Local News Archives for 2020-12

Boy Scouts Picking Up Christmas Trees This Weekend & Next Saturday

BEND, OR  -- it’s that time of year when local Boy Scouts pick up Christmas trees…their big annual fund raiser. Just leave your tree by the curb this weekend or next Saturday. Trees are being picked up in Bend, Redmond, La Pine, Sisters and Sunriver. The scouts ask for a 10-dollar donation - you can attach it to the tree or go online to donate.  The money raised is used to help scouts pay for dues, summer camp, and camping gear. Log on to take your tree dot com for more information.



Deschutes County Virus Cases Dropping Since Peak Five Weeks Ago

BEND, OR Deschutes County Public Health Director Nahad Sadr-Azodi has given county commissioners an overview of virus case numbers since mid March. He says there have been 2-thousand-881 virus cases and 22 deaths. He says  weekly case numbers hit a peak of 466 about five weeks ago while this last week the cases totaled 287 and show a flattening of the virus curve. Sadr-Azodi also says the 20-to-29 age group makes up 20-per cent of viruis cases in the county.

Bend Firefighters Get First Covid Vaccines



Bend Fire & Rescue firefighters are starting to get their Covid vaccines at St. Charles Bend. Eighteen Bend firefighters got their first vaccines today.  The department’s Trish Connolly says Deschutes County received 50 doses of the vaccine and all of them will go to first responders in the county.  Connolly says a handful of firefighters in the fire department have already had Covid 19, and says more have been exposed to the virus and were quarantined. She says only about 10 percent of them have resisted getting vaccinated.     

Covid Escapes to the Mountains Prompt New Winter Travel Tips




Folks are heading to the mountains in droves this winter to get a break from the Covid confinement.  Public Affairs Officer for the Deschutes National Forest Jean Nelson-Dean has some tips for you if you’re heading up north …


  • Be sure to check the weather and road conditions before you go
  • Pack a winter safety kit with extra clothes, water, and food
  • Leave in the early morning or late afternoon to avoid heavy traffic
  • Don’t block traffic or park illegally so snow plows can get through


The pandemic has forced many of the ski areas to change their hours or operate with reduced capacities – something else you should check on before heading out. 

Fire At Redmond Hampton Inn Under Investigation

REDMOND, OR -- The cause of a fire early yesterday morning that damaged the partially constructed Hampton Inn on Highway 97 in Redmond  is still under investigation.   Fire Marshal Clara Butler says the third and fourth floors on the east side of the building were heavily engulfed in flames when crews arrived, and says no sprinklers were turned on.  No one was hurt.  Butler says a heating unit on the roof is compromised and fire crews can not safely remove it at this time. When they can eremove it she says it may shed more light on the cause of the fire. Damage estimates are up around half a million dollars.

Bend Man Arrested On Drug Charges

BEND, OR -- A Bend man wanted for a felony parole violation warrant was arrested Monday night by Detectives from CODE, the Central Oregon Drug Enforcement. 35 year old Brandon Berrett was taken into custody as he sat in a parked car. During a vehicle search police found almost 3-pounds of methamphetamine hidden in the car with scales and packaging materials. Berrett is jailed and faces charges of possession, manufacture and distribution of meth and a parole violation warrant.


OHA Reports 43 New Virus Cases In Central Oregon; 16 New COVID-19 Deaths

The Oregon Health Authority reports 44 new virus cases in Central Oregon with 39 in Deschutes county, 4 in Jefferson and 1 in Crook county. Saint Charles Health reports 30 patients with 7 in ICU and 5 of the 7 on ventilators. The reports says there are 713 new confirmed virus cases for a total of 111-thousand-227. The OHA reports 16 new COVID-19 deaths, including a 71 year old Jefferson county man for a state total of 1-thousand-449. Those who died ranged in age from 51-to-92..


Local Counties Remain in "Extreme Risk" Category for Covid

Governor Brown took three counties out of the “extreme risk” category this week, but not in our area even though the numbers are down.  During the first week of December in Deschutes County, the high so far was hit with 455 cases of the virus – a week later it dropped to 327.  Restaurants and bars can still only provide take-out, grocery stores are restricted to fifty percent capacity, churches to 25 percent of capacity, and gyms are still closed.  The Governor says Deschutes County, Jefferson County, and Crook County will all remain in the “extreme risk” category - with those restrictions in place - until January 15th, when she’ll re-evaluate.



OHA Covid Safety Campaign Expands to Target Minorities



The Oregon Health Authority’s community education campaign launched this year to help communities ensure the safety of their families is expanding.  The original “Safe and Strong” campaign has a new theme and new materials to help communities find culturally specific information to help keep their families safe during the pandemic.  The new campaign theme is “Love Finds a Way” and it’s available in 12 different languages.  The original website campaign launched in April.  There are now 170 community-based organizations throughout the state that are now involved.

Cigarette Tax About to Rise in Oregon



The tax on a pack of cigarettes goes up by two bucks on January first tied to the voter approval of Measure 108 last month … and it affects e-cigarettes too.  It’s the first time cigarette taxes will be going up in Oregon.  Oregon’s cigarette tax will rise to $3.33  a pack – the highest on the West coast – and for that matter – the highest in the country.  It’s expected to raise almost $135 million dollars in annual revenue that will go toward providing access to health care on the Oregon Health Plan and will fund the state’s tobacco prevention and cessation programs to help smokers kick the habit. 

New Transitional Homeless Shelter Community for Vets Going Up in Deschutes County



A new community of transitional emergency shelters for homeless veterans along the lines of tiny homes is soon to be built in Deschutes County.  It’s a joint effort between the Bend Heroes Foundation and Central Oregon Veterans Outreach, and they’re expecting to break ground at the start of the new year.  Heroes Foundation President Eric Tobiason says they’ll be able to house 15 homeless vets at a time, and will be able to help them with health benefits, social security, and vets benefits.  Tobiason says the community will cost about $750 thousand dollars, and you can donate to help foot the bill by mail or online through their website at “centraloregonveteransvillage.org”.  The community is going up on the public safety campus near the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office, and they’re hoping to have the shelter ready for full occupancy by the end of January.


Manufactured Home, Outbuildings Destroyed In Sunday Fire

BEND, OR -- A manufactured home was destroyed in a fire just before noon Sunday. Bend Fire and Rescue responded to the 64-thousand block of Rimrock Drive in the Tumalo area. A 1968 manufactured home was a total loss as were several outbuildings. Damage estimated at 100-thousand dollars for structures and 50-thousand for contents. The cause of the fire was determined to be a recreational fire burning in a metal fire pit behind the home. The fire pit was a few feet from a hot tub and other combustible materials. Occupants left the property for about 20 minutes and when they returned they found the fire spreading quickly and engulfing the structures. 



Manufactured Home, Outbuildings Destroyed In Sunday Fire

BEND, OR -- A manufactured home was destroyed in a fire just before noon Sunday. Bend Fire and Rescue responded to the 64-thousand block of Rimrock Drive in the Tumalo area. A 1968 manufactured home was a total loss as were several outbuildings. Damage estimated at 100-thousand dollars for structures and 50-thousand for contents. The cause of the fire was determined to be a recreational fire burning in a metal fire pit behind the home. The fire pit was a few feet from a hot tub and other combustible materials. Occupants left the property for about 20 minutes and when they returned they found the fire spreading quickly and engulfing the structures. 



Deschutes County D-A Reviewing Alleged Attack on Bend Woman

Deschutes County D-A John Hummel says his office is now reviewing reports from detectives who investigated the alleged attack on a Bend woman Christmas morning.  Police arrested 35 year old Randall Kilby of Bend after they say he inflicted a life-threatening head injury to 43 year old Daphne Banks just before 9 am on Christmas morning at their residence on Granite Drive. Kilby told police the woman hurt herself accidentally.  The family wants the D-A to file attempted murder charges.  The victim is still in the hospital, fighting for her life.


Oregon Schools Have the Green Light to Re-Open in January

Schools in Oregon can reopen as of the start of the New Year for in-person instruction as long as they follow safety protocols.  Governor Brown is allowing the school districts to decide if they want to re-open for in-person instruction, and says they can choose school by school.  Most schools in the state have been closed since mid-March because of the pandemic, and many parents have since lobbied strongly for their reopening.

Steer Clear of Coastal Seafood

Researchers say they’ve discovered a cause of marine toxicity along the coast between Northern California and Southern Oregon.  As a result, they’re warning against eating any crabs, clams, or other seafood that comes from the coast.  The coastal hot spots they’ve pinpointed apparently began emerging in 2013 and materialized with climate change over the years.  They say a heat wave in 2013 set off a chain of reactions within the marine eco-system that included a harmful algal bloom that closed many fisheries in 2015.



