BEND, OR -- Central Oregon tire stores are always busy, come studded tire season. But, this year, they’re not as busy as in a typical November. ODOT's Peter Murphy is hopeful drivers are becoming more aware of the damage studs cause. The Oregon Department of Transportation estimates studded tires cause about $8 million in damage to state highways, each year. And, he says, studs are only useful about 1% of the year, "It’s times when you have ice on the road, first of all, not snow. They’re not as effective in snow as you might think."
But Dale Thompson, with Les Schwab Tires, doesn't think there's been a shift in consumer behavior. He believes fewer people have put on studs due to a lack of early season snow, "It’s hard for us to say that people are making a conscious choice to switch away from one winter tire to another, at this point. They’re just not putting them on, like they normally do, because it’s been so late in coming, this year." He says when the weather starts to shift, it prompts some drivers to get their studded tires on. For others, it causes them to recognize their old tires don’t have the same traction they used to, and they’ll get a new set. But, this year, people seem to be stretching out their old tires as long as possible. "We’ve just been so dry and so warm for so long, that people just aren’t putting their winter tires on - Studded snow, or studless snow tires, or a new set of all-season. We’re just seeing a reduced number of tire sales as a result."
And, despite ODOT’s claims, Thompson says it’s important drivers choose a tire that makes them feel comfortable in the conditions, "Winter tires are designed to give you extra grip, for braking and handling, and help you drive confidently in snow and ice. Studded tires do offer additional traction in more treacherous driving conditions, especially icy conditions." Now that the snow is finally here, Thompson expects sales will pick up and studded tires will again make an appearance in the High Desert.
BEND, OR -- The Bend Metropolitan Planning Organization met Thursday to discuss the future of one of the area's most traveled roads: the Bend Parkway.
Peter Murphy, with the Oregon Department of Transportation, says the Parkway isn't keeping up with current growth, and it needs upgrades to handle projected traffic increases. "The Parkway is kind of an evolving system, really. It was initially envisioned to solve our traffic problems, and it did. But, it has succumbed, if you will, to the increase in traffic; the volume on it is way beyond what it was supposed to be."
He tells KBND News the current talks are just the start of the evaluation process, "We don't have solutions today, but we know where there are some trouble spots. We know that access into downtown is important, but we also know that the way to get into downtown, and the way to get out of downtown on Hawthorne and Lafayette, for example, is problematic." He adds, "The next step is to come back with some proposed solutions for bike lanes, for access to downtown, for egress from downtown. So, it's just a good, healthy discussion about what we're going to do with this overcrowded Parkway that we have."
As the conversation continues, it will expand to include city and county leadership. And, Murphy says, the public will eventually be asked to give feedback, as well.
MADRAS, OR -- Jefferson County teens have found another way to get high. County officials have seen a recent spike in hospital visits, due to over-the-counter cold medicine abuse. Lacey Miller, Assistant Director for the Jefferson County Juvenile Department, says it's an accessible high, "I think some kids maybe have a mentality that because it's not an illegal drug or it's not a prescription medication that's not prescribed to them or whatever - that it's something they can get at the store - that maybe it's not going to be that bad for them. And in reality, it could kill them." She tells KBND News, "As far as the youth on probation, it's not detectable in a U.A. because it's not an illegal substance."
In high doses, Dextromethorphan, the main ingredient in cold medicine, can cause hallucinations. But, she says many kids aren't prepared for the side effects, "Really low breathing, like labored breathing, blurred vision, seizures, drowsiness and dizziness, either really extremely high blood pressure or really extremely low blood pressure." She adds, "There are some kids that I know that take a smaller dose, but still more than what they should, just to get a little bit of a high and go about their day. And then we have the extreme kids that take way too many and end up in the hospital." Four Jefferson County teens were admitted to the hospital last week.
Dextromethorphan is in mainstream medications like Nyquil, Robitussin, and Alka Seltzer Plus. It's also available in a generic, "There's a form of it that's available at the dollar store. It's not something that, I don't think a lot of the kids are buying. They're just taking [it] from the shelves." She recommends parents talk to kids about the dangers of too much cold medicine, make sure meds are kept out of reach and watch for empty blister packs of pills.
SISTERS, OR -- A 21-year-old driver was hurt when his pickup crashed into a tree, just east of Sisters, early Friday morning. Deschutes County deputies say the Sisters man was westbound on Highway 126 when he lost control of his truck on the slick roadway, at about 3:45 a.m.
Medics from the Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire District transported Isaac Mackenzie to St. Charles Redmond with non-life threatening injuries. Both lanes of the highway were blocked for about an hour.
BEND, OR -- J Bar J Boys Ranch will break ground, next month, on a new vocational training facility for teens living at the Bend ranch, in custody of the Oregon Youth Authority. The program will be part of the on-site high school and will teach hands-on subjects like construction, small engine repair, robotics and technical design.
Administrators hope it will reduce the rate in which the boys re-offend. Construction of the center will also expose teens to people working in the trades and help them learn about a variety of jobs.
Earlier this month, Taylor NW demolished a shed (pictured) an cleared the area, in preparation for the new facility. An official groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for December 13 at 10 a.m.
BEND, OR -- A 21-year-old is accused of robbing a Bend convenience store.
Police say just before 6 p.m. Thursday, a man armed with a knife demanded cash from employees at the 7-11 near 8th and Greenwood. He took off on foot before getting any money.
Within four minutes of getting the call, officers arrested Nathaniel McLain a few blocks away. A K-9 officer recovered a knife nearby.
McLain is charged with Robbery, Menacing and Unlawful Use of a Weapon.
REDMOND, OR -- A vacant lot just north of downtown Redmond will soon be home to an affordable housing apartment complex. This week, City Councilors unanimously approved a $450,000 Community Development Block Grant for Housing Works to help purchase the nearly two-acre parcel at 5th and Greenwood.
Redmond’s Urban Renewal Agency has owned the property since 2016. The planned complex will have 44 two-bedroom and four three-bedroom units for qualified low-income families. It still needs final funding approval from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, but officials hope the complex will open in 2020.
For the past decade, Redmond's Urban Renewal Agency has made strategic investments to improve the downtown district. Officials say this project helps achieve a key objective of the Midtown Plan by establishing a residential presence downtown.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- Barnes Butte has been a popular spot for Prineville residents and visitors, since it was purchased by the city last year. But, the 460 acres of open space is still without a Master Plan.
The effort received a big boost, this week, with a new $25,000 grant from the National Park Service Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance (RTCA) Program. Barnes Butte already has walking trails. But, a formal Master Plan in 2019 will lay out the future of the park. "We're in the rare position to create a community asset that can be enjoyed and appreciated for generations of Prineville residents as well as visitors to our beautiful city," Prineville Mayor Betty Roppe said in a statement. "That's a responsibility we take seriously, and why public involvement is so important."
The Barnes Butte project is one of 40 across the west to receive assistance from the RTCA program in 2019.
BEND, OR -- The death toll from the Camp Fire, in northern California, is now at 88. More than 200 people are still considered missing. Brett Matteis lives in Bend but is originally from Paradise, a town destroyed this month by the massive wildfire. His mother still lives there. At least, she did. Until this month. "She’s lost everything, so we’re trying to figure out how to get her back on her feet and to her daily, normal life. She’s one of the lucky ones because she has us, up here. That’s not the same for a lot of people down there."
He says the evacuation effort has been overwhelming. "One of the things that is kind of the reality check to me is: Paradise is about the size of Redmond. So, imagine Redmond moving to Bend in a week; everyone. And, that’s what’s been going on in the Chico/Paradise area." Despite the devastation, Matteis is convince his hometown will rebuild. "Paradise is a small town, tight-knit community. People are strong there, and they will be back. The older people – the elderly people, like my mom – they won’t have a chance to come back [because] it’s going to take some years. But, it will be back."
Local Firefighters Help with California Camp Fire (11/12/2018)
Matteis is grateful for the outpouring of support from Central Oregon, but says it’s important to make sure help is targeted. "Right now, I hear there’s an over-abundance of stuff. People are shipping blankets and sleeping bags and clothes, and there’s so much logistics with all that. I think they have plenty of that, and it’s really just financial assistance, right now – is what I’m hearing is the best thing we can all do." He recommends donating money to local organizations, like the North Valley Community Foundation, because they have lower overhead than national groups, and are working directly with families in the area.
BEND, OR -- A federal mediator joins contract negotiations, Thursday, between St. Charles Bend and its nurses. Local Bargaining Chair and Registered Nurse David Hilderbrand says he's not worked with a federal mediator in negotiations before, but the hospital says it's a common step in the process, "We'll spend less time face to face with the employer, and more time with that person being the go-between between the two negotiating parties."
Nurses at the Bend hospital have been working without a contract since July. Hildebrand is optimistic a new neutral party will lead to results, "We're still hopeful that the employer will decide that a fair contract is advantageous for the community, and for the hospital, and for all its employees."
The nurses will he holding another rally Thursday morning, in the lobby of the Heart and Lung Center, near where the latest round of two-day contract talks are scheduled to take place. Hildebrand says the public is invited to join nurses at the rally, which begins at 8:30 a.m. "Any members of the community can just show up and show their support for the negotiating team and say, 'we're trying to get a fair contract that can make care safer at St. Charles'."
Hildebrand tells KBND News, "If we can't reach a contract in mediation, I would say then our members have a decision to make whether or not they would like to withhold their labor as a strategy to getting the hospital to agree to something that is fair." He adds, "For the hospital side, it would be implementing their last, best, and final offer, which means that they would just force the nurses to work under the contract that they have proposed, and for the union side, it would mean a work stoppage or a strike."
REDMOND, OR -- It will likely cost more to park at the Redmond Airport, in 2019. The number of people traveling through Roberts Field has grown by 75% in the last five years. Raising the parking fee from $10 a day to $15 would provide an estimated $1.5-million a year for projects Director Zach Bass says are necessary due to that immense growth, "Some of these projects include a terminal expansion within the next few years, we’ve talked about two large parking lot expansions, we’re looking at a new operations building, new snow removal equipment for safety on the field. So, this increase would help fund things that the public will see and hopefully increase their experience here."
Bass tells KBND News managing the increase in visitors is a priority, "We’re seeing constrictions on our parking. We’re looking to expand the parking; we’re looking at, in four to five years, building an off-site large lot, if needed. And then, what we’re looking at, not related to parking, is about $85 million in projects over the next seven to eight years. And that $85 million – about $44 million of it is cash, or money that needs to come from the airport, itself. It’s not coming from the FAA or an outside source." He adds, "The debt service annually, for that alone, is $2.4 million. So, even though this rate increase, if it is approved, would help, it still doesn’t cover really the expansions that are needed over the next five, six, seven years." He believes the rest of the money will come from the increase in travelers, "Increase in fees from people flying, people using rental cars, eating at the concessions. All that kind of revenue helps offset those costs of expansion, too. But, parking is a big piece of that."
Redmond’s City Council will next month consider raising the daily parking fee, although the exact amount of the increase hasn't been determined. Currently, drivers pay $1 for the first 30 minutes and $1 for the second 30 minutes, then $2 for each additional hour. Since 2013, the daily maximum has been $10. Bass says the proposal would increase the daily cap, but the hourly rate would not change. If approved, the higher fee would likely take effect in January.
BEND, OR -- The man accused of leaving his one-year-old naked and alone in the woods near Bend, in May, is back in custody. Deschutes County Sheriff's Sgt. William bailey says 26-year-old Brandon Blouin was rumored to have gone back east after he was originally released on bail. "Earlier this month, Mr. Blouin failed to appear for a court date related to those charges, which included Custodial Interference, Abandonment of a Child, Child Neglect, Endangering the Welfare of a Minor, and Criminal Mistreatment." An arrest warrant was then issued for Blouin.
Sgt. Bailey tells KBND News, "Our detectives received an anonymous tip that Blouin was in town, and began working quickly to figure out where he was. After figuring out that he was at Motel 6 in Bend, we were assisted by the Bend Police Department; we set up a perimeter and surveillance on the motel." He was taken in to custody Wednesday morning, "At about 11:15, our detectives took Blouin into custody as he exited his motel room." He now faces new charges, "At the time of his arrest, he did have a dagger-type knife on him," says Sgt. Bailey, "And so he has been charged with the additional crime of Felon in Possession of a Weapon."
Father Arrested After Missing Baby Found Safe (05/11/2018)
Bailey is pleased the fugitive is back in jail, "This is an example of our community working with us and letting us know that Mr. Blouin was back in town, and then good detective work, and a great partnership with the Bend Police Department, to quickly get him into custody."
Baby Bradley was returned to his custodial grandmother in West Virginia soon after his rescue, in May.
Photos: (TOP) Detectives arrest Blouin at the Bend Motel 6 Wednesday.
(INSET) Blouin's latest booking photo, taken 11/28/18.
(UPPER RIGHT) Baby Bradley appears with the DCSO Detective who found him off China Hat Road, 05/10/18
(LOWER RIGHT) Blouin appears in his initial booking photo, taken 05/10/18
CROOKED RIVER RANCH, OR -- Construction is complete on the second access road for Crooked River Ranch. Officials and residents celebrated the opening of Quail Road at a ribbon cutting ceremony, Tuesday. Crews began work in August.
John Williams, Director of the CRR Special Road Committee, says the project took years to get approved and built, and couldn't have been accomplished without collaboration, "The cooperation between Deschutes County, and BLM, and Jefferson County, and Crooked River Ranch Board of Directors; so, just about everybody got involved." He says local fire agencies were also involved, since the new road was deemed a necessary evacuation route in the case of a wildland fire.
Williams admits not everyone in CRR supported the project, "Some of the people were upset about it. They referred to it as the 'Million Dollar Mile' because they figured that homeowner's dues was [sic] going to go up to pay for it." He says Jefferson County was able to secure an improvements loan from the Department of Transportation, through the Oregon Transportation Infrastructure Bank. Jefferson and Deschutes Counties also contributed $100,000 each, and the Ranch Board of Directors chipped in $200,000, cutting the cost of the finished road significantly. "So, it came in considerably under what some people thought it was going to cost. It's very doable now. It's a 15 year loan, but it'll probably be paid off before that." Ranch dues did go up this year; $25 dollars from each homeowner now goes to repay Jefferson County.
More than 2,600 people live in the community of about 10,000 acres. But, it's only had one two-way road to get in and out until now, "Everybody on the ranch is better off for it because it is an additional entrance and exit for the Ranch," Williams tells KBND News, "We were limited before with only having 43rd Street going into Chinook. So, that was on one side of the ranch and the other side was, pretty much, vulnerable."
BEND, OR -- Central Oregon Community College is now a Medal of Honor College. Extended Learning Dean Jerry Schulz, also a veteran, pursued the official designation to honor Bend resident Robert Maxwell, the nation’s oldest living Medal of Honor recipient. "He was instrumental in helping launch the automotive program for Central Oregon Community College, way back in the late 50s or early 60s," says Schulz, "And, he taught for our school for many years."
