BEND, OR -- St. Charles opened a new health clinic in Bend, this week, near Third and Badger Road, just north of Walmart. A grand opening was held at the new 18,500 square-foot facility on Tuesday.
St. Charles Medical Group President John Weinsheim tells KBND News, "We hired new Primary Care [physicians], so we'll have, in the clinic, four Family Practice providers, two Internal Medicine providers and two Pediatricians; as well as a new Immediate Care location for us." The Bend clinic also offers Behavioral Health, Physical Therapy, lab and imaging services.
And he says the new clinic provides more options for residents of the south end of town. "Bend has grown so much. There's been a lot of growth on the south side of Bend, so I think the time has just come. And, you'll see that, as the area continues to grow, our investment will grow, as well."
The grand opening comes just days after St. Charles announced plans to close its women's health center in Bend. Weinsheim says they are working to open a small clinic in La Pine by this time next year.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- Crook County Commissioners hope to recruit a number of qualified candidates to fill an upcoming vacancy on the County Court. As KBND News reported Tuesday, supporters of Jason Carr are advocating for the outgoing Prineville City Councilor to get the seat. Carr lost to Commissioner-elect Jerry Brummer in the general election. But, Judge-elect Seth Crawford says he and Brummer will consider all options. "We’re getting letters from all people in the community about all kinds of different people. And, what I’m trying to do is just keep an open mind and try and find the person that will best work to make Crook County a better place."
Crawford says he and Brummer will treat all applicants equally. "What we’re asking people to do is, if you’re interested, turn in an application to the County Clerk’s office. And then, in January, once myself and Jerry are sworn in, then we’ll look at all those applications and find the right person." According to county ordinance, the County Clerk cannot technically declare a vacancy until Crawford is sworn in as Judge, opening up his Commissioner seat. Clerk Cheryl Seely tells KBND News Crawford and Brummer will be sworn in December 30, effective January second, and then nominations and applications will be accepted through the end of January.
Qualified candidates must be registered Crook County voters. Crawford says he's looking for a well-rounded person. "It’s important that we have somebody that is knowledgeable about budgets, about natural resources; I think it’s important that we have somebody with a lot of energy. I think that’s really key." He adds, "It’s an opportunity to really professionalize the county; I think it’s something that’s been missing for a long time. And by saying that I’m not saying we don’t have great department heads and great employees. We just need somebody at the top leading the county. And, I think myself and Jerry Brummer and whoever we pick in the third [position] will do a really great job of that." Crawford and Brummer have until the end of March to appoint a third Commissioner.
To hear our full conversation with Judge-elect Seth Crawford, visit our Podcast Page or click HERE.
BEND, OR -- Bend's homeless problem is not improving, and the need exceeds the supply of beds at area shelters. The Bethlehem Inn is looking to expand its current facility, in an effort to meet the growing need.
Bethlehem Inn Executive Director Gwen Wysling tells KBND News the nonprofit has already raised $4 million. "We are looking to, by March, raise a total that we need, which is $4.5 million. And, that's going to help us rebuild and expand services for our families, add a a commercial kitchen, dining area and really the services that are needed for those who come to the Bethlehem Inn." The Bethlehem Inn bought its current property off Third Street from Deschutes County, earlier this year.
She says families struggling with homelessness have very few options in our region. "The need continues to grow. The housing market is just so tight, and we only have five family units; those are the only five emergency shelters for families in all of Central Oregon. So, by increasing that capacity, we're going to be able to serve 60-75 more families a year." She adds, "Our family units are on one side of the property and our kitchen is on the other - it's not really a 'kitchen.' But, they get their food and bring it back to their dining area in their building. So, the family units are going to be in the same building where the kitchen and dining room is, so there's a real nice flow for the services; and a kitchen will serve both the singles and families in one location."
Construction is slated to start as soon as the final funds are raised, with completion expected by the fall of 2017.
BEND, OR -- "Giving Tuesday" marks the beginning of the year-end philanthropic giving season, and one local nonprofit hopes the generosity of Central Oregonians will lead to the purchase of an important piece of equipment.
Lynne Ouchida, with the Humane Society of Central Oregon
, says a digital X-ray machine would allow for the immediate treatment of animals with common injuries, like those hit by cars. "When we don’t have equipment, like an X-ray machine, on hand we’re letting that animal suffer in pain; we don’t really know what’s going on, so it’s a huge diagnostic tool that we desperately need. We have some money already. We are in need of – it sounds like a lot - $25,000; but we’re hoping the community can come forward. Whether it’s a $5, $100, $50 or $20 donation, it will all go towards our goal of getting this digital x-ray machine within our shelter."
She tells KBND News, "We have animals literally coming in weekly that could use an X-ray machine. If you can imagine “Fluffy” (pictured) who had a severe fracture in the leg and when you see the X-ray, it’s painful. But, it took a few days to get that appointment at a veterinary clinic to get that x-ray done. If an animal comes in injured, immediately, regardless of whether it’s a stray or owner release, we want to make sure that medical care is treated." Ouchida says transporting injured animals to vet clinics for X-rays also leads to unnecessary pain.
The total cost of the machine is estimated at more than $50,000. Click HERE to learn more about what the Bend animal shelter needs, and to make a tax deductible donation. Last year, Americans donated nearly $117 million to nonprofit organizations on Giving Tuesday.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- The Crook County Court will look different, after the New Year. When Commissioner Seth Crawford won election to the top spot, this month, he was only halfway through his term. Judge-elect Crawford (pictured: left) and newly elected Commissioner Jerry Brummer (right) are expected to name a third member to the court when they take their new positions in January, leading to speculation over who that Commissioner will be.
Some people have rallied behind former Prineville City Councilor Jason Carr. He lost to Brummer in the general election by an 11% margin. "A number of my supporters - people who supported me when I announced, last year - have started an online petition," Carr tells KBND News. "I know a few folks have actually written letters to Seth Crawford and Jerry Brummer asking that I be considered as the appointee." He adds, "I'm certainly flattered by that; I appreciate everyone's support, at least those that have reached out to do that. Certainly, I ran for the office; if Mr. Brummer and Mr. Crawford choose to appoint me, I would certainly appreciate that."
Crawford replaces retiring Judge Mike McCabe; Brummer takes over for Commissioner Ken Fahlgren who ran unsuccessfully for Judge in November.
BEND, OR -- Deschutes County will roll out an extended 911 service in a couple of weeks, with the launch of Text To 911. Director Steve Reinke says, "Text To 911 is a valuable resource if somebody is under duress or in a situation where they can’t call 911," he tells KBND News, "Or if they’re in a very fringe area that cell service isn’t working but a text can get through."
The service rolled out across eight agencies in Portland, Salem and Astoria, last summer. Reinke says it took extra time to bring it here. "We’re a little behind the Valley in getting Text To 911 service because we had to wait for the replacement of our 911 phone system. Our old system was about eight-years-old and at the end of its life; and we received funding earlier this year to replace the system, and that just got completed a couple of weeks ago."
It'll go on line in Deschutes County December 12, but Reinke says some mobile carriers may take longer to activate the service. "What we really want people to do, if they decide to use this service, is to text us their location and what service they need with that first text, if at all possible." He says that will help emergency crews respond quickly.
Even with the new technology, the agency
stresses that talking to a 911 dispatcher is still preferred, using the mantra "Call if you can, text if you can't." Reinke says, "It’s much more efficient to handle 911 calls in an emergency situation, especially, over the phone with two-way voice conversation. If people do text 911, we will send a request or a question ‘can you safely communicate with us by voice?’ And, if the answer is yes, we will transition to a 911 call as soon as possible."
The network is not digital, so Reinke asks users to steer clear of sending photos, videos or emojis.
BEND, OR -- St. Charles Health System plans to close its Center for Women’s Health in Bend. In a letter to patients, St. Charles Medical Group President John Weinsheim said the suspension of services would happen "incrementally over the next few months."
He said the decision was necessary due to “unforeseen staffing changes.” Weinsheim apologized for the inconvenience and suggested patients seek treatment at the Center for Women’s Health in Redmond, which has certified nurse midwives and five OB-GYN specialists.
The Bend clinic opened last year.
REDMOND, OR -- Students in Redmond schools have taken notice of a change, this year: Chocolate milk is no longer a lunchroom staple. "We used to have chocolate milk everyday for lunch; we went through a lot of it, obviously," says Keith Fiedler, head of Redmond School District Nutrition Services. "But, you know, we don’t really need chocolate milk to sell our program. We still have it once a week, and I look forward to it every Friday and enjoy it. But, we didn’t need that to bring them into our program."
Fiedler tells KBND News Redmond-area cafeterias are now preparing better food, and no longer need to use the treat everyday to entice kids. "And that’s been proven since we’ve gone to [providing chocolate milk] just once a week. We haven’t seen any reduction in students’ participation; in fact, it’s still increasing." He says students now enjoy more variety in the lunch line, with many meals prepared using local ingredients.
The district also began using a new milk provider this year; however, Fiedler says, "The biggest difference in the taste was it wasn’t chocolate anymore. But, of course, every brand of milk is going to have a slightly different flavor. People grew up with Eberhard’s here, so they did notice that it’s different. Of course, often the biggest difference in taste is the temperature." He says the district looked into all comments and complaints over the taste of the milk and discovered some schools didn’t have refrigerators set for the optimal temperature. That has since been corrected. According to Fiedler, the change in brands was due to cost. And, limiting chocolate milk is an effort to improve the overall nutritional content of school lunches.
BEND, OR -- The search for a missing Plainview-area woman came to a sad end, last week. Nickel Bird was reported missing Tuesday, touching off a search effort by family, friends and the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office.
Friday morning, family members reported finding a mountain bike less than a mile from their home, near BLM land. Detectives followed footprints from the bike to a small camp where the 24-year-old woman’s body was found.
