Local News Archives for 2017-08

Plans For Crook Co. Annex Remodel Delayed

PRINEVILLE, OR -- The Crook County Annex Building, which currently houses the Juvenile and Community Corrections Departments, needs updating. Crook County Attorney Jeff Wilson says this process has been much more difficult than originally expected, because no contractors bid on the project before the May deadline.
The County Court recently approved a special process to move the project forward. "The County Court approved the special procurement," Wilson tells KBND News. "So we've been authorized to proceed with contracting with an applicant, one of the three contractors who attended the pre-bid meeting before our last due date." He adds, "Jerry Milstead, the County Representative, is meeting with the three contractors who showed up for the pre-bid meeting, and talking with them to try and get written proposals from all three and then make a recommendation at County Court."
Repairs need to be made to the outside of the building. The interior also needs to be remodeled, to make it more usable for current employees. Until a contractor is chosen, no one knows how the departments housed in the Annex on Third Street will be affected during construction, nor how long the work could take. But, Wilson is hopeful things will begin moving forward, very soon. "The County Court meets again on September 6th, and I would hope that we would have a recommendation on or before that - hopefully before September 6th - so the Court can authorize the contract on September 6th and proceed with the work."
The selected contractor will determine the actual scope of the work, and once his bid is presented, the budget will be voted on by the Court.


Smoky Air Could Cause Health Problems

BEND, OR -- Central Oregon's air has been classified as hazardous, leading to further health concerns and warnings. St. Charles Medical Center Pulmonologist Dr. Jamie Conklin says current conditions can make anyone feel sick, especially those who already have a respiratory condition.
Dr. Conklin says he hasn't seen a higher number of patients due to the smoke, but those who are coming in report more severe symptoms, including "More short of breath, compared to this time usually, they're having more coughs, potentially more wheezing, needing to use their rescue medication more frequently." Conklin tells KBND News, "The problem they're experiencing is smoke." But, he discourages people from just assuming symptoms are smoke-related. "If they're really having a breathing difficulty, it's better to find out it is just the smoke than to have a serious medical problem missed."
For most people, the conditions aren't likely to cause permanent harm. "For healthy lungs, most people with a short-term exposure, it's unlikely to cause anything more than uncomfortable symptoms - sore throat, tightness of the chest, a little bit more short of breath," Says Dr. Conklin. "Now, if you went out and rode your bike, that's going to probably put more strain on the system and make you feel worse." He suggests taking a few steps to stay safe. "The number one thing is - no fires - but, unfortunately, that doesn't seem like it's going to occur in the short period of time. Second is avoidance. Unfortunately, not all of us can leave the area, so then staying out of the air as much as possible, and hopefully in an environment that has some kind of filtration system. The one thing I want to warn people, though, is that no air purifier purifies perfectly."
Dr. Conklin says the smoke can also lead to allergy-like symptoms, especially for people allergic to the natural materials burning in those wildfires. 


Iconic PPP Loses Title Sponsor

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. 

Recreation Activities Canceled Due To Smoke

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

In Sunriver, the SHARC aquatic center announced Thursday the outdoor pool would remain closed for another day, due to the poor air quality. The indoor pool is open 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. with admission reduced to $15 for the day. 

Wildfires Near, Far Contribute To Poor Air Quality

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."

Thursday Wildfire Update

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. 

NY Man Arrested For Bend Shovel Attack

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. 

Left Turn Lanes Coming To Redmond Highway

REDMOND, OR -- Left turn lanes are being constructed on Highway 126 near SW 35th Street, on the west end of Redmond. Access to and from SW 35th north of Highway 126 is closed for several weeks. Detours are in place to divert traffic around the road construction via 27th Street.
The intersection has a history of collisions, and according to Redmond City Engineer Mike Caccavano, traffic studies showed dedicated turn lanes would be the best short-term solution. "So, there are several developments that are going to be contributing additional traffic to that intersection and the traffic studies indicated that we were already having difficulties with left turns. There'd been a number of accidents over the years and most of them were rear-end collisions caused by people stopping to make a turn."
One of the chief complaints about the intersection is that there's no traffic light, but Caccavano  says that's not going to happen, yet. "Both the State and the City go by certain requirements when a traffic signal is warranted and it depends on traffic volumes, the side street volumes. In this case, when there gets to be enough traffic crossing and trying to make left turns off of 35th, that's when we'll meet the requirements and start talking about adding a signal."
Caccavano says additional long-term safety measures in the City's Transportation System Plan include the widening of Highway 126 from SW Rimrock to SW 35th Street. "The very long term is to add more lanes to the Hwy 126, and then potentially a traffic signal at this intersection; that might be a more near-term solution. Whereas, the long-term would be widening the highway and adding more travel lanes from Rimrock to 35th Street."
Drivers should be able to use the intersection again by the end of September.


Desch. Co. Roads To Benefit From Statewide Pkg.

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."


Commissioner DeBone says Old Bend Redmond Highway will see safety upgrades in the next three to five years. "It’s a parallel path [with Highway 97]. And, there’s a lot of residential in between Bend and Redmond at that point; a lot of people just know it’s there. So, as some people get on there and get where they want to go, the volumes will be growing. And, you know there’s quite a traffic flow between Bend and Redmond at all times, these days."  He says that increase in traffic volume creates unsafe situations at some intersections. "A turn lane cane really add some safety and capacity because those three to five cars that want to take a left aren’t stopping traffic. So, adding just a turn lane in some strategic areas can really help the flow."
The $5.3 billion statewide package is also expected to help with other capital projects in Central Oregon, "That’s different than just maintenance. We have existing paved roads and we do aggressive maintenance, chip sealing and striping, annually," says DeBone. "But, this is that capital improvement plan that’s going to grow over the years, adding some capacity and making sure those high-volume intersections are safer for those volumes."
To hear our full conversation with Commissioner Tony DeBone, visit our Podcast Page or click HERE
DeBone and his fellow County Commissioners will discuss the Old Bend Redmond Highway project, highlight successes from the past year, and look at future challenges during Thursday's State of the County Luncheon. That event, hosted by the Redmond Chamber, begins at noon at Juniper Golf Course.

Madras Animal Shelter Breaks Ground On Facility

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."


So far, the no-kill shelter has raised about $350,000, which is enough to get the project started. "The biggest thing we’re looking at is getting that shell up with the heating and the cooling up and the kennels in. Hopefully that will take place within three months or so. And then, we’ll keep working on the interior offices as we go." Drynan says they still need about $50,000 to complete the work early next year, "But, the important part to us is getting the animals out of the weather."
Click HERE to learn more about the Three Rivers Humane Society "Raise the Roof Campaign."


More Fires Discovered In Central Oregon

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.

About a mile north of the Ogden Group Camp in the Newberry national Volcanic Monument, the McKay Fire (pictured) created the greatest threat; more than 100 fire personnel are working the blaze east of Highway 97 between La Pine and Sunriver. As of Wednesday morning, it was fully lined and estimated at 1,364 acres in size.
Local crews are also assisting on a small fire discovered about 10 miles south of La Pine, near Highway 97. 
A wildfire forced the closure of Highway 20 at Santiam Pass for several hours, Tuesday night. One lane reopened early Wednesday morning, with a pilot car directing traffic. The fire began on the south side of the highway, but it crossed the road and – as of Tuesday night – had burned about five acres near Lost Lake. The cause of the fire is under investigation. 
Fire activity within the Horse Creek Complex, northwest of Cascade Lakes Highway, prompted Level One pre-evacuation notices for Elk Lake Resort and surrounding campgrounds, Tuesday night, as well. The five fires that make up that complex now total 3,168 acres.
And west of Sisters, the Milli Fire grew to 21,703 acres, as of Wednesday morning. It's 44% contained.
Sixteen large fires or fire complexes are burning across the state and forestry officials expect to see growth on many of them due to current and forecasted weather conditions, which will result in persistent smoke in the region for several days. Click HERE to access the Oregon DEQ's latest air quality conditions.


Dog Dies In Early Morning Redmond House Fire

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. 

Investigators say it's too early to know the cause or whether a crime was committed. 
WEDNESDAY P.M. UPDATE: Investigators report the early morning fire was caused by "Catastrophic electrical failure."
Top- Smoke and flames could be see from Business 97, near Maple Ave.
Bottom- Redmond Police shut down Maple Ave. at Highway 97 while fire crews work the blaze.

Former Head Of Wildlife Rescue Ctr. Indicted

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. 


They’re accused of failing to provide minimum care for numerous animals, including hawks, eagles and owls, resulting in the animals getting injured. Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife inspectors visited the site in August 2016 after receiving complaints from volunteers at the center. ODFW staff removed the animals based on their physical condition; some had to be euthanized. 
In a statement, Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel said, "Oregon is committed to caring for wildlife at a high standard and we appreciate the level of care ODFW showed these animals and the thoroughness and professionalism of the Oregon State Police's investigation." Bonomo and Dr. Cooney are due in court September 12.
Photo: Dr. Cooney treats a raptor at the center in 2015

Deschutes National Forest To Maintain Sites Into Fall

BEND, OR -- The Deschutes National Forest plans to provide recreation site maintenance, like restroom cleaning and trash pickup, later in the year at 61 fee sites. Jean Nelson-Dean, with the Forest Service, tells KBND News, "Normally, our fee season in our day-use sites ends at the end of September, and we're actually changing that. We are extending that." She says since snow falls in different areas at different times, the agency doesn't need to close access to all of them at once. They will continue to provide maintenance as long as sites are accessible. 
Nelson-Dean says the fee amount isn't changing, only the time period for which users will be required to pay. "In the past, we had just kind of ended the season at the end of September. Now we're going to continue to maintain sites, and as along as we can continue to maintain, we will continue to charge a fee; that would be like the $5 Day Use Fee, or the Northwest Forest Pass, or one of the others."
Nelson-Dean clarifies that not everything will be affected, like campgrounds. The shift in policy only impacts locations that already require a fee or pass for access. "It's simply those sites that are Day Use sites where we provide restroom facilities, garbage, and some other maintenance in those areas."
Passes are available at the Sisters, Bend, Fort Rock, and Crescent Ranger stations, the Cascade Lakes Welcome Center and the Redmond Air Center.


Air Quality Remains "Unhealthy" From Milli Fire

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.