Schulz sent the request to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society after other similar local designations, "The city of Bend had designated itself as a Medal of Honor community; and Bend High School – which is where our automotive program started, with Robert – designated the high school as a Medal of Honor school."
Maxwell, now 98, was awarded the Medal of Honor for his bravery in World War II. Schulz tells KBND News it was important to honor Maxwell while he's still alive, "We’ll put a permanent plaque in place near our automotive program. It’s just recognizing his service to our country and to our community and to our college. And it’s an ongoing thing; something that won’t just be forgotten."
The COCC Board also recently voted to rename the school's veterans services center. It will now be known as the Robert D. Maxwell Veterans Center. Schulz says it's a privilege to honor him, "The fact that he served our country so well with his heroism and then we, as a college, benefited from his further service, here."
Photo (Top) Submitted by COCC: Robert Maxwell with an automotive student during a recent visit.
(Lower Right) Maxwell in 2006, during the Boise Bible College Medal of Honor Scholarship Award ceremony.
REDMOND, OR -- The Redmond School District is looking to the future. Officials plan to ask voters again to approve a $70 million bond for safety and security upgrades, and to fund replacement of MA Lynch Elementary.
Election results from November sixth were certified Monday. Superintendent Mike McIntosh says he's disappointed with just how close the distract came to a victory. "Election Night, we were 410 votes short; and, as it ended up, we narrowed that gap to 152 votes." He tells KBND News, "I wish it’d been much greater. If we’re going to lose, let’s just make it a landslide loss. Because now, it feels awkward that our community, by virtue of that data, is exactly split. I mean, you don’t get much tighter than that." More than 25,000 ballots were cast for the bond measure.
McIntosh believes turnout may have contributed to the bond’s failure. "So, there was a lag in the turnout of Redmond School District. Is that apathy? Is that ‘I’m busy’? ‘I don’t want to pay taxes’? I don’t know what the reason [was] for that lag. But, Deschutes County, as a whole, outperformed Redmond School District, as a whole." Deschutes County turnout was just under 72%; while, within the Redmond School District, which includes a small portion of Jefferson County, turnout was just 65%. That turnout rate was even lower for voters likely to have school-age kids, "What’s intriguing to me is that also there’s a statistic that less than 20% of my school-aged parents – the adults in my district that are 30-46 years old, 18% voted. That’s just a weird statistic to me. I don’t understand why that was such a small number, in comparison to the other demographics that voted in our district."
RSD Unsure of Next Steps Following Bond Failure (11/08/2018)
The district is conducting polling to determine why voters rejected the measure, to help focus the campaign next time around. "And one of the things we’re trying to determine – what is it that they didn’t know, that they would’ve liked to know? So, we’re asking that question via survey." McIntosh says the need isn't going away, so the district must keep trying.
BEND, OR -- An 83-year-old Bend woman crashed her Honda CRV into the side of a building, Tuesday morning, injuring a woman inside. The crash occurred just before 10 a.m., at a medical office building on NE Medical Center Drive.
Bend police Lieutenant Clint Burleigh says the driver, Sylvia Wyatt, wasn't hurt, but she did receive a citation for careless driving, "We do believe that there was an error in regards to the gas pedal and the brake pedal." He tells KBND News, "She made some mistakes with the vehicle when she was parking and she lunged over a curb, and crashed into the side of the building. And, this did cause substantial damage to the building. There was somebody on a couch inside, just inside that wall, that did require some medical treatment." The 46-year-old woman sitting on the couch, just inside the waiting room, suffered minor injuries when the SUV hit the wall behind her, shattering the window above her head. She was taken to St. Charles Bend for evaluation.
"Luckily, no one was hurt. We had minor injuries, but no one was hurt. And," says Lt. Burleigh, "Hopefully the building's repaired fairly quickly."
BEND, OR -- There’s no snow on the ground yet, but it’s likely on the way. And, Bend streets officials remind drivers of new rules created after record-breaking snowfall, two years ago.
The city launched a pilot program, last winter, to designate targeted Snow Emergency Zone parking restrictions during snow emergencies. But, the 2017-18 winter was so mild, no snow emergencies were declared. The pilot program remains in place this winter.
If the city declares a snow emergency, certain roads will be deemed emergency snow zones, and no parking will be allowed for 12 hours, to allow plows to get through. Click HERE for a list of snow zone streets and to sign up for snow emergency notifications.
Officials say they don't intend to tow cars. But, if crews have to, they'll move vehicles to identified relocation areas at no cost to the owner. "Do your neighbors a favor: Don't get plowed around," Streets and Operations Department Director David Abbas said in a prepared statement. "Plowing around parked cars can end up leaving a berm that would be difficult for a person with a shovel to remove."
BEND, OR -- Empire Avenue, between 18th and Purcell, opened temporarily Tuesday afternoon. But, only to pedestrians. The city of Bend held an open house to show off the nearly complete stretch of road, following months of work. Project Manager Sinclair Bur talked with visitors about, "What we've accomplished so far, what we have planned coming up in the near future with the rest of Phase One, but also give people information on what's coming with Phase Two of the Project."
The stretch of Empire closed in September. It's expected to reopen to vehicles by Monday. Joe Mesarich lives nearby and says construction has gone smoothly, "A couple times, the house shook when they were starting to dig it; we could feel that, But I think it's worth it because we don't have to go to a park, we can just walk right on the sidewalk. We've got good sidewalks; that's good."
Cricket Campbell moved to a neighborhood just off Empire during the Summer. She's pleased by the changes, "What I really see as a local resident here is the pedestrian safety, bike safety, just overall flow seems like it's going to be much better." She tells KBND News the city was very forthcoming with information, and she believes project management really took their needs and wants into consideration. Campbell is looking forward to the next phase, and improved accessibility, "The next thing will hopefully be some, maybe, bus routes or bus transit in here. [It] Would be super nice to have that option out here, as well. I know that's much needed and wanted by the residents that I talk with."
The second half of Phase One is now underway, including construction of a roundabout at Empire and Purcell. Then, Bur says, Phase Two will be broken in to four parts, "Improvements to Purcell from the north side of the canal, south down to Butler Market; some improvements to the Purcell / Butler Market intersection; the extension of Empire through Pine Nursery Park down to Butler Market; and then improvements to the intersection at 27th and Butler [Market Road]." The entirety of the Empire Corridor Improvement Project should be complete in 2021.
BEND, OR -- Mt. Bachelor celebrates its 60th anniversary, this winter. Drew Jackson says, "Mt. Bachelor first started in 1958 – 60 years ago. Our founder, Bill Healy, had a vision for a new ski area on what has now become the sixth largest ski mountain in the United States." It was officially renamed Mt. Bachelor in 1983.
It originally opened as the Bachelor Butte Ski Area on December 19, 1958. Jackson says there was a 1,500-square-foot day lodge and just one lift back then - and it didn't have any chairs. "There was a Poma Lift, which was a surface lift that drags you and your skis along the snow, and two rope tows; and that’s it. Lift tickets were $3 in 1958." A lot has changed in 60 years, "We've got 11 chairlifts scattered across the mountain, over 4,300 acres of terrain." While there's no lodging at Bachelor, this year they added 10 hook-ups for overnight RVs, and plan to add more next summer. Click HERE for more on the history of Mt. Bachelor.
The resort opened for limited skiing over the Thanksgiving weekend, but closed again Monday. As of Tuesday morning, there were just 16" of snow at mid-mountain, but Jackson is hopeful conditions will improve in time for a special anniversary event this December 19. "We'll be offering $3 lift tickets on our Red Chair, which is our oldest operating lift at the mountain."
Photo: Pine Marten Lodge seen from the mountain's webcam on November 27, 2018.
REDMOND, OR -- Deschutes County is considering a proposal to add 950 acres near the fairgrounds to Redmond's Urban Growth Boundary. Two hearings will be held Tuesday evening regarding the two parcels owned by the Department of State Lands, known as the South Redmond Tract.
State Board Approves Redmond Land Deal (08/15/2018)
Associate County Planner Nicole Mardell says the first application is for a 789-acre parcel. "That portion of the property will be seeking a redesignation as a large lot industrial site," she tells KBND News, "to accommodate a regional large lot industrial program." The second parcel is 160 acres. "The remaining will be to allow for the expansion of the Deschutes County Fairgrounds and for the relocation of the National Guard Armory." Mardell says, "The fairgrounds is looking to expand to include a multi-purpose event center to hold different events and concerts." It would allow for larger events than the current facility. She says building next door to the current fairgrounds will keep infrastructure costs down. "They also wanted to make sure that any impact from a use like the multi-purpose event center wasn't near housing or a residential area where it could be a disturbance."
The city of Redmond is working with the county, EDCO, and ODOT to rezone the two parcels and determine their best uses. "They looked at the need for public facilities land, and could not find any within the current Urban Growth Boundary area," says Mardell, "So basically, they're looking for an amendment to Redmond's Urban Growth Boundary to allow these two specific uses."
Tuesday's hearings begins t 6 p.m. at the County Services Building at 1330 NW Wall St. in Bend. The hearings officer will make a in the next three weeks.
LA PINE, OR -- The Oregon Department of Transportation has finished taking apart the partially constructed overcrossing at Wickiup Junction. ODOT has been working with the city of La Pine for nearly a decade to improve safety at the intersection, where Highway 97 crosses the railroad tracks.
ODOT’s Peter Murphy tells KBND News that while the overcrossing project is dead, the quest to find solutions moves forward, "What we’re going to be doing is continuing to analyze what could be done in the Wickiup Junction area, and make further improvements. We’re hiring a consultant who will specifically look at that intersection down there and help us make recommendations for where to go in the future."
ODOT had hoped to an overcrossing would take highway vehicles over the tracks. But, the $17 million dollar project was halted in 2017 when engineers discovered it was being built on unstable ground caused by an ancient lake bed.
Photo: A partially constructed overcrossing, seen in 2017, prior to the discovery of unstable ground underneath the massive structure.
BEND, OR -- A Good Samaritan is credited for saving the life of a Bend man who drove off Highway 20, Monday night, causing his car to burst into flames.
According to the Sheriff’s Office, 56-year-old Brian Larson drove down a 10' embankment near Old Bend-Redmond Highway, just after 7:30 p.m. Investigators say he was likely traveling at a low speed when his car high-centered on a dirt mound.
A passerby pulled him from the vehicle while the tires were still spinning, just as the car caught fire. As deputies arrived, flames were spreading to brush and trees. The blaze was quickly put out by Bend firefighters, but not before heavily damaging the car.
Deputies say Larson was very intoxicated and, after determining he was not hurt in the crash, he was arrested for DUII.
BEND, OR -- Pedestrians are invited to walk on the newly improved section of Empire Avenue, Monday afternoon, during an open house hosted by the city of Bend. The stretch of Empire between 18th and Purcell closed in September; it will open for walking visitors Monday, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. It's scheduled to fully reopen to vehicle traffic on December third.
The Empire Corridor Improvement Project will eventually push the road through to 27th Street. Earlier this month, City Councilors approved funding for Phase Two, which includes construction of a roundabout at Empire and Purcell. Crews will work through winter, as weather allows.
REDMOND, OR -- Housing Works, Central Oregon's regional housing authority, was recently granted Family Unification Program vouchers from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The federal funding will be used to help local families pay for adequate housing.
Housing Works' Lesly Gonzalez says grant approval has been a long time in coming, "It has been almost 10 years! So, being able to have 29 Family Unification vouchers in our community, that's a big thing for Central Oregon." She tells KBND News these particular HUD vouchers are for those needing family unification, "The vouchers come with services. And there's a preference that's going to be for these particular vouchers, for those that are coming out of foster care. It's also for parents that are struggling to find adequate housing for their children." Housing Works will partner with the Department of Human Services, NeighborImpact, J Bar J Youth Services, and the Central Oregon Continuum of Care to provide services to voucher recipients.
Gonzalez says the funding wasn't easy to secure, "This was a very competitive process, there's only about 61 agencies out of the entire U.S. that were selected for them." But, she says, it's worth it, "We're excited that we got these vouchers, and we're very excited to be able to issue them in 2019." She adds, "Since the market is getting a little better, we're hoping that we can house these families as soon as possible."
Housing Works will issue the new vouchers in early 2019, once it receives further guidance from HUD. Recipients will be determined based on applications submitted to the general wait list, "Our general wait list opens up once a year," says Gonzalez, "January 14-18 will be the next time; and we'll take online applications at that time."
REDMOND, OR -- An 18-year-old Redmond man and his dog reported lost, Friday afternoon, were found after a two-hour effort by Deschutes County Search and Rescue and Sheriff’s Detectives.
Michael McManus became separated from his father while running their dogs, northwest of Eagle Crest, at about 3 p.m. He was not prepared for, nor dressed for, the approaching cold. More than 20 Deschutes County SAR volunteers responded, as well as a Bend Police K-9.
McManus and his German Shepherd were located on a trail about a half mile north of where he was last seen. He was cold but otherwise okay.
BEND, OR -- Deschutes, Jefferson, and Crook Counties continue with record low unemployment, but October saw slightly higher numbers than in previous months. Regional Economist Damon Runberg says he believes it's because the growth rate is beginning to slow. "We're still growing like gangbusters, 4.5% growth in our job base year over year, we are seeing the rate of job growth slow, unemployment rate ticking up just a little bit. You put those two together and I think that's a sign that we've definitely reached the bottom of the unemployment rate."
Each of the counties lost jobs in October, but Runberg says job losses are no reason to worry. "We have not heard, or seen, any major layoff events, so we're not too concerned that this is because of layoffs." Runberg says overall, there were more than 1,300 jobs lost in October, but he says it's to be expected as the tourist season slows. "We have this sort of yin and yang that happens in the fall, these education jobs coming on at the same time you're having these tourism jobs fall off the books, so in the end, we're seeing job losses right now, but that's to be expected this time of year."
The low unemployment rates should trend through 2019, according to Runberg, "We saw the unemployment rate tick up slightly in all three counties, and so we've basically gone from historically low levels to just barely off of historically low levels," but he believes there will be significant slowdowns in 2020.
Deschutes County's October Jobless rate is at 4%, Crook County ticked up slightly to 5.7%, and Jefferson County's unemployment rate rose to 5.2%.
BEND, OR -- The Camp Fire in Paradise, CA, has displaced thousands, and one local woman is working to bringing Thanksgiving to those who are staying in the many Red Cross shelters across the devastated region. Carrie Sammons, who lives in Bend, has traveled to Chico as a volunteer for the Red Cross to provide service, comfort, and some turkey and cranberry sauce. "We've got 950 people staying in 7 different Red Cross shelters, and we have a kitchen set up, not the Red Cross, it's run by another group, who are going to prepare a full-on Thanksgiving meal for those shelters. The Red Cross staff is going to go to the shelters, and serve the meals, to give the shelter staff a bit of a break, and serve all of our clients."
