BEND, OR -- Speed limits will change next month on Bear Creek Road, from 27th Street to just east of Dantili Road.
Bend city officials say reducing speeds from 45 to 40 miles per hour is in response to citizen input and staff concerns, given traffic levels and recent development in the area.
Orange warning flags will be posted above the new speed signs for several weeks, to draw attention to the change.
LA PINE, OR -- A 53-year-old man was reportedly flown to the hospital Monday night with multiple stab wounds. According to scanner traffic, he was conscious when he was taken from a home on Center Drive, north of La Pine, at around 9:30 p.m.
The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office says Deputies are investigating a domestic dispute where a man was stabbed; he is expected to survive. No arrests have been made and the investigation is ongoing.
KBND News will provide more information when it becomes available.
UPDATE: DCSO now says Deputies initially responded to a reported stabbing in the area of Paulina Lake Road. Investigators believe it started as a domestic dispute between a man and a woman. Both parties were contacted in other locations, after the incident occurred. A 53-year-old Bend man was transported to St. Charles Bend with serious but not life-threatening injuries.
BEND, OR -- The Democrat challenging Deschutes County Commissioner Tony DeBone in November is a political newcomer who says she always knew she’d run for office at some point. Amy Lowes had no opposition in the primary; she kicked off her campaign in earnest, last week.
Lowes says her platform is based on the big issues she’s hearing are important to voters, "And what keeps coming back repeatedly is increased access to mental health and addiction services, as well as intelligent management of our growth, protecting our natural resources; and it’s all linked together with affordable housing, which is a big issue for a lot of people that I’ve spoken with."
DeBone was first elected in 2010. He was re-elected in 2014 with a 10% margin over his Democratic challenger. Lowes admits she has a tough fight ahead, but believes her experience as a hospice nurse provides a unique and valuable perspective. And, she says the Board of County Commissioners would benefit from her healthcare background, "I’ve been a resident of Deschutes County for 21 years, and my experiences as a nurse, going out into the community has really helped me understand the culture of our county – not just Bend and Redmond and Sisters, but the rural areas, as well. And, I’ve also learned how to really advocate for the needs of the people that might be different from the people in the cities."
Lowes was raised in Washington, D.C. by Republican parents. She tells KBND News growing up around different perspectives in a highly political area taught her the importance of listening to all sides. She says she is most closely aligned with Democrats on healthcare issues, "I registered as a Democrat originally so I could vote in primaries. But, I will say that I do not vote along party lines; I’ve multiple times voted for Republican candidates."
Her campaign signs include the Venus symbol, to highlight her gender, along with the phrase “Time for change.” Lowes says being a woman doesn’t make her more qualified to be a County Commissioner, but she believes it’s time the board was more representative of the community, "Fifty-percent of the population is made up of woman and we’ve only had about 19% of us having a seat at the table."
PRINEVILLE, OR -- A second School Resource Officer (SRO) is coming to Crook County schools. Prineville Police Chief Dale Cummins says the community requested the additional officer, to better protect students, "We negotiated with the school district and found a way to get it into both of our budgets to help pay for the officer. It allowed me July first, to start looking for an officer to hire." He tells KBND News he's first hiring three new patrol officers for the department, "Once they get trained up and they're able to be released out on patrol, then I will open up the School Resource Officer to all my senior officers."
Chief Cummins says the expense of doubling SRO staffing is worthwhile if just one school attack is prevented, "If we can build some avenues of trust, then we have a better chance of getting a student who sees something that he doesn't think is right, to say something. If we can even accomplish that, that's the big win." He adds, "With officers in the schools, it gives our kids an opportunity to meet officers, to talk to officers in a non-police way, and it allows them to engage with the students and the students to engage them; it helps them knock down some of these perceptions they can get by watching television."
While there has not been a mass-casualty incident in the community, Cummins says there was an "unspecified threat" at Crook County High School last April, "When they come up now, more often, it just solidifies our perception of the safety of the schools and even if Crook County is a relatively small county, there's still those concerns." Cummins hopes to have a new SRO in place within the year.
BEND, OR -- The Oregon State University Board of Trustees has approved a new nursing degree at OSU-Cascades. In the fall of 2019, the Bend campus plans to launch a part-time, fully online program aimed at licensed Registered Nurses seeking to advance their careers while continuing to work.
The plan still needs approval by the statewide Public Universities Provosts Council and the state Higher Education Coordinating Commission.
OSU President Ed Ray says the program will cost half the price of many Bachelor of Science nursing programs in Oregon.
REDMOND, OR -- A proposal to boost Redmond's property tax rate by 64-cents per $1,000 dollars of assessed value, from $4.41 to $5.05, to pay for parks and more police isn't likely to make the November's ballot. The additional $1.2 million in city revenue was to be used to hire three more full-time Parks Department employees, parks capital improvement projects and hire four more police officers.
City Manager Keith Witcosky plans to recommend City Councilors drop the idea, at Tuesday's meeting. He tells KBND News a recent poll of 240 residents shows it's not the right time for such a ballot measure, "What we found out is that about 48% of the people thought it was probably a good idea and they would be willing to raise their taxes, and a lot didn't; it would basically be a coin toss to have it pass this fall. But, that coin toss would've cost $150,000 to flip, because we'd have to raise that much money privately, in order to fund the campaign."
In the survey, participants were asked what they thought was Redmond's most important issue. Witcosky says nearly 18% said it was "growth and managing growth; 13% is traffic and congestion, 11% is affordable housing, 5% is Education, 4% is crime and public safety, and 2.6% is parks and recreational opportunities." Also noted in the survey, 55% of respondents believe the city already has enough or "the right amount of officers," and nearly 86% rate the city's 26 parks as "excellent" or "good."
There are no plans to revive the issue of parks funding in the near future. Witcosky says, "I'm not going to say, 'Oh! 2020 might be,' because we don't know. But, we just know right now, the polling just doesn't support it at all." Although, he says the city may still look at ways to increase revenue to increase police staffing.
BEND, OR -- The OSU-Cascades bike share program is expanding, with two new stations opening Monday in Downtown Bend.
The university partnered with Zagster, a company that provides community bike sharing programs, along with Visit Bend, the Old Mill District, and G-5, to launch the program a year ago. Casey Bergh, OSU-Cascades Transportation Program Manager, says the rentals are popular, "Since we opened it to the community last June, we've seen a significant increase in ridership this year. We see a lot of tourists riding, but we also see local residents just taking advantage of a convenient way to get around, maybe bypass traffic, and have fun getting where they're going." It now boasts 55 rental bikes, 1,800 member riders, and has recorded nearly 5,000 user trips since June of 2017.
Bergh credits two new sponsors, 10 Barrel and SELCO, with the opening of two new stations, taking the total number of Bend rental stations to eight, "We had six stations: there're three near OSU-Cascades, we had one in downtown, one in Drake Park, and one in the Old Mill. And, the two new stations are launching on Galveston Avenue and the north end of downtown at the corner of Newport and Wall." And, he's excited about plans to grow even more, next year, with a dockless system, "We'd like to expand Bend's system so that we could have up to 20 stations, and any ride that you make could be ended at any public rack. So, it dramatically increases the number of destinations you could take on a bikeshare bike and really opens up the system to the entire city."
The university will celebrate the low impact, safe, and fun way for students, residents, and tourists to get around town and the two new stations with a ribbon cutting Monday at noon, "We're going to have some representatives from Commute Options and other partners." He tells KBND News, "Come out, and we'll just be out to promote the program and share with folks how they can get access to bikes." The ribbon cutting is on Galveston, between 12th and Federal.
BEND, OR -- Deschutes County Commissioners will present the State of the County, Tuesday, at a joint event with the Bend Chamber of Commerce. Commissioner Tony DeBone says they’ll talk about key issues, like marijuana regulations, growth and the budget, as well as how the county benefits from the state transportation package, "It’s the big picture of transportation, maintaining roads. House Bill 2017 last year, from the state Legislature, gives us a path with more resources to do more traffic safety improvements and capacity improvements. So, really kind of looking a little bit backwards but also forwards on these big picture items."
They’ll also have a little fun in the now-famous Deschutes County Top 10 List, which DeBone says doesn’t get finalized until just beforehand, "It’s kind of ‘seat of the pants.’ It’ll come together and it’s always amazing to see what topics kind of pop up and wind up and end up in there. But, it’s always evolving until the last minute because oh, the next idea comes." Click HERE
to listen to our complete conversation about the State of the County presentation with Commissioner Tony DeBone.
The State of the County is Tuesday evening at 10 Barrel East Side Pub. Tickets are available online at the Bend Chamber’s website
BEND, OR -- Three new Deschutes County Sheriff’s patrol cars hit the streets, Friday. They feature a new look reminiscent of the past. Sheriff Shane Nelson hopes it’ll help Deputies be more easily identified as law enforcement, "We went back – well actually, we’ve never had – but, we went to a black and white design. And, it’s very recognizable; it’s highly visible. And, I’ve gotten a lot of positive comments from citizens already, on the car, because we did have a car out and about for two weeks." He tells KBND News, "Given what goes on what law enforcement impersonators and things like that, I just felt that we need to have a car where, when someone looks at it they go, ‘that’s a patrol car; that’s a cop car’."
The cars feature several new graphics, including references to the Sheriff's Office social media profiles.
Sgt. William Bailey says the new color scheme won’t impact the agency’s budget, "Through last fiscal year and through the next fiscal year, we’ll be adding 30 new black and white vehicles to our patrol fleet. But again, there is no additional cost; they’re vehicles we would be replacing anyway. And, the new graphic scheme is no additional cost, either. We have to outfit our cars with graphics so people recognize them." Sgt. Bailey says patrol cars can rack up about a million miles a year and must be replaced every two to three years.
Before and After:
BEND, OR -- Oregon Senator Ron Wyden met with leaders of Bend’s Planned Parenthood clinic, during a visit to Central Oregon, Saturday. He expressed concern over Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh and his position on reproductive health. "Are we going to turn back the clock to the days when the government made the healthcare choices for women?" He told supporters, "I’m going to do everything I can to make sure in the Senate there is zero tolerance for policies that roll back the rights of women to the healthcare they choose."
Wyden also believes if Kavanaugh is confirmed, the Affordable Care Act will be struck down. He says if that were to happen, it would put people with pre-existing conditions - like pregnancy, diabetes and high blood pressure - at risk of losing their health insurance.
DUFUR, OR -- Crews made significant progress on the Long Hollow Fire, near Dufur, Sunday. Despite record-breaking day and nighttime temperatures, crews kept the fire from growing. It’s burned 34,000 acres and containment is at 58%.
The Garner Complex, northeast of Grants Pass is now 60% contained, at 29,000 acres. And, the South Umpqua Complex, southeast of Roseburg, has grown to nearly 12,000 acres and is 16% contained.
Oregon is also sending firefighters to help California to battle the Mendocino Complex of fires. They started in Mendocino County and have moved east to Lake County, burning more than 30,000 acres.
Photos: Top - Air crews drop retardant on the Long Hollow Fire, July 27
Right - Scorched land from the Long Hollow Fire is seen from the Deschutes River, July 29
PRINEVILLE, OR -- Two thieves will serve significant jail time in two separate Crook County. The area saw an uptick in property crimes, last fall.
Alysa Bennight, of Prineville, was sentenced this month to four years in prison. She pleaded guilty to various burglary, theft and drug charges related to a string of Prineville-area home burglaries. Bennight was arrested during a traffic stop
Martin Hollowell was ordered to serve 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to numerous counts of theft, criminal mischief and ID theft. The Bend man was indicted on 23 property-related crimes and car break-ins. The Crook County District Attorney says Hollowell's extensive criminal record allowed prosecutors to ask for a longer sentence under Measure 57.
While Bennight and Hollowell's crimes occurred during roughly the same time, investigators don't believe they knew each other.
BEND, OR -- The long-awaited extension of Empire Avenue begins September 10. Drivers can expect delays and inconveniences during construction, but Project Manager Sinclair Burr believes it will be worth the wait, "It should be a benefit to all road users, we're improving the bike lanes, adding sidewalks, we're adding turn lanes for the road, and to reduce travel times and increase safety is the main goal for this project. Extending Empire is going to be a huge benefit."
Phase One includes a roundabout at Purcell and Empire, and reconstruction of Empire between Purcell and NE 18th, "We are closing down Empire between 18th and Purcell. We'll be rebuilding that roadway section, adding sidewalks and widening the street; so that's going to be about a three-month process," Burr tells KBND News, "And after that time, we won't have to close down Empire again, during the project."
Phase Two includes the actual extension of Empire to NE 27th and Butler Market Road, including another new roundabout. For those with questions about the project, the city will host an open house August 20, in the Combined Communications parking lot at 18th and Empire. Combined Communications is the parent company of KBND News. "We're trying to get the information out, tell people what to expect, show them what the improvements are, so people can know why we're closing down the road. So it'll be a lot of information sharing," says Burr.
Work is expected to be complete in 2021. Click HERE
to visit the city's project webpage.
DUFUR, OR -- A grass fire southeast of Dufur quickly grew to more than 15,000 acres, Thursday night. The Long Hollow Fire was first spotted at about 4:30 p.m. BLM and Forest Service firefighters spent the evening fighting the fire alongside Wasco County and local rangeland fire crews.
The fire has reportedly burned down to the Deschutes River, prompting Level 3 evacuation orders, Thursday afternoon, from Sherars Falls to Mack's Canyon.
A Type-3 Incident Management Team takes command Friday. The fire's cause is under investigation.
BEND, OR -- Two people face drug-related charges following an investigation into dozens of complaints about a white bus over the past year and a half. Bend Police say the bus was parked at various locations, most recently in southwest Bend.
Based on evidence found during the on-going investigation, Bend PD obtained a search warrant. Officers executed a search warrant Wednesday, while the bus was parked on SW Emkay Drive. Two people were living on the bus, and investigators say drugs, including meth and heroin, along with drug paraphernalia, packaging material and other evidence of drug activity were found on the bus.
Travis Loeffel was arrested on numerous charges and Kaeli Kuehnel was issued a citation to appear in court.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- A Prineville man was arrested on multiple outstanding warrants, Thursday, after a foot chase and extensive search.
Crook County Deputies attempted to arrest 24-year-old Jaustin Walker at 9 a.m., near SW 2nd and Beaver. He ran, prompting a larger response from multiple agencies. After numerous reports from citizens and other officers, the Sheriff’s Office says Walker was cornered in the Queens Garden Mobile Park and taken into custody.
He was arrested for five outstanding warrants, and additional escape and trespassing charges.
BEND, OR -- A Bend second grader selling lemonade raised over $4,500 for the Bethlehem Inn. Seven-year-old Olivia Salvesen hosted a lemonade and iced coffee stand outside the Inn’s new Family Residence and Service Hub during the Tour of Homes. Friends, family, Miller Lumber, Backporch Coffee and Sparrow Bakery also helped in her effort.
The Bend homeless shelter has now raised 8-million of its 9-million dollar capital campaign. "We thank Olivia for this very special effort, as well as everyone who supported the Inn through her lemonade stand," says Bethlehem Inn Executive Director Gwenn Wysling. "We are touched to see community members of all ages rallying behind this campaign
!" Construction of the Bethlehem Inn's second new building is expected to begin in August.
BEND, OR -- When Central Oregon Community College students return in the fall, they will be without a student-run newspaper. The Broadside started in 1952, and put out its last edition in early June.
COCC Director of Student and campus life Andrew Davis says readership was down to just a couple hundred per edition, and it was difficult to recruit enough students to put out a paper twice a month, "We had dwindled from as many as 25 students that were involved on a regular basis, down to – this year we had about 10 students that were involved. And of those, not all 10 were even fully committed; they wrote occasionally or were involved in an editorial position."