Good News Next Month For Pacific Power Customers



Pacific Power customers in Central Oregon will be paying less for their electricity at the beginning of next year – rates will go down five percent next month.  Company officials say more than half of the decrease can be attributed to lower costs for fuel and increased federal tax credits for renewable energy.  They also say improvements that have been made to transmission lines have helped to push the rates down.


OSU Covid Survey Results May Surprise You


According to a nationwide survey on Covid-19 just conducted by O-S-U Cascades, 40 % of those asked said they don’t think Covid-19 is any worse than the flu … and those who feel that way said they’re less likely to social distance or mask up.  In fact 25% of those polled said they think Covid-19 is a hoax. The research was funded by the City of Bend using money from the Cares Act. 


Madras Murder Suspect Arrested After Chase

SMITH ROCK, OR -- Police arrested a Redmond woman wanted on a murder charge yesterday following a chase near Smith Rock. The Deschutes County Sheriff’s office says 21 year old Thomas Cross called 9-1-1 just before 11 yesterday morning and said he was with 21 year old Jenna Campbell in a Ford Ranger. A deputy spotted the truck but it took off and later it was found crashed near Northeast Wilcox and Northwest Lambert Road. Cross was spotted walking across the road and arrested.  Campbell was seen running into an occupied home on Northeast Vaughn Road and was later arrested. Campbell is wanted for a shooting death last Wednesday night in Madras.


Vaccine Fraud Causing Concern in Central Oregon

Health officials in Central Oregon are following the lead of federal health officials in issuing warnings about fraud schemes involving Covid-19 vaccines.  Health officials say they can include requests to pay out of pocket to get the vaccine or to put your name on a vaccine waiting list, marketers offering to sell or ship doses in exchange for payment of a deposit or fee, and telephone calls from someone claiming to be from a medical office, insurance company, or COVID-19 vaccine center requesting personal or medical information to determine your eligibility to get the vaccine.  Health officials say you should check the FDA’s website for the most current information about vaccine authorizations.



D-A Reviewing Shooting Of Man Wanted On Parole Warrant

BEND, OR --  Deschutes County D-A John Hummel is reviewing the facts of a shooting last week that injured a man wanted on a parole warrant. 47 year old Steven Eugene Newberg was the focus of a long search last week and the next day police got a tip as to his whereabouts. Newberg was located west of Bend Road armed with a knife that he refused to drop. Newberg was shot and suffered non-life threatening injuries. Hummel says he will determine why Newberg was shot and based on that, he'll decide whether the shooting was appropriate and lawful. He expects to make a decision soon.

Bend City Council Looking At Construction Excise Tax To Fight Homelessness

BEND, OR -- The Bend City Council is considering using a Constructikon Excise Tax to battle homelessness. City Manager eric King says the idea is to have a one-time tax of one-third of one-per cent of the value of a commercial or industrial building which would raise a half million dollars a year. He says, if approved, the money will be used for housing, shelter amd support services. The Bend City Council will take up the issue at its next meeting. 

Bend Police Start Testing Body Cameras Monday

The Bend Police Department begins testing body cameras Monday.  During the last six months, the department’s been looking at different types of body cams being used by other departments throughout the country, and now it’s down to a few providers.  This week a few officers on different shifts will be testing body cameras from those providers, assessing their versatility in different working situations. By early summer, the Bend Police Department says it’s hoping to have a body camera system fully implemented and operational in the city.  


Bend Heroes Foundation Holds Wreaths Across America Event Today

                          Wreaths Across America Observed By Bend Heroes Foundation


National Wreaths Across America Day is Saturday, Dec. 19 when over 2 million wreaths will be placed on veterans graves and at veterans memorials at 2,100 locations “Across America”: https://www.wreathsacrossamerica.org/


The purpose of the national program is:



            HONOR THOSE WHO SERVE, and



Because of COVID-19 restrictions “sponsored” and “ceremonial” wreaths will not be placed on veterans graves and the veterans memorial in Greenwood Ceremony as in the past.


Seven “ceremonial” wreaths will be placed at Bend Heroes Memorial in Brooks Park at 2:30 pm, Friday, Dec. 18 by Rep. Cheri Helt and Dick Tobiason, founder of WAA in Bend 12 years ago.


The abbreviated and early ceremony at Bend Heroes Memorial will include the reading of President Ronald Reagan’s speech included in the standard script to be used “Across America”:


“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”


The 7 “ceremonial” wreaths display a red ribbon, American flag and a military service flag on each wreath: Army, Navy, Marines, Merchant Marines, Coast Guard, Air Force and POW/MIA. “Sponsored” wreaths that are placed on veterans graves display only the red ribbon – no flags. “Sponsored” means someone paid $15 for the wreath and the organization that sold the wreath and leads an event at a cemetery receives $5 of the $15. The $10 portion is retained by Worcester Wreaths of Maine to pay expenses.


“Sponsored” wreaths will be placed on all 267,000 veterans graves in Arlington National Cemetery. Included are 2 veterans from Bend laid to rest there: CPL Jessica Ellis and 1LT Justin Wilkens as well as several Medal of Honor recipients from Oregon.


Dick Tobiason

Chairman, Bend Heroes Foundation

LTC US Army, Retired



D-A Will Investigate Fraud Or Theft Cases Involving Vaccines

BEND, OR -- The Pfizer vaccine is being distributed in Oregon with health care workers at the top of the priority list. St. Charles says it’s following federal recommendations for distribution of the vaccine, and says it’ll be done in distinct phases.  Deschutes County D-A John Hummel says he’s leaving it up to the Governor and the health department to decide the distribution process for businesses, but says his office will get involved if they discover there’s evidence of a crime. The D-A says if anyone tries to steal doses of the vaccine or tries to move themselves up on the distribution list fraudulently, his office will investigate it.


Human Remains Found In Powell Butte Identified

The Crook County Sheriff has identified human remains found December 8th off Highway 126 in Powell Butte. Undersheriff James Savage says 39 year old Ann Jeanetta Penton was identified through some forensics and tattoos. He says her family has been notified. The cause of her death is still under investigation. Savage asks anyone with information about Penton to contact the Crook County Sheriff.




City Of Bend Drops Plan For Transition Shelter At Juniper Ridge

BEND, OR -- After hearing complaints from neighbors, the Bend City Council decided not to move forward with a temporary transitional shelter site at Juniper Ridge. City Manager Eric King says the council will change course and look at a more comprehensive approach to the homeless issue. He says the city wants to come together with the community to figure out how the city can identify more housing options for the homeless. King says the city is also looking at buying a motel to use as a homeless shelter, and has applied for state funds from the Oregon Community Foundation to do that.

Suspect Identified In Madras Murder Case

MADRAS, OR -- The Jefferson County D-A, Steve Leriche, says police are looking for a murder suspect in connection with a fatal shooting at a home in Madras Wednesday night following a fight. Leriche says 21 year old Jenna R. Campbell is the suspect and is believed to be armed. Leriche says Campbell was last seen in a newer silver or gray Ford F-150 pickup. She is described as blonde with blue eyes, 5-foot-5 inches tall about 110-to-120 pounds. Leriche has not released the name of the victim or details of the shooting as the case remains under investigation. Anyone with information is asked to call Madras police.

Photo courtesy of Central Oregon Daily

Police Name Suspect In Madras Murder Case

MADRAS, OR -- The Jefferson County D-A, Steve Leriche, says police are looking for a murder suspect in connection with a fatal shooting at a home in Madras Wednesday night following a fight. Leriche says 21 year old Jenna R. Campbell is the suspect and is believed to be armed. Leriche says Campbell was last seen in a newer silver or gray Ford F-150 pickup. She is described as blonde with blue eyes, 5-foot-5 inches tall about 110-to-120 pounds. Leriche has not released the name of the victim or details of the shooting as the case remains under investigation. Anyone with information is asked to call Madras police.

Photo courtesy of Central Oregon Daily

Enhancements Underway at Bend Amphitheater

Look for enhancements at the Les Schwab Amphitheater this summer.  Construction got underway this week.  The goal is to make the amphitheater more accessible to accommodate anyone with a disability, and to make the stage bigger and sturdier to attract more performers.  Designers say the stage upgrade will feature what they’re calling a minimalist design, with pine accents to accentuate Bend’s sawmill history.  They’re also adding an extra wide pathway that will span the entire venue and the screens onstage to accommodate anyone with a disability.  R & H Construction of Bend is the general contractor for the project.  It’s expected to be completed by mid-summer, just before the start of the annual concert seasons.


Redmond City Council Okays South 97 Urban Renewal Plan

REDMOND, OR -- The City Council in Redmond has given formal approval to the South 97 Urban Renewal Plan, and Mayor George Endicott says there are three factors that come into play with the urban renewal effort. They include highway safety….commercial freight mobility, and…access to local businesses.The plan will open up more than 900 acres for business development near the Redmond Airport. Mayor endicott says the council also approved the 2040 Comprehensive Plan that will guide the city's efforts to manage growth over the next 20 years. He says more than 400 citizens took part in the two year process to develop that plan.



