregon region has shot up the charts on our Best Performing Cities index, which we released in December 2015. It's 38 places higher this year, at eighth place on our Small Cities index." And, she expects that growth to continue. "I think that you're well-placed to benefit from the growth that's happening elsewhere, as well. Your tourism sector is certainly benefiting from the great growth we've seen in Portland and Seattle, with the tech sector really shooting up the charts, there. Those are two cities that placed very highly on our Large Cities index."


Kaeding says that as a state, Oregon has good and bad tax policies that impact the business climate. "Oregon does not have a marriage penalty, this is a good thing. This is that idea that a couple should not pay more in taxes just because they're married than if they were filing as two single individuals. You don't have a sales tax; that helps your overall business tax climate, as well. In terms of what Oregon doesn't do so well: You have high corporate income tax rates, you have high personal income tax rates compared to other states."


Ratnatunga says explosive job growth, and a growing tech sector, along with education opportunities, have the region well-placed for the future.

Police Arrest Prineville Sex Abuse Suspect

PRINEVILLE, OR -- Police have arrested a Prineville man on a number of sex abuse charges. In February, a juvenile came forward to report being the victim of multiple crimes. Detectives investigated the allegations and served a search warrant earlier this week, at the home of 52-year old Chris Alan Clark. 
Following the search of his NW Happy Hollow Drive home, Clark was arrested and charged with online sexual corruption of a child, sex abuse and luring a minor. Bail is set at $90,000.
No other details have been released and the investigation is ongoing.

Roadwork to Begin Despite Gas Tax Failure

BEND, OR -- Road work is slated to start in Bend in the coming weeks, despite the failure of a five-cent a gallon local gas tax measure. Streets Director David Abbas tells KBND News, "Through the streets funding efforts, and taking a good hard look at the city’s budget and finances, there were some one-time funds drawing down some reserve accounts in trying to prioritize the streets. We’ve got actually more work planned this summer than we’ve had in recent years."


But, he says it's not to truly fix the biggest problems. "So, this construction season we will see some improvement in the roads. But, with the fuels tax not passing to take care of that funding gap, we’ll be looking out to the next few years. Council will get together to discuss policy and how do we want to tackle the funding gap due to the fuels tax not passing." Abbas adds, "Over the next few years, current budgeted and committed funds will be about $3 to $3.3 million per year. The amount of revenues needed to really just kind of maintain our road structure at the conditions they are today – what I mean by that is not get any worse, not get any better – is about $4.3 million per year."


Roadwork will begin later this month and run through October. If the gas tax had passed, it would've allowed more work to be done toward the end of the season. Abbas plans to attend next month's city council budget retreat to offer insights into feasible stable funding sources for roads.



Prineville Man Injured by Burn Barrel

PRINEVILLE, OR -- A Prineville man was injured after a burn barrel exploded, Thursday morning. According to Prineville Police, 59-year-old Gerhard Berger suffered possible third-degree burns to his upper body and face, after he added gasoline to a fire inside the barrel. 


Berger was initially transported to St. Charles Prineville, but was later taken to the Legacy Emanuel Burn Center in Portland for treatment.

Humm Kombucha Expanding Again

BEND, OR -- Kombucha continues to gain mainstream popularity, but with that growth comes one big problem for a local company. Bend-based Humm Kombucha is now in 18 states, including as the official kombucha of the Seattle Seahawks.


Co-Founder Jamie Danek says they signed this week to lease a 31,000 square foot building on Brinson Boulevard in northeast Bend, tripling the size of their current manufacturing facility. She tells KBND News, "We just hired our 40th staff and we’re probably going to add another 20 this year – 15 to 20, maybe more, I’m not really sure yet. And, this will enable us to at least hit half of the country. The plans are to go national by 2017."
The new building needs to be renovated before Humm Kombucha can move in larger brewing and bottling equipment. "The taproom stays where it is; the retail part for the consumer stays where it is and doesn’t move. The only thing that’s moving is that we’re increasing our operations and increasing our bottling facility. So, the bottling facility will move to Brinson. We will likely no longer be bottling on Second Street."
Danek says the move is necessary given the growing popularity of their brand, and that of the fermented tea beverage, in general. "It is broadening out this past year or two; it’s definitely getting more mainstream. But our goal and our focus has always been the 90% of the people that don’t shop in health food stores. We’re in Whole Foods and we love the health food stores, but our target is really the general public. So, for us, really thinking outside the box and figuring out how to talk to the general public and how to explain to them and educate them on Kombucha."
She expects they'll be ready to move into the new facility by fall. 

Two Candidates to Challenge Sheriff Nelson

BEND, OR -- A current Deschutes County deputy has announced a run for Sheriff. Eric Kozowski has worked for the department for six years and feels changes need to be made. He tells KBND News, "I’ve tried working within the agency to effect change, to little success. I’d hoped that Shane Nelson was going to make some changes that so many of us employees were asking to have made. When six months, seven months roll around and there’s been no change, I decided that if I’m going to raise some issues, maybe I need to be the one willing to take the action and step up to the plate."


Kozowski's announcement follows several high-profile departures from the department. In the past month, one captain was fired for alleged criminal misdeeds and a second resigned amid an investigation into policy violations. Kozowski says, "One of the big issues is the supervisor to subordinate ratio. Agency-wide, we roughly have one supervisor for every three employees. Not only is that not the best use of taxpayer money, it’s not an efficient way to operate."


He adds, "The employees at the Sheriff’s Office are by and large hard working, but they’re begging for leadership; and new leadership, and open-minded leadership. They’re looking for new and more efficient ways of doing business." Kozowski has worked in law enforcement for 14 years, in Deschutes and Wallowa counties. Before that, he worked in I.T. and served in the Marine Corps.


