BEND, OR —A Bend man is accused of robbing the owners of a used car dealership, Saturday evening. According to Bend Police, 50-year-old Christopher James Grant entered the Local Motors on NE Division, just before 7 p.m. He was wearing a mask on his face and a badge on his chest, and yelled “Sheriff!” as he walked in. He was also allegedly armed with a hammer. Authorities say Grant is not a law enforcement officer.
Grant allegedly ordered 45-year-old Christina Matlock to go outside and start her vehicle. He then handcuffed 43-year-old Morgan Matlock. Christina Matlock called 911 to report the robbery, saying the suspect was demanding money. She and a six-year-old boy were able to get out of the building and met with police.
The suspect came outside, saw officers and ran. After a short foot chase, they arrested Grant near NE Tweet Place and Yale Ave. Police say he had both victims’ cell phones. He’s charged with Robbery, Burglary, Kidnap, Attempted Unlawful Use of a Motor Vehicle, Coercion, Menacing, Unlawful Use of a Weapon, Harassment, Attempted Theft, Theft and Impersonating a Peace Officer.
Bend PD and the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office are investigating how Grant obtained the badge and handcuffs he allegedly used in the incident.
BEND, OR — Bend Police say a report of a shooting near downtown, Saturday morning, was unfounded. Officers responded to the Yellow Knife office on NW Greenwood Ave., just after 7:30 a.m., following a call to 911 from a man claiming to have shot a woman. He also said he was prepared to shoot police.
Bend PD, Public Works, the Sheriff’s Office, ODOT and the Central Oregon Emergency Response Team responded, blocking off the area while officers investigated. The business was cleared by a team of officers and officials say they didn’t find anyone inside or around the building. Roads in the area reopened at 9:20 a.m.
At this point, they believe there is no credible threat to the community. The investigation is ongoing, and Bend Police ask anyone with information to call 541-693-6911.
BEND, OR — One person was hurt when a small plane crashed Saturday, at the Bend Airport. According to Bend Police, the Cessna 180 was landing when it was struck by a gust of wind. The pilot tried to get control of the aircraft but it hit an embankment and crashed, just east of the runway.
The pilot, 58-year-old John Bentley Jr., told investigators that he and three passengers were returning from a three-hour flight, when the crash occurred. No one was seriously hurt, but one passenger was taken to St. Charles Bend with a minor injury.
REDMOND, OR -- A Redmond man died following a three-vehicle crash that occurred Wednesday night. A Deschutes County deputy arrived at the scene just after the collision on the Maple Avenue bridge over the Dry Canyon, and provided help to two victims. Redmond Police and medics took over a short time later.
Investigators believe 39-year-old Anesha Slocum was westbound on the bridge when she slid into oncoming traffic, just after 9:30 p.m. She collided head-on with a Kia Optima (pictured below), driven by 26-year-old Cristina Vasquez. A Jeep Cherokee, driven by 36-year-old Brian Beamer then rear-ended the Optima. Slocum and her passenger, 52-year-old Randy Slocum, were taken to the hospital, as well as Vasquez and her two seven-year-old passengers. Redmond Police were notified Thursday that Randy Slocum died as a result of his injuries. One child in Vasquez's car suffered a broken femur, wrist and arm. The other was not seriously hurt.
The crash remains under investigation, but police do not believe any drivers were impaired. Redmond roads were slick, and temperatures were below freezing at the time of the crash. Child car-seat usage is being considered a factor in the children's injuries.
BEND, OR -- Bend Fire has distributed special traction devices to the city’s largest senior living facilities. But, these aren’t for vehicles. Battalion Chief Dave Howe says the footwear is an effort to keep residents from falling in icy weather. "We are all about protecting life and property – especially life. Any way we can keep people from getting into the pre-hospital care or hospital care arena, we’ll work on that. If we can keep people out of the ambulance, that’s what we’ll do." Howe says Bend Fire medics responds to multiple fall calls every day, and that number climbs during winter.
Bend Fire received just over $1,000 in grants from the Helen Lorenz Foundation and St. Charles Health System, "Enough to supply our 10 largest senior residence facilities with a few pairs of these footwear traction devices." Each of the 10 facilities received six pairs, which are available for residents to borrow, "Hopefully, we’ll reduce our EMS call volume. The less fall calls we go on, the better. And, anybody – elderly or not – is definitely at risk of falling when it’s icy." Howe says seniors can be especially susceptible because it takes the elderly longer to recover from injuries.
The agency will re-evaluate its calls after winter to see whether the traction footwear made a difference, We’ll see how successful this is. We plan to see if maybe we can reduce our statistics a little bit and if that project makes an impact on the number of falls on slippery surfaces." He tells KBND News, "If we can prevent some and enhance people’s ability to live life, we’re all about that. And, we hope we can generate some more funding this next coming year, to do even more." Howe says the new program compliments one already offered through Bend Fire, where staff assess homes for fall hazards, like slippery rugs, poor lighting and clutter. To schedule a free home fall-risk survey, call 541-322-6309.
BEND, OR -- The partial government shutdown continues. The U.S. House of Representatives and Senate adjourned Thursday without reaching a resolution, so the shutdown is expected to go on at least until January third when Congress returns. That means workers will not receive a paycheck on the December 31st payday.
One local financial institution is trying to help local federal employees on furlough. Kyle Frick, with Mid Oregon Credit Union, tells KBND News, "We have several hundred people who are members of the credit union who are employees of the Deschutes National Forest, Ochoco National Forest, the Fremont-Winema National Forest, BLM and US Fish and Wildlife Service." And, he says, many may be unable to make mortgage, rent or other payments when they don't get paid on time.
Mid Oregon Credit Union came up with several options to help bridge that funding gap, "We have some short-term loans available. We also can do 'skip a pays' without any fees, so it just depends on what people’s needs are to hold them over," says Frick, "We know they will probably get all of their money after they get back to payroll; they’re just not getting paid [yet]." Some options are only available to current members, but others are open to federal workers who don't currently belong to the credit union.
It’s not the first time Mid Oregon has tried to help furloughed government workers, "We had to go back a little while to find one where we actually knew there was going to be an impact. Normally, they get resolved pretty quickly; this one isn’t being resolved as quickly. So, if they have a paycheck they were going to be getting December 31st, and their mortgage payment or their car payment or something [is due], I mean, that could cause some ripples."
For more information, visit a Mid Oregon branch in Bend, Redmond, Madras, Prineville, La Pine or Sisters, or contact their call center at 541-382-1795.
BEND, OR -- This New year's Eve, there's no such thing as a free ride. In the past, various taxi, ride sharing or other local companies offered free "sober rides" to New Year revelers. Not this year.
Nathan Hambley, of Uber, says they often partner with local law enforcement to provide safe, free rides for the tipsy. And, they are offering such programs in other cities, this year, just not in Central Oregon. "We won't be doing any discounts. But, what I can tell you is that there will likely be more [Uber] drivers out on the road than normal, because it's always one of our busiest nights of the year." He tells KBND News, "Make sure that you have the app downloaded and that you know how to use it, so when time comes to go home, it's just a matter of opening the app, pushing the button, and getting a safe ride home."
Bend Police Lt. Clint Burleigh says officers are always on hand to protect and serve. And, like other local law enforcement agencies, they are increasing DUII patrols through New Year's Day. He says if they do give you a ride, it won't be home. "Will we assist them in finding some sort of rideshare? That's what we want to do. We want to make sure people are making the proper decision and the proper choices, but to say that we're going to give people rides home I think takes away the purpose of keeping people safe."
Deschutes County Sheriff's Sgt. William Bailey says don't drink unless you have a safe way to get home, "So, if they do plan to go out and celebrate this New Year's Eve, that they have a plan ahead of time, whether it's a sober driver, using an Uber or taxi; if it's a safe walk, walking home, but having an option other than driving." He tells KBND News, too often people wait until it's too late. "Once they start drinking, then their judgment is impaired. Once their judgment is impaired, they may make that poor decision. By having the plan ahead of time, by giving someone their keys, they don't have the option to get behind the wheel."
If you can't reach a ride-share program and can't stay where you are, tell Siri. A "Hey Siri, I'm drunk" prompts the iPhone to offer to dial a cab company for you.
LA PINE, OR -- A Deschutes County Sheriff’s deputy is credited with saving a woman’s life, this week. The deputy was at a La Pine-area home addressing county ordinance violations, Wednesday afternoon, when a woman came out of a bedroom saying another woman was not breathing. She suspected an opioid overdose and had administered a dose of Narcan, but the victim hadn’t responded.
The deputy called for medics but they were about 10 minutes away. After the deputy administered a second dose of Narcan from her patrol car, the 57-year-old immediately started breathing again.
Sheriff Nelson said in a statement, "Addiction affects the lives of everyone and, more so, families who suffer a tragic loss from an overdose death. Our office [first] deployed Narcan as a life-saving tool nearly five years ago and we have used it 27 times this year alone. In this national opioid crisis, my hope is that those who are saved after an overdose will take this second chance to change their life."
Each DCSO patrol vehicle carries Narcan. Deputies have administered the overdose reversing drug 40 times since 2015, both in the field and in the Deschutes County Jail.
TERREBONNE, OR -- A Terrebonne couple was arrested Thursday, following a traffic stop on C Street, near Highway 97.
"One of our patrol deputies was in the Terrebonne area and spotted a vehicle he recognized as having been reported stolen in the Redmond area on Christmas," Deschutes County Sheriff's Sgt. William Bailey tells KBND News, "And, he initiated a high-risk traffic stop on the two occupants." He says the driver, 37-year-old Bruce Abbas, was taken into custody without incident. He's charged with Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle and possessing a stolen car.
His passenger, 36-year-old Tracy Worthington, was cited and released for Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle; she was also allegedly caught with meth.
MADRAS, OR -- A Bend man wanted for providing false information to police during a Christmas Day traffic stop was caught in Madras, Thursday afternoon. Deschutes County Sheriff's Sgt. William Bailey says 27-year-old Freddy Ayala is now at the Jefferson County Jail. "He's being held there on a Parole Violation and there will be charges in Deschutes County that he will have to come back and face at some point." Ayala was taken into custody at the Madras Safeway. According to the Jefferson County Jail, he's accused of being a felon in possession of a firearm, carrying a concealed knife, drug possession, driving while suspended and a parole violation.
A Deschutes County deputy pulled Ayala over Tuesday for driving through a red light. "When he was contacted, he provided false information to the deputy," Sgt. Bailey tells KBND News, "Once he was identified, he sped away in his vehicle." The deputy initially pursued the suspect, but called off the chase due to public safety concerns.
Ayala has a lengthy criminal record dating back more than five years, with charges including other parole and probation violations, and Rape.
BEND, OR -- CenturyLink customers across the country struggled with internet and phone outages throughout Thursday morning. Several Central Oregon customers report calls to customer service are met with a message that wait times hover around 800 hours.
The outage is impacting landline phones at St. Charles hospitals and clinics. St. Charles Health System reports phones are intermittently inoperable, and they encourage patients and visitors to use cell phones rather than room phones.
REDMOND, OR -- A Redmond man faces a list of charges following a Wednesday evening altercation. Officers were dispatched to SW 25th and Fissure Loop North for a dispute between two men; one was reportedly armed with a knife.
Investigators say 40-year-old Rudy Gandarilla became upset after the victim drove an acquaintance to his house. Gandarilla confronted the man sitting in the driver's seat, allegedly slashed two of his tires and punched the man in the face several times. He also reportedly ordered the victim to hand over his cell phone and wallet while threatening him with a knife.
Gandarilla went back into his house prior to the arrival of Redmond Police. He cooperated with officers and was arrested for Robbery, Theft, Menacing, Assault and Criminal Mischief. Police recovered the victim's phone, wallet and the knife believed to have been used in the incident. Investigators believe Gandarilla was under the influence of drugs at the time.
REDMOND, OR -- Retiring State Representative Gene Whisnant (R-Sunriver) was a fixture in Salem. His long-time District 53 seat is now held by Republican Jack Zika, who was recently appointed to three key committees in advance of the upcoming session: Human Services & Housing, Energy & Environment and Veterans Services & Emergency Preparedness.
Because of his work as a realtor and experience on Redmond's Planning Commission, Zika says becoming a member of the Human Services and Housing Committee was his first choice, "They send out a form and they ask you what your preferences are, and of course I put housing on there because that's my expertise." He says, "They wanted a Republican that was excited about housing, and I am passionate about housing, so it seemed like a perfect fit. I'm excited, because it seems like there are some things they're not doing when it comes to supply and demand for housing, and I think we can really try to fix some of our land use laws, and maybe we can grow at a pace that would provide affordable housing." He tells KBND News, "I'm hoping to go in there and let them know that we need to keep our tax deduction to help keep our housing affordable and we can't impose rent control, because that's just going to reduce the rentals available."