Mazatlan Restaurant In Bend Allows Inside Dining; Redmond Location Patio Only

BEND, OR -- The Mazatlan Restaurant in Bend is open and allowing indoor dining, a violation of guidelines for counties designated as Extreme Risk. The Redmond Mazatlan is open but only allowing outdoor patio dining. Central Oregon Daily reports both restaurants have been the target of complaints to OSHA. The Manager Sara Robles is the daughter of the owners and says since reopening last Friday they have been packed with wait times up to 90 minutes. She says while staff is wearing masks, for the public it’s optional. Robles also says many businesses are in the same boat and suggests if they want to reopen they should. To see the full Central Oregon Daily report go herehttps://centraloregondaily.com/%e2%96%b6%ef%b8%8f-bend-restaurant-ignores-covid-restrictions-dining-room-open-and-busy/

Covid Claims the Life of Retired Bend Fire Captain

Bend Fire & Rescue is mourning the loss of one of their own to Covid-19.  Captain Pete Ribble spent 28 years with the department before retiring in 2001.  Ribble had a passion for teaching.  He spent 7 years teaching at COCC where he was instrumental in starting their fire science program, and was instrumental in creating many of the fire training programs the department’s still using today.  Ribble was diagnosed with Covid on Thanksgiving, and died from complications tied to the virus last Sunday.

Three Officers Placed on Leave Pending Investigation into Shooting of Parole Violator

Three deputies from the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office have been placed on leave pending the investigation into the shooting of a suspect on parole.  The Sheriff’s Department says they spent six hours Tuesday using drones and canines trying to track down 47 year old Steven Newberg for violating his parole and failing to register as a sex offender. Wednesday morning deputies say they were able to follow-up on a tip and caught up with Newberg walking along BLM, west of Bend Road.  They say Newberg refused to drop a knife he was holding, and deputies shot him.  He was taken into custody after his injuries were determined to be non-life threatening.

Drive-Thru Food Drive this Saturday

Bend Parks and Rec is hosting a drive-thru food drive this Saturday at the Bend Senior Center.  The drive-thru component is a “first” to ensure contactless safety in light of the Covid pandemic.  It’s being held from noon to 3 pm, and the food that’s donated will go to NeighborImpact to be distributed to those in need this holiday season throughout Central Oregon.  They especially need cans of tuna and chicken, soups, stews, canned veggies, and canned fruits.  Donations will also be accepted at the parking lot across the street from The Pavilion.  NeighborImpact says the need this year jumped by fifty percent.

OHA Reports Record One Day COVID-19 Death Count At 54


News Release from Oregon Health Authority

December 15, 2020

PORTLAND, Ore. — COVID-19 has claimed 54 more lives in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 1,214 the Oregon Health Authority reported at 12:01 a.m. today.

Oregon Health Authority reported 1,129 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of 12:01 a.m. today bringing the state total to 96,092.

"Today’s record-high death toll tragically reminds us that the pandemic is far from over despite the arrival of vaccines in Oregon," said Patrick Allen, director of the Oregon Health Authority. "These Oregonians and the ones who passed before them were loved ones who will be dearly missed by their families, for whom we express our sincerest condolences.”

Oregonians can continue to work together to prevent more lives being lost to the virus by doing the following:

  • Maintain 6 feet of physical distance; 
  • Wear a face covering when outside the house; 
  • Practice good hand hygiene; 
  • Avoid any gatherings with non-household members;
  • If you start to have symptoms — even mild ones — consult with a medical provider quickly to get instructions on how to care for yourself and your household members and also whether to get tested;
  • And finally, if you get a call from public health, answer it, and take their advice on how to protect yourself and those around you.

The rising case count that surged in November is one factor attributed to today’s record-high death count. The counting of deaths from death certificates may take time to process because they are determined by physicians and then sent to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for further review before the cause of death is ultimately determined.  Once this information is confirmed, the information is reported back with a final cause of death to states. This lagging indicator is now being captured today.

COVID-19 hospitalizations

The number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 across Oregon is 544, which is five more than yesterday. There are 112 COVID-19 patients in intensive care unit (ICU) beds, which is nine fewer than yesterday.

The total number of patients in hospital beds may fluctuate between report times. The numbers do not reflect admissions per day, nor the length of hospital stay. Staffing limitations are not captured in this data and may further limit bed capacity.

More information about hospital capacity can be found here.

Mental and emotional resources for difficult times:

  • Mental and emotional health resources are available on OHA’s Safe + Strong website.
  • Or call the Safe + Strong Helpline at 800-923-4357 (800-923-HELP). The line offers free, 24-7 emotional support and resource referral to anyone who needs it -- not only those experiencing a mental health crisis.

Three Central Oregon Counties Remain Under Extreme Risk Designation

All three Central Oregon counties will remain under the governor’s Extreme Risk category through the end of the year. Deschutes County Commissioner Patti Adair says she’s still concerned about schools and any time off due to Covid - particularly with many students struggling with reading. Adair says she’s hopeful that the vaccine will help to slow the spread. She encourages everyone to mask, distance and wash hands and support local businesses as much as possible.


ODOT Managing Wildfire Cleanup To Salem & Springfield

ODOT continues managing the clean-up of the wildfires that destroyed towns between here and the Willamette Valley. Peter Murphy at ODOT says they are working on Highway 22 to Salem and also on Highway 126 to Springfield. He says they’ve been cleaning up in the rubble left from homes and businesses that were destroyed. Murphy says the clean-up will take at least a year and if the areas that burned are hard hit with heavy snow this winter, he says it’s only going to delay it.



$2,300,000 In Grants To Businesses Hurt By Pandemic To Be Announced Monday

BEND, OR -- A committee has been meeting to try to help Deschutes county businesses that have been struggling due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Commissioner Patti Adair says the county has received 2-point-3-million from the governor’s office, She says the committee met yesterday to figure out which businesses will get grants and says they’ll be announced on Monday with checks expected to be out next Wednesday. Adair says some non-profits that have been struggling will also be getting some of the grant money.


St. Charles to Receive Pfizer Vaccine on Thursday - Details Rollout Plans

St. Charles Bend is preparing to receive its first doses of the Pfizer vaccine to help stem the spread of Covid-19.  St. Charles held a press briefing today to address storage, administration, and security concerns tied to the vaccine.   Dr Cynthia Maree is leading the vaccine planning efforts and says they’re expecting the first vaccine shipment of 975 doses to come in on Thursday.  She says the first to be vaccinated will be caregivers, and says the rollout will proceed in distinct phases from there.  Maree says they can’t legally require their workers to get vaccinated – but she says they will recommend it.   For security reasons, she says all of the vaccinations will be done at St. Charles Bend, and they’re expecting to start administering the vaccine on Monday.


Record Scholarship Year for COCC

It’s a record-setting year for scholarships at COCC.  The Central Oregon Community College Foundation says it’s been able to offer close to $2M dollars in scholarships for the 2020-21 academic year.  That assistance will help 380 students pursue their college education.  The scholarships are awarded based on need and a demonstrated commitment to educational goals.  A full scholarship to the college amounts to $4500.  Despite the scholarship record the school has just set, school officials say they still have an unmet need in light of the fact that forty percent of students who were qualified and had applied for a foundation scholarship weren’t able to get one because of a lack of funding.


Governor Kate Brown Calls Special Session To Help Oregonians

Governor Kate Brown's Press Office

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December 15, 2020

Governor Kate Brown Calls Special Session to Consider $800 Million in Relief for Oregonians

Governor calls on legislature to help Oregon communities impacted by COVID-19 and wildfires 

(Salem, OR) — Governor Kate Brown will convene a Special Session of the Oregon Legislature at 8:00 a.m. Monday, Dec. 21, 2020, to address Oregonians’ most pressing needs given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which have only been compounded by Oregon’s horrific wildfires. The Governor is asking the legislature to consider both critical policies and $800 million in relief to support Oregonians during a one-day special session on COVID-19 and wildfires.

“Oregonians are making tremendous sacrifices to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” said Governor Brown. “While the risk reduction measures we have put in place are working to slow the spread, many Oregon families are struggling with unemployment, housing, food insecurity, and paying their bills — and those most impacted are the same people who are often left behind, including rural, Black, Indigenous, Latino/Latina/Latinx, Asian, Pacific Islander, and Tribal communities.

“I continue to call on Congress to pass another robust coronavirus relief bill to bring support to the American people. But these calls have not yet been heeded. It is clear that states must act on their own to provide a bridge until federal help arrives. This is why I am calling on legislators from both sides of the aisle to come together in the best interests of the state.