The Medical Examiner is working to determine cause of death, but investigators do not suspect foul play. They say the use of prescription medication and exposure to the elements were likely contributing factors.
BEND, OR -- A Bend man was killed in a Thanksgiving crash, west of Bend. According to Oregon State Police, 56-year-old Blake Payne was westbound on Innes Market Road, when he lost control of his pickup on a corner and struck a tree.
A passing driver came upon the crash just after 4 p.m. and called 911, but was not able to get to the man. The OSP Trooper was able to break a window and tried to provide medical assistance, but Payne was pronounced dead at the scene.
Both airbags deployed but investigators say He was not wearing his seatbelt and his head hit the windshield.
BEND, OR -- Bend Police continue to seek information on a robbery reported at the Dollar Tree on South Highway 97, Wednesday night. Two women were working at the time, and say a man entered the store, said he had a weapon and demanded money. He took off after getting an undisclosed amount of cash.
Multiple law enforcement agencies responded, including K9 units, but were unable to locate a suspect. He’s described as a white man, about six feet tall; at the time of the robbery, he was wearing a dark brown Carhartt-type jacket with black Carhartt-type pants and a black hoodie.
Bend Police are asking for the public's help in identifying the suspect. Anyone with information on the case should call non-emergency dispatch at 541-693-6911.
REDMOND, OR -- The Redmond School District is looking for parents, students and other members of the community to take part in a new advisory committee. Kelly Jenkins says it’s part of the district’s goal of increasing involvement. "This is a committee that would report to Mike McIntosh, our Superintendent. And, we would bring a number of things to them from policy to maybe some nutrition services menu ideas, different things that we might want to get community feedback. It’s really an important lens for us to look through as we look at our diverse community; we want to ensure we’re including everyone’s feedback in some major changes we make through policy."
Jenkins tells KBND News the new committee is part of a renewed effort to engage the community in decisions that impact local kids. "We spent some time this summer researching how could we reach out and get more feedback from our families and from our community members. We worked with some folks at the state level and also across the country to look at models that will work, and developed a model for a District Advisory Committee." She adds, "With School Board meetings, the community has an opportunity to come and give a three-minute discussion. With this parent, district advisory committee, we have the opportunity to go really in-depth with families and community members and really discuss issues at the core."
Volunteers will serve two-year terms and are expected to meet at least three times during the school year. Those interested in serving on the committee must apply either at the district office or online at the district's website.
BEND, OR -- A La Pine man was arrested Tuesday morning, following an alleged road rage incident on Highway 97.
State Police investigators say 25-year-old Brandon Kern was tailgating and otherwise driving aggressively near Lava Butte, when he rear-ended another vehicle, just before 6 a.m. The two vehicles pulled over, presumably the exchange information. Kern reportedly charged the other driver and punched him several times in the face.
He then left the scene and was later arrested at his place of employment. The other driver, a 24-year-old Sunriver man, sustained minor injuries.
OSP asks any witnesses to the incident to give them a call at 503-375-3555.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- Shortly after voters approved a jail bond, two weeks ago, Crook County officials were moving fast to get the project underway. Sheriff John Gautney is encouraged by the early progress. "The county has put out an RFP – a request for proposal – for contractors to look at. We’ve had a pre-proposal meeting, where contractors came and met with the county. And, now we’re waiting for them [RFPs] to come back in."
He expects to have a contractor selected by mid-December, "There’s got to be design work done. And then there’s got to be some infrastructure work done; sewer lines and water lines and things like have got to be moved and reinstalled. We’ll get that done ahead of time, I believe, and then preparation of the property." Sheriff Gautney says site prep and infrastructure will take several months. Actual construction of the $17 million facility is scheduled to begin next October.
With the election of Seth Crawford to County Judge
, the County Court will be short one Commissioner, come January. Gautney says that shouldn't impact the progress they've made. "Hopefully they can get someone – that third Commissioner – appointed soon, that way they can move forward with the things they need to do. But, I know both the new County Judge and the new Commissioner, Jerry Brummer and Seth Crawford, have been very supportive of the jail."
Crook County voters passed the $10 million bond in the November general election, 60-40%. Gautney says, "We’re very happy that it passed and I just wanted to say that it would not be possible had it not been for the community getting behind it and realizing that we needed to move forward with this project." Crook County’s 76-bed jail will be built just east of the Sheriff's Office on Northeast Second Street. It's slated to open October of 2018.
BEND, OR -- The Deschutes County Sheriff’s race was perhaps the most contentious in the region, during the November general election. Allegations and complaints were leveled against both Sheriff Shane Nelson and his challenger, Deputy Eric Kozowski.
Sheriff Shane Nelson tells KBND News, "We have personnel investigations on some level that occur all throughout the year. But, right now, there are several investigations that are going on involving the other candidate for Sheriff." He would not say just how many complaints involving Deputy Kozowski are being looked in to, but says, "One of the claims that was made about his use of uniform: that’s against policy. He did not follow orders; he did not follow policy and procedure by wearing his uniform and campaigning in his uniform. Accurate information is important, and that’s why those that don our uniform, it is assumed they speak for the office; and that’s why that piece is important."
Due to the timing "We asked outside agencies and outside investigators to look into those, because I feel that’s the right thing to do. Our office should not have been looking into those because it was occurring during an election. But, everyone will be held accountable."
Nelson says overall morale at the agency is good, following the election.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- Oregon State police continue to investigate a fatal crash that occurred just west of Prineville, Monday evening. According to OSP, a Plymouth Neon was turning eastbound onto Highway 126 from Highway 370 (O'Neil Highway) when it was hit by a westbound SUV.
The driver of the Neon, whose identity has not been released, was pronounced dead at the scene. The SUV driver, 23-year-old Jessica Bean, of Prineville, refused medical attention.
Highway 126 was partially closed for more than two hours to allow for that investigation.
**UPDATE** OSP identified the driver killed in Monday's crash as 24-year-old Stephen Poole, of Prineville. The contributing factors in the crash are still being investigated.
REDMOND, OR -- A Portland climber was hurt at Smith Rock, Monday afternoon, prompting a technical rescue. The 31-year-old woman rappelled past the end of her rope and fell about 25 feet to the ground, in an area of the State Park known as Cocaine Gully.
Deschutes County Search and Rescue arrived just before 4 p.m. and used a rope system to lower her down to the trail. The rescue operation took several hours and continued after sunset, concluding at about 9:30 p.m.
Meghan Austin was eventually taken by wheeled litter to medics, who transported her to St. Charles Bend with serious but non-life threatening injuries.
ONTARIO, OR -- An Idaho driver survived a crash that sent him off a bridge into the Snake River, Monday. According to Oregon State Police, 34-year-old Steven Arrasmith stopped to help another driver who had hit a patch of black ice and crashed near the Oregon border.
Arrasmith was outside his vehicle when another car lost control and hit his Jeep, sending him over the guardrail. He tried to hang on, but was injured and fell 50 feet into the river. He was able to take off his heavier clothes and swim to an island.
He started yelling for help and was eventually rescued. Arrasmith was taken to a hospital in Ontario where he was treated for non-life threatening injuries.
BEND, OR -- Fire destroyed a Bend motorhome, and nearly everything inside, Monday morning. A woman and her dog escaped safely just before the RV went up in flames on Northwest Florida avenue, just after 7 a.m.
Firefighters quickly extinguished the flames, but not before doing more than $7,000 in damage.
Investigators believe the fire started when combustible materials were placed too close to a heat source. The Red Cross is helping the owner with recovery efforts.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- Prineville is earning accolades for efforts to involve citizens in decisions surrounding marijuana regulations. Planning Director Phil Stenbeck says City Councilors and staff spent months holding workshops and public meetings before setting land use rules.
But, he believes it's an online survey that drew the attention of state officials. "It was security coded. So, it was anonymous and it was logged in so it couldn’t be copied or repeated, say, by an interest group that had one interest or another in terms of trying to affect the survey. What was really interesting about that particular survey, it provided anonymity for a subject many consider taboo. So, 550 homes in Prineville responded with their comments that ranged both for and against." Stenbeck tells KBND News, "Involvement in other communities, in terms of development of the marijuana regulations that many communities have put together probably didn’t have that much involvement. When you involve 15% of your population in creation of land use regulation, that’s noteworthy. Usually you do not have that level of participation."
The input led to rules for medical dispensaries, and a decision to maintain a ban on recreational pot unless and until the drug is legalized at the federal level.
Last week, the city was given the STAR award for citizen involvement from Oregon’s Department of Land Conservation and Development. Stenbeck says, "One of the important pillars of Oregon’s land use programs is involving citizens when you’re creating or changing your comprehensive plan or your zoning ordinance. In this case, we changed our comprehensive plan and we created medical marijuana regulations and recreational marijuana regulations, and we outreached in a manner that hadn’t been done before."
POWELL BUTTE, OR -- Tensions continue to run high across the country, even nearly two weeks after the election. Protests continue in some parts of the area, although things were quite in Portland over the weekend.
State Representative Mike McLane (R-Powell Butte) says tells KBND News, "I understand that it's been a divisive year, and there's a lot of people on both sides of the partisan aisle that aren't happy about 2016. But, the tradition of our country is that we do come together. And, we recognize that first and foremost that we are American; and we have a lot more in common than that which divides us." He believes both parties will be able to come together for the sake of the country.
McLane was selected by his party last week to remain as Oregon's House Republican Leader. He is prepared to go to Salem in February and says he plans to work on the budget shortfall and a transportation package. He's hopeful the Legislature will be able to work across party lines.
BEND, OR -- A 63-year-old man was stabbed - allegedly by his son - at the Bend Senior Center, Friday afternoon. Police located the suspect near Admiral Way and Rockway Terrace and took 38-year-old Ryan Unverzagt into custody.