Davis says a task force looked at ways to save the Broadside, but in the end, decided shutting it down was the most cost-effective option. "There are people who wish we could’ve kept it open. There are people that wish we could have changed direction and changed strategy, to see if that would’ve helped increase readership and increase student participation. But," he says, "There definitely are also people who say, ‘we totally get this decision. It was really difficult but students were far less involved with this than they have historically been'.'
In the end, Davis tells KBND News, it comes down to changing student behavior, "Some of it certainly is an element of print: Students don’t read in print anymore – I shouldn’t say, ‘they don’t read in print.’ They don’t read in print at as high of a rate as they used to. So, I think it’s probably a combination of factors." No word yet on whether students will create a digital or blog version of The Broadside to fill the void.
BEND, OR -- A Tumalo-area barn and several heirlooms, vehicles and pieces of equipment were destroyed in a fire that shut down Old Bend Redmond Highway, Thursday. Bend Fire responded at about 4:30 p.m. and found the barn well-involved. A Forest Service plane and Department of Forestry engine patrolled for spot fires. The blaze left about $100,000 in damage and its cause is under investigation.
Earlier in the day, a Cloverdale home was lost to a blaze that also sparked a small brush fire. That fire appears to have started in the garage; it caused $400,000 in damage and is also under investigation. The Red Cross is helping the family displaced by that fire.
BEND, OR -- A felon wanted for a parole violation was arrested after telling a Deschutes County Deputy he was waiting for a ride. The incident started just before 8:30 a.m., Thursday, when a Deputy approached a man standing outside the Tumalo Store.
After talking briefly with the Deputy, the man took off running. Other law enforcement responded to the area and started searching for the suspect, who was quickly identified as 36-year-old James Herrera, who had an active felony warrant by the Oregon State Parole Board.
At about 10 a.m., Herrera was taken into custody during a traffic stop near the Tumalo State Park campground. The driver was also arrested. Deputies and Detectives say they found 29-year-old Keiri Hall with over an ounce of methamphetamine.
SUNRIVER, OR -- Four people were hurt when a car crashed into a tree, south of Sunriver, early Wednesday morning. According to the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office, 21-year-old Dayton Sauer, of Bend, was northbound on Snow Goose Road, when she failed to negotiate a curve and hit a tree, at about 2:25 a.m. Investigators believe she was driving under the influence of intoxicants and she was taken to jail on a number of DUII-related charges.
DCSO says 20-year-old Julianne Pade, of Bend, and 21-year-old Andrew Auguilera-Anderson, of Salem, both suffered serious injuries. Pade was flown to St. Charles Bend, while Anderson was taken by ground ambulance. Two other passengers, 20-year-old William Larson and 19-year-old Renea Sauer, both of Bend, received minor injuries.
The investigation into the crash, and whether anyone was wearing a seatbelt, continues.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- Two local gun-rights advocates hope students will soon be required to take a firearms safety class. Ston McDaniel, of Prineville, and Jerrad Robison, of Redmond, recently filed Initiative Petition Six in Salem. It would make gun safety courses mandatory for Oregon sixth graders.
McDaniel, the chief petitioner, tells KBND News, "We teach all these common safety things to kids, 'here's a pair of scissors, don't run with them,' 'knives are sharp,' we teach fire safety, we teach kids why seat belts are important, sex ed, poison control. With as many firearms as are out in our country, it is important for kids to understand how to conduct themselves safely around firearms."
He insists there is no target training, "It's important to remember this is not a firearms training course. We're not pushing to teach these kids how to shoot firearms. It's professionals in the firearms venue teaching kids firearm safety." He says instructors would need to be certified by law enforcement or a national or state firearms instruction organization, and parents could opt their children out of the class.
Robison and McDaniel hope to gather enough signatures to get IP6 on the ballot in November 2020, "There's a lot of scary things out there in this world, in this day and age, and firearms do not need to be one of those."
SISTERS, OR -- Sisters City Councilors voted Wednesday to send two marijuana issues to the November ballot. One would allow recreational and medical marijuana-related businesses inside the city; the other would impose a 3% tax on those sales.
Sisters City Manager Brant Kucera says it's not a decision that should be made by a few, "The reason it's going on the ballot is because we've heard an even split in opinion on this, and it's one of those places where I think council felt strongly enough that they actually want to hear from the voters, rather than making that decision for themselves."
Kucera tells KBND News he believes most voters are still looking for information, "I think a lot of people are just interested in being educated before they make up their minds. And, I think that law enforcement plays a valuable role, so I think people definitely respect what the Deschutes County Sheriff has to say about it, and I think there's that group that has not made up their minds about this." While he's not sure how Sisters' vote will go, he expects the city will follow the lead of others in the region, "Many of the communities around the area have put it out to the voters; the voters approved. Nationally, you're starting to see a very, very favorable trend. So, I'm going out on a little bit of a limb, but it's trending towards allowing the sale of marijuana, right now."
BEND, OR -- Deschutes Democrats are actively seeking a replacement candidate for Bend's House District 54. The party can’t force Bend City Councilor Nathan Boddie to step aside, but members recently passed resolutions formalizing a request for his resignation and allowing for the search.
Former District 54 State Rep. Judy Stiegler says one resolution makes official what some party members have already asked, "It’s a two-part kind of thing; the first resolution was a clear statement of the Deschutes Democrats’ withdrawal of support for Dr. Boddie and then a formal request for him to exit the race." The second allows party leadership to start an official search, "Looking for a potential candidate to run, in the event that Dr. Boddie does bow out." Click HERE to read both resolutions in their entirity.
Earlier this month, a local environmental activist made public her allegations that Boddie groped her during a conversation at a bar in 2012. He initially responded by accusing the woman of having a substance abuse problem. Stiegler attended Sunday's party meeting and voted in favor of both resolutions because, she says, Boddie's response was not in line with the party's values, "It isn’t our job to rant and rave and make any allegations or accusations. I think the bulk of the precinct committee people who were there voting on this, they viewed it as a way to express our displeasure with how this whole thing has played out. And to say, ‘Please. It’s time. We need to move forward'." She adds, :From my perspective, we want to make it clear that the way this has been handled by Dr. Boddie is not appropriate. And, secondly, even though he’s been asked by several members of the party and other people around the area to bow out of the race, it’s sort of the official ask by the Deschutes Democratic party."
Boddie has remained out of the public eye for several weeks and did not appear at last week's Council meeting. Party Chair Jason Burge confirms Boddie has also not been in communication with Deschutes Democrats, and hasn't responded to the resolutions. Stiegler tells KBND News it’s not unusual for a candidate to be embroiled in controversy during a campaign, "What is unusual for things to just go silent. People handle the situations in different ways. I, for one, wish Dr. Boddie had handled this in a different way."
If he doesn't resign from the campaign before August 28, Boddie's name will appear on the November ballot. Stiegler says that tight timeframe is why it's important the party start looking now for a replacement, "We realize that in this stage of the game, there’s an uphill battle. I’d be very naïve, as someone who’s been in the trenches before and understands, we’re hitting the premier time for campaigning." She says, "I think also, we're very cognizant that we have a lot of other good candidates running for other offices and we don't want all our focus and all our energy to be on this."
BEND, OR -- A 13-year-old was rescued from class V rapids south of Bend, after he became separated from his kayak, Wednesday evening.
When emergency crews responded to the Lava Island Falls area on the Deschutes River, at about 5:40 p.m., the Bend teen was standing on a small rocky island and was unhurt. They determined a technical rescue was necessary, due to the nature of the rapids.
The Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Swiftwater Team and Bend Fire’s Special Rescue Team used a raft and tether system to get him to shore.
DCSO says several people who reported the incident stayed with the boy until responders arrived, then helped direct authorities to the scene and hauled equipment.
TERREBONNE, OR -- A California man was hurt while rock climbing at Smith Rock State Park, prompting a search and rescue operation, Wednesday.
The 48-year-year old and a friend were reportedly attempting to create a new climbing route near Monkey Face when a climbing rope caught a rock. The plate-sized rock, estimated at 2-3" thick, broke loose and hit the man in the head. Redmond Fire and Deschutes County Search and Rescue used a steep angle litter rescue then wheeled him out of the park.
He was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
BEND, OR -- A southeast Bend home was damaged Wednesday afternoon, when a brush fire spread to the structure.
Firefighters arrived on Geary Drive just after 3 p.m., and discovered the blaze had started in tall, dry grass. Bend Fire and forestry crews held the fire at a third of an acre. Its cause is under investigation.
Damage is estimated at about $5,000 and was limited to a part of the house, a fence and a play structure.
CAMP SHERMAN, OR -- Central Oregon’s newest youth fishing pond opens Wednesday. Jennifer Luke, with Oregon's Department of Fish and Wildlife, says Metolius Pond is at the site of an old fish hatchery that hadn’t been used since the 1960s. "We had this 15 acres and we decided this was a great location to put a youth fishing pond. It’s a very scenic spot; a good water source, right there on the property."
She admits the project took a long time, because they had to remove some of the equipment left over from the hatchery and create a whole new pond, "We had to dig the pond out, we had to get the water source for the pond; even the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife had to do all sorts of permitting for the pond, as well. It’s been in the works for probably five years, now." She says it’s very similar to Shevlin Pond, in Bend, "Kids 11 and under do not need a license, but if they’re 12 and older they’re going to need a youth license for $10. You can buy those online or the Camp Sherman Store." Adults with a disabled fishing license are also allowed to fish the pond. "We have a two-fish limit. We’ll keep an eye on it and stock it, I’m guessing it’ll be once a month, depending on how much gets fished."
Despite its remote location near Camp Sherman, and the fact that there are no signs for the new pond yet, Luke says anxious young anglers are already checking it out, "We’ve had people showing up at the gate; the fish are in there and everything is ready to go."
Metolius Pond is about nine miles west of Sisters. From Highway 20, take the turn to the Metolius River Recreation Area, veer left at the fork, towards Camp Sherman. Then, follow the signs for old Fish Hatchery Road, drive to the end and through the gate into the parking area. It's open dawn til dusk, seven days a week.
BEND, OR -- Central Oregon workers are in high demand, this summer; help wanted signs appear in many windows and some places are making changes to accommodate fewer employees. Baldy's Barbeque, for example, shortened their hours and stopped serving breakfast because they lack adequate staff.
Regional Economist Damon Runberg says says there aren't a lot of niche jobs available, but low-skilled, seasonal labor opportunities abound, "Most are entry-level positions - leisure, hospitality, restaurants, hotels, etc. - and they're just having a straight-up 'warm body' issue. They can't find enough people to fill those jobs where typical, minimum-wage jobs are paying $4, $5 over the minimum wage."
Central Oregon's historically low unemployment rate didn't budge in June, while the hiring rate was consistent with annual averages, "The hiring pattern we saw in June was the typical construction jobs, tourism jobs. It's like you have that really rapid pace of seasonal hiring in the background of this bigger labor constraint that we've been in over the last couple of years." Deschutes County's unemployment rate for June was 3.9% with 1,410 jobs added; Crook County's rate dropped slightly to 5.4% with 190 jobs added and Jefferson County added 120 jobs last month, while the jobless rate dropped a tenth of a point from May, to 5%.
Runberg tells KBND News, Runberg says we've reached the stage in the economic recovery where there are more jobs than jobseekers, and there's no easy solution, "Expanding the labor supply is the answer, but it's not like there's a glut of unemployed people out there where there's this mismatch. Most people who are in the labor force today are employed." But, he says, help should be coming in the future, "The education community that we have: COCC, OSU Cascades, these are all positive, long-term things that will help create a more diverse and larger, educated workforce. But these are not things that are going to help us this summer."
PORTLAND, OR -- The Democratic Party of Oregon is challenging the residency of Bend State Representative and Republican candidate for Governor, Knute Buehler. Party Chair Jeanne Atkins is calling for an investigation by the Secretary of State's Office after Buehler told KEX Radio host Mark Mason, in early July, he no longer lives in District 54.
In the interview from Tigard, Mason introduces Buehler as, "Knute Buehler of Tualatin, now." And, Buehler responds, "Of Tualatin now; yeah, just down the street." Mason confirms, "No longer Bend." And the candidate answers, "Yeah; and soon to be a resident of Salem." Mason ends the exchange with "Alright, we'll leave it at that." In June, Buehler told the Portland Tribune he'd recently moved to Tualatin, "Now we're living in an apartment."
Atkins says the move puts Buehler in violation of the state constitution, which says a Legislator must live in in the district from which they were elected.
Buehler was not available for comment, but issued a statement calling it a "meaningless, desperate attack." He says his wife spends most of her time at their Bend home, where they are registered to vote, pay property taxes and have their cars registered. Buehler says the Tualatin apartment provides him a home-base while campaigning in the Willamette Valley.
BORING, OR -- A couple believed to be responsible for an explosion at a Bend duplex, last spring, was arrested in Boring, Tuesday. David and Jennifer Paulsen suffered serious burns in the March 18th explosion that lifted the roof off the building and send insulation into nearby yards. A three-year-old inside at the time was not hurt.
Bend Police and the Central Oregon Drug Enforcement Team determined the blast was caused by a Butane Honey Oil lab. Arrest warrants were issued last week, after the pair was indicted on federal drug charges, including Manufacture of Possession with Intent to Manufacture, Distribute or Dispense Hashish and Endangering Human Life While Illegally Manufacturing a Controlled Substance.
Investigators learned they were living in Boring and were arrested without incident. As of Wednesday morning, the two were being held at the Multnomah County Jail.
BEND, OR -- A child playing with matches is blamed for a small field fire in northeast Bend. Firefighters responded to the property on Neff Road at about 2:45 Tuesday afternoon and found about a third of an acre burning.
They say the fire moved slowly due to irrigation, and didn’t spread off the property. It was quickly extinguished by the two engines.
Officials remind everyone that hot, dry and windy weather stretch across the state, right now, and fire can spread quickly under those conditions.
SISTERS, OR -- Fire officials credit the quick thinking of employees for preventing the spread of a fire at Ray's Food Place in Sisters. The grill caught fire at about 6:45 p.m., Monday, prompting the evacuation of the store.
Sisters-Camp Sherman Rural Fire Protection District officials say, after customers were out of the store, employees used fire extinguishers to stop flames from spreading, while they waited for firefighters. The first arriving fire crews found the grill covered with baking sheets; they were hot but no flames were scene. Firefighters used thermal imaging to determine there was no heat in ceiling tiles around the grill hood, and damage was confined to the grill itself.
SCSRFPD Shift Commander Rob Harrison said, "The prompt effort of employees to locate and turn the gas to the grill off, and use a fire extinguisher to put the fire out helped to keep the fire from spreading."
BEND, OR -- Deschutes County Commissioners are working to address lingering issues with the law enforcement radio system, which has been plagued with problems since the county switched to a digital system, a year ago.
Police Radio Problems Persist, Year After Switch
Commissioner Tony DeBone admits more needs to be done to identify specifically what's going wrong, "We’re working with our engineering company, making sure we have answers to finding the problems. Because sometimes we say, ‘it doesn’t work,’ which means, ‘I had a transmission that didn’t work, but the other 42 times I used the system it did work. So, we’ve got to define the problems." To that end, he says the county's contract engineers will take a bigger role, "Recently, we’ve said, ‘we need them to be front and center a lot more,’ so that’s kind of the action item we’ve taken in the last week or two."
The county is also hoping to hire a Technical Deputy Director for 911. DeBone tells KBND News they're recruiting now for the newly created position, and he hopes to conduct interviews soon, "Somebody that knows how to really be technical, engineering support and communicate with the public and the media, if we need to." DeBone believes that will help the 911 Director focus on daily operations and the overall agency, instead of technical problems.
