Local News Archives for 2018-06

Two Killed In Early Morning Crash on Hwy 26

WELCHES, OR -- Highway 26 was closed in both directions, Friday morning, following a fatal crash in Welches, west of Mt. Hood. State Police responded to the area near milepost 48, just after 4 a.m.


Preliminary investigation shows an eastbound car crossed into the westbound lanes, for an unknown reason, crashing head-on into a semi truck hauling wood chips. The truck came to rest off the road in some trees and caught fire. Both drivers were killed; no one else was in either vehicle. 


OSP asks that anyone with information, or who may have witnessed the crash, to call 503-375-3555. Visit Tripcheck.com for the latest highway conditions. 


Teen Charged With Attempted Burg of Pot Shop

BEND, OR -- A Bend teen is accused of trying to break into a local pot shop, earlier this week. A neighbor reported hearing glass breaking at the Herb Center, on Division, late Tuesday night; another witness saw a man running from the area.

Bend Police found 19-year-old Daniel Shumny in the neighborhood and say he partially fit the description provided by the witness. Investigators believe Shumny broke a window at the marijuana dispensary, in an effort to get inside. However, he didn't actually enter the store. They say he also had evidence of other crimes at the time of this arrest. 


Shumny is charged with Attempted Burglary and Criminal Mischief. 

Free Bend Shuttle Begins Friday

BEND, OR -- Ride Bend, the free summer shuttle offered by Cascades East Transit (CET), kicks off its second year of operations Friday. Derek Hofbauer, with CET, says its a good way to have fun and leave the driving to someone else, "It's basically a circulator shuttle that goes around greater downtown Bend. It connects Downtown Bend with the Old Mill District, with Century Drive and with Galveston. It's a lot of destination points along the way."


With more visitors expected in Bend, this summer, Hofbauer says Ride Bend aims to ease traffic congestion during tourist season, "A lot of visitors come to recreate here and go to all our craft breweries and visit all of our great restaurants, so this free shuttle that allows people to leave their car at home or leave their car at the hotel and just hop on a shuttle and get to where they need to go." He tells KBND News, "It's promoting community livability, it's promoting economic development, and it's a good way for folks to just get around. Especially, if they've been out and they've had a few drinks they can just take the shuttle around to get them home and leave the driving to us."


Ride Bend is funded through a partnership between the city of Bend, Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council and Visit Bend. The organizations will kick-off the season's first trip at 11:30 a.m., Friday at the corner of Wall and Franklin, with food, speeches and a bus trip that tours each stop. It runs every 15 minutes, between noon and 10 p.m., every day until Labor Day. 

Pilot Butte Fireworks Show Secured By Auto Dealers

BEND, OR -- Bend’s annual fireworks display will take off from Pilot Butte on July Fourth, as planned, thanks to a group of local car dealers. Following weeks of speculation that the show was at risk, Subaru of Bend President Matt Thomas says he was approached by The Bend Bulletin, the show’s main organizer, "They had a bunch of people back out at the last minute. It was a $30,000 obligation and they were shy like $18,300. Mike Smolich put some money towards it, and I called Jeff Robberson and then Robert Durfee over at Kendall Group and said, ‘Hey, why don’t we just all get together and split it, and make sure this happens?’" He tells KBND News, "They thought they had it handled, and then when they had some people back out at the last minute, my Bulletin rep reached out to me. And so, we just put it back together."


The Bend New Car Dealership Association is made up of Subaru of Bend, Robberson Ford, Kendall Toyota, Team Kia of Bend, Team Hyundai of Bend, Bend Honda and Chevrolet of Bend. Jeff Robberson, President of Robberson Ford, says working with his competitors to save the event was an easy decision, "Individually, we give a ton back to the community, but collectively we’ve never gotten together and done anything like this. So, hopefully this is the start of something great." He adds, "The Fourth has been such a big party in Bend since I moved here in 1957 – from Drake Park and everything, to the culmination of the fireworks – it’s just fun to be a part of it."


Thomas says he wants to do more in the future, "Next year, our hope is that we can get involved earlier and then just have the Bend New Car Dealer Association take it up every year so we don’t have a funding issue on it. It is a really big event for Central Oregon." The "Blast at the Butte" fireworks show starts Wednesday above Pilot Butte, at 10 p.m. 

Healthy Beginnings Hires Rural Parents

BEND, OR -- Healthy Beginnings is hiring parents to become advocates in four rural areas of Central Oregon. Executive Director Diane Murray-Fleck says the new program is in response to feedback she’s received from rural residents who want to see the non-profit’s early childhood screenings run by people from their own communities. "We’re looking for dynamic, engaged parents that might be interested in owning and getting educated on early childhood development and being the face of our program, locally."


Murray-Fleck says they've already found a rural advocate for Prineville, but they're still looking for advocates to take over screenings in Madras, La Pine and Sisters, "These local rural advocates will be the host –the face of these Healthy Beginnings screenings, but they’ll also be kind of living their lives as young parents and talking about how important those first five years are."


Healthy Beginnings has provided free medical, behavioral and developmental screenings for Central Oregon children, birth to age five, for nearly 23 years. The Bend-based organization has received several large grants in the last three months to help cover the cost of implementing the Rural Advocate Program, including $94,000 from the Ford Family Foundation. 
If you're interested in becoming a Rural Advocate or would like more information on Healthy Beginnings' early childhood screenings, contact Murray-Fleck through the non-profit's website
To hear our full conversation with Healthy Beginnings Executive Director Diane Murray-Fleck, visit our Podcast Page

Bend Fire Warns Against Illegal Fireworks

BEND, OR -- Fireworks stands opened over the weekend, and with Independence Day less than a week away, many are already beginning to celebrate. Bend Fire Battalion Chief Dave Howe tells KBND News a few key tips can keep everyone safe. "If you're going to use consumer fireworks, make sure that you've got a nice, clear area, that you have a charged hose line ready, a bucket of water you can put the spent fireworks into overnight, and don't let your kids light them." He also suggests not picking up an unexploded firework; instead, make sure it's in a safe place and far away from trees, grass, buildings and people. 


Howe also asks that residents stick to what's legal, "There's plenty of fireworks that are illegal, and those are fireworks that either fly more than 12 inches in the air, travel more than six feet, or explode. And, if they do any of those things, they're not legal in the state of Oregon." For those who do decide to use fireworks in a dangerous manner, Howe says you should be prepared to pay for the consequences, "That bottle rocket, or whatever they're lighting off, once the fuse is lit and it goes,  they're responsible for anything that happens; and that includes the cost of suppression of fires, it includes any damage to somebody's house. There is a certain level of responsibility that people have to bear when they decide to use illegal fireworks."

New Website Provides Key Fire Info

BEND, OR -- Several local public agencies worked together to launch a new website, to provide important information to Central Oregonians, during fire season. "People can find health information, information about smoke, information about prescribed fires, wildfires, defensible space, all those things. We’re trying to make it a one-stop-shop for the public," says Jean Nelson Dean, with the Deschutes National Forest. 


CentralOregonFire.org replaces a Blogspot page created during the 2014 Two Bulls Fire. It was later converted to provide public updates on local fire incidents.


The new website is a joint effort between the US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Oregon Department of Forestry, Oregon DEQ, Deschutes County, local public health officials and the Nature Conservancy.

DA: Officer-Involved Shooting Likely Suicide

BEND, OR -- The Deschutes County District Attorney says the man killed during a traffic stop two nights ago, appears to have taken his own life. Bend Police officers Timothy Williams and Kevin Uballez stopped 36-year-old Timothy Bontrager for not using his turn signal. D.A. John Hummel says, "Based on Officer Williams' interactions with Bontrager, Williams suspected Bontrager was impaired from alcohol or drugs, and he thus expanded his investigation to include the potential crime of driving while under the influence of intoxicants."


What happened after that is still under investigation, "Initial evidence suggests that while Bontrager was in the truck and being questioned by Williams, he took his life by suicide and he did so by shooting himself." He adds, "Initial evidence also indicates that Williams shot from outside the truck into the truck. the timing of the shots, the number of the shots, what bullets may have struck where, and when, that's an active part of the investigation. I won't be releasing that."


The Bend man was pronounced dead by Bend Fire medics, who reported he was holding a gun. Other than a misdemeanor marijuana arrest in Texas in 2000, Bontrager had no criminal record. Both police officers involved in the incident are now on paid administrative leave. An autopsy on Bontrager's body is scheduled for Thursday morning. 

Bend State Rep Candidate Reacts To Allegations

BEND, OR -- Bend City Councilor and Democratic nominee for House District 54 Nathan Boddie lost several key endorsements for his State Rep. campaign, this week, after allegations of inappropriate behavior surfaced. Boddie tells KBND News he doesn’t know where the allegations are from, "It’s certainly not local supporters because the support on the ground here has been great and continues to be. I don’t think this is Democrats; I don’t think this is one group or another." He insists he has no intention of quitting the race. 


FuturePAC, an influential Democratic political action committee, claims Boddie made sexist or homophobic remarks; although, the group has so far not elaborated on the accusation. Boddie is suspicious of the timing, "When a political action committee from Portland got in touch with me, I looked into whether they could help with the campaign. They began asking me for campaign money from my supporters and I refused, so the relationship really soured and resulted in I think kind of strange behavior. "He adds, "That’s why I don’t get involved in shadowy political action committees and out of town organizations from Portland. I’m really in this for the people in Bend."
KBND News asked Boddie whether he’s made inappropriate statements, or said anything that could have been misconstrued as sexist or homophobic. He responded, Wednesday, "Certainly not. And, I think that anybody who knows me knows that that’s true. That’s not what I do in my medical career; it’s not what I do in my political career. I think this is just kind of fabricated accusations for reasons that I don’t fully understand. But, it’s not surprising anybody that politics gets weird." 
The District 54 Oregon House seat is currently held by Dr. Knute Buehler, now the Republican nominee for Governor. Boddie's Republican opponent condemned Boddie's alleged behavior. Click HERE to listen to our complete conversation with Nathan Boddie. 
Photo: Nathan Boddie speaks at Bend's Pride gathering at Drake Park, June 23, 2018. 

Large C.O. Wildfires Nearly Contained

MAUPIN, OR -- Management of the Graham Fire, near Lake Billy Chinook (pictured), has been returned to local control, as crews continue mop-up efforts. The blaze is now considered 100% contained at 2,175 acres.


Firefighters have also achieved significant containment on the Boxcar and Jack Knife fires, near Maupin. As of Wednesday morning, Boxcar is 85% contained at 100,207 acres, and Jack Knife is 90% contained at 15,676 acres. Crews continue to mop-up as there was no significant growth in either blaze. 


All three are believed to have started with last week’s lightning.

Local 10-Year Employment Outlook Strong

BEND, OR -- The Oregon Employment Department says over the next ten years, job opportunities will continue to grow, especially in the local tri-county area. Regional Economist Damon Runberg, with the Employment Department, says Central Oregon's population is growing quickly, and jobs will need to keep pace, "Over the next 10 years, we're expected to be the fastest growing - or have the fastest pace of job growth of any of the regions across the state. Our rate of job growth is anticipated to be around 15%, and for some context, the state's supposed to grow around 12%."


He says Information, Business Services and Healthcare will be plentiful, but Runberg expects one sector to outpace them all, "When we actually break it down by industry, we feel that, at least our projections show that construction is supposed to be, by far, the fastest growing industry; so, 35% growth, over the next 10 years, which really blows all the other industries out of the water." Runberg tells KBND News, "When you actually consider these growth openings from economic gains, combined with having to replace these open positions that will have been vacated, there's really closer to 137,000 job openings expected by 2027." He says, "That is a huge, huge number."


Runberg credits changes around the region for the exponential growth, "As we continue to see this transformation of Central Oregon, in particular the Bend/Redmond areas from this traditional rural job base to more of this urban composition, growth in the Professional sector, the Business Services, really taking up a larger share of our employment than it ever has, historically."

Redmond High To Be Without A Principal For 2018-19

REDMOND, OR -- After the sudden resignation of its principal, Redmond High School will start back up in the fall without a permanent leader. District Superintendent Mike McIntosh says he tried to find a replacement earlier this month, "We had a candidate pool, we screened the pool, we sent out a Skype interview – which is kind of an interview online; we had a candidate and that candidate pulled out at the last minute for some very legitimate reasons. We accept that. So, we have decided to not have that process continue."


McIntosh says the biggest issue with finding a replacement is that most educators were already set in their positions when the opening occurred, "It was really late and folks were committed. And, you know, you have to appreciate the commitment of our leadership that, when they say they’re going to be here next year, they really are and don’t bail at the last minute. And, that’s just a service to everybody; so, we appreciate that, understand that and accept that." But, he tells KBND News, he's not giving up, "We’ll go out in February or March when the hiring season in spring is in its prime, next spring, and find the replacement."


And, McIntosh says RHS won't be without administrative leadership in September, "We’ll go into next year with Traci Renwick serving as the district office support. There are two amazing Vice Principals there that’ll carry the ball. I’ve also contacted HD Weddel; he’s going to come help us, as well. We’re going to be in good hands. They’ll get a chance to capture the spirit of Redmond High School and write down their vision, their mission, and then find the principal who will help them lead it." Renwick is Redmond Schools’ Director of Secondary Education; McIntosh says she’ll be at Redmond High every day. Weddel is the former principal of Bend High, and one of two principals now at Madras High. He’ll work at Redmond two days a week.


To hear more of our conversation with Superintendent Mike McIntosh, visit our Podcast Page.

Bend OSP Captain Charged With Domestic Violence

BEND, OR -- A Bend-based State Police Captain is being charged with Domestic Violence. Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel says Captain Bill Fugate has been under investigation since February when his wife filed a complaint, "I requested some follow-up investigation, and after completing my review, I determined that Mr. Fugate had committed two separate incidents of Domestic Violence/Harassment." He's due in court July 10. 

Fugate is accused of bruising his wife by grabbing her in 2017 and, on one occasion, throwing her to the ground. Hummel says other allegations were also investigated, dating back to 2007 when the Fugates lived in Roseburg, "Five incidents were time barred by the Oregon statute of limitations. Even if I had determined there was sufficient evidence that Fugate committed a crime in those incidents, I could not bring charges."
Hummel calls Fugate's wife brave for telling her story, "It's always hard to come forward and tell the public the pain that you experienced at the hands of someone you love. It's also, no doubt, harder for somebody who is accusing a prominent member of our law enforcement community." He says that standing as an officer did not factor into his decision. Hummel tells KBND News, "I let the facts and the law dictate my charging decisions when it comes to police officers just as I do with any other member of the public."
Fugate has worked for OSP 11 years and was the agency's senior public information officer when he was placed on leave in March. Oregon State Police is managing a concurrent personnel investigation into Captain Fugate. OSP Superintendent Travis Hampton issued a statement Tuesday, saying "While Captain Fugate is entitled to due process, the Oregon State Police strongly condemns acts of domestic violence, which is especially alarming and disgraceful when involving a police officer. Conduct of this nature is grossly unacceptable and employee that engage in these actions have no place in law enforcement. Pursuant to OSP policy, the agency is modifying Fugate's state to unpaid administrative leave. 
Photo Courtesy KPTV-TV

One Killed In Officer Involved Shooting

BEND, OR -- A man was killed by Bend Police, during a late-night traffic stop, Tuesday. Few details have been released, but officials say officers stopped a vehicle on Highway 97, south of Cooley Road, just after 11:30 p.m. An officer-involved shooting occurred, and the 36-year-old driver was killed. Two Bend PD officers were involved in the incident. 