“We must protect Oregonians now, as we face some of our hardest days, whether by getting critical resources into the hands of those most in need, keeping a roof over people’s heads, or recognizing the incredible toll of this virus on our small businesses and restaurants. Oregon must act to bridge the gap as we continue to wait to see federal relief. I thank legislators for their work in addressing these critical issues next week, and I look forward to our progress.”

Included in the Governor’s budget priorities is aid for tenants and landlords, funding for vaccine distribution and contact tracing, wildfire prevention and community preparedness, and support for reopening schools.

To help ensure a healthy and safe environment for conducting session, legislative officials are consulting the state epidemiologist, Dr. Dean Sidelinger.




Previous Press Releases
Natalie King • Communications Director, Office of Governor Kate Brown • (503) 378-5965



Near Fatal Teen Stabbing Victim Fights For His Life As Investigation Continues

The investigation continues into the near fatal stabbing of an 18 year old male last Thursday near the entrance to Mayfield Pond east of Bend.  Police say the stabbing was reported around 9:30 pm off of Alfalfa Market Road and say the teen took off in a white Subaru.  Police caught up with the car and arrested 18 year old Jack Fromdahl on robbery and assault charges along with a 16 year old male from Bend who’s been charged with attempted murder.  Fromdahl is in the Deschutes County jail awaiting a court appearance – the 16 year old is in the Deschutes County Juvenile Detention Center.  Police say the victim and his girlfriend were picked up by a Good Samaritan driving by.  The victim is still in the hospital, fighting for his life.  

Covid Forces Washington Out of Pac-12 Title Match-Up

The Covid-19 pandemic has forced Washington to pull out of the Pac-12 football championship game. Team officials say the Huskies don’t have the required 53 scholarship players available and aren’t able to meet the minimum number of scholarship athletes in specific positions because of player exposure and quarantines.  The Huskies cancelled their game against Oregon last weekend to determine the Pac-12 North champion.  Oregon will now play number 13 USC for the conference title on Friday.

Bend-La Pine Schools Superintendent Race Down to Two Candidates

The race for the Bend-La Pine Schools Superintendent has whittled down to two finalists, and they’re both from other states.  Kristina Bellamy works for the Anchorage School District in Alaska as the Director of K thru 12 teaching and learning, and Steven Cook is the Superintendent of Coeur D-Alene (Core-duh-lane) Public Schools in Idaho.  They both have more than a decade of administrative experience.  The Bend-La Pine school board will choose a new Superintendent to take over July first of next year.  For more info on the candidates you can join a virtual meet and greet Wednesday night at 5 pm through the district’s website. 

LaPine man injured in a snowmobile crash

A LaPine man was seriously injured when he lost control of his snowmobile, struck a tree, and had to be rescued yesterday (Sunday) afternoon. According to Deschutes County Search and Rescue, Dispatch received a 9-1-1 call at 2:17 saying a snow mobile rider crashed into a tree near Paulina Lake. The injured rider was identified as 32-year-old Dylan McCloud.  LifeFlight had begun responding to the scene but had to turn back due to poor weather. After an hour and twenty minutes a Search and Rescue doctor was able to reach him.  McCloud was taken to Saint Charles Bend via a snow ambulance and a ground ambulance. No further word on the extent of McCloud's injuries.

Deschutes County Sues State Over Marijuana Sales Tax Revenue

Deschutes County is suing the State Dept. of Revenue over tax revenue tied to the sale of marijuana.  Last month, voters nixed any new marijuana businesses from operating in the county, but county officials say that has nothing to do with tax-paying marijuana businesses that were already here. The lawsuit is attempting to recoup sales tax revenue dating back to August of 2019, when the County Commissioners placed a moratorium on approving new marijuana growing and production facilities.  County officials are also asking the state to account for the taxes that have been collected from the marijuana businesses that were operating in the county before the moratorium.  The county is awaiting a formal response from the state.


City of Bend Launches Online Permitting

As of Monday you can get a permit online in the city of Bend.  The city’s new online permit center can provide business registrations, building and engineering permits, land use applications, special event and fire permits, code complaints, room tax remittance, and other specialty licenses.  You’ll notice some benefits – including streamlined submittals and payments, and easy access to inspection scheduling and project updates.  The new system updates the permitting system the city had been using and provides for safe, contactless transactions in light of the pandemic.


Community Opportunity to Address Homeless Shelter Plans for Juniper Ridge

The first of two virtual community listening sessions on the temporary transitional homeless shelter being proposed for Juniper Ridge in Bend is being held Tuesday night from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm by the City of Bend – the second session is being held on Wednesday from noon to 1:30 pm.  The sessions are intended to provide an update on the feasibility of the site plans, and will provide an opportunity for Bend residents to provide their feedback to the city.   To register for one of the sessions go to “bend-oregon-dot-gov” and click on the date of the session you’d like to attend.


Interpretive Programs At Mt. Bachelor Cancelled This Season


BEND, ORE -   Out of an abundance of caution, staff and volunteer safety concerns, and in light of the increasing spread of COVID-19, Mt. Bachelor and Discover Your Forest leadership, in consultation with our National Forest partners, have made the difficult decision to cancel interpretive programs at the mountain this season. These programs include Snowshoe With a Ranger, Ski With a Ranger, and Jr. Snow Ranger events. Despite the success of these beloved programs, this decision allows Mt. Bachelor staff to devote their undivided attention to visitor safety as they closely manage their lift and parking reservation systems. 
Mt. Bachelor and Discover Your Forest will continue to work together to find creative ways to promote conservation education, and responsible recreation to the thousands of visitors to the mountain. 
Each year, our public snowshoe tours bring in several thousand dollars in donations to support free school field trips focusing on winter ecology, snow science and climate change. These school programs will continue to be offered free of charge virtually by the Discover Your Forest education department. If you would like to help us offset these donation losses and support our efforts to connect more than 12,000 local students to their public lands annually, you can do so by donating at discoveryourforest.com/donate. 


Saint Charles Health May See Increase In COVID-19 Patients Next Week

BEND, OR -- The Chief Physician at Saint Charles Health, Doctor Jeff Absalon, told reporters at a virtual Mayor’s news Conference yesterday it has been 2 weeks since Thanksgiving. He says it typically takes 2 to 3 weeks for someone who is exposed to need hospitalization. He says they are facing staff shortages due to caregivers becoming sick or exposed to the virus and needing to quarantine. Absalon also says it is expected the first vaccine shipment to Central Oregon will arrive December 22nd at the earliest.  

Historic Bend Post Office Plaza Sold

The Post Office Plaza on Wall Street in Bend has just been sold for $4.3M to Deschutes Opportunity Commercial Redevelopment, LLC.  The company plans to redevelop the site to keep its historic architecture in tact. The post office has been at the core of Bend’s historic district since 1932, and has been owned by the same family since 1998. Construction is slated to begin next year.

Public Skating Resumes Monday at The Pavilion in Bend

Bend Parks & Rec is resuming public skating on a daily basis at The Pavilion on Monday, with a limit of 50 skaters or spectators at a time.  Restrictions on use of the outdoor rink have been in place because of Covid and the Governor’s two-week freeze.  Come Monday groups will be limited to six skaters from a maximum of two households.  You’re asked to come dressed to skate if you plan to, and to arrive not more than ten minutes before your scheduled time.  You also have to make a reservation and pay in advance to skate or watch – and you can do that either by calling Bend Parks and Rec or online on their website.

Crook County Schools Temporarily Transition to Online Learning Next Week

Students in the Crook County School District are being transitioned to comprehensive distance learning next week - a week before their traditional Winter break.  Communications Director Jason Carr says it’s a proactive move they’re taking to keep students safe … and to prevent last minute scrambling to find substitute teachers.  Since September, he says Crook County has been able to hold in-person classes without interruption … but over the last week he says 22 staffers who regularly have direct contact with students have been exposed to the virus.  They’ve since been quarantined.  Carr says the transition to distance learning is only for next week.  He says they’re expecting students to be able to go back to the classroom in January right after Winter break.

Social Gatherings Present Greatest Risk Of Contracting Virus

Deschutes County Health Officer Doctor George Conway gave a COVID-19 update to county commissioners yesterday. He says social gatherings continue to present a health risk. Conway says a risk continuum ranks activities from low to high risk. He says getting mail or ordering takeout is low, A higher risk comes from eating at a buffet or working out at a gym. Conway says the highest risk is going to a bar and / or being at a mass gathering, which he says, is happening now. He also says the virus spread in Deschutes county is still hitting young adults and some teens are now being infected and there are also cases among children 9 and below.