She says, for many, it's their first holiday after losing all their possessions. "For a lot of these people, this is their first time without a home, their first time, maybe, without their families, and it's making it a little bit normal for the Red Cross staff, as well, to be having a regular Thanksgiving meal.Their lives have been changed forever, and it's my hope that we, in the Red Cross, can help their transition move along as quickly as possible."
Rain is forecast, and Oregon strike teams are heading home, but Sammons says that may mean more Paradise residents, who are currently camping, will move into the Red Cross shelters. The Camp fire has been reported as the deadliest wildfire in a century, burning more than 150,000 acres and 13,000 structures, and resulting in the deaths of at least 79 people. 28 agency and association personnel from the Oregon Department of Forestry and the Douglas Forest Protective Association have been released to return home for Thanksgiving, due to heavy rains in California's forecast.
BEND, OR -- There isn't actually any snow on the mountain just yet, but the forecast looks good enough to make some tentative plans. The Mountain's Drew Jackson says they want to open the Sunshine lifts on Saturday and invite hopefuls up to kick off the season. "We’re taking a leap of faith here and trusting the weather forecast of 1 to 2 feet of snow."
Jackson says snow enthusiasts should be able to ski or snowboard Saturday and Sunday. "Our Saturday plan is still tentative at this point, there's always a chance that the weather forecasts don't turn out to be as positive as they're looking right now, which is why we want people to check in with us on Friday, no matter what, to confirm what our weekend plans are."
Jackson says the forecast may call for snow this week, but it's hard to know what will come next. "Unfortunately, it's hard to say what our 'going forward' plan is going to be after Saturday, there's just still too many wild cards at this point. We actually don't have any snow at the mountain currently, so we're completely dependent on what's expected to fall."
Complete details about this weekend, including lift operations, ticket prices, and the Nordic Center's status, will be announced Friday on the Mountain's website. The Mountain crew plans to have the Gravity Sports shop open Saturday and Sunday, with food and beverage services in the lodge and the Nordic Center. "The most likely scenario, if we're able to open a chair lift on Saturday, would just be the Sunshine chair lifts, the main beginner run there, and we'll have some rails and boxes set up in a mini-terrain park there."
The plan is to be open both Saturday and Sunday this weekend, then check the forecast and make winter plans.
BEND, OR -- This Thanksgiving, it might seem like you're leaving your pet out of the festivities if they don't share the feast from your table, but Lynne Ouchida of the Humane Society says pets aren't used to the kinds of rich foods we love on Thanksgiving, and feeding them what you're eating could actually be dangerous. "If you want to indulge, give them some lean meat and some vegetables, if they like that, but overfeeding an animal can definitely cause some gastroenteritis, and in a severe form of eating too much or too much rich food, you can get serious cases of pancreatitis."
Ouchida suggests wrapping turkey bones in a separate container and taking trash outside to keep it away from your animals. She says a lot of people just throw out the string used on a turkey during cooking and don't give it a second thought. "Dogs see the world through their nose, and they don't realize that yummy smelling string is potentially something that could get tied up in their intestinal tract."
She says it's important to pay attention to anything your pet does that's out of the ordinary. "If you see any changes in your pet and you know that they got into some food, definitely give your veterinarian a call, have emergency clinic numbers on hand, those types of issues can actually be really, really life threatening for some animals."
Pets can also get out easily, Ouchida says, with guests coming and going, so make sure they have a microchip and ID, so they can be easily returned to your home.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- Hundreds of volunteers are packing food boxes and wrapping gifts for needy families in Crook County. "We provide holiday support to families with children, seniors, and disabled citizens in Crook County, through food boxes and gifts," says Vickie Rhodin, the Co-Coordinator for Holiday Partnership, a competition that started in Crook County among agencies and businesses, to see who can collect the most food.
The program has been around since the 1970s, and serves more than 2,500 households in Crook County. "We have millions of wrappers, or thousands, they come and they wrap, down at the Carey Foster Hall, they wrap all the gifts, and we collect food through boxes and through the challenges, and then we fill the food boxes."
Starting today, there will be collection boxes placed all over Prineville, and Giving Trees, bearing tags with gift requests for under-served children. "We have Giving Trees set up around Prineville, We have Toys for Tots, we're with the Marine Corps League, and we have the boxes around town that you can buy gifts and drop them off, and then we also are partnered with Mid-Oregon Credit Union through Holiday Dough."
Rhodin says everyone is invited to participate, either through donating food or gifts through the donation boxes and the Giving Trees set up around town, or by getting involved in wrapping, sorting, and distribution. "We have boxes out for donations, and we'll be collecting up until we give the things away on the 20th of December."
She says area businesses are getting into the spirit, too, challenging each other to see who can collect the most canned food. They will keep a running tally and announce the winner of the challenge on Distribution Day - the prize is bragging rights.
BEND, OR -- An affordable housing pilot project approved by the 2016 State Legislature has been awarded to Bend. Both Bend and Redmond submitted proposals, but just one could be approved for the program, which allows a city to fasttrack a UGB expansion for the purposes of creating more affordable housing.
Lynne McConnell, the Affordable Housing Manager for the City of Bend, says the project is going to serve all income levels. "The City of Bend worked with a private land owner for the opportunity to bring in about 35 acres of land on the east side of Bend."
Redmond's Deputy City Manager John Roberts was gracious, and he says Redmond isn't finished looking for creative ways to provide affordable housing for residents. "We're really happy for Bend. Affordable housing is critical, and it's a regional issue, so it's just simply important that the region is getting the project, period."
Bend’s proposal will put a 394 home development on 35 acres near Highway 20 in SE Bend, along with a park ... McConnell says it will have 185 homes for those making less than 60% of the Area Median Income, 175 for those making 80 to 120% of the AMI, and 25 units for those at the over 120% wage mark.
McConnell says the legislation will allow a faster process for expanding the urban growth boundary. "It put us in competition with cities over 25,000 population, only one city was able to be chosen, for the opportunity to bring in up to 50 acres to our Urban Growth Boundary." And Roberts says their application for about 485 units on 40 acres NE of Redmond, was rejected by the State, but they're not giving up hope. "We won't be moving forward, but we are hopeful that some legislation might be introduced and passed this session that enables us to revisit."
McConnell believes the State appreciated that the 35 acre, 394 home neighborhood in Bend will truly be mixed income. "Really giving opportunity to the entering school teachers, and firefighters, as well as folks who are looking for a wonderful place to be close to amenities." She says the new development will have a huge impact for those who are struggling to make ends meet.
BEND, OR -- With balmy days throughout November, and very little snow in the forecast, experts are wondering if we'll be able to rebuild our snow pack for going into next year.
Julie Koeberle with the National Resource Conservation Service says Central Oregon's water was depleted during this dry summer, but it's still early enough in the season to replenish the supply. She does say, however, that not much snow is expected in the near future. "When we've seen a long-range weather forecast like this in the past, that doesn't mean that we won't receive snow, it just is leaning towards warmer conditions, and so that usually does not bode well for building a healthy snow pack."
She says if snow doesn't come, we'll need a lot of rain this spring in order to refill the lakes, streams, and reservoirs. "It is early season, and while we have really insignificant amounts of snow throughout the state, really to speak of, we do have time to build up a snow pack." Given how low our water supply is now, we'll need to see a lot of snow and rain throughout the entire season, but especially by the end of March. "We have several months were we need several feet of snow to build up our sites, so we'd like to see normal snow pack at least build by the peak of the snow season."
BEND, OR -- The US Forest Service has released a list of the 'Top 100 Communities in the Pacific Northwest' that they believe have the highest risk of being destroyed by wild land fire. Bend Fire Battalion Fire Chief Dave Howe says the communities ranked have an outsized risk of fire because they are built among trees. "They base this ranking on the probability of burning in any specific community and the number of houses that are exposed to fire."
Howe says Bend was ranked at #8, and he says it's because we have over 40,000 housing units that are in a wild land danger zone. "People move here because they want to live in the trees, and so it's not like a very urban environment like Portland or Eugene." And, he says, it's just part of living in Central Oregon. "We live in what we call a 'fire regime,' which means that fire, basically, defines the ecosystem. It always has."
According to Howe, there's certainly risk of fire here, but we don't have the same worries as California does. "We don't get the same confluence of weather events at the same time, at least we don't now. As the climate continues to modify itself, we don't know. It could turn that way. We are clearly seeing more intense fires, and more frequent fires, more damaging fires in the Northwest."
To learn more about ways to reduce your home or neighborhood's risk of wild land fire, visit the Bend Fire District website for tips.
BEND, OR -- Bend Fire says an ember from a firepit set a deck on fire around 1:30 in the morning on Saturday.
A neighbor saw flames on the deck, spreading to the eaves of the house and the garage, and awakened the family who evacuated and called 9-1-1. When fire Crews arrived, they found the deck engulfed and fire in the attic space of the garage. The home is equipped with smoke detectors, but they didn't go off because smoke had not yet intruded into the living areas.
The homeowner said he and his family had enjoyed a fire in the firepit, located about 3 feet from the home's deck, and thought the fire was out before they went to bed. Investigators believe an ember from that firepit was blown onto the deck, catching it on fire, and they would like to remind all homeowners that outdoor recreational fires must always be used in a safe location, away from all flammable surfaces and materials.
BEND, OR -- We haven't seen snowfall yet, but temperatures are certainly dropping, and that means winter is on the way. Chuck Swann, the Streets and Operations Manager for the City of Bend Public Works Department says, he's heard conflicting reports about the coming winter's severity, so he's trying to be ready for whatever comes. "We are, pretty much, geared up for it now, we've done our shift change, we usually do in our winter operations around daylight savings, where we split our crews a little bit to cover morning and evening commutes for when we do start getting inclement weather like snow or ice."
Swann says the Department's preparations include not just making sure trucks and equipment are serviced, but that supplies are stocked, and employees have up-to-date training. When the forecast does call for snow, Swann says the public can help by keeping cars, trailers, and other items off the streets so sweepers have room to navigate. "If we do get snow, to help themselves, people can, ahead of their driveway, clean about 20 feet, so it keeps from building a larger dam in their driveways of ice. Keeping the streets clear is a huge help for the Streets and Operations Department."
Getting ahead of ice is one of the main jobs of the Department, Swann says, where the trucks go out and spread preventative chemicals, and keeping the streets clear gives the trucks a better chance of covering the entire road with ice melt. "That's when we end up having to put the sanding rock down, and if we have a continuous build up of ice, we don't have a chance to come back and clean that up. It's not good for our clean water program and it's not good for our sweeping program."
While Central Oregon waits for snow, Swann says the Department will keep busy with core maintenance projects like tree trimming, and median and landscape maintenance.
BEND, OR -- There's a new cat at the Humane Society of Central Oregon, and the shelter's Lynne Ouchida says he's the poster cat for sweetness, but also for severe neglect. "Poor little Jack is weighing in at over 31 pounds. Just a year ago, Jack was adopted from here, and he weighed a healthy weight of 13 pounds."
Meaning Jack gained nearly 20 pounds in just one year. "A lot of times, people consider neglect as only the animals that are being starved and malnourished, and not given water and food, but obesity is definitely a form of neglect." Ouchida says they'll start Jack down the road to recovery, but she knows the affectionate cat will be adopted again soon, and his new family will need to help keep him on the straight and narrow. "So, come on in and meet this larger than life kitty, but also, he is one big lovebug."
The cat will be medically evaluated, but the Humane Society staff is hopeful his problems are based on his obesity and inability to adequately clean himself, and not another, underlying, medical problem. Jack, Ouchida says, will make the perfect weight loss companion for someone who has resolved to get healthy in 2019. She says, like humans, obesity is a significant problem for animals - how Americans eat and their lifestyle choices carries over into their pet care. "We're giving them an unlimited amount of food, we provide them with lots of treats, I mean pet products is a billion dollar industry. If you want to kick start your New Year's resolution of getting healthy and fit, then maybe Jack can help you with that. He might be a great diet and exercise partner."
BEND, OR -- Bend Police are investigating a fatal crash that occurred Sunday night in southeast Bend.
Multiple people reported the single-vehicle rollover, just before 10 p.m. on Fargo Lane. Arriving officers found a pickup resting on its top in a residential driveway. Firefighters pulled the driver from the wreckage; he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Investigators believe the truck was northbound on Fargo Lane when it left the road, struck something on the shoulder and rolled over. Speed appears to have been a factor in the crash. The driver's name has not been released, and police do not yet know whether intoxicants contributed to the crash.
UPDATE: The driver has been identified as 33-year old Bend resident, Derrek Wesley Finnell. The toxicology report is still unavailable.
BEND, OR -- The holidays can be tough for seniors who may find themselves cut off from friends and family by a lack of transportation or physical limitations. Starting this week, the Council on Aging of Central Oregon will host special meals at local senior centers. Executive Director Susan Rotella tells KBND News, "We want to make sure that any senior who is interested in being with other people and having a sense of community and enjoyment of the holidays, will have an opportunity to come to one of the senior centers in Central Oregon, so they can be treated specially; so that they can have and be around friends."
This is just the second year the Council has offered special lunches for the holidays. They decorate the centers, serve food and hands out small gifts, "Because the holiday time is when many of our older adult neighbors are lonely," says Rotella, "Many of them have no family; many of them have friends or a spouse who may have passed away, and the holidays can be a difficult time." And, she says that loneliness can lead to physical and mental health problems. "There’s a reason that this time of year has a pretty high death rate for seniors, because that loneliness and that sadness and that lack of purpose that they feel result in that feeling of ‘why do I need to continue living’."
Rotella encourages everyone to take an interest in the lives of our older neighbors. She suggests inviting a senior over, give them a card or simply wish them happy holidays, "It’s amazing what little gestures, how big an impact they can have on a senior’s life."
The Council on Aging's holiday lunches are free to adults over 60, their unpaid caregivers and loved ones, and take place once at each senior center in Central Oregon until Christmas. Each are from 12-12:30 p.m.
- November 21: La Pine Senior Center
- November 29: Bend Senior Center
- December 4: Sisters Community Church
- December 18: Redmond Senior Center
- December 19: Jefferson County Senior Center
- December 20: Prineville Senior Center
BEND, OR -- Bend Police are investigating an alleged assault and robbery reported in a viral social media post, Thursday. In a Facebook post that has been shared across the platform, a woman claims her mother was attacked by two men in a black van, near Shevlin Park. The post describes the suspects dressed in all black and says the victim reported the incident to police.
Investigators were made aware of the post Friday morning and are now looking in to the claim. They say, due to the ongoing nature of the investigation, they cannot release further details.