He was taken to the Bend Police Department where officers say he tried to escape.
Unverzagt was caught without incident.
His father was taken to the hospital for injuries to his neck; he was treated and released.
BEND, OR -- Two people were arrested Saturday night, following a brief car chase and ground search on the south end of Bend. A Deschutes County deputy attempted to pull over an SUV just before 8 p.m., on suspicion of DUII, but the driver accelerated. After about a half mile, the chase was discontinued due to risk to the public.
The suspect vehicle was later found parked in a driveway on Borden Road. Police established a perimeter and brought in a K-9 unit to help with the search.
The driver, 31-year-old Andrew Folk, and his passenger, 51-year-old Michele Wade, were located in the backyard and arrested. A firearm was recovered from the scene. The pair allegedly attempted to break into the home through a window; no one was home at the time.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- A northeast Prineville home was damaged by fire, late Saturday night. The resident was awoken by smoke detectors just before 11:30 p.m. and evacuated.
When firefighters arrived, they discovered the fire in the crawl space under the house. They believe it started in the forced air heating unit. It took about an hour to bring the fire under control.
There were no human injuries, but two cats were rescued and suffered smoke inhalation. They were resuscitated by firefighters and appear to be OK.
FRIDAY PM UPDATE: Jeffrey Appelt was arrested just before noon, Friday. He was the passenger in a vehicle stopped by police near Philomath. He's charged with Unauthorized Departure, and was booked at the Benton County Jail.
SALEM, OR -- A 28-year-old psychiatric patient walked away from the Oregon State Hospital in Salem, Thursday. Jeffrey Appelt is considered dangerous. Anyone who sees him should not approach him and call 911 or Oregon State Police at 1-800-452-7888.
Appelt was admitted to the State Hospital October third, as a civil commitment from Linn County. He was transferred from the state Department
of Corrections after being convicted of felony in possession of a firearm and other firearms-related crimes.
He was last seen Thursday at about 3:30 p.m. Two hospital staff members assigned to Appelt lost contact with him when he went to the restroom and didn't return. He's described as 6' tall, 272 lbs with brown hair and brown eyes. He was last seen wearing a blue sweatshirt, khaki shorts and black/yellow sneakers.
BEND, OR -- Bend city officials received word this week that the latest proposal to expand the Urban Growth Boundary was finally approved by the state. But, City Manager Eric King says the dozens of meetings and years of efforts were just the beginning. "Actually, a lot of the work starts now, and starts in a big way." King tells KBND News, "Because, it’s not just about a line on a map to where Bend is going to grow; it’s a complete overhaul of how we are managing land inside the current Urban Growth Boundary. And, there are many, many sites slated for redevelopment, and there’s a lot of development pressure." The proposal can’t be finalized until after the appeal period, which ends in early December.
"The task at hand is how do we prioritize the expansion areas versus the opportunity sites – those are sites for infill and redevelopment," he says. "And, where does it make the most financial sense to invest, to put infrastructure into those areas; how do we do that with private developers, so what’s the city’s role in that?" King was surprised but pleased at how quickly state officials approved the proposal, which he didn't expect for another month.
He says there's "A lot of further refinement plans and a lot more work to do." But, there are some things that could happen sooner rather than later. "Right away, people can take advantage of what the plan identified, in terms of how to use land. Some land was rezoned, like Third Street. Really, it’s setting the table for the private market. Soon after the first of the year, there’ll be folks that could use that land more intensely, that’s been rezoned for mixed-use and things like that. Now, there’s some that’s really ripe for redevelopment, but others need a lot more work and infrastructure."
To listen to our full conversation with City Manager Eric King, visit our Podcast Page or click HERE.
BEND, OR -- Mt. Bachelor has nearly completed work on its newest lift. "We’re still on track to have Cloudchaser opening in December, in time for the Christmas holiday," Drew Jackson tells KBND News. "We had a little setback in October with a big snow storm, but nice weather in November allowed us to catch up a bit."
Jackson says the new $6 million lift will provide access to more than a dozen newly-named runs, totaling 635-acres of new skiable terrain. "Some of the names include 'Jet Stream,' 'Sun Dog,' 'High Pressure,' 'Low Pressure,' 'Bluebird,' 'Convergence Zone;' we’ve also sprinkled in a couple names that describe the character of the trees in that area, as well.
Resort officials had hoped to open for the season next Friday, November 25, but Jackson admits the weather isn’t cooperating. "We received 3-4” of new snow a couple nights ago; it’s gotten colder, which is nice, so we’re making some snow. But, we need another set of storms to come in to really get us where we need to be in terms of opening." They need another 18-to-24" before the ski hill can open.
Jackson expects Cloudchaser to open in mid to late December.
SALEM, OR -- Oregon State Parks started taking reservations, Thursday, for campsites during next year’s total solar eclipse. But, Chris Havel says they sold out in record time. "We started making availability online for state park reservations shortly after midnight, and by about 1 a.m. they were all gone."
Campers can still reserve sites at a limited number of parks just outside the path of totality - like Nehalem Bay on the coast, and Wallowa Lake in Eastern Oregon - where they can experience a partial eclipse. And, Havel says the agency is still working on making reservations available for campgrounds that don't normally take them. They also might open areas for dry camping. Click HERE for more information on availability.
The August 21 total eclipse starts in Oregon, so there's expected to be a crush of visitors in the state. In the High Desert, the "path of totality" includes Warm Springs, Madras, Sisters, Redmond Prineville and Mitchell.
LA PINE, OR -- A pickup was destroyed by fire at Gordy’s Truck Stop in La Pine, Thursday afternoon.
The truck, owned by a La Pine couple, pulled in to the pump area for gas when a fire started in the engine compartment, at 2:20 p.m. Attendants were able to push the truck away from the fuel pumps and buildings, after failed attempts to put out the fire.
La Pine firefighters arrived on scene and quickly extinguished the flames. No injuries were reported.
BEND, OR -- St. Charles Health System will require every health care provider to either get a flu shot or wear a mask, during the peak of flu season. Kari Coe, St. Charles’ Director of Infection Prevention and Caregiver Health, says most hospitals have already adopted a mandatory flu mask policy and it’s now a standard for the industry.
She says the policy is designed to encourage every employee to get vaccinated. "Our goal is, as is every hospital’s goal, is to reach 90% employee or health care worker vaccination rate. We have been just hovering around 74-75% at St. Charles Health System for about the last three years."
Coe tells KBND News the new rule applies to caregivers, independent providers and students working in hospitals and clinics. "You either have your flu shot and then your receive a little sticker that you where on your badge identifying that. Or, for those who do decline, whether it’s by choice or by actual medical reason, then they must wear a mask at all times while they are at work, from December first through March 31st."
The federal goal is to get 90% of medical workers, nationwide, to receive an annual flu shot by the year 2020. "Overall, it’s to help protect our patients and actually our caregivers, and even visitors. So, it’s kind of a round-robin effect." says Coe. "This is all about making a healthier community."
REDMOND, OR -- Warmer than anticipated weather has delayed the opening of Redmond’s community ice rink.
City officials had hoped to open the rink near Centennial Park by Friday (November 18), but say recent temperatures have made it “less than ideal” for crews to make ice.
They don’t know when the popular downtown feature will be ready.
BEND, OR -- The Deschutes County District Attorney says he will seek the death penalty for Edwin Lara, accused of killing a woman while working as a security guard at Central Oregon Community College, in July.
D.A. John Hummel says he reached the decision after talking with Kaylee Sawyer’s family, law enforcement and reviewing the facts of the case. That trial is scheduled to begin next October.
Lara was also indicted Wednesday on federal charges for carjacking, kidnapping and brandishing a firearm, related to crimes he allegedly committed while on the run
, following Sawyer’s murder. He's accused of kidnapping a woman in Salem and taking her to California. Lara faces additional charges in California, including attempted murder and assault.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- Three people were hurt in a crash just east of Prineville, Wednesday night. Emergency crews arrived at the scene just before 8 p.m. and found two girls pinned under the minivan. The driver, 35-year-old Nathaniel Purdy was also ejected during the crash. (Click image to enlarge.)
The Crook County Sheriff’s Office says Purdy left Highway 26 for an unknown reason; the minivan rolled several times and was airborne for about 80 feet before landing in the irrigation canal, with the front-end embedded in the ground.
Alcohol may have been a factor in the crash, but the investigation is ongoing.
SISTERS, OR -- A Sisters home was damaged by fire, Wednesday morning, but officials say it could have been much worse. The homeowners spotted smoke in the garage, just after 9:30 and threw water on the flames after calling 911. Fire crews arrived at the N. Maple Street home within five minutes and extinguished the fire, although smoke and flames damaged much of the garage. The living area also suffered smoke damage.
The call was dispatched during the Sisters-Camp-Sherman Fire District’s monthly staff meeting, and the Chief says six units responded. Chief Roger Johnson said in a statement, "We were fortunate to have the station full of people at the time of the fire. Every fire engine rolled out the door full of firefighters." Five emergency vehicles, with 14 firefighters, responded from Sisters. Black Butte Ranch and Cloverdale fire districts also sent resources.
The Red Cross is assisting the family of five.
BEND, OR -- Bend-La Pine Schools officials received results Tuesday from the final round of drinking water tests. The district took 529 samples from facilities built after 1980, in late October, checking for lead and copper.
Results show all are within levels deemed safe by the Environmental Protection Agency. Click HERE
for the district's testing rundown.
SALEM, OR -- State Representative Mike McLane (R-Powell Butte) will remain Oregon's House Republican leader. He tells KBND News, "I'll serve two more years as the House Republican leader; I've already done that for four years, so I was certainly pleased to continue in that capacity." State GOP lawmakers held a caucus in Salem on Monday. "The Deputy Leader this year will be Greg Baretto from La Grande area, and Jodie Hack, who is a legislator from the Salem area," says McLane.
