BEND, OR -- The Mt. Bachelor Sports Education Foundation is searching for a new title sponsor for its largest annual fundraiser. After 39 years, US Bank says it won’t renew its sponsorship of the Pole Pedal Paddle.
The PPP is the largest multi-sport event in Central Oregon. It began with about 60 athletes in 1977, and over 2,500 took part this last year. It includes a downhill ski run on Mt. Bachelor, 8 km cross-country ski course, 22-mile bike ride on Century Drive into Bend, then a 5-mile trail run and a 2-mile paddle on the Deschutes River in a kayak before the half-mile sprint to the finish at The Old Mill in Bend.
BEND, OR -- Thick smoke forced Bend Park and Recreation to cancel an event scheduled for Wednesday at the whitewater park. Julie Brown, with the district, says other programs will be impacted for several days. "For example, our youth sports programs are not going to be practicing the rest of this week. We felt confident, with the forecast, that we’re not anticipating significant improvement with the air quality, and so that’s a decision that we’ve already made. And, we’re going to continue monitoring it through the holiday weekend and we’ll be back in touch with coaches and parents early next week."
The Bend Paddle Trail Alliance event canceled Wednesday is just one of several casualties of the smoke. "It’s undetermined at this point if we’re going to be able to reschedule that. We certainly all hope that that is going to be possible before the season changes," says Brown. "In addition to that, the rental concessions for river tubes and paddle boards at Riverbend Park also closed. River recreation is impacted by the air quality, too." Other outdoor activities and programs were canceled, as well, including pickleball, tennis and softball. She tells KBND News, "We’re really following the guidance of so many of the health experts who are advising against rigorous outdoor activity for children, but also for people of all ages. Our air quality is just at a situation where we need to be spending more time indoors." Park and Rec plans to update its website with air quality impacts.
PENDLETON, OR -- Wildfire smoke continues to permeate nearly every corner of the High Desert, but Meteorologist John Peck, with the National Weather Service in Pendleton, says don't blame new local fires reported this week. "They’re definitely contributing, but by far the large amount of smoke that’s up there right now is coming from the very large fires in northern California and southwestern Oregon."
Peck says the upper-level haze is typically from distant fires, "You can get a really big smoke plume and it’ll blot out the sun, but that generally doesn’t affect the surface visibility that much. When you get the more local smoke that doesn’t get into the upper-level winds, it just kind of drifts around, that’s really what’s substantially reducing the surface air quality and surface visibility." But, in Central Oregon, we're getting a combination of both. Peck adds, "Most of the smoke that’s really dropping the 'vis' down in Bend is actually from the fires in northwest California and southwest Oregon; the very large ones down there: The Chetco Bar, and the Eclipse Complex in northern California."
Peck tells KBND News cooler temperatures will help, temporarily. "As the winds switch around to the northwest, that should scour out some of that low-level smoke. But, of course, the Milli Fire is directly upwind of you with a northwest wind, so you’ll still have some." And after that, "We’ll have another high moving in for the weekend. We’re expecting very warm temperatures – near record temperatures – and the winds will be switching back around to basically light from the south/southeast. It might not be quite as bad for the weekend, but any smoke that forms is likely going to linger with that high pressure moving over us." He predicts Friday's high around 94, then, "Saturday 98 and Sunday 97. We’ll cool off a little bit for Labor Day, back to 93, and temperatures kind of look to hover around the same area, the low 90s, after that."
BEND, OR -- A number of local wildfires are contributing to Central Oregon's poor air quality, although larger fires elsewhere in the region are primarily to blame for continued smoke and haze.
The McKay Fire (pictured above), first reported Tuesday afternoon near McKay Butte northeast of La Pine, remains just over 1,200 acres and is now 50% contained. Containment lines held yesterday, allowing crews to mop up along the perimeter.
Growth of the Nash Fire, in the Three Sisters Wilderness, prompted Level 2 pre-evacuation orders for Elk Lake Resort and surrounding campgrounds. Level 1 notices were issued for Lava Lake Resort, as well. The Nash Fire is part of the Horse Creek Complex of five fires, which have burned over 8,300 acres.
Near Sisters, the Milli Fire grew to 22,190, as of Thursday morning. It's now 44% contained.
Crews battling the Chetco Bar Fire on the Southern Oregon Coast are worried the fire will continue to grow, as another week of hot weather approaches. It's burned more than 128,000 acres and it's generating so much smoke that aircraft dumping fire retardant have been limited in making runs. Carol Connelly, at the Northwest Coordination Center, says they're working to strengthen lines to protect homes. "The fire’s progress toward the southwest corner of the fire line is growing daily and they are strengthening those fire lines that are between the fire and the community of Brookings."
Connelly says, "Our firefighting resources are at critically low supply. We do have over 9,500 firefighters and support personnel in the region." There are currently more than a dozen large fires or fire complexes burning in Oregon.
BEND, OR -- A 70-year old Bend man was allegedly assaulted with a shovel at the Bend River Promenade by a man attempting to steal his pickup. Bystanders helped the victim get the suspect out of the truck; he then ran from the scene. Bend Police say the victim suffered a superficial head injury.
Officers arriving just before 7:30 a.m. Wednesday set up a perimeter and a K9 unit tracked the suspect, identified as 21-year-old John Silver of New York. A witness later spotted Silver and he was arrested without incident.
Investigators say he stole the shovel from the back of another vehicle parked at Hobby Lobby prior to the assault. Silver faces numerous charges, including Robbery I, Assault II and Theft III.
REDMOND, OR -- Governor Kate Brown was in Bend this week, promoting two big projects in Bend and Terrebonne funded by the recently passed 10-year statewide transportation package. But, Highway 97 isn’t the only north-south route in Central Oregon to benefit from the bill. "Local jurisdictions will have more capital improvement and maintenance dollars as part of this package, for many years to come. And, we’re already planning for the capital improvements for the dollars that will start to flow," Deschutes County Commissioner Tony DeBone tells KBND News. "One of the big things is the Old Bend Redmond [Highway] corridor."
MADRAS, OR -- The Three Rivers Humane Society, in Jefferson County, broke ground Tuesday on a new facility. Executive Director Stephen Drynan says the 5,300 square foot building will be nearly five-times the size of the existing animal shelter. He tells KBND News, "It’ll hold 41 indoor kennels, a brand new adoption office, an office for employees, break room, it’ll have a new laundry facility, as well as an intake room and lastly it’ll have a get-to-know-you room indoors."
Currently, there are only ten indoor kennels and most dogs are housed in foster homes or in outdoor kennels (right), even in the winter. The new facility is a big improvement, "It means that they’re not going to be out in the elements 24/7, when it’s cold. Even though we had heated dog beds and heated water bowls, it’s still cold out. So, they won’t have to be out in there unless they’re going out to go potty or going out to a play yard for a little bit."
SISTERS, OR -- Several new fires were reported across Central Oregon, Tuesday. Two discovered south of Lava Butte triggered the evacuation and closure of the Lava River Cave and lava Lands Visitors Center, south of Bend, for the day. Both fires were kept small.
REDMOND, OR -- Redmond Police are investigating an early Wednesday morning house fire on the north end of town. Firefighters responded to NW Maple Avenue, just west of Business Highway 97, at about 3 a.m. after receiving a 911 call.
Arriving fire crews found smoke and flames extending through the roof of the one-story house, threatening another structure. A power line was down and arcing in the rear of the building, as well. The fire department left at about 5:30 a.m., but were called back to the scene after more smoke was seen coming from the building; they continued to mop up the scene.
Everyone inside the home safely evacuated prior to the arrival of emergency crews, although a dog died in the blaze.
BEND, OR -- A Deschutes County Grand Jury has indicted two people associated with the former High Desert Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Center, in Bend. Jeanette Bonomo and Dr. Jeffrey Cooney face 19 counts of Animal Neglect and three counts of Wildlife Law violations.
SISTERS, OR -- The Milli Fire continues to send smoke and ash across Central Oregon, especially in Sisters and Black Butte Ranch. Due to the poor air quality, helicopters were not able to fly at low altitudes to conduct aerial ignitions; however, a high altitude aircraft was able to monitor fire activity and the perimeter.
As of Tuesday morning, the 11-day-old wildfire was estimated at just over 21,000 acres and 32% contained. Crews worked overnight to gain better access to a two to three-acre spot fire. Fire managers say air quality could decrease through tomorrow morning, "The communities of Sisters, Bend and Redmond should expect to see ash falling as the Milli Fire continues to burn near Black Crater." Residents are encouraged to avoid outdoor activity. Afternoon winds may move smoke out and increase air quality from "unhealthy" to "moderate."
All wilderness closures and Level one and Level two evacuation warnings remain in place.