Holidays Mean Isolation, Depression & Loneliness For Some People

The holidays are coming up but in the era of COVID-19 pandemic many people may feel anxious, lonely or depressed. The Deputy Director of Deschutes Behavioral Health, Janice Garceau says expectations are a factor. She says one thing that helps is if families do whatever they can to maximize their safety such as mask wearing, distancing and good hygiene. Garceau also says people need to remember while we are going through a hard time, it is a time limited experience that will end. She says in fact the light on the horizon is in the form of a vaccine.


Bend Police Focus On Educating People During COVID-19 Restrictions

BEND, OR -- With Deschutes County under the Extreme Category, mask wearing and other precautions to prevent virus spread, are in place. Bend Police Chief Mike Krantz says complaints about businesses that aren’t following the rules are likely to be investigated by City Code Enforcement, OSHA or the OLCC. Krantz says police can take enforcement action against individuals which amounts to a misdemeanor.  But he says his officers have been taking the education route since the beginning of the pandemic, talking to folks and handing out thousands of masks as opposed to citations. 


Bend Man with Priors on Probation Dies in Police Shootout Following Bend Robberies - Marion County D-A Conducting Lethal Force Investigation

A 27 year old Bend man with a prior record who police say committed two local robberies is dead following a shoot-out with police yesterday.  The victim’s been identified as Brad Masters.  Deschutes County Sheriff’s Sergeant Jayson Janes says several deputies chased the suspect thru Deschutes County onto several major thoroughfares after he robbed the Dutch Bros Coffee on Southeast 3rd Street and the Dominos Pizza on Southeast Yew Avenue in Bend at gunpoint.  Janes says Masters was in a stolen vehicle and led police on a high speed chase topping a hundred miles an hour before the shootout ended in Marion County, where State Police and Salem Police took over. 

Deschutes County Puts CHL Appointments On Hold

Appointments for a concealed handgun license in Dechutes County are being put on hold temporarily.  Sheriff’s Sergeant Jayson Janes says they did it in the name of safety during the pandemic after a department employee tested positive for Covid.  If you already have a future CHL appointment scheduled, Janes says you’ll be notified of the postponement.  He says the department’s currently in the process of looking at other ways to offer the service without compromising public safety.


Oregon Restaurants Plea for Financial Help

The association that represents restaurants in the state is calling on Congress to provide financial assistance to prevent any more restaurants in Oregon from having to close because of losses tied to the Covid pandemic.  The Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association is joining forces with the National Restaurant Association to try and get congressional approval to a $900 billion dollar relief bill for the restaurant industry that includes a second round of paycheck protection program grants proposed last week.  ORLA’s Greg Astley says the latest stats show 39% of restaurant owners in the state expect they’ll have to shut their doors for good if no financial relief from the feds comes their way within the next six months.

Highway 22 Reopened After Officer Involved Shooting


ODOT: Valley, No. Coast: All lanes of OR 22 are open in the Santiam Canyon between Gates and Detroit following police activity that closed the road early this morning.

Bend Police Chief Says Calls For Service At Same Rate As Pre-Pandemic

BEND, OR -- Bend Police Chief Mike Krantz says they track Calls For Service and despite the pandemic, 9-1-1 Calls and Non-Emergency Calls are consistent with the numbers  the last 2 years. However, Krantz says Officer Initiated Calls have seen a drop of almost half but that’s because officers are told think twice before getting out and engaging somebody unless it is a public or life safety issue. He says the Bend Police have not experienced outbreaks of the virus although a few officers have tested positive who then quarantine as told by their doctor.

Human Remains Found In Powell Butte

POWELL BUTTE, OR -- The Crook County Sheriff’s office says they received information just after 11-yesterday morning about human remains on BLM land off Highway 126 in Powell Butte. Deputies went to the area and confirmed the remains to be human and there is now an active investigation. The Crook County Sheriff is being assisted by the Major Incident Team, the Crook County D-A and the Oregon State Police Crime Lab.

Redmond Schools "Pause" Limited In-Person Classes Starting Today

REDMOND, OR -- Redmond Schools have paused their Limited In-Person classes starting today. Public Information Officer Sheila Miller says they know students and parents are upset but given the virus numbers they decided to pause and figure out their next steps. She says the district’s COVID-19 Response Team has done contact tracing to slow the virus spread and they have identified 19 active virus cases amongb staff and students and 91 people quarantined also among staff and students as of now. Miller says getting back to those limited In-Person classes will depend on virus numbers dropping in Deschutes County.


Dept. of Human Services Offers Free Online Resource to Help Combat Covid Isolation

There’s a new free online resource available in the state to help combat feelings of isolation brought on by the Covid pandemic.  It’s a list of resources and contacts to obtain assistance with mental health or abuse situations, and it’s wrapped into a Department of Human Services campaign called “You Are Not Alone”.  It includes flyers, social media resources, and downloadable materials in multiple languages to help you achieve a better sense of well being amidst the uncertainty of the pandemic.  The sense of isolation has hit seniors and the disabled here in Bend who live alone especially hard.  For more info go to https://govstatus.egov.com/or-dhs-not-alone.

Oregon Health Authority Issues New Crisis Care Guidelines

The OHA is creating a new crisis care plan for all healthcare entities in the state.  The plan is intended to encourage healthcare entities in Oregon to be more sensitive to race, ethnicity, color, national origin, socio-economic status, disability, age, sexual orientation and gender identity.  It involves the publishing of new crisis care principles to better manage public health crises in the future, with an emphasis on health equity in treatment and the access to healthcare resources.  The new guidance principles are quite different than the ones that have been in place since 2018 which state health officials now say perpetuated discrimination and healthcare inequities. 


Pickup, School Bus Collide Due To Icy Road

BEND, OR -- A wreck yesterday morning on Southeast Reed Market Road near Southeast Admiral Way involved a Bend La Pine Schools bus and a pickup truck and closed then road for about an hour. Police say the pickup driver, was a 31 year old woman who was westbound on Reed Market when she lost control on the ice and hit the school bus that was traveling east on Reed Market. One child and two adults were on the school bus and no one was injured. The pickup driver was treated at the scene and later cited for failure to drive within the lane.


Veterans Village Groundbreaking Could Occur In Two Weeks, Or Less

BEND, OR -- Bend Heroes Foundation has announced the City of Bend has approved the Emergency Shelter Application for the Veterans Village project. The site is on the North end of Bend and will be on county-owned land but needed city approval because the site is within city limits. Heroes Foundation President Erik Tobiason says they hope to break ground in two weeks or less. He says with the cold weather and many people living in poor conditions, the target for veterans to move in is January 21st.


Biotech Expansion Planned for Bend

A massive corporate expansion in Bend for a key player in biotech could eventually open some promising new research and development avenues tied to Covid-19.  The Lonza Group which provides healthcare solutions worldwide is planning a $10 million dollar expansion of its current facility in Bend and will include new suites dedicated to early phase testing of trial drug products to assess their safety and effectiveness.  The company is already working with Moderna on a Covid-19 vaccine at its facility in New Hampshire.  Lonza has more than 400 employees in Bend now – and the expansion will add another 35 to its campus on Empire Blvd.  Construction starts this month and the expansion’s expected to be completed in two years.   


Jefferson County School District Investigating Teacher for Yelling at Protestors

Disciplinary action has been taken against a teacher in the Jefferson County School District for yelling at protestors in downtown Bend over the weekend who were rallying against the Governor’s Covid lockdown.  Video of the teacher garnered a million and a half views on Twitter soon after it was posted.  It showed her screaming to the protestors from her car, giving them the finger claiming the families of her students are dying and telling the protestors they should kill themselves.  Jefferson County Schools Superintendent Ken Parshall won’t reveal the teacher’s name or which school she works for in the District but he has confirmed she’s been placed on administrative leave while the school district conducts an investigation of the incident. 

Bend Heroes Foundation Hosting Pearl Harbor Remembrance Event Today

BEND, OR -- Today marks the 79th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor by the Japanese, early in the morning of Sunday December 7th, 1941. The Bend Heroes Foundation will display 50 flags named for World War 2 veterans on Veterans Memorial Bridge. They will fly 25 flags from 8am-to Noon and another 25 flags from Noon to 4pm. The foundation will also display 8 military service/first responder flags at Bend Heroes Memorial and 7 Pledge of Allegiance Flags between the memorial and the bridge. Foundation Chair Dick Tobiason says they will comply with all COVID-19 avoidance practices including minimum crowd size.Governor Kate Brown has ordered all flags to be flown at half-staff in honor of Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day until midnight tonight.