Gov. Brown Celebrates Transportation Pkg In Bend

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.

At the event, House Republican Leader Representative Mike McLane (R-Powell Butte) praised the bipartisan effort that led to the bill’s approval. But, he said, "I want to acknowledge that not every aspect of this bill, do I celebrate. It took compromise." Governor Brown tells KBND News, "We worked very hard to make sure we addressed the needs of communities throughout the state of Oregon. Is the package perfect? Absolutely not. But, I was pleased; it is the most comprehensive transportation package Oregon has ever seen."
The bill aims to ease congestion, provide dedicated funding for mass transit and the Safe Routes to Schools program, and help prepare transit infrastructure for a large earthquake. Gov. Brown calls the bill “historic,” saying the benefits would be felt by generations to come in both rural and urban areas. "We worked hard to make sure that spending in each of the regions was proportional. And, frankly, the congestion in the Portland metropolitan area is impacting businesses in Ontario, Oregon and Medford, Oregon because folks are really struggling to get their products to market or get the materials they need to continue construction. So, we are making significant investments here. It’s a win for Central Oregon; it’s a win for all of Oregon." 

Three Seriously Hurt In Tumalo-Area Crash

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. 

St. Charles Health System Says Layoffs 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."

Welander tells KBND News administrators are still looking at all of the options, including incentivizing employees to come up with solutions, increasing efficiencies, leaving open positions unfilled and, "A voluntary buy-out program for employees/caregivers that are willing to give up their position and then we would not backfill their position." She says, "All of these things put together, in addition to the positions that we’ve already eliminated, are helping towards our goal. But, these might not be enough and layoffs might be necessary." Welander says if lay-offs occur, they would first look at non-patient contact positions, "Always, the safety of patients and the quality of care, it comes first; period. So, as we make decisions around how to tackle this problem, we do look to non-clinic positions first. We also look at where we do everything and try to understand if we could do them in a more efficient or consolidated manner." Those non-clinical positions could include Technical Services, Human Resources or other administrative departments. A final decision on the next phase of cuts is expected by mid-September.
In the spring, the health system announced adjustments to a major building project and left some open positions unfilled, in an effort to get back on good financial footing. "We are seeing improvements. The teams are doing excellent work around premium and overtime pay, and we have eliminated some open positions already. But, the rate of those improvements is not as fast as we need." Welander says the struggle isn't unique to Central Oregon and says it's "the new normal" for the healthcare industry, nationwide. "This is symptomatic of where healthcare is. It’s a combination of Legislative changes, ever-increasing supply costs and much more pressure from the insurance companies on our payments, or our reimbursements."
There are no plans to pass along rising costs to patients. "St. Charles does have some of the highest prices in the state for many procedures and we can’t continue to increase costs for our patients."
According to an August report by EDCO, St. Charles is the region's largest employer with nearly 4,500 workers. 

Lava Lands Visitor Center Closes Early

BEND, OR -- The Deschutes National Forest Service is closing Lava Lands Visitor Center on the Newberry National Volcanic Monument earlier than usual this year, on September 11, and it will reopen in May of 2018. Jean Nelson-Dean, of Deschutes National Forest, says the change in schedule is to make sure the Visitor Center roof can be replaced before the snow falls, and be updated to accommodate our weather better. "We're actually going to be building a pitched roof because the flat roof, essentially, you just get snow, and we've had some water damage, and so, it's been a project that's been in the works for quite a while, and so now, we are building the roof so we can protect our exhibits."
Nelson-Dean also says Lava Butte will stay open to motor vehicles and won't close until October first, like usual. "People can still go there and go up on the Butte, and experience the rest of the National Monument, it's just only the Visitors Center that's going to be closed." She also wants to reassure school groups that the Lava River Cave will stay open throughout the month of September.
Even though it's still hot outside, Nelson-Dean reminds us that the snow is coming soon, and Lava Lands needs the extra time in September in order to beat the weather. "Everything is open except for the Visitors Center, they'll still be able to go to Lava Butte, they'll still be able to enjoy the caldera, the cave, all those things that normally are open will continue to be open. We did plan this around what is traditionally our slowest part of the season as people have gone back to school."
In related news, the front office for Prineville BLM will also be closed temporarily for remodeling, starting Monday, August 28. The staff will move to the adjacent Ochoco National Forest building.

Milli Fire Grows To 18k Acres Near Sisters

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.


More than 650 people are working the blaze, which started with lightning west of Sisters, two weeks ago. As of Monday morning, the Milli Fire is 32% contained at just over 18,000 acres. If conditions allow, fire managers plan to conduct more aerial ignitions Monday, to establish a lower intensity fire in the yet unburned area in the middle of existing containment lines. 
Level 1 and Level 2 pre-evacuation notices remain in place. A public meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday at Sisters High School. 

Church Members Take 300' Leap Of Faith

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."


Following her jump, Kayla Watne described it as amazing, "It happens so fast, you don’t really get a chance to feel much other than fear. And fear is 100%, then. So, it’s just super scary and you can’t really think during that time." She says after bouncing at the bottom of the bungee she tried to just take in the scenery and enjoy the ride as they hoisted her back to the bridge. 
Pastor Emerick says most who took part were motivated by overcoming their fears, and both jumping from a bridge and getting baptized take courage. "One of our most natural, primal fears is the fear of falling; fear of dying. And, when you overcome that and trust in something other than yourself, then you learn you can step out boldly in life and do other things. You can apply for a job, or start a business, or get engaged. So, we want to teach people the value of taking bold steps of faith." Michelle Delpit wore a shirt that said “Faith over Fear” when she jumped (pictured below). After returning to the bridge deck she said, "I don’t want to be scared by anything anymore. And now I can’t be."
Central Oregon Bungee Adventures runs the highest commercial bungee jump in North America at the High Bridge north of Terrebonne. The State Parks Department approved the activity in the historic area, earlier this year.

Speeding Car Hits ODOT Truck, Kills One

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. 


Benson was treated at the hospital for minor injuries and released. Vanworth went to the Intensive Care Unit at St. Charles Bend.  Her passenger, from Bakersfield California, was pronounced dead at the scene. 


Crook County Scenic Bikeway Meeting Planned

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.


One final public meeting will be held from 5:30-6:30 p.m., September 19, at “Room 1868” in Prineville (152 NW 4th St.). The meeting will consist of a presentation on the Scenic Bikeway program, information on the Crooked River Canyon proposal and then questions from attendees. Public comments on the proposal will be taken at the meeting, and written comments will be accepted until the Commission acts on the designation request. 

Five Arrested In Bend Drug Bust


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. 


Police took 33-year-old Justine Durham (left) into custody at the house. The other four were arrested during two simultaneous traffic stops, Thursday afternoon; 26-year-old Jacob Perry (center) and 27-year-old Annie Miller in La Pine, and 33-year-old Kenneth Sanders and 32-year-old Lucas Nelson (right) in Tumalo.
They all face numerous drug-related and child neglect charges.   

Highland School Gets Temporary Gym

BEND, OR -- Highland Magnet School at Kenwood Elementary has a new temporary gym, thanks to Mt. Bachelor.
The tent, which was used by Mt. Bachelor on the slopes, is roughly 5,500 square feet, and according to the school principal, Brian Kissell, will definitely serve better than the cafeteria and the library have since the roof collapse of the school gym last winterKissell says Mt. Bachelor offered use the giant military-grade tent after the collapse, and Kirby Nagelhout is building it to be ready in time for school to begin. "It looks a lot bigger than I anticipated, I think it's an awesome space. And will work perfectly for a temporary gym. I mean, we couldn't have a full-court basketball game in there like we could in the gym, but we can do just about all the elementary PE activities that we would do on any given day." 
The canvas gym is a temporary solution until their permanent gym can be built next year, and according to Kissell, it couldn't come at a better time. "We started construction last Monday, and so today is almost two weeks' construction of this just giant military grade tent that is going to serve as an alternate space for us to have PE."
Kissell goes on to say that the gym couldn't have existed without the work of the entire community, including his leadership board and his staff. "There are a lot of people who contributed to this, including Mt. Bachelor and the Kirby Nagelhout crew that's down there working right now is fantastic."
The new permanent school gym should be finished during next school year.


Assisted Living Facility Evacuated For Dryer Fire

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. 

Security Guards Arrested At Eclipse Event

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. 


Sheriff John Gautney says it’s just one example of issues that occurred at the mass gathering permitted for 30,000 people. "There were a lot more people up there than were supposed to be there. Because of that, we anticipated there would be a lot more problems.  And, this thing kind of just kept ballooning and ballooning, but the number of calls that law enforcement was actually called there for were not nearly to the level you would expect there were."
He tells KBND News, "As people were starting to pack up, there were some domestic calls up there, there were some overdoses, there were some medical calls. But, for the number of people there, they were minimal. So, I think it was not as bad as it could have been. In fact, I was rather pleased. The biggest problem that we had to deal with was the huge amount of traffic."
The three security guards have been released from jail and the Crook County District Attorney’s office is looking into whether trespassing and assault charges will be filed.

Symbiosis Event Missing Persons Cases Grow

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. 


It’s just one of more than 20 missing persons cases his agency has taken from the massive event in the Ochocos, this week. "There is no cell service there. All these folks have been in there over a week and so family members are getting concerned about them because they haven’t heard from them. Evidently they didn’t tell them they wouldn’t have cell service; or maybe they didn’t know. In either case, as things are closing down up there and people are coming down out of the hill where they get into cell service, then they’re calling family members and saying ‘hey, sorry, we just didn’t have cell service.’" He tells KBND News, "That was the case of the two missing girls that went out to the media; they were up there, they stayed two days longer than they intended to, and they had no way to get ahold of the family members until they got back into town. And that's what we're finding with these others. Right now, we're just kind of waiting for people to come down into cell range where they can get ahold of family members or we can get ahold of them." He says they're evaluating each report to see if there's anything suspicious that would warrant additional attention.
Although final numbers are not yet available, Sheriff Gautney says the festival attracted considerably more than the 30,000 people allowed by the event's permit. Traffic was the biggest problem, but they also responded to reports of domestic abuse and drug overdoses. 


Improved C.O. Air Quality Likely Temporary

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. 