He believes the upcoming session will be busy. "Oregon has put itself in a very difficult position, because we over-spend. We grew state government beyond the capacity of our economy to sustain it. That was a mistake that the majority party made. We're going to roll up our sleeves and try to right that ship."
The session begins February first. McLane expects lawmakers to tackle a transportation and infrastructure improvement package, as well as revenue sources for the projected budget shortfall.
SISTERS, OR -- State transportation officials closed McKenzie Pass, Tuesday. The seasonal closure was prompted by winter weather expected to hit the region, this week.
ODOT’s Peter Murphy tells KBND News, "We were told there would be probably about 6-12” of snow by the time this storm is over. That’s kind of our trigger: when there’s 6” of snow and it’s snowing, game over. We’ll have to say goodbye to McKenzie Pass this year and hope for it next year."
Historic McKenzie Pass, also known as Highway 242, has closed as early as mid-October. The scenic and winding roadway is scheduled to reopen the third Monday in June. "People come from all over the country to go there," says Murphy. "And if we can say ‘well, at this point in time it will be open,’ it helps everybody plan."
REDMOND, OR -- The Redmond Boys and Girls Club will soon be known as “REACH” as it completes its transition away from the Boys and Girls Clubs of America (BGCA). Executive Director Jenny O'Keefe says the shift will bring stability to the local nonprofit. "One of the things that we noticed that we were organically doing was creating these life experiences for kids, which create self-awareness and are helping them with their social relationships. We really wanted to explore that and go deeper into those programs to help kids find the connections in their lives that they need to be healthy adults."
"REACH" stands for Redmond Experience Activity Connection Hub. O'Keefe tells KBND News, "Although it is similar in nature to the Boys and Girls Clubs’ philosophy, our mission is creating connections for youth to thrive in our community through meaningful, fun, real world experiences. And, it so reflects what we’ve been doing for the last two years. It just gives it more structure and better organizes how we are going to proceed to meet the needs in our community."
Since the division of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Oregon about two years ago, O’Keefe had been pursuing a local charter with the national organization. But, she says the board decided the funding model required by BGCA is not sustainable in a city the size of Redmond. "There have been reports in the community that this was based on a lack of funds- and that simply is not the case. Fundraising will always be an ongoing part of our nonprofit. However, moving forward, the board recognized the need to start looking at more long-term, sustainable and self-sufficient options. And, that really wasn’t in line with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America strategy."
Read more about why the Redmond club is reorganizing away from BGCA.
According to O’Keefe, the nonprofit maintains the same board, staff and membership fees. Two years ago, they served about 30 kids in the after-school program. Now, daily attendance averages around 150. For those kids, O’Keefe says not much will change except the name and logo.
BEND, OR -- It’s taken nearly a decade, but the state has finally approved Bend’s urban growth boundary. The city’s proposal to grow the UGB by 2,380 acres is much smaller than a version rejected by the state in 2010, and expands the boundary in small portions on the west, north and south, and northeast and southeast edges of the city.
click above image for details
This effort is the result of years of work
and more than 70 public meetings to create a plan that could gain final approval. It’s a blend of infill and expansion to accommodate projected growth in housing and jobs.
Oregon’s Department of Land Conservation and Development received four objections but found the proposal satisfied all applicable state laws. There is a 21-day appeal period; appeals are due by December 5.
BEND, OR -- Road crews are gearing up for snow and ice, which could move into the High Desert this week. At the Oregon Department of Transportation compound in northeast Bend, Monday, Maintenance Manager Tim McGinnis was preparing their fleet. "We have, basically, six trucks set up: plows and sanders; then we have two more magnesium chloride trucks and then two heavy plow trucks that we try to keep on the mountain; and a couple graders in there, if it gets that bad."
McGinnis tells KBND News winter operations are now officially underway. "We mainly have seven trucks and they’ll be on the road all the time. But, our main priority is [Highway] 97, Bend Parkway, and we’ll keep the mountain clean; but we want to let everybody know Lava Butte will be taken care of."
Bend ODOT plow operator Mike James asks commuters to have a little patience. "We’ve got a lot going on inside the truck, so we have to be paying attention to everything around us. We really appreciate the public giving us a little bit of room. And also, we know that when you’re following a plow, that’s not the funnest thing. But, we do have areas where we try to get out of their way and let them
around." He adds, "We’re doing 35 at the max, so it’s not like we’re holding you way back. You’re going to lose a little bit of time, but give us a little bit of space and let us do our job so that we can get out of your way." ODOT covers more than 600 highway miles in Central Oregon.
Oregon State Police Lt. Don Wagner says the most important thing drivers can do in winter weather is slow down. "You might have a clear driving condition for several miles, and then you hit a shady spot where you’re not expecting to see black ice or snow on the roadway. Lt. Wagner says the mountain passes are the most common places drivers slide off the road because they get impatient and go too fast."
ODOT recommends keeping an emergency kit in your car in case you do get stuck and visit Tripcheck.com for the latest highway conditions.
BEND, OR -- Deschutes County’s Road Department will close two popular roads for the season, on Thursday.
The agency will close snow gates on Cascade Lakes Highway, west of Mount Bachelor at Dutchman Flat and Deschutes Bridge. Paulina Lake Road will close at the 10 Mile snow park gate, restricting access to Paulina and East Lakes.
Both roads usually reopen by Memorial Day, weather permitting.
BEND, OR -- Bend City Councilors met in special session, Tuesday, to look ahead to future transportation projects. People packed the Bend Municipal Court for an update on ongoing projects and learn how road projects are funded.
Bend's Growth Management Director Nick Arnis says this is just the start of the discussion. "Council will start goal-setting in January or February. That'll be about when you'll start hearing more about if this is a priority for them. It's really a priority around 'Do you want to try to figure out different ways to fund transportation?' Transit, these big projects, street maintenance; we have a lot of fragmented funding sources. Is there a better way to do this?" Arnis adds, "We have a priority list for safety projects, we have a priority list for walking and biking projects; we have an old priority list around the major projects in the city- Empire and Murphy. Oddly enough, they're the same priorities we've had over the last 10 years. So, I think, really, it's 'if these are still the priorities, let's find a way to fund them.'"
He tells KBND News, "We have a number of projects that we already have funding for; they're what we call Corridor Projects: Wilson Street, 8th Street, Newport, a number of safety pedestrian crossings along Third Street." However, he says work on the Empire and Murphy Road extensions are currently unfunded and Councilors are expected to look at possible stable funding sources to complete the work.
BEND, OR -- A Bend transient is accused of setting four small fires, early Monday morning.
The first was reported after 1 a.m. near Sawyer Park. About an hour later, a small fire was spotted near Empire and Jamison, then a fire started in the median of the Parkway near Butler Market Road; the fourth fire was reported at about 2:30 a.m. near the railroad tracks south of Empire Ave.
Prior to the fires, police believe 64-year-old Lynn Merle Mowry called 911 from two northeast Bend motels, but did not have a true emergency.
Mowry was arrested following a 90-minute search by officers, including a K9. He was evaluated at St. Charles in Bend prior to being booked at the jail.
Mowry faces multiple counts of Arson and Misuse of 911. He's due in court Tuesday afternoon.
Mugshot provided by DCSO is of Mowry following a prior arrest, last week.
BEND, OR -- An Oregon cannabis security business is branching out to armored transport. Noah Stokes, owner of Portland-based CannaGuard Security, says the idea came from his work installing cameras and other tech at marijuana businesses. "Major concerns that people had – how do I transport it? How do I store it? Now that I’m licensed- OK, great I have a big empty building and I’m going to put plants, product, people and potentially cash in it, if they don’t have a bank account. What then?"
Most pot businesses don’t have bank accounts
, and Stokes says they often move money and product across the state, unprotected. His new fleet includes state-of-the-art technology from panic buttons to coded lock boxes, with armed guards and bulletproof glass. He tells KBND News, "They’re unassuming Ford transits. So, the intent is it doesn’t look like a big scary armored vehicle coming down the road. The general idea is that it isn’t drawing any attention at all." Those custom vehicles will soon travel to recreational pot businesses around the state and to the company's secure storage and distribution center in Portland.
Stokes has hired military veterans as drivers (pictured). "They just typically have better training, better experience; it’s more applicable. A lot of the qualities of people who have gone and served in our military are the exact qualities that we want. And, we also want to celebrate that; we’re able to pay these guys well and have a job that’s directly applicable to their training."
He says there are several layers of security, including not providing drivers with access codes for the cargo. "If someone were to say ‘open these lock boxes,’ the driver can’t. We want to take that ability out of the drivers’ hands so that someone doesn’t think, ‘I just need to take the driver out and take the keys, and I’m good.’ They happen to be highly skilled, trained, armed, licensed veterans that you don’t want to mess with. But, still, people are people and, in that scenario, we want to make this as uneasy of a target as possible."
, in Bend, plans to utilize the service. Stokes expects others in Central Oregon to follow as more recreational pot businesses are licensed.
SALEM, OR -- Oregon State Senator Mark Hass (D-Beaverton) says he's not surprised at the failure of Measure 97, the tax on large corporations opposed by voters in the general election. He says it had too many flaws.
Hass says the state still faces a massive hole in the budget and lawmakers need to find a solution. "If we don’t do something, we’re choosing to keep the system we have now. Which, not only doesn’t work very well, but in the coming year it’s going to mean some pretty serious cuts to education funding, which is about half of the state general fund budget."
He says 97's failure could help move the process of change forward. "Maybe that fight got us closer to where we need to go to do something reasonable about trying to fix one of the most volatile tax codes in the country."