BEND, OR -- Governor Kate Brown stopped in Bend Monday as part of a statewide tour celebrating the $5.3 billion, 10-year transportation package passed by the Legislature. She gathered with representatives from the Oregon Department Transportation and Commute Options, Crook and Deschutes County Commissioners, Bend City Councilors and other dignitaries for a ceremonial bill signing at Highway 97 and Cooley Road, an intersection slated for improvements thanks to the package.
It’s expected to help fund two major Highway 97 projects in Central Oregon. Governor Brown told the crowd, "We are able to make significant investments in the Terrebonne safety project, as well as, hopefully reduce congestion and create a better, safer corridor on Highway 97. Not only will the package improve the safety and condition of our roads and bridges, it’ll help support thousands of family-wage jobs and help local businesses get their goods to market more efficiently." Work on the $20 million Terrebonne project should get underway in 2021. The bill also includes $50 million in work at Highway 97 and Cooley Road, in Bend. That project is slated for construction in 2025.
BEND, OR -- Three people were seriously injured in a Monday night crash on Old Bend Redmond Highway near Tumalo Road. The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office says a 30-year-old Wisconsin man was southbound when his Jeep struck the rear tire of a tractor also traveling south, just before 9:30 p.m.
The Jeep rolled and initial reports indicated the driver, Daniel Maegli was pinned under the vehicle, but it was moved prior to the arrival of law enforcement. Maegli and his two passengers - 40-year-old Mackenzie Kershaw and 31-year-old Casey Tracht, both of Bend - were taken to St. Charles Bend with serious injuries.
Investigators don't believe the three people in the Jeep were wearing seatbelts and alcohol may have been a factor in the crash. The incident remains under investigation and criminal charges are possible.
BEND, OR -- St. Charles Health System will make deeper cuts in the next few months, to trim rising expenses. Chief Financial Officer Jan Welander says that despite changes made earlier this year, things continued moving in the wrong direction in July. "We operated at a loss of approximately a million dollars for the month. We have a projection for our performance for the year and we’re needing to improve that by approximately $6 million."
SISTERS, OR -- Winds shifted, Sunday afternoon, pushing smoke and ash from the Milli Fire back over Black Butte Ranch and Sisters. Fire managers expect those conditions to extend at least through Monday as warmer and drier weather increases fire activity.
TERREBONNE, OR -- About a dozen members of a Redmond church took a big leap of faith, Sunday afternoon. They bungee jumped from the High Bridge, 300' above the Crooked River, at Peter Skene Ogden Scenic Wayside. Six of them were also baptized. Mission Church Pastor Ryan Emerick tells KBND News, "We don’t want to baptize people through the bungee jumping; they’re not supposed to get that close! We’ve got people who are bungee jumping and some of those people are getting baptized, as well, so we have a baptism tank out here in the park. And, other people aren’t bungee jumping but still wanted to take that step and get baptized, so we’re doing both. Either way, it’s just a day full of fun and celebration."
LA PINE, OR -- A California woman was killed in a Friday afternoon crash north of La Pine. According to Oregon State Police, 58-year-old Pamela Vanworth, of Klamath Falls, was speeding southbound on Highway 97 at around 3:30 p.m. when she lost control while passing numerous vehicles. She crashed into an ODOT incident response pickup driven by John Benson, of Redmond.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- Plans for a 17-mile scenic bikeway in Crook County are moving forward. Alexandra Phillips, Bikeways and Waterways Coordinator for the State Parks and Recreation Department, says public comments received so far on the Crooked River Canyon Scenic Bikeway proposal have been mostly positive. "A lot of people who think it’s a beautiful route, that think it’s great because it’s not super difficult. We always hear the concern of cyclists and motorists on the road together; and, that is a concern. Bicyclists are legally allowed on the roads. I just ask everybody – everybody – cyclists and motorists, to follow the rules of the road and the speed limit."
Phillips tells KBND News it's an out-and-back route using existing roads. "It starts just outside of Prineville at Rimrock Park, which is really close to the fairgrounds. And, it goes 17 miles up the Crooked River Canyon to Big Bend Campground." She believes it will be popular with cyclists from all over, "It’s beautiful, it’s not super difficult and amazingly, there’s a lot of cyclists who like to combine fishing and biking."
The official designation isn't a "done-deal," but Phillips says it is moving forward quickly. "The application and the final bikeway plan require letters of support from all the road managers. So, that’s the city, county, state, even the Bureau of Reclamation. And, we have letters of support from all of those." Phillips says those letters will go to the Parks Commission, along with all public comments. The Commission is expected to vote on the final proposal later this year.
BEND, OR -- Five people were arrested last week, following a month-long investigation into the sale of meth and heroin in Deschutes County. Detectives with the Sheriff’s office Street Crimes Unit and the regional Drug Enforcement team executed a search warrant at a home on Starwood Drive and seized drugs, a loaded gun, a surveillance system and evidence of drug sales.
BEND, OR -- About 75 residents of Mt. Bachelor Assisted Living and Memory Care were evacuated Friday morning, after a dryer cought fire, sending smoke into the building. Bend firefighters responded to the facility on Powers Road just after 9 a.m. and found smoke in a hallway near the laundry room. The building was evacuated prior to
emergency crews' arrival, with the exception of a few non-ambulatory residents who "sheltered in place" on upper floors.
Fire officials say the sprinkler system helped stop flames from spreading; the fire was contained to the dryer unit. Crews extinguished the fire and removed the lingering smoke before allowing residents to return. The specific cause of the fire remains under investigation.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- Three security guards working at the Symbiosis eclipse event at Big Summit Prairie were arrested this week for unlawfully entering an RV and detaining two guests – one was injured during the incident. The guards allegedly suspected the couple was making drugs but Crook County deputies say the man and woman were not, nor did the guards have the legal authority to take action.
Investigators arrested 22-year-old Jared Leoney of Bothel, WA, 37-year-old Ryan Schroeder of Arlington, WA and 44-year-old Thomas King of North Bend, OR. King also had a gun, although authorities say it wasn't displayed during the incident. While he had a concealed weapons permit out of Coos County, one of the conditions of the event permit was that no guns be allowed on premises.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- The two Lake Tahoe sisters reported missing this week at the Symbiosis eclipse festival were found safe Thursday morning. Crook County Sheriff John Gautney says the pair stayed at the Big Summit Prairie event two days longer than planned and checked in with their parents as soon as they realized people were looking for them.
SISTERS, OR -- Firefighters began burnout operations on the Milli Fire, near Sisters, Thursday afternoon, and a cold front cleared skies enough to allow firefighting planes to resume aerial suppression efforts. While there wasn’t large fire growth, Thursday, it’s still spreading into the wilderness. As of Friday morning, the Milli Fire is estimated at 13, 485 acres with containment holding at 32% contained. Level one and two evacuation warnings remain in place.
MADRAS, OR -- Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017
Madras Police say they’ve identified the man who robbed the U.S. Bank in downtown Madras, amid Monday afternoon’s eclipse crowds. Working with the FBI, investigators believe 28-year-old Tyler Wayne Fuller walked into the bank just before 2 p.m. and demanded cash from the teller.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- An 18-year-old woman and her younger sister have been reported missing in Crook County, following the Symbiosis eclipse festival. Their parents last heard from Melissa Lea and her sister in the Bend area, August 20. They've filed a missing persons report in their hometown of Lake Tahoe.
The two were last known to be at the event at Big Summit Prairie. The parents are concerned because the girls haven't checked in since Sunday. Crook County Sheriff's deputies confirmed Lea's debit card was used August 22 at the Symbiosis event. She's associated with a black Toyota Sequoia SUV, with California license plates.
Anyone with information on their whereabouts is asked to call non-emergency dispatch at 541-447-6398.
THURSDAY 7 a.m. UPDATE: Darryl Lea told KCRA-TV in Sacramento Wednesday his daughters checked in on Sunday when they stopped in Bend to rest. Melissa called that night: "My wife said goodnight to her and Kalila." When he was asked whether he knew where the girls were staying in Bend, he replied, "No; my wife didn’t get that information and she didn’t push the issue." He says he knew they were headed to Prineville to watch the eclipse. But, "I didn’t know anything about the festival until today."
BEND, OR -- While some Central Oregonians are criticizing emergency managers and local law enforcement for warnings issued in advance of Monday’s eclipse, the Deschutes County Sheriff is pleased with how the past week has gone. "The message was, ‘look, there’s going to be a lot of people on the road; there may be a shortage of supplies.’ I think that a lot of the local businesses and grocery stores were well prepared," Sheriff Shane Nelson tells KBND News. "We still have a large number of people in neighboring counties who may pass through this larger area because of supplies and fuel. So, it’s really not over yet."
BEND, OR -- A Bend transient is accused of slashing numerous tires at the Centennial Parking Plaza garage. Bend Police say employees from the Oxford Hotel found a man sleeping in a stairwell of the garage, with a knife in his hand. They asked him to leave. After he walked away, witnesses heard air hissing from tires and discovered 11 slashed tires on 11 different vehicles.