The Deschutes County Major Incident Team has been activated, and the Sheriff’s Office is now investigating the incident. 

Fire Crews Respond To Two New Local Wildfires

PRINEVILLE, OR -- Firefighters responded to two new incidents, Tuesday afternoon. The largest forced evacuations of several homes in Prineville. The Barnes Butte Fire (pictured) was held at 16 acres, with the help of ground and aerial crews, including one hot shot team. Firefighters mopped up the perimeter overnight and the Red Cross is helping those impacted by the fire activity.


Firefighters also responded to a blaze east of Sunriver, holding it to just a half-acre. The causes of both fires are under investigation.
WED. A.M. UPDATE (6/27/18) Crook County Fire and Rescue says two homes near were damaged in the Barnes Butte Fire, and a fifth wheel trailer was destroyed. Officials say battling the blaze was a multi agency coordination effort, "Local, state and federal resources happened to be stationed just blocks from where the fire started and were on scene within minutes." When crews arrived, they say multiple homes were threatened near NE Laughlin, NE Compass and NE Denton roads, with the trailer fully involved in fire. Firefighters were able to divert the flames around the home.  
Photos Courtesy of Prineville Police

ODOT Responds To Criticism Over Hwy 20 Trees

SISTERS, OR -- An herbicide proven dangerous to Ponderosa Pines was used along Highway 20 near Sisters, from 2013 to 2015, killing one in eight trees. Responding to new criticism over the dead trees, officials say the mistake was because they did not receive up-to-date information.


Forest Service To Remove Trees Along Highway 20


The Oregon Department of Transportation contracted with Jefferson County Public Works to spray Perspective along the highway, in an effort to kill flammable brush and grass. After the herbicide was selected, the EPA changed the labeling to include language about the potential danger to pine trees, but ODOT's Peter Murphy says his agency did not receive the updated information prior to its application. He says ODOT, the Forest Service and Jefferson County Public Works are now working together to find a solution, "We've identified the problem and now we have to decide what our best course of action for the future is." Murphy tells KBND News, "What we need to do is figure out what our plan is for the future. We need to make sure that that's a safe highway corridor, and we have to take a look at the impact this herbicide has had, and that involves the potential mortality of the trees, and then determine a long term plan to make sure that we do the right thing."


He says the public has been weighing in on the issue, "There will be a public process that allows folks to have the opportunity to hear what we think is the best solution," adding, "We want to be transparent, let people know what's going on and hear what they have to say still about what our safety action plan would be. So, we're working together with the forest service to develop that, and as for specifics, we just haven't gotten there yet."

Repaving Scammers Working In Oregon

BEND, OR -- Oregon's Construction Contractors Board is warning homeowners who need work done on their driveways not to fall for a deal that sounds too good to be true. Cheryl Martinis, with the CCB, says the repaving scam is a simple one, "Typically someone comes to a homeowner's door, says they have been working in the neighborhood and they have a lot of leftover supplies, so that's why they can offer this one-time, immediate, great low price on repaving a driveway."


The scammers then say they need to start work immediately, and demand a significant portion of the quoted price be paid up front. Martinis says if they do start work, they won't get far before asking for more, "They'll demand more money to finish the job. They'll say, 'You should've known this was going to cost us a lot more, you need to pay us,' and a lot of homeowners feel intimidated by that." She adds, "Be careful about how much they pay up front, they should always get something in writing about the work that's going to be performed. And never pay cash to an individual - you'll write a check to a business, use a credit card, that sort of thing."


Martinis tells KBND News, "People should always check out a contractor by getting their CCB License number and looking them up on our website to make sure they're active, and they can see if there's a complaint history." And, she says, it's a good idea to get a recommendation from a trusted source. "90% of the people are out there, trying to please their customers, and it's the small minority of scammers that gives everyone a bad name."


Suspect Turns Self In For Weekend Hit & Run

BEND, OR -- A 21-year-old Bend man turned himself in Monday, telling Sheriff's Detectives he was responsible for a weekend hit and run that sent a bicyclist to the hospital. The Deschutes County Sheriff's Office says Travis Roberts was driving a blue 1997 Toyota Tacoma Saturday morning, near Skyline Ranch Road and Macalpine Loop. He allegedly hit 61-year-old Roy Holtvedt while he road his bike, causing serious injuries.


The truck, seen in surveillance photos released Sunday, has been seized as evidence and the Sheriff's Office says Roberts' 26-year-old passenger has also been contacted and interviewed.


Roberts is charged with Assault II, Failing to Perform the Duties of a Driver and Reckless Driving. He's scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday afternoon. 

OR Dems Pull Support For Bend Candidate

BEND, OR -- A local Democrat running for the Oregon House is losing the support of his party. OregonLive reports the Democrat political action committee "FuturePAC" took the unusual step Monday to withdraw support from Nathan Boddie, citing unspecified allegations against him. 


Currently a Bend City Councilor, Boddie is running for Knute Buehler’s House District 54 seat; Buehler is the Republican nominee for Governor. In a press release, Democratic leaders said they were disappointed that an investigation confirmed the allegations, although they did not elaborate. 
Boddie's Republican opponent, Cheri Helt issued a statement Monday evening, in response to the allegations, "As a working mom, parent of a teenage daughter and supporter of LGBTQ rights, I deplore sexist and homophobic behavior. My campaign will remain focused on improving education and being a moderate, inclusive and independent leader for Bend."

Downtown Workers Help Nab Rdm Theft Suspect

REDMOND, OR -- Redmond Police say help from the public helped them capture theft suspects, Monday morning. Officers were first called to Satterlee Jewelry just before 11:30 a.m., after staff confronted a man in a restricted area. He left with two others, prior to police arrival, but officers caught up with the group near 5th and Antler. 


When approached by police, one suspect took off on a bike. But, investigators say, he was caught in the alley behind Kobold Brewing with help from employees at three downtown businesses. Other officers chased the other two people who also ran, and they were eventually contacted, although not arrested. Police say 28-year-old Brett Yahtin, of Redmond, faces numerous charges, including Resisting Arrest, Meth Possession and Theft. 
A witness told investigators the suspects tried to hide a backpack in nearby landscaping. Inside, officers found two necklaces and other jewelry, some of which is confirmed stolen from Satterlee. Investigators are working to determine whether other recovered items were also stolen (pictured below), including two bicycles. 

Man Rescued From Elevator During Power Outage

BEND, OR -- A power outage impacted more than 5,200 Pacific Power customers in Downtown Bend, midday Monday. Pacific Power says the outage started at about 11:15 a.m. when a bird that pecked its way through the housing surrounding a transformer. It caused a short and the bird was killed. 


Firefighters responded to several calls related to the outage, including a man trapped in an elevator at the Doubletree Hotel on Franklin. Crews lowered a ladder through the trap door in the elevator ceiling and he climbed out unhurt.


Power was restored after about 2.5 hours.

Suspected DUII Driver Accused Of Hit & Run

REDMOND, OR -- A Sisters man faces multiple charges after allegedly crashing his pickup into a northwest Redmond home. Investigators say when officers arrived at the home on Canyon Drive, early Friday morning, they found substantial damage to the building.


They discovered the vehicle lost a wheel when it hit a parked car, several blocks before hitting the house. About 20 minutes later, a Dutch Bros Coffee employee reported an intoxicated man trying to give them his keys. 
Officers suspect that man was also responsible for the hit and runs, and arrested 18-year-old Jose Rojas. They found more than a dozen empty beer bottles and a marijuana pipe inside his truck. 

Jefferson Co. Home Destroyed By Fire

MADRAS, OR -- A Jefferson County home and shop were destroyed by fire, late Monday night. Firefighters responded to the home on Southwest Highway 97, south of Madras, just before 11 p.m. and found both buildings engulfed in flames.


Crews acted quickly and extinguished the blaze, but the buildings were a total loss. No one was home at the time and there were no injuries. The Red Cross is helping the two adults and one child impacted by the fire. 

Boxcar And Jack Knife Fires Grow

MAUPIN, OR -- Fire managers say wildland crews accomplished "significant containment" on both the Boxcar Fire, burning south and east of Maupin, and the Jack Knife Fire, near Grass Valley. 


As of Monday morning, the Boxcar Fire was estimated at nearly 96,000 acres and 47% contained. Fire crossed over the dozer line on Sunday, and an additional spot fire was detected, although aerial crews were able to drop retardant and bring it under control. 


The Jack Knife Fire grew to 14,772 acres and 65% contained. Ground crews made progress burning containment lines, Sunday. 


John Day River miles 68-55 remain closed to campers. And, a Level One (Be Ready) evacuation oder is in place for the area between Highway 97 and 197, the Deschutes River and South Junction Road. 

Firefighters Make Progress On Graham Fire

CULVER, OR -- Firefighters are getting the upper hand on the wildfire burning just south of Lake Billy Chinook. As of Monday morning, the Graham Fire was estimated at 2,175 acres, with no new growth overnight. It's considered about 65% contained. 


Jim Gersbach, with the Oregon Department of Forestry, says a thousand homes were threatened, "A lot of those homes are vacation homes. But, they were estimating perhaps 85-100 people might be living there year-round." Evacuation orders for the Three Rivers area were reduced Sunday to Level One (Be Ready). Mop up continues Monday as crews dig out hot spots, “We will be judged by how well we leave this fire for the local district and residents. Mop up is hard dirty work. But it’s critically important to do it well. When we mop up right, we can hand the fire back to the local district knowing the perimeter will hold,” says Team 2 Incident Commander Chris Cline. Just over 300 people remain on the blaze. 


It's believed the fire started with lightning that moved through Central Oregon, last Wednesday. 


Five People Rescued From River Near La Pine

LA PINE, OR -- Five people were rescued Sunday after they became stuck on a large tree partially submerged in the Deschutes River, between the Tetherow Boat Launch and La Pine State Park. La Pine firefighters responded just after 1 p.m. when the group reported they were floating on inner tubes and became trapped by the swift current.


One person was caught under the tree, but was kept afloat by a life jacket. They also reported that the cold water and fast-moving current had sapped all their strength and they were struggling to hang on. Firefighters with a rapid deployment craft responded with Deschutes County Search and Rescue. They were exhausted and treated for minor injuries and hypothermia by medics, but otherwise okay. 


The Deschutes County Sheriff's Office confirms the group is not affiliated with the green canoe found submerged in the river near La Pine, Saturday. This was the third water rescue call in four days. 



Injured Man Rescued From Crook Co. Ravine

PRINEVILLE, OR -- A 58-year-old man was rescued from a Crook County ravine, Sunday evening, after he was injured in a fall. A man contacted the Crook County Sheriff's Office just after 3:30 p.m., and reported his family was driving on Highway 26, when a tire came off the vehicle near milepost 32. 

The group hitch-hiked to town to get help, while Dale Rhode searched for a better signal. When deputies arrived at the car, Rhode was nowhere to be found. Crook County Search and Rescue volunteers, Crook County Fire and Rescue, and Forest Service personnel joined deputies in searching for Rhode.


He was found about 3/4 of a mile from the highway, down a steep canyon. His leg was injured and deputies estimate it was about 102-degrees in the ravine. Rhode was extricated from the canyon and arrived at St. Charles Prineville just before 8 p.m. 

Found Canoe Prompts Investigation

LA PINE, OR -- A canoe found submerged near Pringle Falls, west of La Pine, has prompted an investigation by the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office.


The green boat was discovered in Saturday afternoon pinned against a log, with gear still inside, including a lifejacket, packed lunches, and an electric motor that was still running. Investigators don’t know if it was occupied when it became submerged, and say there are no active missing persons reports.


Drones were used to search the area, along with personnel from several agencies, to make sure no one was still in the river.  

Suspect Sought In Saturday Hit and Run

BEND, OR -- The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office continues to search for a suspect in a weekend hit and run that injured a bicyclist. The incident occurred Saturday at about 10:30 a.m., near Skyline Ranch Road and Macalpine Loop. The cyclist was seriously injured and taken to the hospital. 


Witnesses described the suspect vehicle as a blue mid-sized pickup with a white canopy, similar in size to a Dodge Dakota. Officials Sunday released surveillance images of a vehicle seen in the area around the time of the crash, matching the description of the suspect vehicle.   
Anyone with information is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office through non-emergency dispatch, at 541-693-6911. 

Sunriver Man Drowns in Deschutes

SUNRIVER, OR -- A 63 year-old Sunriver area man was reported missing about 8:30 last night after he attempted to swim across the Deschutes River.


According to the Sheriff’s Office, Allan Periman was at the boat launch with his brother when he decided to swim across the River.


The brother says he struggled with the current and was swept downriver around a bend.


A deputy found the man's body about an hour later approximately 500 yards down River from the boat launch.


Foul play is not suspected but alcohol is believed to be a factor.

Drinking Culture May Lead to More Impaired Driving

BEND, OR -- The State Transportation Commission meets today to consider a report claiming Central Oregon's 'drinking culture,' from being built around breweries, makes the region more likely to have serious alcohol related traffic accidents.


Deschutes County Commissioner Tammy Baney, who serves as  the Transportation Commission Chair, says driving under the influence is a state-wide issue, but the Transportation Commission has language in its 159-page report that driving under the influence is a big problem in their Region 4, of which Deschutes County is part, along with Crook, Jefferson, Gilliam, Klamath, Lake, Sherman, Wasco, and Wheeler counties. "Impaired driving continues to be one of the top highway safety concerns for Region 4. The number of fatal and serious injuries peaked in 2016 to the highest count in 5 years." The Commission says alcohol and / or drug use was involved in 25% of fatal and serious traffic injuries for Region 4, and they cite the flat, straight highways as promoting high-speed driving and the longer distances between populations centers as a factor that increases response and travel times for First Responders.
The report says contributing factors as Central Oregon's being a major tourist destination, its having the most breweries per capita in the state, and its several beer themed events like the Ale Trail, the Beer Run, and Oktoberfest. There is even a Battle of the Breweries Blood Drive through the Red Cross.
Baney says beer may be a large part of Bend's social life, but it's important to be responsible when it comes to alcohol use. "It's important to talk about what it means to have safe usage of breweries, and we have legalized marijuana in Oregon as well and so, I think, the use of substances, whether that's marijuana or alcohol, communities have a responsibility to be talking about how you do that safely."
According to Baney, the purpose of today's discussion is to figure out how to have fun safely, because being safe should be everyone's priority. "Statewide, there's a responsibility to be looking at how we encourage niche markets and how we encourage tourism, and how we encourage the cultivation of distilleries and breweries and et cetera, and we marry that up with the safety aspects of how you do that responsibly and as adults."