Hass proposed a compromise similar to M97, but with a tax that was 1/10 the sized. There wasn't enough Legislative support last session to move it forward. Governor Brown says she'll meet with several groups before the end of the year to come up with a proposal the Legislature can consider.
BEND, OR -- More than two-dozen women attended a special personal safety class, Saturday, at the Bend Municipal Court. Bend Police Sgt. Liz Lawrence and Angel Lotito, with Deschutes County Parole and Probation teach the free class a couple times a year, focusing on self-defense, security and awareness. "There isn’t a lot out there, besides going to a dojo or training in karate, that offers something about self-defense," Sgt. Lawrence tells KBND News. "And, I thought, wouldn’t it be good to have women come into an environment where it’s just women and they’re going to be comfortable asking questions and participating."
She says the ladies-only model is important to help empower women. "First of all, women learn differently. And, what can you do if you’re not that type of person to go to karate three times a week. What are some things that you should look for and know? And, be responsible for your own safety. Don’t always assume that somebody else is looking out for you."
Melanie Guinan, of Bend, took the class to learn how to get out of dangerous situations. "I’ve lived in NYC and I’ve spent a lot of time in DC and I’ve been in situations before where I definitely realize ‘I shouldn’t be here.’ And, your radar goes on and it’s just nice to know what you actually can do." She says she learned a lot during the weapons discussion. "The stun gun only annoys people; that it doesn’t really do anything. You think from the movies, you take them out, they’re down and they’re unconscious for like 10 minutes. And, the idea that you’re really only getting somebody annoyed with you, that’s the part that’s really surprising to me."
Rio attended the class with her mom, "To get bet a better knowledge about what you can do to help yourself in case of any dangerous situation. I just love hearing all the stories of the different things you can do to actually help yourself, and weird situations and how to prevent those." She was also surprised to learn about stun guns, "The tazers – the ones you actually touch to people – that would just aggravate them instead of actually helping you more."
Attendees also practiced simple self-defense moves and discussed the best ways to avoid dangerous situations. They ranged from 14-years-old to women in their 70s.
BEND, OR -- Protesters took to the streets of Bend, this weekend; although, the anti-Trump demonstrations were much calmer than what was seen in Portland. In Bend, hundreds gathered in Drake Park Saturday afternoon, before marching through downtown chanting, "Not my President," and, "A country divided will never be divided."
One protester tells KBND News it was important that she have her voice heard. "I feel it’s important to stand up against the hateful and discriminating things that have been said in this campaign. I am pro-woman, I am pro-immigrant, I am pro-Hispanic, I am pro-disabled and I am pro-room for everyone."
Some marchers held signs saying “Not my President” and “No war on migrants.” And, one simply advertised free hugs.
In Portland, city officials allowed demonstrators to express their First Amendment rights and voice opposition to Donald Trump as President. But, Mayor Charlie Hales called for an end to protests, over the weekend. "Don’t come participate in a protest in downtown Portland. It has been taken over by people who simply want to fight with the police." So-called anarchist groups have mixed with demonstrators causing vandalism; some have thrown objects at the police.
Thursday night's riot caused a million dollars in damage to businesses. Friday night, police arrested 17 in connection with demonstrations; then, 71 more were arrested Saturday night. Sunday protests were mostly peaceful.
BEND, OR -- Property taxes are complicated, thanks to a number of factors, including Oregon’s constitution and the rise and fall of the local housing market. But one thing remains constant – you still have to pay up.
"As far as payment of your taxes, that is next Tuesday, November 15," Deschutes County Assessor Scot Langton tells KBND News. "To avoid any interest penalties on that, people need to pay at least a third of their bill then. If they pay in full, they’ll get a 3% discount."
Langton says the tax structure is mandated by the state. But, he says it’s local services that benefit. "The biggest piece of anybody’s property tax bill is education and K-12 funding. If you look at the community college, education, the whole category, it’s about 45% of the whole property tax bill. Then, you have things like the county, the Sheriff, if you’re in a city or rural fire district, wherever that happens to be, it’s those service providers for your property."
He says some of the biggest confusion over statements comes from how “real market value” is calculated. "What a realtor would be looking at would be what it would sell at today. Our base appraisal date, per statute, is January first of any given year," says Langton. "So, the property tax bill you just received is January 1, 2016; that’s 11 months old. And, as I think most of us realize, there’s quite a bit of market activity that we’ve seen over the last several years, both up and down, in values; and by design, our figure is dated." He encourages anyone with questions or concerns about their property value or tax statement to call the Assessor’s office.
REDMOND, OR -- The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office broke up an alleged car theft ring tied to an October 31 car chase between Sisters and Bend. During the pursuit of a stolen Cadillac, police arrested the driver of a stolen pickup; the two were thought to be traveling together from the Willamette Valley.
That driver was 25-year-old Daniel Redding. Police searched his Alfalfa home and found two more stolen vehicles. They eventually recovered 10 vehicles reported stolen from Bend, Madras, Salem, Woodburn and Cottage Grove.
Five others were arrested, earlier this week, after a search of another southwest Redmond home uncovered more evidence, including commercial quantities of heroin and meth, and forged currency. The four arrested following the November seventh search on SW Canal are 49-year-old Cassandra Tischler (pictured: left), 54-year-old Dwaine Copeland (center)
, 39-year-old John Kalista and 43-year-old Leza Piper, all of Redmond; and 34-year-old Kori Knisley of Bend (right). They all face a variety of theft, forgery and drug charges. Kelly Westbrooks, age 34, of Redmond, was cited for Frequenting a Place where Drugs are Used, in lieu of custody.
According to DCSO, Tischler, Copeland, Knisley, Redding and Fraser targeted vehicles on car lots in multiple areas. Vehicles were traded or sold for drugs and money. There are no known outstanding stolen vehicles related to this case.
BEND, OR -- Christmas tree permits go on sale next week at National Forest offices and authorized retailers.
Jean Nelson Dean, with the Deschutes National Forest, says some families are eligible for a free permit. "Christmas Tree permits are $5 each. And, for fourth graders participating in the 'Every Kid in A Park' program, they get one free Christmas Tree permit." She tells KBND News, "Part of the ‘every kid in a park’ program is to get kids outside. Fourth grade is the perfect age for kids to kind of discover the outdoors. It’s a way that families can go out and recreate together and kind of have part of that family tradition of cutting their Christmas Tree. So, it’s just a way to encourage that activity in our community."
Permits are required to cut down a Christmas tree on national forest land; one permit per tree, with a maximum of five per household. For more information on where to purchase a permit, and restrictions on cutting a tree, visit the Forest Service's website
REDMOND, OR -- An early morning police chase just outside Redmond resulted in the arrest of an eastern Oregon man. A Deschutes County deputy tried to stop an F-350 pickup for a traffic violation near Highland and Rimrock Way, just before 2 a.m. Thursday. The driver sped off, going up to 80 miles an hour.
At one point, deputies say the suspect tried to hit a Oregon State Police trooper’s vehicle head on, and succeeded in ramming a deputy’s parked car while trying to escape.
The pickup was later found abandoned near NE 33rd and Walnut. After a search by multiple agencies and a K-9 deputy, officers arrested 24-year-old Garrett Victor Leeper of Ontario. He's charged with assault, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, attempting to elude and other crimes.
BEND, OR -- The race for Deschutes County Sheriff was perhaps the most contentious local campaign. With most of the ballots now counted, voters chose to retain Sheriff Shane Nelson.
He was appointed to the post last year, after Larry Blanton retired and found his agency embroiled in a number of internal investigations and scandals. Sheriff Nelson says he plans to continue efforts to work with those who supported his challenger, Deputy Eric Kozowski. "It’s always everyone’s right to run for office. And, of course, to cast your vote, that’s how you have your voice heard. And, I’m just going to continue the meetings and being open to listening to my teammates’ ideas and information that they have; and I’m going to continue to do the right thing as I lead our great office."
With Nelson earning 55% to Kozowski's 45%, the vote was closer than many expected. "I am very pleased with the outcome of the election," Nelson tells KBND News. "And, I’m so thankful for the support of the citizens I work for. It was a long road during the election, but the service the Sheriff’s office provided never wavered." He adds, "I am humbled and honored. And, I will tell you, it’s the great people I work with and their attention to the fact that we provide the very best service to the citizens we serve; and they establish the reputation of our office. And, I am just so appreciative of my teammates and my family and my campaign committee, and we’re going to continue to charge forward and keep doing great things."
This was Nelson’s first campaign for public office.
PORTLAND, OR -- Protests in opposition to the election of Donald Trump were held across the country, Wednesday night. In Portland, Francisco Lopez, with a group supporting day laborers said they will demonstrate against the policies the President-elect wants to implement. "We are telling Trump again, ‘Mr. Trump, we are going to be in the streets; we are going to protest; and we will tell you that this kind of racism and discrimination will not be tolerated.’" Portland Police estimate about 2,000 people took to the streets, many blocking I-5 multiple times before continuing the rally at Pioneer Courthouse Square.
Members of Oregon's LGBTQ community are concerned about the election results, because of things Trump said during his campaign. Diane Goodwin, with Basic Rights Oregon, is worried he will rollback gains they've made. "This election was really a punch in the gut, really scary for a lot of communities in this country; and we’re better than this. And, Oregon, is a great example of what is possible, I think." Goodwin says Oregon should look at the positives from this election, including the election of Kate Brown, the nation's first openly bi-sexual Governor.
While demonstrations and concerns from some groups continue, head of the Oregon Republican Party Bill Currier expects the President-elect will heal rifts caused by the election. "In terms of policy, I think he’ll jump right in after he sort of reaches out to all those groups that didn’t support him, and say, ‘how can we take your input?’ He wanted to hear what other folks had to say and incorporate their input; and I think that’s a good sign." Currier says he expects Trump to tone down the rhetoric now that the campaign is over.