UPDATE (11/16/2018, 5 p.m.) -- Bend Police and the Sheriff's Office continue to investigate, and have determined an incident may have occurred near NW Shevlin Park Rd. And NW Chardonnay Ln. Detectives interviewed the woman, conducted a scene investigation and analyzed potential evidence and say they do not have credible or substantiated information "to believe there is an active threat to the public." And, they do not believe either college campus is involved or connected, as mentioned in the Facebook post.
Bend Police ask that anyone living in the area of Shevlin Park Road and NW Chardonnay check surveillance cameras for suspicious activity or a large black van within the last 36 hours. Anyone with information in the case is asked to call Bend PD, and reference case #2018-356489.
BEND, OR -- A 71-year-old Sisters man is accused of pointing a gun at a Bend family, during Thursday afternoon "road rage" incident. Bend Police say 27-year-old Kory Allen and 23-year-old Brittani Williamson reported that a man in another vehicle pulled a gun, just after 2:30 p.m., near the intersection of NE 8th and Olney.
Officers found a vehicle matching the suspect's description at NE Neff and Purcell, and took Zeke Duge into custody. Investigators say they confirmed Duge pointed a loaded firearm at Williamson, Allen and the two young children in their vehicle. Police recovered a gun from Duge's car and he was arrested on several charges, including Reckless Endangering, Unlawful Use/Carry of a Weapon and Driving Under the Influence.
BEND, OR -- Two Deschutes County inmates that allegedly tried to escape from a work crew this week, now face additional criminal charges, and the incident has prompted the Sheriff's Office to review policies surrounding the inmate work program.
Shawn McCallister and Christopher Turre reportedly drank hand sanitizer from the jail transport van prior to taking a quad from the Sheriff’s Rescue Ranch, Wednesday. Hand sanitizer typically is 60% alcohol. The two allegedly took the ATV, forced their way out of the ranch's gate and were seen by witnesses doing cookies near Arnold Market Road, before they were re-captured. "Unfortunately, these two individuals made a bad decision, and they're going to have to pay for it again," says Captain Michael Shults, "The whole goal is that we stop having them make bad decisions, and we don't want to ruin this program for a number of people that have been going through it for many years, that have earned benefits from it."
The work crew program is available to inmates sentenced to less than a year in jail. Participants work around the community, painting over graffiti, cleaning out homeless camps, and nursing rescued animals back to health. Shults says the goal is to teach the inmates skills that may keep them from committing further crimes, "[To] Give them some tools, get them back into the community, help them do some projects, and hopefully those types of things transfer to the person wanting to make changes when they get out of our custody. We want them to have successes and the work crew allows them to have success." Shults says dangerous felons aren't allowed in programs that require leaving the jail, "Anybody that comes in, we look at them to see what their charges are. We take the lowest means of crime, such as non person-to-person crime. Sex offenders, we don't allow on work crew." In this week's incident, he says both inmates were apprehended within a short time, with little risk to the community.
Inmates Gain Satisfaction, Skills On Work Crew (03/27/2017)
While he doesn't want to see the program scrapped, Capt. Shults believes there's always room for improvement, "I think, any time you have something like this that occurs, you want to look at your policies. We want to make sure that the right individuals are on the crew, so we're evaluating that." McCallister and Turre face new charges of Escape 2, Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle, Criminal Mischief 1. McCallister is also accused of DUII, Attempt to Elude, Reckless Driving, Reckless Endangering and Driving While Suspended.
LAKEVIEW, OR -- An Oregon wildland fire team is the newest certified Interagency Hotshot Crew (IHC) in the country. Traci Weaver, with the Bureau of Land Management, says it’s an elite status, "We rely on them to do really complex burnout operations, put in lines in difficult terrain; anything that’s really challenging, we rely on our Hotshot Crews for that, because of their level of training and experience."
But this group based in Lakeview is especially unique, "All of their recruiting is done through veterans, in recruiting veterans, and they’ve worked really hard to reach that elite status, if you will, of Interagency Hotshot Crew. It’s taken them two years, just focused on that; but they’ve been recruiting veterans since 2012." While other teams have members who are veterans, Weaver tells KBND News the Lakeview crew is the first to focus solely on vets, "This crew had a little bit unique start in that they were focused on veterans since 2012, and then have worked towards becoming a Hotshot Crew; rather than the other way around." She says veterans have skills and experience that make them uniquely qualified for the fire lines, "It’s a structured crew environment, they’re gone from home for long periods of time, they’re not in comfortable situations – they’re sleeping out in the dirt or in a tent for 14 days at a time. Veterans are already used to that sort of situation. And then, a lot of them, their combat experience – they have combat medical experience, which is huge out on the fire line."
There are 112 IHCs, nationwide; the Lakeview Veterans IHC is just the tenth to be funded through the BLM. The team recently received their certification allowing them to be deployed across the country, when and where needed.
LA PINE, OR -- A Klamath Falls man faces drunk driving charges after a crash near La Pine, Wednesday evening. Deschutes County Deputies and La Pine Fire responded to State Rec Road just after 5 p.m. after a report that an SUV had crashed into a bridge and was in the river, on fire.
Arriving Deputies found the GMC Acadia engulfed in flames, along with surrounding plants. The road was blocked by the damaged guardrail and debris. State Rec Road was closed for more than 90 minutes to allow firefighters to put out the blaze and for the law enforcement investigation.
DCSO says 37-year-old Michael Meeker was westbound when he left the road and struck the guardrail and bridge. The car spun 180-degrees, landing in the dry portion of the river under the bridge. The crash caused severe damage to the guardrail and pedestrian portion of the bridge, as well as conduit and wiring belonging to Midstate Electric. The vehicle was a total loss, although the bridge was later deemed safe.
Meeker is charged with DUI-alcohol, Reckless Driving and Criminal Mischief I.
BEND, OR -- Transgender healthcare will now be provided by Planned Parenthood in Bend. The announcement comes during Transgender Awareness Week, which is a time dedicated to raising the visibility of issues facing the transgender community.
Liliana Cabrera, with Bend's Planned Parenthood, says the nonprofit has always worked to serve all people. "We're working to help support the community and other health service providers to also meet the need for our transgender community." She tells KBND News, "This addition of Transgender care and the aspect of hormonal provision and gender affirming care is new here in this community." Cabrera says they not only treat everyone with dignity and respect, they also make sure to call patients by their preferred pronouns throughout their visit, "This is a new conversation that we're having [in] reproductive and sexual health services, but it's not something that has been historically discussed. So, it is a collaborative care that we are working towards."
The services are typically covered by the Oregon Health Plan, but Cabrera says those who aren't eligible for coverage through traditional healthcare programs are still welcome, "We are accepting new patients to come in to receive transgender care and gender affirming services and hormone provision." She says community donors help pay for uncovered expenses; employees of Planned Parenthood also donate to a patient care fund.
According to Cabrera, Planned Parenthood provides a range of health services including contraception, cancer screening, women's health, and abortion services.
REDMOND, OR -- Renovations on the New Redmond Hotel have been delayed, and the city’s Urban Renewal Agency is now working up a new agreement with the developer to help cover mounting costs. Mayor George Endicott says the developer admitted to City Council this week he was not prepared for what he found in the 90-year-old building when the project began last spring, "For example, he thought, since it had been an operating building 20 years ago, the plumbing was probably okay; well, it’s not. He thought that the electrical was probably okay; well, it’s not. He thought the sprinkler system was okay; it’s not," Endicott tells KBND News, "He just made some incorrect assumptions."
The city is prepared to offer the developer more money than initially planned, up to $3.53 million. The money would come from the Urban Renewal Fund and would come in the form of loans. Mayor Endicott says through the tentative deal, $800,000 would have to be paid back, while the rest would be forgiven if the developer follows through on certain promises, "The developer agreed in principle to move the guarantee of that building staying as a hotel from 10 years to 30 years." The city's contribution would account for about a third of the overall price tag for the project, now around $10 million.
Partnership Aims to Reopen New Redmond Hotel (12/13/2017)
While the city is ponying up more money, Endicott says it's important to preserve the downtown building, "There are certain things that are just iconic to a community that define and identify the community and you should not let them go. The hotel is one of those." He compares it to renovation work that converted the former Evergreen Elementary into City Hall. The Mayor says this is the best chance to restore the hotel to its original glory, "This is probably the third person who’s come in – maybe the fourth, to try and figure out a way to restore that building. He has agreed to put more money into it than anyone else. He’s committing to finishing the rooftop bar next summer. And the rooms, he said, his goal is early in the fall but no later than a year from now."
The new deal should be finalized before the end of the year.
BEND, OR -- Two inmates allegedly stole an off-road vehicle from the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office Rescue Ranch, in southeast Bend, and made a bid for freedom. The inmates, 30-year-old Christopher Turre (left) and 34-year-old Shawn McAllister (right), were with a work crew helping to care for the horses seized from Terrebonne when they tried to escape, just before noon, Wednesday.
Sgt. William Bailey says it didn't take long for law enforcement to find them, "About an hour after the inmates left the ranch facility, the first one was taken into custody, and then about 40 minutes later, the second one was taken into custody. Both were located on forest land south of Bend in the area of Lava Butte." No one is sure what prompted them to try to escape, "Both of these inmates are less than 30 days from being released from custody, time served." But, he says, now, "We can expect some additional charges on both these individuals for what happened."
There is now an investigation in to what happened, "We do believe, based on what one of the inmates told us, that they had consumed some hand sanitizer, for the alcohol content, which may be a contributing factor in their decision." DCSO is also looking into how the two managed to get the quad, "We may have to re-look at how we have inmates out here working at our facility, and our inmate workers," Sgt. Bailey tells KBND News, "But all of that will be determined through the investigation, and then we'll make whatever changes we need to in the future."
BEND, OR -- A shed used as a workshop for musical instruments was destroyed by fire, Wednesday night. Bend firefighters responded to the home on NE 10th, near Pilot Butte Cemetery, just before 8:30 p.m. and found flames spreading from the 400-square foot shed to trees and a fence, threatening several homes.
They quickly knocked down the blaze but the damage was too extensive to determine a cause.
SISTERS, OR -- Fire officials believe a hot tub malfunction led to an early morning house fire, Wednesday, in Sisters. Firefighters arrived on E. Black Crater Ave. just after 1:30 a.m. and found flames coming from the corner of the home.
The family reported seeing a glow through a bedroom window prior to evacuating and alerting neighbors. The blaze was about 7'x14' in size, and was confined to the exterior wall and the hot tub. Crews removed burned siding and applied plastic to protect from the weather. The specific cause remains under investigation. Damage is estimated at $10,000.
Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire District Shift Commander Thornton Brown said in a statement, "The occupants did the right thing by quickly evacuating the home, calling 911 and alerting neighbors." He says there were working smoke detectors, but because the fire was contained outside, alarms never sounded.
BEND, OR -- Another sign winter is on the way: Cascade Lakes Highway and Paulina Lake Road will close Monday morning. At 8 a.m., The Deschutes County Road Department will close the snow gates at Dutchman Flat and Deschutes Bridge, on Cascade Lakes Highway, west of Mount Bachelor. And they'll close the snow gate on Paulina Lake Road at the Ten-Mile Snow Park.
Despite the current lack of snow, officials say the closures occur on or around November 15 of each year, before any major snow events, to make sure no one gets stuck on the rural roads.
Weather permitting, both roads will reopen prior to Memorial Day.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- Many people who get released from jail have only the clothes on their back, but one local agency wants to help. The Crook County Community Corrections Office is setting up a clothes closet for recently released offenders. Director Brett Lind says the idea came to him when a client arrived at his office cold and without a jacket, and he realized there were no resources open for the man. "We're going to open a clothes closet here at the Corrections Office which will allow offenders to get clothes, and hopefully personal items, that they need to help them get settled into the community." He tells KBND News, "We are just starting this up, so right now we are in the process of just collecting the items."
Lind says the agency will rely on donations from the community, "Good quality, gently used, clean clothes; stuff that people will be able to use and keep warm, so coats, jackets, hats, gloves, scarves. And, even nicer clothes, shirts and ties that they could wear to job interviews so they look presentable and can get jobs in the community." They're also collecting new hygiene items. Bagged donations can be delivered to the Parole and Probation office in Prineville, Monday through Friday, 8-5.
BEND, OR -- Nearly 9,000 buildings have been destroyed by the Camp Fire in northern California; the death toll hit 48 after six more bodies were discovered Tuesday in Paradise, which has been mostly destroyed. The Camp Fire is now considered 35% contained and no rain is expected in the area until at least late next week.
An Oregon-based coffee company wants to help those devastated by the wildfires. Josh Kimzey owns 10 Dutch Bros Coffee locations in Central Oregon. He tells KBND News, "We have so many people in the community [and] employees that are affected indirectly, we’ve got employees that have family members that live in that area, we have employees that have transferred from the Dutch Bros Coffees, there. And it just kind of struck us that it really is a small world and the devastation is – I can’t even imagine."
The company, headquartered in Grants Pass, announced Tuesday it would collect donations at all 320+ Dutch Bros Coffee stands across seven states, "We’ve got a bucket set aside for cash donations. Every store is also equipped to take card donations," says Kimzey, "Up to $150,000, Dutch Bros Coffee is going to match. Those moneys go to the Salvation Army, the United Way and North Valley Community Foundation." In a statement issued by the CEO, Travis Boersma says, "Matching donations is one of several steps we'll be taking to help support the communities we love as they begin the process of rebuilding."
But, Kimzey says his local employees wanted to do more for the approximately 100 Dutch Bros employees impacted by the fires. "Everyone – all the employees, everyone in those communities lost everything. So, in addition to the cash donations, also all the employees are getting together, putting together clothes and hygiene items, and shoes and all kinds of stuff that we’re going to ship down there, as well; just, internally." Kimzey says he doesn't know how many Dutch Bros locations have been destroyed, "I did see a video on Facebook that, randomly in the background, you could see the Dutch Bros sign and building amid the flames. But as to the status of the actual stores, no one can get in to verify."
MADRAS, OR -- One person was killed in a Jefferson County crash, Tuesday afternoon. The Sheriff’s Office says a witness reported seeing the car speeding on Northeast Clark Drive, southbound from Gateway toward Madras, prior to the crash.
At about 4:45 p.m., just north of Dogwood Lane, the driver lost control. The car went off the road into an empty field and flipped. The driver, who did not appear to be wearing his seat belt, was ejected. Despite life-saving efforts by first responders, he was pronounced dead at the scene.
His name has not been released.
BEND, OR -- The world's supply of helium is quickly diminishing, and one local expert says that means changes to birthday celebrations. Wayne Barker, of Norco in Bend, says helium is, essentially, a non-renewable resource. It is a byproduct of natural radioactive decay that takes several thousands of years to produce.