Zika is not a supporter of Cap and Trade, but says serving on the Energy and Environment Committee will give him the chance to come up with solutions for the 2050 deadline to reduce carbon emissions by 80%. And, he says he's always known staging for emergency personnel is an important issue in Central Oregon that doesn't always get enough attention, "I'm actually really excited about Veterans and Emergency Preparedness. I'll get to help out the veterans community, and also learn more about our emergency preparedness."
He'll be sworn in with all newly elected state lawmakers on January 14.
REDMOND, OR -- Redmond saw a big jump in residential building permits, in the past few months. Mayor George Endicott credits the boom with the recent approval of several master plan developments. While construction is underway on single family homes and several apartment buildings, Endicott says the city is also getting its first cottage development, "A senior community where the land is commonly owned by the cottage is owned by the people – to help with maintenance, and that. So, we not only have a lot being built, but we have a great variety being built, which is what we’ve all been needing."
Mayor Endicott is hopeful it will continue in to 2019, if things remain modest. He tells KBND News, "If you go back to say the early 2000s, when Alan Unger was Mayor, we had 11% growth; then, suddenly, we went to zero." He says things all but stopped between 2011 and 2013, "Through that stretch, there’s one year we had no building permits; there’s one year we had one and another year we had two. So, now you look at hundreds. I would much rather see it balanced and more steady over time." Now, he estimates the growth rate is 4-6%, "Which is probably a lot healthier number than that huge, big shoot up and catastrophic drop. So, I’m hoping we don’t see that this time."
BEND, OR -- A pilot program aimed at reaching more local families who qualify for WIC services, is now permanent. Laura Spaulding, Deschutes County’s WIC coordinator, says offering clinics at apartment buildings and Head Start makes it easier for parents to access nutrition and health services. "Transportation is one of the biggest issues for families coming into WIC. We do have a transportation system in Deschutes County, but it doesn’t always get exactly to every single client and get them in at the time of their appointment," she tells KBND News, "So, if we can go meet them where they live or where they’re already going to be, we have a higher chance of actually getting to see those clients on time."
Monthly clinics at the Ariel Glen Apartments, Healy Heights Apartments, Mountain Star Family Relief Nursery and various Head Start locations began several months ago, as a test. Spaulding says it was successful in helping reach more families. And, with many of those satellite clinics offered in the afternoon and evening, she says, they're more convenient for working parents, "Those of us who work fulltime, sometimes we have to take time off to go to the dentist, or something like that, and we never want our families to have to miss work or miss possible employment dollars in order to come to WIC. So, these are being held in the evenings, oftentimes." Periodic clinic visits are required for families to access health and growth screenings, nutrition support and education, and food benefits through the Women, Infant and Children (WIC) program. Spaulding says this new program is full-service, "We’re able to do weights and heights, and all of that kind of thing. And, we bring our computers so we can actually get them their benefits right that day, so there’s no other reason for them to come into the clinic; it’s just in a different type of environment."
Residents can also now start the qualification process with a new online form available on the county's website. WIC services are also still offered at the Deschutes County Health Services Building in Bend, the Becky Johnson Community Center in Redmond and the La Pine Community Campus. Deschutes County WIC currently serves about 3,400 clients, but Spaulding expects that number to grow with the new accommodations. Call 541-322-7400 for more details on the new satellite locations, including days and hours.
Photo: Courtesy Deschutes County WIC
SISTERS, OR -- A Bend man died Tuesday evening, from injuries he sustained in a crash east of Sisters. According to State Police, 58-year-old David Jackson was driving on Highway 126, at about 1:15 p.m., when he slowed to make a left on to Cloverdale Road. His Chevrolet Equinox was rear-ended by a GMC Yukon, driven by 40-year-old Andria Mengucci, of Madras.
Multiple people were taken to the hospital, most with non-life threatening injuries, including a young child in Mengucci's car who was unrestrained. Jackson was pronounced dead at St. Charles Bend, just after 5 p.m.
Distracted driving is thought to have been a contributing factor in the crash, although the investigation is ongoing. Highway 126 was closed for nearly two hours.
BEND, OR -- Healthy Beginnings officially launched its rural advocates program, this month. The nonprofit announced plans six months ago It planned to hire young parents in Prineville, Madras, Sisters and La Pine. Executive Director Diane Murray-Fleck says it took time to find just the right people. But, she says they’re now ready to start offering child and family assessments in each of their own communities.
She tells KBND News, "We’re already getting feedback from the advocates that this is so fun, and so in alignment with who they are as young parents, and who they want to be in their communities that it’s easy. And they also love being seen as an expert in early childhood development and helping kids remain healthy in their community." The advocates will host health, behavioral and developmental screenings for kids, and Murray-Fleck says they will soon add family assessments, "They’ll also be hosting a fundraiser, locally. One of the pieces of feedback I got, that I thought was gold, is ‘why are all your fundraisers in Bend? We love you in rural Oregon; we love you in Prineville. If you had a fundraiser in our community we would totally support it.’ So, this rural advocate pivot is really the answer to that."
She says the goal is to reach at least 30 families a year, in each community. The rural advocates program launched first in Prineville where, Murray-Fleck says, they’re well on their way to that goal, "We initially saw, I think, 23 kids. And, the rural advocate has already said she has 53 families that are interested in having assessments. So, I think we’ve tapped into something that’s been really needed and can be really useful. I think people respond to someone local, from their community."
Healthy Beginnings has provided free medical, behavioral and developmental screenings for local kids, up to age five, for nearly 23 years.
Pictured: Prineville Rural Advocate, Ryleigh Shiner with her two children
BEND, OR -- The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public's help finding a Bend man suspected of providing a fake ID to deputies, Tuesday morning, then leading them on a chase.
A deputy pulled over a Dodge Ram pickup for a traffic violation, just after 6 a.m., and identified the driver as 27-year-old Freddy Ayala, despite his producing false identification. The deputy tried to arrest him for Driving while Criminally Suspended but Ayala sped off. After several blocks, the chase was called off for safety concerns.
He’s Hispanic, 5'8", 180-pounds, with “Ayala” tattooed on the back of his neck. Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call the Sheriff's Office at 541-693-6911, reference case #18-398411. They ask that you do not approach or attempt to detain the suspect.
TUMALO, OR -- A Prineville man faces DUII charges after crashing his Cadillac near Tumalo, Tuesday afternoon. Deschutes County Deputies say 28-year-old Tyland Shoals was eastbound on Highway 20 at about 2:30 p.m., when he hit a guardrail, crossed over the centerline and went down an embankment.
Passersby reported he was unconscious and not breathing. Shoals was revived by deputies and medics then taken to the hospital.
He’s accused of Driving Under the Influence of drugs and Reckless Endangering. He was cited in lieu of custody and released to the custody of St. Charles Bend.
REDMOND, OR -- A woman was seriously injured in a crash, Tuesday night, southwest of Redmond. According to the Sheriff's office, 21-year-old Salena Wilson, of Redmond, was southbound on Canal Boulevard, near SW 61st, just after 7 p.m. Her SUV went off the road and through a fence, before crashing head-on into a tree.
Wilson was able to get out of the car and crawl up to the road. A passerby stayed with her until emergency crews arrived. The investigation continues into why she drove off the road.
BEND, OR -- A car accident on Deschutes Market Road, Christmas morning, led to minor injuries and scattered presents across the road. The Sheriff's Office responded to the scene just after 9 a.m., Tuesday, and found a mini-van on its top, down a 30' embankment. Investigators believe the driver lost control on the icy road, while on the way to a relative's house.
Everyone was out of the car, with the parents trying to keep their three children warm. While medics evaluated the family, deputies and Bend firefighters gathered up the gifts and loaded them into a patrol vehicle.
The five people were picked up by family and deputies later delivered the presents to the relative's home, in time for their Christmas celebration.
BEND, OR -- Investigators are searching for a woman suspected of trying to steal plants from a licensed industrial hemp farm, just north of Redmond, Tuesday. Deschutes County deputies were called to the farm on O'Neil Way, after the property owner confronted a couple in a pickup, at about 12:25 p.m. They say 31-year-old Mitchell Ballard Jr. produced a weapon and threatened the owner, who then tried to hold the pair at gunpoint until deputies arrived. They drove off, crashing into several vehicles.
Following an extensive search and a short foot chase, deputies arrested Ballard near the Negus Landfill Transfer Station; he faces several charges, including Trespassing, Robbery and Attempt to Elude. The woman’s identity has not been released; she remains at large.
Deputies believe the suspects thought they were stealing marijuana. Industrial hemp is a variety of cannabis containing very low levels of THC and does not produce a high.
BEND, OR -- A Bend family's Christmas was nearly ruined by a thief who stole delivered packages from their front porch, last week. Friday afternoon, the homeowner reported seeing a man on a home video surveillance system knock on the door on Fairway Drive, then take boxes from the porch, when no one answered. Those packages contained multiple Christmas gifts for the family.
Using that video surveillance, Bend Police identified a 2004 Kia Optima as the suspect vehicle; the license plate led them to 39-year-old Steven Stout. On Sunday, officers stopped the Kia on NE Twin Knolls. During a search of the car, they recovered property taken from a porch on SW McKinley, as well as heroin and meth. Stout faces theft and drug charges.
The investigation led officers to a third theft of over $1500 in snowboarding gear taken within minutes of being delivered. Those were also intended to be Christmas gifts. All of the recovered property was returned in time for Christmas. The investigation continues and police ask that any other potential victims call Bend PD at 541-693-6911.
Police say Stout admitted to ingesting drugs prior to being stopped by officers. He was taken to St. Charles Bend for evaluation, where he was cited and released.
MADRAS, OR -- A Madras man is recovering from an assault that occurred Saturday afternoon. The 46-year-old was found near 11th and 'C' streets, at about 4:30 p.m., with multiple stab wounds. He was airlifted to OHSU in Portland, currently listed in critical condition.
Madras Police identified one suspect as 27-year-old Devonne Rhoan (right), and obtained a description for a second suspect. Just after 6 p.m., dispatch received a report of two people trying to get into a car near the Texaco at 4th and 'D' streets. Responding officers realized the two men matched the description of the stabbing suspects and tried to place them under arrest. Authorities say the suspects initially refused to comply with police commands and were tased by officers. Rhoan was arrested, along with 44-year-old Gabriel George (left).
The two men are charged with Attempted Murder, Assault I, Unlawful Use of a Weapon and Menacing, relating to the assault. They're also accused of Criminal Mischief I, Attempted Unlawful Use of a Motor Vehicle, Attempted Unlawful Entry into a Motor Vehicle, Resisting Arrest and Interfering with a Police Officer.
Madras PD are investigating a possible tie between Saturday's assault and one reported on December 16. Anyone with information in either case is asked to call non-emergency dispatch at 541-475-2201.
BEND, OR -- Central Oregon Community College Board Chair John Mundy submitted his resignation, Friday, effective immediately. In an email to President Dr. Shirley Metcalf, he said communication between the Board and other college staff was no longer working. He wishes the college the best.
Mundy tells KBND News, he's quite relieved to no longer be on the Board. He says he's become increasingly concerned about the lack of good communication and it was causing him a lot of personal stress. Another factor was a recent editorial that he believes threw shade on Board members just before an election cycle. The politics involved in the dynamic have led him to believe he can't solve these issues alone, and his being Chairman of the Board was actually serving as an hinderance.
He also cites the time involved, Mundy says he's passionate about serving his community, and felt like his time on the Board was too unproductive to be worth the personal sacrifice. He's sympathetic to the college, and unwilling to speculate about what happens next for COCC and their search for a new college President to replace the retiring Dr. Shirley Metcalf. Last night, Mundy says, he woke up with heart palpitations and couldn't sleep until he'd decided to go through with tendering his immediate resignation.
Mundy intends to ski for the rest of the season, rejuvenate, and then decide later what his plans will be, going forward.
UPDATE (12/24/18): On Monday, the Board of Directors met in an emergency session and selected Zone Two member Laura Craska Cooper as the new Chair. They are now accepting applications to fill Mundy’s Zone Five seat, representing most of Bend.
BEND, OR -- A downtown Bend concert venue will be forced to keep the noise down during most events, next year. A majority of the City Council agreed with the City Manager, this week, who denied six of seven requests by Crow’s Feet Commons for a variance, which would've allowed shows to reach 85 decibels, instead of 70.
Dan Baumann, with Crow’s Feet Commons, argued national events like the Subaru Winterfest, scheduled for Mid-March, will take place in 2019, because they're already booked. But he worries future events are in jeopardy, "Basically, if we’re not able to produce that show for them, they’re going to find somewhere else. We have the energy downtown, we have a community that supports the things that we do downtown, there are people who show up for all these shows."