WILLOWDALE, OR -- A small bridge north of Madras is getting replaced, and the work could cause delays for drivers. Department of Transportation crews have been working on the small Trout Creek Bridge on Highway 97 for several months, but ODOT’s Abbey Driscoll says a major part of the project near Willowdale will occur Wednesday, "They’ll be placing beams this week, so that will require full closures of the bridge 20 minutes at a time. They’ll close both sides, get a truck on there, lay a beam and then open up one side at a time and let traffic run through and clear out."
The work is part of a larger, $15 million project
to make sure all of Highway 97 is ready if a large-scale quake hits Oregon, "We’re all preparing for the Cascadia Event, that could be imminent," Driscoll tells KBND News, "And if that happens, US 97 sort of becomes the new main through-route through Oregon. And so, part of that is just ensuring that all of our bridges on the east side of the Cascades are up to all seismic standards." A total of eight bridges will receive upgrades, "This is a two-year project, so we’re doing the majority of the work on the Trout Creek and Spanish Hollow Bridges - that we’re replacing - this year. And then, the retrofits of the six additional bridges will take place next year." The Spanish Hollow Creek Bridge and six others are just south of Biggs Junction, in the Gorge.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- Without any precipitation in the forecast, hot and dry conditions continue to reduce local water supplies. The Powder House Cove boat ramp at Prineville Reservoir closed at 8 a.m. Tuesday because low water levels are making it unsafe to launch trailered boats; it's expected to stay closed for the year. Kayaks and other small craft can still use the cove boat ramp and two others remain open for trailered boats: Prineville Reservoir State Park day-use area and Jasper Point day-use area. The ramp at Jasper Point closes August first, but the state park ramp should be open the rest of the year.
Oregon water Resources Department regional manager Kyle Gorman says Prineville Reservoir is suffering the most, this season, "The reservoir did not fill this year, so it started out almost 30,000 acre feet below full. The demand on that reservoir is very consistent with historic use, but starting out at the lower contents means, of course, through the summer, you will see or experience lower amounts than average in that reservoir."
But, after a mild winter with limited snowpack and a dry spring and summer, Gorman says Prineville is not the only local reservoir with low levels, "Take a look at the reservoirs where the people are used to the average reservoir contents, and seeing some below average, they might be thinking, 'This is going to limit my recreation abilities.' But," he tells KBND News, "I think, for the most part, we're not at critically low levels yet. And, it's still a fairly good supply of water in the majority of the reservoirs, so that recreation component might be limited to a degree; but it's not to the point where it's not usable." And, he calls one location a "shining bright spot." Gorman says, "Crescent Lake has been well above average the last several years and still remains above average, so we like to look at that as a bright spot in the basin."
With careful water management, Gorman says there will be plenty of water to last the season.
Until the rains come, he says there are things residents can do to save water, "Wise and careful management [are] critical to extend those supplies throughout the remainder of the summer, so we're, as water managers, and the Irrigation Districts, sending out information in the newsletters for ideas for water saving, careful water management, and that'll be key for the remainder of the summer."
LA PINE, OR -- The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office is searching for a driver who took off from a traffic stop in La Pine, avoiding arrest.
Just after 8:30 Monday morning, a Deputy tried to pull over a silver 1992 Hyundai Elantra for driving recklessly. Going about 70 miles an hour, the car sped down Darlene Way, near Finley Butte Road. It turned onto a forest road then South Huntington Road, where the Deputy lost sight of the car in the dust. A short time later, a deputy found the car abandoned at a home on South La Pine Drive. Despite an extensive search of the area, the driver wasn’t found.
Anyone with information in the case is asked to call the Sheriff's Office at 541-693-6911.
Photo: South Huntington Road at S. La Pine Drive
BEND, OR -- A small brush fire forced a brief closure of Century Drive, Monday morning. The fire was reported at about 10:30.
When Bend Firefighters arrived at Mammoth Drive, they found grass, brush and trees on fire. They were able to hold the slow-moving fire at just 1/8 of an acre, bringing it under control within 10 minutes.
The cause of the blaze could not be determined, but officials say it’s a reminder of the extreme fire danger conditions.
BEND, OR -- The Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association Summer Convention has been the traditional launch event for Oregon's Gubernatorial campaign debate season for more than 30 years. However, for the second time since taking office, Governor Kate Brown did not attend this year's event. The 2018 ONPA convention took place last week at Brasada Ranch, outside Bend; the candidate forum was scheduled for Friday.
State Representative and GOP Gubernatorial candidate Knute Buehler (R-Bend) tells KBND News he was there, ready to debate, "I feel strongly that if you want to be leader of Oregon, you should be willing to stand up and answer the difficult questions that people in Oregon want answers to." The ONPA debate is usually only attended by major party candidates. Buehler was instead joined by Independent candidate Patrick Starnes, whose party had threatened to sue if he wasn't included.
Governor Brown's campaign tells KBND News she never intended to attend the ONPA event because she was scheduled to appear at the National Governors Association's summer meeting in New Mexico. She also skipped that event in order to help organize firefighting efforts in The Dalles. However, Buehler points out Brown also did not attend the Oregon event in 2016, when she was running against Republican Bud Pierce, "This is consistent with Governor Brown's just overall, general lack of transparency, being open and accessible."
He says trying to schedule debate opportunities has been difficult, "We suggested 10, and the Governor countered with three, and right now we're just even trying to get the Governor to agree to three concretely. That also seems to be shifting around with regards to date and location." So far, he says two are on the calendar: one in Portland and one in Medford, "I feel strongly that we should debate in Central Oregon so people in Central Oregon have the ability to hear their future Governor and the former Governor talk about these important issues."
THE DALLES, OR -- Firefighters made substantial progress on the Substation Fire, near The Dalles, over the weekend. The fire has burned more than 79,000 acres and, as of Monday morning, is 92% contained. Evacuation warnings have been lowered to level one and many fire teams have been released. A few crews remain, watching for hot spots.
The fire, which killed one person, started July 17 on private land and spread quickly. Its cause remains under investigation.
This year's wheat harvest was just starting when the Substation Fire started. Jim Johnson, with the Oregon Agriculture Department, says the blaze devoured tens of thousands of acres of wheat fields near The Dalles, "You basically are starting in Wasco County and working east to Baker County. That’s a big wheat area."
He believes the fire will affect Oregon's economy, "Grains - wheat, in particular - is really one of the number one commodities in the Columbia Basin." Wheat is a major export crop, "It's a situation that, in international trade, can be huge," and Johnson says the loss will affect the bottom line for Oregon farmers, farm workers and the Port of Portland grain terminals, which will have less wheat to ship. 80% of Oregon's wheat crop is shipped out of Portland to Asian markets.
BEND, OR -- Firefighters responded quickly to a new wildfire just south of Bend, Sunday afternoon (pictured). The Bessie Butte Fire was first spotted at noon by the Lava Butte Lookout. It grew to about 50 acres before crews got a dozer line around it, stopping its forward progress. Firefighters remained on scene overnight to complete the containment line and mop up. China Hat and FS 1815 off Arnold Market were closed through the night. The cause is under investigation.
Near The Dalles, the Substation Fire
is now 82% contained, at just over 79,000 acres and evacuation warnings have been reduced to Level one. Most fire crews have been released, although a few remain to watch for hot spots. The cause of the fire, which has killed one person
, is under investigation.
Southwest of Chemult, 340 firefighters continue to battle the Timber Crater 6 fire. It's burned more than 1,200 acres and is just 5% contained. The blaze is one of several sparked by lightning around Crater Lake on July 15. Fire crews set back-burns over the weekend in an attempt to keep it from reaching Highway 97. While the fire is not affecting operations at Crater Lake National Park, smoke is reducing visibility.
And, evacuations in southern Oregon continue, because of the lightning-caused Garner Complex of Fires, 17 miles northeast of Grants Pass. Six large fires and several smaller fires have burned about 8,000 acres in steep terrain and they're about 10% contained. The complex started with a lightning storm on July 15.
TERREBONNE, OR -- Several trailers, a barn and a tac shed in Terrebonne were destroyed by fire, Sunday. Redmond firefighters arrived at the 11th Street property A little after 5 p.m., and found a horse trailer with living quarters fully involved, with flames spreading.
They were able to protect the nearby home and extinguish the blaze, but not before it caused $250,000 in damage. Earlier in the day, the residents used a grinder on the trailer; investigators believe the grinder threw sparks onto the wood deck and debris in the trailer, causing the fire.
SISTERS, OR -- An Idaho woman suffered a medical condition while hiking South Sister, Friday evening.
Deschutes County Search and Rescue deployed a team to the area, with a wheeled litter and other equipment, in case the 37-year-old woman wasn’t able to continue down the mountain. Life Flight was also initially dispatched. However, by the time the SAR team met with the woman on the trail, she was feeling better and able to hike to the Devil’s Lake Trail Head under her own power, with her group of 15 other hikers from Idaho.
BEND, OR -- Pacific Power officials say a Friday morning power outage was caused by a squirrel. More than 4,700 customers were initially impacted by the outage, which began at about 7:45 a.m. Nearby residents reported hearing a loud blast just before losing power.
By 8:30, Pacific Power crews had restored electricity to a little over 3,500 customers. It was fully restored by about 11:30 a.m. The squirrel did not survive the confrontation.
This is the third power outage blamed on an animal in Bend, in the last month. June 26, Pacific Power said 5,200 customers were impacted when a bird pecked through the housing surrounding a transformer. Then on July 14, nearly 10,000 Central Electric Cooperative customers were plunged into darkness after a bird flew into a major transmission line. In both cases, the birds were killed.
BEND, OR -- The Deschutes County Sheriff's Office has a new team for "quality of life" crimes. Sgt. William Bailey says the Community Action Target (CAT) Team will focus on distracted driving, illegal drugs, theft, trespassing and criminal mischief, "This proactive team will solely be focusing on those issues and able to spend the time, surveillance and the other needed investigative tactics to address these quality of life issues in our communities."
Sgt. Bailey tells KBND News, "Getting requests from the community and wanting to address these issues developed into this proactive team so that the normal patrol shifts can still focus on their duties, responding to calls; but, the proactive team that's out and about is able to focus solely on that quality of life issue, and give them the time and the resources needed to address it." He says, "A normal patrol Deputy, the call response always takes priority, so they can get pulled away from that issue they're trying to address. This team is able to solely focus on that because they're in addition to our normal patrol shift."
When the CAT Team launched last week, an eight member team focused on illegal possession and sales of drugs, resulting in the arrest of five people. Bailey says the idea is to find an effective solution to chronic crime in Deschutes County.
LA PINE, OR -- A quick response by passers-by and fire crews prevented what could have become a dangerous brush fire. Two small fires were reported along Highway 97, near Prairie Drive, at about 9 a.m. Thursday. La Pine Fire Chief Mike Supkis says it appears they were started by a vehicle, "Either it was exhaust, or a chain on the back of a vehicle, or the vehicle actually left the highway and caused the fire."
He says it’s unusual for a vehicle to start a fire so easily, under regular circumstances, "However, it’s very common when we have fuel moistures that are below 20%, like we have right now, and even close to maybe single digits, and the very warm and dry temperatures we’ve had in the last week or so." He tells KBND News, "The fine fuels, right now, are extremely, extremely dry. So, just any ignition can start a problem."
Supkis says they were lucky: passersby stopped immediately and worked to control the flames. He says that vigilance and willingness to help - without putting anyone in harm's way - is much appreciated, "People of Central Oregon look like they’re prepared; they have shovels in their vehicles, several people had fire extinguishers on this, and the first Forestry unit on-scene reported that civilians basically had this fire controlled by the time professional responders got there. And, that’s fantastic." Chief Supkis says a small fire near Sunriver on Tuesday was also stopped by good Samaritans.
With local firefighters in The Dalles helping with the Substation Fire, Supkis says, "Forestry is still chasing a lot of lightning smokes, and things like that, so there are fewer resources, locally. We’re really watching - The thing to do is to watch the starts." And, he says that takes a community-wide effort, "We are asking people to be ever-so-vigilant, vehicles need to be in good condition, they need to stay on the road – don’t park on the grass – and just be extremely cautious how dry and tinder the fuels are out there, right now."
THE DALLES, OR -- More help is on the way for crews battling the Substation Fire near The Dalles. "As the Substation Fire is now considered to be the number one fire in the nation, we’ve received additional resources," says Stefan Meyers, with the Oregon State Fire Marshal's Office. As of Friday morning, the fire had grown to 70,000 acres and is 15% contained. It may have been arson caused. Oregon State Police ask anyone with information to contact them.
Fire managers are using several types of aircraft. Meyers says, "The benefit of this diverse air support is they can provide heavy drops on top of the canyons and the smaller aircraft can provide more precision drops in the canyons." He says more than 200 firefighters from 73 agencies are helping in the effort. Level 2 and Level 3 evacuation orders remain in place for 900 homes.
The fire has already turned deadly
, "Tragically, the fire has already claimed the life of 64-year-old John Ruby, of The Dalles," says Wasco County Sheriff Lane Magill. Ruby appears to have been using a tractor to create fire lines, when he was overcome by the fire.
CULVER, OR -- The Oregon Health Authority has lifted the advisory issued last month for Lake Billy Chinook, in Jefferson County. New water samples show the level of harmful algae toxins are back below recreational guidelines for human exposure.
to visit the state website showing the latest algae bloom warnings in Oregon.
BEND, -- A 33-year-old Bend man was arrested Thursday, after a month-long investigation into cocaine distribution in the area. The Central Oregon Drug Enforcement Team believes Edgar Arturo Robles-Anaya was the supplier.
The investigation began in June. He was taken into custody during a Thursday traffic stop by Bend Police. Officers found user amounts of Fentanyl and Adderall on him at the time, for which he did not have a prescription.
During a search of his northeast Bend apartment, Detectives say they found more Fentanyl and Adderall, and other drug-related materials within easy access of his two young children. Child Welfare was called in to help with the three- and six-year old.
Robles-Anaya is charged with unlawful Manufacture, Possession and Delivery of Cocaine, and Child Neglect. The District Attorney is reviewing the case and may add charges relating to the unlawful possession of Fentanyl and Adderall.
POST, OR -- Fire crews made significant progress on the Cemetery Fire, burning in the Ochocos. It’s now 50% contained and is estimated at 1,414 acres. Click HERE for the latest from the Central Oregon Fire Information service.
Gusty winds, hot temperatures and low humidity pose challenges, but firefighters worked to secure established fire lines, look for hot spots and began mop-up operations on Wednesday. There was no movement of the perimeter overnight and the fire continues to creep through unburned fuels. Grazing and private lands, Greater Sage Grouse habitat and timber remain at risk.
An incident command post is set up in Paulina School, and the fire camp is at the Rodeo grounds in Paulina. The Cemetery Fire started with a lightning storm, early Monday morning.
BEND, OR -- Ever since news broke, late last week, that Alaska’s last two Blockbuster stores were closing, the Bend location has been inundated with visitors. "I really thought the Alaska stores would outlast everyone," General Manager Sandi Harding told KBND News, this week, "It’s just incredibly surprising, fun, a little sad to know that another store has fallen and the era is getting closer and closer to being gone. But, the nostalgia of being the only one left is just amazing."
The phone hasn't stopped ringing. Harding, who's been been with the store 14 years, says she's never seen it like this, "Over the weekend, we had a line of customers, wanting to take their picture in front of the Blockbuster sign. It’s just been insane, and crazy, and wanting to take pictures with my staff and with myself – and, it’s just been great." And, she says most are spending money, "People are recognizing that, 'hey, we need to stay open.' And so, they're coming in and saying 'hi,' they're getting their picture taken, they're buying some candy or a movie or something and taking it with them." She adds, "Publicity is great but we've got to have money to stay open. Otherwise, we're not going to be the last store; we'll be yet another memory, like everyone else."