Barker says the main sources of helium are found in the United States, Qatar, and Azerbaijan, "The U.S. reserves are gone, and now what we're left with is trying to deal with a global market in a couple of places that are, for whatever reasons, unstable." And, he tells KBND News, with a limited supply comes a need to prioritize. Helium must be used for medical gasses and liquids, laboratory research and welding, which leaves little left for personal and commercial helium tanks, "Everybody is faced with the same allocations, so people are just going to have to be strategic in their use of it. Like any other supply, eventually when the price gets high enough, people will go out there and find ways to refine it out of the natural gas sources that are there today, but it's just never going to be as cheap as it was; we're never going to see those days again." He adds, "You're not going to see balloons flying over the cars at the car lot. You're not going to see Johnny's birthday party with 50 balloons. And if Johnny can find a balloon, that one balloon might cost $50."
This happened a few years ago, too, and helium had to be reserved for high-priority needs. But, this time, he says, is different, and likely longer-lasting, "It's going to be expensive. You're not going to see balloons flying over any parties. We'll be saving it for chilling magnets for MRIs or the welding process, medical gasses, those are going to be our priorities."
BEND, OR -- Meteorologists predict Central Oregon could see less snow than typical, this winter, after a dry summer; and we're already seeing the impacts of dry conditions in local yards, "The biggest thing is water. It is extremely dry, right now," says Cindy Jeffers, with LandSystems Nursery in Bend.
She tells KBND News property owners need to take steps now to protect plants, "Most people have their irrigation systems turned off. If you don’t, make sure you get it winterized or you’ll be real sorry next spring. But, just remember there are hoses and hose bibs on every house. And, you need to hook those hoses up and water your plants. You have to." But, make sure to drain hoses after each use, with sub-freezing temperatures in the overnight hours, "Don’t leave them hooked up because that can cause problems with the piping that goes under your house. It can just radiate the cold back underneath the house. So, unhook them and do water; don’t be afraid to water."
And then, lay down mulch or compost to hold in that moisture. Ideally, we'd see a significant snowfall soon, which Jeffers says would really help plants, "It insolates the plants and people always are afraid that with a lot of snow it doesn’t. But, two years ago, when we had all that snow, it was probably the prettiest spring. More plants lived than I can ever remember." However, a good snow doesn't appear in the forecast any time soon, "So, basically, if you can mulch right now with either compost or some kind of bark, make sure that the plants can go into winter nice and moist."
BEND, OR -- An anti-human trafficking initiative that began in Central Oregon is now statewide. In Our Backyard Executive Director Nita Belles says State Senate Bill 375 passed unanimously in 2017, but it took time to get it fully implemented. "The Oregon State Legislature has now mandated that the Freedom stickers be on the back of the stall door in every restroom in the state of Oregon, managed by ODOT or Oregon Travel Experience; which is about 95% of the rest areas in the state."
They include information on how to call or text the National Human Trafficking hotline and are similar to stickers already in the restrooms of many bars, restaurants and convenience stores, "The signage is actually a blown up image of our Freedom stickers that we’ve got now in all 50 states," says Belles, "It’s so effective. We are getting reports regularly of people that have been recovered because of the Freedom stickers."
Those posters were installed in rest areas along the Interstate-5 corridor, last week, and should be in every state-managed rest area in Oregon by the end of this week.
Belles says public restrooms are often the only place victims have any privacy, away from their trafficker, "They can tell the National Human Trafficking Hotline, ‘we are going to be going to this motel; this is what we’re driving. Please get me help.’ The trafficker doesn’t know that they’ve called for help, they get to the motel and police can come and get them."
If you or someone you know is a victim of human trafficking, call the national hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or send a text to 233-733.
CULVER, OR -- Culver became the latest in Oregon to be designated a Purple Heart City, during a Monday ceremony at Culver's Veterans Memorial Park. The Purple Heart is bestowed upon soldiers wounded by the enemy, and is given posthumously to families of those who die from their wounds.
Mayor Nancy Diaz says she doesn't know exactly how many Purple Heart recipients live in Culver, but she wants them to understand how much they are respected for their bravery and sacrifice. She hopes Monday's ceremony was as meaningful for everyone else as it was for her, "VFW Honor Guard from Madras and Deschutes County came, and there were 45+ people that were there. It was just very heartfelt, a wonderful ceremony." It featured the official proclamation, followed by the singing of the National Anthem and the raising of Old Glory, "It was such an honor to have Purple Heart recipients there, and others there, in uniform. It was just amazing."
She tells KBND News, "As I planned all of this with city staff and the City Council, I honestly didn't know how many people would come. I was going to be happy if there was a dozen people who showed up. And then, men in uniform started showed up and there might've been more of them then there was of citizens that showed up." She adds, "It was very impactful for me. The feedback I got from other people was that they were so glad they came and braved the freezing temperatures to be there and see it. There was a lot of thanks for us doing it. It was wonderful."
Diaz says the Oregon Department of Transportation will install signs on each end of Culver, declaring it a Purple Heart City.
Photos courtesy of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office
PARADISE, CA -- A Bend woman is among more than a dozen Red Cross volunteers from Oregon now in California assisting families displaces by devastating fires. The Red Cross is caring for more than 2,000 people in evacuation centers, while providing emergency supplies for another 15,000 households.
Bend and Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire already have crews in California, helping to battle the Camp Fire, and Oregon’s Department of Forestry sent equipment and personnel, Monday.
The death toll for the Camp Fire hit 42, Monday, after 13 more bodies were discovered. It's now the deadliest fire in California history. Two more people have been killed in the large fire burning near Malibu, in southern California.
You can donate to the Red Cross' efforts online at RedCross.org or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS. Or, text the word CAWILDFIRES to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
Photo: Courtesy FEMA
BEND, OR -- Last year, Oregon veterans saw their lowest unemployment rate in a decade. A recent report by the Oregon Employment Department shows the state's more than 300,000 vets have good job prospects.
Economist Felicia Bechtoldt tells KBND News, "The unemployment rate for veterans in Oregon was 4.3% in 2017. The overall Oregon unemployment rate was 4.1% in 2017, so the unemployment rate for veterans was slightly higher." But, she says, "Oregon's veterans earned a higher median income than non-veterans." That higher income isn't just for the men, "Female veterans earned a median income of $28,500 a year. The female non-veterans income was $24,400 a year in 2017." Bechtoldt believes education is a big factor influencing those higher wages.
She says the low jobless rate among veterans is especially noteworthy, given that nearly 33% of vet claim a service-related disability, as opposed to 15% of civilians; yet their unemployment rates are nearly identical. "Veterans are more likely to have a disability, but they are less likely to be in poverty than the general population," says Bechtoldt. The report also shows that 8.1% of vets were considered in poverty in 2017, compared to nearly 13% of the total population.
More than half of Oregon's veterans, however, are not looking for work and aren't considered in the unemployment numbers, "This is related to the age of the veterans. More than half of Oregon's veterans are 65 years and older, and served in the military at least four decades ago."
BEND, OR -- Some Bend childcare facilities have waiting lists so long, it can take two years for a family to make it in. The shortage has forced some parents to stay home, which contributes to a lack of qualified workers for local businesses.
Bend City Manager Eric King says the City Council is ready to step in to try and help stimulate growth in the child care industry, "One of the most direct ways is to try to reduce some of those financial barriers in setting up either new facilities or, a lot of daycares are wanting to expand. And so, we talked about reducing child care transportation impact fees, which can be fairly significant – upwards of $40,000; depends on the size. It’s based on the square footage of the daycare facility." He tells KBND News, "They seemed to be very receptive to reducing those SDCs by about 70%. And the reason for it – it’s not just an arbitrary reduction. The theory being that there’s what we call 'linked trips;' so, if somebody is dropping their child off at childcare then going to work, they’re not creating a new trip on the system."
Bend Childcare Task Force Seeks Solutions (07/13/2018)
King says the reduction in System Development Charges would be temporary and limited to childcare facilities, "We’re doing a complete methodology study on our SDCs, over the next couple of years. So, it was just to provide some relief and an incentive for additional childcare facilities to get sited. We know that we’ve got three in the queue. So, Council will be deciding on that, December fifth."
BEND, OR -- Central Oregonians can get up close and personal with the Christmas tree that will soon adorn the front lawn of the U.S. Capitol. Kassidy Kern, with the Deschutes National Forest, says it stops in Bend on Monday. "We happen to be just on the other side of the mountain from the Willamette National Forest that the Capitol Christmas Tree came off of, this year. This is the Whistle Stop." She tells KBND News, "This is referred to as ‘the people’s tree’ because a 70’-90’ tree will come off a National Forest, and trucked out to D.C. and put in front of the United States Capitol."
Father Christmas will fly in to the Les Schwab Amphitheater on an Air Link helicopter for the occasion; Smokey Bear will be there, too, "Smokey is driving in on a fire engine, as he would," says Kern. The 80' tall Noble Fir is just the second Oregon tree ever to be selected for the U.S. Capitol, "This is the first time a Noble Fir has ever been chosen as the Capitol Christmas Tree; so it’s a first and a second, and we’re very excited."
The tree will be on display starting at 11 a.m. The public is invited to make more ornaments before its big send-off between 1 and 2:30 p.m. Click HERE for details on Monday's Bend event. Visit the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree website for more information on the tree's journey.
LA PINE, OR -- A La Pine family’s dog was killed in a fire Saturday afternoon, on ShawPine Court. The resident wasn’t home at the time, but discovered the fire on a live remote-viewable security camera. He called his neighbor who went in and rescued the family’s second dog.
Fire officials say the blaze broke out in a bedroom but because all windows and doors were closed, the fire ran out of oxygen and self-extinguished. However, the dog perished inside its kennel.
The cause of the fire is believed to be electrical.
BEND, OR -- Local firefighters are now in California to help battle the deadly fires in that state.
The Office of the State Fire Marshal activated its Agency Operations Center on Friday, and mobilized 15 strike teams with equipment and personnel to assist with the Camp Fire, which has now claimed the lives of at least 29 people and destroyed 6,500 homes, mostly in the town of Paradise.
Bend Fire sent five crew-members and Sisters-Camp Sherman sent four people. They’re expected to be gone two weeks.
Photo: Courtesy Fox News
TERREBONNE, OR -- A Pennsylvania woman was hurt while hiking Misery Ridge Trail at Smith Rock State Park, Sunday afternoon, prompting a Search and Rescue (SAR) operation.
Deschutes County SAR and Redmond Fire crews responded after a man called 911 to report his 35-year-old sister may have broken her ankle and wasn’t able to hike down the trail. It took crews a little more than two hours to get to Krystal Cuffley and bring her down the trail in a wheeled litter. She later sought medical treatment on her own.
LA PINE, OR -- Two people lost everything they own, when a fire destroyed their motor home in La Pine, Saturday night. When firefighters arrived at the Wickiup Junction Gas station, at about 8:15 p.m., they found the RV fully engulfed, with flames spreading to trees and a fence.
They quickly put out the blaze but the vehicle was a total loss. The couple said they’d had trouble keeping the RV running, and were trying to start it when the fire broke out in the engine compartment. A gas station employee tried to help them put out the flames with several fire extinguishers, but were unsuccessful.
No one was hurt, but the couple says the RV wasn't insured and they have no other housing. The Sheriff’s Office took them to the Calvary Chapel warming shelter; the Red Cross is helping, as well.
REDMOND, OR -- (UPDATE) Redmond Police have identified the woman killed Thursday night, at SW Veterans Way and Kalama. They say 53-year-old Catherine Yazzie lived in the area and was crossing Veterans Way on her way home from Fred Meyer. She was struck, at about 5:45 p.m., by a car driven by 22-year-old Dalton Curry, of Terrebonne.
Investigators are still looking at possible causes for the crash, but say impairment by drugs or alcohol does not appear to have been a factor. Curry remained at the scene and is cooperating with the investigation.
Police are searching for another vehicle seen in the area at the time: a white Chevrolet Silverado with a canopy was northbound on Veterans Way, when the crash occurred. It either continued north or turned east on Kalama. Anyone with information about the pickup, or has anything to add to the investigation into the incident, is asked to call Redmond PD through non-emergency dispatch at 541-693-6911.
(11/09/18 4 A.M.) -- Redmond Police are investigating a fatal crash involving a pedestrian that occurred Thursday night behind Lowe’s and Fred Meyer. They say a 53-year-old woman was struck by a vehicle at Veterans Way and SW Kalama, just before 6 p.m. She was rushed to the hospital where she later died.
Police say the driver remained at the scene and is cooperating. The intersection was closed for several hours for the investigation.
The names of those involved are expected to be released Friday.
BEND, OR -- An organization aimed at supporting foster families and helping prevent burnout, has launched in Central Oregon. Katie Clemens has been a Deschutes County foster parent for six years, and is part of the team launching Every Child, locally.
She says it’s important that families have access to qualified respite care and training, "There have been pockets of support for that in place, but without an over-arching organization to channel all the efforts through in a streamlined way. DHS is a governmental agency that has limited Legislative funding, so they can only do as much as they can do without the community kind of rallying around to provide support. The role of Every Child is to kind of step in alongside DHS and say ‘we see you, we hear you, we want to be a support as well'."
Every Child also helps recruit new foster families, "In a given year, recently we’ve had about 11,000 kids in Oregon come through foster care and we don’t have enough homes, statewide. Deschutes County is no different than any other county where we need more foster homes." Clemens tells KBND News, "The goal would be that we can make a strategic placement for every child coming into foster care, and that we’d have a list of waiting foster homes. And, what we currently have is not enough foster homes and kids coming into care where we cannot make strategic placements, where kids get bounced around from home to home, sibling groups often get split up, and kids have to stay in communities outside of their community and school district."
The nonprofit is based in Portland but relies on grassroots support in each community as it rolls out across the state. The group hopes to be statewide by 2022. On Tuesday, they’ll host an event for prospective foster parents, "Specifically for people that feel curious about exploring becoming a foster parent, but don’t really know who to pose their questions to, or have a lot of questions that they’d like to sit down and have a chat with an existing foster parent," says Clemens. The "Exploring Fostering" event starts at 7 p.m. on November 13, at Atlas Cider Company in Bend. Visit their Facebook page for more information.
BEND, OR -- Bend voters chose a new City Councilor and its first directly-elected Mayor in 90 years on Tuesday, but those aren’t the only changes in the works. As Mayor-Elect, Councilor Sally Russell will shift from Position Three to Position Seven, and City Manager Eric King says that creates a vacancy that must be filled, "Her seat didn’t term out until 2020, so that creates a vacancy on Council and that gives Council an opportunity to appoint that position." He tells KBND News, "Per the city’s charter, which is like our Constitution for how we’re governed, Council has 30 days to fill a vacant position, once it’s declared. So, the 30-day clock will start ticking January second, when that seat officially becomes vacant." King says Council will soon start accepting applications to fill that seat.