SISTERS, OR -- Residents of the Crossroads subdivision, Edgington Road, Remuda Road, Peterson Burn Road, Wild Wing and Three Creeks Road are allowed to return to their homes, as of noon, Wednesday. The Deschutes County Sheriff's Office reduced the evacuation notice from Level 3 (Leave Now) to Level 2 (Be Set) at 10 a.m. The Tollgate subdivision and Black Butte Ranch remain under Level 1 notice (Get Ready).
The Milli Fire is now estimated at 12,457 acres and 23% contained. It was sparked by lightning about two weeks ago.
The Red Cross will provide lunch and dinner at Sisters Middle School, and plans to close its shelter Wednesday evening. They will open an Emergency Aid Station Thursday, at the same location, to provide information, meals and a place to escape the smoke, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Another public meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday at Sisters High School.
Updated 11:30 a.m. with new map published by Milli Fire managers.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- An Arizona man was arrested early Tuesday morning after leading law enforcement on a brief chase down a narrow Crook County forest service road. According to the Sheriff's Office, 32-year-old Randon Reid was leaving the Symbiosis eclipse event at Big Summit Prairie in a white Ford Crown Victoria, just before 1:30 a.m. The "police style vehicle" was equipped with a spot light and push bumper.
Reid was southbound on FS Rd 42 when he allegedly passed county and city patrol cars on a double yellow line at a blind corner. Sheriff's deputies and police officers tried to stop the car, but they say it accelerated, speeding south with patrol cars in pursuit, their emergency lights activated.
After about a half mile, the Crown Victoria lost control and crashed into a tree, which prevented the car from going down a steep embankment. Reid was taken into custody without further incident. Deputies took him to St. Charles for evaluation then transported him to the Crook County Jail.
Reid is charged with Attempt to Elude, Reckless Driving, Possession of Cocaine and Possession of Schedule II Controlled Substance.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- Prineville Police are searching for a man accused of an early morning assault. A 24-year-old man says he got into a confrontation with 22-year-old Dustin Collins, at about 3:20 a.m. Wednesday, near NW 10th and Main St.
SISTERS, OR -- Poor air quality is expected to continue, at least through Wednesday; smoke from the Milli Fire has created hazardous air quality in Sisters and the DEQ says it's unhealthy in Bend. The smoke caused significant visibility issues Tuesday, and firefighting aircraft were grounded most of the day. However, fire managers say smoke also hindered the fire's growth and it held at just over 11,000 acres. It was 23% contained as of Tuesday evening.
MADRAS, OR -- The tens of thousands of people who converged on Madras to watch Monday's eclipse were not disappointed. Cheers erupted at SolarFest at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds as totality began, just before 10:20. Horns sounded, letting everyone know it was safe to remove their protective eyewear for two minutes.
MADRAS, OR -- A downtown Madras bank was robbed, just as eclipse viewers jammed roads after the big event. A man entered The US Bank at Highway 97 and C street, just before 2 p.m. He demanded money and left with an undisclosed amount of cash. No one was injured.
SISTERS, OR -- It's been 10 days since anyone's seen 33-year-old Ben Hendrickson, a Sisters man who disappeared August 12 while camping at Suttle Lake with friends. His mother Sherri believes the search effort has been impacted by all of the extra people in the area for the eclipse. She tells KBND News, "It hampered the search enough that we cannot bring in a search dog because of the timeframe that has already gone by and the amount of people. That should've been done day one, but the search was just primarily water at that time." She says there was an extensive effort early on, "There was sonar boats out on Suttle Lake, and divers, and cadaver dogs. And that has come up with nothing. There are really no clues other than his kayak, his oar, and his baseball hat [found] on the bank."
MADRAS, OR -- Jefferson County officials have identified the pilot killed in a weekend plane crash south of the Madras Airport. Mark James Rich, a 59-year-old Menlo Park, California man, was killed when his 2002 fixed-wing, single engine aircraft crashed into Willow Creek Canyon, Saturday afternoon.
MADRAS, OR -- One person was killed in a Saturday afternoon plane crash, just south of the Madras Airport. The small small plane went down in Willow Creek Canyon shortly before 2 p.m. When first responders arrived on the scene, they found the aircraft engulfed in flames at the top of the canyon.
A small brush fire caused by the crash was quickly extinguished. The FAA and NTSB are investigating the incident and witnesses are being interviewed. The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office says the pilot was the only person on board and did not survive.
Updated Sunday afternoon to reflect updated information from the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office that the pilot was alone on the plane.
SISTERS, OR -- Friday's winds pushed the Milli Fire east-southeast, causing Level 3 evacuations of about 600 people. The "Go Now" evacuation order remained in place Saturday for the subdivisions of Edgington/Remuda Road, Crossroads, Wildwing Peterson Burn Road area, and along both sides of Three Creeks Lake Road, immediately south of Sisters. The Tollgate subdivision remains at Level 1 ("Get Ready").
The Red Cross and Salvation Army are working to provide food and shelter to those forced out of their homes. A temporary shelter is set up at Sisters Middle School. Volunteers are serving over 100 people.
Highway 242 (McKenzie Pass Highway) also remains closed east of Cascade Crest to the junction of Forest Road 15. And, area closures remain in place within the Three Sisters Wilderness of the Deschutes National Forest.
As of Saturday morning, the Milli Fire had burned 7,814 acres and was 0% contained.
Photo courtesy of Pilot Bill Gilliland
BEND, OR -- Bend City Councilors approved a package of improvements, this week, to address safety concerns downtown. City Manager Eric King says they’ve been trying to address rising crime for several years, but the problems are multi-dimensional. "Yes, there is an enforcement component, and some coordination between Bend Police Department and the DA. We’re also partnering with the county in providing better mental health and drug and alcohol services. Our officers are spending a lot of time on mental health calls and we need a more efficient way to deal with that, so things are in the works right now. Those are more in the long-term category. But, this is not just an enforcement problem."
King tells KBND News there was broad support for the package of action items approved at this week's Council meeting. Improvements range from short term fixes to long-term projects. "They involve things like private security and security cameras in strategic locations; some physical improvements to the area, including removing garbage enclosures that are an attractive nuisance; and some longer term items, like reconfiguring the Mirror Pond parking lot to really prevent some of the activity that we’re seeing." Some changes have been in the works for a while, but others are in response to recent resident and business owner complaints and suggestions. "Things like a pressure washer downtown, to really clean up the sidewalks and again encourage folks to move on; amending some of our codes to really clarify our codes to really clarify obstruction, to prevent obstruction; and then, posting some signs for ‘no overnight parking’ along parks that are adjacent to the river. We’re seeing more camping along the river."
King says some changes won't cost any extra, but the city plans to spend between $90,000 and $105,000 on the overall package. Much of that money will come from savings found in the 2016-17 budget.
BEND, OR -- A Bend man is accused of drug possession, theft and escape, following an investigation into stolen bikes. Over the last several weeks, police developed information that 31-year-old Christopher Blaylock was receiving stolen bicycles; he also had a valid felony warrant for a parole violation.
Officers executed a search warrant Thursday night at the northeast Bend home Blaylock shares with his girlfriend, 31-year-old Codie Messina. During the search, Blaylock jumped from a bedroom window and ran from the house. He was caught and detained by officers in an adjacent parking lot.
Inside the home, investigators recovered more than a dozen stolen bikes in various forms of disassembly; some were repainted. They also discovered numerous bicycle parts and a gas powered snow blower, along with $965 in cash and various quantities of cocaine, meth and heroin packaged for sale.
Blaylock is charged with a Felony Warrant, Theft II, Escape III, Manufacturing, and Delivery and Possession of Heroin, Meth and Cocaine. Messina also faces drug charges. The investigation into the ownership of the bikes and snow blower is ongoing.
BEND, OR -- A Bend couple is accused of child neglect after their two-year-old was found with suspicious injuries, earlier this month. While investigating a domestic violence report, Bend Police found 25-year-old Matthew Mitchell with his daughter, August 1, and determined the man had been assaulted by his wife Juliana. The toddler was taken to the hospital for evaluation, then placed into protective custody.
During the investigation, police determined Juliana had left the girl alone on at least four occasions, and Matthew left her alone in the unlocked apartment on at least nine occasions. Police belive the couple was also using heroin and meth in the home.
REDMOND, OR -- Highway 26 through Prineville remained congested most of Thursday, prompting officials to reroute thousands of vehicles around the city for several hours. An overwhelming number of RVs, trailers, trucks, cars and vans were headed to a Big Summit Prairie, creating a line of traffic more than 15 miles, at times. Prineville Police rerouted them on to Paulina Highway to ease congestion. By Friday morning, much of it had dissipated.