Kozowski is one of two candidates challenging Sheriff Shane Nelson in May. Will Gibbons, a retired police officer living in La Pine, has also filed. Nelson was appointed Sheriff in July, following the retirement of Larry Blanton. 

Despite ID Law, OR Roadkill is Not Legal Game

BEND, OR -- Idaho’s nearly 4-year-old law allowing people to salvage deer killed on highways is surprisingly popular. But in Oregon the practice remains against the law. 


Drivers in Idaho can take as little or as much as they wish of the animal - like only the antlers or a section of meat. But Michelle Dennehy with the state Fish and Wildlife Department says don't try it here. “If you hit for example a deer or an elk, you cannot keep it. There’s a couple of reasons for that. The first is the meat can really spoil and be unsafe.”
She tells KBND News, “Secondly, the law is in place to discourage poachers; to discourage people from purposely hitting a game animal so they can keep the meat or the antlers.”
Violators of Oregon's road kill salvage law face citations and possible misdemeanor charges from state police. If you come upon a deer or elk killed on the roadway, call OSP to remove it.

Flue Fire at Tetherow Golf Club House

BEND, OR -- A fire at the Tetherow Golf Course club house sent three-foot-high flames shooting from the chimney, Wednesday afternoon. Bend Fire responded to the Skyline Ranch Road location just before 4:30.


Crews were able to quickly put out the blaze, which was contained to the fireplace and flue. A chimney company will work with the resort to inspect the flue. 


Fire officials say its unclear exactly how the blaze started; the flue was professionally cleaned just six months ago. 

Bend PD Citizen Academy to Begin

BEND, OR -- Those who have wondered what it's like to be a member of the Bend Police Department can find out in the next Citizens Academy. Lt. Clint Burleigh tells KBND News the annual program allows attendees to participate in the inner workings of Bend PD. “You’re going to be exposed to everything from our administrative staff to narcotics detectives, our SWAT team, canine officers, criminal detectives, our evidence, our volunteer program…what they do. You’ll get to go shoot one day if you want to.”


The department will accept 40 to 50 people into this year's academy, which meets weekly for eight weeks beginning March 30.  “We’re proud of the services we offer to the city of Bend. And we get to show community members how we do our job, what we do, what it takes to solve a crime, the time it takes to provide the service we do to the city of Bend,” says Lt. Burleigh.



Citizen Academy graduates qualify to become volunteers for the police department. Click HERE for application information. 

Several Honored at Women of the Year Awards

BEND, OR -- The Bend Chamber of Commerce honored a number of notable women Wednesday night, during its annual Women of the Year Awards. 


Local philanthropist Sue Hollern received the Lifetime Achievement Award. Entrepreneur of the Year was awarded to Sarah Pool, founder and CEO of Pacific Snacks. And, Moe Carrick, founder of the leadership training firm Moementum, was honored as Woman of the Year.
The Community Hero Award went to Kim Meeder, and Young Hero awards were also presented to Madelynn Bowers and Hannah Birchem during the event at the Tower Theatre.

Online Tool Could Prevent Human Trafficking

BEND, OR -- A local nonprofit is taking its fight against human trafficking to an international digital stage. The Guardian Group travels the country to train hospitality workers in how to spot perpetrators and trafficking victims.


Founder Jeff Keith tells KBND News those in the hotel industry are often on the front lines. "Most everyone has their eyes wide open when we’re doing this training, because they’ve already seen the problem, they just haven’t been able to put their finger on it. Every training we’ve done, some of the best input was after the training, when we talk about situations they’ve been in that they didn’t realize were trafficking, but they look back and yes, it definitely was trafficking." He adds, "So, obviously, the big thing is educating a large group of people in the hospitality industry. Helping them to see the problem. Not only to see the problem, but to be able to connect with local law enforcement."


On April first, Guardian Group will launch its online training platform. Keith says proceeds from the sale of the eCourse will help fund trainings Guardian Group offers for free to law enforcement agencies, nationwide. 
Soon, hotel customers will see the "Guardian Seal" at establishments that have gone through the program. Keith says it’s a way for the community to get involved. "Where they can demand a response to human trafficking; they can be a part of the solution by going to hotels that have been trained." He says that seal will also help hotels to reduce their risk of liability. "Hotels are not trying to have this crime in their hotel. It’s just happening there because nobody’s really looking."


Locals Help with Celebrity Cookbook

BEND, OR -- Kix Brooks, of country music’s Brooks and Dunn, is taking his talents to the kitchen. Brooks has hired Bend resident Donna Britt to oversee the production of a cookbook called “Cookin’ It with Kix.”


Britt is a cookbook producer, in her own right. She tells KBND News, “It’s about food and life and celebrating with friends and family. Kix is from Louisiana, so that food culture in that part of the south is very festive and very much about being with friends and family.” The book will include barbecuing, tailgating, big spreads, beverages and desserts. “Then there’s also a basics chapter on how to do some basic things,” Britt says. “How do you make rice that’s awesome every time? And what kind of equipment do you need if you’re going to a tailgate party?”

Britt produced Brooks’ radio show “American Country Countdown” for 8 years. There will be 110 recipes in “Cookin’ It With Kix.” Local photographer Tambi Lane is capturing each finished dish on film. 
The book will be published August 30th.

Bend PD Use of Force Declines

BEND, OR -- Bend Police recently completed an annual review of use of force incidents by officers, and Chief Jim Porter is pleased with the direction the department is headed. "For the third year in a row, we’ve seen our use of force drop significantly. We started out in 2012 with over 100 uses of force; the following year we dropped down to 70; this year, we’re at 66 uses of force. While at the same time, we’re still arresting the same amount of people."