The Department of Environmental Quality is urging Central Oregonians to take precautions due to the smoke that continues to blanket the area. An Air Quality Alert has been issued for Deschutes County through noon Friday. Greg Svelund, with the DEQ’s Bend office, says the ongoing poor air quality is only partly due to the Milli Fire. "We are in a position right now, in Bend, that we are seeing smoke from both the north and the south. We’re seeing transport winds at much higher elevation actually bringing smoke from southern Oregon. At the same time, we are seeing smoke from the Milli Fire, which is to our north. So, it’s the worst of both worlds, right now." Svelund says the region may see some relief this weekend, "Sometime around Saturday evening, we should get some clearing and the wind should change and push a lot of that smoke out. But, really, this is something that’s become central to this part of Oregon. I mean, in this time of year, we get smoke from wildfires. Even if this smoke pushes out, it’s going to come back – it may be another day, it may be a week but it’s going to come back and people need to take precautions." 
But, what those precautions are, he says, should depend on each individual. Svelund tells KBND News, "People react much differently than other people; some people are more sensitive and so it’s really a very personal thing. Really, people just have to go out there and say ‘what am I experiencing? What’s my body telling me about the smoke?’ and then to make actions based on their own experiences." Schools and coaches are adjusting schedules to keep kids from participating in strenuous activities outside. Svelund says, "We’ve been contacted by water polo coaches and football coaches. I think there’s a lot more interest and awareness about smoke, especially as it harms or potentially harms children and those under 18, so it’s good to see a lot more awareness about health and how it is a serious health problem for a lot of people."
While he admits air quality monitoring sites are helpful in gathering data, he says what each person sees is an even better indicator of how serious conditions are at that moment. Svelund suggests using the 1-3-5 rule: if you can see no more than one mile, the air is likely hazardous; visibility of around three miles is probably unhealthy; and if you can see more than five miles, he says it equates to "good" on the air quality index. 


For more from Greg Svelund, visit our Podcast Page or click HERE

Madras Bank Robbery Suspect Arrested

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.


Fuller grew up in Madras and attended Madras High. He's described as 5'-9", 160 pounds, with blonde hair and blue eyes. 
Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call police. Madras Police can be reached at 541-475-2424. They say if you see Fuller, do not confront  him; instead call 911. 
THURSDAY P.M. UPDATE: Tyler Fuller, wanted in connection with the Monday robbery of a Madras bank, was arrested Thursday afternoon. Jefferson County deputies took Fuller into custody without incident during a traffic stop near Ford Lane. He’s accused of entering the downtown Madras US Bank and demanding cash in the midst of massive post-eclipse crowds and traffic jams. Investigators say he got away with an undisclosed amount of cash.

Safety is the Focus of the Mirror Pond Work

BEND, OR -- Bend Park and Recreation District is in design phase for its project to improve safety, accessibility, and riparian habitat preservation of Bend's Mirror Pond.
Park and Rec's Brian Hudspeth says the District has identified a number of issues associated with deteriorating sea walls and missing trail surfaces, and is focusing on repair, while maintaining aesthetics. "The Trail System that are along the banks of the river right now in Drake Park are failing, the sea wall is failing, it's collapsed and crumbled in a lot of spots, it has some potential safety hazards right along the edge of it from underwater piping that's causing loose soil and stuff underneath of it and it's causing some collapse behind the wall."
A public meeting about the project will be held on Thursday, August 31st, at 530 pm, at the District Office on Columbia, where there will be a presentation and Q&A to discuss the design and development of the project. Hudspeth says the Board has been working with Individuals and business owners who own land in the project area to make sure all concerns are met. "We're working with a public advisory committee made up of public members, local homeowners, and we have a business owners group, and Mirror Pond Solutions, they obviously own the land under the river. What we're trying to do is come up with a sustainable design that will enhance and repair the riparian habitat along the edge of the pond." 
This phase of the project is focusing on building new sections of the Deschutes river, and repairing failing trail surfaces, and Hudspeth says the area they're looking to repair covers quite a bit of real estate. "What we're trying to do is repair the failing trail sections and enforce areas where we want better access to the river, such as the beach area up by Galveston Bridge, possibly taking some of the land from Mirror Pond and adding trail, and then take the Deschutes River Trail from Riverside down back into Pacific Park."
The current design and development phase will result in detailed drawings and a cost estimate for the Board's consideration, and if funding is approved by the Board, work would commence in 2019.


Sisters Reported Missing, Found In Crook Co.

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."


Melissa and her sister were seen in Facebook photos doing yoga at Symbiosis and her debit card was used at the festival Tuesday. But, her father says he received a fraud alert from the bank after the card was used again in Petaluma, California, near the Bay Area. There is no cell service in Big Summit Prairie and Lea says he's tried to call Melissa multiple times since the event closed. Her phone goes straight to voicemail and he’s now fearing the worst: "Something happened. I just want to protect my family. If anyone knows anything, just call your local authorities."
The girls may be in a 2006 black Toyota Sequoia with California plates 5SWB598. Melissa is 5'7" and 115 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes. Kalila is 7-years-old, 4' and about 45 pounds, with brown hair and hazel eyes. 
THURSDAY 9 a.m. UPDATE: The two sisters reported missing Wednesday have been found safe. The 18-year-old and her 7-year-old sister attended the Symbiosis Event in Big Summit Prairie and stayed longer than first planned. They left Thursday morning, regained cell service, and immediately checked in with their parents. The Crook County Sheriff's Office says they were not in any danger and are now headed back to South Lake Tahoe.  

Local Officials Call Eclipse Prep A Succes

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."


Sheriff Nelson is unapologetic about warnings to stock up in advance. "I feel it’s our job to get that information out to the citizens we serve and the tourists that come to this area. And, I would be remiss in my duties if we didn’t put that information out. So, I think that people took that information and made it what worked for them." While supply and gas shortages didn’t materialize, big eclipse crowds in Crook and Jefferson counties did. Although, Nelson cites the lack of pre-eclipse traffic jams as evidence that preparedness efforts paid off. "From some of the initial standpoints that we’re talking about – the time it would take to travel from Bend to Madras – I don’t know that they ever saw that length of time to travel there. So, it’s about planning and it’s about getting the message out." He says initial predictions indicated it could take anywhere from eight to 14 hours to travel between Madras and Bend after the eclipse. That trip, which takes around 45 minutes on an average day, took four to six hours, Monday afternoon after the eclipse.
Overall, Sheriff Nelson is pleased with the coordinated effort by tri-county law enforcement and other agencies. Numbers are not yet available for the total cost of the Eclipse, but Sheriff Nelson says federal dollars will help cover part of the local expense. To hear our full conversation with Sheriff Shane Nelson, click HERE or visit our Podcast Page
Photo: A Washington couple tests their protective eyewear as the eclipse begins, August 21, 2017, at SolarFest in Madras. 
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.

Bend Transient Blamed For Slashed Tires

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.


Based on the description provided by Oxford Hotel employees, Bend Police located 38-year-old Zachary Mathews nearby, and arrested him on six counts of Criminal Mischief II. The investigation is ongoing as additional victims come forward, and more charges are expected.

Unemployment Rates Rise for the Second Month

BEND, OR -- The unemployment rate in Deschutes county ticked up slightly for the second consecutive month. It rose from 3.8% percent, in June, to 4% last month. Crook County's rate also went up .2%, reaching 5.7%; and Jefferson County held relatively steady at 5.1% in July.
Karla Castillo, a workforce analyst with the Oregon Employment Department, says despite the increases, the region's economy continues to improve. "[It's] Important to mention that the increases were not statistically significant, and are much related to growth in the labor force; therefore, more people looking for a job. They report as 'unemployed,' and then the unemployment rate goes up during June and July." She tells KBND News the local economy continues to show improvement. "When you compare employment numbers and the unemployment rate, you can see that we have a pretty healthy situation. We're not adding jobs as fast as we were last year, but we're still adding jobs at a much faster pace than any other county in the state."
In Deschutes County, the number of employed and unemployed both increased in July. More than 1,100 people entered the workforce and nearly 300 searched for jobs.
In the past year, Deschutes County has added 4,020 jobs (+5%), Crook added 190 jobs (+3%) and Jefferson County added 160 jobs (+2.5%). Castillo says, "Over the year, we did see some growth in industries that are not typically seasonal; for example, in financial activities and the manufacturing industry, there are a lot of jobs from July 2016 to July 2017."


Sisters-Area Evacuation Orders Reduced

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.

AZ Man Arrested After Leaving Symbiosis, Crash


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 Stabbing Suspect Arrested

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.


The victim says Collins stabbed him in the hand and stole his backpack. He then got into a car driven by a woman in her 20s. The victim suffered a small stab wound and was checked out at the hospital. 
Police are asking for the public’s help in identifying the female driver and locating Collins.
WEDNESDAY EVENING UPDATE: Prineville Police say Dustin Collins contacted the department and turned himself in, Wednesday afternoon. 

Milli Fire Evacuees Try To Stay Positive

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.


Evacuation orders remain in place for a number of Sisters-area subdivisions, including Crossroads, Edgington/Remuda and Wildwing. The Red Cross is managing a shelter at Sisters Middle School for those forced out of their homes, and the Salvation Army is providing meals to evacuees. Captain Michael Johnson, with the Salvation Army, says they’re trying to maintain a positive atmosphere. "We’re also making sure the Red Cross volunteers have something to eat. We brought some toys for the kids who are in the shelter – some games and some toys for them to play with. We’ve also given away some school supplies." They’ve even had a few pick-up basketball games in the middle school gym. "The parents are very grateful that their kids are being distracted a little bit and they’re very appreciative of the meals and all everybody’s doing to make this as good as we can make it for them." 
Capt. Johnson tells KBND News about a dozen people are staying inside the shelter; other evacuees parked RV’s nearby and are also utilizing Red Cross and Salvation Army services. "The Red Cross is doing a great job of being encouraging and being accommodating and people are very grateful. It’s been good to be able to talk with people and encourage people. The atmosphere is actually really good." He says the Level 1 pre-evacuation notice issued earlier this week for Black Butte Ranch was discouraging because many thought firefighters were making progress. 
The Sisters School District has delayed the start of school by one day, partly due to the poor air quality. First through 9th grades will begin next Tuesday, Aug. 29; 10th through 12th grades will start Wednesday, Aug. 30.
Top Photo: The Milli Fire, seen from the Dee Wright Observatory, August 22, 2017.
Above: A map of the fire area, as of 9 a.m., August 22.