Many of those planning to attend the Symbiosis event in the Ochocos traveled far and wide to watch the eclipse. Pasan Tennakoon flew in to Redmond Thursday from Australia. He tells KBND News, "We've got like us and at least maybe 30 people from Perth, maybe even more; That's our hometown back in Australia. And, we're all traveling in separate groups, but we're all trying to convene and meet together as one and have an epic time over the next week or so." He and his traveling partner say they are prepared for the crowds. After 30 hours on various planes, he said he could handle a few more hours on the road.
SISTERS, OR -- The Milli Fire, eight miles west of Sisters, continues to challenge firefighters working in rugged terrain and hazardous conditions left by a previous burn. Level 2 evacuation notices remain for areas south of Highway 242 (McKenzie Pass Highway) and west of Pole Creek Ditch, including the Crossroads Subdivision and homes off Edgington and Remuda roads. Those residents need to be “set” to leave at a moment’s notice.
WARM SPRINGS, OR -- After making considerable progress on the Nena Springs Fire, earlier this week, fire managers released some resources. But, the Oregon State Fire Marshal’s Red Incident Management Team and three task forces are now being redeployed to the Warm Springs Reservation.
REDMOND, OR -- The Multi-Agency Coordination Center (MACC) is now operational at the Deschutes County Fairgrounds in Redmond. "Federal, state, local – all government agencies – there’s more than 20 represented here, from DEQ to ODOT to school districts," says Julianne Repman, with Bend-La Pine Schools. She tells KBND News, "We’re all at the table together; we take off those hats from our agencies."
Planning for the MACC (right) began nearly two years ago, in anticipation of the August 21 eclipse. Repman says it's the largest, pre-planned response effort ever established in the Tri-County region. "The effort here is to protect lives, natural resources, and then – in this event – we want to make sure that both our residents and community members have everything they need to be safe, and also to have a good time."
Traffic and wildfire management are top priorities, right now; but Repman says they have to be ready for anything. So far, the center isn't hearing a lot of concerns from the public, but she says they are getting a lot of questions. "I think what we’re seeing is that people might be a little bit surprised that what we have anticipated is actually becoming a reality. But, they’re dealing with it really well. We’ve got great people coming in to town and we’ve got great people as resources supporting them to keep them safe."
Repman manages the Joint Information Center (JIC), inside the MAC, staffed by public information officers from MACC agencies. The JIC (left) is tasked with getting important information out to the media and public over the next several days, via the Central Oregon Emergency Information Network.
Eclipse Coverage on KBND is supported in part by Awnings Unlimited. Shade yourself from the sun with Awnings Unlimited at 5541-389-1619 and awningsunlimited.net.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed a new law that raises the required minimum age to legally buy tobacco from 18 to 21.
SALEM, OR -- Oregon Governor Kate Brown invoked the the Emergency Conflagration Act, Thursday morning, in response to the growing Milli Fire. The blaze, about eight miles west of Sisters, became more active in Wednesday afternoon winds and exploded to 3,000 acres in size. It's currently 0% contained.
The Milli Fire is currently threatening about 434 structures, and Level 2 evacuation alerts have been issued for several residential areas, including the Crossroads Subdivision. The Red Cross has opened an emergency evacuation shelter at Sisters Middle School. A community meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday at Sisters High School
Due to the fire burning partially in the fire scar of the 2006 Black Crater Fire, ground crews are using extreme caution in areas with dead and standing timber. "State agencies are already working around the clock and across the state, and as we get closer to the total solar eclipse, we'll need all resources available to keep communities, visitors, and property safe," Governor Brown said in a statement. "I appreciate the dedication and hard work of our state and local fire crews and thank the Oregon National Guard for providing additional support."
PRINEVILLE, OR -- The massive eclipse viewing event at Big Summit Prairie in the Ochocos gets underway Thursday, and it's already leading to major traffic problems in Crook County. Highway 26 east of Prineville was extremely congested Wednesday night; at one point ODOT reports the backup stretched about 14 miles. Eastbound traffic west of Prineville wasn't any better. The Symbiosis festival is expected to draw 30,000 people.
Thursday 8:15 a.m. Update: The Deschutes County Sheriff's Office has issued a Level 2 Evacuation notice for all areas south of Highway 242 (McKenzie Hwy) and west of Pole Creek Ditch, including the Crossroads Subdivision and homes off Edgington Rd and Remuda Rd. "Level 2" means residents need to be prepared to leave at a moment's notice and indicates significant danger to the area.
The fire grew from an estimated 260 acres, Wednesday, to 3,000 acres.
SISTERS, OR -- The Milli Fire, burning eight miles west of Sisters, flared up with Wednesday afternoon's wind, sending up a large smoke column and pushing back fire crews. The increased fire activity prompted Level 1 evacuation notices for areas south of McKenzie Highway and west of the Pole Creek Ditch, including the Crossroads Subdivision and homes off of Edgington Rd and Remuda Rd. Level 1 means residents need to be ready for potential evacuation.
The Forest Service and fire managers will provided updated information at a public meeting scheduled for 6 o'clock Thursday evening at Sisters High School. Because of the increased fire activity, officials aren't yet able to provide a size estimate. Click HERE for Wednesday morning's estimates.
With increased fire activity and hundreds of thousands of visitors in the area for the eclipse, the Central Oregon Fire Chiefs Association has banned recreational fires, including campfires, on private lands within all the fire districts in the tri-county region. Portable cooking stoves and lanterns using liquefied or bottled fuel are allowed, but charcoal and pellet fires are now prohibited.
Updated at 10:30 a.m. to reflect the change in community meeting location, from Sisters Middle to Sisters High School.
REDMOND, OR -- Central Oregonians already face long lines at grocery stores and gas stations, and in some cases they’re finding fuel pumps have run dry.
Peter Murphy, with the Oregon Department of Transportation, says the pinch on fuel supplies is because locals are heeding eclipse warnings. "People are doing the right thing. You know, they’re getting out and getting ready in advance and that’ll leave the opportunity for our visitors to come and fill up. So, if we all do that then there should be plenty of gas to go around when they have to get out of town." And, that’s when he expects real trouble at gas stations and on roadways. "Everybody – well half of everybody – is planning on leaving on Monday and the other half on Tuesday; so that’s when the demand is going to be. And, if we folks here can avoid going to the gas station on those two days, in particular, than we should be fine," says Murphy.
Eclipse Coverage on KBND is supported in part by Awnings Unlimited. Shade yourself from the sun with Awnings Unlimited at 5541-389-1619 and awningsunlimited.net.
TERREBONNE, OR -- A 49-year-old Bend man is accused of driving under the influence of alcohol and marijuana, which the Sheriff’s Office says led to a Wednesday night crash.
Robert Cole failed to negotiate curves on Northwest Way near Terrebonne and hit a telephone pole and a rock pile on the side of the road, just before 8:30 p.m. He walked away from the scene before deputies arrived but was found in a nearby pasture with the help of a Bend Police K-9 unit.
Cole was hurt and was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries after his arrest.
REDMOND, OR -- Anne Graham resigned from the Redmond City Council, this week. She tells KBND News she’d considered stepping down for a while because of the deteriorating relationship between herself and the Mayor. "Anyone who’s been watching the interactions between the Mayor and myself will have noticed that we have not been getting along for the entire 2 ½ years that I’ve been on Council."
But, she says the final decision was made Monday evening. "A fellow Councilor very kindly brought the Mayor and I together in an offline meeting to try and see if we could work out our differences and it did not go well." Mayor George Endicott says she had a prepared letter in her purse, "At the conclusion of our meeting that lasted approximately an hour, Anne handed me a letter of resignation." He tells KBND News, "Yeah, I was surprised."
SALEM, OR -- Oregon's unemployment rate rose a fraction to 3.8% in July, but remains near the record low of 3.6% seen in May of this year. Employment Department Economist Nick Beleicicks says an increasing number of people are finding full-time work, "The number of people who are working part-time but who would rather be working full-time - we call those 'involuntary part-time workers' - that's at a record low level."
The state added 5,900 jobs last month. Beleicicks says, "Job growth had slowed at the beginning of the year. In January, we were down to just 2% over-the-year job growth. Now we're back up to above three - we're at 3.1%; that's much faster than the U.S. rate." Leisure & Hospitality and Construction added the most jobs; Healthcare and Retail also saw gains. Professional & Business Services was the only major industry to cut more than a thousand jobs.
BEND, OR -- Eight people were arrested as part of an ongoing investigation into suspected drug activity at a Bend property on Northeast 12th Street. Bend Police had received multiple complaints regarding traffic at the home.
While conducting surveillance last week, officers watched a pickup stop at the house for a short time then leave. They pulled it over and arrested four people from Mill City: 21-year-old Jesse Gust, 34-year-old Klint Wise, 57-year-old Janene Gust and 61-year-old Randy Resch. Investigators seized 97 grams of meth, a third of which was packaged for sales. Wise reportedly attempted to escape and resisted arrest; had an out-of-state warrant and is also charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm.