Councilors appeared sympathetic but voted 5 to 2 to uphold the City manager’s denial of the variance. Nathan Boddie was one of two Councilors to side with Crows Feet Commons, "These are the things that make us Bend: It’s a ski town, it’s a mountain town, it’s a multi-faceted thing. But, if we’re going to say ‘Winterfest can’t be downtown,’ then we’re kind of saying Bend isn’t the town that we try to sell everybody; so it’s kind of ‘money where our mouth is'."
The variances were denied, in part, due to conflicting events scheduled at the neighboring Tower Theatre. Baumann says he tried to work with the Tower before booking his acts, "I was basically told ‘we plan events every weekend, even though they’re not on our books, initially.’ Which, makes us – if we don’t see them or have access to those records, how are we supposed to know what weekends are good, what weekends are bad?" Crow’s Feet Commons leases its space from the city. Baumann says hosting events is a condition of that lease agreement.
BEND, OR -- A 9'-deep avalanche slid down the northeast slope of Tumalo Mountain on Wednesday. Volunteers who went to investigate the slide and look for anyone potentially caught, noticed deep snow bike tracks along the ridge, directly above the slide. Motorized activity can trigger avalanches. Fortunately no one was hurt.
Central Oregon Avalanche Association's Allison Miles says they always watch for trouble on the slopes when frigid temperatures are followed by warm days. Volunteers started checking out the slopes after a light hoary snow fell, "It's just like snow's version of dew, which is not very strong. I mean, if you look at it, it looks feathery, it looks delicate, so when you stack a bunch of snow on top of it, that's how avalanches happen." Miles tells KBND News, "The temperature was hovering just about at freezing level, so the snow that came in was really heavy and wet, and what happened was it created this big, heavy slab on top of this unconsolidated, weak snow and that's just a prime recipe for an avalanche."
The slide traveled about a quarter mile. Miles has been told it was heard across the highway at Mount Bachelor Ski Resort, and even as far away as Todd lake. She says the avalanche took out roughly 60% of the snow in Tumalo's bowl and she's grateful no one was caught in it, "It's really the best scenario for us as a community, as we get this great lesson that 'hey, avalanches do happen, right in our backyard,' without having to deal with the tragedy that can often be associated with avalanches." She adds, "It's why it's just even more important for outdoor recreationists to know that the bowl, just because it's popular, doesn't mean it's safe, or at least it's not safe all the time."
Photos from the Central Oregon Avalanche Center
EUGENE, OR -- The Madras man accused of robbing a bank amid the excitement and crowds of the 2017 eclipse has pleaded guilty to robbery and drug charges. Tyler Fuller appeared in a federal courtroom in Eugene on Thursday, to change his plea.
According to federal prosecutors, the 29-year-old walked in to the US Bank in downtown Madras just after the August 21, 2017 eclipse. He handed the teller a note that read “Give me your money and nobody gets hurt” and got away with $517. He was later arrested during a traffic stop.
In a separate case, Fuller also admitted to being a member of a drug distribution conspiracy and to possessing more than 50 grams of meth. He faces up to life in prison, with a 10-year mandatory minimum, and will be sentenced in April.
BEND, OR -- KBND radio officially went on the air 80 years ago, with a mix of local news and live music, as well as nationally syndicated shows. Originally owned by the Bend Bulletin, KBND started its regular programming at 7 a.m. December 20, 1938; broadcasting on AM 1310 from the basement of the Pilot Butte Inn. The night before, officials dedicated and tested the signal with speeches from dignitaries. According to the front page of the December 20th Bulletin, following that formal test, listeners from Tumalo, Redmond and Prineville called the station, impressed with the clear reception.
It was the first broadcast station in Central Oregon. "Radio was the connection. It was how everyone was communicating [with] one another," says Kelly Cannon-Miller, with the Deschutes Historical Museum. She equates it to today's social media, "Getting the word out, sharing important news bits, who’s doing what. It was absolutely a main method of staying connected to one another and who was up to what."
Five days later the station celebrated its first Christmas with special programming; a tradition that continued for decades, "Broadcasts of A Christmas Carol with different actors; the Barrymore family shows up in some of them. For a good 20 years, actually on Christmas night, they would do a national broadcast of the story of the Nativity. Individual church programs would be listed in there, in and around the national broadcast; or, someone coming in and singing Christmas carols."
For more on the history of KBND and radio in Central Oregon, listen to our podcast with Kelly Cannon-Miller.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- Prineville deals with dramatic seasonal swings in water demand, from less than a million gallons a day in the winter, to more than four-million gallons in the summer. Development of more data centers for Facebook and Apple are expected to put an ever greater strain on the city's water supply in the future. But, city officials hope a new Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) system will help conserve water for use during peak times.
City Engineer Eric Klann says the project began millions of years ago, "Four-and-a-half-million years ago, the Crooked River was actually underneath where our airport is today, and volcanic events moved it to its current location. But, as the river moved, all of the deposits from that ancestral river remained. So, what that means is we have a very confined aquifer that has a lot of storage capacity in it." Scientists estimate that ancient canyon could hold much more, and be more protected, than would be possible with a manmade reservoir. "What this will essentially allow us to do is take our additional water production capacity, when demands are really low and stream flows are high, and use that; store a little bit of it every day to meet those few months during the summer when demands are very high," Klann explains. "Instead of producing a million gallons a day to meet the demand during the winter," Klann says, "You would produce two-million gallons, store that in the aquifer up by the airport, and just use that additional water to meet those summertime demands."
Klann say new ASR will require the city to build new infrastructure, "This winter, you’ll see drill rigs all over town, drilling for new production wells [pictured, above]. Then, we’ll start construction on our water treatment plant, hopefully, later this coming spring." He expects the entire system will come on line by the summer of 2020. It's an expensive undertaking, but Klann says the city won't foot the bill, "Total price tag on the project is $8.7 million. Apple has agreed to fund this project." He tells KBND News the city will eventually pay back Apple as new ratepayers come on line, saying it's how "growth pays for growth."
REDMOND, OR -- United Airlines is expanding its nationwide network, including the addition of a non-stop flight from Redmond to Chicago's O'Hare Airport. Redmond Airport Director Zach Bass says this is a noteworthy flight for Roberts Field, "It's the first Chicago direct we've ever had, but it's also the furthest East-bound direct that we've ever had." It's also the first red-eye, departing Redmond at 11:45 p.m. and arriving in Chicago at 5:15 a.m., Eastern Time. The return flight departs O'Hare at 7:30 p.m. ET, and arrives in Redmond at 9:45 p.m., local time.
The route is seasonal, offered June to October, for now, "A lot of times, they introduce seasonal to see if the market can handle the flight," Bass tells KBND News, "And, hopefully, what we're looking at is Central Oregon stepping up and using the flight, of course; and then, hopefully, we'll see it year-round at some point in the future." He adds, "United Airlines, who's providing this direct flight, has done this in similar-sized cities: Spokane and Fresno, and it's been successful. So, they're hoping it's successful here."
Bass says the new destination is also an opportunity for Central Oregonians to have greater access to more flights because Chicago is United's main hub, "From my understanding, United offers about 500 different flights out of there, almost daily. So, it will be a great asset for someone who wants to get to the East Coast early in the morning and pretty much connect to anywhere East of there."
According to the airline, the daily non-stop flights will be operated by SkyWest, using an Embraer 175 series aircraft that can accommodate up to 76 passengers. It has 12 recliner seats in First Class, 16 seats in Premium Economy-lite and 48 Coach seats.
Photo: A United plane sits on the tarmac at Chicago's O'Hare Airport.
BEND, OR -- Deschutes County Commissioners continue discussions on a proposal for new zoning, west of Bend. The proposal would create the Westside Transect Zone (WTZ), with 717 acres between Shevlin Park and downtown. Associate planner Zechariah Heck says the WTZ would provide transition space between urban and forested areas. "The Westside Transect Zone has received a lot of interest across the community; most, particularly because of the wildlife habitat management plans and wildfire mitigation plans. The community has been outspoken about support for this proposal because of those two components of the application."
County Commissioners began deliberations Monday and asked for a few changes. "The Board provided some revisions to the code itself. This would be a new code that the county implements and administers," Heck tells KBND News, "Probably the most substantive revisions involve the wildfire mitigation plan." Those revisions will be presented as another draft to Commissioners at Wednesday morning's meeting. Heck says they could ask for more changes. Or, "What could happen, as well, is they could decide that the revisions work and they want to proceed to a vote."
The WTZ proposal includes 187 single-family homes on at least 2.5-acre lots.
BEND, OR -- A major renovation project is now underway at the Oregon National Guard Youth Challenge Program (OYCP), east of Bend. Director Dan Radabaugh says the work is necessary to expand capacity, "We serve high school dropouts and students failing in the mainstream high schools; we serve all 36 counties in the state of Oregon. We have a waiting list. We’re getting ready to seat this next class that begins in January; and, unfortunately, there’s going to be kids out there we’re going to have to turn down."
OYCP is housed in a former Air Force facility that Radabaugh says will be expanded by 7,000-square feet, "By the end of 2019, we should have a facility that’s up to code and we should have a new expansion that enlarges the capacity." He tells KBND News, "Currently, we can seat 312 cadets per year and the National Guard, they have a target graduate rate of 250 per year. Once the expansion is complete, we’ll be able to seat 580 cadets per year, with the National Guard [graduate] target of 400 cadets." Cadets are split between two classes, 156 students in each. That will grow to 290 in each class once work is complete. New dorms are expected to be ready for the next class of cadets that starts in January. But construction crews will still be at work on other parts of the building, "During this next class, they’re going to kind of phase through our classrooms and, at the same time, they’re going to be doing new construction on the back of the facility, adding more restrooms and additional classrooms."
The 2015 Oregon Legislature approved $5 million in bond sales for the project. Earlier this year, the National Guard and Secretary of Defense authorized another $5.3 million in federal funding.
Photos: (top) Crews work to expand OYCP's dining hall.
(above right) Gov. Brown visits OYCP cadets in March 2017.
REDMOND, OR -- Reconstruction of Redmond's South Canal Blvd. has halted due to the weather. City Engineer Mike Caccavano says continuing work during the coldest part of winter could cause poured concrete or laid asphalt to fail, "We want it to last. We're investing a lot of money into this project." That $6.9 million project includes curbs, sidewalks, a shared bicycle and pedestrian path, new pavement, landscaping with street trees, and dedicated left turn lanes at different intersections. Work began in the spring.
Even with the weather delay, Caccavano says construction is progressing on schedule. "The southern half of it is all complete and opened up to traffic." He tells KBND News, "From the [Yew Ave.] roundabout, which is the south end of the project, you can connect up to Salmon; that whole section is open. And then, from Obsidian to Pumice. the rest of it's still closed."
Knife River is in charge of the work, and Caccavano expects they will still finish by April 2019, as planned, "The work is suspended for right now, but they'll take advantage of any good weather spells we have to get more concrete work done, in particular; that's what needs to be done first." One change could add to the timeline, "We're looking at adding to the project at the intersection of Pumice and Canal - a mini roundabout there. Our consultant's working on conceptual drawings." Caccavano expects to see those drawings before the end of the year.
Photo: Crews pave a portion of Pumice Ave. at Canal in November.
REDMOND, OR -- Central Oregon’s Safe Schools Alliance (SSA) celebrates 20 years of partnerships, Wednesday. The SSA was established in 1998, following the deadly shooting at Thurston High in Springfield, OR. The tri-county alliance was one of the first of its kind in the country, and is now considered a model for other regions to improve school safety.
SSA partners include Bend-La Pine Schools, Crook County School District, Culver School District, Redmond School District, Sisters School District, High Desert Education Service District (ESD), Jefferson County School District, St. Francis School, Trinity Lutheran School, Cascades Academy, St. Thomas Academy, Bend Police, Prineville Police, Redmond Police, Crook County Sheriff's Office, Deschutes County Sheriff's Office, Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, Sunriver Police and Warm Springs Tribal Police. Also involved are the Deschutes, Crook and Jefferson County District Attorneys' offices, Deschutes County Juvenile Justice and Public Health, and Fire Departments in Bend, Redmond and Sunriver.
Students, Police Chiefs, Sheriffs, District Attorneys and school superintendents, as well as mental health professionals and other regional leaders will take part in an event recognizing the milestone. That celebration starts at 8 a.m. Wednesday, at High Desert ESD in Redmond. Longtime local attorney Sharon Smith and former Deschutes County D.A., two of the alliance's founders, will keynote the event.
BEND, OR -- Norovirus has returned to Central Oregon. Staff at Regency Village Senior Living in Bend confirm they are in their seventh day of lockdown, to try and contain the fast-spreading illness.