Labor Day Projections Promise A Busy Holiday

BEND, OR -- With nearly a quarter million visitors hosted during the eclipse, some might think the summer season will be over early for Central Oregon. But, Alana Hughson of the Central Oregon Visitors Association says the numbers indicate quite the opposite. "What we're able to determine anecdotally is, yes, this is going to be another strong summer. At least on-pace, if not slightly up from the prior summer. And last summer was a record-breaking summer, so even if we're on pace with last summer we're doing well."
Hughson tells KBND News the results were unexpected, but she knows it's because Central Oregon is a return destination for so many, and the numbers seem to indicate the tourists expected during Labor Day are the "regulars" we normally get, arriving just a little later to the party, and wanting to take advantage of the unique experiences we provide for our visitors. "A lot of families, typically within Oregon and the Pacific Northwest, have their annual family vacation in Central Oregon, and with the news of the impact of the volumes of people in and around the eclipse, it's dispersed some of those people who would've traveled this week in August, pushed them later, which is great news for the Labor Day weekend, so we project it's going to be a good, solid finish to the summer." 
This season, COVA and Visit Bend introduced the "Visit Like A Local" campaign with tips for tourists who want to know what it's like to live in Central Oregon. "Visit Bend's strategy is to invite people to 'Visit Like A Local,' and that means, 'Come, and experience the authentic Central Oregon that those of us who live here actively enjoy, and help us be stewards of this destination and this product and have a great time while you're here on vacation'." 
During the summer season, Hughson says the best thing for locals to do is simply be prepared; everything takes longer when we have visitors here, but at least we get to live the dream, not just visit it.

For Madras Visitors, Eclipse Delivers


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. 

Average spectators watched alongside professional and amateur photographers and scientists. Astronomer Dr. Brian Kane says he wasn’t here to study the eclipse; he just wanted to take it in with everyone else. He'd never 
seen a total eclipse in person. "Well, I chose Madras because it had the best overall weather forecast for mid-August. Least chance of clouds, basically." There were concerns that smoke from area wildfires would obscure the view, and clouds moved through about an hour ahead of the eclipse, making some nervous. But the skies remained clear throughout the phenomenon. 
Even the vendors stopped what they were doing to watch totality. Kurt Voorhees, of Bend, was working a food booth at SolarFest. He had eclipse glasses but also created his own pinhole projector. He tells KBND News, "It was amazing; it was insane. At first, I thought it was going to take a while to get dark and once it started getting dark, it got dark quick. And then you could see the ring and it was just shooting out little bits of light on each side; super awesome. An extremely amazing moment that I’m very glad to be a part of."
On the outskirts of Madras, Fionna Pierce viewed the eclipse from the front lawn of a friend's house. She came from New Zealand to watch the big event. "I didn’t really know what to expect, I’ve never seen anything quite like it. But, it was a slow process getting to that moment when it was a full eclipse." And, she says, it was worth the trip and the wait. "The temperature dropped; the pressure dropped, it was really kind of an eerie lighting. The birds flew off into the trees and then there was just this incredible moment where everything went dark. And you saw the ring around the moon. It’s unlike anything I’ve seen on television and thought I’d be experiencing. It’s really hard to describe." She tells KBND News it exceeded her expectations, "It under promised and over delivered."
The moon had barely shifted off the sun and visitors were already trying to leave the larger viewing events, causing major traffic delays throughout the region. At SolarFest, many attendees fled to their vehicles just as totality ended. Bumper to bumper traffic plagued Madras and much of the High Desert for hours.
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.

Milli Fire Grows To 11k Acres West Of Sisters

SISTERS, OR -- Increased fire activity on the Milli Fire led to more pre-evacuation notices outside of Sisters, Monday. The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office issued Level 1 notices for all areas between Highway 242 and Highway 20 and west of Cold Springs Cutoff, including Black Butte Ranch. Level 3 evacuations remain in place for Crossroads, Edgington/Remuda and Wildwing subdivisions. 
The Milli Fire is estimated at 11,236 acres, as of Tuesday morning. It's 23% contained. Fire managers are doing advance planning at looking at the potential for fire growth from the active western flank of the blaze. There is concern that winds could push it north out of the wilderness then east toward populated areas. Officials are evaluating current evacuation notices and say they are working to return residents to their homes. 
A community meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday at Sisters High School to update residents.  

Bank Robbed Amid Eclipse Crowds

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.


Madras Police, the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office and other agencies in the area for the eclipse, are actively investigating, along with the FBI. Anyone with any information regarding this robbery is encouraged to contact the Madras Police Department at 547-475-2424. 

Formal Search Suspended For Missing Camper

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."


Ben is 6'1", 180 pounds, with light brown hair and blue eyes. Jefferson County Sheriff Jim Adkins says, "We've suspended the search for him because we've exhausted all our leads and done everything we can to this point. That's a tough deal that we have to make a decision - as much time and resources as we spent on that - we are just devestated that we can't find him." He says deputies and private individuals are still searching on their own time. "It's heart-wrenching for me because I can't even imagine what they're going through. Even though we've suspended the formal search, we encourage other people in the area, that as they camp, that if they see anything suspicious, please let us know." Anyone with information is asked to call 911. 
Hendrickson's mom says all she wants is for him to come home. 
9 a.m. UPDATE: Sheriff Jim Adkins confirms Hendrickson's body was recovered from the water near Suttle Lake Lodge just after 8:30 Tuesday morning. He says it appears the man drowned. 

Madras Plane Crash Victim Identified

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.

Reports indicate he was on his way to land at the airport when his plane went down.
In a statement issued Monday, Jefferson County Sheriff Jim Adkins said the Rich family asks for privacy. The FAA and NTSB are investigating.  

Firefighters from Great Britain Visit Central Oregon

In Central Oregon right now, as wildfires rage, four U.K.-based firefighters who came to learn more about fighting woodland fires have been helping with eclipse preparedness, too. 
David Hodge, a firefighter for over 27 years, says he and his colleagues are happy to be part of the process. "During the eclipse, two of the firefighters will be embedded here to deal with local emergencies with the Sisters / Camp Sherman personnel, and the two officers - myself and my colleague - we're going to be embedded within the Multi-Agency Command Center at Redmond during the period of the eclipse, so we'll be starting that from tomorrow until Tuesday."
Hodge, who's visiting Bend on the Firefighter Exchange Program for the second time, says they came to Central Oregon at this time of year because of the eclipse preparedness that's going on. "That's precisely why we came at this time of year, just so we can experience the command structure, and the increased operational experiences during the period of the eclipse when you have so many visitors visit this lovely area."
Hodge says he and his colleagues haven't seen disaster preparedness on this scale before, and they're learning a lot. "It's an experience that we've not seen any preparation work at this level, and that's why it's a really good experience for us. The local emergency services and local partner agencies have done an amazing job preparing for the eclipse, so they're ready for any eventuality that might occur, and that's definitely an experience we can take back to the U.K. with us."
The last solar eclipse that took place in Great Britian was actually overcast, so the four visitors were looking forward to seeing 'a proper one' this morning.


Pilot Killed In Madras Plane Crash

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. 

Milli Fire Estimated At 7,800 Acres

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

Livestock Kills Equal Further Thinning of Wolf Pack

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has plans to kill two more of the Harl Butte wolves. Earlier this month, two members of the pack were killed, but due to continued livestock predation, two more wolves need to go.
Fish and Wildlife's Michelle Dennehy says the pack was bigger than they thought. "We have discovered in the past few weeks working out in the field with this pack, that it's actually larger than originally expected. We thought there were seven wolves plus three pups and we've since learned that there were ten wolves with three pups, so now there are eight wolves, and after this there will be six. So, we hope that has the impact that we're looking for." 
Dennehy says wolves are usually afraid of humans, but the non-lethal measures put in place in the area have not kept the livestock safe from this large pack. The non-lethal measures ODFW works with the ranchers to implement include electric fences, range riders, humans spending more time with their livestock, and wolf hazing. Dennehy added, "Wolves are generally afraid of people, so when you have a lot of human presence around, that tends to keep wolves away."
The decision to kill a wolf is never made lightly, but there has been a wolf management plan in place for several years, and Fish and Wildlife is following it. "We have a wolf plan that guides wolf management in Oregon. Unfortunately, sometimes, wolves will kill livestock, and the Harl Butte wolf pack, which is in Wallowa county, killed livestock and that's why we are going to kill an additional two members from this pack."
ODFW's plans to thin the pack should lead to a change in the wolves' behavior and hunting grounds, which will help protect the livestock.


Safety Improvements Approved For Downtown Bend

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. 


To listen to our full conversation with Bend City Manager Eric King, visit our Podcast Page or click HERE

Bend PD Recovers Numerous Stolen Bikes

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 Couple Arrested For Child Neglect


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. 

Big Summit Prairie Attracts International Visitors

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. 


But, for locals trying to get around Central Oregon, frustration is mounting. Redmond Airport Director Zach Bass says a Sisters resident, who called Roberts Field this week, is not alone in worrying about his Monday flight. "They asked us if we were doing anything to mitigate the traffic between Sisters and Redmond to make sure the flyers could get out. So, we just want to make sure people are very clear there's going to be a lot of traffic that day. And again, we have no control at the airport over that. So, if you have a flight that day, make sure you're early, you take into account that traffic." Bass suggests checking Tripcheck for drive-time information, and get to the airport at least two hours ahead of your flight to accommodate longer security lines. 
Photo courtesy of Jim Draper. 
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.