Chief Porter credits that decrease to a change in how officers are trained in things like defensive tactics, tazers and firearm use. "What we’ve done is integrated all those use of force options into one training, and we’ve moved forward with what we call ‘training scenarios,’ where officers interact with a human being in a situation, face to face, when they have to make a decision during that confrontation how to respond to force," Porter tells KBND News. "Again, officers don’t use force, they respond to force used against them."
He calls the new training strategy the Use of Force Continuum: "What level of force you need to use to overcome the force being used against you as a police officer. One of the troubling things we have, that the public sometimes does not understand, is when officers shoot people reaching underneath their shirt, when people make a furtive gesture, one of the challenges we have is that it never looks good; it never feels good. It just is a fact of life that officers have to deal with. They know that it’s a life changing, life altering, family altering event." He says an officer’s use of deadly force is always a last resort, but admits it is sometimes a necessary option. 
Click HERE to listen to our full conversation with Chief Porter, or visit our Podcast Page.


School Board Reacts to Troy Field Decision

BEND, OR --  Bend-La Pine School Board members are upset about the city’s decision to deny a zone change for Troy Field. The school district wants to sell the downtown Bend property for $2 million to fund school maintenance, add classrooms and maintain property.


Monday night, the City Council refused to change the general plan designation from Public Facilities to Commercial Limited. School Board Chair Nori Juba tells KBND News appealing to the Land Use Board of Appeals is an option. “We’re pretty fired up here. We’re passionate about - we, as a school board, feel wronged that another agency would over-reach and tell us that we can’t serve our constituency. We feel strongly that the City Council - certain City Councilors injected their personal interest rather than following the process.”


During a two-hour special City Council meeting Monday night, a majority of Councilors voted to maintain the open space. Juba says, “We’re disappointed in the decision of the City Council. We felt that they missed the boat That they did not consider student interests at all. And they didn’t address the question at hand, which is a land use decision.” He says none of the board’s current options include further communication with the City of Bend.  


If the school district can't get the Commercial Limited zoning, Juba says they can’t sell the property, and they will have to go to taxpayers to ask for the $2 million.

Bend Gas Tax Defeated by Voters

BEND, OR -- An effort to pass a five-cent a gallon Bend gas tax went down to defeat, Tuesday night. With high voter turnout, 64% opposed the measure. Click HERE for complete results.


Bend City Councilor Victor Chudowsky, who was against the tax, is pleased. He tells KBND News, "People were definitely hostile to it. There were very high percentages of people who were strongly opposed to it." He adds, "We really need to pay closer attention to two things: I think there's a lot of anxiety in Bend about how expensive it's getting to live here. And also, a growing portion of our population is seniors - people on a fixed income. And, I think they turned out in force against this."


Fellow Councilor Sally Russell was surprised by the results. "Naturally, we're disappointed. You know, we began this effort in a robust conversation with a lot of independent members in the community. We're all looking for a way to repair our deteriorating roads and do it in the most fair and cost-effective manner."
Russell says it's important to find a way forward. "Clearly, we need to work further with the community; we need to find the right level of service our citizens desire and we need to find the best way to fund it. In a lot of the discussions we've had with the community, clearly there's a gap in understanding of, at least in my point of view, really what the overall capacity is of our city to provide the services our citizens expect." 
Chudowsky says the voters' sent a clear message Tuesday "to the City Council to watch taxation and to watch spending." He admits the Council needs to find a reliable way to fund road repairs, going forward. He says this year's road projects are fully funded. 

Sisters Bookkeeper Charged with Embezzlement

SISTERS, OR -- A Sisters bookkeeper is accused of embezzling more than $400,000 from her employer. Cheryl Waldron faces 27 felony counts of aggravated identity theft and first degree theft and forgery.


She was the bookkeeper and office manager for Robinson and Owen Heavy Construction for 17 years. The Deschutes County District Attorney’s Office says the company claims Waldron embezzled $430,000 over the course of several years.


Waldron was booked into the Deschutes County Jail Monday, and had her first court appearance Tuesday.


"We've had a recent rash of greed-induced crime in Deschutes County," District Attorney John Hummel said in a statement released Tuesday. "People who think they are smarter than the IRS and law enforcement will lose in the end."

Woman Crashes Through Cleaners

PRINEVILLE, OR -- An elderly woman mistook the gas for the brake, and crashed her car into the Ford Cleaners in Prineville, Monday afternoon. Prineville Police say 71-year-old Sandra Kirk was not hurt and neither was her passenger, but an employee inside the building suffered non-life threatening injuries when he was hit by debris.


The accident caused an estimated $30,000 dollars in damage to the shop and more than $1500 in damage to the VW Jetta. Kirk faces no criminal charges, but police have requested the DMV re-test Kirk to evaluate her driving ability.


Details Released on Finicum Shooting

BEND, OR -- Investigators released new information Tuesday, regarding the fatal shooting of LaVoy Finicum, one of the occupiers of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Finicum was shot three times by Oregon State Police during a traffic stop, which led to the arrest of a number of other militia members January 26, outside of Burns. 


The Tri-County Major Crimes Team, led by the 

Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office, released video taken during the incident by Shawna Cox inside Finicum’s truck. Finicum told officers, "I’m going to meet the [Grant County] Sheriff. The Sheriff is waiting for us. So, you do as you damn well please, but I’m not going anywhere. Here I am, right there. Right there, put a bullet through it." He then sped from the scene of the initial stop, topping 70 MPH, before crashing into a 3-foot snow bank at a secondary road block. He then can be heard telling officers multiple times "You'll have to shoot me," before and after exiting the truck.


Deschutes County Sheriff Shane Nelson says Finicum tried to reach for a gun under his coat twice without officers firing their weapons. They repeatedly told him to get on the ground. "In the midst of that command, Mr. Finicum grabs his jacket with his left hand, and again reaches with his right hand into the area of his jacket where his gun was found."