The store at Third and Revere has been featured on media outlets like CNN and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation; and all that attention provides a lot of free advertising. Ben Richard is here on vacation from Redwood, California and stopped in for a photo, "I haven’t been in one in years, and I was just, ‘I have to go to it.’ It’s so novel - I mean, DVDs and Blu-Rays - things have really transitioned to streaming." Daryl Richard says she wanted to check out an American institution, "For a short period of time in our history, that’s why I find it interesting to be here, because it was an American institution. And, this is almost like the dinosaur era in terms of technology."
Bob Bastien says he’s wanted to stop in since moving to Bend six months ago, and all the attention over the last few days piqued his curiosity, "We were surprised that they even had one because, where we came from, which is the Sacramento area, they’re all gone. So it is kind of different." For regulars, like Heather Thompson, it’s just her neighborhood video store, "I still own a DVD player and I like to look at the choices. Things that would never be on cable or things I wouldn’t pick out sometimes jump off of the shelf, and you think, ‘oh, that looks good’." She admits she has a Netflix account, but says Blockbuster gives her access to lots more options. "Especially if you go into the classic movies or the anime, just the different genres that maybe you wouldn’t find on Netflix. Plus, I grew up with Blockbuster."
Harding says, "It’s been crazy fun, employees are loving it, the community is loving it. Everybody’s been coming in the door and saying, ‘oh my gosh, we saw you on the TV!’ They’re coming in and supporting us like they always have." But, she acknowledges the attention won't last forever. She has a message for local customers: "The bottom line, when this media coverage goes away and all the people from out of town go home, it's you guys that are keeping the doors open, and we just cannot tell you how much we appreciate you guys being here."
PRINEVILLE, OR -- Facebook and Pacific Power are joining forces to increase the amount of renewable power in the northwest. Governor Kate Brown was in Crook County Wednesday, alongside Pacific Power, Facebook and local officials, to announce a new partnership.
Pacific Power Senior Vice President Scott Bolton says the project will allow them to build six solar farms, "The six facilities will produce 437 megawatts of power and 100 megawatts of that will be coming from the two sites in Oregon." Those two sites will be near Facebook's data center in Prineville. The other four will be built in Idaho. "Facebook pays a little bit more so our customers pay less."
The two solar farms near Prineville will generate 100 megawatts of electricity; in total, the six facilities will generate 437 megawatts of power. All of the electricity from the Facebook data center in Prineville will be from renewable sources. Bolton says it's setting the region on a good course, "Facebook’s doing a great job in showing their leadership; and helping, not just buying renewable solutions for their data center, but also helping ‘green the grid,’ overall."
THE DALLES, OR -- One person has died in the Substation Fire, southeast of The Dalles. Wasco County Deputies responded to a report of a burned out tractor and found a man's body nearby. It appears he died as a result of the fire.
The wildfire, which was first spotted Tuesday afternoon, blew up to 50,000 acres Wednesday in light flashy fuels and hot conditions. It's destroyed at least one home and several outbuildings, and evacuations remain in place. Lt. Damon Simmons, with the Fire Marshal's Office, says when the fire started it made an 18-mile run, "I think that that's a prime example of what this fire could do." He's concerned winds could continue to drive it, "Wildfire is very, very dependent on us getting the weather we need." It's already crossed the Deschutes River, "It’s burning up through the draws. It’s trying to push out from there, and when it does it will probably make some significant runs," says Simmons. The Governor has called in resources from around the state to protect homes and farm buildings. Firefighters from Bend, Redmond, Sunriver and other local agencies are already there.
Dezi Remington owns a farm that was damaged by the fire and tells KATU News she's never seen anything like it, "It was lines of fire 10-15' high and rushing through the wheat. It’s the fastest fire I’ve ever seen." The fire burned a thousand acres of wheat on their land, just as the wheat harvest is getting underway.
Investigators have a section of Highway 197 blocked off with crime tape, where the fire may have started; although the highway remains open. The Oregon Department of Transportation shutdown Highway 97, Wednesday night, from I-84 in The Dalles to the intersection with 197, due to the fire. It's expected to remain closed until later Thursday morning. Earlier this week, ODOT’s Peter Murphy told KBND News, the agency is reluctant to shutdown highways during fire operations, "We don’t like doing it, because it interferes with a lot of travel plans, obviously. But, we take safety into account first; that’s the most important thing. Then we alert folks to different ways to get through." He says flames along a highway is an obvious reason to close a road, but there are others, "You can have smoke just billowing across a highway that limits your visibility; that’s a good reason to shut down a highway." Highway 197 and I-84 remain open for access to the Gorge. Drivers are encouraged to check Tripcheck.com for the latest road conditions.
Photo: Incident Managment Team
BEND, OR -- Bend City Councilor Nathan Boddie did not attend Wednesday night’s Council meeting, as fellow Councilors discussed whether to take action over alleged conduct that occurred before he was elected. He’s accused of inappropriately touching a woman at a bar in 2012. Councilor Sally Russell has called for his resignation, and she told KBND News, last week, she expected he would be censured - or publicly reprimanded - at the next meeting.
At the meeting, City Attorney Mary Winters outlined how the city's charter limits when Councilors can publicly censure one of their own. She says the rules relate to how questionable conduct could impact official duties. While Boddie's name was not mentioned during the discussion, it was obvious he was the focus. Mayor Casey Roats tried to clarify, asking, "So, an event that took place before someone was an elected official, that was brought to light well after that fact of having been an elected official - based on our current rules, would not warrant a censure from a Council." Winters replied, "That’s correct. It isn’t necessarily so much the timing – if it happened three years ago, but it was still something you thought rose to a pretty bad level in how that person was making decisions or treating this body, it could be potentially something."
Earlier this month, a local environmental activist said she was talking with Boddie in a bar in 2012, when he groped her. He reportedly responded to the allegation by claiming she had a substance abuse problem. In June, a Democratic political action committee based in Portland said Boddie had used inappropriate language.
At Wednesday's meeting, during the public comment period, Justin Gottlieb spoke in support of Boddie, saying the Councilor is the only one who has cared about his situation, "It’s a distraction that’s being perpetrated by liberal powers in the Valley. I would urge everyone to look deeper. This is a witch hunt and there’s something wrong with it." Local attorney Aaron Jeffers said he spoke for many in his industry when he called for Boddie to step down, "It’s our belief that he should immediately resign, not only from this Council but from the race for a seat to represent this community at the state level. You may not be able to censure him; I can." Jeffers says there is a community-wide effort to push Boddie out, including a petition.
Councilor Bruce Abernethy also did not attend Wednesday's meeting; he's listed as "excused" on the official roll call, while Boddie is noted as "absent."
SISTERS, OR -- A Sisters man was arrested Tuesday, on an outstanding warrant from Multnomah County, for Attempted Murder.
The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office says Portland Police asked for help locating and arresting 45-year-old Alexander Walton, after investigators determined he was living in Sisters. Detectives used surveillance and "other various investigative techniques" to establish a plan to safely take him into custody.
Deschutes County Detectives, the SWAT Team, and Portland Police Detectives worked together to arrest Walton as he exited a car near E. Cascade and N. Fir Street in Sisters, at about 5 a.m.
He’s expected to be transported to Multnomah County in the coming days; he faces no local charges.
SUNRIVER, OR -- Sunriver has new police and fire chiefs; both coming from other local agencies. Fire Chief Tim Moor, formerly Redmond’s Fire Chief, and Police Chief Cory Darling, who was a Captain with Bend PD, will be officially sworn in during a joint public ceremony, Thursday, hosted by the Sunriver Service District.
Darling says he’s prepared to bring stability to a police department that lost its last two chiefs under controversial circumstances, "I’m gathering input from the community, as well as internally from the officers and staff, trying to find out what their expectations are, and trying to be extremely consistent in operational needs and the vision that we have the mission that we’re going to set an go forward." Darling served as interim chief for several months after former Chief Marc Mills was put on leave and subsequently resigned
He says he’s still adjusting to his new department, "[They're] Very much engaged with the community. And, we were in Bend, as well; but, it’s a little bit different for us down here. The call load is definitely different from Bend, so just trying to figure out where we are as an agency, what our vision and our mission is and go from there." Chief Darling says it’s nice to finally drop “interim” from his title, "I feel that I have the power to make the decisions that I need to make to move forward. As interim chief, you’re just trying to make it from week to week and keep the wheels going. There are a lot of things you have to take into consideration – you know, you’re coming in as an interim chief halfway through a budget." Darling thought he might eventually become a chief somewhere, and he tells KBND News his former boss, Bend Police Chief Jim Porter, was supportive of his aspirations.
Thursday's swearing in ceremony is at 3 p.m. at the Fire Department Training Room (57475 Abbot Drive, Sunriver).
BEND, OR -- The Deschutes County District Attorney says he will not file charges against a Deputy involved in a fatal shooting, June 20. "Based on all the available evidence," D.A. John Hummel said at a Tuesday press conference, "Deputy Zilk's belief that Powell was about to use deadly physical force against him is objectively reasonable. Because of this, Deputy Zilk's decision to use deadly physical force against Powell was authorized by Oregon law."
A 911 call brought Deputy Randy Zilk to a campsite off Century Drive at about 6:20 p.m.; the caller reported a man and woman were arguing and more than 10 shots had been fired. Hummel says Zilk ordered 44-year-old Jesse Powell to show his hands, but the man was uncooperative. He did get out of the vehicle where he'd been hiding, but when Zilk went to cuff him, Hummel says Powell resisted, "Powell dove back into the U-haul. [He] Didn't dive up on to the seats; dove to the floorboard on the passenger side. Deputy Zilk yelled 'Stop'!" Hummel says the deputy noticed a metal pipe on the floor of the truck and thought, at that point, his life was in danger. "Deputy Zilk felt that Powell was trying to retrieve that metal bar in order to attack Deputy Zilk. Deputy Zilk fired one shot into Powell's back." Despite life-saving efforts by Zilk, the man died at the scene. Investigators later found a loaded Glock handgun near the metal bar.
Hummel says, "Deputy Zilk says his belief was based on the totality of the circumstances, including the report of shots fired, and most significantly, Powell's continual frantic hand movements on the floor of the truck in spite of Deputy Zilk's orders to stop."
The U-Haul, a trailer, motorcycle, and a camper found at Powell's camp were all reported stolen from Deschutes County. The gun found inside the truck, and two others, were also reported stolen from Lane County. Last year, Powell was arrested by Springfield Police after he allegedly placed a hoax explosive device outside a building, causing a bomb scare, and a mass evacuation.
BEND, OR - The Deschutes County District Attorney announced Tuesday he's filing formal charges against the men believed to be responsible for the Independence Day Fire on Pilot Butte. Brandon Hastings and Alan Stout allegedly detonated an illegal aerial firework, sparking an 11-acre blaze.
D.A. John Hummel says it took time for several agencies to determine the facts of the case, "When you're investigating a fireworks crime that happens on July Fourth in Bend, you need to be sure to get the right suspects, because there's a lot of fireworks in Bend on July Fourth." If found guilty, Hummel says the men could face fines for the damage to the Butte and its restoration, "That'll ultimately be up to a judge to determine what, if anything, they pay for that, but they definitely are potentially on the hook for paying for the damage they caused." State Parks officials say it could take years for the butte to recover
The pair is charged with Reckless Burning, Possession and Use of Prohibited Fireworks, and Criminal Mischief. They're due in court Wednesday afternoon.
THE DALLES, OR -- A fire southeast of The Dalles has grown to more than 20,000 acres since it was first spotted Tuesday afternoon. The Substation Fire has destroyed one home and several outbuildings; the Red Cross set up a shelter at The Dalles Middle School for those forced to evacuate.
Just before midnight, the State Fire Marshal's Office invoked the Conflagration Act, allowing for resources to be called in from across the state. Fire crews from Central Oregon began leaving for The Dalles early Wednesday morning.
The fire jumped the Deschutes River and is burning in Sherman County. A power outage is affecting much of south Wasco county and, while Highway 197 remains open, drivers are encouraged to use caution.
In Crook County, the lightning-sparked Cemetery Fire
in the Ochocos is now estimated at 1,300 acres. State and federal firefighters are working with private landowners and the Post-Paulina Rural Fire protection District to attack that fire, which was discovered Monday.
UPDATE: Bend Fire reports its part of a task force, comprised of personnel from Bend, Sisters-Camp Sherman, Sunriver, Redmond and Alfalfa. The team left Tuesday night for the blaze, which - as of Wednesday morning - is reported to be burning 28,000 acres in Wasco County and 6,000 acres in Sherman County.
Photo Courtesy KPTV FOX 12
PRINEVILLE, OR -- Fire crews were kept busy by the lightning storm that moved through the area Sunday night. While most new fire starts were kept to one acre or less, one in the Ochocos is estimated to be 700 acres. The Cemetery Fire was first spotted Monday afternoon and grew quickly in strong winds and dry grass and brush. It’s burning along the northeast border of the Maury Mountains and on a privately-owned ranch, about 30 miles southeast of Prineville.
A Type-3 incident management team takes over command Tuesday morning, in preparation for potentially aggressive fire behavior. A red flag warning goes into effect this afternoon, due to high temps, low humidity, and gusty winds.
BEND, OR -- With High Desert temperatures expected into the 90s for the sixth day in a row, more people are turning to air conditioners and fans to stay cool. But Courtney Cobb, with Central Electric Cooperative, says the local power grid is designed to put up with the strain, "You hear the stories in California with the roving blackouts. We have not had a situation like that."
Last weekend’s outage on the east side of Bend is blamed on a bird that flew into a transmission line. It was the second local outage blamed on an an animal - in June, a bird pecked through the housing of a Pacific Power transformer. In both cases, the bird did not survive. Cobb says animal issues are not overly common. "Central Electric takes every advantage to put up mock nesting platforms for birds and put protection around a lot of our transformers so animals can’t get in there, but it does happen. It’s unfortunate that between Pacific Power and ourselves, we’ve had back to back issues." This most recent outage occurred on one of the hottest mornings of the year, but Cobb says animal problems can happen any time.
Cobb says additional usage during a heat wave may not cause problems for electricity providers, but it can significantly increase utility bills. But, there are things customers can do. She tells KBND News, "If you can use programmable thermostats, that’s going to help save you some money." She adds, "If you are away from home during the summertime and you have a/c running, maybe set your temperature for your thermostat at like 78-degrees. That way, you’re not paying to cool your home when you’re not in your home. And then we also suggest if you have ceiling fans, put them on medium, with the paddles blowing down and that’ll actually help to cool you a little bit more." In addition, keep cool air inside with properly caulked and sealed windows and doors. And, "Keep your blinds and stuff closed during the heat of the day; that’s going to save you because your house isn’t going to heat up as much."
BEND, OR -- Work is underway to repair damage caused by the Fourth of July Fire on Pilot Butte. Two men are accused of lighting an illegal mortar-style firework in the State Park's parking lot, causing the 11-acre blaze.
Park Manager Susan Bethers says fencing and irrigation needs to be replaced and a destroyed kiosk will be replaced, "It is going to be a long term process. There is no instant fix to it, but we are trying to get to the things we can get to quickly. Really restoring the area, I think we're looking at probably several years. Just as far as trying to re-vegetate, get native plants to grow back in there, that is going to be a probably longer time span." She tells KBND News, "The park itself is open. There is a section of the base trail that is closed, and likely will remain closed, at least for the foreseeable future. It goes right through the burn area, and what we're running into is that now that whole burn area is even more susceptible to erosion." She says the State Parks Department is collecting bids to install more fencing to keep people out of the recovery zone, as well as other repairs. Until the full extent of the damage is assessed, there's no way to estimate the total cost.