Redmond Airport Full With Eclipse Tourists

REDMOND, OR -- As the region's only commercial airport, Roberts Field is seeing a steady stream of eclipse viewers. Airport Director Zach Bass says planes are typically about 90% full this time of year, but that's already increasing and he expects they'll be 100% full by Monday.  
Bass says it's tough to know just what's coming. "We've got a lot of contingency plans in place, if something does occur. We've been speaking with all our stake holders: TSA, for example, the airlines, the car rental folks out here. Our security individuals, we're up-staffing during this weekend and Monday and Tuesday, and we'll have our people available to help out. Basically, we're doing everything we can because we're not quite sure what to expect when it comes to the customers inside and outside the facility during this timeframe." Bass says because the airport is open 24-hours, some people may stay overnight inside, but they're not allowed to camp in the parking lot. Bass says they were forced to put up signs on lot gates because people have asked. 
Car rental counters at Roberts Field have been consistently busy; reservations are booked solid for the next several days. For travelers like Patty Zaremski from Torrence, CA, who made advanced plans, it's been mostly smooth sailing. She flew in to Redmond Thursday afternoon an is looking forward to an eclipse-related family reunion in Central Oregon, this weekend. "We're staying in Sunriver. We planned this last October and I had no idea this would be such a big deal." She's driving to Mitchell Sunday night and plans to disperse camp since all traditional campgrounds and hotels are booked. Zaremski tells KBND News, "We were going to go to Madras. But, when we realized that everybody and their brother is going there, we decided we didn't want to be on that road, in all that traffic." Traffic was a common concern among visitors.
Ryan McDonald flew in from Redwood City, CA to stay with family. He's nervous for the crowds and says his plane was full of eclipse viewers. McDonald has always had an interest in astronomy and is "super excited to be here and view something that doesn't happen very often." 


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.


Milli Fire Continues To Challenge Firefighters

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. 


A level 1 pre-evacuation notice was issued for the area between 242 and Highway 20, including the Tollgate Subdivision. It does not encompass the cities of Sisters and Black Butte Ranch. The Red Cross set up an evacuation shelter at Sisters Middle School, Thursday morning, and the Pet Evacuation Team has space available for livestock and pets at the rodeo grounds. 


ODOT has closed the McKenzie Pass Highway due to smoke impacts and fire activity and forestry officials have imposed numerous closures within the Three Sisters Wilderness. 
As of Thursday evening, the Milli Fire was estimated at about 4,500 acres and 0% contained. Thursday morning, Governor Kate Brown invoked the Emergency Conflagration Act to send more resources to the area. 
Photo: Firefighter @Muddy_Mitch on Twitter

Nena Springs Fire Flares Back Up

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. 


Officials say an ember blew out of containment lines Thursday afternoon, and prompted a Level 1 pre-evacuation notice for residents in Charlie Canyon. Two helicopters, hand crews and at least 10 engines are back on the 46,000 acre fire. 

Eclipse Coordination Ctr. Takes Shape

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.

Oregon 5th State To Raise Legal Smoking Age

PRINEVILLE, OR -- Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed a new law that raises the required minimum age to legally buy tobacco from 18 to 21.


Kris Williams, Tobacco Prevention and Education coordinator for Crook County Health Department says it took several years' worth of effort from agencies, individuals, and organizations across the state to get this law passed, and she hopes it will keep more kids from getting started smoking. "Crook County has historically had a very high tobacco use rate among not only our adults, but our youth as well. We have 68 tobacco-related deaths annually in Crook County, unfortunately, and so for us to be able to have a Tobacco 21 law, it's really huge for us."
In Crook County, almost 14% of eighth graders and nearly 35% of 11th graders have reported using tobacco products, so Williams worked for over a year to get this law passed in an attempt to bring those percentages down. "The key thing here is that we're reducing youth access to tobacco, and it's a slow process... down the road, what we're hoping to do, is reduce the effects and costs of tobacco. Tobacco in Crook County costs 13.6 million dollars annually, just in medical-related costs."
Williams says a several-pronged approach is what's needed to really help smokers of all ages, but especially, the young ones, quit. She adds that an effective comprehensive plan "...would include tobacco retail licensing, so you have the enforcement piece, as well as education, tobacco cessation. The Crook County Court, just today, passed an ordinance that will go into effect in 90 days, to require tobacco retailers in Crook County to post the Oregon tobacco quit line information at point of sale."
Governor Brown signed the Tobacco 21 legislation into law last week and it applies to all tobacco including hookahs, e-cigarettes, and flavored vaping products.


Gov. Invokes Emergency Conflagration For Milli Fire

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."

Eclipse Event Causes Prineville Traffic Delays



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. 


Kyer Wiltshire is here from California to watch the eclipse at Big Summit Prairie. He spoke to KBND News after filling up his gas tank in Redmond, Wednesday afternoon. "It’s a bit – it’s starting to get overwhelming this morning. I camped near Smith Rock last night, and I spent this morning mountain biking in Smith Rock; and, when I hit the highway – 97 – I went, ‘Wow!’ There was a line of cars." He says he was prepared for the crowds, just not this early in the week. 
Law enforcement and ODOT are patrolling the area in an effort to keep everyone moving. Crook County officials say traffic is already backing up Thursday morning. They urge residents who don't need to travel Thursday or early Friday to stay home. Traffic is expected to lighten slightly later Friday and over the weekend, although it'll still be heavy. 
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.

Milli Fire Sends Smoke Into Region

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. 

Central Oregonians Scramble To Fill Gas Tanks


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.

Desi Gibb of Redmond had to wait to fill up at the Redmond Fred Meyer Wednesday afternoon (right), but she was happy to see lines moving. "I expected them to be a lot longer; I really did. I don’t think they’re that bad yet, but - tomorrow?" She tells KBND News, "The only reason I’m here is because I have a fear that after this is over, we might have a shortage of gas. And, I have a half a tank, but that’s not enough if we run out of gas."
KBND News spoke to several stations that ran out of fuel Tuesday and Wednesday. They're replenishing supplies as quickly as they can to keep pumps open, in some cases getting multiple fuel deliveries a day. Distributors have truck drivers working overtime bringing fuel from Portland. And Murphy says supply trucks will continue to come in to Central Oregon with groceries and gas as long as highways stay clear of crashes. "We’re doing what we can to make sure things continue; the gasoline industry is aware of the need; the Sheriff’s Department is of course aware of this conversation, as well. These conversations have been going on for some time; this is not coming as a surprise to some people."
Long lines were seen at gas stations in nearly every Deschutes County community, from Bend (above) to Terrebonne.

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.

Bend Man Charged With DUII After Crash

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. 


Former Rdm Councilor Explains Resignation

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."

Graham says she also based her decision on new rules approved last week by the rest of the City Council. "I saw clearly that my ability to contribute to the future of the city was going to be even more constrained." She adds, "I voted against it; my colleagues voted for it. It appeared to me that those things were aimed at me. They were restrictions on contact with staff; restrictions on emails to staff." Mayor George Endicott claims the new rules have been in the works for nearly a decade and stem from an incident between a former Councilor and Public Works staff, not the recent ethics investigation and findings against Graham. And, he says the addition of sanctions for Councilors who 

violate rules was based on conversations he had a year ago with an attorney from the League of Oregon Cities.
On her public Facebook page where Graham announced her resignation Monday night, her husband wrote that the Mayor refused to discuss difficult subjects and treated Graham rudely; claims Endicott refutes, "When I was talking with Anne, I said, ‘If you had an issue that you felt compelled to come before Council and I would not put it on the agenda, we do have a process where it can be put on the agenda by a series of Councilors.' That never happened." And, he says he is not to blame for Graham’s recent political problems. "Remember that incident with Kevin Fitzpatrick and the whole ethics thing that kicked all this off? If you look at the tape [of the City Council meeting] that night, I wasn’t even there."
Endicott says it will take at least two weeks to determine the process for filling Graham’s seat on Council. 

Statewide Unemployment Rises, Remains Low

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.


Eight Arrested In NE Bend Drug Investigation

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. 


On Sunday, investigators executed a search warrant and arrested four Bend residents: 31-year-old Micaela Zacarias, 38-year-old Leah Atkins, 42-year-old Rachel Mahoney and 45-year-old Ryan Atkins. Detectives also discovered five children at the home. Officers seized more meth and evidence consistent with drug sales. 

Details Of May Drug Bust Revealed

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. 


CODE detectives suspected 47-year-old Ronald Thrasher was trafficking methamphetamine and asked local agencies to try and locate him. Talina Ortiz was pulled over by State Police while driving Thrasher’s car on May 19. The 43-year-old Prineville woman was arrested on multiple drug charges and an outstanding warrant. Thrasher arrived at the stop and was also taken into custody. 
While executing a search warrant at his Madras home, detectives found over 15 pounds of meth, nearly $17,000 in cash, a gun reported stolen from Portland and other evidence.  

Wednesday Morning Wildfire Update

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.


In the Three Sisters Wilderness, the Milli Fire is now 260 acres and 2% contained, and the Whychus Fire is 90% contained at about 2,030 acres. A number of closures are in place in the Three Sisters Wilderness, including the Obsidian Trailhead, Obsidian Limited Entry Area and all trails east of the Pacific Crest Trail from Elk Lake to the South Sisters Climber Trail. 
The Belknap Fire (pictured above) in the Ochocos is estimated at 123 acres and 5% contained. Trail closures are in place within the Mill Creek Wilderness and temporary flight restrictions are in place over the fire. 
And, northeast of Shaniko, the North Pole Fire has burned 5,075 acres of private and BLM land; it’s 0% contained. 

Redmond Man Accused of Luring Teen

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. 


Investigators say he provided explicit material of himself and suggested a meeting. The two were acquaintances. Rose is charged with one count of Luring a Minor and five counts of Encouraging Child Sex Abuse.
Redmond Police ask that anyone with information about this case or any similar incidents with Rose to call non-emergency dispatch at 541-693-6911. 

Trash Collection Changes For Eclipse

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.

Bend Garbage and Recycling, High Country Disposal (HCD) and Cascade Disposal are moving up collection times by several hours, in an effort to avoid eclipse-related traffic problems. Brad Bailey is the President of Bend Garbage and Recycling and HCD. He tells KBND News, "Our biggest concerns around the eclipse timeframe are traffic and the inability to get our trucks to our service areas and into the residential areas in a timely fashion. So, we’ve decided to make operations earlier and our pickup times earlier and are asking our customers to help us by putting out their garbage and recyclables out the night before." For customers in and around Bend, trucks will begin at 4 a.m. instead of 6 a.m. for the next week.
But, Bailey says it’ll be even earlier in Redmond and Sisters. "For High Country Disposal, because it’s closer to the eclipse area and closer to Madras, we think traffic is going to be even worse up there and we’re going to start at midnight. So, we’re asking our customers there to have their garbage and recyclables out by 10 o’clock the previous day."
Collection days remain the same. Bailey says the time shift will only last through next Tuesday. "The main thing we’ve heard from people is their concern for being able to get where they need to get in a timely manner. That was the same concern that prompted us to change our schedules. We’ve met with the cities and counties and emergency response teams in order to kind of anticipate what might come, but that seemed to be the biggest inhibitor for us to be able to get our job done is to actually be able to get where we need to go." He adds, "We’re going to do our very best to get it picked up. Only in our most extreme situation of this event clogs the roadways, where even in the off hours we’re not able to transport garbage; that would be the only time at which we would have to interrupt service."
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.