The Malheur County District Attorney reviewed the case and determined the use of deadly force by OSP troopers was justified, based on officers’ belief that Finicum was a threat when he reached toward the inside of his jacket. A number of photos were released Tuesday, showing a gun in his coat pocket.  
Click HERE to access the full video released by investigators, showing Cox's cell phone footage synced with video taken by an FBI aerial unit.
Sheriff Nelson said Tuesday, "You have a heard a statement from Shawna Cox that ‘hundred of bullets’ were fired at the truck, and from Victoria Sharp that ‘as many as a hundred bullets were fired at the truck.’ After Mr. Finicum was shot, numerous gas projectiles and flash bangs were deployed to get the remaining occupants of the truck to surrender peacefully. But again, only eight shots were fired." Investigators say three of those shots were fired by OSP prior to the truck hitting the snowbank, three others were fired by troopers into Finicum's back. A trooper seen in front of Finicum in the FBI aerial footage was determined to be pointing a tazer at the man. 

Officials cited safety concerns stemming from numerous threats from militia supporters, as the reason they haven't released the names of those officers involved. They say some have offered rewards for the death of the officers responsible for his death. 
A federal investigation is now underway to determine why two shots fired by FBI Hostage Rescue Team agents were not initially disclosed to Major Crimes Team investigators. One hit the roof of the truck; none hit Finicum. 
Visit the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office website to view more evidence released Tuesday.

Snowpack Good But Falling

BEND, OR --  Central Oregon's recent warm weather may be nice for residents and visitors, it's not good news for the mountain snowpack. Scott Oviatt, of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, tells KBND News the Central Cascades snowpack is almost normal for this time of year. “We’re much better in most locations. That being said, we’re still right around average or normal being 93% to 98%. So any improvement is obviously better than what we saw last year. It’s an apples and oranges thing, but we are in much better shape than we were last year.”


However, he says things are not moving in the right direction. “Over the weekend we lost an additional 5%, and that’s due to our warm conditions and also some rain falling on the lower and mid-elevations, which resulted in some snow melt. With warmer temperatures, we are losing low- and mid-elevation snowpack at this point and not adding to it, unfortunately.”


And, the National Weather Service predicts more of the same for the next three months: warmer temperatures and less precipitation.

Rep. Walden: Harney County Moving Forward

BEND, OR -- Nearly a month after the official end of the Harney County occupation, residents and officials are still working through the lasting impacts of the 41-day ordeal. Oregon Congressman Greg Walden (R-OR), who represents Central and Eastern Oregon, tells KBND News the community is still healing. "If you look at most of the people who have been charged and arrested, very few of them were from Oregon, let alone – I don’t know that there was anybody from Harney County. And so, it really was a movement that came into the county. And a lot of people in the county said ‘thanks for elevating these issues, but it’s time to leave.’ And, they felt they went to far; and obviously they did and broke the law."


He credits the standoff with elevating important issues to the national spotlight, and he says that exposure has already resulted in some improvements. "There’s several things I’ve been working on in relationship with the local officials, ranchers and others to solve the lingering problems. One is making sure the BLM follows the law and actually provides the fencing on Steens Mountain that they were supposed to be doing all along. I’m getting assurances now that they plan to do that and we should have an announcement fairly soon on that." But, Walden admits, "It was actually one of the ironies of the takeover of the refuge itself, there’s actually been a pretty good collaborative out there on the ground; but there’s more work that certainly needs to be done on how we manage our forests, that could produce jobs, reduce wildfire and protect habitat. We have legislation that’s moved through the House multiple times in multiple years, we’ve got to break it loose and get some help out of the Senate to get it into law."
The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office is leading the investigation into the January 26 officer-involved shooting, which resulted in the death of militant LaVoy Finicum. An update on that investigation is expected to be made public Tuesday. 

Bend Gas Tax Election Today

BEND, OR -- Ballots are due no later than 8 o’clock Tuesday night for Bend voters to decide whether the city will impose a 5-cent a gallon local gas tax to help pay for road repairs. Deschutes County Clerk Nancy Blankenship says special elections typically don’t attract a high voter turnout, but this one has garnered a lot of attention. "We’ve had tons of calls, even before the ballots went out, from people who were interested – making sure they were registered to vote; we’ve had a lot of snowbirds, a lot of people out of town. There was just a huge volume of calls we received. There was just a lot of interest in this and turn out is going to be high."


She tells KBND News ballot measures that directly impact people’s pocketbook tend to get the highest voter turnout. "There’s some activity; there are still people who are holding those ballots that need to get those in by 8 o’clock. But, I think we’re doing quite well for a March election; higher than typical March elections."


Those opposed to the gas tax have complained about the expense of this election. Blankenship estimates this special election will cost the city $60,000 to $70,000, partly because they must mail and process about 50,000 ballots. "Equipment costs, extra personnel costs, the cost of mailings, the cost of ballots; a ballot is 20-cents a piece, and then you have all the envelopes that go with those. The city will get a bill. We have to have that to them by the 45th day after the election." If the vote is close enough to trigger a recount, that price tag would go up.


Blankenship says a glitch within the U.S. Postal Service sent some completed ballots back to voters. Equipment read both sides of the envelopes and failed to deliver them to the County Clerk's office. She says those ballots must be taken to an official drop site by 8 p.m. to be counted. 


Official Drop Sites in Bend:

Downtown Bend's Troy Field to Remain

BEND, OR -- Bend City Councilors voted Monday night to keep Troy Field as green space. The Bend-La Pine School District wanted zoning of the vacant grass lot changed from Public Facilities to Commercial Limited, so they could sell to a hotel developer and use the proceeds for district projects. 