City of Bend To Survey Residents About Priorities, Results To Be Shared With City Council

                                   Community Survey; Results will be shared with City Council 

The City of Bend seeks community feedback to guide priorities and direction for the next two years. People in Bend may receive a call in early December asking participants to answer questions about the City and City services. Phone calls will go out December 7 until December 14.  
The community survey intends to get a sense of how Bend residents perceive City services and to assess what City services the community prioritizes. The phone survey should take about 10 minutes. Community participation will help the City set priorities and will be presented to the Bend City Council as they embark on their next round of biennial goal setting.   
Also, for those who don’t get randomly chosen for a call on a cell phone or a landline, the City will launch a similar online Community Survey on December 14 so everyone can have an opportunity to provide input. The online survey will be available in both English and Spanish. Online survey results will complement the representative phone survey and will also be shared with the Council.   
Watch bendoregon.gov for the online survey, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter where we will post links to the online survey.   

Free Virtual OSU Diversity Forum Monday Night

OSU Cascades is holding a virtual forum Monday night as part of a continuing series to promote social equity in the community.  O-S-U Communications Director Christine Coffin says the online forum will be moderated by Erika McCalpine, Director of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Lab at O-S-U … The forum is entitled “Bringing Healing to Communities of Color Post-Election” and will be held Monday night from 6 to 8 pm.  The event is free, but pre-registration is required at “O-S-U-Cascades-dot-e-d-u”.


Another Round of Covid Business Grants

Small businesses and nonprofits in Deschutes and Jefferson counties that have suffered as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic have until Wednesday to apply for a relief grant from the Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council - Deschutes County has more than two million dollars to dole out, Jefferson has more than $700 thousand.  The council has already offered a couple of other rounds of grants, but even if your business or non-profit received a previous grant you are eligible to apply again. Eligible applicants in Deschutes County can receive grants of up to $20 thousand dollars – up to $10 thousand in Jefferson County.  Unlike the other rounds of grants, this one is not first come first served.  All grants received through Wednesday will be considered. To apply, go to “C-O-I-C-dot-org”.

Bend City Council Asks State To Reopen Elementary Schools January 4th

BEND, OR -- The Bend City Council has sent a letter to the state asking them to reopen elementary schools January 4TH. The letter asks that the state mobilize resources in the next month and take a systematic approach to testing students and teachers who choose to participate in in-person learning. Mayor Sally Russell says the Bend La Pine Schools Board, the Chamber of Commerce and some other community leaders, have also signed the letter. Schools in the Bend La Pine District have not reopened due to the county’s failure to meet state metrics for reopening.

One-Third Of COVID-19 Hospitalizations In Central Oregon Under Age 50

BEND, OR -- Deschutes Health Officer Doctor George Conway participated in a public health briefing yesterday. He said many people believe the young are largely invulnerable to COVID-19. However 6-per cent of those hospitalized are under 20,,,13-per cent are between 20 and 39…and 15-per cent are 40-to-49. Conway says this means 35-per cent of those in the hospital are under age 50. Conway also said the virus signals from wastewater testing in Bend remain very strong and that indicates more virus cases coming. He continues to urge everyone to mask, social distance and wash hands



Charges Filed Against Bend Man Who Was Shot November 19th

BEND, OR -- A Bend man who was shot on November 19th in the 600 block of Riverfront Street has been charged with three crimes. 27 year old Jordan Thorn went to the home of Marshall Rogers and the two had brief contact. Rogers shot Thorn at the front door. Thorn drove away from the scene but stopped within a block and was helped by citizens and police. He was taken to the hospital for wounds to the lower abdomen and left arm. The investigation led to evidence police say shows Thorn was not the victim. Yesterday Thorn was charged with Burglary 1, Robbery 1 and Unlawful use of a Weapon. 



Deschutes County Considers Enhanced Wildfire Protection Measures

Deschutes County officials are considering taking further action to help protect communities in the county from wildfires.  Two measures are being considered by the county’s Wildfire Mitigation Advisory Committee.  The measures involve changes to building codes to require the use of fire-resistant building materials for new rural residential construction, and altering regulations involving the use of land to require defensible space for all rural properties.  The regulations would only apply in the rural parts of the county that fall outside of city limits.  The committee has created a story map and survey online to gauge the community’s perspective.  

Bend Man Heading to Federal Prison for Child Porn

A federal prison term has been slapped on a man from Bend for possession and distribution of child porn through a local distribution ring.  The charges against 25 year old Pierce Morrow who grew up in Bend also include chatting online about having sex with minors and threatening and harassing his victims online.  He’s been sentenced to 7 years in federal prison.  Investigators say the offenses took place between July of 2017 and January of 2018, and say he took part in a kid porn trade group that posted images, videos, and links online tied to child porn.  They say he used a fake identity to make his victims think it was someone else luring them in, providing nude photos of kids to try and get them to consider having sex with children.  He pled guilty to distributing child porn this past September.

Covid Cuts into Detection of Child Abuse in Bend

The pandemic is having an impact on the reporting of potential child abuse cases in Bend.  Bend Kids Center Development and Marketing Director Robin Antonson says they’ve seen a reduction in the number of reports of suspected child abuse since the schools closed because teachers can’t act as that second set of eyes to spot potential abuse.  As a result, she says they’re asking the public to be extra vigilant this holiday season.  If you suspect a child is being abused, she says you can report it by calling Kids Center or by going to their website at “kids-center-dot-org.”

Deschutes Forest To Ignite Burn Piles In Melvin Butte Area Today

                                            Pile Burning to Occur Today near Sisters

Melvin Butte area will be the focus


Sisters, Ore.-  Beginning today firefighters on the Sisters Ranger District of the Deschutes National Forest will ignite several burn piles outside the City of Sisters in the Melvin Butte area.


As conditions remain favorable, firefighters will begin igniting approximately 120 acres of hand piles within the Vin Stewardship area. The units proposed are along the 1628 road system in the Melvin Butte project area. Please see attached map for exact location. Once ignited, units are monitored by firefighters until they are declared out.


The intent of the project is to reduce hazardous fuels and to reduce slash in areas to allow ponderosa pine to be planted in the future. Smoke will likely be visible from Sisters, Highway 20, Plainview and other greater Sisters area communities. If smoke drifts on to roads, motorists should slow down, turn on headlights, and proceed with care.  Piles may smolder, burn, and produce smoke for several days after ignition. 


The public’s health is important to the Forest Service. While significant preventive measures are taken, many factors influence a person’s susceptibility to smoke, including severity and duration of smoke exposure and a person’s health. If individuals feel impacted by smoke, they should avoid outdoor physical exertion and remain indoors. If people experience serious health impacts from the smoke, they should contact their doctor. For more information about smoke and health, visit the Oregon Health Authority recommendations through this link: http://www.oregon.gov/oha/PH/Preparedness/Prepare/Pages/PrepareForWildfire.aspx#health

Fuels specialists will follow policies outlined in the Oregon Department of Forestry smoke management plan, which governs smoke from prescribed fires (including pile burning) and attempts to minimize impacts to visibility and public health.


For more information, visit the Deschutes website at www.fs.usda.gov/deschutes and follow us on twitter @CentralORFire. 


USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender



Mother Of Infant Indicted For Mistreatment, Assault Of Her 6 Month Old infant

BEND, OR -- A Deschutes County Grand Jury has indicted the mother of a 6 month old infant for Criminal Mistreatment and First Degree Assault. The incident occured in April 2019 when police were called to Saint Charles Bend Because of suspicious injuries to the infant which included fractures. After a lengthy investigation by police it was determined that the mother, 33 year old Kristine Ann Bellinger of Bend caused the injury to her son. District Attorney John Hummel thanked The Kids Center and the Department of Human Services for helping Bend police with the investigation.


Hummel Says Multiple Suspects Identified In Bend Murder Case

BEND, OR -- District Attorney John Hummel says he has suspects in the murder case of Ray Atkinson Junior and Natasha Newby who were found murdered in the basement of their home last August. The Bulletin reports D-A John Hummel made the announcement during a Zoom briefing with reporters. More than 40 search warrants have been issued since the crime was discovered. Hummel says the investigation is active but he’s not prepared to release any more information at this time.

Heightened Covid Risk Level Prompts Bend Parks & Rec to Cancel Programs

Activities at Bend Parks and Rec are being impacted by the Governor’s new extreme risk level assigned to Deschutes county today tied to Covid-19.  Community Relations Manager Julie Brown says they’ve had to cancel all of their indoor activities.  She says Juniper Swim and Fitness Center will remain closed for all fitness and swim activities, and limited registration for programs at the Pavilion are being accepted.  All of their trails and parks remain open.    

Local Water District to Benefit from State Grant

The Oregon Water Resources Commission is awarding almost five million dollars to help fund water projects throughout the state, including the Lone Pine Irrigation District in Deschutes, Jefferson, and Crook counties.  $1.6 mil will be going to the construction of a new river crossing and the piping of ten and a half miles of open canals in the district.  The hope is that those enhancements will improve the efficiency of the system and will add legal protection to the conserved water instream.