Heather Kaisner, with Deschutes County Public Health, says Norovirus is gastrointestinal and highly contagious, "Norovirus causes symptoms such as diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps. Symptoms usually begin about 12 - 48 hours after exposure to the virus." She says it takes just one person to spread the illness to everyone in a building, "Unfortunately, anywhere that people congregate like long-term care facilities, schools, daycares, they have a higher risk of having a Norovirus outbreak because it is so contagious," adding, "We do worry about people who are very young or very old."
Kaisner tells KBND News, "It's not treatable, because it is a virus." But, there are steps people can take to prevent catching it, "It's spread person-to-person, so if you don't wash your hands and you get any of the virus on your hands, and then touch your face." She adds, "The importance of personal hygiene, I cannot stress enough. So, good hand washing etiquette, cleaning surfaces, are going to help prevent spread." If you think you've been exposed, Kaisner suggests staying home.
Because the symptoms mimic other illnesses, Kaisner says many people don't realize they have Norovirus, "Oftentimes, what we'll hear in the winter, is when people say they have the stomach flu, but that's actually Norovirus."
BEND, OR -- The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office is taking an unconventional approach to sharing information about the agency, this holiday season. Deputy Shultsy is an “Elf on the Shelf” doll, outfitted in a DCSO uniform, and Sheriff Shane Nelson says his adventures have taken on a life of their own, "Shultsy has ridden one of our K9s- K9 Masa, has ridden one of the remote control cameras that we have." He’s also packed an emergency Go Bag, met with partner agencies, "trained" with SWAT (pictured, right) and made coffee with the night shift.
Nelson says the outreach effort is already paying off, "A mom had posted on our Facebook page and said her child always looks forward to the next adventure of Dep. Shultsy, and that really meant a lot to me because that is a connection with your Sheriff’s Office."
The idea to create "Dep. Shultsy" to help educate the public came from a Sheriff's Sergeant. Sheriff Nelson says Shultsy's uniform was handmade by another member of the agency. You can keep up with Deputy Shultsy on the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page. To hear more about Dep. Shultsy, as well as tips for winter travel, listen to our full conversation with Sheriff Nelson in our Podcast.
Sheriff Nelson and Dep. Shultsy visit the KBND Newsroom, Dec. 17, 2018.
BEND, OR -- Three St. Charles Bend nurses filed separate unfair labor practice claims against the hospital, last week. The allegations are now under investigation by the National Labor Relations Board. Kevin Mealy, with the Oregon Nurses Association says, "In two cases, we have nurses who shared with their managers that they had patient safety concerns, and then were later targeted for discipline in an attempt to threaten and intimidate them from doing that again." He tells KBND News, "They felt their unit, at the time, was not properly staffed to deal with the amount of patients or the acuity of patients. They were later taken aside and disciplined for speaking up; and it’s clear that was in direct connection, that they did speak up for safety and that’s why they were being disciplined." In the third case, he says, "One nurse was retaliated against for exercising their legal right to support their union on their personal time."
According to Mealy, Registered Nurses are required to report patient safety and inadequate staffing concerns, "They have a responsibility to the Oregon State Board of Nursing, and they have a professional and ethical responsibility to speak up when they have safety concerns that could jeopardize their own personal license." The claims come amid ongoing labor negotiations. Bend nurses have been working under an expired contract for nearly six months. The next round of federal mediation is scheduled for Thursday. Mealy says one issue in the talks involves creating a process for nurses to report patient safety and staffing concerns, "If there is a clear process within the contract then it seems to take away some of the problems with, ‘what should we do next?’ or, ‘is it appropriate to retaliate?’ when the answer is obviously no."
Mealy says the last time ONA nurses filed an unfair labor practices complaint against St. Charles was in 2016, after the hospital required nurses to wear a face mask if they hadn't gotten a flu shot.
BEND, OR -- The Bend Park and Recreation District Board of Directors is scheduled to vote Tuesday on a resolution committing money toward dredging Mirror Pond. "The issue of dredging Mirror Pond has been going on for a number of years in our community," says Board Chair Brady Fuller. He tells KBND News, "This is moving forward at this time because permits are in place to actually do the dredge, and there's been funding committed by Mirror Pond Solutions; there's been funding committed by Pacific Power, by the City of bend City Council, and by the Parks District. So, our consideration of the resolution formalizes, if it passes, our commitment to provide that funding." Those other agencies have already committed at least $300,000 toward the project. The total price tag is projected at around $6.7 million.
Fuller says, "The resolution affirms our intent to provide $300,000 to dredge Mirror Pond and also outlines the conditions upon which we are agreeing to provide that funding." Those conditions, he says, will help preserve the iconic nature of the pond, "The park district supports the vision for Mirror Pond and it includes a number of elements. It includes the City of Bend upgrading their storm water outfalls, it includes riverbank and trail improvements. It may, at some point, include a fish ladder past the dam."
The pond hasn't been dredged since 1984. Fuller thinks Tuesday's resolution will pass, "I do believe that we have a consensus of our board that now is the time to move the project forward and to go ahead and dredge the pond." Fuller says the city and parks district will then meet to determine who holds the contract to perform the work, and to whom the project should be awarded to do the actual dredging.
BEND, OR -- Bend Police are investigating the death of a man discovered downtown, over the weekend. An officer responded to a parking lot at Newport and Wall early Sunday morning, after someone reported a person found down on the ground. Authorities determined the 34-year-old man was deceased and Detectives began working to learn what happened.
They say there is no threat to the community but refused to release any other details.
BEND, OR -- A 90-year-old Bend man reported missing was found early Tuesday morning. Jerome Jewett walked away from his home on Northwest Hartford Monday afternoon, launching a search effort by Bend Police and Deschutes County Search and Rescue.
Just before 1 a.m., Tuesday, a citizen reported a man sitting along Mt. Washington Drive, near Third Street. Officers responded and identified Jewett, noting his extended exposure to the cold weather.
He was taken to the hospital for evaluation where he was treated and later released.
LA PINE, OR -- The class of 2018 is home from college for winter break, but many are headed back to high school, this week. Danielle Patrick, with La Pine High School, says 17 alumni will visit their younger classmates on Thursday. "Every year, when the college kids are off Christmas Break before we are, we invite our alumni to come back and they talk with each of our grade levels about their experiences with their first term in college."
She tells KBND News, "It's really great at all grade levels, but our Juniors and Seniors, are getting ready to make those choices, and I think having returning alumni that they know very well share their experiences, is a lot of times eye-opening." The information provided by recent graduates can help current high schoolers recognize the value of the college prep they're getting now. "We talk to them about college starting their freshman year, prepare them and go through activities with them. But to see somebody who's there right now really has a big impact," says Patrick, "When they say, 'I'm so glad that I took this class,' or, 'I wish I would've listened to you when you told me to take Math my Senior Year,' it's nice to hear."
This is the third year Patrick has been involved in the La Pine alumni event, "We break the students into grade levels, because your seniors, who are embarking on this next year, their questions are probably going to be different than a freshman's." Other Bend-La Pine schools will host alumni this week, as well, before high schools let out for winter break: Bend Senior High grads visit their old school Tuesday and Thursday, Mountain View alum visit Wednesday and Summit has alumni activities scheduled through the week. Returning students are from Universities like Stanford, Wellesley, and Colorado mesa ... as well as Community colleges.
REDMOND, OR -- Redmond’s City Council will learn more about 5G wireless small cell technology at Tuesday night’s Council meeting. Deputy City Manager John Roberts says the tech is coming, "Have you ever been anywhere and you’re using your cell phone, and it shows that you have the wireless bars but it keeps on spinning and you don’t get any connection? That’s exactly what this technology is meant to address: to enable coverage to meet existing coverage needs in areas that are densified."
Roberts tells KBND News, "It’s fairly complex technology and most jurisdictions have realized they don’t have explicit processes or regulatory schemes in place to deal with it." Representatives from Verizon and AT&T will attend Tuesday’s meeting, "To create the awareness and let the industry representatives and experts speak directly to the Council about this technology, demands and complexity of issues that are out there that surround this." And, he says, those issues are being discussed by cities across the country, "There’s concerns in every community with the health and safety aspects of this technology, the aesthetic impacts of this technology, and potential impacts on property values. Those three factors warrant some level of local control."
In September, the FCC passed new rules that speed up development of small cells and other 5G network equipment. But, Roberts says, the rules also restrict local control on things like the aesthetics and placement of towers. He says it's important the city approval local guidelines before those rules take effect January 14.
SALEM, OR -- The 2016 murder of Kaylee Sawyer, in Bend, is the basis behind a bill Oregon Legislators are expected to consider next year. It would define rules for community college security guards.
In January, Edwin Lara pleaded guilty to murdering Sawyer while on-duty as a Central Oregon Community College security guard. Her father, Jamie Sawyer, told lawmakers on Friday it shouldn't have happened. "This college failed our daughter and put a sociopathic individual in a trusted position with little safeguards." His wife, Krystal Sawyer, told the Legislature her step-daughter would still be alive if COCC had vetted Lara, "Who, of all people, not only to hurt her but to ultimately murder, who was none other than a college campus security guard - who was supposed to keep her safe."
Oregon's state universities can have police departments, but community colleges can only have security officers. Bend Police Chief Jim Porter testified at Friday's Judicial Committee hearing that COCC's security guards act and look like police, "These people do not have the training to do this and we ask that you give them clear guidance in this area." Chief Porter and the Deschutes County District Attorney old lawmakers the college has not cooperated in changing its policies for the security department. COCC officials deny that assertion.
The bill, called "Kaylee's Law," would require criminal background checks on campus security guards, their uniforms and cars would not be allowed to look like those used by police, and they wouldn't be able to stop and frisk people. The bill is supported by the Oregon State Sheriff's Association, the Oregon Chiefs of Police, the Oregon Student Association and Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum.
Photo: Jamie Sawyer testifies before the Joint House and Senate Judiciary Committee in Salem, Friday, as Krystal Sawyer looks on.
MADRAS, OR -- A Madras man is recovering from multiple stab wounds. The 21-year-old was found in the parking lot of the Madras Pub and Deli at about 1:30 Sunday morning. He was Life-Flighted to St. Charles Bend, where he’s listed in good condition.
Police believe the assault occurred a short distance from the pub, and say there is no current threat to the public, but have released no other details.
BEND, OR -- A 54-year-old man faces charges for allegedly drugging and assaulting two women while they were incapacitated. Deschutes County Sheriff's Sgt. William Bailey says one of the women met Eric Jonsson when she went to check out a room he advertised for rent on Craigslist. "[It] Just brings up some of the concerns and general precautions the public should make when dealing with people online. They don't ever really know who they're dealing with, and so they should take those extra precautions, particularly if they're going to become a roommate. Even if you are as careful as you can be, still bad things can happen; there's always that potential."
The Deschutes County Sheriff's Office and SWAT executed a search warrant at Jonsson's home on Klippel road, northwest of Bend. After a brief stand-off, he was taken into custody, late Thursday. Sgt. Bailey says the investigation is ongoing, "So, this case is very active. We have interviews still to do, evidence to collect; some specific details of the investigation are unable to be released at this time, but he's currently being held in the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office adult jail on one count of Rape I and one count of Sex Abuse II." He tells KBND News, "The facts of this case are concerning. We had received reports from females believing they had been drugged and sexually assaulted by him, and so our detectives are going to work tirelessly to investigate every lead and follow up on every piece of information."
Investigators are searching for more potential victims. Anyone with information on this case is asked to call the Sheriff's Office.
BEND, OR -- Central Oregon Community College's President will retire at the end of this school year, and the school's Board of Directors is on the hunt for a new leader. Board Chair John Mundy says they received 55 applications. "We're looking at half of them as having the qualifications that we really want, some of those candidates are very well qualified and very strong."
While it's still months before Dr. Shirley Metcalf retires, Mundy says the selection committee had to start the process early to attract the best candidates, "The later you wait, the more folks are being picked up by other colleges," he tells KBND News, "So our strategy from the very beginning was to move quickly in order to reach the point where we're interviewing that final candidate before anyone else has the opportunity to interview them." That committee is made up of faculty, classified staff, a student and community members. The group is currently reviewing applications and are expected to narrow the field down to 12 or 15, by Monday, "We want to make sure that everybody on the committee has a voice in choosing the set of candidates we move forward in the process."
Those top candidates will be interviewed via Skype throughout January. Then, Mundy says, "Based on the results of those interviews, we're going to recommend three or four semifinalists who we're going to invite to the college for a more intensive round of interviews. And hopefully, based on those interviews, where we bring the candidates to town, we'll be able to finalize one candidate that we really, really like." The goal is to have a new President named by the March Board of Directors meeting.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- Crook County Schools now have another police officer on patrol. Officer Jordan Zamora started at the high school this week, allowing long-time School Resource Officer (SRO) Jeff Coffman to shift to the middle and elementary Schools. Crook County High Assistant Principal Joel Hoff tells KBND News, "Both the school board and the police department decided to collaborate to fund an additional resource officer, so one could focus primarily at our middle school and elementary school, while the other can focus at our traditional high school and our alternative high school, as well.