At Monday's special meeting, councilor Victor Chudowsky argued to make the change, saying, “It saves Bend taxpayers money. It takes away an unwanted asset from the school district, an asset that we don’t want and it’s an asset Bend Parks and Recreation does not want.”
But, like a majority on the Council, Doug Knight opposed the request. Knight said, “When you say that nobody wants this parcel, you are dead wrong. Everybody wants it,” a statement that met with cheers from the crowd. He went on to say, “What happens if we award the designation change is that it then becomes commercial property and the public’s interest is forgotten.”
The final vote was 4-2 in favor of maintaining Troy Field's current zoning, with Councilors Chudowsky and Casey Roats voting to approve the change.

Councilor Russell Looks Past Gas Tax Vote

BEND, OR -- After a contentious battle, Bend voters will get the final say Tuesday on whether to implement a gas tax to fund road improvements. City Councilors have considered the tax for years, but after extensive study, decided to put it to voters in a special election.


Bend City Councilor Sally Russell supports the tax, along with a majority of the Council. She had cautionary words at last week's Council meeting. "So, here's what I ask every single voter within the city limits of Bend to do: First of all, I want you to do your homeworks [sic] and we all need you to get your facts. Get your facts and go figure out what this is about and understand all sides before you vote. Then, I encourage you to go vote. Vote and do what you think is best for your and our community."


The proposal calls for a 5-cent a gallon gas tax that would expire in 10 years. There are a couple of City Councilors who have vocally opposed the measure. Russell says she wants the group to be able to move forward together after the election. 

"Regardless of what the outcome is on March eighth, we have a lot of work to do in this community. And, to really do a good job, we need to work together. And I want to say, we've had some great examples of that: We're working together on the Urban Growth Boundary, we've come to some good decisions and hopefully some lasting, solid decisions." 
Voters must have ballots in to an official drop site by 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 8.


New Arts Festival Coming to Crook County

PRINEVILLE, OR -- Crook County officials have cleared the way for a unique new arts festival, this summer. The Genesis Arts and Music Festival received conditional use permits last week, for the event planned on 180 acres, east of Prineville.


Organizer and Crook County resident James Deatherage expects to attract about 2,000 people to the family-friendly three-day festival. "We’ll have multiple art instillations from live painters, vehicle transformations, we’ll have live RGB painting – it’s basically a moving painting. They’ll put on certain colors that reflect with LED lights; when lights change the picture actually changes with the light." Deatherage says of course, there will also be lots of food, music and a beer garden.


He tells KBND News he came up with the idea because he was tired of traveling hundreds of miles to attend similar festivals in other areas. "I wanted to do something in my backyard. The influx of people obviously is going to bring money to Crook County. You can’t have 2,000 people, even if it’s 20 miles outside of town, and not have some kind of income from that."


Attendees are expected to camp on-site for the three-day event. The Genesis Arts and Music Festival is scheduled for June 10 through the 13. 

Hwy 97 Crash Near Chemult Kills One

CHEMULT, OR -- One person was killed and two others injured in a crash that shut down Highway 97 just south of La Pine for more than three hours, Sunday night. Oregon State Police investigators say a Honda Civic was northbound when it lost control on the icy roadway at about 8 p.m. It crossed over the center line and collided with another car.


The driver of the Civic, a 49-year-old California man, was pronounced dead at the scene. The two Klamath Falls men in the other vehicle were taken to a Klamath Falls hospital with non-life threatening injuries. 
OSP is looking for witnesses to the crash and ask anyone with information to call Senior Trooper Creed Cummings at 503-583-5073.

Rep. Walden Weighs In on Election, Trump

BEND, OR -- The remaining Presidential candidates vying for the Republican nomination will duke it out on the debate stage again on Thursday. During a stop in Bend, Oregon's only Republican Congressman Greg Walden talked with KBND News about the current political climate and the race for the White House. 


Walden says he’s pleased to see the energy from conservative Republicans who have turned out in record numbers in some states compared to 2008, the last presidential election without an incumbent. "The energy is off on the Democratic side; they’re actually below their numbers from ’08. So, there’s a lot of pent-up anger and frustration; it seems to be more on the right than the left. But, clearly Bernie Sanders has tapped into some pretty frustrated folks on the left, too. All that is stirring around out there, state by state by state."
But, he admits things have taken a nasty turn in recent debates. "I don’t think we’ve seen this level of discourse in American politics on a debate stage in my memory. I think back to the debate between Bill Clinton and the President at the time, George H.W. Bush, and his great sin was he looked at his watch, briefly. From then on that was the big story - ‘oh my gosh, he looked bored and he checked his watch.’ Today, that’s nothing compared to what we’re seeing in these debates." Walden says he’d like to see more discussion of policy issues instead of the arguing and personal attacks. "I’d like to see a more vigorous debate about what is the best way to contain ISIS and the threat that poses; or what the Russians are doing. You know, every time they bomb in Syria, more refugees flood in to destabilize Europe; what the Chinese are doing. My own preference is you have more serious policy debates."
With each vote and each debate, the discourse among the remaining GOP candidates seems to get louder, leading some to speculate the party could be headed for a brokered convention to decide the nominee. But, Rep. Walden says, "I think the worse thing you can do for the party is have somebody that wins in most of the states, gets most of the delegates, and then say ‘oh, somebody wiser than the voter is going to figure out you’re not appropriate,’ whoever that is. I think that would be really disruptive and be like a big earthquake that would divide the grassroots from the party."
On front runner Donald Trump, Walden says that regardless of his policies, his ability to get voters to the polls is a good thing. "He’s rewriting the whole book on campaigning. If you look at how little he’s spending and how well he’s doing and the enthusiasm he’s generating." Walden adds, "Every time I think he says or does something that any other candidate at any other time it would’ve knocked him out, he seems to get stronger. So, there’s something going across the country that political scientists will write about for years to come. But, there’s a change happening and it’s real, or he wouldn’t be winning in the states he’s winning in." Walden says he will support whichever candidate is chosen as the Republican nominee.