DA Hummel Names Shooting Victim

BEND, OR -- 44-year-old Jesse Wade Powell of Springfield was shot dead by Deschutes County Deputy Randy Zilk Tuesday night at his campsite on Forest Road 46-10 off Century Drive. Zilk is a 13-year-veteran of the police force, and he has been placed on paid administrative leave while the incident is investigated, along with Liam Klatt, another deputy who was on-scene at the time of the shooting.


Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel says a hiker brought the deputies to the site. "She heard female and male voices arguing, and then she heard shots fired. She called 911."
A U-Haul, a trailer, a motorcycle, and a camper found at Powell's camp in the Deschutes National Forest were all reported stolen from residents in Deschutes County. Powell was apparently standing near the camper when he was shot once by Zilk. Hummel says there is no word, at this time, as to whether Powell had a weapon. "Details about that are still to be determined. I'm not prepared to say, with certainty."
Though he had just shot Powell, Hummel says Zilk attempted to save him. "Zilk immediately commenced life-saving efforts, CPR in particular. Bend Fire and Rescue arrived on scene and they took over life-saving efforts. Powell was declared deceased on the scene."
Powell, who had a rap sheet which included crimes ranging from burglary to theft to rape to criminal mischief, was arrested by Springfield Police last year after he allegedly placed a hoax explosive device outside a building, causing a bomb scare, and a mass evacuation.


Evacuations as Graham Fire Threatens Homes

CULVER, OR -- Fire season has come to Central Oregon and crews have been spread thin responding to 38 incidents after 600 lightning strikes recorded over Wednesday night.


The Graham Fire, currently at 2,000 acres, is burning 7 miles west of Cove Palisades Park. Jefferson County Sheriff Jim Adkins says the fire has devastated the Three Rivers Subdivision, with the loss of two homes, and several outbuildings. "We've lost several homes already and the fire's moving pretty fast. The wind's blowing from the west to the east. We've evacuated people who are to the west of Lakeview Drive, and we have two task forces out here. So, we're pretty busy trying to get a handle on this."
Governor Brown has declared the fire a conflagration, which has prompted FEMA to send personnel to help fight it. A structural protection task force and wildland engines have also responded.
Adkins says the area is still under Evacuation Level Three status, which means "GO NOW" and the only people being allowed in for brief times are residents who have emergent needs for medicines.
Fire crews are currently holding a line, Adkins says they're worried about the winds that are expected this afternoon, and the rising temperatures. The Sheriff says the area is filled with smoke and is very dangerous. He understands why residents would want to return to their homes, but he's asking that they take the level three "GO NOW" evacuation seriously. "I suggest that everybody just stay out of here and let these firefighters do their job."
Another large fire crews fought Thursday is the Boxcar Fire, southeast of Maupin, at an estimated 7,000 acres, burning in grass and brush on unprotected private lands and BLM. A Type 3 Incident Management team has assigned numerous engines, one heavy air tanker, a 20 person crew, 3 helicopters and 4 single engine air tankers to contain it.


Redmond Hosts First Open Streets Event

REDMOND, OR -- Redmond hosts its first Open Streets event, this weekend, shutting down a portion of downtown to motorized vehicles, to encourage bike and pedestrian traffic. Bend has hosted several Open Streets, most recently on Mother’s Day, "Open Streets is an international initiative, actually," says Commute Option's Brian Potwin, "It started in Bogota, Colombia and it’s moved across the United States. There’s over 130 different cities in the U.S. that are doing it – Portland, Eugene, obviously. But, then other cities around the U.S. you wouldn’t necessarily expect, like L.A. does an Open Streets event."


Potwin acknowledges Central Oregonians love their cars, but tells KBND News, "We also have a community that loves to be outside, be physically active, be up at the mountains, do things on bicycles, so the reaction has been extremely positive because our community is all about getting outside. And, it’s really about the neighborhoods themselves; we’re inviting them to come out."


Redmond’s inaugural Open Streets is Saturday from noon to 4 p.m., on Deschutes Ave. between SW 6th and 15th. It features live music, walking story books with librarians, lawn games, bicycle races. Or, bring another mode of transportation, "Skateboard or scooter or come with the family and go for a run. There’s all different ways to enjoy Open Streets," says Potwin. Bicyclists can even test their speed against a police radar gun. And city officials will be on hand to talk about planned bike and pedestrian improvements, including the Homestead Canal Trail.

Deputy Shoots, Kills Man In Rural Deschutes County

BEND, OR --  An investigation is underway into a deadly deputy-involved shooting at a camp in rural Deschutes County. 


Police say a deputy shot and killed someone at the camp off U.S. Forest Service Road 4610 near Century Drive yesterday. 


The deputy was reportedly uninjured. 


The two deputies at the scene will be placed on administrative leave pending the conclusion of the investigation.


It's not yet clear what led to the shooting.

Mayor Casey Roats Isn't Running for Mayor

BEND, OR -- Bend Mayor Casey Roats has announced that he is running for a second term on the Bend City Council, but he isn't seeking to become Bend's first elected Mayor. "It's been a real pleasure to serve, and I'm looking forward to continuing on." Roats says he knows he can still be effective on the Council, and doesn't need the top dog position. "I'm going to work really hard to stay on and I have a lot of unfinished business I'd like to see through and be a part of."


Roats was elected to the Bend City Council in 2014, and during his tenure, he's most proud of his opposition to the gas tax, that was voted down by Bend Residents 2-to-1, and his spearheading of the effort to economize City operations to find funds for street repairs that didn't require raising taxes.
Roats says he wants to continue his work on the Council, and is asking voters to elect him to a four year term. "We can move ahead on things like public safety, we can move ahead on relieving traffic conditions and our transportation systems planning and construction work, we can continue to make improvements in making our streets in better shape as we have for the last couple years, all within our existing resources and revenues."
Roats was elected to the Bend City Council in 2014, and was appointed by the Council to serve a 2 year term as Mayor in early 2017. "Personally and professionally, I think it would be a good thing for me to not be as busy in my role in civic life, but I can still continue to advocate for all of my highest priorities as a member of the Council just the same, and just as effectively."
The current candidates for Bend City Mayor are Councilor and Mayor Pro Tem Sally Russell, Councilor Bill Moseley, Chief Advocate for Disabled Americans, Brian Douglass, Bend resident Charles Baer, who wants to legalize psychedelic mushrooms and ban cars Downtown, and a 5-year-old cat named Leonard.


All Three Counties See Historic Unemployment Lows

BEND, OR -- Record low unemployment comes to Central Oregon.

"This is the first month in awhile we've seen a statistically significant drop in the unemployment rate across the board for all three counties, in fact, all three counties also moved into sort of new territory when it comes to the unemployment rate. We're at historically low levels," says Oregon Employment Department's Damon Runberg.
He says the tri-county area continues to add jobs, and no one area is providing them. "No sort of single industry sector is accounting for all the growth, but the big ones are definitely construction, professional business services, healthcare keeps doing well, and we've actually seen sort of a second push, new life breathed into leisure and hospitality."
All three counties are at historic lows, and while Crook County and Jefferson are higher than Deschutes, Runberg says the employment outlook for rural communities is about as good as it's ever been in Central Oregon, calling these low jobless rates 'historic.' "An all-time low for us. In fact, I think what's probably more impressive about that is our rate dropped below both the National and State rates of unemployment, and typically, we actually see that here, in the Bend / Redmond area, our unemployment rate tends to be higher than the National or State average."
Deschutes County added 1,270 jobs in May, and has dropped to 3.8% unemployment. Crook County added 120 jobs last month, with 5.5% unemployment and Jefferson County added 130 jobs, with its unemployment rate dropping to 5.2%. 


Redmond Transit Hub To Open In July

REDMOND, OR -- Cascades East Transit (CET) celebrates Redmond’s new transit hub with a ribbon cutting ceremony, Thursday.


It was originally supposed to open by January, then it was pushed to March. CET's Derek Hofbauer admits construction delays have been an issue, but he says it allowed extra time for more features, "We also wanted to have some enhancements, like getting in some landscaping, and we’re doing a waiting garden, as well." He tells KBND News the waiting garden is, "For passengers when they come and they have to transfer, they have an area to sit. And, it was better to do those in the springtime, when you can get the landscaping in and be able to finish everything up and be able to launch it."


It's located on SW Kalama, near Canal, between Fred Meyer and Lowe’s. Once it officially opens in early July, the center replaces the curbside bus stop at the Redmond library. Hofbauer says, "The library has been a great partner, but now we have a park and ride, public art, a waiting garden; we have a lot more passenger amenities – shelters, a covered bike rack, restrooms – that are all on our own facility. And, we also will have real-time arrival and departure signs." It also has dedicated bus parking for each route, which is said to improve safety and convenience for riders.


Thursday's ribbon cutting features brief remarks from local officials, funding partners and community members. "We’re celebrating that the facility is just in the stages of being completed. The event will be from 11 to 12:30 p.m. and it’ll be on Summer Solstice." Funding for the project was provided by Regional Solutions, Redmond Urban Renewal Agency, Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council (COIC), Oregon Community Foundation and an ODOT Connect Oregon grant. 

Commissioners Unanimously Approve Budget

BEND, OR -- The Deschutes County Commissioners unanimously approved a $383.7 million dollar budget yesterday.

Commissioner Tammy Baney says the budget is $26.4 million more than last year's but there was a decrease, too. "Deschutes County is fortunate to have come out of the recession with great valuation in property values, which means that we have been collecting more than, quite frankly, we need to operate the county." Baney says the county's rapid growth means people will get some money back. "For the second year in a row, we have been able to add to our capital reserves to plan for the future, and also be able to reduce the tax rate to the taxpayer." She says .06 cents per $1,000 in valuation may not seem like a lot, but it represents good planning. "Coming out of the Great Recession, and making sure the county has the appropriate long-range planning and capital reserves is critical to the future success of the county."
The approved budget includes $2 million for a crisis center to help mental health patients who aren't candidates for jail, and money to hire a new Sheriff's Detective to help with rural marijuana issues. Baney also says money has been set aside for Victims Assistance through the District Attorney's office and for Veteran's Services to work to prevent suicides.


Jack in the Box Shooting Deemed Self Defense

BEND, OR -- Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel says 39-year-old Medford man, Robert Garris, acted inappropriately in the shooting of Christopher Nolan in front of Bend's Jack in the Box restaurant, but says no criminal charges will be filed.


Hummel says there are reports that Garris, who was staying at the Days Inn while working a construction job, would complain about, and then approach people whose looks he didn't like. "He would walk up to these people aggressively, and in essence, tell them to scram. Get off the property. He was acting like the self-anointed Sheriff of the Day's Inn."
Hummel says Garris was a licensed concealed carry, but even so, the better choice would've been to call the police if he saw suspicious activity. "It's not his job to clear the premises of people he doesn't like the look of and in this incident on May 14th, same situation."
The Jack in the Box's surveillance cameras show Garris approaching Nolan, who pulls a knife on Garris, who backed up, drew his 40 caliber Glock 22, and fired 7 bullets, striking Nolan 4 times.
Garris told the DA he saw Nolan sitting with a friend outside the fast food establishment and went to tell him to leave the area. "At that point, Nolan pulled out a switchblade and extended the blade, and then Garris pulled out his gun, told Nolan to drop the knife, when Nolan did not, that's when Garris discharged 7 rounds. He struck Nolan 4 times." Hummel thinks what Garris did, though in self-defense, was inappropriate and dangerous. "Numerous people in our community were put at risk because of Garris' ridiculous actions."
Hummel says Garris' confronting Nolan was inappropriate and dangerous, but it was Nolan's decision to escalate. "When Nolan pulled out a knife, that was Nolan threatening deadly physical force. At that point, Garris is justified in using deadly physical force against Nolan. So, in that sense, Nolan brought a knife to a fist fight, and Garris brought a gun to a knife fight."
Nolan is currently recuperating at St. Charles Hospital in Bend and is expected to survive.


Central OR Faces Critical Foster Parent Shortage

BEND, OR -- Oregon’s Department of Human Services is actively recruiting new foster families in Central Oregon, due to a critical shortage. 

Jamie Giannettino, of Redmond, has been a foster parent for three years. She understands why others might be hesitant to step up, "The biggest fear that I hear, ‘Oh, I want to do that, but I’m afraid that I would love them and not be able to let them go'." But, she says it’s rewarding to help a child transition back home or to a permanent placement, and she often keeps in touch with the family so she doesn’t have to say goodby forever.
There are currently around 300 foster kids from Deschutes, Crook and Jefferson counties, "140 are five years of age and younger; and of those, 44 kiddos are children under the age of one year," says Cherie Ferguson, a foster parent recruiter with DHS, "That’s been changing. We really do have a need for school-age kids coming into care, for homes for them. But, really, we are starting to see kids who are younger that are coming into care." And, she tells KBND News, there aren't enough local families certified to care for kids in their own communities, close to school and friends. "Deschutes County has the lion’s share of our general foster homes – those are homes that can take any child that we deem is a good placement. We have a huge need in some of the smaller communities, right now, is really where that is. Like, Crook County, right now we only have seven general foster homes. But, we have 37 kids that are coming into care through Crook County." And, the situation is even more dire in and around Madras, "Jefferson County, we only have four general foster parents and that’s a huge suffering area, because we have, right now, 49 kids that are in Jefferson County. So, doing the math, you can imagine how many kids are placed out of county and not in their natural support system."
DHS will hold a two-hour orientation for prospective foster parents on Saturday at Bend’s Riverbend Church, starting at 9:30 a.m. Another is scheduled for Madras July 9th, 4:30-6:30 p.m. Call DHS at 1-800-331-0503 or click HERE for more information. 

Redmond PD Arrests 14 Intoxicated Drivers

REDMOND, OR -- Redmond Police are stepping up their high visibility approach to catching impaired drivers. In May, DUII grants made it possible to put three additional officers on the road for ten more hours, and coupled with regular shifts, 14 impaired drivers were arrested.

With June already half over, the Police Department says they're still using grant funds to find and arrest those driving under the influence. Lieutenant Curtis Chambers of the Redmond PD says you don't have to blow a .08 to get pulled over. "Impairment can occur at any level and if someone's impaired by a substance other than alcohol, their BAC will certainly be under a .08, so if a person's impaired in the state of Oregon by alcohol, a controlled substance, an inhalant, or any combination thereof, that is something they could be arrested for."
Chambers says with the advent of legal pot, drivers can be impaired by more than just alcohol consumption, and impairment leads to their making poor choices. He says calling law enforcement to report people driving under the influence saves lives. He says the Police Department will be keeping up the pressure through June. "We have additional officers signed up to work DUII shifts at various points throughout the month. We don't want to say when that will be, because we want people to make good choices all the time, just not when extra officers are out on the road."
Lieutenant Chambers says stopping people from driving while under the influence of intoxicants is everyone's responsibility. "No one wants to get involved, and no one wants to be that bad guy, but you're going to feel real bad if you had an opportunity to do something and that DUII driver impacts you, or a family member, or a friend in a negative way." 
Funding for the extra officer time is provided by a DUII High Visibility Enforcement Grant, awarded to the Redmond Police Department from the Oregon Department of Transportation.