BEND, OR -- Bend's City Council will look different, come January. Bend businessman Bill Moseley managed to unseat incumbent Councilor Doug Knight for Position Two, 64% to 35%. Justin Livingston easily beat Ron Boozell for Position One, 77% to 21%; and Bruce Abernethy ran unopposed for Position Four.
It was Moseley's first run for public office, and he believes he tapped into the dissatisfaction with the direction of Council. He tells KBND News, "What the Council didn't realize is that they were really just ignoring the basic 'bread and butter' issues that effect the residents in our community and the business owners and employers. They're focusing on things like climate change and more taxes for gas. There's a lot of people in our town that are upset by the gentrification of our community, the disappearance of the middle class that shrunk by 10%, and they were focusing on these kinds of fringe issues. They really underestimated how upset people were about that." He added, "The gas tax was huge because it was kind of a red flag indicator that this Council was misguided and not listening to constituents. When I was out on the trail, you could just mention the gas tax and that was just a symbol of government waste and distraction, essentially. It had a huge impact on the turnout."
Voters re-elected incumbent Bend City Councilor Sally Russell, with 58% of the vote over Bend businessman Wade Fagen. "I just feel overwhelmed and thrilled. I didn't know whether or not I would be able to win this election," Russell told KBND News shortly after results came in. "I knew it would be a difficult race. And, I feel really overwhelmed and happy with the vote of confidence that I got from our community."
Russell says providing more affordable housing will be one of her top issues. "As Councilors, I think we're all grown-ups and I think we have to always work together. And, we're always going to have our differences too, and that's healthy. I look forward to forging a way forward with Bill Moseley as a colleague, as well as Justin [Livingston], and, as well as Bruce Abernethy; there's a pretty big change-up on Council, actually. But, you know, we're all good people and we're all committed to Bend."
REDMOND, OR -- Redmond Mayor George Endicott easily won re-election, with 71% of the vote, Tuesday. City Councilor Anne Graham challenged Endicott with a platform that mirrored many of the Mayor’s policies. Graham’s campaign was marred by allegations she tried to influence the approval of building permits in her neighborhood. A state ethics investigation is in the early stages.
In Sisters, Chuck Ryan, Andrea Blum and Richard Esterman
each one positions on the City Council. With just under 11% of the vote, write-in candidates could not push past those listed on the ballot.
For Crook County Judge
, Seth Crawford beat Ken Fahlgren, 51% to 48%. And, Crook County voters also approved a $10-million jail bond.
Madras voters chose to allow recreational pot producers inside the city and to impose a sales tax on marijuana. In Jefferson County, medical marijuana processors and dispensaries will be allowed in unincorporated areas. However, voters rejected proposals to allow recreational producers, processors, wholesalers and retailers.
BEND, OR -- Coastal property owners appear to be paying attention to predictions of a massive quake along the Cascadia Subduction Zone.
Pat Kesgard, with Compass Commercial Real Estate, tells KBND News, "We have several individuals that own commercial properties, either in California, Oregon or Washington, that are selling those properties and they want to move that money to Central Oregon, Spokane, Boise. They’re very concerned about earthquakes."
The actual danger associated with a potential Cascadia quake may only play a minor role. Kesgard says there are financial benefits to moving inland. "Your lenders in the valley, and up and down the west coast, they require seismic studies on buildings that are being financed. We don’t have that issue here, but it’s a big deal." He adds, "For a lot of these investors, they’ve gotten through the recession, so that was an economic hit that they survived. And, they’re going, ‘I don’t want to add risk; I want to minimize my risk.’ And, right now, price up and down the west coast are at their all-time highs."
Experts predict a major quake could strike the west coast within the next 50 years.
November 8, 2016 -- Ballots must be at an official county drop site by 8 p.m. and postmarks don't count. Click HERE to find your local drop site.
The first results will not be announced until after the polls close at 8 p.m. To hear reaction from local candidates and national results, tune in to KBND News at 100.1 FM or 1110 AM, beginning at 6 p.m.
KBND News will have more analysis of the results Wednesday morning, beginning at 8 a.m., with OSU Political Science Professor Jim Foster, former Republican State Representative Jason Conger and former Democratic State Representative Judy Stiegler.
MADRAS, OR -- Madras finds itself in a position similar to many small towns in the country, with difficulty recruiting qualified candidates to hold city offices. Voters are instructed to “vote for three” City Councilors on the November ballot, but only one name appears. Mayor Royce Embanks is also running for re-election unopposed.
Mayor Embanks tells KBND News, "We have two Councilors that are not wanting to run again, and they didn’t file. We do have a current Councilor that is already on the ballot, and he got there because he filled an empty spot. So, he had to actually run this term in order to get elected to that position." With Gary Walker likely to win the race to keep his appointed seat and the three other Councilors whose terms aren’t yet up, Embanks says there are enough to establish a quorum so city business can continue.
But the future of the final two seats on the six-seat Council is up for grabs. "They can be filled either by a write-in vote," says Embanks. "If there are enough write-in votes, then they can be asked if they want to be on Council; because it’s possible somebody submitted their names without them knowing. That has happened before and people have declined to serve. In this case, I understand that there is a possible write-in vote but we haven’t heard anything that verifies it." The sixth seat would stay vacant until Councilors can search for the right person to appoint.
Embanks says the struggle to recruit viable candidates is not uncommon in small towns. "You’re looking at a population- if they’re in their 30s and have kids and working a full-time job, they don’t have time to do it. And, as they get older and they get retired, they may have the time to do it but maybe not the inclination to spend that much time. It’s not an easy volunteer position because there are more meetings than just twice a month." And, he says charter restrictions like requiring Councilors to be a registered voter and live inside city boundaries limits the pool of potential candidates.
CORVALLIS, OR -- Student enrollment at Oregon State University grew nearly 3% from this time last year, but much of the increases came from outside Corvallis. The main campus now has 24,672 students, which is .8% higher than a year ago.
The remaining 2.9% bump in enrollment came from OSU-Cascades in Bend and OSU's E-Campus. The Central Oregon campus now boasts 1,122 students; 106 more than a year ago. And, there are now 5,682 students enrolled in the school's online degree program.
BEND, OR -- Deschutes County unveils new welcome signs honoring veterans and first responders ahead of Veterans Day on Friday. Advocate Dick Tobiason says the signs honor the 15,000 vets and 1,000 first responders that call Deschutes County home.
Tobiason tells KBND News, "Our first responders, especially law enforcement types, are coming under attack by a lot of uneducated folks who don't respect first responders. I though that now is a good time to show the community's respect for first responders, as well as veterans."
Eight signs are placed at the county line along Highways 97, 20, 31 and 242, as well as on the Powell Butte and Cascade Lakes Highways. "They now say 'Welcome to Deschutes County: We Honor Veterans and First Responders,'" says Tobiason. Signs are currently covered by plastic until Thursday's officials ceremony. "We're going to unveil a spare sign at the County Commissioners building at 8:30 on Thursday, the day before Veterans Day. So, it's just in time for Veterans Day and the 100th anniversary of Deschutes County."
That ceremony takes place at 8:30 a.m. Thursday at 1300 Wall Street in Bend. The public is invited.
BEND, OR -- With high interest in this election, turnout could approach record numbers in the state. Aside from the Presidential fight, Oregon voters are also focused on the Governor’s race, Measure 97 and a number of local issues.
More than a million Oregon ballots have been returned, that’s 41%. It could double by Tuesday. Locally, 56% of Crook County ballots are in, 52% of Deschutes County's are in, and 51% in Jefferson County.
It’s too late to mail your ballot. It must be dropped off by 8 p.m. Tuesday to count. Click HERE to find a drop box near you.
SALEM, OR -- Oregon's Secretary of State is calling for an investigation into a possible voter suppression effort. Robocalls are telling people they aren't registered to vote and that their ballot won't be counted. Secretary of State Jeanne Atkins says if you received a ballot, you are registered. And, if your ballot is in to a county elections office by 8 p.m. Tuesday, your vote will be counted.
Bill Currier, head of the Oregon Republican Party, says the message was directed at Republican voters listed as "inactive," to get them to change their status before November 8 so they can vote. "That’s who we want to show up and vote."
But, the Democratic Party says the messages were not directed at specific voters and were received by active Democratic and Unaffiliated voters, causing confusion. "We are afraid that we are getting an indication of voter suppression," says Frank Dixon, head of the Democratic Party of Oregon.
Currier says, "It's kind of ludicrous to suggest that the Republican Party was trying to suppress the vote." The call was later changed to include that it was from the Republican Party. Robocalls are not illegal in Oregon.
Secretary Atkins has called for an investigation by the Oregon Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney for Oregon.
BEND, OR -- Four teens were hurt in a crash near China Hat Road, Sunday. Deschutes County deputies responded to Forest Road 1815 at about 5 p.m. They say a 16-year-old lost control in a curve and rolled his vehicle.
All four people inside the Geo Tracker were ejected; none were wearing seatbelts. A 15-year-old boy was flown to the hospital with serious but non-life threatening injuries. The driver, a 15-year-old girl and a 16-year-old girl were taken by ground ambulance.
Investigators say speed was a significant factor in the crash. The driver was cited for reckless driving.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- A Bend man remains hospitalized following a weekend hunting accident in the Maury Mountains. According to the Crook County Sheriff’s Office, 69-year-old Gary Heeter was dragging an elk behind his ATV, back to camp. When he started up a steep hill, the front end of the vehicle came up and Heeter was impaled by a horn as the ATV rolled backward.
It took emergency crews several hours to reach the site, Saturday, due to its remote location, southeast of Prineville. Members of his hunting party tried to control the bleeding but the first deputy on-scene reported the man appeared to be going in to shock.