The next Republican Presidential debate is Thursday, March 10 at the University of Miami. Oregon's primary is May 17.

Bend PD Cruiser Involved in Crash

BEND, OR -- A Bend Police officer was involved in a crash Saturday morning, while responding to a call. Oregon State Police were called to investigate, and say the marked patrol car had its lights and sirens activated when it collided 

with a pickup at NE 8th and Greenwood. 


The patrol car slid onto the sidewalk and struck a pedestrian before crashing into the side of a doughnut shop. Both the pedestrian and police Corporal were taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The other driver was not hurt. 
The investigation into the crash is ongoing.

Climate Change Researchers to Present in Bend

BEND, OR -- Nationally recognized climate change researchers will be in Bend, later this month. Dr. Dave Peterson is a Senior Research Biologist with the Forest Service's Pacific Northwest Research Station, and Dr. Jessica Halofsky is a Research Ecologist with the University of Washington's School of Environmental and Forest Sciences.


Jean Nelson Dean, with the Deschutes National Forest, explains what they’re investigating: "What they’re looking at is assessing the impacts that we’re starting to see from climate change. And then, what kind of adaptation strategies can we do to keep our forests healthy." 
Doctors Peterson and Halofsky will discuss their studies at a COCC's Willie Hall on Monday, March 14 at 6 p.m. Nelson Dean says the presentation is a unique opportunity for the public to get involved in the conversation. "People talk about climate change at really high levels. So, to bring it down to saying ‘what’s happening on our national forests and our lands here in south central Oregon?’  It would be great for the public to come and be able to come and ask questions, but also have a public discussion about what does this mean for our land here?"
They’ll also share their findings with other researchers and land managers at a workshop in Redmond on March 15 and 16. Find more details on the Bend and Redmond climate change events, HERE.
Thresearch is part of the work done by a collaborative effort through the South-Central Oregon Adaptation Partnership (SCOAP).

Two Culver Residents Arrested on Drug Charges

CULVER, OR -- A lengthy investigation resulted in the arrest of two Jefferson County residents, earlier this week. The Central Oregon Drug Enforcement (CODE) team executed a search warrant at a Culver home, Wednesday morning. Detectives arrested 32-year-old Alex Barajas and 62-year-old Gaylyn Fenn. 


Investigators suspected Barajas was a major supplier of methamphetamine to the region, when he was arrested in September. Click HERE to read more about his September arrest.
In this most recent investigation, detectives claim Barajas and Fenn were distributing meth from various locations in Deschutes and Jefferson counties, including their Culver house on West Third Street.

Redmond's Bowlby Fields to Get Facelift

REDMOND, OR -- With work wrapping up at Sam Johnson Park, Redmond officials are turning their sights just to the south. Parks Division Manager Annie McVay says the city is applying for a grant to update Bowlby Fields, just north of Highland Avenue. "The buildings are extremely outdated; have kind of gone past their useful life expectancy. Just from the years, its esthetic standard is lacking. It’s also not ADA compliant. We’d also like to reconfigure the space a little bit to get some better access and parking into the fields."


City officials are looking for input on a preliminary design concept. McVay tells KBND News, "For the most part, we’re not going to extend the original footprint because we want to keep development in the canyon contained. We’re trying not to disturb new area, but we are going to position the fields a little better to have more of a central restroom concession stand area that serves all the fields, get some better ADA parking and drop off area."


"Little League of Redmond softball team uses the field quite a bit, and they are very excited for the opportunity for a grant," says McVay. "They’ve committed some matching funds and also a lot of their time in helping to rebuild the fields when we get to that point."

A handful of adult leagues also use the fields and players are expected to provide feedback at Wednesday's open house. That event is open to the public and begins at 5 p.m. at the Transportation Conference Room at East Antler Ave. Click HERE for details. 

New Speed Limit Could Lead to More Tickets

BEND, OR -- The new signs are up drivers seem pleased with higher speed limits now allowed on Highway 97 and other rural state highways. Oregon State Police Lt. Bill Fugate says speeding on the stretch between Bend and Redmond was enforced as a violation of the basic speed rule, until Tuesday. “Time of day, weather conditions, whether there’s lots of private driveways, cross traffic. So, we’d have to articulate those factors into play. With the speed limit, though, it’s a true speed limit. So technically anything over that is considered a violation.”


Lt. Fugate tells KBND News, “People were driving 65- to 70-miles an hour pretty consistently; 10 to 15 over the limit. Our only concern is that people will think, 'well I could drive 10-miles an hour over' when it was 55. Our concern is people thinking they can drive over 65.”


That means drivers tempted to exceed the new 65 MPH speed limit, you run a much higher risk of getting cited. 

Councilors to Sell Lots for Affordable Housing

BEND, OR -- City Councilors decided Wednesday to sell three northeast Bend city lots to benefit affordable housing. The three vacant residential lots are located on Forbes Road near Highway 20, Emerson Avenue, and Franklin Avenue. The Council declared the three lots “surplus.” property.


The development of the Franklin Avenue lot was opposed by a neighbor, who asked if they could purchase it. Mayor Jim Clinton suggested it be sold with the proceeds going toward affordable housing. He asked staff to move ahead and "See if they can sell it at a market price. I think that’s about our only option.” Councilor Doug Knight agreed,  “I think it’s our fiduciary responsibility to ask a market price for that and, as Jim suggested, enter into negotiations. Then the proceeds of which would go toward affordable housing.”
In other business, the council exercised the power of eminent domain associated with the North Area Sewer Capacity project adjacent to commercial businesses in north Bend. The city is negotiating to obtain six construction easements and may not need the legal muscle of eminent domain, but took the action to be prepared.