Downtown Redmond Canal Recognized As Historic

REDMOND, OR -- A stretch of the Pilot Butte Canal is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The downtown Redmond segment runs from NW Dogwood to NW Quince, and is directly associated with the founding of the city, which was laid out along the canal next to Frank and Josephine Redmond's homestead.
Jason Allen, with the State Historic Preservation Office, says just being old isn't enough to make a landmark historic, a site must also meet certain criteria. "Criterion 'A' has to do with historical associations with events, trends, or patterns in history; Criterion 'B' has to do with associations with historical people; Criterion 'C' has to do with architectural or engineering merit, and Criterion 'D' is a resource that either has or is likely to produce important historical information." Allen tells KBND News the canals made Central Oregon the bread basket of the state, allowing the region to produce crops shipped all over the world.
"The intent is to recognize the historic impact of the canals," says Allen. "In Redmond, in particular, the canal was there first, with the 

intent that it would become the regional shipping center for the agricultural output of that area." Due to that historic distinction, other segments of the canal are being considered for listing on the national level, as well.


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 Man Missing Near Suttle Lake

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. 


Anyone with information is asked to call Frontier Dispatch at 541-475-2201.

Portland Hiker Rescued From South Sister

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.


AirLink flew Deschutes County Search and Rescue volunteers to Burton’s location at about 8,600' elevation, while another team hiked in with a wheeled litter. At about 3:30 p.m., they helped him to a landing zone where AirLink picked up Burton and flew him to St. Charles Bend. His hiking companions returned down the trail with the SAR volunteers. 

Redmond City Councilor Abruptly Resigns

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. 


KBND News will continue to follow this developing story as more information becomes available.

Fuel Distributors Stock Up For Eclipse Sales

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.

Cooler Weekend Weather Brings Some Relief

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.


The Whychus Fire, eight miles west of Sisters, is also 60% contained at just over 2,000 acres. Also west of Sisters, the Milli Fire is at 110 acres and 0% contained; it prompted a number of temporary closures, this weekend, including the Whispering Pine campground. And, smoke jumpers arrived in the Ochoco National Forest, Sunday for the 60-acre Belknap Fire.  
In the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness, 700 firefighters continue to work the Whitewater Fire.  It’s now estimated at over 6,500 acres. The Rebel Fire, in the Three Sisters Wilderness, has burned 860 acres. 
On Saturday, Governor Brown authorized the Oregon National Guard to help fight fires burning near Crater Lake and in southwest Oregon. 
Nena Springs Photo by Rich Labelle: Airtanker makes a drop at Dant along the Deschutes River

CRR Home Destroyed By Fire

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 Teen Killed In High-Speed Crash

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. 


His passenger, Jason Soto remains in critical condition at St. Charles Bend. The crash shut down NE 9th Street for more than five hours and remains under investigation. 

La Pine Man Dies At Prineville Reservoir

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. 


After an unsuccessful area search by Crook County deputies, a Deschutes County Sheriff’s dive team responded. They found his body submerged in 65-feet of water. 
Alcohol and marijuana are thought to have been factors in what officials are calling an accident. 

Redmond Fires Keep Crews Busy

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. 

Local Clinics Expand Hours For Eclipse Week

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."

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.

CCSO Searches For Owners Of Stolen Trailers

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. 


The dump trailer and excavator were returned to their rightful owners, but a dual axle high-walled cargo trailer and a dual axle flatbed were not listed as stolen, so investigators don't know who they belong to.
Collins faces theft charges in both Deschutes and Crook counties. 

Nena Springs Fire Grows

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.


While the Nena Springs Fire is near Wasco County and not actually inside the area managed by the Central Oregon Fire Management Service, Alex Robertson says his agency is sending resources to help, through the Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center in Redmond. "It's been burning actively. We know it's moving to the south in the reservation. We're very concerned about that fire, because there are a couple of places that if it turns, they get a wind shift or it changes directions, there's a potential it could come off the reservation and impact some BLM lands and some other private lands. So, all of us are paying very close attention in supporting Warm Springs and their efforts to handle that fire."

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. 

Central Oregon remains under a red flag warning through Friday at 10 p.m., due to the high risk of abundant lightning and gusty winds.
Photo: Alyssa Macy/Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, courtesy KWSO Facebook.

Senator Wyden Briefed On Wilderness Eclipse Prep

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. 


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.

Central Oregon Fire Season Heats Up


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. 


Alex Robertson, with the Central Oregon Fire Management Service, briefed U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) in Redmond Thursday morning on how difficult and unusual this fire season has been, so far, partly due to the wet and incredibly snowy winter followed by excessive drying. According to Robertson, local weather stations haven't seen substantial rainfall in more than 100 days. He told Sen. Wyden at the Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center (COID), "[We had] Really moist conditions - it turned off, got hot, no rain, grass dries out and now we're starting to get lightning." Wyden asked, "Would it be fair to say that, looking at coming up, sort of a perfect storm in terms of the fire season?" Robertson answered, "Absolutely."

Central Oregon fire crews are currently helping on large fires burning outside the local fire management area, including the Whitewater Fire near Mt. Jefferson and the Nena Springs Fire on the Warm Springs Reservation. Robertson tells KBND News the weather forecast could complicate an already busy fire season. "Our folks are out responding to fires, right now, trying to keep them small. The air tankers are flying on some going fires, right now; we can expect to see more of that here in the next couple of days. We're under a red flag warning for abundant amounts of lightning. What that means to us is it's weather, so who knows? But, there's a high potential to get a number of new starts here in Central Oregon." He adds, "Any new start we can expect to grow very quickly. That means using a lot of our aviation assets, our crews, our engines to be able to respond to those new starts. The complexity is, is that if we're getting lightning - lightning always produces fires for us - that will take resources to work on those fires. Any human-caused fires we get on top of that is just an extensive workload that, at some point, we run out of resources to be able to respond." 
One dispatcher at COID tells KBND News the lingering haze makes it very difficult for fire lookouts to spot new starts until they get big.

Suspected Bike Thieves Caught At Concert

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.


They took 44-year-old Carrie ODonell into custody at 

Drake Park without incident. But, police say in an effort to evade capture, 35-year-old Thomas Dunaway (pictured, right) jumped into Mirror Pond. He swam for about 25 minutes while numerous officers responded, and eventually came to shore under his own power where he was arrested. 
Both had outstanding warrants from California and are charged with Theft and Criminal Mischief. Dunaway is also charged with Escape 3 and Resisting Arrest. 
Top Photo: Security footage of suspects at SCMC-Bend, courtesy Bend Police

Rep. Walden Meets With CRR Fire Officials


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.


CRR Fire Chief Harry Ward explained to Walden that homes along the rim face obvious fire risks. "Tall trees, tall straw brush, limbs to the ground on the juniper - It's to the point that, if a fire came through, there would be no way for us to stop it. And, as far as a fire hazard, pulling in Federal resources, and air resources and stuff like that, and having them available, right now, could be a huge problem for us." 
Crooked River Ranch Fire & Rescue works closely with BLM to fight wildfire in the area, but due to jurisdictional issues, the ranch can't work on the land in question unless its classification as a 'Wilderness Study Area' is lifted. Congressman Walden says, "The WSAs are easily created by the agency, they can just say 'this is a study area.' But, the only way you can change one, or eliminate it, is through an act of Congress, so it's kind of an interesting process that maybe should be flipped the other way; but it's not. So, we have to make our case that there's a reason to move this back, and I think the reason is pretty clear that it's fire safety in a community that's fire prone." Walden hopes his House Resolution 2075 will get to the House floor when Congress is back in session in September.
He told the group the area would benefit from clean up and maintenance the adjustment would allow, "We live in a high fire danger environment. And, it seems to me, the most responsible tact we could take is to allow active fuels reduction to prevent catastrophic fire. And so, we were very judicious in working with the community to try and find a balance here that moves the line back to an appropriate area to prevent what could be a devastating and deadly fire." Walden also commended efforts to create a secondary access road through the Ranch to increase options for residents in the event of an emergency. 

Sisters-Camp Sherman Gets New Fire Truck



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. 


The new unit was purchased through a program designed to re-purpose government-owned assets at the local level. Sisters Fire paid just over three-thousand dollars for the truck, and the Chief expects to invest another 20-thousand in upgrades. He says a new water tender can cost over $200,000. 

Redmond Councilor Drops Ethics Commission Appeal

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."

Following a lengthy investigation, the Ethics Commission found last month that Graham attempted to influence approval of building permits to protect the value of her own home. She also failed to disclose a potential conflict of interest. Graham says the the Commission’s decision was based on a “nit-picky technicality.”
Redmond City Council voted 6-1, at this week's meeting, to clarify rules regarding how Councilors communicate with city staff and adding a provision allowing for sanctions against Councilors who violate the rules. Graham was the lone “no” vote and called the changes "mean spirited." Mayor George Endicott contends changes in verbiage, which specify Councilors contact the City Manager with questions or concerns about staff, have been in the works for several years.
Also at this week’s meeting, Mayor George Endicott announced plans to run for re-election in 2018. 

Nena Springs Fire Forces Evacuations

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.


As of Wednesday night, the fire was estimated at 16,800 acres. A Type-2 Incident Management team is expected to take over Thursday at noon. 
Photo courtesy KWSO on Facebook.

Eclipse Prep Message Heard Clearly At Bend Event


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.


McConnell outlined how best to deal with the large number of visitors Central Oregon is expecting August 16-23. She told the crowd, "What we can all do now, the message that I really think is very simple and for us to pass on: You want to arrive early, stay put, and leave late if you're going to travel, even locally, to get to the path."
Deschutes County Sheriff's Sgt. Garibay spoke about the importance of being prepared for the immense crowds, but stressed the eclipse is not a disaster, per say. "We're not asking anybody to do any different than what we ask them to do year round, when we talk about different impacts or threats that our community faces. I'll tell you whether it's an earthquake, a winter storm, a wind event, or an eclipse, many, many of the same things that you do to prepare will keep your family safe, regardless of what the event is."