He says the switch to a directly-elected Mayor doesn’t change the overall structure of government, nor his job as City Manager. "And, I still take policy direction – and it’s from a majority of Councilors - So, no individual Councilor or the Mayor has more power than the other."
What does change is Council's compensation. Voters approved a higher pay scale, along with the approval of a directly elected Mayor, in May. Mayor-Elect Russell, Councilor-elect Gena Goodman-Campbell and re-elected Councilor Barb Campbell will earn more than Councilors Bruce Abernethy, Justin Livingston and Bill Moseley, "The current Councilors will continue to make the $200 a month," says King. "The new Councilors that were just elected will receive about $500 a month. And then, the Mayor will receive about $1,000 a month." The person appointed to fill Russell’s Council seat will also receive $500. The other three would receive the higher rate once they're re-elected.
Pictured (L-R): Current City Councilors Sally Russell, Justin Livingston, Casey Roats, Bruce Abernethy, Barb Campbell, Nathan Boddie, Bill Moseley.
SALEM, OR -- Two Oregon companies face fines totaling more than $120,000 for improperly disposing of hazardous waste.
According to Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality, Patheon Development Services generated chlorinated solvent waste at its Bend pharmaceutical plant, but failed to accurately identify and report the waste as hazardous. It was then shipped out of state by ChemCare.
Without proper documentation, DEQ says the solvent was put in an Idaho landfill, where it could leach into groundwater and threaten drinking water resources and the environment. They say solvents can also release toxic compounds into the air. The material should’ve been disposed of in a specialized hazardous waste incinerator.
Patheon was fined $59,890 and Univar USA Inc., ChemCare's parent company, was find another $60,948. A portion of Univar's penalty is also for operating a solid waste transfer facility in Portland without a DEQ permit. Both companies have until November 13 to appeal.
BEND, OR -- City Councilors continue to work on a plan for converting homes across Bend from septic systems to the city’s sewer service. Project and policy analyst Susanna Julber says it's not immediate, but those who find themselves with a failing system will need to hookup sooner, rather than later, "Anybody that's on a septic system right now that has a sewer nearby, is likely not going to be able to get a repair permit to keep repairing that system, and at some point, is probably going to have to hook up." The city is looking at ways to mitigate the cost, but for some, it could still be very expensive, "We're likely looking at folks having to pay a connection fee, and then, some sort of requirement on timing of hookup, and there may be incentives to hookup, as well," says Julber.
Councilors have determined that many of the possible septic to sewer scenarios they've been pursuing are either impractical or will cost too much. Julber want to stretch beyond southeast Bend, and are considering a draft code to accomplish the project, "The Council is leaning towards more of a citywide project, that would transition all the households in Bend that are still on septic systems - we've got approximately 2,800 - to sewer, and this would be over a long period of time. It might take 80 years." She says but limiting the project to just one region will make it more expensive to homeowners. "Council directed us to look at allocating $2.5 million annually, and just doing more of a citywide program." Julber says the city would construct the project, taking however many years they need, and then residents would be responsible for a portion of the cost of installing lateral piping, "So, we're looking at a connection fee right now of around $10,000 to partially recover those costs." If Council chooses this option, residents would also be responsible for Systems Development Charges, permitting fees, and any other out-of-pocket costs.
Julber says the goal is to come up with a way to give residents time to come up with those out-of-pocket costs. Council hopes to vote on and implement a plan by December 19.
SALEM, OR -- Governor Kate Brown won re-election Tuesday, defeating Bend State Representative Knute Buehler by about a 5% margin. But, just a handful of counties carried the vote.
Multnomah, Washington, Clatsop, Hood River, Lincoln, Benton and Lane counties went to Brown; the other 29 counties went to Buehler. KBND Political Expert James Foster says Brown must now figure out how to lead a divided state. "[We have] A deep, deep urban/rural split; we have a deep, deep east side/west side split, and so it’s very difficult to see how she is going to play in – or, we can predict how she is going to play in the red counties." He tells KBND News, "What’s going to drive her agenda? Is it going to be driven by the many counties in eastern and southern Oregon that she lost? Or is it going to be driven by the Portland to Eugene corridor?"
Buehler’s term in the state House will end in December but Foster doesn’t think that will be the end of his political career, "Smart money is that he’s an ambitious and talented person and he’s going to be around for a while." This was the second time Brown has defeated Buehler. In the 2012 Secretary of State's race, Brown won re-election by a 9% margin.
REDMOND, OR -- Redmond Schools Superintendent Mike McIntosh is disappointed with the defeat of his district’s bond measure by just 410 votes. He tells KBND News, "There’s been a ton of effort put into this process and to be that close and not get over the finish line is frustrating."
The outcome hinged on just 1,853 ballots from Jefferson County. A portion of the district dips into Crooked River Ranch, where 2/3 of voters opposed the levy. But McIntosh says he doesn’t blame those in Crooked River Ranch, "People vote their conscience, they vote their need, they vote their capacity to pay their bills and their taxes. And so, not wanting to throw anyone under the bus – they had rural fire issues on the ballot; they had to prioritize." Jefferson County ballots also included a jail levy. "So, I’d be the last guy to criticize how they prioritize their money."
The nearly 70-million dollar levy would have paid for security upgrades at every school, as well as the replacement of Lynch Elementary, which was damaged by heavy snow, two winters ago. McIntosh says for now, "It is absolutely safe until some heavy loads – snow load conditions exist. It’s not going to fall down on anybody; we’re not in danger." He says the school board will reassess options before deciding how to address those needs, "We’ve talked about some community meetings around what went well, what didn’t go so well, what they heard, what they didn’t hear, and reach out to learn from what I think was a valiant effort that was just a few votes short." he adds, "In my opinion, and I think in many people’s opinion, the need and the urgency have not been diminished. The resolution to that need and urgency has been postponed, to some degree. And, what degree and when we try again, I can’t say today."
BEND, OR -- The Deschutes County Board of Commissioners will have one new member in January. Tuesday night, Patti Adair eked out a win for Position Three, currently held by Tammy Baney.
At 10 o'clock on election night, Democrat James Cook was up by three votes, and Adair says she was concerned, "I was like, 'Oh my Gosh, I'm down!'" She tells KBND News, "I'm kind of a - what's the word? I'm a worry person. I know that there was a huge number of voters that declined to state - the Independents - and they were voting; and I really didn't know how they were going to react to me." But, she says she realized residents would remember how much she's listened and collaborated with them. And by late in the count, she was confident, "All the people I've been working on since Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, in Sisters had just turned in their ballots, and everybody was like, "Oh, yeah, Patti, we just got our ballot in!' So, I knew those were going to hit big time."
Adair says she didn't expect the campaign to be quite so arduous, but she's honored to have met so many residents and learned about what issues they want her to pursue in her new job, "It was a total uphill climb; the entire race has been like a marathon. And, I think I've just reached a lot of people because I do talk to everyone, and they know that I genuinely care about them. I think that's the kind of person I am."
She will be sworn in in January, joining Commissioner Tony DeBone, who won his re-election bid Tuesday night, and Phil Henderson.
BEND, OR -- Oregon State University's Bend campus set a record, this fall.
More than 1,250 students are enrolled at OSU-Cascades; a 4.6% increase over last year. School officials say the 113 incoming first-year students represent its largest and youngest first-year class. Their average age is 25 and 16% are under the age of 20. They say 85% are from Oregon and 23% are students of color.
The fall enrollment report also shows a 7% increase in full-time students. Across all Oregon State University campuses, enrollment grew by 107 students, making OSU the largest university in the state for the fifth straight year.
REDMOND, OR -- In what could be a case of “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em,” Redmond officials are considering a plan that would allow taggers to decorate the city’s skate park and new Homestead Bike Park.
Parks Division Manager Annie McVay says the idea started with an idea from a teen who wanted to dress up the Skate Park on Black Butte Boulevard. "The skate park is all concrete and there’s a couple of vertical walls, and they often get vandalized and tagged. One local youth came to us with a design, and he wanted to write ‘Shredmond’ on the side of the wall, which we thought was great." But, she says the Parks Committee decided it would be best not to limit the opportunity to just one artist. So, the city is now working out details for a new program that would allow one design for the skate park, on Black Butte Blvd, and another for the new bike park on the north end of town. "Local youth can come to us with ideas of designs that they would want to put on these spaces," McVay tells KBND News, "And then, [we would] kind of rotate them every year or so, and have them more involved in what they’re park looks like and what kind of art they would like to see in their parks."
She admits it's still "just" graffiti, "Legal, approved graffiti; it will go through the Parks Committee, and we also have a Redmond Art in Public Places Committee. So, they’ll submit designs and we have RPA [Redmond Proficiency Academy] and a couple other school facilities that are going to help oversight this, as well." It's not a unique idea. Other cities have sanctioned graffiti art to help deter spontaneous tagging and decorate public spaces.
McVay expects they’ll start accepting design proposals by next spring.
MADRAS, OR -- Tuesday, Jefferson County voters decided against raising property taxes to support a jail bond. Jefferson County is set to lose $750,000 in fees in the next year because Crook County's contract to house their inmates in Madras won't be renewed' Crook County's new jail is due to open next April.
The levy would've raised property taxes by $.46 per $1,000 of assessed value. Sheriff Jim Adkins says he plans to ask voters again in May 2019, "I'll be talking to people to see what the issues may have been when I go out in May, the price is going to be the same, as we did it right down to the bare bones." He tells KBND News, "Nobody likes to raise taxes, but if you want to keep people in jail who violate the law, it's a price that we're all going to have to pay."
If the measure fails a second time, Sheriff Adkins says there will be layoffs, "I've been trying to just encourage my staff that this isn't the end of the world, we do have a lot of work, a lot of campaigning ahead of us going into May. They've all seen the numbers that I'll have to reduce staff between 46 and 50%, and that worries a lot of my people."
Jefferson County's current jail bond expires in June. According to Sheriff Adkins, the county needs the money to keep the facility staffed and able to house prisoners, "We just regroup. My work is cut out for me because now we go back out in May, and get it on the ballot in May and see if we can't get voters to pass it then."
BEND, OR -- A 19-year-old Bend man was arrested this week, accused of selling drugs to local high school students. Bend Police say they began investigating Dylan Ricker a couple of weeks ago, after receiving tips that he was supplying kids with cocaine and other drugs. The drug deals were allegedly conducted off campus, but sometimes within 1,000' of a school.
Police conducted several days of surveillance; then, on Tuesday, they say they saw Ricker stop at two schools at lunch and pick up one student, each time. They pulled him over for a traffic violation, and searched his car. Inside, investigators say they found cocaine packaged for individual sale, meth, ecstasy, Xanax and over $4,000 in cash.
Ricker was arrested on numerous drug charges:
* Possession of Cocaine
* Delivery of Cocaine
* Manufacture of Cocaine
* Possession of a Schedule IV Controlled Substance (Xanax)
* Possession of Methamphetamine
* Possession of MDMA
* Delivery of Cocaine to a Minor
* Delivery of Schedule IV Controlled Substance to a Minor
REDMOND, OR -- Redmond Mayor George Endicott has won a sixth term. He declared himself victorious over former Mayor Ed Fitch, early on in the evening, "About 10 after eight, we got to announce that we were going from an election party to a victory party. So, that makes you feel good." Endicott beat Fitch by a nearly 14% margin.
He tells KBND News he's looking forward to the future, "We've got these new hotels talking about coming in, working with them, looking at, if we can arrange it, this new Emergency operations Center here in Redmond, we have the new piece of our Centennial Park to do, we bought that other chunk of land down in the canyon, sometime here in the near future, we're going to have to start addressing an expansion of the sewer treatment plant again." He adds, "We still have places to go and things to do. I mean, we do have some plans, going forward, as we're continuing to grow. So, there's enough to keep us busy."
Endicott's wife will soon join the Mayor at City Hall. Krisanna Clark-Endicott, who is the former Mayor of Sherwood, was elected to City Council, along with incumbents Jon Bullock and Jay Patrick. There were three openings, this election, with four candidates. Bullock received the most votes (29.66%), closely followed by Patrick (28.82%). Clark-Endicott came in third (22.96%). Josefina Riggs was the runner up, with just 17.43% of the vote.
REDMOND, OR -- All of Oregon’s Representatives in Congress easily retained their seats. In the Second Congressional District, Republican Greg Walden defeated Democrat Jamie McLeod-Skinner, 56% to 39%.
In the state Legislature, Democrats held on to their super-majority in the Senate by just one seat, with one race still too close to call. In the House, Democrats easily maintain their super-majority, despite Republican wins in all of Central Oregon's House districts. In District 54, Cheri Helt replaces Knute Buehler, who lost his bid for Governor; and Mike McLane (R-Powell Butte) holds on to his District 55 seat. He's served as House Republican Leader since 2012.
Redmond realtor Jack Zika (pictured) defeated Democrat Eileen Kiely, in District 53, by a 13% margin. Zika says Democrat Eileen Kiely called him to concede. "She said congratulations," he tells KBND News, "She said that she was happy that we had the race we did and didn't go negative and that we did give an example of how races should be ran." Zika says he's honored for the chance to serve. And, after his close primary race where he won by a mere two votes, he's also pleased to have a definitive victory. Zika replaces the retiring Gene Whisnant. He plans to work on affordable housing, education, and PERS reform. "I will lean on Gene Whisnant as a mentor," he says, "But I do have issues that I want to take on myself. I think I do have a leg up with him, but also I think there's other things that I can work on, too."
BEND, OR -- The only statewide ballot measure to pass in Tuesday's election is M102, which allows non-government entities to sell affordable housing bonds. Measures to repeal the state's sanctuary status, ban taxes on groceries and prohibit the use of public funds for abortions all went down to defeat.
Most local measures suffered the same fate. In a very close race, the Redmond School bond was failing, as of early Wednesday. Despite passing in Deschutes County, 11,112 to 10,869, the 1,253 "no" votes from Jefferson County were enough to defeat the measure by just 410 votes. A portion of Crooked River Ranch, in Jefferson County, lies inside the Redmond School District.
The five-year levy for the Jefferson County Jail was also defeated, by a 25.5% margin.
Sisters voted not to allow recreational and medical marijuana dispensaries inside the city; however, the measure to impose a tax on pot sales, if they’re allowed, received overwhelming approval. Culver’s ban on pot dispensaries holds on by just three votes.
Crooked River Ranch approved its levy for more emergency services and Crook County voters agreed to continue the Bowman Museum four-year operating levy, but voters in La Pine handily defeated the Parks and Rec bond, 68% to 32%.
BEND, OR -- Incumbent Deschutes County Commissioner Tony DeBone will hold on to his Position One seat, beating Democrat Amy Lowes by less than a 3% margin.