State Could Enter Spotted Frog Lawsuit

SALEM, OR -- Governor Kate Brown wants the state to join litigation that could limit local irrigation in an effort to protect the spotted frog. WaterWatch of Oregon is suing several irrigation districts, claiming they are taking too long to put more water back into local rivers to help the endangered frog. Click HERE to read more about the lawsuit.


Governor Brown says the Deschutes Basin litigation is a major conflict over water resources that requires a solution developed collaboratively, recognizing multiple important interests. She says Oregon needs to be at the table to help craft a path forward for the health of the state's fish and wildlife, and the economic vitality of local communities.


WaterWatch claims operations at the Crane Prairie, Wickiup and Crescent Lake dams and reservoirs on the Upper Deschutes River harm the protected frogs.

Summit Students Serve Community and Beyond

BEND, OR -- Summit High students are ramping up efforts to serve not only their own school, but also the whole Bend community. High school students recently traveled to Juniper and Miller elementary schools to teach younger kids about kindness; on March 16, they’ll perform community service around the school district during a "Storm Schools" event; and they're preparing for "Storm the House." Student Body President Shade Streeter explains: "It’s a week long project during Spring Break where kids from all over Summit, involved in everything, go and partner with Habitat for Humanity to build a house for low-income families or they help with the ReStore."


Streeter tells KBND News, the encouragement to serve with Habitat for Humanity and other projects comes mostly from their peers. "To get involved in the community and help people who don’t usually get help. The Summit students really love that. Everyone gets involved; we have lots of kids do it. I think last year we had around 45 kids do it. So, it’s a really good opportunity, especially if you don’t have something going on during Spring Break."


And, their efforts stretch abroad, as well. Streeter says students are more than halfway to their goal of raising $9,000 to buy desks for a refugee school in Rwanda. 
Summit High Principal Alice DeWittie says service and fundraising efforts are a way students can put into practice the “Summit values” of compassion, integrity and grit. "Very important around the compassion piece is seeing a need and doing something about it. And, that encompasses all of our community service options that we have at Summit – all the way from whole-school activities, to individual clubs, to things Student Council is doing. All these things give students an opportunity to learn compassion, exercise compassion and to give back to the community."
To hear our full conversation with Streeter and Dewittie, click HERE

South County to Benefit From USDA Grant

BEND, OR -- Property owners in and around La Pine will soon be able to ask for financial help to clear their land of wildfire fuels. The Deschutes National Forest was just awarded a $1.2 million USDA grant to help reduce wildfire threats, protect water supply and improve wildlife habitat.


Jean Nelson Dean, with the Deschutes National Forest, says the money will be funneled through the Forest Service. "Private landowners can apply for that funding to do fuels reduction work and restoration work on their private lands. Walker Range is going to be able to do work with private landowners in Klamath County, and the Oregon Department of Forestry will also be able to work with private landowners throughout the Deschutes County area."  She adds, "They can either do the work on their own lands to reduce fuels; or they can work with private contractors, which is what a lot of people tend to do."
It’s the only new grant to come to Oregon from the Joint Chiefs’ Landscape Restoration Partnership. "In the La Pine area, we are going to use some of the funding on public lands," says Nelson Dean. "The idea is ‘all lands, all hands,’ so the work that we do on public lands is also being done on private lands. You’re seeing a very large restoration work across the landscape." She says the goal is to have projects underway prior to this year's fire season.
To hear our full conversation with Jean Nelson Dean, visit our Podcast Page.

Thousands Apply for Oregon Promise

BEND, OR -- Thousands of Oregon high school students hope to take advantage of the state's new free community college program, approved last year by the Legislature. To be eligible for Oregon Promise, students must graduate with at least a 2.5 GPA, exhaust all other financial aid options and enroll at one of the state's 17 community colleges within six months of completing high school.


Applications were due by 5 p.m., Tuesday. KBND News spoke with Endi Hartigan, with Oregon's Higher Education Coordinating Commission, just before the deadline. "We have had a very strong response. As of yesterday [Monday] at the end of the day, we had over 15,000 applications completed and they are continuing today [Tuesday]." She says over a thousand of those applications were from students in Crook, Deschutes and Jefferson counties.


Read more about Central Oregon efforts to get students involved in Oregon Promise.


Hartigan says initially the agency expected to serve around 6,000 students, but now she says they expect to help around 7,000 students. "Right now, we are predicting the funding for the program will be sufficient to serve what we have projected to be the eligible pool."


Students will be notified in the next couple months whether they will receive funding through the program. 


Three Charged with Crook Co. Animal Neglect

PRINEVILLE, OR -- Three people are charged with Animal Neglect, in connection with several horses found severely malnourished at a Crook County farm. Sheriff's deputies investigating an anonymous tip discovered three emaciated horses at the Juniper Acres property. While waiting for a veterinarian, one of the horses died. 

Investigators say the horses were not provided water and there was little feed available.
The owners were willingly relinquished the remaining horses to Bend-based Equine Outreach.
Deputies cited 26-year-old Craigen Snell, 26-year-old Juanita Lynn Carnagey and 61-year-old Dawayne Carnagey for Animal Neglect in the first degree. 

OR Jobless Rate Drops Again in January

SALEM, OR -- In January, Oregon's unemployment rate dropped to its lowest level in nine years. State economist Nick Beleiciks says job growth has been really strong. "Oregon's labor market is off to a great start in 2016. The unemployment rate dropped to 5.1% in January; that's down from 5.5% in December of last year."


Beleiciks adds, "Oregon's payroll employment surged by 9,900 jobs in January. There are four major industries adding around 2,000 jobs each: professional and business services, construction, leisure and hospitality, and manufacturing all saw a lot of job growth." The last time the state's unemployment rate was this low was June 2007.