Scholarships Available for After School Programs

BEND, OR -- The Every Kid Fund is accepting applications this week to provide scholarships for after school programs.


Amy Ward, Executive Director of the Deschutes Children's Foundation, says financial barriers should never stand in the way of any kid's chance to engage in activities like martial arts, music, dance, sports, and art. She says the Every Kid Fund is entirely supported by grants and contributions from private individuals. "Research has shown that if a child stays engaged for eighteen months or longer, it improves the benefit over the long term for the child, so there were donors in the community that wanted to help children access after school programs and remove financial barriers."
$7,500 is available twice a year to fund the scholarships, and the applications approved will be for programs from July through December. Since 2000, the Every Kid Fund has provided more than 3,400 scholarships totaling over $300,000. The fund is supported entirely by private individuals who didn't want finances to keep area kids from being able to access after school activities.
Ward says there's a wide variety of programs from which to choose. "We have supported Girl Scouts in the past. We have given a fair amount to Family Access Network which can then help students with activities like dance, boxing, karate, gymnastics, Bend Rock Gym, as well as art."
According to Ward, the Every Kid Fund works to identify, track and support individual youth for as many consecutive cycles as possible, because research shows consistent involvement in engaging after school activities creates healthier children and young adults. "The fund exists to help with any kind of after school activity. What we are looking for is that meaningful, long-term engagement."
Applications are due this Friday, June 22nd.


Free Kids Summer Lunch Programs Begin

BEND, OR -- A number of local school districts start free summer lunch programs Monday. "Even though school’s out, kids still need nourishment," says Terry Cashman, Bend-La Pine Schools Director of Nutrition Services and Operations.


Crook County School District, Jefferson County 509J and Redmond Schools also offer their own summer meal programs. Cashman tells KBND News, "This is for everybody, no matter what your income status might be. We just want to make sure you’re having a nutritious meal." He adds, "It’s free for all kids from zero – or, really from one to 18. At zero, I don’t think you’ll be eating our summer lunch but you can still show up with your siblings!"


He says many locations offer more than just food, "If it’s a park, there are activities for the kids to burn off some energy there, too. We have several different locations going on this year. Each place has to fall within a specific guideline for it to qualify for a summer feeding site. So, we try to place them in places where they’re easily accessible to families and kids." Bend sites include the downtown Boys & Girls Club, Al Moody Park, Jewell Elementary and Pilot Butte Neighborhood Park, "The nice thing about the Pilot Butte Neighborhood Park one is on Wednesdays, we’re also going to have a reading program there, too. So, those kids who want to work on their reading, it’ll be a great chance to do that." Lunch will also be offered at the La Pine Event Center, starting July ninth. 
Redmond Schools offers free lunch at Sam Johnson Park, Lynch Elementary, Tom McCall Elementary and the library starting Monday. Click HERE for details. And, in July and August, the district’s bicycle mobile food cart (pictured) will make regular lunch stops at four southwest Redmond apartment complexes and the Cascade Swim Center. 
Click HERE for a map of all summer meal programs. 

Grass Fire Closes Hwy 26 Near Warm Springs



Highway 26 was briefly closed today due to a grass fire that started east of the Rainbow Market near the Deschutes River.


Jefferson County Sheriff Jim Adkins says the fire is potentially human-caused. A camper may have passed out near his campfire and was pulled to safety by a friend who took him to St. Charles Madras for burns. Adkins says this fire may have spread, causing the grass fire to start.


The fire was reported shortly before 3 pm, and task forces were mobilized by 3:30. It was finally held at the top of the rim by fire personnel.


The fire is still being actively fought by fire personnel and local farmers, and mutual aid fire units from Jefferson and Deschutes Counties are still arriving, not only to fight the grass fire, but also to protect structures, if necessary.


No evacuation notices are anticipated except for Mecca Flats Campground that has been closed by BLM.


Residents have been notified. Adkins says there is no threat to homes or buildings at this time.


For updates, follow KBND.com

Hammer Fire 70% Contained

POST, OR -- The Hammer Fire burning in the Ochoco National Forest is 70% contained at 125 acres, as of Friday morning. Fire managers don't expect any new growth. Crews burned a perimeter around the blaze Thursday night and remain on scene for mop up and patrols.


The wildfire was first spotted Wednesday, in the Maury Mountains, south of Prineville. It's burning in dead and down fuels in the Hammer and Florida creek drainages, about eight miles south of Post. 


Bend Ranks Sixth Safest City In Oregon

BEND, OR -- A recently released report of Oregon crime statistics ranks Bend as the sixth safest city in the state, and the only city over 60,000 people to make the top 10. Bend Police Captain Paul Kansky says it’s a group effort, "It’s very good to see. It makes us know that we have good relationships with the community, because it’s all of us together that create this. But, it’s surprising in the way that – to be a city of almost 100,000 and be in the top 10 is definitely a success for our community."


Sherwood topped the list; the city of nearly 20,000 reported .67 violent crimes per thousand people, followed by Sandy, Lake Oswego, Albany and Silverton. Bend had 1.08 violent crimes per thousand people. Click HERE to view the full list. Rankings are based on 2016 data reported to the FBI. Capt. Kansky tells KBND News, "We certainly are not a bedroom community for larger cities, but I think that helps lending to a little less crime. Now, that said, I also know that our culture of our police department, along with our community, is to serve others. And, that culture, it just rings out. We’re a service-minded department and that’s earned us the trust of the community and vice versa – we work with the community and we trust them." 
While the report is based on nearly two-year-old data, Capt. Kansky doesn't think this year's numbers will be that different, "Crime will rise a little bit, which comes with population growth and also tends to be a little bit of a trend from years past, and calls for service are up this year about 5%. But, I don’t suspect it’ll change a lot because, again, I think it ties to our service and our community."
Click HERE to listen to our full conversation with Capt. Paul Kansky.

Prineville's Roundabout Opens Friday

PRINEVILLE, OR -- After delaying one more day, the Oregon Department of Transportation plans to open Prineville’s first roundabout Friday morning. ODOT’s Peter Murphy says unforeseen circumstances forced crews to back off plans to open it Thursday, as they finished connecting the roundabout at Tom McCall Road to Highway 126. "That means doing some paving and removing some asphalt, I mean there’s a lot of detail work that takes place at this time in a project, and we want to make sure it’s safe and proper and all that. It just took a little bit more work than we thought it would, to make that happen."
He says it’s going to take time for drivers to get used to the new traffic pattern, "Even though we have roundabouts popping up more often, there aren’t so many on state highways and certainly out in the Prineville area where this is the first. It’s going to take a little learning to make sure we’re going the right direction, doing the right turning movements. But, a little bit of extra time to learn how a roundabout works and we’re all going to be in a good place."
Murphy tells KBND News just because the roundabout is opening doesn’t mean work is done, "As these projects go, they’re done in stages. So, at this stage we need to move the traffic on to the roundabout and then there will be other kinds of activities that take place, among which is landscaping and that kind of thing." He says construction crews will work on those finishing touches through the summer.


Annual Weed Pull Event Saturday

BEND, OR -- It’s the time of year when noxious weeds pop up across Central Oregon, and local experts say now is the time to take action before they dry out and provide the perfect fuel for a wildfire. Deschutes County Forester Ed Keith says invasive species officially designated as "noxious" range from highly common cheat grass to the attractive spotted knapweed (pictured), "That’s the plant that grows up to about knee-high, it’s just getting ready to flower – usually a purple flower, but sometimes shades of pink to purple to white. Some of the noxious weeds that we have do have a pretty flower, but they are typically highly invasive, they’re from other parts of the world. A lot of our noxious weeds are actually from Europe and Asia, so they don’t come here with a natural predator that keeps them in check."


Bend’s annual Let’s Pull Together weed pull event is Saturday, when volunteers clean up public areas around the city, "People have the opportunity, starting at 9 o’clock, to meet in three locations: Pilot Butte, the Old Mill District across from the footbridge, or Miller Elementary. Help pull weeds and, if you don’t know what is a noxious weed and what isn’t, we’ll have experts on site from our Noxious Weed Advisory Board to help." And, he tells KBND News, volunteers need to be ready for anything, volunteers should be ready for anything, "Definitely, if you have some gloves, bring them. We have them available on site. Things like Spotted Knapweed actually have chemicals in them that some people’s skin is sensitive to and we definitely want to protect people if they participate in the event." You can pre-register and get a t-shirt during the festivities.
Neighborhoods are also encouraged to get involved in preventing the spread of invasive plants. Complimentary yellow weed bags and noxious weed identification materials are available at Bend Public Works (62975 Boyd Acres Rd), Bend City Hall (710 NW Wall St, second floor) and Deschutes County Road Department (61150 SE 27th St). Bagged noxious weeds can be dropped at the Westside Venue in the Old Mill District, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday; look for the Wintercreek Native Restoration trailer.
Click HERE to listen to our full conversation with County Forester Ed Keith.

Dog Rescued From Ochoco Reservoir

PRINEVILLE, OR -- Crook County deputies responded to a call at Ochoco Reservoir that was not what it first appeared. Witnesses called 911 just before 1 p.m. Thursday, reporting a man in the water yelling for help. But, by the time the Sheriff's Office arrived, 22-year-old Jeremy Vargo was safely on shore. 


He told deputies his neighbor’s dog had escaped the Lake Shore RV Park and was struggling in the water. Vargo swam out, but wasn’t able to get to him before needing to turn back. 
Using binoculars, deputies spotted the brown lab in the middle of the reservoir. Detective Mitch Madden went to the boat launch and asked a citizen to help with their private boat.  With the help of deputies on land guiding them in, the two were able to reach the 100 lb. dog and bring him to shore – tired but unhurt. 

Climber Rescued After Fall on South Sister

BEND, OR -- A Portland man was rescued from South Sister, after he fell during a climb, Thursday afternoon. Deschutes County Search and Rescue (SAR) teams responded after 56-year-old Arthur Duncan reported he’d left the South Sister Climbers Trail and was stranded on a cliff, unable to go down, back up or to the side. 


He called 911 just after 4 p.m. and deputies were able to pinpoint his location using cell phone data. They determined Duncan was at about 9800' elevation, just above the Lewis Glacier, and not prepared to stay overnight on the mountain. Two SAR members were flown to the summit by AirLink, while others hiked in from the Devils Lake Trailhead. The first rescueers reached the man at about 7:35 p.m.
Duncan told rescuers he slipped and tumbled 50'-100' before catching himself on a rock, which prevented him from going over the cliff. A National Guard Blackhawk helicopter arrived around 8:30 p.m. (pictured) and hoisted Duncan from the ledge. He was flown to the Mount Bachelor West Village. 
Duncan declined medical treatment. 

Eight Impacted By Overnight Fire

REDMOND, OR -- Cooking grease is blamed for an overnight fire at a Redmond four-plex that caused about $10,000 in damage. Firefighters responded to the apartment on SW Canal, at about 12:30 a.m. Friday, and found automatic sprinklers had already extinguished the grease fire on the stove.


The blaze caused moderate damage to the original unit, and water damage extended to two other apartments. The Red Cross is helping the six adults and two children affected.

Crews Battle Wildfire In Maury Mountains

PRINEVILLE, OR -- Wildland fire crews are working a 50-acre fire discovered Wednesday in the Maury Mountains, south of Prineville. The Hammer Fire is burning in dead and down fuels in the Hammer Creek and Florida Creek drainages, about eight miles south Post. 


Multiple engines and a Redmond Hotshot crew responded, along with several hand crews. They hope to have it contained late Thursday or Friday. Officials say the fire is human caused, originating from an abandoned warming fire.


La Pine Hosts First Outdoor Concert Series

LA PINE, OR -- La Pine’s first ever free outdoor concert series kicks off this week. Mid Oregon Credit Union’s Music in the Pines features live music, food and vendors.


"This is actually a partnership we’ve been working on for the last couple of years with La Pine Parks and Rec. And, we’re starting the 14th with Countryfied as the kick-off," says Mid Oregon Credit Union's Kyle Frick. "Every other week on Thursday nights – two in June, two in July, two in August. But, really great bands; Precious Byrd will be there." He tells KBND News, "It’s a gift to the community but it’s a way to get the community together and offer some entertainment and just build some culture."


Concerts are free and take place the second and fourth Thursday of each month at Frontier Heritage Park from 5 to 8 p.m.

Desch. Co. Population Outpaces State Average

BEND, OR -- Local leaders are focused on the exponential growth we’ve seen in the region in recent years – it was the primary topic discussed during Bend’s State of the City, earlier this week. Kale Donnelly, a Workforce Analyst with the Oregon Employment Department, has studied Deschutes County’s population and says it's still climbing, "2011 annual population growth was closer to 2,500. Now, the latest released numbers for 2017, showed annually, we’re gaining 6,000 new residents within the county."


According to Donnelly, those 6,000 new residents in 2017 were nearly all people moving into the area. "The difference between births and deaths has remained mostly in the same ballpark region over the last six years. So, in 2011, the 'natural increase' was responsible for 26% of the population growth; Nowadays, only 7%. So, that just shows you that most of the growth in population is being driven by people moving in to Deschutes County." That means, net migration only accounted for 74% of growth six years ago, compared to 93% in 2017.
He believes the rate is closely tied to regional job growth. "We’re seeing record population growth and we’ve also witnessed record employment growth in the last few years," Donnelly tells KBND News, "Both of those are looking like they’re starting to slow a little bit – still growing, but growing at a slower rate. And, I think the two go hand in hand. People are going to move where there is a job available for them." He adds, "The old saying ‘if you build it will they come?’ I think the answer is definitely yes. There are jobs available; people are moving into the region to take advantage of that."
Local growth is far outpacing the statewide trend. Oregon’s total population grew at a rate of 1.4% in 2017. In Deschutes County, the 2017 rate was 3.4%. 

Deschutes County Woman Dies of Rare Disease

BEND, OR -- A Deschutes County woman has died of a rare disease spread by rodent droppings. Heather Kaisner with Deschutes County Public Health, says there have only been a few confirmed local cases of Hantavirus, "We've had 23 cases since 1983 in Oregon and six cases in Deschutes County between 1993 and now; so it is a rare disease, but it is very serious disease." It's most commonly carried by deer mice and white-footed mice.


Due to confidentiality, Kaisner refused to release details of this most recent death, but she says, "Usually people are exposed after they're going into an enclosed area to do cleaning, like a barn or a shed, an attic, or a summer home that's been enclosed for awhile. If there's mouse droppings in places, and it gets aerosolized in the air, you breath it in, and that's actually how you contract it." Symptoms include tiredness, dizziness, fever and chills, muscle aches and headaches, nausea and vomiting, stomach pain and coughing. They can progress to extreme difficulty breathing, loss of consciousness, and if left untreated, eventually death. It can take up to six weeks for symptoms to manifest. Kaisner says the state is still investigating possible exposures. 