Heeter was flown to St. Charles Bend, where he is listed in Fair condition.
BEND, OR -- A Deschutes County judge had harsh words for District Attorney John Hummel, Thursday, regarding his public statements about high profile cases. Hummel recently filed a formal opposition to the gag order, which he says prevents him from speaking with the media or even the victim's family about the Edwin Lara murder case. Lara is charged with attempting to kidnap and sexually assault Kaylee Sawyer before allegedly killing her near COCC in Bend, in July.
Judge Michael Adler says the gag order does not prevent Hummel from updating the Sawyer family, but says Hummel at times has released too much information to the media on evidence in the base. The judge says Hummel is allowed to release whether he plans to seek the death penalty, but advised him to be careful in what he says.
The judge also reiterated that Lara's trial will begin October 10, 2017, despite a request by the defense to push it back.
BEND, OR -- The American Red Cross hopes to better prepare Central Oregonians for a large-scale earthquake and other disasters, at a special event at the Tower Theatre, Monday night.
Monique Dugaw, with the Red Cross, says Prepare Out Loud will focus on how to get ready for a possible Cascadia Zone quake, and how to unlock the power of “peer pressure.” She tells KBND News they'll look at "How people influence one another in their own social networks, by taking preparedness actions and then sharing those actions with others. For example, someone has posted their preparedness actions; we see that their social network sees that, and then takes action, as well."
Mid Oregon Credit Union is a sponsor of the event. Kyle Frick says it seemed natural for the company to get involved. "One of the things that we need to do is be prepared as an organization to help support recovery efforts and things like that, so we can get people going; we can get them starting to build and do repairs on their homes and businesses. It’s a critical gating item for people to have access to money and finance when they’re in disaster struck areas."
Monday’s Prepare Out Loud is sold out, but Dugaw says for those unable to attend, it's not difficult to make sure you're ready for anything. "It’s not just a Cascadia earthquake. Disasters can strike every single day. We saw a tornado on the Oregon coast; we can see all sorts of disasters, and everyday we respond to an average of three home fires. Having your emergency preparedness kit is one of the best things you can do right now, to prepare your home and family for disasters." She suggests making sure to have a gallon of bottled water for each person, per day, for at least three days.
The Red Cross plans to bring Prepare Out Loud back to Central Oregon in the spring or summer.
REDMOND, OR -- A small private school in southeast Redmond plans to grow its athletic programs by building its own sports facilities. Central Christian School hopes to construct a gym on a vacant one-acre lot across from the school’s campus near the Redmond Airport, and a soccer field on a five-acre parcel just a few blocks away.
Head Administrator Elisa Carlson tells KBND News the school already has a deal with the city to lease the property under two water towers near 6th and Umatilla Ave. "The understanding is then that we will develop a soccer field on that ground. And, it will not only be for our school use but the community will be able to use it as well. Our students will be able to jog over there during the school day and use it; and then, of course use it for practice in the afternoon, and for games, which will be huge for us." Carlson says soccer, volleyball and basketball teams currently borrow space from other schools or churches, which means they never truly get that “home court advantage.”
The combined projects, though, are expensive. She estimates their value at around $3.5 million, although in-kind donations and volunteers should help bring the school's cost to about $2 million. "The soccer field already has an engineered plan approved by the city, so it is ready to go as soon we receive the funds. The gymnasium has a concept plan that won’t take us very long at the architectural level to get the plans ready to build. And, because we already have the conditional use permits, as soon as we have the money in hand, we can move forward with both projects."
Carlson says administrators recognize the importance of middle and high school sports to students' overall experience. And, she says, both efforts renew the school’s commitment to excellence. "This is the 25th year of the school’s operation, and so it really is time - if we want to be a mature, long-lasting school in Central Oregon – for us to be able to add these components so we are a thriving high school. Not just academically, because we do that well. It really is this athletic piece that we want to add to our programs so our students have access to that."
Upper left: Future site of CCS soccer field, near SW 6th and Umatilla Ave.
BEND, OR -- The Oregon Farm Bureau is frustrated with a recent settlement between local irrigation districts and environmental groups regarding the spotted frog. The districts have agreed to take less water from the Deschutes River in order to help the frog.
WaterWatch and the Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit in December to force irrigation companies to take more aggressive action to help the frog. The court ordered the two sides into mediation, resulting in the settlement.
Anne Marie Moss, with the Farm Bureau, says it will mean less water for farmers and ranchers. "It's unfortunate that farmers were put into this position in the first place. For years, over two decades, farmers and irrigation districts, the Warm Springs Tribe and other stakeholders have worked together to create the Habitat Conservation Plan."
But, she says farmers are likely to be wary of working with environmental groups in the future. "These lawsuits halted that process; it disrupted the collaborative process that people had worked really hard on and ultimately undermined the trust that our farmers and ranchers have in working with some of those environmental groups. Those are relationships that are going to take a long time to rebuild."
It's estimated the settlement will result in about 30% less water next year, for regional farmers.
SALEM, OR -- The State Parks system is tweaking its reservation system to account for the anticipated rush on camp sites for the total eclipse, August 21, 2017. Several campgrounds at the coast and in Central and Eastern Oregon, including Cove Palisades outside Madras, are within the path of totality.
Chris Havel, with Oregon Parks and Recreation
, says campers should start making plans, now. "Spend a few more days where you’re going to go, rather than just spend that one day. The roads are going to be very congested, there’s going to be a lot of demand for camping. If you can eek out a day or two before the event and get your camping reservation with a few days to spare, you’ll be happier and the roads will be happier."
The state park system accepts reservations nine months in advance, but it would normally be possible to get a reservation for August 21 by booking the maximum 14-day stay on November seventh. Havel tells KBND News, "We’re not going to take any reservations for the time around the eclipse until November 17; and that will allow everybody to get those extra days before or after the event without having to worry about the weird reservation windows, maximum stay lengths and all that stuff. We’re just going to try and make it easy for you and set all that aside."
Campgrounds inside the path of totality: Devil's Lake, Beverly Beach, South Beach, Silver Falls, Detroit Lake, The Cove Palisades and Farewell Bend. Campgrounds up to 30 miles outside the path of totality are also affected by the temporary change in reservation rules: Beachside, Cape Lookout, Washburne (yurts only), Honeyman, Nehalem Bay, Stub Stewart, Champoeg, Milo McIver, Ainsworth, Memaloose, Viento, Deschutes River, Tumalo, La Pine, Prineville Reservoir, Lake Owyhee and Wallowa Lake.
Havel expects sites will go fast. "I think it’s a good bet that by November 18, the choice spots will be taken. There may be a few left, here and there, around the eclipse; but the eclipse date will probably all be booked up. We take reservations nine months in advance, but there are others that take reservations a full year in advance or more, and that’s hotel rooms and even some other campgrounds in the state. They’re all booked. The moment they were available, they got snapped up. And, we expect that’s going to happen here, too." For more information, click HERE.
The eclipse takes place 9-11:30 a.m. on 8/21/17. The 60-mile wide path of totality, when the moon completely blocks the sun, will last for about two minutes starting at 10:15 on the coast.
BEND, OR -- Bend-La Pine Schools continue to conduct follow-up water testing at two schools that showed lead levels higher than what’s recommended by the EPA. Julianne Repman, with the district, says fixtures throughout La Pine Middle School were retested, last week, after lead was found in a water fountain inside a forner classroom. "Everything came back good. In there, we took out the drinking fountain and the water faucet; just because it’s not used, anyway." That room is now used as a storage space for the the Family Access Network.
Read more about recent testing and results at Bend-La Pine Schools.
Drinking water is back on at La Pine Middle School. But, they’re taking more drastic measures at Amity Creek Elementary in Bend, where lead was found in follow-up testing, in a classroom sink and fountain. "At Amity Creek, we’re going to go in over Thanksgiving Break and replace everything from the shut-off valve, up into the fountain and the faucet. So, literally replacing all of those pieces of the fixture." She tells KBND News the work will be done on every drinking water fixture in the small school, "The pipe, the shut-off valve, the faucet and the water fountain."
Repman says, "In the next three weeks, students will continue to have bottled water in school; they’re still good to go ahead and wash their hands. In fact, those fixtures had been recently remodeled. In the bathrooms, they have new sinks. We will just continue to provide that bottled water until we get a positive result back after replacement of all of the fixtures in the classrooms and in the building." She adds, "We will retest and then, once we get those results back, if it shows that the levels are within the EPA guideline, then we’re good and we’ll turn the water back on. But, we will keep the water off until a time that we have the results back that are positive."
BEND, OR -- Six meetings are scheduled for throughout Deschutes County this month, for residents to provide feedback about crime prevention. The District Attorney’s Office is hosting the forums, which begin November 8 in La Pine. Other meetings are scheduled for Redmond, Sisters and Sunriver, as well as Bend.
District Attorney John Hummel expects to discuss the results of a recent community crime survey. Click HERE to access the survey.
Public meeting schedule:
Tuesday, Nov. 8, at the La Pine Library (16425 1st St.) at 6 pm.
Wednesday, Nov. 9, at the Redmond Fire House (341 NW Dogwood Ave.) at 6 pm.
Saturday, Nov. 19, at East Bend Library (62080 Dean Swift Rd.) at 11:30 am.
Wednesday, Nov. 30, at the Downtown Bend Library (601 NW Wall St.) at 6 pm.
BEND, OR -- It was a full house at the second forum on potential changes to Bend's city charter, Tuesday night. The meetings, hosted by Bend 2030, have focused on increasing Councilor pay and whether voters should elect the Mayor, instead of City Councilors making the decision.