However, the fight for Position Three was a much tighter race, between Republican Patti Adair and Democrat James Cook. By late Monday, County Clerk Nancy Blankenship said Cook was ahead; barely. "At 10:00, when we put our results out, they were three votes difference." But, with more ballots counted, Adair had a 1,256-vote lead by early Tuesday morning. That's less than a 1.5% margin. "We've got ballots that came in at the end of the day that were challenged at the first level that have to go through a second level to see if they're going to be processed or challenged and giving the voter the opportunity to resolve that challenge," Blankenship tells KBND News.
The election must be certified by November 26, and Blankenship says it will take that long to make sure they have every ballot collected and properly counted.
Blankenship was elected to her fifth four-year term as Deschutes County Clerk in a landslide, Tuesday night. She ran unopposed.
BEND, OR -- Bend Fire crews responded to the smell of natural gas in the alley near Minnesota and Wall Street, downtown, Tuesday afternoon. Firefighters determined there were no gas leaks inside any buildings and no one was evacuated.
Eventually, they found a leak coming from a broken fitting on a newly replaced meter. Cascade Natural Gas responded and replaced the fitting, stopping the leak.
Bend Fire reminds everyone, if you smell gas, don't hesitate to call 911. Firefighters and the gas company will respond with gas detection equipment to locate the leak.
BEND, OR -- Sally Russell (pictured) is Bend's first Mayor to be chosen by voters in nearly a century, and the first woman ever elected to the post. She has served on City Council since 2012, and is currently Mayor Pro Tem. Russell received just over 50% of the vote. The next runner up, fellow Councilor Bill Moseley, received about 41%.
Shortly after the race was called, Mayor-Elect Russell told KBND News, "I'm going to be Bend's first elected Mayor since 1928! That's a pretty cool thing! I'm ecstatic and I'm pleasantly surprised. I'm really, really looking forward to working with this community and bringing us forward into these next four years." She added, "I want to thank people who believed in me and what I could bring to this town and contribute as a leader going forward. I feel really grateful and very fortunate. And, I'm looking forward to just working with everyone."
Russell credits her win on a campaign focused on collaboration and inclusion, "Building bridges, bringing people together, making sure that we engage everyone, whether or not they voted for me. It's really about recognizing that we all have different values and we've all got to find a middle ground and really make good decisions for all of us."
She says her biggest accomplishments as a Councilor are the creation of a citywide shuttle during peak tourism season, passage of over a dozen affordable housing initiatives and her work on a single-use plastic bag policy, which is expected to pass later this year.
Joining Russell on Council will be Gena Goodman-Campbell, who easily beat Andrew Davis and Victor Johnson to win Position Five. She received 64% of the vote, "I am just incredibly honored and humbled." She tells KBND News, "It's really exciting and I think part of it is my hard work from 2016 when I ran for State Representative paying off, and the hard work of everyone who has helped out on both of my campaigns." Goodman campbell says the first thing she wants to do is listen and create ways for every resident to be more engaged with the city.
Incumbent Barb Campbell won a second term on Council, with 49% of the vote. She defeated Sarah McCormick, who received 43%, and Ron Boozell, who spent Election Night in jail, although still received about 8% of the vote.
BEND, OR -- Ballots must be in to a county elections office by 8 p.m. Tuesday; postmarks don't count. Click HERE for a list of Deschutes County official drop sites. Click HERE for Jefferson County sites. Crook County drop site locations can be found HERE.
Election results won't be available until after 8 p.m., when County Clerks offices around the state start processing ballots. Visit the Oregon Secretary of State's website for the latest returns. Or, to view the results of local races, click below. KBND News will have complete coverage, including reaction from the winners of all major races, Wednesday on the KBND Morning News.
Kate Brown (D/incumbent)
Knute Buehler (R)
U.S. House Congressional District 2:
Greg Walden (R/incumbent)
Jamie McLeod Skinner (D)
House District 55 (Powell Butte/La Pine):
Mike McLane (R/incumbent)
Karen Rippberger (D)
House District 54 (Bend):
Cheri Helt (R)
Nathan Boddie (D)
House District 53 (Redmond/Sunriver):
Jack Zika (R)
Eileen Kiely (D)
DESCHUTES COUNTY RESULTS
CROOK COUNTY RESULTS
JEFFERSON COUNTY RESULTS
REDMOND, OR -- A Redmond High School student is under investigation for allegedly making threats against the school and students, last week, via social media. According to a statement released by the school district, school personnel were made aware of the threats Tuesday morning. A parent tells KBND News the student was escorted out of the school by law enforcement, Tuesday afternoon.
Officials say the law enforcement investigation is ongoing, but police determined "there was no indication that students were in danger at school."
REDMOND, OR -- With hundreds of new homes being built in southwest Redmond, many residents worry increased traffic on Highway 126, also known as Highland Ave., will lead to more crashes at an intersection already known for serious collisions.
City Engineer Mike Caccavano says left turn lanes installed last year on Highland, at SW 35th, have helped. "The accident rate is way down at that intersection. It used to be a lot of rear-end collisions; and adding the left turn lanes has pretty much eliminated that. But you still have the potential for someone turning in from 35th. The left turn lanes didn’t help with that." In fact, Redmond Police blame a recent crash on a man trying to turn on to the highway from 35th. He suffered minor injuries and was issued a ticket for failing to obey the stop sign.
"What we need is more gaps and bigger gaps for people to get into," Caccavano tells KBND News, "And we don’t have that right now, so people take a chance from the side street." He believes those gaps could be created by shifting the 45 mile per hour zone to the west and slowing people down as they enter the city. And, he says he'd like to move the "driver feedback" sign that was recently installed in the area, which alerts drivers to how fast they're actually going, "Just posting a sign doesn’t slow people down, but I think that ‘driver feedback’ sign has been really effective. I’ve noticed the majority of people will slow down when they see that, and that wasn’t the case before. So, if we can get that speed backed up a little bit so they’re already slowed down at that intersection, I think that could help." Because it is a state highway, any changes to Highland must be approved by the Oregon Department of Transportation. Caccavano just sent a request to ODOT to study whether the speed zone can change, "We have to go through a process with the state and I’m just initiating that now. It typically takes three months, at the minimum, depending on the backlog."
Caccavano says the chances of ODOT approving a traffic signal, as some neighbors want, are very slim. Despite the addition of two large housing developments in the area, recent studies of current and projected traffic volumes don't meet ODOT's threshold for a light.
BEND, OR -- A Culver rancher and renowned rodeo announcer is being inducted into the Blood Donation Hall of Fame, in a special ceremony Tuesday at the Bend Red Cross Donation Center. Keith "Kedo" Olson says he wanted to give back after his wife passed away of cancer in January 2017, so he started with a church blood drive, "I was talking with one of the technicians and he got to talking about the different types of blood; and he was talking about how platelets are very important but it takes a long time to do it."
Giving platelets can take two to three hours at a time, but Olson says since he’s self-employed and no longer caring for his wife, his time is more flexible; he’s happy to step up where others can’t. "I try to do it at least once a month. And, knowing how much people’s generosity supplied blood to my wife over the years, and I figured it’s just a way that I can pay back a little bit. With my wife’s dilemma and her passing, it just brought it to a focal point to me." Platelets are a key clotting component of blood often used by cancer patients to prevent life-threatening bleeding.
Olson downplays the recognition, telling KBND News when he was inducted into the Rodeo Hall of Fame he actually had to perform certain tasks. Giving platelets, he says, is easy. He sits back and visits with the technicians while they do all the work. "They love me because they say my veins are like a hose and I’m a blood type that is widely used. And, they’ve even done test – my blood can be help with prenatal situations. I give three units per time, which most people give two." But, Olson hopes his story will help prompt others to give blood and serve others.
Olson is one of 13 people from across the country to be inducted into the Fenwal Donation Hall of Fame, this year. He'll be recognized with a personalized Fenwal Donation Hall of Fame statue and he'll be presented with a lapel pin during Tuesday's ceremony in Bend. His story will also be featured in the Fenwal, Inc 2019 calendar.
He'll be back at the Red Cross Donation Center in Bend with his next contribution on Thursday, on what would've been his wife's 75th birthday.
BEND, OR -- The latest polls show Oregon's race for Governor between incumbent Kate Brown and Republican Knute Buehler is too close to call, ahead of Tuesday's election. On Monday, Buehler drummed up last-minute support in Bend and made a final push to get out the vote.
He says one of his biggest campaign triumphs has been helping people see how Governor Kate Brown has failed to lead, "And we certainly hear people saying over and over again that there hasn't been adequate leadership from a Governor; a Governor who is more independent and less partisan, a Governor who is more interested in innovative ideas than a particular ideology." He's disappointed Brown ran an almost 100% negative campaign against him, "Leaders don't divide people, they unite people. They build bridges, not walls." He tells KBND News her campaign is desperate for votes, "And we feel just the opposite. We have the wind at our back, there's growing momentum, there's recognition that an historic win is coming, and a win that will produce change that the state clearly needs."
The last time Oregonians elected a Republican Governor was 1982. But, Buehler is optimistic, "Look; who could not feel that way when you're ready to produce an historic victory in Oregon, and importantly, a victory for all of Oregon." He's already making plans for the future, "When I'm elected, my first day in office will be this: in the morning, I'm going to name a Chief Homeless Solutions officer, a single person who's going to be accountable to marshal all these resources." He says government, philanthropic, and federal dollars can all be combined to assist the homeless in Oregon and help realize his vision to end homelessness in the next five years. He also says students will finally get the education system they deserve, once he's Governor. "In the afternoon, I'm going to reorganize the Oregon Department of education. Bring in new leadership, an agency that has badly underperformed for decades." Buehler says his plan will take Oregon schools from the bottom five in the country, to the top five in five years. He's also looking to help foster kids, "And importantly, make sure that vulnerable foster kids in this state have a voice."
Buehler and Brown are the top two candidates still running for Governor. Independent Patrick Starnes dropped out of the race last week. It was six years ago to the day (Nov. 6, 2012) that Brown defeated Buehler in her re-election bid for Oregon Secretary of State.
BEND, OR -- Bend Police warn that a deer found dead on Awbrey Butte may have been killed by a cougar; although, they stress that could not be confirmed.
The carcass was found Sunday in a driveway on Northwest McCready Drive, but it had been dragged away by another animal by the time officers arrived. They couldn't determine whether the deer was killed by a cougar, coyote or some other predator.
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife staff searched the area Monday and found a possible cougar track, 300 yards from the driveway, along with a partial bone fragment. ODFW suggests anyone with concerns about cougars in the area visit their website.
BEND, OR -- Bend Police have arrested a man suspected of starting several small fires inside an historic home near Drake Park. The Thomas McCann House was full of smoke when a worker arrived Friday morning, although the fires were out.
After officers processed the scene, the owner discovered several items that didn’t belong, which led investigators to 37-year-old Wesley Brady. He was arrested at his Bend home, where police found property belonging to the victim.
Brady is charged with Arson and Burglary. The investigation is ongoing and more charges may follow.
TYGH VALLEY, OR -- A debris burn in Tygh Valley took off Sunday afternoon, pushed by winds through grass and other light fuels. Oregon Department of Forestry and US Forest Service crews responded, with help from Tygh Valley, Wamic and Juniper Flat Fire Departments. They had the fire mostly lined by Sunday night and stopped its forward progress. No structures were damaged.
Two five-person crews, five engines and overhead personnel worked to complete fire lines, Monday, and extinguish hot spots. Winds are expected to reduce and cooler temperatures should help the effort.
The 500-acre Shadybrook Fire highlights continued dry conditions, despite cooler and damper weather. Officials say it serves as a good reminder that "while fire season is no longer in effect, fire danger can quickly change and caution should be used in outdoor activities."
REDMOND, OR -- Redmond’s Centennial Park is finally expanding. It’s been more than three years since the city purchased the block between existing Centennial Park and City Hall. But Redmond Parks Division Manager Annie McVay says plans to create a community plaza have been in the works for much longer, "It was actually originally part of the – I think 2007 plan – when they did the original Centennial, and it’s now coming to fruition. It’s very exciting. It’s going to change the whole feel of downtown."
McVay says fencing is going up around the block, this week, "The first phase will be pretty much between now and the end of the calendar year. We’re going to do a lot of site prep; so, we’re going to demo the old Printing Post building, which is the large building on the corner. We’re going to put all the utilities underground, then we’re going to start to remove all of the old sidewalks that are not ADA compatible." She tells KBND News, "When it’s all completed, we’ll have quite a bit of open space; kind of a green space. There will be a reading nook, there will be a tree bosque area with benches. And then, we’ll have a stage where we can have community events, as well."
She says how fast work gets done will depend on this winter’s weather and if crews can work through the next few months. McVay hopes it will open next summer. The $2.3 million project will be paid through Urban Renewal funds.
LA PINE, OR -- In La Pine, a new affordable housing complex is nearly ready for residents. Keith Wooden, with Housing works, says construction of Hawks View Estates is roughly a month from completion. The 42-unit development features one-, two- and three-bedroom townhomes.
Applications will begin to be accepted Monday, "There's such a demand for this type of housing, there's no way we would do a first come, first served, because there'd be people lined up around the block," says Wooden, "We normally have several hundred people apply for our units." Qualified applicants will be selected at random. Those note chosen will be put on a waiting list that will be used to fill vacancies that come up throughout the course of the year. "We're an affordable housing provider, and there's income tests and certifications," says Wooden. "There's normally so many people who apply, we need to open the wait list for a week, get a list of people to start working on for the units, and have them move-in ready when we get those buildings." Townhomes will be available for tenants who make less than 60% of the area's median income.
EPIC Property Management staff will accept applications at the La Pine Senior Center from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., through Thursday. "Applications need to be handed in in person, and they have until Thursday to bring those applications," Wooden tells KBND News, "If there's enough that they think they can fill the 42 units, they'll probably close that list and then start processing those people. So, it's a one-week deal." Wooden says the computer creates a random list of all applicants for the lottery, so it doesn’t matter when during the week you apply. "Now, we don't have any properties in La Pine, especially like this one. This style of apartment has been very successful, and people just absolutely love it."
Click HERE for more information on the application process.
MADRAS, OR -- Residential construction in Madras is not keeping up with demand, leading to a critical housing shortage. "We actually need all types of housing," says Community Development Director Nick Snead, "We certainly have employers that have employees not living in Madras because they can’t find a home that meets their needs at a certain price point. And then also we have executives in our community that can’t find housing to meet their needs. So, we need a full range of housing and we’re developing a plan to address that."
That Housing Action Plan contains 30 steps the city could take over the next five years. "Some of those actions are ongoing and partnership-related actions, where we’ll work with both the faith-based community and nonprofit organizations. But also, there are actions related to infrastructure financing and system development charge reductions," Snead tells KBND News. He doesn't want the plan to just sit on a shelf. If some ideas don’t work, he says they would get progressively more aggressive, "That aggressiveness would take the form of the city maybe even taking on a housing developer role, which is quite unique."