MADRAS, OR -- The Central Oregon Drug Enforcement team has released details of a Jefferson County drug bust conducted in May. Authorities say the delay in information was due to the ongoing investigation.
REDMOND, OR -- Dry and breezy conditions Wednesday could increase local wildfire activity. An incident management team from the southwest is now helping with several fires in the Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests; it's also available to manage any new starts over the next few weeks.
REDMOND, OR -- A 20-year-old Redmond man is accused of trying to lure a 15-year-old for sex. Police arrested Austin Rose on Monday after receiving information that he had contacted the Redmond girl via text message and social media.
BEND, OR -- Central Oregonians are stocking up on gas, medications and supplies, for fear local streets will be clogged with eclipse viewers over the next few days. Local garbage haulers are worried they’ll run into the same problem.
The newly listed downtown Redmond segment is about 6,780' long. It's the 41st Deschutes County property to be listed on the Register, which is managed by the National Park Service.
Photo courtesy Deschutes Historical Society: Pilot Butte Canal 1907
SISTERS, OR -- A Sisters man remains missing after two days of searching in and around Suttle Lake. Ben Hendrickson hasn’t been seen since about 9:30 Saturday night. The 33-year-old's vehicle and camping equipment were found at the Blue Bay Campground; his kayak and a few personal items were discovered on the south side of the lake, although they were not located together.
Jefferson and Deschutes County Search and Rescue teams performed a hasty search by land and water, but were unsuccessful. Hendrickson’s phone is turned off and missing, so GPS data is unavailable. Officials say it is difficult to get lost on land at Suttle Lake, due to its proximity to paved roads. Hendrickson is said to be in good physical condition.
SISTERS, OR -- A 24-year-old Portland man was rescued from South Sister, Monday, after he was found incoherent and crawling along a trail. Jhonzell Burton reportedly had been attempting to summit the peak with friends when he began to suffer from an unknown medical problem. Deschutes County 911 received the call for help at about 12:40 p.m.
REDMOND, OR -- Redmond City Councilor Anne Graham resigned from the City Council, Monday night. In a message to supporters posted to Facebook, she says her decision to step down has nothing to do with the recent investigation and subsequent decision handed down last month by the State Government Ethics Commission or for health reasons, but she refused to elaborate further.
BEND, OR -- This week's expected invasion of eclipse visitors could put a serious strain on Central Oregon gasoline supplies. Mid-Columbia Producers, a regional oil and gas distributor, is getting prepared.
Kathy Temple, with MCP, says they're ready, "We've done everything we possibly can - talking to our carriers, talking to our staff, talking to our customers - to make sure that everybody's prepared and knows what to expect." But, she admits getting more fuel into the area could prove difficult. "We have the ability to store fuel in multiple locations. But, we've talked to our carriers because one of the problems is going to be not only the fuel that's stored here in Central Oregon, but it's getting the fuel. Most comes from the Portland rack, and that's going to be a gruesome drive, but we're doing everything we can possibly do to prepare for what's basically the unknown." Her biggest suggestion for drivers: Fill up your tank well in advance.
She tells KBND News they're trying to plan for every eventuality, "A certain amount of fuel, of course, will be saved, for emergency medical vehicles. I mean, we have to make sure that we service that sector, should an emergency arise."
For Mid-Columbia Producers, Temple says this is practice for an actual disaster. "Of course the question is always: How are we going to make sure there's fuel? This is really a dress rehearsal, for a disaster, in our minds, and a huge opportunity to learn. But I think we've got as good a handle as we possibly can on it and, at least this one we get to plan for."
Eclipse Coverage on KBND is supported in part by Awnings Unlimited. Shade yourself from the sun with Awnings Unlimited at 5541-389-1619 and awningsunlimited.net.
WARM SPRINGS, OR -- Cooler weekend temperatures and some rain helped crews battling the Nena Springs Fire: It's now 60% contained and some evacuation orders have been reduced or lifted. It’s burned about 40,000 acres on the Warm Springs Reservation.
CROOKED RIVER RANCH, OR -- A Crooked River Ranch house was destroyed by fire, late Saturday night. Firefighters responded to the double-wide mobile home on Shad Road, just before 11 p.m. and found the structure fully engulfed, with flames spreading to nearby trees and grass. Pacific Power responded to the scene to handle an energized power line found lying on the ground.
The home was unoccupied at the time; no injuries were reported. The structure and contents were a total loss. Several trees had to be cut down due to safety concerns. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
BEND, OR -- An 18-year-old was killed in a weekend crash near Bend High that critically wounded his 19-year-old passenger. According to Police, Daniel Bazan, of Bend, was speeding on NE 9th, just before 4 a.m. Saturday, when his car left the road and struck a tree. Bazan died at the scene.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- A La Pine man died at Prineville Reservoir, Saturday afternoon. According to the Crook County Sheriff’s Office, 28-year-old Christopher Brown climbed to the top of Dinosaur Rock and jumped more than 100-feet into the water but didn’t resurface.
REDMOND, OR -- A Mercedes van caught fire in the Coastal Farm and Ranch parking lot on the south end of Redmond, just after noon Thursday, sending up thick black smoke and causing multiple small explosions. Firefighters extinguished the flames and protected nearby vehicles and trees.
Earlier in the morning, Redmond crews responded to a cooking fire on Southwest 23rd. A 20-year-old woman left a pan of oil cooking on the stove for an extended period of time. Fire spread from the stovetop to the microwave and cabinets above. Police officers were first on scene, at about 5:30 a.m., and discharged a fire extinguisher through an open window to contain the blaze.
There were no injuries in either incident.
BEND, OR -- Central Oregon will experience a serious uptick in population over the next 10 days, and with more people come more health concerns. Eclipse viewers are expected to start pouring into the area, Wednesday. Lisa Goodman, with St. Charles Health System, says they're taking steps to make sure medical care is available to visitors and residents in the week surrounding the eclipse.
Goodman tells KBND News, "St. Charles will have some clinics with extended hours: our Immediate Care East clinic at 2600 NE Neff Rd in Bend, our Family Care Redmond at 211 NW Larch Ave, our Family Care Prineville at 384 SE Combs Flat Rd, and our Family Care Madras at 480 NE A St, will be open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m." Those extended hours will be in effect August 16-23. "We are anticipating we will see more patients than usual through that week and so we are preparing accordingly." Goodman recommends visiting these clinics before the emergency room, if possible. She says they're trying to keep ERs from being inundated with lesser emergencies, "We just want to make sure that people are prepared to take care of themselves that week and that, if needed, they have the ability to get access to health care services."
"We want this to be a fun and enjoyable week for everyone in the area," says Goodman, "But, we also want everyone to be safe. So, please take care to be prepared with some of your basic needs covered: water, food, fuel, and certainly, if you have a medical condition, and you think you might need access to health care in a hurry, be sure you're able to get there." And, she says people with potentially urgent conditions should make sure they stick close to a hospital. "If you're pregnant, or if you have another medical condition that might require care, make sure you're having conversations with your provider in advance, so that your care is coordinated. If you need to have any medications filled or picked up from a pharmacy that you do so before that week, as well."
PRINEVILLE, OR -- The Crook County Sheriff’s Office is looking for the owners of two trailers seized during a theft investigation. Authorities arrested 61-year-old Mark Collins (pictured) Monday, after several construction vehicles and trailers were found at a property just outside Prineville.
Prineville Police were dispatched to investigate the theft of a 17' dump trailer from a business that occurred Sunday. On Monday, a citizen tip led officers and deputies to the Grimes Road property, where the stolen trailer was found, along with two others that appeared out of place. They also discovered a Caterpillar excavator reported stolen from Peterson CAT in Redmond.
WARM SPRINGS, OR -- The Nena Springs Fire continues to grow on the north end of the Warm Springs Reservation. As of Thursday night, it was estimated at about 23,000 acres. The fire was discovered Wednesday afternoon and has prompted evacuations on the reservation.
About 40 homes were issued Level 3 evacuation notices, with orders to leave. Highway 3, from Kah-Nee-Ta to Simnasho is closed to all traffic and the community of Simnasho is at Evacuation Level 2, which means residents need to be set to leave if the fire shifts. A Type-2 Incident Management Team took control of the firefighting operation Friday morning.
REDMOND, OR -- During Senator Ron Wyden's visit to the Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center in Redmond, Thursday, he talked with forestry officials about how the eclipse could impact fire season, and what fire prevention steps are being taken. John Allen, the Deschutes National Forest's Forest Supervisor, told Wyden they are taking a proactive approach. "One thing we're doing different for the eclipse event, recognizing the state highways and major roads are going to be plugged and aviation may be one of the only ways of responding, we're pre-positioning our firefighting forces out throughout our geographic area, Ron, and many of them will be staying overnight in these remote locations so we can get firefighters to fires and not rely on the state highways like we normally would, to get places."