While officials frequently deal with fires sparked by the annual fireworks display launched from the top of the butte, Bethers says this blaze was much different, "When we do have fires that actually stem from the fireworks show, they're really fairly small in comparison, and we're prepared for those. We have firefighters on the butte and generally they get to them very quickly and they're able to put them out fairly quickly." She says another major difference is that this fire occurred much lower on the butte, where there are more resources and vegetation.
BEND, OR -- A 21-year-old Bend man was arrested Monday after allegedly damaging police property and leading officers on a chase that ended in a stand-off.
Lt. Clint Burleigh says an officer going off duty at 2:15 a.m. reportedly saw a man striking a security keypad at the secured police parking lot. The officer tried to talk with the man, but he sped from the scene. Then, police found more damage and saw the suspect on surveillance footage
, "He had put a piece of wood through the front doors of our lobby, to where it's like barricading us into our building. And, by damaging that security pad, it appears the attempt was to keep us from being able to leave." Burleigh tells KBND News they eventually identified the man as Samuel Wyatt Dennis, "He actually had made a phone call to Bend Fire and Rescue, making comments about wanting to 'burn this community down,' specifically; and there's also some threats against us."
Officers attempted to arrest Dennis at his home, but he took off, making it to George Millican road in Crook County before his car was disabled by spike strips. Then, Burleigh says, he refused to comply with orders or come out of his car, "We were out there for an hour and an half with the vehicle. We were negotiating with him with our crisis negotiators, and everything we were doing was trying to end the situation in a very safe manner." He adds, "He was not compliant with negotiators, with direction from our officers to give up, and we did use chemical agent. As as he was being taken into custody, he again would not listen to the directions of our officers, and he did suffer some minor injuries." Dennis was evaluated at the hospital before going to jail.
Despite the nearly 90 minutes of negotiations, investigators don't know what set Dennis off, "Trying to figure out what the reasoning is behind it is something we'd love to find out," says Lt. Burleigh, "Not sure that we ever will. But, we are doing everything we can to figure that out." Dennis is charged with Criminal Mischief, Reckless Driving, Attempt to Elude, and Disorderly Conduct. He's due in court Tuesday afternoon.
MADRAS, OR -- An independent consultant takes over the Madras Aquatic Center Recreation District on Monday, a little over a month after the previous Executive Director was fired. Board Chair Jinnell Lewis says Gary Barth, of Barth Consultants, will handle day-to-day operations, "He’s going to be in that position as the interim Executive Director role for about the next three months, with the option to extend past that while we’re recruiting for a permanent Executive Director."
Lewis says the district is still not able to comment on why the Board fired Joe McHaney in June, two months after he was put on leave for undisclosed reasons. "We understand people want answers, but we want everything to be done appropriately and with minimal interference. So, the less we can talk about it, so they can conduct an accurate investigation, the better, I think." The Department of Justice is now investigating McHaney and has, so far, not released any details.
The new consultant will provide executive oversight for the MAC and overall district, as well as evaluate whether the district's five-year strategic plan is on track. Barth recently worked for Clackamas County, providing oversight of the North Clackamas Parks and Rec. Lewis tells KBND News he’ll provide a valuable fresh perspective on the district's goals, "I think it’ll be helpful to have an outside person with a really extensive background and experience with a recreation district to be able to come in and help identify those things."
She says despite the transition, operations continue uninterrupted, "We have an amazing staff that’s been able to come together, work together to keep things running as smoothly as possible. We haven’t had any issues that I’m aware of; I haven’t heard any negative comments from any patrons of the pool or the rec district. So, I think that just speaks very highly to the staff that we do have in place."
SISTERS, OR -- Sisters Park and Recreation District Executive Director Todd Garrett is stepping down less than four months after taking the job. Board Chair Jeff Tryens tells KBND News, "Todd submitted his resignation to the Board of Directors, and the Board accepted it. July 27th will be his last day and between now and then, he will report to me on wrapping up his employment."
Tryens says he'll be taking on a more active role, starting Monday, "I will - as a volunteer, unpaid, Board representative - will act as the Executive of the SPRD until we're able to find a suitable person to come in and be the interim Executive Director." He adds they'll look for a permanent replacement in the fall, "We're right in the middle of really busy summer schedule where we have camps every day and trips every day, and so it's my job just to kind of keep the ship sailing."
He would not comment on why Garrett chose to leave, "Todd, for his own reasons, decided this was not the right job for him, and he submitted his resignation." It's just latest upheaval for Sisters Parks and Rec; another employee resigned in April and Tryens says it's because she wanted another candidate to be hired as Director instead of Garrett. A second employee who had previously submitted her resignation called the Board Friday, after Garrett's, announcement and withdrew her request.
BEND, OR -- Friday the 13th proved a busy night for the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office. Deputies were involved in two sumultaneou pursuits, both with unusual circumstances. The first began near Eagle Crest when a man being questioned for public urination provided a fake name, jumped in a car and took off at speeds from 80 to 100 miles an hour on Highway 126.
Deputies called off the chase for safety reasons, but he was found by Black Butte Police about an hour later, northeast of Sisters. After another short pursuit, John Logston, of Bend (right), was arrested near Cloverdale Road after his vehicle ran over spike strips. Investigators say police found meth on Logston, and he had multiple outstanding warrants from Deschutes, Lake and Multnomah counties. They're also looking into whether the car and/or plates were stolen, as they didn't match.
While deputies were searching for Logston, the second incident began when deputies tried to pull over a driver, near 15th and Knott Road, for not wearing his seatbelt. After about a quarter mile, the driver's side front tire came off the vehicle (pictured above). The car eventually stopped and the passenger got out. But the driver, later identified as Jake Daniels, of Redmond, reportedly locked all the doors, began taking his clothes off and was acting erratically. Deputies broke several windows and pulled him out of the car.
He was taken to the hospital with minor injuries caused by a broken window. Daniels was then arrested on several charges, including an outstanding warrant for violating probation.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- A Prineville woman was arrested Saturday, with what investigators say was nearly 80 grams of meth and heroin.
Prineville police responded to a report of a suspicious vehicle near SE Kramer Ln. and SE Palin Ln. at about 6 a.m., and found three people from Deschutes County who said they were meeting Maddie Lindburg. Officers say they knew Lindburg was wanted for several warrants. When she arrived, she allegedly tried to avoid contact with police and ditched her car near Crooked River Elementary. She was taken into custody as she walked away from her car.
During the arrest, officers say they found her with 63 grams of meth and 15 grams of heroin. In addition to the outstanding warrants, Lindburg is also accused of making, possessing and delivering drugs within 1,000' of a school.
REDMOND, OR -- Hot and dry weather led to several small fires, across the High Desert, over the weekend. A vehicle fire near Pelton Dam in Jefferson County spread to vegetation, Friday afternoon; it was held at a tenth of an acre.
Another blaze was discovered in Crook County on Round Mountain, in the Ochocos. It was reported Friday afternoon at a third of an acre, burning in heavy fuels. Crews immediately attacked it from the ground and air, pulling water from Walton Lake.
In Deschutes County, crews responded to a fast-moving grass fire along Highway 97 on the north end of Redmond, Friday night (pictured). It was held to one acre.
And, wildfire crews are getting the upper hand on the Solitude Fire, near Spray. It's nearly fully contained at just over 700 acres.
BEND, OR -- The Bend Chamber released results this week of a study into the cost and availability of child care in Central Oregon and how the overall economy is impacted. The report shows a lack of local childcare options impacts nearly 75% of Central Oregonian families, and 92% of businesses say the childcare shortage affects employee attendance.
Kara Tachikawa is the Executive Director of Inspire Early Learning Centers and a member of the chamber’s Childcare Task Force. She says a Redmond business owner told her he’s losing employees over the lack of daycare options, "One of his key employees couldn’t come to work because he couldn’t find childcare. So, he’s considering different options. He saying potentially half of the workforce are staying home with their kids, so, ‘I can use some of those employees, so how do I make it so that they can come to work?’." Click HERE to listen to our full conversation with Tachikawa.
Some childcare facilities have two-year waiting lists. Tachikawa says one father was so frustrated with the situation, he said, "So my wife is pregnant and you’re saying we should’ve gotten on the wait list before we were married?" And, she says some parents are forced to stay home when they can’t find affordable, qualified daycare, "There are other families who, grandmas and grandpas are moving to town, aunts and uncles are moving to town," Tachikawa tells KBND News. In some cases, they use neighbors or local teens and, "Some families are able to find a nanny share; there’s a new business launching, I think August or September, that is a nanny introduction service, so that families would have someone to call who has already background checked all of the families."
The report also found the expense is prohibitive for many, with some families saying the pay the same on childcare as they do on their mortgage. Tachikawa says the new data is important to helping the task force look for solutions, "We’ve talked about working with developers to include childcare in any sort of multi-family housing unit. We’ve talked about trying to partner with businesses where businesses would reserve slots." The Bend Chamber's Childcare Task Force meets again on Monday.
CULVER, OR -- Jefferson County businesses dependent on tourism are frustrated with this week's expansion of a health advisory for Lake Billy Chinook, by the Oregon Health Authority. Jim Cyr, with the Cove Corner Store, says the water appears fine, "Since July second the lake has cleared off and has been crystal clear; it’s as clean as it is in the middle of winter." And, he says the warning to visitors has caused a 50% drop in business, during what should be his busiest time of year. "The phone is not ringing to reserve boats but it is ringing to cancel boats. So, basically, our only hope is to direct them to our Facebook page so they can see that the conditions of the lake are phenomenal."
Rebecca Hillwig, a Natural Resource Specialist with the Oregon Health Authority, understands the frustration. But, she tells KBND News, not all toxins create a scum on the surface of the water. And, she says due to the heat our area has experienced, the bacteria doesn't need to come to the surface to find warmth.
Cyr points out the samples used to determine the safety of the water were taken 10 days ago, and conditions could've changed between then and now. Hillwig says the advisory was issued based on the most current data available, and the OHA's mission is to keep people safe and healthy. Water samples were taken July third, and she admits testing and the release of results were delayed by the Independence Day holiday. Those results showed the Metolius is pushing Cyanobacteria toxins downstream, which is why the advisory was expanded to include the entire lake. She expects new samples will be taken in the next couple of days, with results available by the end of next week.
Lake Billy Chinook has had algae bloom advisories issued before, and Cyr says it always impacts business, "In the past, I know the campgrounds are empty when these alerts come out. We do get more people calling and asking us, ‘what are the actual conditions of the lake – what’s it look like to you?’ And, it’s helped a bunch having the Facebook page." He adds, "From the restaurants to the gas stations to the motels to the recreational businesses; it just affects everybody."
Despite warnings, "People are definitely using the lake," says Cyr. He thinks it's a lot of concern over something potentially very minor, "I wish I could find the email that I received from the Oregon Health Authority, because I’d emailed earlier in the year and asked them how many people have been sick from the waters of Lake Billy Chinook. We have approximately 800,000 visitors a year and since 2009, they believe possibly two people have gotten sick." Hillwig, who is a toxicology specialist, says because Cyanotoxin is a liver toxin, exposure symptoms can mimic food poisoning, so not everyone who gets sick knows it's from the water, nor does everyone report it to state officials. And, she says it can take up to 24 hours for symptoms to develop in humans. Although, dogs and small children are much more at risk, with symptoms showing up in one to two hours.
OMAHA, NE -- College teams will soon make their way from Nebraska to Bend, racing in solar vehicles, as part of the American Solar Challenge. Event organizer Gail Lueck says college teams must qualify for the rally-style race, "They went through four days of an inspection process we call 'scrutineering.' Those that pass scrutineering were eligible to take the track in the Formula Sun Grand Prix. So the teams that complete a minimum number of laps during the track event are then eligible to go on the road for the American Solar Challenge event. A total of 14 teams successfully completed the qualifier, Thursday, in Hastings, Nebraska.
Each team designs, builds and then tests their creation, prior to the big event, "We have the single-occupant class, which is more the traditional solar car class that just has a single driver in the vehicle. And, we also have the multi-occupant vehicle class, where there are passengers in the vehicle," Lueck tells KBND News, "There are some two-seater cars and there are a couple of four-seater cars. Their scoring is slightly different."
They'll take off from Omaha, Saturday, for the endurance race. Lueck says the route changes each year, and this is the first time it's come to Oregon. "This year’s particular route was chosen with our event partner, the National Park Service, they are celebrating their 50th anniversary of the National Trails System. We’re, of course, starting in Omaha at the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Headquarters. And then we’ll be following portions of the Oregon Trail, Mormon Trail and other trail routes as we head out to Bend, Oregon." It also recognizes the 175th anniversary of the Oregon Trail.
She expects it’ll take them nine days to cover 1,700-miles. The final leg takes teams from Burns to the finish line at the High Desert Museum, July 22. They're expected to arrive between 11:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., depending on traffic, weather and energy-management decisions made by each team. The High Desert Museum will host a free, public event to welcome them across the finish line. Follow their progress at the ASC Facebook Page.
The Innovators Educational Foundation organizes the American Solar Challenge every two years.
BEND, OR -- Over the last few months, Bend Police have arrested 24 people for crimes committed around the Bottle Drop recycling center at Second and Hawthorne.
Lt. Clint Burleigh says the crackdown started after Bend PD began receiving a growing number of calls related to problems in the area, "About four months ago - the beginning of this year, if you went by there, there were a lot of abandoned vehicles around, there was a lot of activity. We were getting complaints of people being aggressive, or fights. Our informational Policing team understood the problem, knew it was a community safety issue, and started devising a plan." The plan was to beef up patrols, remove seven abandoned vehicles and return the nearly 100 shopping carts taken from local businesses. He says, "I think the majority of the arrests were for drug possession. There were arrests for offensive littering, there's garbage there all the time, and then we had a lot of abandoned vehicles; but mostly it was drug charges."
Burleigh says one vehicle in particular, a silver Jeep Liberty, led to four arrests, "We know that that Jeep was being used to use controlled substances; we know that Jeep was being used to sell controlled substances out of. And, making that case was a big deal to making sure to provide the best or the safest environment for the people who want to use that area." Thomas Dillard was charged with meth possession, distribution, and frequenting a place where drugs are used, kept or sold. Cassie Davis was charged with possession and frequenting. David Cook and Guadalupe Hernandez were arrested on warrants and also charged with frequenting; Hernandez was also charged with giving the police false information. Lt. Burleigh says the other arrests were for drug possession, offensive littering, and theft.
He tells KBND News, "There's more to come. We understand that Bend's a big city, and we understand that there's a lot of neighborhoods and neighbors that have concerned situations; and this is not about finding a drug house and just doing that. This is about finding issues in neighborhoods and trying to find solutions, and doesn't always mean there's going to be an arrest. The reality is, we want to work toward creating safe environments throughout Bend."
BEND, OR -- the Blockbuster Video in Bend will soon be the last in the country. The video rental chain filed for bankruptcy in 2010, but a few holdout franchisees were able to remain, mostly in rural areas where internet service is spotty.
A year ago, there were still 10 locations left: one in Texas, three in Oregon - including Bend and Redmond - and six in Alaska. But, in recent months, most of those slowly folded. The Redmond store closed in February
The final two Alaska stores are slated to close Monday, leaving just Bend, where management says they have no plans to close anytime soon.
LA PINE, OR -- A 77-year-old La Pine man was seriously hurt Thursday, when he was struck by a car while crossing Highway 97 at Huntington Road. As of Friday morning, Harold Headrick was listed in fair condition at St. Charles Bend.
Sgt. William Bailey, with the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office, says witnesses reported a woman, later identified as 53-year-old Sherif Barnes, was driving erratically. But, Deputies weren't able to catch up to her before she hit 77-year-old Harold Headrick as he crossed the highway at about 10:15 a.m.