She tells KBND News, "Our whole goal here is prevention. The first line of prevention is preventing rodent infestations and rodent droppings in your home or places of work. And then the secondary prevention is just the proper cleaning of those droppings." The best way to get rid of mouse droppings is to wet a paper towel with a bleach water solution and let it sit on the problem area for 10 minutes, then scoop up the mess. Kaisner also suggests always wearing gloves and a mask when cleaning up rodent droppings. 

County Commissioners Work To Refine Pot Rules

BEND, OR -- Deschutes County Commissioners are looking to further refine marijuana restrictions. Proposals detailing possible amendments were presented to Commissioners at their Wednesday work session.  


County Planning Manager Peter Gutowsky say Commissioners have held several meetings attempting to refine and amend existing regulations, "We provided them with detailed amendments that would increase separation distances from existing marijuana production uses from new ones, separation distances from Redmond's urban reserve area, increased setbacks from new marijuana production operations, from property lines and existing dwellings, among others."
Gutowsky tells KBND News the rule changes could impact up to 5,500 people, and Commissioners want to hear from the public, "Many may feel that these are regulations that are more restrictive; industry representatives may feel that they're too comprehensive, and undermine their interest in establishing a farm use, so that's going to be the benefit of having a public hearing and taking testimony."
On Wednesday, Commissioners asked to meet again in the next two weeks to get a schedule for informing those who would be affected by the modified rules, and set a date for a public forum.

Prineville Roundabout Opening Delayed

PRINEVILLE, OR -- After about six months of construction, Prineville’s first roundabout is set to open Friday. ODOT asks drivers to slow down and pay close attention as they get used to the new traffic pattern at Highway 126 and Tom McCall Road.


Planning for a solution at the busy intersection began in 2013, with the Oregon Department of Transportation and city of Prineville holding several public meetings. The roundabout is slated to open at 9 a.m. but crews will remain at the site to complete finishing work.


Updated 06/14/18 7:45 a.m. to reflect ODOT's delay of opening from Thursday to Friday. 

Two Hurt In Terrebonne Crash

TERREBONNE, OR -- Two Redmond men were hurt in a Terrebonne crash, Wednesday afternoon. The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office says it appears 48-year-old Richard Sutherland stopped at the stop sign at NW 19th and Odem Ave., but then pulled his pickup in front of a car driven by 23-year-old Dylan Taylor.


The two vehicles collided nearly head-on at about 4:45 p.m. Sutherland was taken to St. Charles Bend by ambulance with non-life threatening injuries. Taylor was transported by family to the Redmond hospital. No citations have been issued, but the investigation is ongoing. DCSO says alcohol is not believed to have been a contributing factor in the crash. 

RDM Prepares For Larger Jet

REDMOND, OR -- Alaska Airlines will soon start flying a Boeing 737 into Redmond. Airport Director Zach Bass calls the move historic, "This is the first 737 daily service that Redmond’s ever had. We did used to have some MD-80s that are about the same size, that Allegiant used to fly; but those were not daily." The plane can seat 147 passengers: 117 in Coach, 12 in First Class and another 30 in Premium Class.


Redmond Airport Director Zach Bass says it’s a sign of the region’s growth in popularity. "The Central Oregon Air Service Team (COAST), and the airport are always looking to increase frequency and size of our planes for every destination that we have, so we’re continually asking of course for something like this. Now, we did not specifically ask for this jet this time, so that’s where Alaska Airlines’ business decision came into play." And, he tells KBND News, there was a lot of advanced preparation, "We had to ensure that all of our pavement strengths and ramp strengths were compatible with this aircraft, which it is. We also had to make sure that fueling for that size was available, the ramps – because they still will be ground loaded – all that was available, and then we just mostly had to work with Alaska Airlines to ensure that their staff are well aware of how to operate this aircraft here; and of course, the maintenance piece that might take place if something does occur here."
Beginning July sixth, the new 737-800 will fly one of Alaska’s five daily flights between Sea-Tac and Roberts Field, arriving in Redmond at 1:40 p.m. and departing at 2:35 p.m. Alaska says the 737-800 is focused on fuel efficiency and passenger comfort, with leather seats, large overhead bins and seatback outlets.

Bend Mayor, City Manager Deliver State of the City

BEND, OR -- Bend Mayor Casey Roats and City Manager Eric King presented the annual State of the City address Tuesday, at an event hosted by the Bend Chamber of Commerce. Roats, who is in his second year as Mayor, says Bend has achieved great things because residents share the load, "What gives me the greatest optimism about the future of our city and the strength of the city: I have seen our community come together in the last four or five years in ways that, in my lifetime before that, I hadn't, because of the collaborative nature of people setting aside differences and working together."


King focused on future transportation needs, when population is projected to hit 250,000 by 2060. He says the city has protected $65 million for road work to be completed over the next five years, "We've talked about our plans for Murphy and Empire Roads. Fifty of that $65 Million is going to those two projects."


Roats is optimistic about the city's future, "I think that we are changing. The 'poverty with a view,' I hope, will be something that my kids and your kids - people who work with you and work for you, that their kids - that it's something that is a paradigm that is their reality." He adds, "I think that a city should be a place that is dynamic, it changes, and preferably, grows in a controlled and thoughtful manner." But, Roats says, that "thoughtful manner" isn't the only thing that makes Bend a great place to live, "Bend is great because we have a world-class health care system. We have a world-class community college. We're developing a world-class four-year degree program institution in Oregon State University. We have excellent parks, excellent local schools, and those are things that are driving people to Bend, because they want the amenities that we have spent a long time and trouble investing in and developing ourselves as a community."


Rainbow Family Moves Through Sisters

SISTERS, OR -- The Rainbow Family is again moving through Central Oregon. Last year, thousands of members of the loosely affiliated group traveled through Crook County on their way to a gathering in the Malheur National Forest (pictured). This year’s regional gathering is off Highway 22, near Santiam Pass. "We’re expecting that this event could have up to 600 people traveling into the area," says Sgt. William Bailey, with the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office, "Although the area is not in Deschutes County, Sisters is the closest town for fuel and supplies, for the people attending the event."


Sgt. Bailey tells KBND News, "Based on past experience and information that we’ve learned, we know there can be an increase in vehicle traffic and hitchhiking, people that are stranded or lost. We just want people to be aware and watch for the possibility of increased theft and criminal mischief in the area." But, he says not everyone associated with the group is bad, "A lot of them do have good intentions to just come and enjoy themselves. But, there’s always an element of bad with the good and we just want to make the public aware."


The Rainbow Family has no organized leader and is said to be committed to principles of non-violence and community building. Last year’s gathering in Grant County brought an estimated 13,000 people to the Malheur National Forest, where officials said they left trash and damage, and strained law enforcement resources. And in 1997, the Rainbow Family met in the Ochoco National Forest, with 20,000-30,000 visitors. 



Neighboring Homes Heavily Damaged By Fire

BEND, OR -- Two northeast Bend homes were heavily damaged by a fire that appears to have broken out between them. Firefighters were called to Northeast Cobble Creek just after 5:30 p.m. Tuesday and found both houses heavily involved, although everyone had safely evacuated. 


Due to the extensive damage, investigators weren’t able to determine the cause, but say residents reported smelling smoke between the houses for several days prior to the blaze. They didn't see smoke and couldn’t pinpoint its origin. 
Bend Fire says mulch can smolder for hours, or even days, before flames are seen. if you notice a smoke smell and can't determine the source, they recommend calling the fire department for help. 

Small Brush Fire Blamed On Campfire

REDMOND, OR -- Redmond Firefighters battled a small brush fire, just west of the city, Tuesday afternoon. At about 3 p.m. crews were called to a vacant lot near NW 95th and Highway 126. When they arrived, they found about a tenth of an acre burning, with the fire moving slowly through sagebrush and juniper trees.


It took firefighters about three hours to fully extinguish the blaze. Investigators believe it started with a campfire that wasn't properly extinguished.  

Trespassing Citation Issued at Transient Camp

REDMOND, OR -- Deschutes County deputies Monday issued the first trespassing citation since starting eviction proceedings a week ago, at the homeless camps east of Redmond. The Sheriff’s Office says the 57-year-old man initially refused to leave his camp on the property owned by the Central Oregon Irrigation District. He was cited and released once he became cooperative. 


JW Terry, with the Central Oregon Veterans Outreach (COVO), says volunteers are still trying to help, "Most of them have left the camps. They’re still working on – the last number I heard was - about 30 of the hardest ones to move." Kathy Skidmore, with COVO, tells KBND News, "A lot of our agencies are out there – Deschutes County Behavioral Health, St. Vincent De Paul, Jericho Road, COVO, a number of churches. Even with all that support surrounding these people, it’s challenging to find anywhere for them to go. We’re all kind of at a loss. No matter how much effort we throw at the situation, it’s not going to be solved soon." She says, "They have nowhere to go; that’s the main issue. And, they’re there for a reason. Many of them have been there for a number of years. Some of them have just accepted that that’s where they’re going to be." Many of the campers have reportedly moved to nearby BLM land, where they can legally stay for 14 days.
Click HERE to listen to our full conversation with COVO's JW Terry and Kathy Skidmore. 
An inmate work crew is helping Sheriff's deputies clean up trash and personal items left behind at the site, which is owned by COID, Redmond Schools and Deschutes County. 

Serious Crash in April Caused By Seizure

BEND, OR -- The Deschutes County District Attorney has determined a sudden and catastrophic medical emergency caused the April crash on the Bend Parkway that seriously injured a 10-year-old passenger.


Hummel says the driver of a northbound truck suffered a seizure, causing him to cross the median near the Colorado off-ramp. He struck a southbound car driven by a man taking his son to school. The boy was flown to a Portland trauma center, but is now back home in Bend and recovering.

Expansion Plans For Big Sky Park

BEND, OR -- Bend Parks and Rec is looking to grow Big Sky Park and the Luke Damon Sports Complex, east of Bend.  Perry Brooks, with the parks district, says the expansion will include at least 250 more parking spaces and a secondary entrance, "The parking is really needed out there, we have a serious parking problem when we have tournaments out there at the park, and having a second entrance off Hamby will hopefully ease some of the congestion inside the park."

There are also plans for an off-road cycling facility, "Which includes slope style, a trials area, a Strider Course for little kids, some skills course for bettering your mountain biking skills, and about 3.5 miles of single track and double track in the north part of the site," Brooks tells KBND News, "It will allow people to go off-road cycling for the majority of the year, due to it's that far east and probably doesn't get as much snow."
A public hearing will be held Tuesday on the plan to expand the park into land designated as Exclusive Farm Use (EFU). That meeting starts at 6 p.m. at the Deschutes County Services building (1300 NW Wall, Bend). 

Charges Dropped Against Bend Road Rage Suspect

BEND, OR -- Charges have been dropped against the Redmond man accused of assaulting two women during a Bend road rage incident. Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel says the couple claimed Jay Barbeau attacked them, breaking one woman’s wrist and giving the other a serious neck injury. "Upon further scrutiny, these allegations cannot be sustained. Therefore, I filed a motion with the court to dismiss the case against Mr. Barbeau," Hummel said Monday.

Megan Stackhouse and Lucinda Mann accused Jay Barbeau of following them June first, after they squeezed in front of his pickup in traffic. They claimed that after a mile, they pulled over, he got out of his pickup and punched out their back window, broke Stackhouse’s arm and pushed Mann to the ground nearly giving her a concussion. D.A. Hummel says evidence shows Barbeau did follow the women, after they aggressively pulled in front of him. The investigation proves he punched out their window. But, what happened after that is in dispute, "Lucinda Mann got out of the car, she approached Barbeau and quickly went to the ground. Mann says she was thrown to the ground by Barbeau and suffered a serious injury. Medical records contradict her claim." He adds, "I have no confidence in the credibility of Mann and Stackhouse. Mann’s claimed injuries in the Barbeau case were debunked by the medical records. And, while Stackhouse did suffer a broken bone – in the wrist – there were competing claims as to how her injury occurred." Barbeau's wife claims Stackhouse repeatedly slammed her arm on Barbeau's vehicle; when police arrived, she was standing on the truck's running boards.
And, Hummel says, the couple has a history of feigning injury, "On June 7, seven days after this incident, Mann and Stackhouse were drinking at 10 Barrel Brewing. When they left, Mann intentionally threw herself onto the hood of a car in the road and then flopped to the ground, making it appear that the car had struck her, when in fact Mann had launched herself on to the hood." Stackhouse faces Assault charges for allegedly hitting a car and punching the driver on Mother's Day. And, Hummel says on Halloween 2016, Mann and Stackhouse were passengers in a car involved in a low-speed crash. When police arrived, Mann was lying on the road with shallow breathing, acting unconscious. Police say her actions were not consistent with injuries she would have received in the crash.
A Go-Fund-Me Page set up by the women after the June incident raised thousands of dollars. Hummel says the investigation into their actions continues, including potential charges against Mann and Stackhouse for making false statements to police, in the Barbeau case.
Hummel says it took 11 days to file the motion to dismiss charges because of the misleading information provided to investigators. He admits Barbeau could have been charged for Criminal Mischief for following the women and breaking their car window, but feels the events of the past 11 days were punishment enough, "Mr. Barbeau was falsely accused of Assault in the second degree. He’s been ridiculed across this country and internationally. I’ve received phone calls and emails from people who wanted me to string Mr. Barbeau up, drop the hammer on him and show no mercy, because this is a big, muscular man who’s alleged to have snapped the wrist of a smaller woman."

Prineville Man Sentenced For Double Stabbing

PRINEVILLE, OR -- A 26-year-old Prineville man was sentenced Monday to 20 years in prison for attacking two women in 2017.


Prineville Man Accused of Double Stabbing (01/30/2017)


Crook County District Attorney Wade Whiting says Anthony Smith broke into a neighboring apartment, January 29, 2017 and brutally attacked the resident and her friend. He stabbed one in the neck before she escaped to call for help. When officers responded, Smith used the other woman’s body to shield himself from police after cutting her face.


Whiting credited the swift action by responding officers with saving the women. And, he called the display of friendship between the victims "heroic," for their efforts to help each other.   
Smith pleaded No Contest to two counts of Assault, Attempted Rape and Burglary, and he must register as a sex offender upon release. 

Wildland Firefighters Start Training In Redmond

REDMOND, OR -- Nearly 60 wildland firefighters start training Monday, in preparation for the upcoming fire season. "We call it Guard School. It’s basically a week-long training to certify entry level firefighters in the basic skill sets they will need to go out and work on the fire lines," says Patrick Lair, with the U.S. Forest Service.


Lair tells KBND News, "This year we have 57 men and women. Many of them are local, but we have folks coming from different places: Forest Service, BLM, Oregon Department of Forestry. We also have Bend Fire Department, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, as well as Oregon Military Department and Oregon National Guard." They’ll spend a few days in a classroom at the Redmond Training Center, learning about things like fire behavior and radio communications. Then, "On Thursday, we’ll go out to an area just outside Sisters and do a small prescribed burn." Once they're certified, Lair says they'll return to their home agency but, they could be deployed anywhere in the state during the season. Click HERE to learn more about becoming a wildland firefighter. 