A year ago, unemployment was at 5.9%. Beleiciks says, "Over the last 12 months, Oregon's job growth rate was 3.4%. That translates into 59,600 jobs added since January of 2015." Oregon's unemployment is now lower than it was in most of the mid-2000s and nearly as low as in the mid-1990s.

Accused Murder Admits to CRR Shooting

MADRAS, OR -- A Jefferson County man accused of fatally shooting a Crooked River Ranch couple in their home has admitted to the murders, according to court documents. Police in Salem arrested 20-year-old Mitchell Julio Morris on Saturday for the Friday evening shootings of 18-year-old Bailee Southwick and 21-year-old Mackenzie Lyman. Morris lived with the couple.


Read more about the hunt for Morris and his eventual arrest, over the weekend.


Court records reveal Morris admitted to police that he shot the man and woman; no motive is revealed. Records show there had not been an argument or fight. Southwick was sitting on the couch when Morris came out of a bedroom and shot him; when Lyman came out of her room, he shot her. Morris then threw the gun down and drove away. 


He faces three counts of Aggravated Murder, two counts of Murder and two counts of Unlawful Use of a Deadly Weapon. 

Local Doctor Concerned with Naloxone Bill

REDMOND, OR -- The State Senate unanimously passed a bill Monday that aims to help deal with Oregon's opioid crisis. HB 4124, sponsored by Rep. Knute Buehler (R-Bend), would allow pharmacists to administer the drug Naloxone, which can reverse the effects of some overdoses.


Dr. Eric Wattenburg, of Your Care in Redmond, acknowledges heroin abuse is a serious problem in Central Oregon, but he is leery of taking a physician out of that equation. "Obviously, there will also need to be communication between the pharmacist and the treating physician. If they think there’s an issue, the physician certainly needs to be in the loop on this and not just have the pharmacist hand these out." He explains, "The problem is, Naloxone lasts maybe 30 minutes, where the opioid overdose effect can last six or eight hours. And, in somebody who would take the Naloxone and assume they took care of the problem, they will go right back into their opioid overdose and found dead. Whereas, if they didn’t have that available, they might have gone straight to the emergency department and been managed for that eight or 10 hour period to make sure they were through that episode."  
But, Dr. Wattenburg cautiously optimistic that the bill will save lives. "It’s going to turn out to be the same argument we have with "Epi pens" for anaphylactic reactions. The Epi pen is life saving if used immediately when they’re having that reaction, but they still need to go to the emergency department or see their doctor."


HB 4124 includes other provisions, as well. Co-sponsor Sen. Elizabeth Steiner-Hayward (D-Beaverton) told colleagues, "The second thing it will do is link our existing prescription drug monitoring database into the emergency department information exchange, so emergency physicians will have an easier way to access whether people have recently received other opioid prescriptions. Both working together, [they] will significantly improve our ability to prevent unnecessary harm and deaths from opioid overdose." The bill now goes to the Governor for her signature. 

Speed Limits Go Up Today

BEND, OR -- Drivers on Highway 97 outside of incorporated cities are seeing new speed signs, as speed limits increase to 65-miles-per hour as a result of legislation signed by the governor earlier this month.


The Oregon Department of Transportation’s Peter Murphy says even though you can drive faster, it might not always be the best choice. “People just need to be aware that now the responsibility is even more on the driver to be aware of what’s going on in the environment in which they’re driving.”


And, Murphy tells KBND News the higher speeds mean the elimination of some passing lanes. “You won’t find as many of those dotted yellow lines on the highway. What we’ve done is we’ve closed them, so now it’s solid where you can’t pass. The reason is that you’re both coming together at 65-miles an hour, there’s not enough room where there used to be enough room at 55.”


Speed limits are now up to 65 MPH for several Central and Eastern Oregon highways, including portions of Highways 20, 97, 197 and 31. The  speed limit on Interstate 84 between The Dalles and the Idaho border is up to 70 MPH; 65 for trucks. On secondary roads, the truck speed is increasing to 60-miles an hour.

Bend Bank Robbed at Gunpoint

BEND, OR -- Bend Police are looking for the man who held up the Columbia Bank at Third and Revere in Bend, just after 9:30 Monday morning.


He's described as a "shorter" man in his mid-50s. He was reportedly wearing a grey zip-up hoodie and a black ski mask at the time of the robbery. Witnesses say he threatened an employee with a gun, demanded cash and was last seen walking west from the bank.


Officers from several agencies responded to the area, but were unable to locate a suspect. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Bend Police Department at 541-693-6911. 

City Hosts Gas Tax Meeting

BEND, OR -- about a dozen people attended Monday night’s informational open house on Bend's proposed 5-cent-a-gallon gas tax to help fund road maintenance. Presentations from the city’s Finance Director and City Manager addressed the $80 million in deferred road maintenance, and how street funding fits into the overall city budget. 


Bend resident J.D. Lewis made up his mind on the issue before attending the informational open house. He told KBND News, “I understand the need to improve our roads. I’m happy to pay a gas tax, to be honest. But it doesn’t appear the City Council has laid out a solution that gets the system healthy. They’re just laying out reasons for a tax. And I don’t see how, with the passage of a tax, it creates sustainable road maintenance for Bend.”
Wayne Heigle told officials he thinks the most damage to city streets is done by large trucks. “And if anybody ever thought about it, and I’m sure they do, they would know that the damage is coming from those heavy haulers. And that’s what’s tearing up our roads. Nobody says, 'Well, let’s make sure they’re paying their fair share.'”
The complete presentations by city officials from last night’s open house are available on the city’s website, or click HERE.
Wednesday, March 2, is the last day to mail your ballot for the March 8 gas tax special election. After that, you’ll need take your ballot to an official drop site.


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