Sgt. Bailey tells KBND News, "Deputies arrived at the scene is less than a minute. So, first aid was quickly rendered, La Pine Fire was nearby and got there quick, and then he was transported to St. Charles; so he's been given a great opportunity to recover from this incident, but he probably does have a long road ahead." He says Barnes stayed at the scene during the investigation, "In this case, Deputies felt that she was impaired to a noticeable and perceptible degree, so [they] took her into custody for the DUII charge. Because of Mr. Headrick's level of injury, she was charged with Assault II and additionally she was charged with possession of Methamphetamine at the felony level." She's also accused of Reckless Driving and Reckless Endangering.
Barnes is scheduled to be arraigned Friday afternoon.
MADRAS, OR -- Several people were hurt in a Thursday night crash in a construction zone south of Madras. According to State Police, a 23-year-old Portland woman was southbound on Highway 97 at about 9 p.m., when she failed to stop for a line of traffic waiting to be let through construction. Knife River is repaving a section of the highway and crews were working in the area.
Casandra Monsivais' Saturn rear-ended a Dodge pickup, driven by 27-year-old Kelty Godby, of Spokane. The pickup was then pushed into a Subaru, driven by a 57-year-old Chiloquin man.
Two of Monsivais' passengers were taken to the hospital, one with life-threatening injuries. Others hurt in the crash were treated for minor injuries and released.
BEND, OR -- A small group of local high school students will take part in a special summer camp, next week, at Central Oregon Community College. Campers don't take part in campfires or canoeing, instead focusing on keeping computer networks safe from hackers.
Charlie Kawasaki, with the Portland-based tech company PacStar, created NW Cyber Camp three years ago because of the growing need for cyber-security experts, "They’re very, very difficult to find. Right now, there are 3,000 unfilled cyber-security jobs in Oregon. So, we’re doing this, in part, to help us meet our needs for trained cyber-security professionals." He tells KBND News the program is completely volunteer run, "We actually started in my basement with my daughter and I. It was a community service project that we ran at Lincoln High School in Portland. It’s really grown because of the level of excitement from industry."
Ten local kids will take part in the Bend day camp, "Learning all about best practices for building the most secure computer systems. So, this isn’t hacking school. This is a broad survey of techniques and tools that professionals would use in a typical enterprise environment to secure networks and keep them secure from attack." Kawasaki says they'll also learn from Bend-based Redhawk Network security, "We have guest speakers coming in from organizations like Facebook and Intel, and some of the major cyber-security companies."
Five NW Cyber Camps take place, simultaneously, in Portland, Gresham, Wilsonville, OSU-Corvallis and Bend. It's the first year the program has been offered outside the Portland area, and the camp at Portland's Franklin High is for girls only. Kawasaki says, "It’s giving them in insight into careers that they may not know about; not only because they are in high demand, but also, they are – frankly – high paying jobs."
BEND, OR -- A Bend environmental activist says she’s running for City Council. This isn’t Gena Goodman-Campbell’s first campaign; she ran against Knute Buehler for House District 54, in 2016. She says that experience gave her a unique perspective and offered her a chance to meet and talk with residents, learning about their concerns over affordable housing, transportation and quality of life.
Goodman-Campbell cites her campaign to protect the Oregon Badlands Wilderness, between 2007 and 2009, as evidence she can bring together diverse groups. She says she now focuses on supporting local leaders who are speaking up for Oregon's public lands.
She’s vying for City Council Position Five, currently held by Justin Livingston. He has yet to announce whether he will run for reelection. Goodman-Campbell is collecting signatures to get her name on the ballot.
CULVER, OR -- A health advisory issued for Lake Billy Chinook has expanded. The Oregon Health Authority first issued the warning June 22, after a harmful algae bloom was discovered from the cove at Perry South Campground to the southern tip of Chinook Island. Now, the agency has confirmed the presence of harmful Cyanobacteria in the Metolius, Deschutes and Crooked River arms of Lake Billy Chinook. Click HERE to view the full advisory.
The level of concentrations found can be harmful to humans and animals. Drinking water directly from this area of the lake is considered especially dangerous. The OHA says people should avoid swimming and high-speed water activities like water skiing, to prevent ingesting the water.
Although the toxins are not absorbed through the skin, those with skin sensitivities may experience a puffy rash, with contact.
SISTERS, OR -- After just one year as Sisters City Manager, Brant Kucera will take over as City Administrator for Ashland, Wisconsin, in August. According to the Ashland Daily Press, that city's Councilors selected Kucera this week, following a nationwide search to replace the former City Administrator who resigned in March.
Kucera took over in Sisters last July. At that time, he told KBND News
he hoped to provide stability for the city, where two previous city managers were forced out amid controversies. He was City Manager of Cannon Beach before moving to Sisters.
Kucera did not return our request for comment and there is no word yet on how the city plans to search for his replacement.
UPDATE: Kucera has announced his resignation is effective August 18, to accept the new position in Wisconsin. In his resignation letter, Kucera says, "Over the past year it has been a true pleasure to get to know everyone. However, I feel that I am missing out on my son's life and have decided to move back to the Midwest in order to be closer to him. I want to assure you that this decision to move on is only for personal reasons. Council and Staff's hard work and dedication have made this a great city, and no matter who sits in the Manager's office, it will continue to be a great city. We have a great team in place and employees who will make the transition successful."
City officials say Mayor Chuck Ryan will work with Councilors and staff to create a transition plan for finding Kucera's replacement.
SPRAY, OR -- Wildfire crews are concerned about efforts to suppress the Solitude Fire near Spray, with a heat wave moving in to the area. The fire was first reported Sunday evening and is burning in dried grass and brush across a steep slope above the John Day River. As of Wednesday morning, it's grown to 750 acres and is 30% contained.
Due to the difficult terrain, aircraft are playing a big role in the firefight – four tankers and six helicopters are dropping retardant and water scooped from the river. Several structures are at risk, including one home and four historic cabins. The John Day River remains open to recreation, but visitors are asked to use caution and be aware of firefighting efforts.
In southern Oregon, a small wildfire just north of Klamath Falls forced Highway 97 to close for about an hour, Tuesday afternoon. It was stopped at 10 acres, with mop-up operations continuing into the night.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- While ODOT crews finish work on Prineville’s first roundabout, at Highway 126 and Tom McCall Road, city and county officials are narrowing down options for what should anchor the center. City Engineer Eric Klann tells KBND News, "As you come to Prineville from Redmond or Bend, you have the beautiful view of the community as you drop down the grade; but before that, it's just a very industrial area, really not the best view. So, I think we have just a wonderful opportunity here to communicate to people that they are welcome and provide them with some history of our community."
About a thousand people responded to a recent online survey looking for community input, "There's a good portion of our demographic here that wants to celebrate our uniqueness, and what makes Prineville stand out. You drive into town and you see that beautiful view of the City, the Golf Course, the Ochoco Mountains, and what can we add to that that will just make people think of Prineville," Klann says. "Our citizens want us to celebrate history and the character of our community, they want it to really do a good job of paying homage to our past." That means something reflecting ranching, logging, rodeo, nature or history.
Klann says he wasn't surprised responses were so honest, "One of the common themes that also came up that was kind of funny was the term 'modern crap.' So, a lot of people said they did not want 'modern crap' up there, so you know that's a Prineville survey when you get a response like that."
The survey results were revealed at the Tuesday night City Council work session, and Klann says the top three ideas are being presented to the community for a vote. Construction of the roundabout should be done by October. Installation of the winning art feature is expected in the spring of 2019.
BEND, OR -- Construction crews recently broke ground on a 3,200-square foot convent at St. Francis Church in Bend; it's the first convent Central Oregon has had in 58 years. The new facility will be home to the Salesian Sisters of St. John Bosco, who will arrive from Texas to teach at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School in the fall.
The convent will feature six bedrooms, four bathrooms, a chapel, two laundry rooms, kitchen, dining and living areas. St. Francis principal Crystal Mooney says the project was made possible with multiple partners, including Redmond-based Hayden Homes and the Parish community.
It's expected to be finished in August.
BEND, OR -- Nearly a year after converting to a digital radio system, Bend Police transmission problems remain. Chief Jim Porter says officers have actually lost connectivity in some buildings.
Chief Porter acknowledges there have been improvements over the last few months, including at the Bend hospital, "Since I’ve been with the Bend Police Department, we’ve had two significant dead spots: one is on the north end of Awbrey Butte; the other has been St. Charles, in the shadow behind Pilot Butte. Now, it appears we have solved the problem with St. Charles, other than we still have a [disparity] between the broadcast volume and the officer’s volume." However, he tells KBND News, "We still have a very bad dead spot on the north end of Awbrey Butte, which is an area that could be subject to forest fires, could be subject to many issues that we have to deal with up there. We’ve been struggling with this since 1999. And, that was one of the agreements we made, that that would be solved. Now, my understanding is we might be able to solve that through some program settings. But, again, I believe we’re on our 13th programming of our radios."
He wants the county to look at whether Harris Radio, the system's maker, is meeting its contractual obligations. And, he's asking the company to provide data showing all the reprogramming is working. Porter us frustrated engineers delayed fixing key issues because they were focused on hardware, not the radios’ software, "Once we got the technicians to quit staring at the microphones on our lapels and actually engaging the fact that the system has a problem then we started reprogramming them." He says each time radios get reprogrammed takes officers off the street, "These are hands-on; we have to bring the radio in, plug it in and reprogram it every time. So, these are time consuming. By no means is the system adequate at this point."
Chief Porter is also calling on Harris Radio to create a timeline for fixing the remaining issues, "There is adequate funding still left in the budget for this project. So, we’re looking at ways – what is the best effective way to use taxpayer money to possibly get the system up to where we need to be."
to listen to our full conversation with Bend Police Chief Jim Porter.
GOLD BEACH, OR -- A Redmond man was killed Monday outside Gold Beach, on the southern Oregon coast, in what appears to be a work-related accident.
Trevor Ramirez worked for Bend-based Apex Explosives. Curry County Sheriff John Ward says He was drilling in a remote area, "Goat Rock is a big, huge rock pit area and Mr. Ramirez was trying to drill rock. The rock came off the side of the mountain and hit him, several rocks, and crushed him." Sheriff Ward tells KBND News, "A witness saw him, or saw a bunch of dust up above him where this rock pit was, saw the equipment was teetering back and forth. He ran up there and he found him." Emergency crews were immediately called, but he says, "By the time the medical arrived, he had passed away due to his injuries. He had some extensive internal injuries; I'm pretty sure of the cause of death."
The Goat Rock area is about 17 miles northeast of Gold Beach and Ward says it can be difficult getting emergency services to the remote area. OSHA is now investigating the incident.
UPDATE: (7/13/18) The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) says the x-ray machine has been repaired and checkpoint screening at the Redmond Airport has returned to normal.
REDMOND, OR -- (7/11/18) Travelers departing from the Redmond Airport should expect delays getting carry-on bags checked through security lines, over the next couple of days. "There’s a mechanical issue with one of the parts that needs to be replaced," says Airport Director Zach Bass, "Of course, that order has been put in for priority delivery."
With the TSA X-Ray machine out of commission until the part comes in, he says passengers could experience 35-45 minute delays, "It means that our capacity for through-put is going to go from two lines to one – or 50% less, which is probably going to cause some delays. We’re really urging people to show up early. The line opens at 3:30."
Bass tells KBND News mornings will have the longest delays, "Between 5 o’clock, our first flight going out, and 7 o’clock, we have about nine different aircraft leave. Between 6:00 a.m. and 7 a.m., I think it’s closer to six of those are leaving all at once." He suggests getting to the airport at least two hours early, and take steps to keep things moving smoothly, "If you get the chance, get on to TSA.gov
, find out what the restrictions are and what you can bring and not bring. Make sure your liquids are ready to go and separately bagged. One other thing that is not required but would really help the through-put would be putting your food into a specific bag, bunched together and then also bringing that out of your bag so it’s not misidentified as something else and you have to get your bag searched and re-ran."
Bass hopes the X-Ray machine will be fixed Friday, at the latest. "We just want people to be aware it’s going to be busy over the next two mornings, especially, and to expect some delays at the TSA line, and make sure you’ve got all your stuff ready to go."
BEND, OR -- The Bethlehem Inn's newly constructed family services building is nearly ready to start serving families.
Gwenn Wysling, the Bend shelter's Executive Director, says furniture is being assembled and the rooms outfitted, this week. She admits the transition has been hectic, but she's glad they've been able to continue helping those in need, "The process has been planned out such that we don't ever have to have a disruption of services. Now that we have this building up and running, we'll take the trailers away, and the 1970s family building will be going away. It has really been beyond its expiration date." But, she says there are a few final steps before residents can move in, "We're working as quickly as we can to get the staffing level that we need, and getting the furniture in place so we're able to make sure that we're ready when families are coming to us in need."
Construction began in September. The new facility includes office and meeting spaces, two dining rooms and a commercial kitchen, and will allow the inn to serve 10 families instead of the current five. The kitchen and both dining rooms are now open, allowing volunteers to cook and serve meals for all residents, on-site.
The homeless shelter plans to build a new housing facility for single residents, too. Wysling says now that the new family center and commercial kitchen are finished, the next phase of construction should go even more smoothly.
SUNRIVER, OR -- Sunriver Police are asking for the public's help locating a man who hasn't been seen since July third. Raul Arturo Rodriguez may have left his Sunriver home on the morning of July fourth in his maroon 1990 Nissan pickup (similar to above).
Rodriguez is a 57-year-old Hispanic man, 6' tall and 170 pounds. His family has been unable to reach Rodriguez and are concerned for his well-being. There is no indication that he has been the victim of a crime; however, they say it's unusual for him to be out of contact with family. Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call Sunriver PD at 541-593-1014 or Deschutes County non-emergency dispatch at 541-693-6911.
McAllen, TX -- Congressman Greg Walden toured the border region near the Rio Grande, Monday, and spoke with patrol agents and administrators. The Oregon Republican visited a centralized processing center and an office of Refugee Resettlement that care for both adults and children who've entered the country to seek asylum. He then traveled to the Rio Grande border crossing area to view patrols in action.
Walden believes drug cartels are taking advantage of the border situation, "They use the human trafficking to overload our system, and then they can get their drugs across a lot easier because we're busy, consumed I'd say, with dealing humanely with all these unaccompanied minors, adults, and families, and so they're making money both ways and tying us up." He tells KBND News it can cost as much as $8,000 for a person to get into the U.S., which only benefits the cartels and their coyotes.
His first stop was the processing center in McAllen, Texas, where both children and adults are held for up to 72 hours. Walden says many who've just crossed the Rio Grande stand in the road and wait to be picked up and taken to the center, "This is where they get showers and fresh clothes and meals and medical attention. This strikes me that this isn't about chasing people down at the border; they're actually coming into the arms, if you will, of border security folks." He adds, "They've made it across the Rio Grande and frankly, the safest part of their journey is being in the United States in Border Patrol custody."
Rep. Walden says the unintended consequences of a strict Zero Tolerance policy aside, it's important to enforce immigration laws, "We know that aggressively enforcing immigration laws at the border has reduced the number of people crossing into the United states illegally. Here, they went to this 'zero tolerance for all' and then separated the families and that was a mistake - shouldn't have been done. And I'm glad they've reversed it, and now we've got to reunite these young children with their parents." But, he says the next step is comprehensive Immigration reform, "I'm just disappointed that the House and the Senate weren't able to pass either of the bills that were up for consideration. We need to change the law, and I'm going to keep working until we do."
BEND, OR -- While Bend City Councilor Russell and Deschutes County D.A. Hummel call on Nathan Boddie to step down, following allegations he inappropriately touched a woman at a bar in 2012, there is no indication he will do so. Dr. Boddie has, so far, not returned our request for comment on this latest allegation. Two weeks ago, when a Portland political action committee accused him of making sexist of homophobic comments, Boddie told KBND News he had no intention of stepping back from his House campaign.