Family Access Network Receives $30,000 from Central Oregon Health Council

Family Access Network Receives $30,000 from

Central Oregon Health Council



The Family Access Network (FAN) received a $30,000 grant from Central Oregon Health Council (COHC) from their 2020 Central Oregon Community Health Projects grant cycle. Funds from this grant will focus on COHC Regional Health Improvement Plan priority area of addressing poverty and enhancing self-sufficiency. FAN works to break the cycle of poverty in Central Oregon by providing kids and families with the basic resources needed for children to thrive such as food, clothing, school supplies and shelter.


“COHC is a key partner in enhancing the collaborative spirit of Central Oregon. We are honored to be a part of the work and place a high value on the incredible investments made by COHC to improve the health of all community members,” says Julie Lyche, FAN Executive Director.


The COHC is dedicated to improving the health of the region and providing oversight of the Medicaid population and Coordinated Care Organization (CCO).  COHC was officially created by to promote the health of the region’s residents and seeks to achieve the Triple Aim of improving health outcomes, increasing satisfaction with the health system, and reducing cost. The COHC and Central Oregon’s CCO, PacificSource Community Solutions (PSCS), works together to transform health care in the region and to use integrated and coordinated health care systems to improve health; increase quality, reliability, availability, and continuity of care; and reduce the cost of care.


Unique to Central Oregon, FAN began in 1993 and currently employs 26 advocates in 62 public schools (K-12) and early childhood sites across Central Oregon. The direct placement of FAN advocates within the public schools and early childhood sites allows FAN to effectively reach and connect disadvantaged children and families to essential basic needs.

To learn more about the Family Access Network, please visit www.familyaccessnetwork.org or call (541) 693-5675.


Family Access Network’s mission is to offer assistance, possibility and hope to Central Oregon families in need by connecting them with crucial resources that will help children flourish in school and in life. Every year, FAN advocates improve the lives of over 8,000 children and family members in Deschutes, Crook, and Jefferson counties.


Family Access Network

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ODF&W Suggests Licenses & Other Gifts To Support Conservatikon

Gift the outdoors this season: 2021 licenses and other gifts to support conservation

Buying licenses for others is easier thanks to online Group Purchase


SALEM, Ore.—Give a year of the outdoors this holiday season to the hunter, angler, wildlife viewer or conservationist in your life.


2021 licenses, tags, wildlife area parking permits and conservation stamps are available now online at https://odfw.huntfishoregon.com/login or at license sale agents.


The cost of licenses and tags is the same as it was in 2020. For residents, an annual fishing license is $44, an annual hunting license is $34.50 and a combination hunting and fishing license is $73.


Youth licenses (for ages 12-17) remain just $10 for a Combo License (angling, hunting, plus shellfish and Columbia River Endorsement) for both residents and nonresidents and $55 for a Youth SportsPac (residents only).


The new Group Purchase feature in ODFW’s online licensing system makes it easier to buy for family and friends who already hunt or fish in Oregon. See directions on how to use group purchase at https://myodfw.com/articles/how-make-group-purchase-els   

Need your gift to be a surprise? A receipt is automatically emailed only to the person who purchased the license as a gift. The gift recipient will be able to see their 2021 license once they login to their account. 


Other gift ideas:


Big game raffle ticket (prices start at $4.50 per ticket):

The perfect stocking stuffer for big game hunters. Raffle tickets are a chance to win a four-month long season in an expanded hunt area for deer, elk, bighorn sheep, Rocky Mtn goat, pronghorn or the Combo Deer/Elk tag. Ticket prices vary from $4.50 to $11.50 per ticket, with discounts for buying multiple tickets. Buy online via ODFW’s licensing system. More info at https://myodfw.com/articles/big-game-raffle-and-auction-hunts


Wildlife area parking permit ($30 annually):

A great gift for wildlife viewers or anyone who enjoys the outdoors. This $30 annual wildlife area parking permit allows parking at all of ODFW’s 20+ wildlife areas where you can watch wildlife and also fish, hunt, bike, hike and run. (Note this parking permit is also included with the purchase of an annual hunting license.) Wildlife areas have remained open during Covid-19 restrictions.


Habitat conservation stamp or art print ($20 - $35):

Conservation stamps are a great gift for both art and wildlife lovers. Funds raised from sales support conservation of Oregon’s most imperiled fish and wildlife and their habitats. Collector stamps can be purchased for just $20 through ODFW’s licensing page (under General Category). Most signed art prints are $35; purchase art prints by mailing or faxing this form: https://www.dfw.state.or.us/conservationstrategy/contest/docs/2020_ORDER_FORM_Habitat_Conservation_Stamp.pdf  

Revenue from your purchase helps restore habitats vital to declining species including wetlands, grasslands, oak woodlands, and ponderosa pine forests. More info at https://www.dfw.state.or.us/conservationstrategy/habitat_conservation_stamp.asp


Watch for Wildlife License Plate Voucher ($40)

Vehicle collisions kill mule deer and other wildlife every year. Wildlife crossings and other projects can reduce collisions and help wildlife safely migrate but dedicated funds are needed to implement these types of projects. The non-profit Oregon Wildlife Foundation (OWF) is currently selling vouchers for a Watch for Wildlife license plate featuring a mule deer and Cascade Range mountain in the background. Funds raised will go towards projects that support safer wildlife migration. OWF has a long history of providing grants for projects that benefit fish and wildlife in Oregon, including helping rid Diamond Lake of tui chub to restore the trout fishery and supporting the Bonneville Fish Hatchery Sturgeon Viewing Pond.


The plate voucher can be purchased as a gift but the buyer will need to know the Oregon driver's license number of the person they are gifting it to. Find more info and purchase at https://www.myowf.org/watchforwildlife


Donation to the Oregon Conservation and Recreation Fund

This new fund is a way for everyone to help create new opportunities for wildlife watching, urban conservation, community science and other wildlife-associated recreation. While most of ODFW’s budget is funded by hunting and fishing dollars, this fund allows anyone to contribute to fish and wildlife conservation, especially for important species and habitats that need help. Round up your purchase through ODFW’s licensing system or donate in the name of your friends or family directly through the Conservation and Recreation Fund website at https://www.oregonisalive.org/ by writing their name in the donation box.


Governor Updates To County Risk Levels


December 1, 2020

Governor Kate Brown Announces Updates to County Risk Levels

Risk levels and associated safety measures take effect Dec. 3, 25 counties in Extreme Risk

(Salem, OR) — Governor Kate Brown today announced updates to county risk levels under the state's new public health framework to reduce transmission and protect Oregonians from COVID-19. The framework uses four different risk levels for counties based on COVID-19 spread—Extreme Risk, High Risk, Moderate Risk, and Lower Risk—and assigns health and safety measures for each level.

Effective Dec. 3 through Dec. 17, 25 counties will be in the Extreme Risk level, five counties will be High Risk, two counties will be Moderate Risk, and four counties will be Lower Risk. A complete list of counties and their associated risk levels is available here.


Crook, Ddeschutes and Jefferson counties are on the Extreme Risk list.

"Counties that are facing extreme risk of virus spread will need to continue with strict health and safety measures, similar to the Two-Week Freeze," said Governor Brown. "I want to stress that there is no zero-risk category. Until COVID-19 vaccines are widely available and we have high participation, health and safety precautions will remain in place so that schools, businesses, and communities can reopen—and stay open. I am asking all Oregonians to take these measures seriously. The best way to protect those closest to you is by maintaining physical distance from others, avoiding gatherings, wearing a face covering, staying home when sick, and keeping up with good hand hygiene."

The Oregon Health Authority will examine and publish county data weekly. County risk levels will be reassigned every two weeks. The first week's data will provide a "warning week" to prepare counties for potential risk level changes. The next assignment of risk levels will take effect Dec. 18. 

Updates to Warning Week data and county risk levels will be posted to coronavirus.oregon.gov




Previous Press Releases
Natalie King • Communications Director, Office of Governor Kate Brown • (503) 378-5965


OSP Asks Public To Help With Elk Poaching Near Sisters

Three elk poached near Sisters; public’s assistance requested


BEND, Ore. — Poachers killed a bull, a cow, and a spike elk west of Bend on or about Oct. 28 and Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife troopers are looking for information leading to the culprits.

The animals were discovered separately, but all three were in the same area and appear to have been killed at the same time. Two were left to waste in a blatant demonstration of a thrill-kill. The third, a large bull, had its head and shoulders removed as a trophy.

OSP Fish and Wildlife Troopers discovered the first carcass, a cow elk, on Oct. 30 after a call to the Turn In Poachers (TIP) Line from a hunter who came across the carcass while scouting the Dry Canyon area East of Sisters near Hwy 126 and Quail Tree Drive. Troopers investigating the area around the cow subsequently discovered a large bull elk carcass. Although bull elk were in season at the time, the poacher had taken only the head, antlers and some shoulder meat. It is a crime to leave carcasses to waste even if it is legal to kill the animal.