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."


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.

Bend PD Chief Responds To Downtown Concerns

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."


But, he says he’s trying to address the concerns. "We’ve been engaging over the past year, meeting with the merchants downtown, coming together. We did a survey downtown to see what the needs were. Now, we’re trying to locate the funding throughout the city to actually support those needs and we believe we do have some funding sources to help. Because, we can only do the enforcement section; there’s some physical changes that have to be made to the downtown area." He says those changes could deter criminal activity downtown, to "make that less comfortable and make it so that it’s actually more usable for the majority of the people in Bend. We have garbage enclosures down there; we need to do something with those. Those become a haven for needles, for people doing elicit acts downtown, we need to fix those. Now, that take money, takes time and it takes a contractor to do that." He says the city now has an engineer available to help, and he's hopeful an increase in tax revenue since the recession will pay for safety improvements. 
Chief Porter also admits his department is understaffed, "We’re a city who’s trying to balance the needs of roads, sewer, water and police. All of those you need, and we’re playing catch-up now, because we’re finally – our tax revenue is catching up and we can do that. One of my challenges is, my patrol teams are six officers and a sergeant. Our staffing plan is to have nine officers on per shift." However, that hiring process takes time. Porter says it takes nearly a year to get a new officer fully trained. He says two more rookies are headed to the police academy in September.
To hear our full conversation with Bend Police Chief Jim Porter, click HERE or visit our Podcast Page.

Whitewater Fire Prompts More Wilderness Closures


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."

About two-dozen Oregon National Guard personnel are assisting with suppression efforts, along with two Chinook helicopters equipped with nearly 2,000-gallon capacity water buckets. The 1st Battalion, 168th Aviation Regiment is based in Pendleton. 
The Whitewater Fire started with a lightning strike and is burning in steep terrain. As of Wednesday morning, it's estimated at 5,580 acres and 0% contained. 

New Madras Business Capitalizes On Eclipse Crowds


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."


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.


Walden Discusses Wilderness Permits In Bend

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."


That plan could include new permits for hikers and other users, to help control how many people visit some of the most popular areas and help pay for maintenance. Rep. Walden supports the idea if the fees collected stay local and pay for trail and resource maintenance. "We have to make sure that the recreation that takes place is done in a managed way, so that we don’t destroy that which we love – especially in these fragile environments. What I heard was a common theme around that. Especially for our wilderness areas, people want to be able to have access, but they realize we can overrun them if we’re not careful." The proposal is similar to how the Northwest Forest Pass helps pay for work, which encouraged Walden, "They [The Forest Service] have a lot of flexibility to use the funds from the Northwest Forest Pass and they plow 80-95% of it right back into improvements for restroom facilities, picnic tables and trailheads, and all that. It sounds like the same would be applied to any kind of permitting system with fees for the wilderness hikes. But that would be plowed right back into trail maintenance, management and a better experience for the hiking public."
Tuesday's meeting also included user groups like the Backcountry Horseman, Oregon Equestrian Trails, Visit Bend, the Bend Chamber of Commerce and the Pacific Crest Trails Association. Most support tighter management and better public education for those visiting areas growing in popularity. In 2011, Allen says the Three Sisters Wilderness saw about 25,000 people; by 2016, that number had grown to 90,000, and not everyone is a responsible guest. Walden says the wilderness is part of Oregon's culture and must be protected. "We want to make sure people have access to their public lands, so you can have the experience that you live here to have. They’re trying to be inventive here, and innovative, and build off of programs that have worked in other forests, so that you can get out to camp and hike and not have a whole city built around you, if you will. Or, leave trash and human waste and dog feces behind." In many cases, he says, it's a case of 'loving it to death.' Walden tells KBND News, "It’s about finding the right balance. And, we love our public lands a lot, and we’ve just got to make sure we don’t destroy them in the process."
The amount of the proposed permits has not been determined. Allen tells KBND News they would likely only be required for the busiest areas that see the most resource damage. He says it would serve to help fund maintenance and push some visitors to other, more underused areas. The Forest Service is finishing up an analysis and expects to have a draft of a new management plan available for public comment by this winter. 
Photo: Rep. Walden (right) listens to Forest Supervisor John Allen, of the Deschutes National Forest, at Tuesday's meeting at the Cascade Lakes Welcome Station. 

Bend Firefighters Clean Up HazMat Spill

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. 

Eclipse Traffic Could Impact Seniors Most

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."


Seniors can get started on an eclipse emergency kit during a special preparedness meeting, Tuesday morning. Banderas says Helping Hands and Ashley Manor Senior Living will provide a few key items: "Solar eclipse glasses, so that everyone can safely watch the eclipse, water and granola bars, just to have a snack on hand and some water because they’re thinking water is going to be scarce during that week." Today's preparedness meeting at the Madras Senior Center starts at 10 a.m. and includes a presentation by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office. 
Banderas recommends seniors have their emergency supplies gathered by the end of this week, as traffic in Madras is already starting to pick up, and she says it's only going to get worse. She tells KBND News, kits should include extra medication and a few other important items: "We’re suggesting a flashlight, diabetic supplies if they’re diabetic, hearing aid batteries if they wear hearing aids, oxygen – if they use oxygen, they should have at least a week’s worth on hand."


Many Jefferson County seniors don’t drive and Banderas is worried they won't have access to help in an emergency. "I mean, I’m going to recommend to them that they have a family member stay with them or they stay with a family member. Because, if there is an emergency situation – their blood sugar dramatically drops or rises, or their blood pressure does the same thing – then, they’re going to need to have somebody there who can take care of them and react, because EMTs may not be able to react as quickly as their body needs them to."
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.

Bicyclist Seriously Hurt In Two-Vehicle Crash

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. 


Both drivers were evaluated at the Redmond hospital. The 44-year-old bicyclist, Matthew Davis of Bend, was transported to St. Charles Bend with serious injuries. 
The Sheriff's Office says it does not appear drugs or alcohol were contributing factors, although the crash remains under investigation. 

Two Hospitalized After Redmond Fire

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.


Firefighters say a sprinkler system limited the spread of the flames, containing the fire to one room. The Red Cross is helping the three adults affected by the fire. 

Suspected Bend Bike Thief Arrested

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.

Last week, an officer saw the 32-year-old commit several traffic violations while riding a bike near SE Third and Murphy Rd. After allegedly trying to elude police and resisting arrest, Chase was taken into custody for an outstanding warrant. 
The bicycle he was riding at the time of his arrest is one reported stolen from the July burglary. Investigators later executed a search warrant and uncovered several other stolen bikes and other property, drugs and a gun.
They continue to look for the other high-end bike (pictured above) taken from NW Brickyard. Anyone with information about the case or the stolen property is asked to call 541-693-6911. 

Search Underway For Lost Horse

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 Police Search For Pursuit Suspect

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. 


Tortoiseshell Butterflies Move Through Central OR

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. 


Rob Flowers, with the Forest Service, says the butterflies aren't dangerous, but admits they can create a mess. "This is one of the only ones that goes into a real high population strength certain years, and it's usually for only a year or two. But, their habit is to fly over large areas in large numbers so, as they move across roads, the gross factor comes in terms of hitting a lot of them with your car. So, if you're traveling across the passes right now, or if you're up in the higher elevations, you'll see a lot of these butterflies flying around."
Because they fly in large groups, Flowers says it can make them difficult to photograph. Flowers tells KBND News, "The larvae are black and they have yellow spines on them. They'll complete their lifecycle and turn into an adult and that's when you get the sort of mass, the flight of the butterflies. The adults tend to be mostly yellow orange with some black spots and then a black border on the wings." He adds, There's just hundreds of butterflies just fluttering by, so it's an interesting thing to observe. It's a fairly common occurrence; we just haven't seen them for awhile. If you're new to the area, it might be something that's kind of novel. We do have some records- we've seen fairly regular outbreaks that date back to the early 1900s, so this is just another in the long series of nature doing something spectacular." Flowers expects the tortoiseshell butterfly will be in the area for four to six weeks.


Bend City Utility Staff To Carry Dog Repellent

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.


“Halt!” dog repellent is made from mineral oil and a cayenne pepper extract. "It’s been endorsed by the American Kennel Club, the Humane Society, a number of other agencies. And, our hope is that we never have to use it. It’s our last resort, not our first option." Vaughan also says the U.S. Postal service has used the same dog repellent for over 50 years. 

Contest Brings Eclipse Viewers To Smith Rock

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."

Finding lodging within the path of totality for the August 21st eclipse is nearly impossible, but the contest is one of just a few remaining options for a lucky few. "Eclipse eve is going to be the biggest night for AirBnB in Oregon, ever," says Rillos. "We’re expecting 4600 guest arrivals just in the cities that are in the path of the eclipse, and many more throughout the state, in cities that are near the path, like Bend and elsewhere in the state."
Click HERE to learn more about the AirBnB contest, including entry instructions. Entries are accepted through 8:59 p.m., PST.
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.

Local Fire Crews Busy Over The Weekend

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. 


Saturday morning, the northeast Bend Fitness 1440 was evacuated after smoke was discovered inside (above). Firefighters found flames between the ceiling and roof; they say the fire started in the men’s locker room sauna. They cut holes in the roof to ensure all flames were extinguished. That fire left about $85,000 in damage.
And, Sunday afternoon, Redmond firefighters stopped a blaze from spreading on a Terrebonne property after a hay baler caught fire while working in the field (right). Crews spent about an hour making sure the fire was fully out. 

Bend-La Pine Schools Hosts Job Fair

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."


Monday’s job fair is from 3 to 7 p.m. at Bend Senior High.  Visit our Podcast Page to listen to our full conversation with BLS Human Resources Director Debbie Watkins, or click HERE.

Bend Council Approves $2.2M More In Legal Fees

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.