Hoff says SROs can investigate campus threats, but they also build rapport with students, "One thing that's been really cool to see is our school resource officers really focus on building those positive relationships with students, so that way, it's not just this 'I'm the Police Officer, you're in trouble,' they hopefully try to get to know students by name, so they're building those positive interactions between police and students so they're not seen as strangers or 'Hey, we're here to watch you'."
The salaries of both School Resource Officers are split evenly between the district and police department. "I think it's just really, really important and really cool to see our school district and the police department collaborate to make sure kids are safe," says Hoff, "Because I think that, at the end of the day, our number one priority is to make sure all Crook County schools feel safe and are safe here in our schools."
Approximately 2,800 students attend eight public schools in Crook County.
PORTLAND, OR -- It’s a common question across the Northwest: “Where’s the snow?” Oregon’s statewide snowpack is well below normal. It's now 57% of what it should be in mid-December.
Scott Oviatt, with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), says the light snowfall is extremely bad news, following three year of very dry conditions, “Currently, 2/3 of the state is in extreme drought or greater according to the national drought monitor. And, over the past 180 days up at our SNOTEL sites, we only have a handful of sites - and those are in the upper elevation of the Blue Mountains and the Wallowas - that are anywhere close to approaching normal.”
Oviatt says many parts of the state aren’t even receiving rain in the higher elevations. “There’s still time. We’ve had years where we’ve had late season snow accumulation to get us near normal. However, every day that passes us, that much less available water is accumulating.” That water is needed for irrigators this spring and summer.
BEND, OR -- Jamie Sawyer, the father of Kaylee Sawyer – killed in 2016 by a Central Oregon Community College public safety officer – meets with lawmakers Friday in Salem, asking that they consider Kaylee’s Law, which is also supported by the Deschutes County District attorney and Bend's Police Chief. The proposed bill specifies what community college campus officers can do, wear and drive, including banning cages that prohibit someone from escaping the back seat.
COCC officials insist the school’s campus public safety (CPS) department is not in violation of current law, as described by the D.A. In a statement sent to KBND News, COCC's Ron Paradis says several changes were made to the department after Sawyer's murder. Among others, officers no longer conduct traffic stops, arrests or private investigations. He says CPS cars now have only red emergency lights, instead of red and blue, which could be confused for police. And, Paradis says, cars are no longer outfitted with partitions, or "cages."
On Thursday, Jim Bouziane, President of the Oregon College and University Public Safety Administrators Association, issued a letter to member schools saying Kaylee's Law "does not enhance safety on higher education campuses but rather diminishes prevention and deterrence efforts, reverses many institution's efforts to create safe campuses during a period of national focus on campus safety, hampers campus public safety officers from fulfilling their institution's mission, and puts unnecessary financial burdens on institutions."
BEND, OR -- Bend Police arrested five teens Thursday, after receiving a tip that the boys were seen near SE Third and McKinley. The 16- and 17-year-olds had been reported as runaways from the J-5 Parole and Probation Revocation Program in northeast Bend.
Two were taken into custody right away, without incident, and cited for Minor in Possession of Alcohol. But the other three led police on a foot pursuit, running through yards and hopping fences. They were all captured within an hour and face additional charges of Escape, Criminal Trespass and Interfering with a Police Officer. One also had an outstanding warrant.
LA PINE, OR -- The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office is searching for two men seen running from a La Pine house, Thursday morning. They are suspected of trying to steal a car from a garage near the intersection of Big Timber Drive and Dawn Road.
Despite help from a K-9 deputy and state police troopers, the men weren't found. Both were seen wearing blue jeans and black jackets and may have been picked up by white or silver four door sedan; possibly a Volvo.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office. Sightings should be reported to 911.
BEND, OR -- The Deschutes County District Attorney and Bend’s Police Chief will meet with state lawmakers in Salem on Friday, in support of a proposed bill aimed at specifying what community college public safety departments are, and are not, allowed to do. D.A. John Hummel says the parents of a local murder victim will also testify before the Senate and House Judiciary Committees, "They want to make sure that no other parents have to experience what they experienced. So, they worked with the Attorney General to come up with 'Kaylee's Law'."
The bill is named for Kaylee Sawyer, who was killed by a Central Oregon Community College security guard. Her father, Jamie Sawyer, helped develop the proposal. In July 2016, Edwin Lara abducted Kaylee Sawyer in his campus safety patrol car, while on duty. Hummel says she got into Lara’s vehicle because he looked like a cop. Once she realized he wasn't taking her home as promised, she couldn’t escape the backseat because COCC’s patrol cars are outfitted with police-like cages. "If you’re not allowed to arrest somebody, there should never be the need for a cage, because Oregon law says campus public safety officers on community colleges can’t arrest people." Kaylee’s Law would ban cages for those security vehicles. Hummel says it would also specify that campus public safety officers can’t dress or act like police, and it would require criminal background checks for campus safety staff. "If these rules had been in place and they’d been complied with by the college, Kaylee Sawyer would still be alive. The college hired a campus public safety officer without conducting a rigorous check into his background and without conducting a psychological test we think would’ve revealed his troubled mind."
Dateline NBC to Focus on Kaylee Sawyer Murder (04/27/2018)
Oregon law allows universities to form police departments; those officers attend the state police academy and undergo background and psychological testing, just like city and county law enforcement agencies. Community colleges do not send security officers to the academy. Hummel tells KBND News that after Sawyer's death, he and Bend Police Chief Jim Porter tried to work with COCC to prevent another tragedy, "We’ve made slight progress, but Central Oregon Community College persists in wanting to investigate criminal matters on their campus and, in effect, have their campus public safety officers act as de facto police officers. Yet, their campus public safety officers have not been properly trained, they’ve not gone through the academy, they’ve not gone through rigorous criminal background and psychological testing." He adds, "What Central Oregon Community College is doing is in violation of the law. They’re not allowed to operate a police force; but, practically speaking, they are. Central Oregon Community College says the law is not entirely clear. I respectfully disagree with them, but Kaylee’s Law would clarify it for them."
Hummel hopes the Legislature will consider Kaylee's Law in the 2019 session, "We believe she would be alive if this law had been passed and if the college had complied with it."
Update: After our original story aired, Central Oregon Community College responded to our request for comment via email. Read more, HERE.
BEND, OR -- Bend Police and the Deschutes County District Attorney’s office spent weeks investigating an alleged robbery near Shevlin Park involving two men in a black van, only to discover the supposed victim made up the story; but not before her daughter’s Facebook post detailing the attack went viral. The daughter didn’t know it was a lie and the D.A. says her mother didn’t initially realize the story had gone public.
Bend Police Chief Jim Porter says it’s an example of the power of social media and its occasional conflict with law enforcement, "Our social media is a double-edged sword. It brings us a lot of good things, but then again, on the other side, we can end up chasing things that are just smoke and mirrors." Chief Porter tells KBND News the Shevlin Park story isn’t the first time investigators found themselves chasing Facebook falsehoods, "They fan fear within the community. They’ve drawn resources away from other things we could be doing: traffic enforcement, helping people, doing those things. But, that’s the nature of the beast when you deal with humans. I mean, sometimes things just get out of control, they get on the internet and [it’s] the old game ‘Operator’ – where you whisper in one ear and by the time it comes around the circle on the other side, it’s a completely different thing."
He says Facebook and other platforms make it easy to get important information out quickly, but misinformation can often get caught in the mix, "It’s that give and take between keeping the public safe and getting the facts out there. And facts very seldom come in a very timely manner. They take time, you’ve got to chase people down – find them, rather than chase them down – get their statements, corroborate statements and try to get to the truth." Porter says Facebook users should question things posted by unofficial sources, and don’t be afraid to check with police. "If you see something unusual, call and ask us. We’re more than glad to address those issues. If it’s an ongoing investigation, we may not give you the details until we complete the investigation. But, just call and ask, be a critical thinker, work your way through things."
PRINEVILLE, OR -- The Crook County Natural Resources Committee held its first meeting Monday. The committee is tasked with upholding a controversial policy approved last year by the County Court. There are 11 appointed members representing a cross-section of Crook County.
Crook County Natural Resources Manager Tim Deboodt says the plan lays out guidelines for working with federal agencies and management practices, "The real interest, of course, of the county is forest health, economic activity, they'd like to see logging as a part of that forest health process, grazing is always kind of an important issue here in Crook County. But, I'm sure there'll be lots of other topics/issues all around that natural resource umbrella." Deboodt knows some people are wary of too much government involvement, but he tells KBND News most seem on-board with the new policy, "The residents of Crook County decided that our county government needed to be more involved in the management of natural resources throughout the county, whether it's private or public land." Federal statutes, like the Environmental Protection Act, invite local governments to participate in the planning process of local land management.
He says having a committee involved in this kind of work isn't new, "In the 90's, Crook County had a Natural Resources Advisory Committee that functioned for about 14 years; and so this Court, a year ago, revived it." Deboodt says everything the committee plans to do will be available for public scrutiny. "The meetings are always open to the public; the public is encouraged to come and listen. I know a lot of people are kind of nervous about the county becoming more engaged, but I see it as nothing but positive." He says it's important everyone has a voice in the plan.
TERREBONNE, OR -- A Crooked River Ranch woman sustained serious injuries in a Terrebonne-area crash that the Sheriff’s office says she caused. Investigators say 58-year-old Cynthia Marshall was stopped on Northwest 43rd, Tuesday afternoon, waiting to turn left on to Lower Bridge Road. When she saw an approaching vehicle slow to make a turn, she pulled out, not realizing there was a second westbound car.
The two vehicles collided just after 1:45 p.m., causing substantial damage and trapping Marshall. She was rescued by Redmond and Crooked River Ranch Fire crews and taken to St. Charles Redmond.
Deputies later cited Marshall for failing to obey a stop sign.
BEND, OR -- A Bend motorcyclist was killed Tuesday, in a crash that shut down Third Street for more than three hours.
According to Bend Police, 21-year-old Davis Franco was riding north on SE Third when, at about 10:15 a.m., his motorcycle collided with the side of a pickup pulling a utility trailer. That pickup was driven by 43-year-old Ryan Wannemaker, of Bend, who investigators say was initially stopped at the SE Miller stop sign. He then turned left on to Third, into the path of the bike.
Despite life-saving efforts, Franco was pronounced dead at the scene. Police say Wannemaker is cooperating with the ongoing investigation. Investigators are looking for anyone who saw the crash or the involved vehicles prior to the collision. Witnesses are asked to call Bend PD at 541-383-6911.
BEND, OR -- Deschutes County Commissioners appear ready to approve a conditional use permit that would allow Bend Parks and Recreation to expand Big Sky Park, east of town. Parks and Rec Development Manager Brian Hudspeth says it’s been a lengthy process to mitigate concerns from neighbors. "We’ve been working with county staff now, since May or June, and have gone through several hearings. And, for every hearing, we’ve adjusted things and tailored things, trying to work with the neighbors. We had several independent neighborhood meetings where we invited the neighbors out to talk to them about what was going on, as early as last year." Commissioners are expected to approve permits Wednesday, with restrictions on things like lighting, noise and parking.
Hudspeth says the more than $4 million expansion project includes more walking trails and a new bike park, unlike anything else in the region, "It’s mostly mountain bike-type stuff but it’ll also have pump tracks for kids; for toddlers. It will allow for bike-style recreation from very, very little children all the way up to adults." He tells KBND News it’ll also include a unique slope-style course, "It has an elevated track and you can come down; it has jumps and gaps and big corner-banks that people ride down." He admits that's likely to bring more visitors to an already busy park, "It’s going to be an attraction out there, so that’s why one of the biggest components to this is to redo a lot of the parking area to increase parking by several hundred stalls within the park – both to make up for some parking issues that are going on out there today during tournaments, and to handle the additional parking for this component." The new design also includes a second entrance on Hamby Road. Currently, the only entrance to Big Sky Park is on Neff Road.
Construction is expected to get underway by next fall and will likely take six to eight months.
BEND, OR -- After 100 years serving Central Oregonians, the Deschutes Public Library is crafting a plan to remain relevant into the next century. Director Todd Dunkelberg says the library board is working with residents to determine how best to expand as the region grows, "We've been trying to figure out what we need to do with this very fast-growing population. We're just reaching the end of our first 100 years of service in Deschutes County and looking at how we're going to be successful in the future."