Sen. Wyden questioned whether the large number of eclipse watchers coming from outside the High Desert will be able to get information about the wildfire danger and potential evacuations. "You kinda think to yourself, you're out in the wilderness, you're camping, you're doing what generations of Oregonians have done and then you have a big fire, and you're trying to figure out cell service. What are people going to do in terms of communicating with you and what you're telling them?" Representatives from the US Forest Service, Oregon Department of Forestry and BLM explained they're posting signs near regional entrance points, staffing temporary informational kiosks and they're working to get maps to visitors that include evacuation routes.
Wyden tells KBND News, "There are going to be some people who have camped a lot before, and they probably know a lot about evacuation issues and the Forest Service pre-positioning people and what happens if your cell phone doesn't work. But, there are going to be a lot of folks who are going to be coming from all over the country - all over the world - to Central Oregon. I want to make sure that these folks have the resources to get them that information in a timely way." He adds, "They may not know that this year there's been a lot of fuels build-up, that when we have lightning strikes, that can start a huge fire in a hurry, they may not know where to turn in terms of accessing help."
Despite the preparedness effort, forestry officials admitted to Wyden that in the event of a wildfire, it may be necessary for aviation crews to notify campers of an evacuation over a helicopter's P.A. system, if all other forms of communication are unsuccessful.
Wyden also attended the drone conference at the Riverhouse Convention Center in Bend, and he held a Jefferson County Town Hall at the Warm Springs K-8 Academy, Thursday afternoon.
REDMOND, OR -- Wildland firefighters have responded to more than 160 fires on Central Oregon public lands, so far this year; 75% of those were human caused, which forestry officials say is a much higher percentage than normal. And, the High Desert has not received the intermittent rainfall that typically provides a small amount of relief through the season.
BEND, OR -- A Bend couple is accused of stealing two high-end bikes from St. Charles Medical Center, last week. The bicycles were locked up outside the Bend hospital when they were taken August 4. Bend Police received an anonymous tip that two suspects were at this week's Munch N Music concert, and officers on foot patrol downtown tracked the pair.
CROOKED RIVER RANCH, OR -- Crooked River Ranch is looking to adjust the lines of the nearby Wilderness Study Area to include 832 acres of BLM land in an attempt to facilitate fire prevention and suppression activities that are currently prohibited. Congressman Greg Walden (R-OR2) met Wednesday with first responders and residents to discuss the proposal.
SISTERS, OR -- The Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire District has a new firetruck in service in Camp Sherman. The water tender is a 2005 model previously used at the Kandahar Air Base in Afghanistan. It replaces a 1968 truck that had reached the end of its service life.
REDMOND, OR -- After initially stating she would fight the ethics violations charged against her, Redmond City Councilor Anne Graham has reversed course. "As much as it pains me, I’m going to accept the findings of the Oregon Government Ethics Commission," she told fellow Councilors in an emotional speech, Tuesday. "I’m not going to appeal."
She maintains she did nothing wrong when she e-mailed city staff with concerns about building permits issued in her neighborhood. "The primary reason I’m not going to appeal, in spite of attorney opinion that I have a very strong case, is that it will cost me $5,000-10,000 and I don’t have the money." Graham added, "I need to say: I did not use my office for financial gain. It was not my intent; I didn’t intend to intimidate anybody. Their finding is based on a technicality and I’m going to accept it, basically for financial reasons, and just to get it over with."
WARM SPRINGS, OR -- Wildfire has forced evacuations on the north side of the Warm Springs Reservation. The Red Cross established a temporary shelter at the Warm Springs Community Center to help those affected by the Nena Springs fire.
Level 3 evacuations were issued Wednesday for 15 homes on Highway 3 in Simnasho, with Level 2 evacuation notices sent to another 40 homes in the Schoolie Flat area. Highway 9 from Highway 26 to Simnasho is also closed.
BEND, OR -- The eclipse is just 12 days away, and the preparedness message is getting louder. Tuesday night's "What's Brewing: Eclipse!" event, sponsored by the Bend Chamber of Commerce and City Club of Central Oregon, featured three panelists with various expertise on the topic: Jim Todd, OMSI's Director of Space Science Education, Deschutes County Emergency Manager Sgt. Nathan Garibay, and Kristine McConnell, with the Central Oregon Visitors' Association.
And, OMSI's Todd talked about the spectacle of the whole thing. He says excitement over this first coast-to-coast eclipse since World War I is contagious, "It's infectious. People who've seen it before, they want to see it again, and those who've not seen this want to see it because everybody's talking about it. It's a rare event."
BEND, OR -- Bend Police Chief Jim Porter took a lot of heat at last week’s City Council meeting, when a number of business owners complained about transients harassing customers, vandalism and other problems. Chief Porter acknowledges there are issues. He tells KBND News a growing population brings an increase in crime. "Many of our issues downtown are related to mental health, addiction issues and homelessness. So, we’re trying to deal with an entire social problem with just law enforcement and we can’t do that."
DETROIT, OR -- The Whitewater Fire continues to burn east of Detroit, prompting Deschutes and Willamette National Forest officials to close a portion of the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness "for the foreseeable future,” including during the eclipse. The northern section of the closure is within the path of totality. Closed destinations include Rockpile Lake, Cabot Lake, Carl Lake, Shirley Lake and Table Mountain. The Pacific Crest Trail is closed from Minto Pass north to Breitenbush Lake. Click HERE to view a series of maps showing adjacent National Forest lands that are open inside the path of the eclipse.
"We understand this is a disappointment to residents and visitors who looked forward to the opportunity to experience the eclipse in this area," Forest Supervisor Tracy Beck said in a statement released Tuesday, "Unfortunately, the risk is too great, and our highest responsibility must be visitor safety." She adds,
"Fueled by excessively hot conditions of the previous weeks, this fire has burned very erratically and some nights has moved more than a mile through thick forests."
MADRAS, OR -- Charlie's OK Barbershop sits right next to what used to be an empty lot on SW Fifth in Madras. Nick Barber, business owner, and backyard block party enthusiast, Nick Bowlby, hopes to capitalize on that empty lot - and the eclipse - with a new venture. Initially, Bowlby says, he opened the Willow Creek Tap Room for his barbershop customers. "You can go outside and wait for a haircut, have a beer and eat some food, and just kinda hang out or play some games outside."
But, then excitment over the eclipse grew. He tells KBND News, "I'm like, 'Well, I guess the SolarFest is coming. So, I might as well upgrade
it a little bit, expand it, with more food trucks, and some more seating for everyone during the eclipse.'"
Willow Creek Tap Room is open seven days a week and has quickly become a gathering place for locals. "We have five beers on tap, and three to four food trucks that rotate; we have a brick oven pizza, there's a taco, we have a BBQ, a hot dog one, then we have a Hawaiian one that rotates in and out also. We have music; we have live bands, every other weekend we have a DJ that comes out there, we have karaoke. It's kid friendly. We have different games out there for adults and kids, we have corn hole, checkers, life-sized Jenga. Yeah," Bowlby says, "I can't complain."
BEND, OR -- Oregon Republican Congressman Greg Walden met Tuesday with a number of wilderness user groups in Bend to discuss how to manage the growing number of visitors causing damage to local trails. Deschutes National Forest Supervisor John Allen told Walden he’s working with the Willamette National Forest to create a plan for areas like the Three Sisters and Mt. Jefferson Wilderness. "These are Congressionally designated areas, and we have an agency mandate to maintain the character of these wild places; that’s why our two national forests are proposing a variety of management tools that we’re going to consider to hopefully maintain the wilderness character into the future for generations to come."
BEND, OR -- Bend firefighters cleaned up a hazardous spill near SE Fourth and Wilson, Monday afternoon. A passerby reported a five-gallon bucket the smelled like benzene lying in the road, at about 3:30 p.m. Crews identified the material as a concrete sealing agent, which is moderately combustible and a biological irritant.
After discovering about four-gallons had spilled, Bend Fire consulted with the Salem HazMat team and responded with an absorbent. Officials believe the bucket fell off the back of a truck, likely unbeknownst to the driver.
Bend Fire says it's not unusual for people to be unaware something has fallen off their truck. But, they urge drivers to make sure all items are securely fastened. They ask motorists who come upon a spill not to drive through material, since tires can spread potentially hazardous liquids.
MADRAS, OR -- Senior care experts say the elderly in Jefferson County could be the most impacted by the high number of visitors expected for the solar eclipse. "Madras thinks that they might run out of gas, out of food, out of water, all the port-a-potties are going to be rented out," says Elizabeth Banderas, with Helping Hands Home Care. "We are looking at this as an emergency situation and we don’t want our seniors to be stuck in a situation with no help."