This year’s class is bigger than previous years, "Central Oregon is known for having a really strong wildland fire program, a lot of activity here and a great Guard School that’s evolved over the years to become a really well-grounded experience for people who want to learn about it," says Lair. He adds, firefighters are very aware of the potential for a tough fire season, this summer, given how dry spring has been. 

Local TeleMedicine Pgms Could Get Boost From FCC

BEND, OR -- The Federal Communications Commission is expected to soon vote on a proposal to raise the annual spending cap for a program that helps provide broadband infrastructure, to connect rural patients with doctors in urban areas. The chairman of the FCC has agreed to support a request to increase the cap for the Rural Health Care Program. His order comes after a group of lawmakers, including Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, insisted the current cap was preventing expansion of critical telemedicine programs.


Dr. Miles Ellenby, from Portland’s OHSU, recently spoke to a group of healthcare professionals and Senator Wyden in Bend, via a telemedicine unit. He explained how OHSU’s partnership with St. Charles has helped 36 critically ill kids in the past five years, "One, it allows them to stay in Bend when it’s appropriate and safe, and on the other hand it’s supporting some very critical scenarios." For many patients, telemedicine connects them with specialists hours away, "Insurance won’t cover the transportation cost; they just cover the doctor’s visit. So, oftentimes that care is received at great personal cost or, unfortunately, they’re not getting the routine care they’re supposed to. But now, with these resources around the state, we’re able to provide that care on a good basis." Dr. Ellenby told the group in Bend, "Globally, our program has now seen more than 2,000 patients since 2010; that’s of course from 14 hospitals around the state. A large majority of those patients are presenting with stroke, but also our Neonatologists are supporting newborn resuscitation, sometimes with very dramatic affect."
Senator Wyden calls the program “vitally important” to rural patients. Local providers say they haven't been able to expand critical broadband infrastructure because of the $400 million annual cap. FCC Chair Ajit Pai says the cap was set in 1997 and never accounted for inflation. His proposal would raise the annual limit to $571 million

Bend & Redmond Compete For UGB Exemption

REDMOND, OR -- Central Oregon’s two largest cities are competing for special permission to streamline the UGB expansion process, to increase affordable housing options. The HB-4079 pilot program, approved by the 2016 Legislature, allows a city to expand its Urban Growth Boundary by less than 50 acres without the typically lengthy process, for the purposes of creating more affordable housing. Nine cities over 25,000 people were eligible to apply, but only Bend and Redmond plan to submit applications; only one will be accepted. 


Redmond City Manager Keith Witcosky tells KBND News, "We’re looking at a 40-acre parcel owned by Deschutes County in the area of Kingwood, on the eastern edges of Redmond [pictured]. We’re anticipating we can have 485 housing units built; 50% being the affordable kind and probably 50% being more market-rate." Bend’s application involves two privately-owned parcels totaling just over 40 acres, near Highway 20 and Hamby Road. It's unknown exactly how many units could be developed on the tracts. 
Witcosky asked County Commissioners to support the Redmond proposal last week, "We’re hoping to get all the resolutions of support in place before the end of June and then we actually want to submit our application in July." Bend's proposal would also need a resolution fo support from county. In fact, Witcosky says, there are several agencies who are expected to express support for both projects in the state applications. 
"If you’re selected, you kind of get to get in red-tape free, which means much more efficient, much less costs, etc.," says Witcosky. He admits the Redmond project wouldn't automatically be killed if it's not chosen, "We could still go forward with the project, but we’d have to go through the normal LCDC [Land Conservation and Development Commission] processes." And, that can be lengthy. He admits, though, even if Redmond is selected, it would be two to three years before the first housing units were ready for residents. "We’ve got expressions of interest from seven housing developers. But, if we’re selected for this, we still need to find a program manager/master developer to make this vision happen." And, the land would need to be annexed into the city, "[The] County obviously wants to see that done as quickly as possible so we can begin to address the affordable housing problem that’s current and growing; we want that too. But, there’s a lot of work to be done if we’re selected."
The winning city is expected to be announced by the end of the year. 

Madras Looks To Raise Water Rates

MADRAS, OR -- The Madras water system is aging, and city officials say it's time to start looking at how to pay for needed upgrades. Public Works Director Jeff Hurd tells KBND News, "Our water system's getting up there in age, and we need to start replacing water lines desperately because basically it's getting old and starting to leak."


He believes the best way to pay for improvements is to raise rates gradually, "In order to get the monies to replace the system, we have to start increasing our rates more than just an inflationary adjustment to start building funds to start replacing water lines." Hurd adds, "We Need to bring up our revenues 11% this year, and we need to do some increases to revenues each year to get to a certain dollar amount so we can start replacing. So, there are options; we have options to establish the rates different ways to raise those revenues 11%."


Councilors will discuss three possible scenarios at Tuesday's City Council meeting: Raise the rate 11% across the board, or split the rate hike between the base rate and usage rate, or lower the minimum usage amount and raise the rate. Tuesday's meeting begins at 6 p.m. at Madras City Hall. Residents are welcome to attend and comment on the proposal. 

Eight Teens Hurt In China Hat Crash

BEND, OR -- Eight teens were hurt – three critically – in a single-vehicle crash on China Hat, Friday afternoon. The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office says an unlicensed 16-year-old was driving recklessly and speeding when he lost control of a pickup and crashed into a juniper tree. 


Seven people were inside the cab, three were wearing seatbelts, but one person was riding in the bed and was ejected on impact. Investigators the driver may have been impaired by marijuana. He was cited for two counts of Assault III, four counts of Assault IV, seven counts of Recklessly Endangering and one count of Reckless Driving.
All of the teens involved are students at Mountain View and Marshall high schools. Six were taken by ground ambulance, a boy and girl were flown to the hospital. Five have since been released, including the driver. As of Saturday afternoon, three remain in critical condition. 

Lake County Teen Shot By Friend

SILVER LAKE, OR -- A Lake County teen was shot and killed by his best friend late last week, according to investigators in the small community of Silver Lake, about 50 miles southeast of La Pine.


When Lake County deputies arrived at the scene, Thursday afternoon, they found the 13-year-old boy shot in the chest. They administered CPR but he died at the scene.


State Police and the Lake County Sheriff’s Office are investigating, along with the District Attorney’s Office. They say, at this point, it appears the gun was unintentionally fired by another 13-year old.


Zika Declared House Dist. 53 Winner

REDMOND, OR -- After recounting more than 9,000 ballots, the Deschutes County Clerk officially declared Jack Zika the winner of the Republican nomination for House District 53, Thursday. Proving "every vote counts," the Redmond realtor beat political activist Ben Schimmoller by just two votes. 


"I've been telling everybody I feel like I've gone through four elections," Zika told KBND News shortly after hearing the results. After the May 15 Primary, unofficial results had Zika up by 11 votes. Then, on May 30, contested and write-in ballots were counted, shrinking his lead to two, over Schimmoller. The election was certified June fourth, but the incredibly tight margin triggered a recount, which was conducted Thursday. "Everything turned out, so I'm happy that the two-vote tally stood. And, that's a good testament to [County Clerk] Nancy Blankenship over at the county that she did everything right. The totals came out just like she had it." 


Zika acknowledges some may question the close margin, but he says Schimmoller trusts the system, "We heard that they're not going to appeal. At least that's what they said, and they'd accept the results as they are." He adds, "They had a system in place and the computers did a good job; the counters did a good job, and there was no disputing how they did it and the process they went through to count all these ballots. I think that the totals are solid."
He's now looking ahead to the General Election in November when he takes on Democrat businesswoman Eileen Kiely. The winner will replace retiring State Representative Gene Whisnant (R-Sunriver), who has held the seat since 2003. 

WWII Hero Honored In Weekend Memorial

LA PINE, OR -- Flags in La Pine will fly at half-staff on Saturday, in honor of Bob Shotwell. The world War II veteran passed away in April, at the age of 94. 


Shotwell was 19 when he stormed Omaha Beach on D-Day, and went on to serve in three more major actions before the war ended. He came to Central Oregon in the late 1980s and taught journalism at COCC. 
A public memorial service with full military honors will be held at La Pine High School tomorrow at 4 p.m. Speakers at the ceremony include his son Michael, author Rick Stieber and Shotwell's longtime friend Lyle Hicks. Members of the Band of Brothers will present a Flag Line. 

Input Sought On Bend Transportation Plan

BEND, OR -- City officials hope to get feedback Monday on Bend's transportation options. Nick Arnis says it's the first phase of updating the city's Transportation System Plan (TSP), "This is our first public event, our first open house and this is a really good time for people to tell us now; take a look at what we're doing, and tell us what they think they're experiencing out on the system - what's their daily life like with the transportation in Bend?"


Arnis says Bend is a great place with a high quality of life, and an updated transportation plan will make it even better, "We would like to talk about the draft goals we've been working on, and ground-truth those and make sure they resonate with people. We'd like to gather some input on the transportation needs in the community. So, what's important to you? How do you experience the system? And then we'll introduce some of the funding issues, what people would like to have done on the system, and then how do we possibly pay for those ideas." He tells KBND News it's important to remember there is a budget to follow, "Every time we talk about funding, it's a matter of how much funding, for what, and what do you get for it? I think that's really important for people to know." He says, "We've got a bunch of really good ideas from the public, so how much do you want to fund those, and how do you want to fund them?"

This first open house is Monday at 6 p.m. at the Bend Park and Recreation District office on Columbia. Those unable to attend can submit feedback and ideas online, starting Monday, through July sixth. 


CRR Murder Suspect Arrested Thursday

MADRAS, OR -- The Crooked River Ranch man wanted in connection with his mother’s homicide was arrested Thursday morning, following a standoff in Washington County. Police surrounded a car near a Tualatin McDonald’s, after 29-year-old Gavin Smith-Brown refused to exit the vehicle. He eventually came out and was taken into custody. The bomb squad later detonated a suspicious item found in the car.


The body of 65-year-old Gayla Smith was found Sunday inside the Crooked River Ranch home she shared with her son.


Smith-Brown is now in the Jefferson County Jail, charged with Murder, First and Second Degree Manslaughter, Criminally Negligent Homicide and Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle.  

Honor Flight Takes Local Korean War Vets To D.C.

PORTLAND, OR -- The inaugural Honor Flight of Central Oregon took off Thursday morning from Portland International Airport, with more than two-dozen local veterans. Deanna Lynn Neilsen says previous trips were through the Eastern Oregon Honor Flight chapter, "They used to only be taking the World War II veterans, and we started a new hub to continue the program. We’re taking the Korean War veterans now."


She says 23 of the men on this trip are from the Korean conflict, two are from the Second World War, "We’ll have 25 veterans, 25 guardians and five trip leads. Some of the guardians are wives, and others are volunteer guardians - if the veteran didn’t have someone that was able to go along with them." Guardians pay their own way, but the vets' expenses are fully covered, "It takes about $60,000 for each trip that we do and it’s all by donation."


The group will visit all the major sites, "The World War II Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Korean Memorial, Vietnam, FDR, Navy, Air Force, Women in Service; as well as Arlington where they’ll see the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier," Neilsen tells KBND News, "Also, the Capitol building; we’ll have a private tour with Greg Walden’s office."


It's a whirlwind trip that ends this weekend. "We get back into Portland at 4:30 in the afternoon on Sunday. They’ll have a big welcome home party for them at the airport and then we go back to the Shilo and give them a few more gifts, then go back to Central Oregon."

Bend Prepares For State of the City Address

BEND, OR -- Bend’s City Manager and Mayor will present the State of the City, next week, focusing on managing the city’s incredible growth in recent years. Mayor Casey Roats says the city is very strong, "We really have a good story to tell as a city. We’ve accomplished a tremendous number of very large projects in the last couple of years; we’re making real headway towards getting more housing availability and hopefully housing affordability. As a result of that, we have some big infrastructure projects and transportation projects that we’re moving ahead on in the next couple of years to help ease congestion."


In response to the growth, City Manager Eric King asked City Council Wednesday night to approve the hiring of additional staff to accommodate the demand on city departments. King tells KBND News, "The talent that we’re attracting as a city, because of Bend’s quality of life, we get some amazing people on board. And, it’s just really exciting to be building this city alongside this incredible talent."
Mayor Roats admits there’s still work to do, "I don’t want to gloss over the challenges we face, as a community that’s growing. But, I think that for some that have been here for a little while, we remember having gotten through bigger challenges in the past." He adds, "We’ve been here, we’ve had these challenges. Every time the community has a shot of growth, there are challenges that come with that. But, it’s not unprecedented; it’s not anything other city’s haven’t had to deal with either. We’ve met the challenges in the past and we’ll continue to do so in the future."


The Bend Chamber hosts the State of the City on Tuesday at 10 Barrel’s East Side Pub at 5 p.m. Visit the Chamber's website for more information and to register. To hear our full conversation with Mayor Casey Roats and City Manager Eric King, click HERE or visit our Podcast page

D.A. Releases Suicide Note of Accused Killer

BEND, OR -- The Deschutes County District Attorney has officially declared the March death of Bryan Penner a suicide and released his final communication. Penner is believed to have been responsible for the death of 24-year-old Sara Gomez, who disappeared in February


D.A. John Hummel says Penner was in custody for violating a restraining order Gomez had. "He could not accept that somebody else was going to be with Sara, that she couldn't be his." He believes Penner thought he'd be released prior to being charged with murder, but took his life once he learned he'd be transferred to the Crook County Jail under a warrant for an outstanding probation violation. "Penner knew! Penner knew that he'd killed Sara, and no doubt knew what we'd found in his apartment, and he knew that once that evidence was presented to a jury, he would not prevail. So, In that regard, He was right. His back was up against a wall," Hummel tells KBND News. "He, no doubt, felt that the investigation into the death of Sara was ramping up and law enforcement was getting close to filing charges against him." 
Prior to hanging himself, Hummel says Penner left a suicide note in his cell at the Deschutes County Jail. In it, he denies any involvement in Gomez's disappearance and, "He claimed in this letter that Sara had gotten back together with him before she went missing. Nothing could be further from the truth." He adds, "Penner trying to rewrite history and say that she was back with him is shameful." Hummel says Penner had delusions of grandeur and felt persecuted by those who suspected him of wrongdoing, "He left many clues as to what he did to Sara Gomez. He left no doubt in the minds of investigators that he had killed her."
At the time of his death in March, Deschutes County Corrections Captain Michael Shults said Penner had been at the jail 10 times since 2007 and never showed signs of being a suicide risk. Sgt. William Bailey confirms Penner's family has filed suit against the Sheriff's office. Hummel says, "He's not with us anymore, and I do grieve for his family who've lost him. But, what he did in his final moments, in penning that letter, is disgusting."

Bend High Teacher Arrested For Child Porn

BEND, OR -- A Bend High language arts teacher was arrested Wednesday for allegedly downloading child pornography at his home. 