Over the past year, the board has talked with more than 1,600 residents about what they want in their library, and worked with a firm to start designing the new spaces, "Plans include updating all our library facilities, but also adding an additional new building in Bend - a Central Library, and expanding our Redmond library to 40,000 Sq ft." But, Dunkelberg tells KBND News, there's more work to do, "Where would that be? What would it look like? Working with the public to start designing these buildings, and then looking at how we can look forward to pay for them." He wants to explore all the options before asking voters to step up, "The first thing we'd do is look at our current budgeting. The next piece would be to go out for any possible grants, look for donors that would like to help support this, and look for any types of partnerships we could do." He says he would exhaust all those options before considering a bond proposal.
Dunkelberg says, no matter how large or technology-based the library gets, the atmosphere will still welcome everyone, "We're where people come to meet and gather, and that's always going to require human contact. And, that's a role that our librarians and staff already excel at, and it's something that we'll be able to do more of, as we grow."
BEND, OR -- The Deschutes County District Attorney says the story of a woman robbed by two men in a black van, near Shevlin Park, never happened.
In a Facebook post that went viral last month, a woman describes the ordeal, saying her mother was driving alone when she thought she hit a dog. She got out of the car and realized it was a stuffed animal just as two men jumped out with knives, slammed her against her car and took $4,000 from her purse before driving off in a black van.
D.A. John Hummel says 57-year-old Debra Connors made up the story and her daughter had no idea she was spreading the lie, "The daughter thought she was doing a service to the community, ‘hey everyone, look out for this van.’ And the mom didn’t know the daughter was posting it. And probably the mom was horrified when she found it the daughter did post it, but she didn’t stand up and tell her daughter it was false. And then, when the police came, she continued to lie to the police." Because police only began investigating the report after being tipped off to the online post, Hummel says Connors didn’t commit a crime. "She was sitting at home and the police reached out to her and then she lied to them. In Oregon, it’s not a crime just to lie to the police when they contact you and ask you questions."
She may not face charges, but Hummel hopes she will apologize for the wasting of resources, "She lied to her daughter, and they have to deal with that over the Christmas dinner table. But, you cannot lie to the police, particularly about a serious matter where you allege two people drew a knife; because, all hands are on deck. We had many Bend Police Detectives and officers working this case." He tells KBND News, "People always need to consider social media posts with a grain of salt. Just because someone says something, doesn’t mean it’s true. But, when the allegation is that there’s criminals who are pulling knives on people in the streets of Bend, that’s serious and law enforcement needs to investigate."
In 2015, Bend Police investigated a viral social media post about an alleged sexual assault on the River Trail, later determining it also wasn't true.
BEND, OR -- A Bend family was rescued after getting stuck in the snow near East Lake.
At about 7:45 p.m., Sunday, 24-year-old Soren Smith called 911 to report he and three family members had cut down their Christmas tree on the 9710 road, and after about four hours in the back-country, he planned to take Forest Service Road 21 home. The Forest Service has closed the 21 road for the season, since it's not maintained in the winter. Smith told the dispatcher the truck was stuck in about a foot and a half of snow, and it was still snowing. But, they had plenty of gas, clothing and water, and were able to stay warm in the vehicle.
Deschutes County Search and Rescue deployed an ATV to the area (pictured, right), which reached the family just after midnight. The Deputy took the four people and their dog to his patrol pickup and then provided them with a courtesy transport home.
The Oregon Department of Transportation recently renewed warnings about relying on GPS units to navigate mountainous areas. ODOT's Tom Stranberg says GPS units don't know when roads are closed nor do they take snow into account. He says if the directions take you off main roads, assess the conditions, "It also might be a forest road or county road, or BLM road that’s not suitable for travel in all weather conditions." He adds, "If you find yourself on a road that just doesn’t seem like a main highway route, you might want to maybe stop and double check, verify where you’re at." There's no indication whether the Bend family rescued over the weekend was relying on GPS when they got stuck. More information on Deschutes National Forest service road closures are available HERE, and ODOT recommends visiting Tripcheck.com for highway conditions.
SISTERS, OR -- Sisters Country Horizons recently released the results of a year's worth of work: a plan for how to grow, while maintaining the area's natural environment and small-town feel. Sisters Community Development Director Patrick Davenport says 32 citizens created the plan, based on community input. "We've been working for about a year to interview the community, and so we've been working on an action to implement our vision."
The group developed a strategy, which Davenport says turned out pretty elaborate with four main areas of focus. "We have strategies within each focus area; and within each strategy, we have several actions to help implement the strategy," Davenport tells KBND News. Those four focus areas are, "What we call Prosperous Sisters, Livable Sisters, Connected Sisters, and Resilient Sisters." And, he adds, "There's over three-dozen actions that have been assigned to different agencies, to work on over the next five to 10 years. So, a lot of work for us to do."
Davenport would not go into the specifics of the plan because city officials still have work to do after the first of the year, "We have the City Council scheduled to formally adopt it in mid-February, with a preview in early January on the entire project." Davenport says comments will be accepted on the draft plan through December 28, "We’re not just taking comments from those who live in Sisters Country, or work in Sisters Country. Anybody is welcome to review it and comment."
Sisters Country is the area of Deschutes County served by the Sisters School District, including the city of Sisters, surrounding small communities, ranches and farms, and Camp Sherman. Sisters County Horizons is sponsored by the city, Deschutes County, and the Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council.
BEND, OR -- The Deschutes County District Attorney says a Deputy was justified in shooting a suspect in October, near Deschutes Junction. D.A John Hummel held a press conference Friday to outline his findings, "There's no question that Deputy Jones shot Brandon Berrett, that's never been in dispute. The only question is whether he was legally justified in doing so."
Three deputies and two trainees arrived at the property known as the Funny Farm, October 12, to serve 33-year-old Brandon Berrett with a felony warrant. But, when they tried to arrest the suspect, Hummel says, Berrett drove his car at a high rate of speed toward Deputy Chris Jones and a trainee. "With Berrett driving in his direction, Deputy Jones, he drew his department issued Glock 17 9mm handgun, pointed it at Berrett and yelled 'Stop, Sheriff'!" Jones then fired through the driver's window, striking Berrett twice. "Based on all the available evidence, Deputy Jones' belief that Berrett was about to use physical force against him, or Corrections Deputy Lewis, is objectively reasonable," says Hummel.
Berrett survived the shooting and was rushed to the hospital, "Law enforcement was with Berrett at the hospital; and immediately after Berrett's arrival, he was overheard saying he was only trying to get away, and also, quote, 'I do a Lot of Meth'." But, Hummel says, that doesn't excuse his behavior, "If Berrett wasn't trying to hit him, Berrett was trying to get within an half inch of him, to scare him into thinking he was going to get hit, and that's extremely dangerous. He put Jones' life at risk, whether he was trying to hit him or not. I would've charged him with attempted murder, if I thought we could prove that he was trying to hit him."
While he ruled the shooting as justified, Hummel remains concerned by some of the decisions Deputy Jones made that day, which he says contributed to the danger of the situation. "Based on his prior visits to the Funny Farm, Jones knew the property to be 'A tactical nightmare.' Those are his words." Hummel says, because of that knowledge, Jones should never have entered the property to serve the warrant without a tactical plan. Even so, Hummel says the fault is Berrett's, "It was Mr. Berrett's decision to drive a car in a dangerous manner toward Deputy Jones and his ride-along that resulted in the shots' being fired." It is Hummel's recommendation that all deputies involved in the incident receive further training.
Berrett was later indicted by a Grand Jury on numerous charges, including Escape, Attempting to Elude, Recklessly Endangering, and DUII. He's due in court Monday afternoon.
TERREBONNE, OR -- Investigators continue to look for witnesses to a Terrebonne-area crash that occurred Friday afternoon and sent two people to the hospital. Deputies responded to NW 43rd and Chinook Drive at about 3:30 p.m. They say 71-year-old Cheryl Smith, of Crooked River Ranch, was driving westbound when, for an unknown reason, her car crossed the center line and crashed into an Eberhard’s Dairy delivery van.
Smith was seriously hurt and taken to St. Charles Bend. The delivery driver, 30-year-old Raymond Digby, was taken to the Redmond hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
The road was blocked for more than an hour during the investigation and clean-up. Anyone with information or who might have seen the crash is asked to call the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office.
HILLSBORO, OR -- A former Jefferson County Deputy was arrested Friday in Washington County. Jorge Serrano is accused of sexually assaulting a woman he met in 2015 while working as a security guard in the Hillsboro area.
Serrano allegedly met the victim again and assaulted her while she was unconscious, filming the attacks without her knowledge.
He was hired at the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office in January 2017; working at the Madras jail until a month ago. He allegedly uploaded video of the assaults to the internet, during that time. The 28-year-old was fired two weeks before the accusations came to light.
Investigators are working to identify other women in photos and videos uploaded by Serrano.
SISTERS, OR -- A Sisters clothing store was damaged, Saturday morning, when a 91-year-old driver crashed his car through the front entrance.
According to the Sheriff’s Office, Donald Zerbe, of Sisters, mistook the gas for the brake while trying to park in front of Common Threads. His car jumped the curb and hit the front of the building, causing substantial damage.
The store was open at the time, but there were no injuries.
REDMOND, OR -- The Oregon Community College Association warns Governor Kate Brown’s proposed 2019-21 budget could force double-digit tuition increases and program cuts. Matt McCoy, Central Oregon Community College's Vice President for Administration, shares that concern. But, he says there is a bright spot in Brown’s proposal: $8 million for construction of a new building on COCC's Redmond campus.
McCoy says it’s important to meet the needs of a rapidly growing city, "All the population projections that we see put Central Oregon, as a region, growing to large numbers. So, we want to anticipate and be in front of that growth as much as we can. If we find ourselves behind the Eight-Ball and playing catch-up in five to 10 years from now, it’s going to be much more difficult and much more expensive to meet the demands of the community." He tells KBND News a new building is critical to the Redmond campus' future success, "We need a place where we can provide student services, student support services, perhaps food services, library services, things like that. But, from the instructional side of the house, we’re looking for a place where can have more fulltime faculty that are located there, in Redmond. And, we also would like a general purpose classroom building with advanced technology and science labs that would allow us to provide most, if not all, of our science courses."
If the Legislature approves the funding during the next session, which begins in January, COCC would need to come up with matching dollars. McCoy says, "We can acquire those dollars in multiple ways: through a bond, through our general fund accumulating over a number of years, through gifts from the community, etc. So, although the state could invest $8 million, we anticipate the cost of the building being at least $16+ million." He says exactly how that funding would be secured and where, specifically, the new facility would be built, has yet to be decided.
BEND, OR -- A plan to increase the development of multi-family housing in Bend got a big boost this week. City Councilors unanimously approved, Wednesday, an ordinance easing some restrictions for duplexes and triplexes.
City Planner Pauline Hardie says the biggest change is to lot sizes for new construction. "Today, to build a duplex, you need almost a 12,000' sf lot; and the new code would be 6,000. And then, to build a triplex today, you need almost an 18,000' sf lot; and the proposed code would be half of that. You’d only need 9,000. So, just by reducing the lot sizes would open up a lot more opportunities for developers to be able to build duplexes and triplexes."
There are also some changes to building standards regarding things like garage and front door placement. "If any of those new lots are abutting a residential lot, or across the street from a residential lot, then those lots would still have to meet all the standards. If the lots are interior to that subdivision, then they are exempt." Hardie tells KBND News, "It’s not a guarantee, but it helps ensure that these duplexes and triplexes, when built – particularly in your existing neighborhoods – that they integrate well into the existing neighbors; that the mapping is compatible with the existing homes that are around it."
If the second reading of the ordinance is approved, later this month, it would go into effect in mid-January.
BEND, OR -- Bend City Councilors have approved a first draft of a resolution that would lower the amount property owners must pay to convert from septic systems to the city's sewer service. But, one City Councilor believes more can be done to help alleviate costs.
Councilor Bill Moseley tells KBND News, "The original plan that was recommended would've cost everybody $25,000; it literally would've thrown people out of their homes. We brought those costs essentially down to an $8,500 connection fee, plus a system development charge." Around 600 homes in southeast Bend need to make the switch in order to comply with state law. "If we charge people $25,000, about 200 families would lose their homes out of 600, so that would be 1/3 of all households would lose their homes as a result of it." He says part of how the City plans to alleviate that cost is by taking on some of the expense of the project. "The city's going to take care of putting what they call a lateral, which is basically the sewage pipe going down your street." But, Moseley says having to fork out even $8,500 won't be possible for many, "I still worry, though, about the cost to families in the southeast part of town. I just think this is going to cause a lot of stress, especially for people on fixed incomes. I think it's still too much money, even though it's an improvement over where we were."
Moseley says the Southeast Interceptor project triggered the state's requirement that Bend phase out septic systems, citywide. But, he believes it wasn't done to force current homeowners to switch to sewer, "That pipe was put in there so that we could build new housing in our city. And I don't have anything against new housing; we need new housing. We have a housing shortage. But, I don't think it's fair to basically trigger this regulatory burden on a bunch of existing homes for the benefit of other people. And that's, essentially, what we've done."