Sisters Interim City Manager Rick Allen has been closely watching the discussions, as Sisters charter is set up in a similar fashion. He spoke at the Tuesday meeting, "I'm not sure you get a better candidate if you went from $200 to $500. Is that going to bring a better candidate? Because, if I'm unemployed, it doesn't take the place of a job; and if I'm employed, it certainly isn't a job. So, you still have to want to do it; you have to have the passion, the care and the drive to do it."
Bill Gregoricus attended the meeting because he says it's time to revisit these issues. He tells KBND News, "I think $200 a month is not enough [for Councilors]. Do I want to see something like $20,000 or $30,000? No. But, if you're having to hold a fulltime job, then something has got to suffer. So, I think some compensation more than what they're getting right now, is appropriate."
James Dorofi attended both meetings because he says the issues are important. "Although there are 80-some-thousand people who live here, there's really only a few hundred that are relatively active in the town; and they're going to be the ones that craft whatever gets presented to the voters. I just want to see what's getting developed and how; why."
Read more about the September meeting.
A majority of those at Tuesday's event were in favor of having an elected Mayor and of increasing Councilor pay. Bend 2030 plans to compile a report based on feedback from both meetings and hopes to present it to the City Council in January.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Election Day is now less than a week away, and Oregon Congressman Greg Walden believes his party will hang on to its majority in the U.S. House. "We’re poised to hold the majority and to be ready to govern. We’ve got our whole ‘Better Way’ plan - what we’ll do to fix Obamacare and restore national security and our defense. We’re ready to go. Can’t wait to get this election behind us."
Walden is the Chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), which works to help the campaigns of GOP members running for Congress. "I’m sure we’ll drop some seats; I think that was pretty well understood and predicted. We had some retirements in some difficult seats; that I wish had waited another term on somebody else’s watch as NRCC chairman, but they’re on mine." He says those seats lost won't be nearly enough to spell the end of the Republican House majority.
Currently, the GOP has 247 of the 435 seats.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- Lutheran Community Services (LCS) Northwest will address Crook County Commissioners and the public Wednesday, regarding its plans to buy the former Pioneer Memorial Hospital. The facility has sat vacant since St. Charles opened its new Prineville hospital more than a year ago.
Scott Willard, Director of the Central Oregon office of LCS, will present the company's five-year plan for the 92,000 sf site. "We currently supply the mental health services for Crook County. We provide substance abuse, mental health counseling, intellectual/developmental disability services and crisis services. And, we are going to relocate all of our services to the Pioneer Memorial Hospital building."
Because the facility is so large, Willard tells KBND News, "We are looking to find a couple of partners. There is a significant amount of space at the Pioneer Memorial Hospital that was obviously old hospital rooms. And, it would be a great fit for a memory care facility or some kind of step-down for seniors who are going through rehab." And, he says another space is ideal for future temporary workforce housing. "There's another portion of the hospital that was the old nursing home and, most recently, the administrative space for the hospital. We're going to be looking for partners that would be interested in developing that as short-term residential space; whether it would be for electricians for Facebook or Apple, up the hill." Those partners would rent space from LCS.
Willard says the sale could be finalized by the end of November.
BEND, OR -- A Bend man crashed into a house on Parrell Road; luckily, no one inside the home was injured. According to Bend Police, 29-year-old Cesar Corona, Jr. drove through a fence then into the residence, Sunday night.
When officers arrived, they found the Ford Explorer wedged under the foundation. Corona is charged with a number of crimes, including Driving under the influence and driving while suspended.
BEND, OR -- Property tax payments are due in just about two weeks, and Deschutes County Assessor Scot Langton is trying to help homeowners understand their statement and the process at a series of town hall meetings.
"Oregon has, as most people realize, a really complicated property tax system," Langton tells KBND News. "So, we like to be able to get out there to people, make opportunities available that they can learn about the system, know the impacts to their properties, how that [taxes] affects it; and also, just the other processes we go through on valuing their property and coming up with the property taxes they owe."
Meetings will be held in each Deschutes County city over the next two weeks. Langton says attendees can bring in their own statements, "I’ll go over general; but, then we’ll have some appraisers from the staff here that are familiar with the area. So, after the bigger gathering, we’ll break into smaller groups, if people wish, and those appraisers can go over their specific property."
All meetings are 5-6:30 p.m.:
Wednesday, Nov. 2 in Bend: Deschutes County Services Building (1300 NW Wall St.)
Thursday, Nov. 3 in Redmond: Redmond Fire Hall (341 NW Dogwood Ave.)
Monday, Nov. 7 in Sisters: City Council Chamber (520 E. Cascade Ave.)
Tuesday, Nov. 8 in La Pine: City Hall (51340 Hwy. 97)
Property tax payments are due November 15. Click HERE
for more information.
BEND, OR -- The 2016 wildfire season was about average in Central Oregon. "Overall, there were 279 fires during fire season, for a total of almost 18,000 acres," says Jean Nelson Dean, of the Deschutes National Forest.
She tells KBND News nearly three-quarters of those were human caused. "This was definitely not a bad year. The strange thing about this year is that we didn’t have as many natural lightning starts that we normally have – that’s typically what we see. We actually had a lot of human-caused starts." Only 74 of the incidents within the Central Oregon Fire Management Service were lightning caused.
Within the Bend district of the Deschutes National Forest, there were 85 human-caused fires and 19 sparked by lightning. Those human-caused blazes include both intentional and accidental starts, like escaped campfires.
To hear our full conversation with Jean Nelson Dean, visit our Podcast page or click HERE.
BEND, OR -- Republican candidate for Governor Bud Pierce has been fighting an uphill battle against Governor Kate Brown. He started with little to no name recognition. However, recent polls show he's gaining ground. "It just gives us encouragement to keep going," Pierce tells KBND News. "I will say polling is difficult for all pollsters. That’s because hard to reach people, maybe one out of 50, will actually talk to you." The two have faced off in five debates, this election season.
A recent survey by Clout Research showed continued tightening in the race, with Dr. Pierce attracting more cross-party support than Brown. He believes that’s because Oregon voters are ready to have a Republican back in the office. "If you look at my views, I’d be classified as moderate by most people in that center of the political spectrum. And, I think there’s a little bit of tension in the Democratic Party of Oregon regarding John Kitzhaber and Kate Brown; there’s a little tension there, about how Governor Kitzhaber ended his Governorship and the roll, if any, of Kate Brown. So, I may be attracting some of those Democrats." But, he admits younger voters are a challenge. "The millennials are an interesting group, especially, because they don’t like tradition and so I have a good outreach to them. Some of the younger college students certainly are more in the Democrat camp. When I was a young college kid, I was a Democrat. So, I think that’s a natural barrier for us. But, again, I hope they’ll look at me, look at my goals and give me a shot." Oregon’s last Republican Governor was Vic Atiyeh, who served two terms in the 1980s.
The winner of the Governor race, next week, will only serve two years, since this is a special election to determine who will finish out the term started by John Kitzhaber prior to his 2015 resignation. Dr. Pierce is hopeful voters will take a chance on him. "I do think this gives people a chance to let an outsider who believes he can make the lives of Oregonians better – it’s a short try. And, if this outsider isn’t what he’s billed himself to be and you elect him, toss him out; I have no trouble with that. But, I believe that, if I get elected, then I’ll be able to be reelected on my merits." Whoever wins could then run for a full four-year term in 2018.
To listen to our full conversation with Dr. Bud Pierce, visit our podcast page or click HERE.
PORTLAND, OR -- The 2015 snow pack was the lowest on record in Oregon, Washington and California. The region received a normal amount of precipitation; but, "It was exceptionally warm in Oregon; 6.5 degrees warmer than normal," says Phil Mote, Director of the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute. He adds, "That prevented the snow from falling down where it usually would."
Mote says greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are one reason. "In the case of an extremely warm winter, we do know that the extra heat-trapping gasses in the atmosphere probably made it a couple of degrees warmer than it would otherwise have been." The other factor, he says, was a "blob" of warm water in the Pacific Ocean.
This winter could go in the other direction. Mote says a La Niña appears to be forming in the Pacific, which could cause cooler temperatures and more snow.
SISTERS, OR -- Deschutes County Sheriff’s Detectives are looking for a car reported stolen from Marion County and seen speeding from Sisters to Bend.
Local law enforcement were advised of a reckless driver on Highway 20, Monday morning. Just before noon, a Black Butte Ranch officer and Sheriff’s deputy attempted to pull it over west of Sisters, but the driver failed to stop. Officers called off the brief pursuit for safety reasons.
It was spotted three more times between Sisters and Bend, and eluded police, each time. The suspect vehicle is a black 2012 Cadillac CTS two-door sedan, similar to the above picture, with Oregon Cultural Trust plates: CU-34110.
Anyone with information on the stolen car should call non-emergency dispatch at 541-693-6911.
BEND, OR -- A South County man, accused last week of assaulting a state trooper, has been indicted fore more than a dozen crimes stemming from two incidents.
The Deschutes County District Attorney's office says 50-year-old Alexander DiRienzo encountered Sheriff’s deputies in early September, when he pulled his car in front of patrol cars during a traffic stop, preventing the officers from leaving. When they attempted to detain him he drove to his nearby driveway, got out of his car with a gun and allegedly verbally threatened deputies.
The Grand Jury returned an indictment on 14 crimes, including Assaulting a Public Safety Officer, Unlawful Use of a Weapon, Robbery in the First Degree, Escape, Reckless Driving and Interfering with a Peace Officer. DiRienzo is due in court Tuesday afternoon.
BEND, OR -- Black ice is blamed for a crash on Lava Butte, early Tuesday morning.
Deschutes County deputies responded to a single-vehicle rollover, south of Bend, just after 4:30 a.m. They say the Ford Ranger pickup, driven by 52-year-old Daniel Robinson, slid off Highway 97. Robinson was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
Deputies say the road was wet with patches of black ice and they remind drivers to use extra caution with winter driving conditions.