Bend City Manager Eric King says it’s too early to know how these new allegations will impact the City Council, "I’m assuming that there will be a discussion about this at the July 18th meeting, as I think that that seems somewhat inevitable that there will be some questions. But, I couldn’t tell you anything more than that." And, he says the City Council can’t force out a sitting member, "Councilors can censure each other, and that basically amounts to a public reprimand; that can be done at a Council meeting. There’s no authority that that has - unless someone has committed a crime, [and] there’s some specific things that would have to take place."
The city charter has just two ways for a sitting Councilor to leave mid-term, "A recall vote or the person just voluntarily resigning," says King. And, If Boddie does step down, "The Council would have 30 days to fill a vacant position, if there was a resignation. If Council is unable to fill that position in 30 days, then voters would decide in the next intervening election." That next election would be in November. Boddie chose not to seek re-election this year, opting instead to run for the Legislature, so his seat was already up for grabs.
King admits this is a rare situation for the city to be considering. Mid-term vacancies have only occurred twice in recent memory, and neither involved such controversial circumstances. Bill Friedman passed away in 2008, while in office; and in 2007 then City Councilor John Hummel resigned to join the Peace Corps.
BEND, OR -- Pressure is mounting for Bend City Councilor Nathan Boddie to resign and step away from his campaign for House District 54. Over the weekend, details emerged of an alleged encounter between an environmental activist and Boddie, before he was elected to Council. She claims he groped her during a conversation at a local bar, in 2012. He reportedly has responded by claiming she has a substance abuse problem. As of Tuesday morning, there is no indication Boddie plans to step aside.
Fellow Councilor, and candidate for Mayor, Sally Russell said in a statement it's "clear Dr. Boddie can no longer remain an effective City Councilor representing Bend, or an effective candidate for HD 54. His effort to impune [sic] Ms. Newbold's character instead of acknowledging his actions is unconscionable, and I applaud her bravery in coming forward with her story."
Russell tells KBND News, "Increasingly, in society, it’s becoming clearer that this type of behavior happens more often than we may be aware." She adds, "It’s like so many things today, where we’re much more aware of these types behaviors and how destructive they can be to communities as well as individuals." She plans to introduce a new city policy requiring mandatory harassment training for elected officials, "The city already has a process in place for all of its employees. So, the next obvious step, which was already being considered and certainly, now more than ever, it’s clear that we need to accelerate that, is simply to extend those processes for elected officials and for appointed positions on our various committees." She says businesses and municipalities increasingly recognize the need for more education and awareness, "This is an obvious step forward for Bend. And, I will say, this particular incident illustrates in black and white why it’s important to be doing it, and so we need to be doing it now." Russell says Boddie is "obscuring the truth" in not directly responding to the accusations, "As an elected official, it’s really our responsibility to encourage an open and transparent dialog around these kinds of issues. And, sexual harassment shouldn’t be tolerated, and must never be tolerated anywhere. So, this is a moment to recognize that and to make the adjustments within our community and within the city of Bend to ensure this behavior doesn’t happen."
Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel, who had supported Boddie’s State Rep. campaign, calls his response to the allegations “reprehensible and beneath the dignity of a sitting city councilor and candidate for future office.” Hummel withdrew his support Monday and called on others to do the same. He issued a statement saying "When Future PAC went public with vague allegations against Boddie and refused to release the details
, I withheld judgment because I respect the presumption of innocence and was aware of no details that would permit me to make up my own mind as to the veracity of the claims. Future PAC handled this matter in a ham-handed fashion and should immediately release the details of the allegations against Boddie so that voters and the entire public can judge their significance for themselves."
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Lines have been drawn, after President Trump announced his nominee for the Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh, to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy.
Protesters shouting their disapproval on the steps of the Supreme Court Monday night were joined by a number of Democratic Senators, including Jeff Merkley of Oregon. He says he’s worried about the future of reproductive rights, healthcare and marriage equality. And, Merkley claims, “racial inequality and blatant voter suppression could be further embraced by the highest court in the land.” He said in a statement, "The justices of the Supreme Court should be selected based on the wisdom, experience and values they bring to the job, not hand-picked by ideological organizations committed to rolling back the ability of women, minorities, workers and consumers to participate fully and freely in society. To safeguard the rights of all Americans and our founding vision of a 'We the People' nation, Americans must rise up and make their voices heard in the U.S. Senate."
Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) issued a statement expressing grave concerns about the President's nomination, "Tonight the president begins a forced march back to the days when women's health care choices were made by the government." He went on to say, "There can be no mistaking Trump's Supreme Court nomination for anything but what it is: a direct attempt to overturn Roe v. Wade. American women could lose the right to chart the courses of their own lives, finding their futures are determined by the whims of fanatical state legislators and the availability of contraception. Make no mistake: we will go back to those days."
WARM SPRINGS, OR -- A federal judge has sentenced a Warm Springs man to 25 years in prison for molesting an 11-year-old girl. According to court documents, the victim told her mother 36-year-old Lawren Slockish touched her inappropriately and attempted to further assault her. The child then told Warm Springs police it was not the first time Slockish had molested her.
Prosecutors say the victim showed great courage in coming forward. "Sexual abuse of children casts a lifelong shadow on the health of the victims," U.S. Attorney Billy Williams said in a statement, "The Warm Springs Multi-Disciplinary Child Abuse Team brings together tribal police and prosecutors, Child Protective Services, the Indian Health Service, and federal law enforcement author ties to collaboratively investigate these cases in a thorough, compassionate manner ensuring justice for these vulnerable victims."
Steve Goldman, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oregon, says the victim's strength allowed law enforcement, the community and her family to keep other children safe. "The FBI, working with our tribal partners, will do everything to bring justice for the victim with a long-term goal of identifying and addressing child sexual abuse within our community."
Slockish pleaded guilty to one count of abusive sexual contact with a child on January 19, 2017. After serving his 300-month sentence, he will be on supervised release for life.
REDMOND, OR -- The Redmond Airport plans to create more space for commercial planes to park. "Currently, our ramp holds nine aircraft, which are mostly full at night," Airport Director Zach Bass tells KBND News, "So, we’re adding actually two larger aircraft parking spots for future mainline expansion." He says that could lead to the ability to hold as many as 12 planes, depending on their size.
The "apron" expansion project is expected to cost nearly $8 million. "Basically, when you fly in and out of here, when you get off or on the plane you’re going to be walking over the concrete out there; that is the pad, and we’re just going to expand it," says Bass. The bulk of the project, nearly 94%, would be paid for by a grant from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Bass says the project was already approved by the FAA, as part of the five-year capital improvement plan the airport submitted to the agency. The other 6% of the work would be paid for by the city of Redmond or, Bass says, the airport could apply for an ODOT grant to cover the remainder.
Redmond City Councilors are expected to approve a request Tuesday to send the official grant application to the FAA. Bass hopes work will get underway by spring 2019, "There should be no effect for passengers, other than when you’re out there, you might view some work going on on the other side of a fence." He says it means, for now, passengers will still walk outside to board their plane, "We are actually looking at, maybe a possibility of adding on to the terminal in about five years from now, and maybe having the opportunity to put two or three jet bridges in to give the customers that complete inside feeling." Those future jet-ways are included in the airports 10-year master plan.
CROOKED RIVER RANCH, OR -- Congressman Greg Walden met with fire and law enforcement officials in Crooked River Ranch Friday to celebrate the upcoming vote on his Crooked River Ranch Fire Protection Act. The Oregon Republican has been working on the proposal for over a year, "With Crooked River Ranch and more than 5,000 people living here, there's one way in and one way out, and it's the same way. And so, if a fire takes off, and you have a strong wind, which, by the way, we get here, it could be just devastating."
HR 2075 would change the status of an 832-acre area from a "wilderness study area," which Walden says prevents some fire prevention activities, "How do we get in and do the mechanical treatment we all know needs to be done? What you do on the Ranch today, what homeowners all across Oregon do, is to thin out, clean out, brush out, create safe zones, and that's what this legislation will allow us to do mechanically on these BLM lands, once it becomes law." He tells KBND News, "We're trying to create a safe zone around Crooked River Ranch - an area that needs it. Now, you're not going to go in and clear-cut everything down. But, at least you could go in and thin it out and get it back down like we do everywhere else; and you could do it with mechanical equipment, and make it a safe, manageable, but still pristine area."
Walden says he understands not everyone who lives in the area is on board with the plan, "Life and safety issues override the visual, in this case, because we know, in talking to professional firefighters that they are really worried about what happens if fire breaks out, and their ability to even go fight it." Crooked River Ranch Fire & Rescue works closely with BLM to fight wildfire in the area. But, due to jurisdictional issues, local crews aren't allowed to work on the 832-acres in question unless its classification as a "study area" is lifted.
The resolution is expected to receive a vote in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, and Walden hopes the Senate will fast track it so experts can work this fire season on reducing the risk to CRR residents.
WARM SPRINGS, OR -- After more than 50 years, one of Oregon’s largest resorts will shut down in September. Kah-Nee-Ta announced Friday it would close in 60 days, laying off 146 workers.
According to the notice sent to employees, the resort can no longer operate below a self-sustaining level and the closure is necessary to protect the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs from further financial risk. The resort struggled with profitability after Indian Head Casino moved from Kah-Nee-Ta to Highway 26 in 2012.
Kah-Nee-Ta Resort & Spa
was built over the 1960s and 70s and now features 139 rooms, golf course, soaking pools, RV park and meeting space.
It will continue taking reservations through September fifth.
BEND, OR -- An Oregon City woman was rescued from the summit of Broken Top after she was hurt during a fall. The 29-year-old reportedly lost her footing when she unintentionally went off-trail. Sarah Rask grabbed a boulder with both hands, to stabilize herself, but the rock gave way and she fell about 25 feet. During the fall, the rock rolled over her and down the mountain.
Callers to 911 reported she sustained significant injuries and was in a precarious position near a 60 to 70-foot cliff. More than a dozen Deschutes County Search and rescue volunteers responded, along with a National Guard Blackhawk helicopter.
Rask was stabilized and lifted off the mountain in a litter, via hoist, then immediately flown to St. Charles Bend.
REDMOND, OR -- A Redmond Police Detective has been named 2018 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year for Oregon and the Western Region, by the American Legion. Detective Steven Binstock was honored last week at the annual Oregon American Legion Conference in Florence, OR. Det. Binstock has been with Redmond PD since 2012, and worked as a Marine Deputy for the Crook County Sheriff's Office, prior to moving to Redmond.
He was honored for displaying “outstanding selfless service over and above normal duties through community service and professional achievement.”
Each year, American Legion posts across the state nominate officers for the award; one is selected to advance to the regional contest. The Western Region is comprised of 11 states, the Department of Mexico and Department of the Philippines. Each winner from the American Legion's five regions then compete for the national award. Det. Binstock was runner up for the national honor. This is the second Redmond officer to receive the state and regional award in the past two years.
BEND, OR -- Bend’s Farmers markets can be a great place to stock up on local produce, but one group is using the weekly events to help local food banks. "We collect fresh produce of all shapes, sizes and seasons and we give that to NeighborImpact food bank, who then distributes it to their 45 food banks and food pantry clients," says Jess Weiland, with High Desert Food and Farm Alliance (HDFFA). She tells KBND News, "We have a booth where we accept donations, either monetary or fresh produce from gardeners or farmers who have extra at the end of the market. It has the potential to have a really big impact on the amount of fresh food available for food bank clients."
HDFFA also accepts cash donations, and the group is now partnering with First Interstate Bank to help fund the Grow & Give program. Weiland says children under the age of 18 who open a minor account at First Interstate get a $10 donation voucher, "Then, the person who opened up the bank account can take it to us and give it to our program and we will purchase fresh produce with that donation. Or," she adds, "People can bring fresh produce straight to us, either from their garden or if they’ve purchased any extra from the farmers market."
Grow and Give donation booths can be found at the downtown Bend farmers market
, Wednesday afternoons from 2-6 p.m., and at the Northwest Crossing farmers market, each Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
MITCHELL, OR -- A large number of visitors will converge on the small town of Mitchell, this weekend, for the annual three-day Crawfest Music Festival. Oregon’s Department of Transportation urges drivers to prepare for congestion on Highway 26 near and in Mitchell. ODOT’s Peter Murphy asks that visitors not park on the highway.
Crawfest starts Friday at 5 p.m. and features three music stages, free camping, and food and craft vendors.
BEND, OR -- Bend Fire says Wednesday's Pilot Butte fire, and the large number of smaller fires reported in the past week, serve as a reminder of just how dry and dangerous are the conditions across Central Oregon.
Deputy Fire Marshall Cindy Kettering says the Fourth of July was extremely busy, "On a normal day, we run between 20 and 30 calls. [Wednesday] we ran 62; significantly above our normal call volume." Bend Police Lt. Clint Burleigh says many of those calls were for illegal fireworks, or the unsafe use of legal fireworks, "We Responded to several fires with Bend Fire and Rescue that were fairly big. As a community, I think, that we realize that those aerial fireworks are becoming very dangerous." Fourteen of Wednesday's calls were brush fires, several were fire alarms due to the power outage caused by the Pilot Butte fire, three fire calls involved structures, and one was a utility trailer fire. In Redmond, police say they responded to 50 calls regarding illegal fireworks on the Fourth, including one where an intoxicated man allegedly lit an illegal firework in front of an officer.
A Red Flag warning has been extended through 9 p.m. Friday, due to increasing winds, low humidity, and the high risk of fire. Kettering tells KBND News, "People may still be looking to celebrate and light fireworks, so we would really encourage people to be cautious."
BEND, OR -- Two Bend men face criminal charges in connection with the Fourth of July brush fire on Pilot Butte. Police say witnesses heard fireworks about a minute before the fire started. At least one resident from a nearby apartment complex even took pictures of two vehicles seen leaving the state park trailhead.
Brush Fire Forces Evacuations Near Pilot Butte
Bend Police Lt. Clint Burleigh says that help from the public led investigators to two suspects, "We were able to make an arrest of Brandon Hastings, and then we were able to arrest Alan Stout." Officers arrested 38-year-old Hastings (left) in Redmond, Wednesday night; 29-year-old Stout was taken into custody Thursday morning.
"We believe the fire was caused by a mortar type firework being lit off," Burleigh tells KBND News, "We were really concerned about losing that apartment complex by the Butte, so that's what caused us to evacuate it." The firework caused 10 acres to burn on the butte, and reached Hwy 20 before it was stopped by firefighters from multiple agencies. The two men are charged with Criminal Mischief, Reckless Burning and violating their probation.
Burleigh says the suspects may not have realized just how quickly the fire would spread, "What this shows is that when we have a really dry and warm climate like we do here in Bend, just legal fireworks need to be lit off and used in a very, very safe manner. And then, when you add the aerial fireworks that are illegal, it gives another layer of danger to the community." He adds, "The Butte's going to catch fire during the main fireworks, that happens 98% of the time, but having a fire this big, I mean, this is rare."
Hastings and Stout are scheduled to be arraigned Friday afternoon.
BEND, OR -- A number of schools in Bend will see some level of construction, this summer. Bend-La Pine Schools Executive Director of Facilities Mike Tiller says a major remodeling project at Pilot Butte Middle School is now underway, "We’re doing a full interior renovation, which starts at the floor: new flooring, new cabinetry, new painting, ceiling, lights – LED lighting – technology upgrades. It’s going to be a very modern school on the inside, once we’re complete with that." It’s also getting a security upgrade, with a shifting of the front entrance, "We’re doing that at several locations, this year. Sky View and Lava Ridge are also getting new secure entrances. And, it does create that visibility so staff can see who’s coming and create a safe environment for the kids." Tiller tells KBND News the Pilot Butte MS project won’t be done at once, so as not to disrupt class time, "There’s a lot of work that’s going to be happening over the next four summers."