A second reading of the fee resolution is scheduled for December 19.
EUGENE, OR -- A Redmond man has been sentenced in federal court for his role in an explosion in his home, two years ago. Prosecutors say William Wild admitted to smoking a cigarette near an illegal Butane Hash Oil (BHO) lab, causing the explosion in the detached garage, December 12, 2016. He was indicted and charged in May of 2017.
Wild and his 18-year-old daughter suffered burns and smoke inhalation. The teen was later flown to Portland for treatment. Investigators seized 57 mature marijuana plants, several pipe bombs, over $20,000 in cash and other drug paraphernalia.
Wild was sentenced Wednesday to four months in federal prison and three years’ supervised release for Endangering Human Life by Manufacturing BHO.
BEND, OR -- A Bend man was arrested this week for allegedly uploading explicit photos depicting child pornography. Lt. Clint Burleigh says on Wednesday, Bend Police executed a search warrant at a home on Ferguson Road, following up on a tip from the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. "Back in October, we received a tip from the ICAC Task Force regarding some child pornography suspected of being uploaded. We were able to identify where this was occurring. During the search warrant, several hundred photos of child pornography were located."
Detectives spent seven hours at the home. During the investigation, they arrested 22-year-old Jonathan Walior on 20 counts of Encouraging Child Sex Abuse, but Burleigh says more could be added, "When somebody uploads or passes on child pornography, it becomes a crime. That’s what this person did – uploaded several hundred different photographs of child pornography." The investigation is ongoing.
BEND, OR -- A volunteer wrestling coach at Bend High face charges for allegedly sending sexually explicit messages to a student-athlete. Bend Police Lt. Clint Burleigh says 24-year-old Erick Nazario Aguirre contacted the teen through social media. "Basically, it was determined that the suspect had used a fake account, and ‘friended’ and sent the pictures over [through] that fake account. Later in the investigation, we found that the accusations were accurate."
Investigators say, at one point, the suspect tried to get the teen to engage in sexual activity with him. The student was able to identify Nazario Aguirre through online discussions and notified a school resource officer. Nazario Aguirre was arrested after school Wednesday on various charges, "Five counts of luring, five counts of sexual exploitation one and two," Lt. Burleigh tells KBND News, "But, it sounds like he’s only been charged with 10 counts of luring, is what the DA’s office has filed."
School administrators say Nazario Aguirre had inconsistent attendance at practices and meets. Lt. Burleigh would not comment on whether the victim was on the wrestling team.
REDMOND, OR -- There's a new way to report minor crimes in Redmond. Lt. Jesse Petersen says a new national online crime reporting tool is now available in Central Oregon. "It gives our community members an opportunity to report crime without having, necessarily, to talk to a police officer. They can do it online; we have a URL that dispatch can send out to them." A self-reporting kiosk is also available at the Redmond Police station on Deschutes Ave., for those without internet access.
Once the online form is completed, the person receives a copy of a final report and a case number, "I think the benefit of this for the community is the opportunity for them to instantly make a report, and then, of course, within five business days, they're getting these reports back to them once they've been approved by our police department." Lt. Petersen says it should make it more convenient, "A lot of our community members are IT savvy, and a lot of them are very busy, and don't have much time to be able to report things to law enforcement, so this is an opportunity to go ahead and be able to report these other crimes to us that we probably miss just because we don't get the opportunity to hear it from them."
The online reporting tool is designed only for minor incidents, like property crimes, theft, and criminal mischief with damages less than $10,000, "If it's a minor accident, or a minor incident, or a small crime, where they need to report it for insurance purposes, they can do this online," Petersen tells KBND News. Emergencies should still be reported by calling 911.
There are often costs for some reports, up to $20; using the online system is free. Petersen says reports submitted online receive the same time and attention as more conventional reporting. Click HERE to access the reporting website.
BEND, OR -- An ordinance designed to reduce the number of disposable carry-out bags in Bend received tentative approval from the city Council, Wednesday night. City Attorney Mary Winters says it’s not a radical idea, "Let’s recognize that all bags, whether plastic or paper, have an environmental impact and there’s no perfect solution. But, here in Bend, we didn’t create the ordinance. We looked at other jurisdictions."
Bend Closer to Plastic Bag Ordinance (11/02/2018)
The ordinance would force shoppers to use reusable bags, or pay a small fee for disposable bags used at check-out. Mayor-Elect Sally Russell says the Bend plan is very similar to ordinances already in place in a number of other Oregon cities, "Transition and change is always a little challenging, but I think what I like particularly about this is that there are cost savings – it’s in our recycling stream or landfill clean-up. Also, hopefully long-term there will a cost savings, since people are reusing bags again and again. We’re not leading the way; we’re following. And, even the Grocer’s Association has a template we’re following." The Northwest Grocer's Association support the plan, but only with the pass-through fee charged to shoppers.
The ordinance passed 4-to-2, with Councilors Justin Livingston and Bill Moseley voting no. The second reading and final vote is scheduled for December 19. If it receives final approval, the ordinance would go into effect July first.
BEND, OR -- Bend City Councilors have agreed to the process in which they will select their next member. When Sally Russell is sworn in as Mayor on January second, she will vacate her "Position Three" seat with two years left in her term.
Those interested in filling that vacancy and completing her term can submit an application and "letter of interest" through the City Council's webpage, between Thursday, December sixth and 5 p.m. January fourth. Councilors will then review the applications and select candidates for interviews.
They hope to appoint the new Councilor at their January 16th Council meeting.
MADRAS, OR -- The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office is changing some policies, in the wake of an inmate's death. James Wippel died in April 2017 of a ruptured ulcer and artery. He had been arrested on multiple drug charges and showed signs of detoxing prior to his death. Three Corrections deputies were acquitted of criminal wrongdoing, earlier this week, in connection with Wippel's death.
Sheriff Jim Adkins says although his deputies weren't at fault, the agency has updated some practices in order to better protect both inmates and staff, "We did see areas where we were lacking in some protocols that would help the deputies." He wants deputies to get special training to recognize the symptoms of detoxing versus other medical conditions, and Adkins thinks having access to round-the-clock medical care would help, too. "We don't have 24-hour nurses, so we're trying to hire nurses to help the deputies. my deputies are not medically trained, so anything I can do to help them, in these types of circumstances, will make us all better."
Adkins says, for the size of Jefferson County's population, his agency see a disproportionately high percentage of inmates suffering addictions, and dealing with that costs money, "Running a jail is a very expensive and very difficult task, especially these days with the drug overdoses [and] the medical costs that we see every day." He tells KBND News, "We were spending $180,000 a year in medical spending. Now, we're up to $500,000 a year, just so we can take better care of the inmates."
REDMOND, OR -- About an hour after a head-on collision on the south end of Redmond claimed the life of a Prineville man, Wednesday morning, a Eugene man was seriously hurt in another crash on the east end of town.
At about 10:15 a.m., according to Redmond Police, 39-year-old Shan Dieringer was driving westbound when he came upon a vehicle stopped on the highway waiting to make a left on to Lake Road. Dieringer wasn’t able to stop and drove into eastbound lane, hitting a pickup, head-on. Investigators expect Dieringer will be cited, saying speed and following distance were contributing factors.
At the time of the crash, all available Redmond PD units were at the Highway 97 incident. Some were pulled to respond to Highway 126, and Deschutes County deputies were brought in to help.
REDMOND, OR -- A boom truck and passenger car collided on Highway 97, just after 9 Wednesday morning, forcing an extensive closure of the highway, on the south end of Redmond. Few details have been released. However, Redmond Police confirm at least one person was killed in the crash near the Yew Avenue/Airport Way onramp.
Redmond Fire, RPD, the Oregon Department of Transportation and Oregon State Police responded to the scene.
UPDATE (12:45 p.m.: All lanes re-opened just before 12:45 p.m.
(1:45 p.m.) According to Oregon State Police, a 73-year-old Prineville resident was northbound on Highway 97, driving a 2005 Chevy Malibu, when the Malibu crossed into oncoming traffic, near the Yew Ave. exit. The car crashed head-on into a Bend Roof Truss truck, driven by 48-year-old Kavan Rose, of Bend. The driver of the Malibu was pronounced dead at the scene; Rose was taken to St. Charles Redmond with non-life threatening injuries.
State Police later identified the deceased as 73-year-old Richard James Lanning.
Photos: courtesy Redmond Police, Oregon State Police.
MADRAS, OR -- A fire at the Brightwood facility in Madras, was kept small, Tuesday, limiting the damage to the mill. Jefferson County Fire crews responded to the building on Northwest Hess, at about 5:30 p.m., and found heavy smoke coming from two open loading doors. They quickly extinguished the blaze, which was confined to the immediate area. Damage is estimated at about $400.
Then, early Wednesday morning, firefighters put out a brush fire threatening two homes on Roosevelt, in Madras. The blaze was spotted by Jefferson County medics as they returned from an unrelated call. They alerted residents and fire crews, just before 1 a.m. The fire in juniper brush was held at a 50'x15' area. There was no damage to either home; however, three lawn decorations were destroyed.
The causes of both fires are under investigation.
BEND, OR -- Highway 20 was designation a Medal of Honor Highway by the 2017 State Legislature. At the same time, lawmakers also approved the designation of 12 cities as Medal of Honor communities, for their connection to 26 Medal of Honor recipients. Bend will be the first to receive its plaque noting the designation, during Wednesday night's City Council meeting. Bend resident Robert Maxwell, the nation’s oldest living recipient, is scheduled to attend the presentation, if his health allows.
Bend Heroes Foundation Chair Dick Tobiason helped get the legislation passed. He says only 3,500 people have earned the Medal of Honor since the Civil War. "Medal of Honor recipients don't think about going out to earn the Medal of Honor. Something happens and they all of a sudden react. I've often wondered how many lives have been saved by these 3,500 Medal of Honor recipients?" Tobiason tells KBND News, "Of course, with Bob Maxwell being the only [Oregon] Medal of Honor recipient living, we wanted to present the Bend Medal of Honor city plaque to Bend, first." He adds, "It's a big distinction for Bend to be home to our nation's oldest living Medal of honor recipient, as well as being the first city designated a Medal of Honor city."
Tobiason says the Oregon Department of Transportation has installed signs along Highway 20, "That highway passes through Bend; and we've raised some money to pay ODOT to put in 12 Medal of Honor highway signs between Newport and Idaho. There are four signs near Bend: two east of Bend and two west of Bend."
SISTERS, OR -- Hoodoo Ski Area will open for the season on Friday. As of Wednesday, they have 17" of snow at the base.
The Manzanita, Ed and Easy Rider Lift will run through the weekend with limited grooming and surface powder. The Autobahn Tubing Park will also be open Friday and Saturday, although the automated tow will not operate until more snow falls, so tubers must walk up the hill for each run.
Chairlifts will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday through Sunday. The tubing park is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday and Saturday. Managers will evaluate conditions after Sunday, and update the schedule. Updates will be posted to the ski hill's website and social media pages.
BEND, OR -- The Deschutes National Forest has closed several areas to the public, in an effort to protect critical winter habitat for local wildlife, "This is a really important time for those deer and elk to maintain their ability to get forage to make it through the winter," says Jean Nelson Dean, with the Forest Service, "And, constant disturbance really impacts their survival rate; their ability to reproduce."
Nelson Dean tells KBND News it’s important to make sure wildlife can access food, as snow moves into the mountains, "They come down closer to us this time of year, because that’s what they’re seeking is that forage that is in some of those less snowy places." She says there are four closures: "The Metolius Winter Range, the Opine Travel Management Area, the Tumalo Winter Range and the Cabin/Silver Lake area. And, you can go to our website and get maps for those closures."
Snow gates are also now closed near Three Creek Sno-Park, on the Sisters Ranger District, and Tumalo Falls, on the Bend Fort Rock Ranger District.
BEND, OR -- Bend-La Pine Schools released three potential boundary maps for elementary schools, Tuesday, and are now taking public feedback on the proposals. The options were developed by the Attendance Area Review Committee, in an effort to balance attendance when the new elementary school opens on the north end of Bend, next fall.
Christy McLeod is on of the the 27 committee members who have worked for months to come up with maps that met the needs of schools, families and bus drivers. She says every elementary school is likely to see boundary changes, "The thing that I think is the most challenging is that there’s not a really simple easy answer – easy solution. So, it’s going to take a lot of back and forth. And it’s really critical that we get feedback from the community, and their views of the different things; maybe they’ve thought of something we haven’t."
She knows there won't be one answer that pleases everyone, but says it's about helping kids learn and finding the best solution for the broader community, "With the amount of growth that we’re having, it’s a good problem to have that we are building new schools and we’re able to look at the enrollment that can create the best learning environment for all the elementary students."