REDMOND, OR -- Three people were hurt in a crash involving a bicyclist near Redmond, Monday morning. Investigators say 28-year-old Ashley Lair, of Beaverton, was northbound on Canal, just before 8 a.m., when – for an unknown reason – her vehicle crossed into oncoming traffic. She hit a southbound car driven by a 16-year old, which caused him to spin around and hit a bicycle, near Young Avenue.
REDMOND, OR -- Two people were taken to the hospital following a Monday evening fire at the Reindeer Meadows independent living facility in southwest Redmond. Responding fire crews found the blaze in a third floor apartment, just after 5 p.m., where they also discovered a person inside. That victim was immediately taken to St. Charles Redmond. A second patient was taken to the hospital with minor injuries. Two others were treated and released at the scene.
BEND, OR -- Bend Police arrested a suspected bike thief and investigators continue to search for other stolen property. Matthew Chase, of Bend, is accused of breaking into a locked garage on Northwest Brickyard, on July 14, and taking two high-end bicycles worth about $17,000.
SISTERS, OR -- Volunteers continue to search for a missing horse last seen August 2 near the Whispering Pine Horse Camp in the Three Sisters Wilderness. "Fletch" and his rider stopped for lunch on the trail and owner Elayne Barclay says that whey they went back to retrieve the horse, he ran away.
Fletch was last seen on the Millican Crater Trail wearing red tack. The group has contacted the Sheriff's Office, Deschutes National Forest Park Rangers and the nonprofit Stolen Horse International, for help finding the horse.
Anyone with information on Fletch's whereabouts, or interested in helping with the search, can contact Stolen Horse International through their website NetPosse.com. Click HERE for more details.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- Prineville Police continue to search for a man they say fled the scene of a Thursday night burglary. Officers, along with Crook County deputies, responded to a report of a burglary in process at business in the 11300 block of SE Juniper Canyon Road, just after 11 p.m. When units arrived, a pickup was seen trying to leave the area. The driver initially stopped, but then took off.
Click HERE to view dashcam footage of the initial confrontation.
The man drove south on Juniper Canyon Road at speeds topping 80 MPH. The pursuit was discontinued after about two miles, after reaching an access road not suitable for most vehicles. Investigators are looking for the public's help identifying the driver and his female passenger. Anyone with information is asked to call Prineville PD Sgt. Mark Monroe at 541-447-4168 or CCSO Deputy Jake Childers.
BEND, OR -- It's been a banner year for insect outbreaks in Central Oregon, and the latest is arguably the prettiest. The tortoiseshell butterfly experiences a huge upswing in population about every decade, and it's back in the area, again.
BEND, OR -- Starting Monday, a handful of Bend Utility Department staff will carry a special dog repellent. "We’d had a couple recent encounters with aggressive dogs," says Ken Vaughan, Bend's Safety and Risk Program Manager. "Fortunately nobody was hurt but we wanted to be proactive in trying to prevent something like that from happening."
Vaughan tell KBND News dog encounters are unlikely and typically only occur under specific circumstances. "It’s just going to be Public Works and it’s actually just for a couple of specific areas where we have easements on private property that we need to access, in order to maintain our water and sewer infrastructure." He says, "Those have tended to be the areas where we’ve had issues with aggressive dogs. By and large, day to day operations out in the street or near a park or anything like that; we really haven’t had issues with aggressive dogs in those areas. So, we’re trying to narrow it and make sure that it’s being used appropriately at the right times." He says the spray will only be used when certain conditions are met, including when a homeowner is unable or unwilling to control an aggressive dog and the staff person isn't able to get away.
TERREBONNE, OR -- A popular vacation rental website is partnering with National Geographic to offer a unique opportunity for a pair of lucky eclipse viewers. Laura Rillos, with AirBnB, says one lucky contest winner and a guest will stay overnight, August 20th, in a geodesic dome on private property just northwest of Smith Rock in Terrebonne. "This is a beautiful area and a beautiful dome, so we really wanted to be able to offer just a really great, wonderful experience."
But, Rillos tells KBND News, the winner will leave Central Oregon prior to the actual eclipse. "They will take flight the morning of August 21st, head toward the Oregon Coast, and be among the first to witness the solar eclipse; and they’ll also get to meet with two National Geographic explorers and get their unique insight." She adds, "Our social media team is going to be conducting a live stream from the plane, so that people can also see what these folks are seeing; and then also on the National Geographic Facebook, as well."
BEND, OR -- Local firefighters were busy over the weekend. Friday night, Bend crews responded to a small fire inside a home on NE Norton. Investigators say a portable air conditioner failed while the homeowners were away. The unit caught fire and ignited nearby furniture. The fire was discovered by neighbors and quickly extinguished firefighters. It caused about $100,000 in damage to the home and its contents.
BEND, OR -- With near record low unemployment, many businesses are having trouble finding qualified candidates to fill openings; Bend-La Pine Schools isn’t much different.
The district will hold a job fair Monday in an effort to fill a growing number of vacancies. Bend-La Pine Schools Human Resources Director Debbie Watkins says the popularity of Central Oregon both hurts and helps efforts for the district to become fully staffed. "We’re lucky in many ways that so many people want to live in Bend because we’re able to really draw some great candidates when we do have open positions. But, one of the challenges is everyone wants to live in Bend and so we’re a growing district, so we’re constantly hiring and looking for those people to add to our team."
She says Monday's event is for classified employees, "It could be the nutrition services, it could transportation for bus drivers, it could be custodial, it could be educational assistants that actually work in the buildings with the students but their positions don’t require a certified teaching license." She tells KBND News, "Right now, we have a large focus on custodial and transportation. If you’re interested in driving a bus but you’re not quite sure if it’s the right thing for you, or you might be a little intimidated by driving a bus; you can actually get behind the wheel at this job fair and drive the bus. And so, then you get an idea if that’s something that will work for you."
BEND, OR -- Bend City Councilors voted this week to add $2.2 million to its agreement with the law firm Stoel Rives, to defend the city against a lawsuit. In 2013, Apollo Inc. was awarded a contract to complete the city's water reclamation facility expansion project; it was the lowest bidder. The city contends Apollo performed defective work, and entered into mediation due to the alleged breach of contract. But, Apollo filed suit against Bend before that process was complete.
REDMOND, OR -- Investigators are looking into the cause of a brush fire adjacent to a northeast Redmond park. Firefighters responded to Diamond Bar Ranch Park at about 8:30 Thursday night and quickly stopped the quarter-acre blaze.
The fire threatened multiple homes near Northeast 5th and Quince Avenue, although no structural damage or injuries were reported. Redmond Fire believes it was human caused and described the incident as "suspicious in nature."
Photo courtesy Shana Whalen
BEND, OR -- Ending months of speculation, State Representative Knute Buehler (R-Bend) announced Thursday morning he will run for Governor in 2018. He tells KBND News, "Governor Brown has had her chance to lead the state for the last four years and she’s failed. And, I’d say she’s failed miserably. She’s failed to lead on really the essential issues facing the state, such as our budget and our fiscal problems, our pension and education reforms are needed and our schools and healthcare systems are just not functioning in a way that most Oregonians would expect." Brown was first elected Secretary of State in 2009 and succeeded John Kitzhaber as Governor when he resigned in early 2015.
Buehler is the first Republican to file for the race, but he expects opposition in the May primary. "In my memory, I can’t remember when there hasn’t been a contested Republican Primary; I welcome that. I think that only makes myself and my team even stronger, it gets more people engaged in the race and we can have a more vigorous debate on the issues." If Buehler is successful in May, the Bend Republican would face Brown for a second time. She beat Buehler in the 2012 race for Secretary of State. He was elected to the Legislature in 2014; and re-elected in 2016. "Over the last four years, certainly I’ve deepened my understanding of the political process and Oregon’s state government by representing Bend in the Oregon Legislature. So, I feel very well prepared for this race in leveraging those lessons and relationships that we’ve made over the past four years."
BEND, OR -- Central Oregon remains under a blanket of smoke and haze, thanks to a number of wildfires burning elsewhere in Oregon and in Canada. The Whitewater Fire has grown to 1,800 acres near Mt Jefferson, in the Willamette National Forest.
BEND, OR -- Despite a massive amount of snow in the mountains this winter, Central Oregon could struggle again with near-drought conditions, later this year. "Big picture: we can say that conditions are much better than last year," says Ken Stahr, with the Oregon Water Resources Department, "But, we can’t ignore the trend that we’re seeing this time of year: elevated temperatures, which, in turn, elevates water supply demand."