The work is paid for by a school bond approved by voters in 2017, "We had over 150 projects in that bond measure; two of those were the signature projects to meet capacity needs, which was the new high school and the new elementary." Construction of that new elementary school has begun (pictured). Bend-La Pine Schools Project Manager Gina Franzosa says concrete footings are in place at the site at Cooley and O.B. Riley Roads, "You can kind of tell where the building’s going to go because the building pad has been leveled out. We have to build a new small local road, as part of the development, so you can kind of see that. Drivers in the area will notice some traffic changes, but it’s really moving right along. It’s going to start looking like a building real soon." The school has yet to be named; it's expected to open in the fall of 2019. Construction of the new high school will follow.
Marshall High is also getting a new gym and two new classrooms this summer, among other summer projects undertaken by Bend-La Pine Schools.
REDMOND, OR -- Redmond Police say officers responded to nearly 160 incidents in the 24 hours surrounding Independence Day; 50 involved illegal fireworks.
Wednesday afternoon, police responded to a fight between four people at American Legion Park. Authorities say two 17-year-olds confronted two adults who had sold them marijuana, asking for their money back; they claimed they were sold poor-quality pot. A knife was allegedly seen, but none was found by investigators. They arrested 21-year-old Sabastian Dubar (pictured above) and 20-year-old Dominica Wallace, both of Redmond, for unlawful delivery of marijuana. One teen was cited for being a minor in possession of marijuana.
They're investigating a separate dispute reported at the fairgrounds, stemming from a disagreement over illegal fireworks. Redmond PD is also looking into a fire at John Tuck Elementary, where fireworks burned a tree. And, one officer allegedly witnessed an intoxicated man light an illegal firework; that man was arrested for a probation violation.
RPD did not arrest any intoxicated drivers between 6 a.m. Wednesday and 6 a.m. Thursday, but authorities say calls for service kept officers busy and unable to proactively look for impaired drivers.
BEND, OR -- Bend Fire responded to a house fire reported Thursday morning on Hollinshead Drive. When crews arrived at about 6:15 a.m., they found fire on the outside of the building, with smoke coming from the garage. They got the fire under control within 30 minutes.
Residents used a meat smoker Wednesday evening, and investigators believe heat from the smoker ignited the side of the garage. The fire eventually moved into the attic. Damage is estimated at about $30,000.
The Bend Fire Department reminds everyone that placing any heat source near a combustible surface can lead to a fire.
Photos (Top): Fire damaged a home on Hollinshead Dr.
(Right) Fire engines line Hollinshead Drive, Thursday morning.
REDMOND, OR -- Deschutes County Sheriff's Detectives seized a white Dodge pickup, this week, believed to have been involved in a June hit and run. Investigators say tips from the public led them to the truck and a person of interest.
A 26-year-old Redmond man suffered non-life threatening injuries in the crash on Old Bend Redmond Highway, the evening of June 22. DCSO says Alberto Hernandez was driving northbound when he passed a Dodge pickup. Shortly after completing the pass, the pickup struck the right rear of Hernandez's Subaru, causing him to lose control. His car skidded of the road and into a juniper tree. The driver of the pickup then left the scene.
At the time, the only description of the suspect vehicle was a white 2004-2008 Dodge full sized four-door pickup, with a black bumper, silver rims and "headache rack." Detectives continue to gather evidence and DCSO thanks those who came forward with information.
POST, OR -- One person was killed and another seriously injured in a single-vehicle crash near Post, in Crook County, Tuesday night.
According to State Police, 28-year-old Joshua Perman, of Post, drove off the road and rolled his car several times, just after midnight. Both Perman and his passenger, 46-year-old Alfred Cody, were ejected. Perman was pronounced dead at the scene. Cody was flown to St. Charles Bend.
Speed and alcohol are believed to be contributing factors, and authorities say Perman was not wearing a seatbelt.
LA PINE, OR -- Two teens are accused of starting fires in La Pine State Park, last month. The first fire broke out June third, but was held at a quarter-acre. A second, smaller fire was reported within the burn area, June 28.
Investigators determined the incidents were human caused, and the following day Department of Forestry crews conducting follow-up saw possible suspects in the area. The Sheriff’s Office and State Police responded and a deputy contacted a 14- and 16-year-old.
Investigators say the two boys had built a fort in the area and were burning pine needles and other debris but failed to properly extinguish the fire before leaving the area. They were cited for Reckless Burning and Criminal Mischief.
BEND, OR -- A brush fire broke out Wednesday afternoon, near Pilot Butte, forcing the evacuation of nearby apartments and the closure of Highway 20 between Third Street and Purcell. Pacific Power reports an outage in the area is also impacting more than 13,000 customers. The utility estimates power will be restored around 8:30 p.m.
The blaze was first reported on NE Linnea Drive, just before 5 p.m. on the Fourth of July. Local, state and federal fire units are working to stop the fire. As of 6 p.m., officials had not yet determined the fate of the annual fireworks show, "Blast at the Butte."
6:30 p.m. UPDATE: Evacuated residents are being let back into apartments near Pilot Butte, following Wednesday's brush fire. Bend Fire Battalion Chief Dave Howe tells KBND News the blaze spread quickly before firefighters had it fully contained. High winds, warm temperatures and dry conditions fueled the flames, causing it to grow from two to eight acres in juniper, brush and grass, in about 20 minutes.
Bend Fire responded with three engines, while U.S. Forest Service and Oregon Department of Forestry Crews brought five engines to the scene, as well as hand crews. Firefighters are expected to continue mop-up operations into the night. The fireworks display is expected to take place as planned. Three power substations were impacted by the fire, and as of 6:45 p.m., most residents reported electrical service had been restored.
Howe urges residents to think twice before lighting fireworks, due to the extreme fire danger. He says any damage caused by the fireworks, whether legal or illegal, is the responsibility of the person igniting the flammable explosive; including the cost of suppressing a fire. The cause of Wednesday evening's fire remains under investigation.
BEND, OR -- A pedestrian was killed trying to cross the Bend Parkway, late Tuesday night. According to Bend Police, the woman was wearing dark clothing when she was hit by a southbound pickup near Powers Road, just before 11 p.m.
The first officers on scene attempted life-saving efforts on the unconscious victim, but were unsuccessful. The name of the victim has not been released.
Highway 97 was closed for four hours during the investigation.
UPDATE: (07/05/18) Bend Police have released the identities of those involved in Tuesday's fatal crash on the Bend Parkway. They say 47-year-old Stephanie Ann Rogers, of Bend, was wearing dark clothing when she crossed the highway from east to west, near Powers Road. Investigators say 51-year-old Shawn Walter Buche, of La Pine, struck and killed Rogers with his pickup.
BEND, OR -- Sally Russell, who has served on the Bend City Council since 2012, announced Monday she is running for Mayor. She tells KBND News, "I'm running for Mayor because I love this town. I've lived here for awhile now and I've watched it change and I've also been involved in the community for quite awhile, and it takes a lot of work to keep it really cool and a place where everybody can continue to live and thrive."
Russell has served as Mayor Pro Tem since 2015. She believes the best way to lead is to celebrate the city as a single, but diverse, community, "Bend's not an east side or a west side; I really see our town as one town. I don't see our town as a rich Bend or a poor Bend. We have to look at Bend as one, whole community. That's the kind of leader I've always been and I can be a really good leader for everyone in this town." She adds, "I'm also really committed to making sure that people can move around this town in a cost effective way that works for them, and I'm really interested in transportation and making sure transportation in our city works for all the members in our community." Russell says affordable housing is also an important issue. She'd like to get get rents to stabilize and make sure working people can afford to live in Bend.
Bend voters will elect the Mayor for the first time, in November. Fellow City Councilor Bill Moseley announced last month his candidacy for the position. Current Mayor Casey Roats, the last one to be appointed by Council, has said he does not plan to seek the top job, opting instead to run for re-election to Council.
BEND, OR -- Deschutes County Commissioners continue to propose changes to marijuana regulations, after a year of working with the current time, place and manner restrictions. Commissioner Phil Henderson says the county needs reasonable regulations, especially on odor and noise. He would like operators to be required to prove they have a viable odor control system in place; currently, he says, they only have to say they’ll make sure smells are controlled. "We also are looking at issues of the density of marijuana. I think Oregon is the most liberal state in terms of where it allows marijuana and we have thousands – tens of thousands – of lots in rural Deschutes County that could have marijuana. I think it’s a real livability issue for people who are already there. We have quite a few grows already approved; we’ve approved over 30 in the county."
How the county handles legalized recreational marijuana has been an issue for Henderson since he ran for election in 2016, "We’ve had a lot of pushback from rural residents, which I was aware of when I ran, and was one of the reasons I thought was should have had a vote. Most of the people, almost overwhelmingly, that appear and come to our hearings on marijuana, are against having it in their neighborhoods."
Commissioners proposed amendments to land use rules governing pot operations, Monday. A public hearing on those changes is planned for August 22.
Hear our full conversation with Deschutes County Commissioner Phil Henderson at our Podcast Page.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- Several flags have been stolen from the display along downtown Prineville streets. More than 430 flag poles line Main, Third and Fourth streets during certain holiday periods. Five have disappeared since they were put out for Independence Day; most recently, a flag was taken Saturday from in front of a coffee shop on Third Street.
"It's not like someone is just taking this random flag that we put up to celebrate our patriotism and how much we love America," says Crook County Judge Seth Crawford, "Each individual flag has been flown over the nation's capitol and then, it's got a certificate to a specific person to honor them." He tells KBND News, "Each one of these flags represents a single person in our community or somebody that wants to put these flags up for someone they love or respect. And so, if you lose a single one, it's really, really, really horrible for that person."
Flags are 4'x6' with embroidering on the spine honoring a community member; they hang on 10' long poles. The display is maintained by the Prineville Band of Brothers, who puts the flags out each morning and collects them at dusk. Crawford says, "Just keep your eyes peeled. If you see somebody messing with the flags, tell them to quit it. If you're not part of that group, Band of Brothers, which really makes sure that this happens, hands off. Just leave them alone."
WARM SPRINGS, OR -- A new wildfire forced the closure of Highway 26 in Warm Springs for about six hours Monday. It was first spotted around 2 p.m., and was initially called the Cancer Fire. It was later renamed Mecca Fire.
Indian Head Casino and the Museum at Warm Springs were evacuated as a precaution, and Level Three and Level Two evacuation alerts were issued for homes in the Greeley Heights subdivision. The Red Cross opened a shelter at the Warm Springs Community Center for those forced out of their homes.
Crews from Jefferson County, Sisters, Black Butte Ranch, Cloverdale, Redmond and Crooked River Ranch were activated as part of a task force to fight the fire, which is estimated at between 500 and 800 acres.
BEND, OR -- A motorcyclist was killed in a crash that closed Southwest Century Drive for more than four hours, yesterday afternoon. Bend Police are still investigating and the names of those involved have not been released.
Investigators say a Chevy Silverado pickup collided with a Harley Davidson near Mammoth Drive, just before 2 p.m. Initial reports indicated the rider suffered life-threatening injuries. When Medics arrived, they started life-saving efforts, but the motorcyclist did not survive.
Any witnesses to the crash are asked to contact Bend Police at 541-693-6911.
UPDATE: (07/04/18) Bend Police investigators believe Monday's fatal crash was initially caused by a deer. Authorities say 59-year-old John Alan Boop was unable to stop when a deer ran in front of his motorcycle. He collided with the animal, causing the bike to go down in the road. Boop was then struck by a pickup, driven by 21-year-old Nikole Cox, of La Pine. They say Cox is cooperating with the investigation.
REDMOND, OR -- An Eagle Crest apartment was damaged by a Monday morning fire. Redmond firefighters responded to the four-plex on Golden Pheasant Drive just before 8:30 a.m. and found one unit in the middle of the building fully involved.
The family living there was home at the time. A woman told fire crews she woke to smoke in her bedroom… She alerted her three kids and they evacuated with their dog. She credits her eldest son with thinking quickly and helping them all get to safety. That apartment was a total loss; two neighboring units sustained significant damage.
The fire’s cause is under investigation. The Red Cross is helping those displaced by the blaze. Three of the units had full-time residents, while the fourth was used as a vacation rental.
REDMOND, OR -- The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office continues efforts to clear out a large area east of Redmond used as a transient camp. Captain Michael Shultz, Deschutes County Jail Commander, says the clean-up operation provides a valuable opportunity for inmates, "They can learn skills of using chainsaws, picking up debris; and take those skills to the public sector and look for jobs. These inmates will go out and clean up these sites, whether it’s removing human feces to debris and wood, all the way to cleaning up graffiti, as well, that’s on the road."
Patrol Captain Paul Garrison says, "We’ve got over 124 cubic yards of debris and tires – 51 tires – that were hauled off." He says the type of debris and trash runs the gamut, "They could be pallets, it could be discarded food. It’s been a collaborative effort between ourselves the Central Oregon Irrigation District, the Redmond School District, the Redmond Police Department, as well." The properties are owned by COID, the school district and the county.
Eviction orders were issued in early June, but deputies are still working to contact each person living near 11th and East Antler; the remote area is a maze of dirt roads and campsites. Captain Garrison He says contacting people at each campsite has taken time, but most have been cooperative. One person was cited for trespassing, after refusing to leave.
BEND, OR -- A major infrastructure improvement project is wrapping up at the Bend Airport. The city’s Business Advocate, Ben Hemson, says it was important to create dedicated areas for helicopters and fixed-wing planes, "Bend is a surprisingly busy airport; it’s third in the state in terms of take-off and landings. And that’s because we have a whole lot of helicopters taking off and landing out there, plus we have a fair amount of planes, as well."
The $10 million project was funded by grant money, "The first stage was moving helicopters to what’s called the helicopter operations area, which is a big eight-acre take-off and landing pad." That portion of the project started in 2016, on the east side of the airport. "And now this stage two is reconfiguring the former helicopter operations area and turning that back into, really, just a dedicated plane parking and operations area," Hemson says.
Last week, crews finished converting the former helicopter landing pad to a dedicated plane parking area. "Before these operations were split up, both planes and helicopters were operating in pretty close quarters. So, while this was a dedicated helicopter area that’s being reconfigured right now on the west side of the airport, there were planes in pretty close proximity. So, now you’re going to have a whole lot more room for plane operations; and then over on the east side, we’ll have the helicopters taking off and landing. So, a lot safer, more capacity." He says it also creates more room for future economic development.
While paving is now done, crews will continue striping this week, as well as other finishing touches.
Photo courtesy of Ben Hemson
BEND, OR -- A southern Oregon woman was hurt in a fall near Tumalo Falls, Saturday afternoon. The Sheriff’s Office says a hiking party went off the marked trail onto a side trail blocked by multiple downed trees. While trying to navigate a narrow section, 57-year-old Elizabeth Wright, of Jacksonville, fell about 20 feet down a steep embankment.
A Sheriff's Deputy was first on-scene and, with the help of a citizen, lowered an anchored stabilizing rope to prevent her from falling farther. Deschutes County Search and Rescue responded and Mountain Rescue volunteers lowered themselves to her location and brought her back up to the trail.
Due to her injuries, she was wheeled out to her vehicle and waiting family; she refused further medical attention.
REDMOND, OR -- Several homes southwest of Redmond were threatened by a brush fire, Sunday afternoon. Firefighters responded to the fast-moving blaze in the canyon near Jaguar and Loma Linda, just before 3:30 p.m. Homes on the south side of Jaguar were notified of a Level Two evacuation alert as aerial units dropped retardant and water. The blaze was held at eight acres and its cause is under investigation.
Saturday afternoon, multiple agencies responded to a brush fire near the Cimarron City subdivision (right), east of Bend. That fire was stopped at 2.7 acres and authorities say it was human caused.