The population of Madras grows about 1.5% each year. Snead estimates the city needs around 35 new housing units to keep up. Developers built 20 new homes in 2017; so far this year, the city has approved permits for just 15 units. "We built a lot of homes before the recession. During the recession we built very few homes. And then, coming out of the recession, we’re starting to build some homes but they’re not keeping up with population growth. But, we’re also not addressing the backlog of housing we needed before and during the recession."
The plan is available on the city of Madras website, where the public can also submit comments. City Councilors will discuss the draft at their next meeting, November 13.
MADRAS, OR -- Traffic on Highway 97 was tied up for two separate crashes, Sunday, between Madras and Terrebonne.
A three-car crash at Bear Drive shut down the highway for about an hour, late Sunday morning (above). Jefferson County deputies report there were only minor injuries.
Later in the afternoon, a man lost control and ran off the road, just south of the High Bridge (right). Sheriff Jim Adkins says the driver was reported weaving through traffic at 100 miles per hour prior to the crash.
REDMOND, OR -- A Redmond man is accused of stabbing a relative outside the Reindeer Meadows Apartments, Friday night. The victim suffered non-life threatening injuries.
The stabbing occurred at about 9:10 p.m. and a witness reported seeing a man ran from the scene. Redmond Police searched for a suspect through the night and arrested 44-year-old Marc Hunter, Saturday morning. They say alcohol and other drugs were contributing factors in the incident. Hunter is charged with Fourth Degree Assault, Menacing, Coercion and Unlawful Use of a Weapon.
During that investigation, Sheriff’s Deputies covered other calls in the city, including a non-criminal death investigation and a suicidal person on the Maple bridge over the Dry Canyon.
BEND, OR -- Bend Police continue to investigate several suspicious fires discovered inside a vacant historic house on Northwest Congress Street. The Thomas McCann House, near Drake Park, was full of smoke when a worker arrived for a remodeling project, Friday morning. Investigators later found several areas where fires appeared to have been intentionally set; although all were out by the time emergency crews responded.
The home was built in 1915, for the General Manager of the Shevlin-Hixon Lumber Company. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.
Anyone with information in the suspected arson is asked to call Bend Police through non-emergency dispatch, at 541-693-6911.
REDMOND, OR -- Fire caused about $250,000 in damage to a Redmond four-plex, Friday afternoon. When fire crews arrived, they found the first floor of the townhomes fully engulfed by flames and smoke blowing out the two front windows.
Firefithers knocked down the blaze and moved inside for salvage and overhaul operations. Police helped evacuate neighbors and rescue a German Shepherd from an adjoining unit. A vehicle parked in front of the townhome was also damaged.
The cause of the blaze is under investigation.
BEND, OR -- The Children's Museum of Central Oregon will hold four pop up events over the next several months, each showcasing different ways we move around. The first is this weekend at the Riverhouse Convention Center, in Bend. Executive Director Kayla Wopschall says Saturday's event is focused on waterways, including an interactive water wall where kids can construct combinations of tubes and funnels to direct water. "How we move through water, the science of water, the art of water, it's all really focused around that overarching theme." She adds, "It's kind of like an indoor festival. It's a free choice space, you come with your kiddos and you do the activities that look exciting to you."
The Children's Museum has been popping up all over Central Oregon for the last few years. They are mostly for kids aged three to 11, but Wopschall says everyone can find something fun to do and learn, "The whole point of the space is to create this environment where kids feel really comfortable experimenting, and learning about the world through that experimentation."
Saturday's event is its first in the latest series; others are scheduled for January, February and March. "Since we don't have a physical building yet, we run these events," Wopschall tells KBND News, "Our whole goal is to have a day where families can come together, at no charge, and they can have these science, art experiences." They are raising money for a permanent location. "The Discovery Center, it's going to have a children's theater, several art rooms where it's really open and creative play, a whole science wing, kind of like a mini OMSI."
Saturday's pop-up event is from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Riverhouse. It is free and open to the public.
MADRAS, OR -- The City of Madras is working to purchase a rundown building on the south end of its downtown. Community Development Director Nick Snead says the old Masonic Lodge was built in 1951 but has fallen into disrepair in recent years. "The roof is not keeping the water out by any means; in fact, it’s ruining the wonderful wooden floors on the inside and it’s in a condition that really needs a lot of help."
Snead believes all that work is still cheaper than tearing down the building, which would need to include asbestos abatement, "While the building in and of itself may not be all that valued, in long term, the long term interest of the city is to see this property developed into a higher and better use that adds to our downtown area and community." He admits that comes at a price. "About $30,000 to acquire it, $4,600 to remove the oil tank that served the heating system; for asbestos assessment and abatement, we’re looking at $10,000-$20,000. So, when you put it all together, we may be in the $50,000 to $60,000 range; perhaps a little bit more if we want to repair the roof and preserve the building." He expects the purchase agreement to be finalized in the next week.
The city isn't likely to recoup the cost if and when it sells the building, "In our mind, it’s not necessarily an endeavor we’re looking to make money off of. Rather, we’re looking to address an issue with the property and building that the private sector isn’t easily able to deal with." Snead says urban renewal programs make it much easier for the city to work at a loss, and the private sector has already found the project cost-prohibitive, "The Masonic Lodge had some interest. [But] they had some challenges dealing with a lot of the environmental issues. Ultimately, they weren’t able to sell the property."
This will be the third property purchased by the Madras Redevelopment Commission, but the first with a structure. While there aren't any specific plans yet, Snead says it’s a prime location for a retail business, office or restaurant.
SALEM, OR -- The local agriculture community is getting an extra push to vote in Tuesday's election. Jerome Rosa, Executive Director of the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association, says farmers often underestimate their power at the ballot box. He encourages them to be well informed and exercise their right to vote.
Rosa says many rural residents don’t feel like their voice is heard. But he points to the 2010 Oregon Governor's race as an example of their importance. “A few years ago, Chris Dudley really could have won the race if the rural communities, particularly eastern Oregon, had came out and voted for him. And that was the difference in the race.” He believes several ballot measures and house races directly impact farmers and ranchers.
For more on the issues and local candidates, as well as access to local ballot drop site locations, visit the Elections Page.
BEND, OR -- Bend shoppers may soon need to bring their own reusable bags to the grocery store. A Bend City Council subcommittee is working on an ordinance aimed at reducing single-use bags.
Councilor Bruce Abernethy sits on the subcommittee, which met again Thursday to discuss the latest draft. He doesn't call it a ban. "'Ban' is too strong a word. Obviously, the 'plastic bag ban,' it rolls off the tongue nicely, but that's farther than we actually are going, so it's not really realistic." He says it won't be anything quite so broad reaching, "When people hear 'plastic bag ban,' they really think, 'no more plastic bags.' And that's actually not what we're doing. We're not going to eliminate; we're not going to ban all plastic bags in Bend."
Bend Considers Plastic Bag Ban (10/02/2018)
Abernethy believes an all-out ban doesn't take the needs of several industries into consideration, "Our concern was that businesses that depended on some of these eligible uses, or exempt uses of bags, would feel that the council is going too far." So, like all rules, there will be exceptions, "If you are serving food or something like that, and it's plastic related, that's not a problem. Other exemptions include temporary - if you're a farmers market or something like that, or a holiday faire, or a special event; or anything that's related to health that's plastic, this doesn't apply." It would apply to carry-out bags, "It's trying to reduce those plastic bags that have the handles that when you go to the grocery store, that's the plastic that we're trying to reduce," he says.
Abernethy and fellow councilors Barb Campbell and Sally Russell have a few more changes to make before they present the proposed ordinance to the full council for a first reading, hopefully by the first part of December.
BEND, OR -- Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel says he’s making it easier for the public to hold him accountable, by publishing public records decisions online.
When a government agency denies a public records request, it can be appealed to the D.A.’s office. Hummel has ruled on 15 such cases and the results are, in themselves, public record. But until Thursday, they were not easily available to the public.
Hummel issued the following statement on Thursday:
"The government's business is the people's business and the records of the work of government thus belong to the public. When the public is denied access to one of their records, I need to conduct a swift, thorough, and fair review of the decision to withhold the record. And after this review I need to inform the public whether the decision to withhold the record was authorized by law or in violation of the law. Posting my decisions in these cases on the District Attorney's public website allows the public to review my work and hold me accountable if they disagree with my decision."
BEND, OR -- Although temperatures are cooling and rain is in the forecast, fire remains a concern. Open burning season begins Thursday in rural areas, but officials urge caution. "Burn season is open, but there are a lot of strings attached, as it were," says Bend Fire Battalion Chief Dave Howe.
Howe says the weather is still a factor. If it's too windy, burning is not allowed, and there are rules about what materials are allowed to be burned. "If they want to burn debris, they have to go to the city's website and click on the Fire and Life Safety Information link, and that will bring up the burning regulations. And the burning regulations pamphlet is what you need to have when you're burning. It's basically your permit." You also need to call 541-322-6335 to determine if burning is actually allowed for the day; and be prepared for catastrophe, "After you assemble water, hose, you clear away the area where you're going to burn so you don't catch everything else on fire." He tells KBND News, "Once they do that, and everything's set and they've got enough people to corral anything that gets out of hand, then they can go ahead and burn, if the weather's good." But, "People still have to be heads up, you can't turn your back on a fire, you've got to be with it, attend it, and be safe, don't let it escape, and don't let it burn something it's not supposed to burn."
If all that sounds too complicated, Howe says you can dispose of yard debris at the Knott Landfill for half price, through November 10, thanks to Fire Free. Take it to the recycle side and have it turned into compost. "Burn carefully and burn safely," says Howe, "or haul to the Fire Free event and they'll recycle it."
BEND, OR -- With just five days until the election, campaigns are pulling out all the stop; in many cases, launching personal attacks against their opponents. Not the candidates for House District 53. Democrat Eileen Kiely, of Sunriver, and Republican Jack Zika, of Redmond, say they’ve made a conscious effort to not go negative. "I had a lot of faith that we were going to run on issues because I think it’s flat out inappropriate," says Kiely, "You only need to say negative things about your opponent if you don’t have anything positive about yourself." Zika adds, "Now, Eileen and I do differ on a few things. In the debates that we’ve had, we’ve made sure to bring that up against each other. But, it’s never got nasty. That’s nice; I appreciate that. It’s made for a better campaign."
On the issues, they vary widely. Zika believes the state doesn't need to raise taxes, "I think we can pay our bills, we just need to prioritize. We need to make sure what are wants and what are needs. And, we have to take care of education, healthcare, public safety. Right now, Oregon, for revenue coming in per capita, we’re eighth out of the whole nation." While Kiely would like to focus on the general fund, which is used to pay for key services like education and law enforcement, "And, that’s one of the reasons the Oregon Business Plan, which represents a lot of the business leaders in Oregon, is saying it’s time to raise business taxes as part of an overall comprehensive budget."
Both candidates agree the state should allow more local control over finding solutions to the affordable housing crisis. Kiely stands behind Measure 102 and says there should be more public and private partnerships, "The actual solutions are going to be implemented by counties and cities because those are the people that understand their population. What works for us in Central Oregon is not the same as what works in Portland." Zika thinks the focus should be on zoning, "We have a whole bunch of land on the east side of Bend that would be better suited developing. Right now, it’s zoned Exclusive Farm Use zone, so you can’t touch it. So, if we were able to rezone that and make it easier for counties and cities to collaborate together and have regional control of our land use laws, we could grow how we see fit."
Click HERE to listen to our full conversation with Eileen Kiely and Jack Zika. For more on the candidates, visit our Elections Page. Ballots are due by 8 p.m. Tuesday. It's too late to put them in the mail, and should be taken to an official drop site. As of Wednesday afternoon, nearly 33% of Deschutes County voters had already turned in their ballots.
BEND, OR -- Oregon Parks and Recreation is looking for public input on Pilot Butte state scenic viewpoint. The Department updates state park master plans every 20 years or so, and it's time for an overhaul of Pilot Butte's plan. "It's really looking to preservation, restoration, thinking about how we can focus on improving, but not necessarily developing," Park Planner Rachel Hill tells KBND News, "It's really looking to focus on what we value and what the community and the state thinks is really important about the Butte."
She says it's important for visitors to have a say in future plans for Bend's only state park, "Bend, in particular, with Pilot Butte, has changed so much in the last 20 years, I think 1995 was the last time we did a master plan for Pilot Butte." She adds, "Trying to project out, 10-20 years in the future, master plans help us guide development decisions or management decisions as things change and grow around it."
Hill hopes the public will get involved, "We want to make sure that this resonates with both things that they value about the Butte in general, but also how they recreate, how they use the park, and how that can be improved upon." There are two opportunities, this month, to provide feedback. A public forum in Springfield is scheduled for November 14, followed by a meeting at the Bend Parks and Rec office on November 29, from 6-8 p.m. Comments can also be submitted online and via email. More meetings will be scheduled once a draft plan is ready for review.
REDMOND, OR -- A long-term investigation by the Central Oregon Drug Enforcement (CODE) Team culminated with the search of four locations in Deschutes County, in October, and the arrest of four people.
Investigators discovered a large indoor marijuana grow at a property on Forked Horn Drive in Sisters, where they seized more than 4,300 plants, nearly 200 pounds of dried pot and four pounds of Butane Honey Oil (BHO). According to CODE, a large, sophisticated illegal grow was set up in a metal pole building as well as within the primary home (pictured above). They arrested Shaun Gutta and Krystal Silverio who lived at the house and are believed to have been sending pot products out of state.
Detectives then stopped a Penske rental truck south of La Pine and found more plants, drugs and chemicals used to make BHO (right). They took Andrew Pollack, of Prineville, and Dusty Jones, of Days Creek, into custody at that time.
Following leads, detectives searched a home on Suza Court in La Pine and found chemicals used to make BHO, tying the location to the Penske truck. The next day, they executed warrants at two neighboring properties on O'Neil Way and Canal Blvd, north of Redmond, where they found another illegal grow hidden in a deep ravine (below). There they seized another 3,500 plants, 109 pounds of dried marijuana and 22 firearms.
BEND, OR -- A Bend man was arrested after a limousine crashed through a pasture fence, Wednesday night. When Deschutes County deputies responded to Bear Creek and Ten Barr Ranch Road just after 8:30, they were told by 46-year-old Christopher Grant and 33-year-old Amanda Gehman that their hired chauffer took off after the crash.
After an extensive search for the mystery driver, investigators determined the couple made up the story of a dashing chauffer, when in fact Grant was behind the wheel and failed to negotiate a curve. They believe speed and alcohol impairment were the primary factors in the crash.
The limo is privately owned by a third party and is not part of a service. No horses or people were injured in the crash.
Grant is accused of DUII, hit and run, cocaine possession and other charges. In January, he was accused of stabbing an acquaintance while the man slept. In that case, the CERT team took Grant into custody at his Bear Creek home.