The committee heard from the public during a Tuesday open house. Another will be held Thursday at Pacific Crest Middle School, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Input will also be accepted through the district’s website where all three draft maps can be viewed in detail. McLeod tells KBND News, "The committee will get back together again, and we will come to terms with what we would view as one single map, based on the committee’s work that we’ve done to date and the feedback from the wider community, and make a recommendation to the district about what the boundary lines should be for all the elementary schools." That final recommendation is expected in January.
MADRAS, OR -- Three Jefferson County deputies charged with Criminally Negligent Homicide, stemming from the death of an inmate, were found "Not Guilty," on Tuesday. In April of 2017, 59-year-old James Wippel, of Portland, was arrested by Warm Springs Police for several drug related charges; he was reportedly detoxing while in custody when he died. Jefferson County Sheriff Jim Adkins tells KBND News, "This was a tragedy. This guy had an ulcer that was in there for months, if not years. It ruptured, and it ruptured a(n) artery, and when it ruptured, it happened very rapidly." Deputy Michael Durkan, Deputy Cory Skidgel and Corporal Anthony Hansen were on duty at the time of Wippel's death. They were indicted by a Grand Jury, last spring.
Following the bench trial, Judge Daina Vitolins said evidence didn't prove Wippel would've survived if he'd received medical care more quickly. Sheriff Adkins tells KBND News, "I said in the very beginning that I believed in the system and that I would trust God to get us through this. So, we've gone through the investigation, we've come out the other side, and I think we're better off for it." He also says the agency has taken steps to make sure something like this doesn't happen again. "We're better prepared today than we were back then to handle a person who is detoxing hard from heroine, and who may exhibit the same type of symptoms as this."
Adkins says the verdict means his office can finally move forward. "It's very important for my office, and for the deputies themselves. I can get them back to work, and it means that my office can start to heal now." Durkan, Skidgel and Hansen will return to work next week, after nearly a year on paid administrative leave.
Photo: One acquitted Deputy hugs his wife, following Tuesday's "not guilty" verdict. Courtesy John Stevens, "Ranch Matters."
CROOKED RIVER RANCH, OR -- A Crooked River Ranch man faces arson charges, following a weekend house fire. James Winterholer III is accused of starting the fire that heavily damaged a double-wide manufactured home on SW High Cone Dr., Sunday afternoon.
According to CRR Fire and Rescue, crews responded at about 4 p.m. Winterholer was outside the home, when firefighters arrived. Damage to the living room was extensive and officials say heat and smoke damage was found throughout the building, totaling about $10,000.
Winterholer is currently housed at the Jefferson County Jail.
Photo: Dave Stangland, CRR Resident, "Ranch Matters"
PRINEVILLE, OR -- Construction of Crook County's new jail is on schedule. Undersheriff James Savage says drywall is currently being installed, the roof is going on, and he expects it will be weathered in, early this month.
Savage says construction should be complete by the end of April, "From there, we'll be about a two-month training period where we'll work out all the kinks, make sure the doors work appropriately, make sure everything's functioning, and have a staff training during that time." He says the public will also be invited inside, "We've got a couple things planned. We're working on whether we want to let people stay overnight or just do a walk-thru type thing, so we have a couple ideas." He tells KBND News, "We'll have an Open House for the public before we actually bring all the inmates over, probably around July first."
He says the new jail is being built with new features to keep inmates from re-offending, "One thing this jail is going to do is allow us to have programs to give them some work skills, so when they leave here they'll have some skills, rather than just go out on the street and come back in." There will also be opportunities for inmates to earn a GED. "You know, it's not just 'lock them up and feed them three times a day.' We are trying to get some productivity out of them while they're in, and so when they go out, they won't come back in."
The 76-bed facility is funded by a $10 million bond measure passed by voters in November 2016. Currently, most Crook County inmates are housed in the Jefferson County jail, through a lease agreement. That arrangement will end once the new jail opens in Prineville and inmates are transferred back to Crook County.
BEND, OR -- The 27-member Attendance Area Review Committee for Bend-La Pine Schools will release a draft of the new elementary school attendance area maps, during two open house meetings, this week. The first is Tuesday at Sky View Middle School, the second is Thursday at Pacific Crest Middle School. Both meetings are 4:30-6:30 p.m. Click HERE for more information on the events.
Shifting elementary school boundaries is necessary to balance attendance, as the district prepares to open the new 600-student elementary school on the north end of Bend. The draft boundary map was created using feedback from meetings and surveys conducted in October.
The committee is expected to make its final recommendation to the Superintendent in January. The approved attendance areas will take effect in the fall of 2019. District officials expect every neighborhood elementary school in Bend to see changes.
BEND, OR -- With temperatures in Bend forecast to dip into the single digits, this week, the City Manager declared a weather emergency, Monday. Bend Deputy Fire Marshal Cindy Kettering tells KBND News, "When we have temperatures that drop below 25-degrees, consistently, it enables some of the shelters to temporarily increase their capacity and other locations that aren’t normally shelters to become shelters, if they meet the safety guidelines and are approved."
Kettering says the city is trying to help provide more options for the homeless, during winter, "We often see cold snaps where temperatures drop into the single digits, or even below zero. And that’s a condition that can be dangerous, if not outright deadly, for people who are camping outdoors."
Bend Fire inspects all shelters before they're allowed to open. Kettering says whether it's a permanent shelter that wants to exceed it's normal capacity during the cold weather, or a temporary shelter that wants to open, all must comply with safety guidelines, including building and fire codes. "We ensure that exiting is adequate; that they have working smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms; that they’ll have staff providing fire watch; that they meet all the requirements in order to provide a safe place for people to either come in and warm up, or possibly sleep, as well."
Last year, both the Bethlehem Inn and Shepherd’s House were approved to exceed their normal capacity, and two other locations received emergency shelter approval. This year, Kettering has approved one temporary shelter and expect calls from more, this week. The weather emergency declaration is in effect through the end of February.
REDMOND, OR -- A Redmond horse died, last night, after escaping its pasture and getting struck by a car. The Deschutes County Sheriff's Office says the dark colored horse was walking southbound on Helmholtz, near Elkhorn Avenue, when it was hit broadside by a northbound car, just before midnight. That car was driven by 23-year-old Haley Jo Shaw.
The animal rolled on to the hood and hit the windshield before falling to the ground. It was still alive when emergency crews arrived but had to be euthanized by an emergency equine vet, at the scene.
Shaw complained of minor injuries and was evaluated by medics. The crash remains under investigation and no citations have been issued.
BEND, OR -- A Tumalo area barn was destroyed by fire, Monday morning. When Bend Fire crews arrived on Tweed Road, just after 6 a.m., they found the 30x40' outbuilding fully engulfed in flames and the roof caving in. No animals were inside, but a tractor, backhoe and forklift were destroyed by the blaze. The fire's cause has not been determined. It left about $140,000 in damage.
Cloverdale Fire provided a water tender and command officer, thanks to a recently updated mutual aid agreement. Officials say that made collaboration more effective.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Oregon Congressman Greg Walden will maintain his position as the highest ranking Republican on the influential House Energy and Commerce Committee. However, because Democrats now have a majority in the House, Walden will no longer be the Chairman. In a statement, Rep. Walden said, "The Energy and Commerce Committee has broad jurisdiction over many of the issues we face in Oregon and across the West. Under my leadership, the Energy and Commerce Committee has worked in an overwhelmingly bipartisan manner to advance key legislation for our district."
Walden will also sit on the House Republican Steering Committee, which helps determine which party members serve on various House committees. "In this position, I will continue to advocate for public policy that addresses the unique challenges we face in the West," Walden said in a statement, "There is much more work to be done to improve federal forest policy to reduce the risk of wildfires, bring local input back to public land management decisions, and ensure our farming, ranching, and rural communities are able to thrive." In addition to Oregon, Walden will represent Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming on the House Republican Steering Committee as the Region 11 Representative for the 116th Congress.
BEND, OR -- St. Charles Health System is experiencing a critical shortage of Certified Nursing Assistants. Across its four hospitals in the region, St. Charles has more than 40 vacancies.
Nurse Manager Allea Thomas-Putnam says CNAs provide vital services, "Predominantly, CNAs are really there to do ‘activities of daily living’ for our patients. Things like: helping them get washed up and brush their teeth; helping them ambulate to and from the bathroom, doing vital signs and taking blood sugars, and things of that nature." She tells KBND News, "That is part of a nurse’s scope to function as a CNA. But, we certainly don’t want nurses chronically working as CNAs, because we want them working to the height of their license, with the medication administration and some of those critical thinking things that nurses do."
Thomas-Putnam says the nursing contract negotiations currently underway with St. Charles Bend isn't a factor in the shortage, because CNAs aren’t part of the union. "There’s a nationwide shortage of CNAs. CNA work is very, very rewarding work but it’s challenging work. And, I think that it’s just a growing occupation, so naturally we’re just seeing a shortage."
As an incentive for new hires, St. Charles recently increased the starting wage for CNA’s by $2 an hour, and the health system offers scholarships to help pay for training. Thomas-Putnam says becoming a CNA is a great way to enter the healthcare field, and is often a stepping stone to becoming an RN.
LA PINE, OR -- Fire destroyed a storage shed for Paulina Snowmobile Rentals, Thursday, crippling the small business. The owner believes the blaze was intentionally set, "There was nothing flammable, there was no electricity," Jay Chappell tells KBND News, "There's evidence of, somebody was trying to break in. Looks like an ax to the door,".
Chappell says he used the small building to store safety gear for clients, "I had 50 helmets, probably 20 pairs of overalls, goggles, I mean everything, boots, to make your adventure awesome." But now, that's all gone. "All my helmets, all my gear, all my stuff for all my rentals, that I give to people to wear for the rentals. So at this point, I have no gear; I have nothing."
He says he's lucky his snowmobiles were stored elsewhere. However, he can't rent them out without protective gear. Chappell says it's devastating at what should be the start of his busy season, "It's just now hitting where I should be making money and now I'm taking this hit and it's really hard, you know? I'm a father, I've got three kids and a beautiful wife. We've worked our asses off to make this, and this happens."
Chappell says the police are investigating, and even though the incident occurred at night, he hopes someone saw something, and will say something. "We've put together a $1,000 reward for any information that leads to figuring this out." He says, "This is my livelihood; I put all my everything into it. It's my passion to ride the snowmobiles." If he can partner with another business to provide gear for his clients, he may be able to stay in business.
REDMOND, OR -- Redmond's Obsidian Middle School was the site of a traumatic scene, Friday. But what looked like the latest school shooting was just a drill.
At a mock press conference, Redmond Police Chief Dave Tarbet outlined the scenario: a single shooter opened fire in the school's commons, just as students arrived for the day. "The School Resource Officer at the school engaged the shooter, ending the threat on the scene. We can confirm one shooter is deceased, and there's no indication at this time that there are any others involved." Deschutes County Sheriff Sgt. William Bailey told reporters, "The School Resource officer, who was inside the school, confronted the shooter. And, I can confirm the shooter is deceased. And, He is the only person deceased in this incident. There are seven students in critical condition." He went on to describe how they were taken by ground and air ambulance to nearby hospitals.
Using a training channel, Deschutes County dispatchers called in units from all over Deschutes County. Along with the Sheriff's Office and Redmond PD, officers from Bend, Black Butte Ranch and Sunriver also took part. Along with several local fire departments. Redmond Police Lt. Curtis Chambers says those are important partnerships, "In an incident, such as this, if it were to happen, all agencies would be coming to help us." Even the FBI sent personnel from its Portland office because, Chambers says, they would respond to a school shooting to support local agencies and provide access to federal resources. The School District was also on hand to practice the process in which parents would be notified and then eventually reunited with their children.
Several dozen college students portrayed shooting victims. EMT-in training Sarah Barcelone tells KBND News things got intense during the simulation, "It actually got real pretty fast. So, what happens is, we wait in there, and they're coming in, and we're just screaming and yelling; we're really trying to recreate the scenario of how it would be in real life."
Lt. Chambers says exercises like Friday's are invaluable. Although, he admits, they hope to never have to utilize what they've learned. "In these large scale, multi-casualty incidents - whether it be at a school, a hospital, airport, anywhere - preparing and practicing, getting multiple agencies involved to work together, takes time and takes effort. What we are learning in this scenario [is] that we have a lot to improve upon. And, we are hopeful that by training and practicing now, we are better prepared if and when this incident actually does occur."
Photos: (top) College students portraying shooting victims rush from the school during the simulation.
(middle) DCSO Sgt. William Bailey takes questions during the mock press conference, as RPD Lt. Curtis Chambers looks on.
(lower right) Responding officers rush in to Obsidian Middle School during the training exercise.
Click HERE for more picture.