Police began their investigation Tuesday, after becoming aware of someone downloading "known images depicting child pornography" inside the Bend city limits. Evidence led officers to a home on Brookside Way, in southwest Bend. Jason "Jay" Jackson was taken into custody after police executed a search warrant at his residence.  


Investigators notified Bend-La Pine Schools and the 50-year-old teacher was immediately placed on administrative leave. Jackson is charged with one count each of Encouraging Child Sex Abuse and Attempted Encouraging Child Sex Abuse; more charges may be added.

Zika Talks About Close Lead Ahead of Recount

BEND, OR -- A recount is scheduled for Thursday, to determine the Republican nominee for Oregon's House District 53 race. Redmond realtor Jack Zika had an 11-vote lead on Primary night. But, after the Deschutes County Clerk's office counted contested and write-in ballots, his lead over activist Bend Schimmoller was slashed. "We've learned that every vote counts," Zika tells KBND News, "I'm ahead of my opponent by two votes." That incredibly tight margin triggered an automatic recount. 


Zika remains confident he'll be the last one standing, "I think that I have won. As of now, I'm the winner of the election. Usually, these computers are really good at what they do, so we're not expecting a big spread. We're just expecting it to affirm the victory." Zika says he knows he'll be running in the November General election, "I won the Independent vote. So, for the write-ins, for the Independents, I got the most, over Eileen [Kiely] and then Ben. So, once I get the GOP nomination, I'll also get the Independent nomination. I'm grateful for both of those, and I appreciate everyone that voted for me."
The winner in the GOP primary will face Democrat Eileen Kiely in November, for the seat currently held by retiring State Representative Gene Whisnant. 
In the May primary, 47,426 ballots were cast in Deschutes County, with 36.55% turnout. Zika received 3,771 votes to Schimmoller's 3,769. There were 30 write-ins. 

Homeless React To Eviction Notice

REDMOND, OR -- The Deschutes County Sheriff's Office estimates 30 to 40 people remain in well-established campsites, east of Redmond. The property, between Highway 126 and Antler, east of Ninth Street, is owned by Central Oregon Irrigation District, Redmond Schools and Deschutes County. Campers have been ordered to vacate the property, but for those still living there, the big question is where they will go.


Some of the smaller camps have already cleared out, many leaving piles of trash behind. But, as one woman described to KBND News, others are more permanent, "This guy here built a home here, he has like a structure." In another camp, Debbie (pictured above) and her husband "Schmitty" live in an RV. Unlike many vehicles in the area, their motorhome runs and has current tags. But, Debbie says, they only have a little gasoline and they don't know where to go once they're packed up, "We're going to try and go over on the other side of the canal up a little ways, it's supposed to be alright and there are people there. But I guess it's only good for a couple weeks, and then you have to move." She sent her husband to check out possible places, "I told him to go scout and make sure. I says, 'you don't want to drive into something and get blindsided.' We were told about the site with people, I guess, living there. I'm going to start working because I don't want to lose what we've got left here."


Debbie is 60, a grandmother and she says she used to be a hospital dietitian. She has diabetes and, she says, when her husband lost his job at the mill, they lost their house. They moved to the site just south of Antler about a year ago, and Debbie says they had no idea it was private property until last fall when the last push was made by the landowners to get things cleared out, "They just want us out of here. That's basically what they want. The thing is, they want us all out of Deschutes County. The thing is, we paid our taxes; I worked for many years. It's scary and it's overwhelming. You know? I don't mean to cry." She tells KBND News, "I cleaned this place up; you should've seen when we moved in here. I worked my fanny off. I mean, I've got the animals and the birds coming back, and the rabbits. They come up in my camp and I feed them, and stuff. I've got a hawk that's adopted me. When we moved here a year ago, there was no sign of them. Nothing. Not even a lizard."


She says they have family in the area but don't want to be a burden and at their age, she says it's difficult to find work.


"Nick" lives in this camp, east of Redmond, and says he could clear out if he could get his vehicle running. 



DCSO Visits Dozens Of Redmond-Area Camps

REDMOND, OR -- Five Deschutes County deputies and a Redmond Police officer drove through dozens of homeless camps east of Redmond after an eviction deadline passed, Tuesday morning.


Lt. Michael Biondi says they did not issue any trespassing citations on this first day of enforcement because the first priority is voluntary compliance, "To get folks to voluntarily leave the COID [Central Oregon Irrigation District], school district and county property. Notices were posted at all the entrances - at Highway 126, NE Ninth Street and E Antler - two weeks ago. So, folks have had notice. Everyone we've contacted has acknowledged they were aware this was coming, but some folks have fairly established camps." And, he tells KBND News, those will take time to pack up. "After discussions with COID, which most of the people are trespassing on their property, they are comfortable with us monitoring that and giving them a little more time. Because, again, a lot of these camps are very established and it'll take quite a while to get things removed."
Most people contacted Tuesday by law enforcement were calm but some have lived in the area for years, "Their biggest question is where should they move to?" Lt. Biondi says, "Unfortunately, it's difficult to point them in a particular direction. Some folks have opted to move to BLM temporarily until they can get their bearings and get a more long-term plan established, but that seem to be the biggest question."
He says they'll be back out Wednesday with a county work crew, "To begin clean-up. That will also be follow-up with folks that we contacted today to make sure that they're still continuing to do what we asked them to do and get the camps cleaned up. If we determine that compliance isn't going to be voluntary, then we'll have to continue with citations and go from there." Property owners have tried in the past to get campers to leave, but Lt. Biondi says this appears to him to be the most serious effort to clean out the large tract between Highway 126 and Antler, east of Ninth.


DCSO used four-wheel drive SUVs and pickups to traverse a maze of dirt roads that go through hundreds of acres of homeless camps east of Redmond. 

Groundbreaking Planned For New Bend School

BEND, OR -- Bend-La Pine Schools will host a groundbreaking ceremony Monday afternoon, for its newest elementary school. Julianne Repman says everyone is invited, because the community made the project possible, "Voters overwhelmingly supported the investment into these new schools. So, here in Central Oregon - in the Bend-La Pine and Sunriver communities, we'll be delivering 150 projects and two new schools." She tells KBND News, "This is the elementary school that will be coming online; and in the fall of 2021, we'll also have a high school coming online."


Repman says the goal is to have the new elementary school open by fall of 2019, "It's very exciting to be breaking ground on Bend's newest elementary school. It'll be number 19 for Bend-La Pine Schools! It's going to be a pretty incredible design: it's a 70,000 sq ft energy efficient facility, and it'll have 24 classrooms, and all sorts of great learning environments for our students." She adds, "We've been growing for decades here. Our school enrollment continues to increase, and having this school coming online allows us to better balance enrollment among our elementary schools in Bend. More than half of those schools are already near or over capacity, so this is really something that we've been waiting for, and the time is right to get this school opened in the fall of 2019."
Monday's ceremonial groundbreaking begins at 1 p.m. at the corner of O.B. Riley Road and Cooley. The celebration includes musical entertainment by students; former students, graduates, and local dignitaries are also expected to attend.

CRR Homicide Suspect Sought

CROOKED RIVER RANCH, OR -- The Tri-County Major Crimes Team is investigating a weekend homicide in Crooked River Ranch and has now named a suspect. 


The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office was called to a home on SW Dove Road on Sunday, where they discovered the body of 65-year-old Gayla Smith. Investigators are now searching for her son, 29-year-old Gavin Smith-Brown, who lived with Smith. 
He’s associated with a charcoal black 2010 Subaru Outback with Oregon plates 372-HFH. He has known ties to the Portland area and Las Vegas. 
Oregon State Police say if you see the suspect, do not attempt to contact him. Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call 911. 
WEDNESDAY P.M. UPDATE (06/06/18): State Police say Smith-Brown may now be driving a 2013 Subaru Outback with Oregon plates 650-HGT, black with black rims. 
THURSDAY A.M. UPDATE (06/07/18): Oregon State police confirms the Crooked River Ranch man suspected of killing his mother last weekend, is now in custody. 29-year-old Gavin Smith-Brown was arrested this morning in Tualatin. FOX-12 in Portland reports the bomb squad detonated a suspicious item found in Smith-Brown's car, following his arrest. We will have more on this developing story as information becomes available.

Bethlehem Inn Family Shelter Nearly Complete

BEND, OR -- Central Oregon’s largest homeless shelter is getting bigger. Construction of the Bethlehem Inn’s new family building is nearly complete on North Highway 97 in Bend.


Gwenn Wysling, the shelter’s Executive Director, says the new facility includes office space and meeting rooms, it doubles the number of families they can serve, and allows food to be prepared on-site, "It's going to house 10 families, we’ll have a commercial kitchen, we’ll actually have dining spaces right at the kitchen – a shared kitchen that serves both the families and the singles program." Those dining rooms are separated by the kitchen, so the single residents don’t mingle with families with children. "We’ve designed this facility, with the help of some of our families and some of our stake-holders, in such a way that it really keeps people safe and accountable and secure," Wysling tells KBND News.


Families will also enter the housing unit through a secured door, and an outdoor kids’ play area is protected by a fence, "Each family has their own room; but it’s a small, very utilitarian room, with a couple of beds and a desk for the kids to study at, and their own private bathroom. There’s unfortunately no couches or chairs – this is temporary. When families enter in, it’s either an automatic seven-day emergency stay or they enter into a five-week case management program, taking steps to make sure that they’re moving forward."


Construction on the family building is expected to wrap up this month, and then work will begin on new singles' housing. It all comes as the Bend shelter nears the end of a major fundraising effort, "The community has been so supportive of this $9 million capital campaign. We have raised $7.5 million and our hope is that we can reach the $8 million mark by the time we move into this."


Click HERE to listen to our full conversation with Gwenn Wysling, or visit our Podcast Page

Temporary 911 Radio Tower Goes Live

BEND, OR -- Deschutes County Commissioners got an update Monday, on how the 911 Service District is working through ongoing transmission issues with its radio system. Interim 911 Director Sara Crosswhite says the Harris Radio system isn't yet working at 100%, but installation of a new temporary tower on Overturf Butte should help officers communicate with dispatch, "I don't think it'll clear up every last remaining problem we have some outstanding issues that Harris is working on, they have engineers onsite this week that are going to continue to address some outstanding issues, but we're hoping that it will improve the coverage on the west side of Bend."


The new tower went live last week, and Crosswhite has asked Commissioners for 30 days to assess how the it's working, "We're currently continuing to test, to see how it's operating for us. And then once we do make an assessment on the temporary site, we'll determine what we're going to do, going forward, and how we plan to proceed with a permanent site; and we're we'll look at putting a permanent site in the future." And, she tells KBND News, Commissioners will continue to be updated, "They're going to be involved in the process of where our next site will be, going forward, and just to be letting them know the status of where we're at over the next 30 days."


Crosswhite hopes the temporary tower will fix most of the transmission issues that have plagued the system since it was installed about a year ago. She says what it doesn't cover is being addressed by Harris, the system's manufacturer.

Fallen Firefighter Receives Hero's Welcome Home

BEND, OR -- The off-duty firefighter killed when his motorcycle collided with a large black bear on Highway 26 came home in a silent procession of local emergency vehicles, Monday. Bend Fire Battalion Chief Dave Howe says it's an honor typically reserved for firefighters killed in the line of duty, "But, he’s an active member of a fire department – a member in good standing. So, there are certain honors that go with that."


Rhett Larsen died Saturday in Wasco County. As the large string of cars and trucks from Bend Fire, Bend Police, the city of Bend, Oregon State Police, Redmond Fire and others made the trip from The Dalles to Bend, they were greeted by members of other police and fire agencies lining portions of the route and drove under a large American flag draped from the overpass at Deschutes Junction. Click HERE to view a video of the procession. 
Howe tells KBND News Larsen's body hasn't been alone, "One of the traditions of the fire service is that we stay with our fallen comrade until the memorial service. So, Mid-Columbia Fire District in The Dalles, one of them was always assigned to stay with Rhett." And, now that he's back in Bend, "He will be attended by a Fire Department person for the time being." He says firefighters will stand vigil at the funeral home until the memorial service, which is still being planned.
Aside from a 16-year career with Bend Fire, Larsen had deep connections in the community. And, Howe says, the community is grieving along with the department, "We’re eternally grateful to all the people who have sent their condolences in person, by phone, by email and by social media." He adds, "We have had a lot of people send their condolences, send flowers and just express their sorrow to us and the family; and the family is the most important piece." A GoFundMe page has also been created to help Larsen's family.
Photos: (Top) A large line of local emergency vehicles leaves Redmond on its way to Bend.
(Upper Right) Bend Police and Fire personnel line the Empire Ave. overpass, waiting for the procession to pass underneath.
(Above) The body of Rhett Larsen receives a hero's welcome as it arrives at a Bend Fire station. 


UPDATE 06/06/18: Bend Fire released the following information regarding Larsen's funeral, planned for Sunday:

To honor and remember the fallen Bend Fire Department firefighter, Rhett Larsen, who died in a tragic vehicle accident last Saturday, there will be a memorial service at the Deschutes County Fairgrounds on Sunday, June 10, at 3pm. 

The Bend Fire and Police Departments are collaborating to plan a meaningful service in the finest traditions of the American Fire Service, at all times honoring the wishes of the immediate family. 

The Bend Fire Department is deeply grateful to those who have sent their condolences and support. The memorial service will be open to the public, as a dignified and fitting way for our community to bid farewell to a dedicated firefighter and friend. 

For those who wish to help support the Larsen family, there is an account established for this purpose. To donate, go to https://www.gofundme.com/rhett-larsen-memorial-fund Please note that is the only authorized donation site for the family. 

Lead Narrows In House Dist. 53 GOP Race

REDMOND, OR -- The fight for the House District 53 Republican nomination is tighter than first thought. The Deschutes County Clerk certified the May Primary on Monday. after all write-in and disputed ballots were counted, realtor Jack Zika’s lead narrowed from 11 to just two, over political activist Ben Schimmoller. 


Zika received 3,771 votes to Schimmoller’s 3,769. There were 30 write-ins. A recount is expected Thursday, to determine the accuracy of the numbers. 
The winner of the GOP primary will take on Democrat Eileen Kiely in November. The House District 53 seat is currently held by Gene Whisnant (R-Sunriver) who plans to retire at the end of the year. 

Terrebonne Man Still Missing In Idaho Wilderness

GRANGEVILLE, ID -- A Terrebonne man is among four hunters missing since May 21, when their SUV drove into the Selway River in a remote Idaho wilderness near the Montana border. Idaho County Sheriff Doug Giddings says it's a dangerous stretch of river swollen with snow melt where people have died before, "They will wash up wherever they do. And we can't say- sometimes they'll come up within a few hundred yards; it all depends on where they're hanging up, and there's no way you can guesstimate that."