Stahr tells KBND News, "We can say, today, ‘hey, not bad.’ Statistically speaking, water supply on the west side of the Deschutes Basin is pretty decent. And, it’s not too darn bad coming out of the Ochocos, as well." But, he's worried about the long-term forecast. Stahr, who also chairs the state's Water Supply Availability Committee, says while Deschutes County is doing okay, Crook County is a different story. "They’re not fairing as well in that part of Central Oregon, but we can say it’s better than last year. Up until just a few weeks ago, even the Crooked [River] was doing well. But, as we speak, we have a couple of streams that are going dry, that are flowing into Ochoco Reservoir." He adds, "We’ve not seen any appreciable precip for the past about 45 days. And, as you know, we’ve had a lot of high temperatures. So, whatever snow was in the Ochocos is long gone and now we’re just down to the base flow, if you will; and it’s dropping." He expects the trend to continue, which could signal trouble for High Desert irrigators who rely on reservoirs and stream flows for water.
REDMOND, OR -- The region’s newest affordable housing development celebrates its grand opening, in Redmond Thursday morning. Residents will begin moving into Cook Crossing on Veterans Way, near the Redmond Lowe's home improvement store, on Monday.
BEND, OR -- A photo from a local artist is featured on the U.S. Postal Service's latest Forever stamp. "Honey Bee on a Ragwort Flower" was snapped by George Lepp, a professional photographer who lives in Bend.
Lepp tells KBND News he was surprised his work was chosen as part of the new Pollinator series of stamps, "I have these images with an agency in New York and somebody with the Postal Service, or with the agency working with them, went and looked in the files. They needed a bee or some pollinators and they chose this particular image, which was actually taken with film. It was taken at least 15 years ago because we haven't used film since the early 2000s." He's pleased the shot is gaining recognition, "It's very random, in a sense, and the fact that it was, I guess, well done in the first place; even though it was done that long ago, and even though it's on film, it's still being able to be used in a nice way."
MADRAS, OR -- Madras officials expect at least 100,000 visitors for the August 21st solar eclipse, which could lead to major traffic problems throughout the small town. Madras Solar Eclipse Plan Facilitator Lysa Vattimo tells KBND News a number of streets will close to through traffic August 18-21. "We established this emergency services route for the specific purpose of getting emergency personnel and essential services personnel the ability to get around town. Not only for emergency services, such as EMS getting to the hospital, or the fire department getting around, but for local police getting to the jail and back. But, we are also utilizing these roads for public works folks and roads folks so that they can keep our essential services going."
Along with a couple of downtown streets, Canyon Road and Glass Drive will also close to the public. "The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office is up right next to the airport, and that's where the jail is located. So, we are utilizing that road for our law enforcement partners to get in from downtown," says Vattimo. "And, in order to keep things in the downtown area, like all the trash receptacles emptied and the sewer guys pumping out the porta-potties, and giving them access to get up to the area of service that they need, we're allowing them to use that route, also." Residents directly impacted by the road closures have been notified by mail. Anyone with questions about the route is asked to call Public Works at 541-475-2344.
Vattimo has heard rumors of substantial road closures and even a mandated curfew, but she says none of that is true. "The main goal is to keep traffic flowing, so we're going to keep as many roads open as we can. These are the only roads that we have closed to through traffic so that we can utilize them for emergency services and essential services. Other than that, everything is open." But, she suggests everyone plan for extra time to get around town in the days surrounding the eclipse. "We're really working hard to make traffic manageable, and it's going to be challenging, but we think, with the event that's going to occur here - totality - it's well worth it."
BEND, OR -- As we gear up for the August 21 eclipse, the last total solar eclipse to pass over the Pacific Northwest is a distant memory for most people. Not for April Fisk. The Oregon native was living in Southeast Washington in 1979, right on the edge of the path of totality for that event. She decided to watch the eclipse from home, only to be thwarted by an overcast sky. "I was really shocked. You know when an airplane comes between you and the sun, there's a shadow, but it's going really fast, and just goes right over your head? well, that's exactly what the eclipse was like for us. so, if you're not actually in the direct shadow, what you're going to see is something very quick, just ten seconds or less, going across the sky."
Fisk tells KBND News, "I've been waiting 38 years to do this again. And, this time, we're going to travel about 60 miles north and stand out in the middle of a field, and see if we can actually get in the direct shadow for like a minute and a half; that would be fun. We got our glasses! We bought our glasses yesterday, so I'm excited." She's trying to keep a positive attitude despite concerns over the weather, this time around. "A bunch of relatives are getting together, and we're just going to make it a party time. I figure, even if we don't have a success as far as the sun goes - I've already experienced an eclipse with very heavy overcast, so now it's going to turn out right; or, even if it doesn't, we can still have an excuse to have a potluck dinner."
Now in her sixties, she believes that, unless she starts chasing eclipses, this is her last chance to see one. The next total eclipse over the U.S. will be in 2045.
REDMOND, OR -- Redmond’s Centennial Park expansion project is getting closer to becoming reality. Project Manager Troy Rayburn says interest and involvement in designing the future park has been incredible. "The citizens of Redmond have taken this process, regarding the park expansion, very seriously. They’re involved; they’ve produced some wonderful ideas. We’ve incorporated many of those ideas into the park design."
BEND, OR -- August is typically the busiest month for Oregon wildfire crews, and the solar eclipse is adding another layer of complexity to this year's fire season. Central Oregon's season has, so far, been fairly average; officials say many local fires have been kept small thanks to the quick response by crews. But, those resources could be stretched thin later this month, as the season heats up just in time for the eclipse.
REDMOND, OR -- A Redmond woman remains in critical condition Wednesday morning, following a serious motorcycle crash, Monday night. According to Police, 50-year-old Denise Campbell attempted to make a left turn on to Highway 97 from the Timbers Tavern parking lot, on the south end of Redmond, just before 11 p.m.
REDMOND, OR -- A brush west of Redmond fire is being blamed on a red tail hawk. Firefighters were able to quickly extinguish the quarter-acre blaze near Northwest 83rd and Atkinson, just after 7 p.m. Tuesday. A local rancher responded first, cutting a fire line with his tractor prior to the arrival of fire crews.
REDMOND, OR -- The more than 100-year-old Cline Falls Dam is being deconstructed, west of Redmond. ShanRae Hawkins, a consultant with the Central Oregon Irrigation District, says the work is important to improving fish and wildlife habitat and returning the Deschutes River to its natural state.
Hawkins tells KBND News, "It was in disrepair and really, really needed to be taken out, so Central Oregon Irrigation District is spearheading having it removed, and it's going to cost right around $2 million, and really what that's going to do is clean up an historic part of the Deschutes River." She says the old concrete and wood structure was making migration difficult for the fish, "The main benefit is going to allow the resident trout to migrate freely through the former dam site. And, it's also good for the wildlife that can just enjoy the wetlands and the riparian areas as well; and it's really going to return that area of the river, along Cline Falls, back to a much healthier ecosystem."
The Dam stopped producing power for the area in the early 2000's, so it's no longer needed. The project should only take four days or so to complete, but then the real work of returning the river to a healthier condition begins. Hawkins says, "It'll really be an ongoing process to get that area cleaned up, and restored, and improve the habitat, but really over the next month, the majority of the work will be done."
BEND, OR -- Triple-digit weather is coming to the Pacific Northwest, and the High Desert will see the heat wave last well into the weekend. Meteorologist Dennis Hull, with the National Weather Service, says it will be warmer than typical, "Normally, our temperatures are in the 80s this time of year; you know, 85-90. We do get hot spells most every summer, but this is probably going to be record-setting on some of those days. Thursday and Friday will be our hottest days and we'll probably set some records, so we're looking at temperatures anywhere from 12-15 degrees above normal."
Hull says everyone should take steps during extreme heat to stay healthy, "Try to stay out of the sun as much as possible, especially during the late morning to early evening hours because that's when the heat will be most intense. Just try to stay hydrated as much as possible and be in air conditioning as much as possible, too. Avoid any strenuous activity during those time periods; try to do it in the early morning or in the evening around sunset." He says it can be difficult to diagnose the symptoms in our pets, kids, or the elderly, and easy to let our guard down as the heat wave continues. "It's going to be a four to five day siege, at least, of these extreme temperatures. So, make sure they have some fresh, cool water to drink; and check on other people, and if they feel like they're feeling lethargic or maybe not quite as alert as you would normally expect them to be, they may be showing signs of heat exhaustion."
REDMOND, OR -- The Mayors of Redmond and Sherwood really got a lot out of last week’s Mayors Association Summer Conference. "We got married Saturday evening, right after the end of the Oregon Mayor’s Association annual conference in Lebanon," Redmond Mayor George Endicott telss KBND News.
REDMOND, OR -- A Dallas, Oregon man faces charges in Deschutes County of luring children online. Several young victims live in the Redmond area; other victims are believed to be in other states.
BEND, OR -- Bend Police are asking for the public’s help finding a 64-year-old man missing since Monday afternoon. Kevin Akers was last seen at his home in the Foxborough neighborhood, in southeast Bend, near Songbird Lane, at about 12:30 p.m. He may have suffered a medical episode, leaving him disoriented.
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