Bend City Council approves exemption to low-bid contracting process to complete sewer expansion work


Associate City Attorney Ian Leitheiser explains why Councilors need to amend the contract with the law firm, "It's based on an estimate of taking the case to and through trial or arbitration. The parties are currently in Deschutes County Circuit Court arguing about whether this case should be heard in court by a judge, which is the city's preference, or in arbitration in a closed proceeding, which is Apollo's preference. So, either way, it's going to involve increased costs and expenses, and the proposed amendment is designed to make sure that those can be paid."
The amendment passed in a 6-2 vote, Wednesday. Mayor Casey Roats voted in favor of the additional money. "The court amendment represents a 'not to exceed amount,' meaning that if the work is not ultimately necessary, the money will not be spent. So, while it is a large sum of money, and we as a Council, and as a city, intend to defend ourselves vigorously, we of course hope not to spend that money, but clearly have signaled the intention to do so, if need be." He adds, "We are faced with a potential opponent in court who actually filed litigation against us while we were still in mediation, so it is with all of that history that we enter into this; not lightly, and not because we want to, but because we have to."
Councilors expect to hear in the fall whether the case will go to trial.

Redmond Park Fire Under Investigation


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

Rep. Buehler Announces Gubernatorial Run

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."


Rep. Buehler responds to State Ethics Commission report on what he calls "politically motivated" complaint.


Buehler acknowledges that being from Central Oregon could be a disadvantage for his campaign. "I’m very much used to being an underdog, so it does not bother me a bit to be a candidate from the east side of the mountains. I have a deep understanding of the west side of Oregon; remember I grew up in Roseburg, I went to college at Oregon State, I lived for five years in the Portland metro area, so I have a deep understanding of the state of Oregon and its great citizens."


Central OR Smoky Skies Caused By Distant Fires

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. 


Crews also responded to a new fire off Highway 20, between Bend and Burns, Wednesday afternoon. The Cinder Butte Fire (pictured) was first reported at 1 p.m. and by Wednesday night it had grown to 10,000 acres. By Thursday morning, fire managers estimated the wind-driven fire had scorched 25,000 acres of dry grass, brush and juniper. Highway 20 was closed intermittently Wednesday due to the blaze. As of Thursday morning, the highway was open. 
In British Columbia, more than 135 wildfires have burned nearly a million acres, sending smoke into much of the Pacific Northwest. 
Those with sensitive respiratory systems are encouraged to stay indoors with windows closed, if possible, to minimize exposure to smoke. 
THURSDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE:  Fire managers say the Whitewater Fire has grown to over 4,500 acres due to rising temperatures and low relative humidity. The Cinder Butte Fire is now estimated at about 56,000 acres. 

Local Summer Water Outlook Concerning

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. 


Central Oregon saw record-setting snowfall last winter, which caused some to speculate we would see a full reversal of the 2015 drought, when the Governor declared emergencies for three-quarters of the state. Stahr says one good winter isn't enough. "Drought is a slow moving disaster. Remember 2015? It took us three years to get there. So, my story here is that it doesn’t take a year to get back to some sense of ‘we’re going to be ok’.” Referring to this winter's snow, he says, "It’s not the end of a drought. I’d like to call it relief from a drought." 
Click HERE to access the latest Water Conditions Report.

Redmond Affordable Housing Complex Opens

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. 


Housing Works Executive Director Tom Kemper says the building is already fully leased. "We’re adding 48 units to the affordable housing supply and that’s huge. I mean, I know 48 units doesn’t seem like a lot, but it all incrementally adds up. The one-bedroom rents are less than $460 a month, which is like half of market rent. And, they’re extraordinary units; I mean, the views from this building are incredible."
Mosaic Medical will move into its new 10,000-square foot clinic on the ground floor of Cook Crossing in mid-September. Kemper says it's the second time Housing Works has partnered with the non-profit healthcare provider, which primarily serves low-income patients. The first, was at Bend’s Ariel Glen Apartments, and Kemper would like to see the trend continue. "It’s been a success for Mosaic and it’s a tremendous asset for the residents in that community and that neighborhood. Hopefully that is a direction – You know, more and more, people understand that housing is a key part of health, and if you can link medical treatment with housing you increase your odds of having a healthier population."
Cook Crossing is a senior living complex, for residents 55 and older. Kemper is working with the Redmond School District to create a partnership with a nearby middle and elementary school. "Obsidian and Lynch are right across the street, so we’re working with those schools to create programs where seniors can help kids at those schools; and those kids can help seniors, too – you know, with computer skills and that kind of thing."
The building was also designed to be energy efficient and Kemper says it sould provide a comfortable and durable home for residents for many years. City, state and county officials will join Housing Works to celebrate Cook Crossing's grand opening at a 10 a.m. ceremony at the facility. 

Bend Photographer's Work Featured On Stamp

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."


Lepp has taken nature shots professionally for most of his life. "I'm the Field Editor for Outdoor Photographer Magazine and I give seminars all over the country for Canon Camera. I'm part of their program for Canon 'Explorers of Light,' so they fund me to go and give talks all over the place. This is what I do, and I've been doing it for 45 years."


The pollinators series of Forever stamps will be released Thursday by the U.S. Postal Service. 

Madras Releases Eclipse Road Closures

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."



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.


PacNW Clouds Thwart Eclipse View In 1979

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. 


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.

Last Chance To Comment On Centennial Expansion

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."


Rayburn tells KBND News that feedback will be on display at an open house, Wednesday afternoon, " A couple things that rose to the top that was very important to the community: More green space, more open space. So, we incorporated a lot of those amenities into the park design. A place for our retirement community, our senior citizens, they want to be able to walk and enjoy the outside, so we’ve incorporated wide sidewalks. A lot of flower beds, tree canopy and natural shade."
The final open house for the project is Wednesday, 4-6 p.m. at City Hall. Construction is expected to cost about $2.5 million dollars and will get underway in 2018, in the block between the existing Centennial Park and City Hall. 

Additional Wildfire Resources Coming To Central OR

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.


Kassidy Kern, with the Deschutes National Forest, says the agency will pull in additional resources from other states, to make sure there are enough firefighters, planes and other equipment in the area to respond at a moment’s notice, in the two weeks surrounding the eclipse. "We call it ‘on severity.’ So, people who are staged and ready from, maybe in Tennessee or Alaska. People that are out of their fire season, but now that we are in ours – You know, this really is the benefit of a national workforce is that you can shift people around." She tells KBND News that in some cases, those crews will camp in the forest to be close to potential trouble spots. "Knowing that we don’t want them to even take the time to go from Scott Street, which is where our main fire building is, out into the forest. We want them to stay there. And, we need to make sure that we have water for them, food for them and fuel for them. So, all of those preparations are really taking place, now."
With so many people planning to "disperse camp" on public land, where reservations aren't needed, it’s hard to know just how many people will venture into the forest to watch the August 21st eclipse. And Kern says, the Forest Service is pushing its message of fire prevention to everyone it can. "At our Deschutes National Forest Facebook page, we’ve gotten some personal messages from people from Asia. You know, those individuals don’t have even reservations now, so there are so many people that are still unaccounted for; people who are completely unfamiliar with English or what fire restrictions mean. And, so we’re hitting it really hard to give those prevention messages so they’re not disperse camping in the middle of the Ochoco National Forest, building a fire that they then can’t control." She says they plan to take a number of steps to inform visitors at every turn, "We will have those boards in the forest, we are coordinating with a number of different agencies in Central Oregon to make sure that there are sandwich boards out at ‘pinch points,’ at areas where people will be congregating. In Sisters, there will be a board at Barclay Square that gives forest information, fire restrictions, ‘pick it in, pack it out’ kind of stuff."
To hear our complete conversation with Kassidy Kern, visit our Podcast Page or click HERE


Motorcyclist Seriously Injured In Monday Crash

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. 


She crossed in front of a southbound semi, and investigators say the truck driver was unable to avoid a collision with her motorcycle. Campbell was wearing a helmet and protective gear.
Police believe alcohol was a factor. The crash remains under investigation and witnesses are asked to call Redmond Police at 541-693-6911.  

Redmond-Area Brush Fire Sparked By Bird

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.


Authorities say a hawk was electrocuted when it landed on an overhead line. It fell to the ground, igniting the blaze. According to Redmond Fire officials, “The hawk did not survive.” 

Cline Falls Dam Deconstructed

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."


Triple-Digit Heat Moving In To Central Oregon

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."

Click HERE for more warm weather safety tips from the Red Cross. 

Two Oregon Mayors Tie The Knot

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.


Endicott met Sherwood Mayor Krisanna Clark at the conference in 2015. "The Mayor of Pendleton at the time, Phil Houk, introduced us. He knew that I hadn’t been widowed all that long and Krisanna had. So, he introduced us at an Oregon Mayor’s Association [conference], two years ago." Their story came full circle, when Houk married them at the event, "Phil is an ordained minister and he wanted to marry us. So, we got married by the guy who introduced us at the venue where we met."  
The nuptials were kept top secret, "It was pretty wild," says Endicott, "and we made it a surprise wedding, so that part was pretty shocking to the 75 Mayors that were there. We had a pretty good time." He says guests only knew the conference was ending with a special event. "We told very few people. Those who had to know, we informed. The rest – Her Council didn’t know; my Council didn’t know. One: we didn’t want it to leak and we didn’t want it to influence our communities until we actually did it."
Endicott says nothing will change for either city’s government, yet. "She will maintain her residence in Sherwood for a while. I mean, we’ve been doing a commuting relationship for two years, so we can continue to do that for the time being. But, she will eventually move to Redmond." Endicott says they haven’t yet decided whether she’ll step down early or serve out her term, which ends December 2018. His bride will be known as Mayor Krisanna Clark-Endicott and has two high school-age children. 


Luring Suspect Arrested By Redmond PD

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. 


Redmond Police began investigating the case in 2016, after receiving a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the Oregon Department of Justice. Investigators say 25-year-old Brandon Kautz used a female alias on social media to encourage the exchange of sexually explicit material with boys. They know of two names he used on Facebook and Instagram: Bryttney Xievier and Elizabeth Pullock. 
Kautz was arrested when police served a search warrant at his Dallas home on Friday. Detectives believe there may be more victims in Deschutes County. Anyone with information in the case, including other aliases used by Kautz, is asked to call Redmond Police at 541-693-6911. 

Bend Police Search For Missing Man

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. 


Police are also concerned about his well-being, given the extremely hot weather. Akers is about 5'9", 175 pounds, with white hair. He was last seen wearing a blue shirt and blue jeans.  Anyone with information is asked to call 911. 
TUESDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: Bend Police say Akers was found at a northeast Bend business at about 12:45 Tuesday afternoon. He was safe and reunited with his family. 


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