Two men managed to escape the vehicle after the crash and go for help. But, when searchers returned to the scene there was no sign of the other four, aside from a boot. When the car was pulled from the river, it was empty. The family of Reece Rollins took to social media last week, frustrated that authorities called off the official search and claiming the Sheriff's Office hasn't done enough. Sheriff Giddings understands their anger, "It's tough; they're just gone. It's like, you've got them here and then they're gone. You can't see them, they're gone. It's one of the worst feelings that a parent could have. And they want you to get them and we can't, and no matter what we do, we can't."


The area has seen massive snow-melt in recent weeks, and Giddings says the Selway is running high and fast. The agency called in float and ground teams from both Idaho and Montana, a fast-water diver, search dogs, and a helicopter. Yet, all efforts have failed to find 22-year-old Rollins and the others in his hunting party - 21-year-old Koby Clark of Bozeman, Montana, and brothers Raymond and Jesse Ferrieri, of Mahopac Falls, New York. The Ferrieri family has reached out to President Trump for help, through social media (above).


Giddings says they've done everything they can, "On all searches, there has to be an end to it at some time. And so, we make that determination when we believe it's no longer a search because they're not there to be found, and it reverts to a recovery operation. Well, there's no recovery possible because they're in the river, and they're gone, so we're not searching and we're not recovering; we're now waiting." But, he tells KBND News he's not giving up, "There's a very good possibility that we'll fly a helicopter again; there's a very good possibility that we'll float the river again. That could happen down the road, but not until the water goes down."

Prescribed Burn Canceled South of Bend

BEND, OR -- Fire managers canceled a prescribed burn scheduled for south of Bend, Monday, after they lost crews to a fire near Mitchell. The Gable Creek Fire was sparked by a lightning strike, Sunday afternoon, five miles southwest of Mitchell. By Sunday evening it was fully lined at about 150 acres.


Monday's burn was supposed to clear a 250-acre unit off China Hat Road, near Lost Tracks Golf Course. No word on when or if that operation will be rescheduled. 



File Photo

Driver Accused Of Bend Road Rage Assault

BEND, OR -- Two women were assaulted in an apparent road-rage incident, Friday night, near Brookswood and Reed Market Road. When Bend Police arrived, they found the two lying on the ground with 49-year-old Jay Barbeau, of Redmond, allegedly trying to leave the scene.


Investigators believe the incident began on Bond Street, when 26-year-old Lucinda Mann pulled in front of Barbeau. They say he followed Mann's car until she stopped, smashed her window and attacked her and her passenger.


Barbeau is accused of Second and Fourth Degree Assault, Criminal Mischief and Reckless Driving. Mann and her passenger were taken to St. Charles Bend with non-life threatening injuries. Barbeau was also treated at St. Charles for minor injuries prior to being booked at the Deschutes County Jail. 

Bend Childcare Provider Faces Federal Charge

BEND, OR -- A Bend caregiver is accused of Private Indecency and Criminal Mistreatment in a case that Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel calls extremely troubling.


Craig Randleman worked as a personal care worker for a non-verbal, disabled 14-year-old with the cognitive functioning of a toddler. The 54-year-old was employed by the boy's family and was paid for by the State of Oregon. Randleman is accused of masturbating to pornography in the living room, April 12, while the child was about 15' away.  The day before, he allegedly slept for an hour, while on duty. "This child requires constant attention because he often will have seizures that result in serious medical conditions that need swift attention," Hummel tells KBND News, "And also, he will often wander from the home and he doesn't appreciate the risk of cars and so he'll walk out into the street."


Hummel says the child's parents had every expectation Randleman would be an effective caregiver, given his association with the State of Oregon, "Parents place their trust in childcare providers, I mean, to care for the most precious people in their lives, their kids. And, when you hand that trust over, you hope beyond hope that that person is worthy of your trust. In this case, the parents could feel a little safer because this person was recruited by and contracted through the state of Oregon and so you'd feel that it's going to be somebody that's gone through a heightened level of background check and scrutiny."


According to Hummel, the parents' finding out about the mistreatment of their child was almost accidental, "Fortunately, the child's mother had recently installed a home security system and the cameras in the house captured these events." He adds, "It just goes to show that even people who've gone through vetting and background checking can still do terrible things. So, the parents are wondering what might've happened prior to them installing the cameras, because their son's unable to communicate verbally, so it's difficult for him to convey to them what might have happened."


Randleman is due in court June 13. "Mr. Randleman deserves to be held accountable for his actions," says Hummel, "And the filing of this case against him is the first step in achieving this outcome."

Deer Ridge Inmate Wins COCC Honor

MADRAS, OR -- An inmate at the Deer Ridge Correctional Institution (DRCI), in Jefferson County, has received a prestigious award from Central Oregon Community College.


The Walter G. Coombs Distinguished Achievement Award honors the COCC student with the highest scholastic average and the most credits, among students receiving a one-year certificate. This year, that award went to welding graduate Bruce Stewart, at the prison’s graduation ceremony.


Seven other inmates also received welding certificates and 97 others received their GED from COCC, in May.


Photo (courtesy COCC) Left to Right: Deer Ridge Welding Director Tucker Bauman, Bruce Stewart, and COCC Dean of Extended Learning Jerry Schulz.


NE Bend Assault Leads To Robbery Investigation

BEND, OR -- A Bend man is charged with attempted murder, for allegedly stabbing an acquaintance Saturday morning. The victim is also likely to face criminal charges. 

Bend Police were called to the Northeast Bend home of 22-year-old Alex Burton (pictured) at about 8:15 a.m. for a reported stabbing. Investigators say Burton stabbed 18-year-old Aries Gaber in the leg during a fight, and tried to stab his torso, before dragging him across the yard and attempting to pull him into the house. Gaber was taken to the hospital; where he was treated and released. 
Police believe Burton, Gaber and a third man, 24-year-old Brad Masters, who witnessed the stabbing but left before police arrived, were involved in a drug-related armed robbery on the south end of town, earlier that morning. They're looking for victims and witnesses to the robbery, which likely occurred near Walmart and New Hope Church around 2 a.m. Saturday. 
Burton is charged with Attempted Murder, Assault, Kidnapping, Unlawful Use of a Weapon, Menacing, Robbery, Criminal Conspiracy and two drug-related charges. Masters is charged with Meth possession and he and Gaber will likely face charges in the robbery investigation. 

Off-Duty Bend Firefighter Killed In Collision With Bear

WARM SPRINGS, OR -- An off-duty Bend Firefighter, heading home from Portland, was killed Saturday evening when a very large bear collided with his motorcycle on Highway 26, west of Warm Springs.


Oregon State Police say 39-year-old Rhett Larsen was eastbound when the black bear ran into his path. Larsen was thrown from his bike and struck by a westbound pickup pulling a trailer. The driver of the pickup was flown to the hospital with multiple injuries. Highway 26 was closed for six hours, due to the investigation. Witnesses described the bear, which was also pronounced dead at the scene, was the "largest black bear" they'd ever seen. 


Larsen had worked for Bend Fire since 2002 and was promoted to fire engineer in 2016. The Bend Firefighter's union issued a statement saying, "Rhett was not only an exceptional firefighter, he was a loyal friend, respected mentor and loving father. The loss of such a fun-loving, energetic soul is felt deeply by both the Bend Fire Department and the Bend community."
It was one of several deadly crashes on Oregon highways, over the weekend. On Friday, four people were killed on Highway 30 in Clatsop County and one person was killed in Lane County on Highway 126. On Saturday, one person was killed on Highway 95 in eastern Oregon and another crash took the life of a driver in Lincoln County, on Highway 34.

Local Health Experts Push For Expanded Broadband

BEND, OR -- Oregon Senator Ron Wyden talked with local healthcare experts Friday, about how limited internet access hurts rural patients. St. Charles Health System President/CEO Joe Sluka says local doctors rely on broadband connections to help treat patients in outlying areas, "I think most people think that - when they’re thinking of their broadband network, they’re thinking about their cable TV or how they’re streaming YouTube. And it really does have a fundamental impact on healthcare." 

Sluka tells KBND News, "We’re going to look at expanding tele-medicine capabilities to some of the more rural areas - like the Burns, and Lakeviews and John Days – so that we can make sure people are treated where they want to be treated, and that’s really in their hometown. So, we have to have the bandwidth to be able to do that and to be able to transport images, or anything from a medical perspective, from those communities to St. Charles so we can take care of those folks." St. Charles' tele-medicine program also allows patients to see specialists at OHSU without traveling to Portland. The partnership with OHSU started in 2013 with pediatric patients, "We’ve had 36 consults with OHSU," says Sluka, "And those are people who certainly would have gone to OHSU and now we’re able to treat them here. So, that actually saves not only the consumer money, but also the healthcare system."
But, Senator Wyden (D-OR) says that expansion will require the FCC to raise the $400M cap on the Rural Health Care Program, which provides funding for telecommunication and broadband services. "What it will mean is we’d have a chance to provide the interconnections that are so important when you’re talking about life or death matters." Wyden says decisions made 20 years ago are hindering progress, "I think that in a lot of communities, there wasn’t this sense of the potential that there is in rural Oregon."
Representatives from the La Pine Community Health Center and Mosaic Medical also met with Senator Wyden Friday, telling the Oregon Democrat they use tele-medicine to treat patients in rural areas, but aren't able to expand their programs or infrastructure because of the current cap on the Rural Health Care Program. 
PHOTOS: Top- Wyden meets with representatives from several local health centers, Friday, at St. Charles Bend.
Right- Dr. Miles Ellenby, from OHSU, attended Friday's meeting in Bend via a Tele-Medicine unit. 

More Meetings Planned For Rdm Transient Camp

REDMOND, OR -- With just a few days before eviction notices are due to be posted at a large transient camp east of Redmond, the property’s owners plan to meet with homeless advocates and the Sheriff's Office Friday, to discuss the action. Earlier this week, the Homeless Leadership Coalition said they hoped to ask for an extension to the Tuesday deadline.


With 124 acres in the area, the Central Oregon Irrigation District is the largest stakeholder. Shon Rae, COID's Deputy Managing Director, says the district hasn’t yet received a formal request for a delay. "There’s a lot of moving parts, so I think that any movement of anything is going to have to be a group decision. We’re doing this as a group – with the county and the Sheriff’s Office. There’s been a lot of planning involved, so I’m not sure what the outcome would be if they asked us for that extension." The county and Redmond School District also own parcels in the area. 
There have been three fires on the property in the last month, and Redmond Police say they frequently respond to calls in the area. Rae tells KBND News problems are growing, "They are not disposing of their trash, they don’t have toilets out there so they’re just going to the restroom on the land. So, there’s a huge expense to just clean that property up and we can’t even start that process until they’re off."
She says pre-eviction notices were posted after the group of owners decided they couldn't wait any longer to take action. "On Monday, the Sheriff would go out and post the eviction notice. After that, if they haven’t left the Sheriff goes back out and starts issuing citations for basically trespassing. And, after that, if they haven’t moved then it would be like an eviction; I believe the Sheriff would then actually physically remove them from the property." But, she hopes it doesn't come to that, "Because it's a lot of man hours; it's just a lot of work for a lot of different people. It's not an easy solution."
Various property owners have tried to clear the site before, but campers always come back. This time, Rae says, they’re looking at more permanent solutions, "We are exploring potentially clearing the land, so getting rid of the underbrush, limbing up trees so there’s no place for them to take refuge; no place for them to hide, if you will." She acknowledges it’s a delicate situation with no easy solution for those living outside, "[They] go off our property, they’re going to go on someone else’s property."

Central Oregon Entering Possible Drought

BEND, OR -- Oregon Governor Kate Brown issued a drought emergency for Lake County, Thursday. The declaration allows state agencies to work with local governments to address drought related issues. Drought emergencies have also been declared in Klamath, Grant and Harney counties, so far this year. 


With continued dry weather in the High Desert, Deschutes Basin Water Master Jeremy Giffin tells KBND News, "Local streams and rivers will likely be running below average due to the low natural flow, due to the reduced precipitation and snowpack, reservoirs will likely drain more rapidly than they would normally, we're already starting to see that in wickiup reservoir, which is dropping an average of 10,000 acre feet a week, which is a very fast drop in that reservoir. So, we could end up at the end of the irrigation season with very low reservoir levels throughout Central Oregon.says local streams will be low this summer, as well."
Central Oregon reservoirs are filled to between 62% and 93% of capacity, but Giffin doesn't expect they'll stay that way,  "We were able to fill most of the reservoirs within the Deschutes basin, this last winter, and so we'll have good storage for the irrigation districts, but for natural flow of area lakes and streams and rivers, will be below average for the rest of the summer."
The outlook is quite a different from the upper Pacific Northwest, which is wet, with deep mountain snowpack. Most of Washington and northern Idaho are seeing mountain snowpacks well above 100% of normal, with strong river and stream flows. Giffin says, "Oregon, with the exception of the extreme northeastern Oregon, is below average in both snowpack and precipitation for the water year. The whole state is well below average snowpack for the year." Click HERE for the latest numbers.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), temperatures over the past two weeks have trended warmer than normal in Oregon and they predict above normal temperatures for the next two weeks, with lower than average rainfall. 

Idaho Fugitive Caught In Sisters

SISTERS, OR -- An Idaho fugitive was caught in Sisters Thursday afternoon, after a brief foot chase and search. Deschutes County deputies responded to a domestic disturbance call at Five Pine Lodge, and talked with 18-year-old Bailey Redwing. 


They discovered Redwing had several outstanding warrants in Kootenai County, Idaho. But, when deputies tried to arrest him, they say he took off toward the waste water treatment plant. The deputy chased the suspect through the Five Pine conference center until he lost sight of him. 
Multiple agencies converged on the area. After about 10 minutes, a Redmond K-9 unit found Redwing hiding in tall grass near waste water holding ponds. He was arrested without further incident. 

Mom Charged After Toddler Overdose

LA PINE, OR -- A La Pine toddler is recovering from an accidental drug overdose after eating a marijuana edible, earlier this week. According to the Sheriff’s Office, the two-year-old boy consumed a homemade THC-infused candy left on a table. 


Deputies say his 27-year-old mother discovered the partially eaten candy but waited several hours, until overdose symptoms worsened, to call 911. When medics arrived, the toddler was clearly in distress; he was taken to the hospital with life-threatening overdose symptoms. Katelynn Joy is charged with child endangerment and neglect.  
THC is the mind-altering ingredient in marijuana that provides the "high" for users. Because the candy was homemade, investigators say there's no way to know how much T-H-C the boy consumed. 

Madras Standoff Ends With Arrest

MADRAS, OR -- A 45-year-old man faces multiple charges after a Thursday afternoon stand-off at a downtown Madras apartment. Police first responded to a report of a shot fired inside the SW Third Street building, at about 1:10 p.m. When officers arrived, Jonathan Blankenship was outside, visibly agitated; he was hitting walls and appeared to be talking to himself. Officials say he then went into his apartment, closed the door and refused commands to come out. 


Due to the report of a gun, streets in the area were closed and the Central Oregon Emergency Response team was activated. After about 90 minutes, Blankenship came out and was arrested without incident for Disorderly Conduct and Interfering with a police officer. 
They did not find any evidence of a gun at the scene. 


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