Two days later, on Nov. 1, another call came through on the TIP Line from a hunter who reported finding a spike elk carcass. A spike elk is a one-year-old male. Troopers located the spike elk about 40 yards from where the cow had been. Based on decomposition, all three animals were shot at or near the same time, and certainly the same day according to OSP F&W Sergeant Lowell Lea.

“They were all killed at the same time-or close to it- on opening day of the season,” Lea said, “Even if someone makes a mistake and kills the wrong animal, at least if they report it they aren’t committing the additional crime of leave to waste.”

Senior Trooper Creed Cummings, who processed the scene, agrees.

“Sometimes people are reckless in shooting and they get the wrong species or gender. We were hoping that at least the cow (meat) would be salvageable, but it wasn’t,” he said, “It’s disappointing that they were just left. And it adds another charge to the initial crime.”

Oregon’s Stop Poaching campaign coordinator Yvonne Shaw agrees. “This is a blatant waste of Oregonians’ natural resources,” she said. “Not only have these animals been removed from legal hunting in season, they are also removed from chance encounters with hikers, photographers and others who appreciate the opportunity to experience wildlife. We treasure those memories for the rest of our lives.”

All three elk were most likely shot on opening day of the East Central Cascade elk season which runs Oct. 28 through Nov. 1. OSP Troopers would like anyone in the area who heard shots at night or noticed anything unusual on opening day of the season to call the TIP Line and report it.

The Stop Poaching Campaign educates the public on how to recognize and report poaching. This campaign is a collaboration among hunters, conservationists, land owners and recreationists. Our goal is to increase reporting of wildlife crimes through the TIP Line, increase detection by increasing the number of OSP Fish and Wildlife Troopers and increase prosecution. The Oregon Hunters Association manages TIP Line reward funds. This campaign helps to protect and enhance Oregon’s fish and wildlife and their habitat for the enjoyment of present and future generations. Contact campaign coordinator Yvonne Shaw for more information. Yvonne.l.Shaw@state.or.us.


Gubernatorial Candidate Bud Pierce Announces Death Of Wife

SALEM, OR -- The 2016 Republican candidate for Oregon governor, Doctor Bud Pierce of Salem announced in an email to the news media a statement about the death last night of his wife, Doctor Selma Pierce, a retired dentist. The statement says "The glue of the Pierce family, an angel of a person, the only woman that I have ever loved, died this (Tuesday) evening in a sudden and tragic accident." Pierce's statement concluded, "We cannot believe that she has left us, but we are comforted in the knowledge that she is witrh God. and we will see her again." Earlier this week Pierce announced he would seek the GOP nomination for governor again in 2022. 

Bend Police Urge Actions To Holiday Delivery Thefts

BEND, OR -- With the holidays coming up more people are shopping on-line and having products sent to their home.

The problem is, thieves are also on the lookout for packages on porches and stealing them. Bend Police Lieutenant Juli McConkey says consider having the items delivered to your workplace, or, go to the store you ordered from and pick them up. She says other options include having a neighbor pick up the package or, requiring a signature from the company dropping off the item.  McConkey says the problem of theft from porches has increased in recent years in Bend but  says the department's Probolem Oriented Policing Team is proactively working to prevent thefts.   

Hummel Won't Prosecute Anti-Mask Protestors

BEND, OR -- Last month in Bend there was a large crowd protesting the governor’s mandatory mask requirement.

Police received complaints but by the time they got to the scene the crowd had dispersed. The organizer told police the protest was because they think the mask order is unconstitutional. Police turned over the report to Deschutes County D-A John Hummel. He says the organizer was wrong in that the governor’s mask mandate is constitutional. However Hummel declined to prosecute because people were protesting an act by government and did so without any violence or damage of any kind. Hummel still says he encourages people to wear a mask


Chang Story Correction

BEND, OR -- A correction to a story we reported. We said Cameron Fischer was appointed to the Deschutes County Behavioral Health Advisory Board. We reported Fischer was refered to apply for the board by Commissioner-elect Phil Chang. That is not correct. Chang confirmed they are in a relationship but he did not refer Fischer to apply for the position.

We apologize for the error.

Insurance Companies Penalized for Covid Violations

Civil penalties have been levied against two insurance companies in the state for violating Covid-19 emergency orders.  The penalties have been issued by the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services against Allstate Insurance and Root Insurance.  The department says the companies either cancelled or failed to renew insurance policies held by residents of Oregon while the emergency orders tied to the pandemic were in effect in the state.  Those orders were intended to provide some financial relief and peace of mind to residents who were facing financial hardship and potential ruin when the pandemic hit by providing grace periods for premium payments and assurances that policies wouldn’t be cancelled or renewals not granted.  The department says 84 Allstate customers and 100 Root insurance customers were impacted by policy cancellations or rejected renewals between March 25th and September 20th of this year.  Both companies have since taken steps to reinstate the customers that were impacted.

Hoax Bomber Sentenced

32 year old Kellie Cameron of Bend has been sentenced to almost two years in federal prison for constructing a hoax bomb and phoning in a threat to blow up the Deschutes County Courthouse in July of last year.  Cameron will also have to pay $43 thousand dollars in restitution and will be on three years supervised released after serving the prison term in a federal lockup for 21 months.  Federal authorities  say Cameron conspired with Jonathan Allen of Bend - a co-defendant in the case - at the end of July in 2019, to shut down the Deschutes County Courthouse in Bend by planting a fake bomb made of batteries, wiring, a circuit board, and a fuel filter and calling in the threat after placing the device on a ramp near the courthouse.  The threat shut down and prompted the evacuation of the courthouse, the D-A’s office, a bank, and several businesses in the area until the bomb squad to get to the scene and dismantle the device.  In August of last year, Cameron and Allen were both charged - Cameron pled guilty.


McDonald's Drive-Thru Holiday Fundraiser

A local couple that owns five McDonald’s locally in Redmond, Prineville, Madras, and Hines has come up with a safe way for you to patronize their restaurants while giving to those in need.  Paul and Kathy Rodby are long-time Redmond residents and have been committed to helping needy families in the area for decades.  This year – in light of Covid – they’ve come up with a unique drive-through fundraising effort.  A portion of every purchase made at one of their McDonald’s drive thrus Wednesday night from 4 to 7 pm will be donated to one of three local charities  – Toys For Tots in Deschutes and Harney Counties, Operation Rudolph in Jefferson County, or Holiday Partnership in Crook County. 


The McDonald’s locations below are taking part: 


2456 South Highway 97 in Redmond

895 Southwest RimRock Way in Redmond

28 Northeast Oak Street in Madras

498 West Third Street in Prineville

And 641 North Highway 20 in Hines

Saint Charles Health Cancels Elective Surgeries

BEND, OR -- Saint Charles Health reported  29 patients hospitalized with COVID-19…about twice as many as the previous week. Central Oregon Daily reports the hospital is delaying elective surgeries. Chief Physician Doctor Jeff Absalon says the numbers increased significantly in the last several weeks.  He says It takes a few weeks after the numbers go up to see the numbers go up in the hospital and that is exactly what has happened here. Deschutes County last week reported 459 new COVID cases – nearly 200 more than the week before.


Deschutes, Jefferson Counties Under "Extreme Risk" Category Of New Restrictions

CENTRAL OREGON -- Twenty-one Oregon counties, including Deschutes and Jefferson counties, will be placed under the "Extreme Risk" category of the state's new COVID-19 restriction framework when the two-week freeze ends Thursday.  Under the new guidelines, restaurants and bars will be limited to outdoor dining, while retail and grocery stores can only have half their usual capacity.  Indoor gyms will remain closed, but outdoor fitness classes can go forward with 50 people at max.  Churches are limited to 25-percent capacity.


Bend Man Dies In Lake County Wreck

LAKE COUNTY, OR -- Early Monday morning Oregon State Police responded to a report of a single vehicle wreck on Highway 31 at milepost 92 in Lake county. Investigators determined that in the evening of Sunday November 29th, a Chevrolet Silverado driven by 37 year old Scott Brasher of Bend was southbound when if left the road, rolled and hit a power pole. Brasher sustained fatal injuries and died at the scene.



OHA Reports 67 New Virus Cases In Central Oregon; 7 New COVID-19 Deaths Total 912

Coronavirus Update nameplate

November 30, 2020

#MyORHealth horizontal rule

Oregon reports 1,314 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, 7 new deaths

COVID-19 has claimed seven more lives in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 912, the Oregon Health Authority reported at 12:01 a.m. today. 

OHA also reported 1,314 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of 12:01 a.m. today bringing the state total to 75,431. 

“COVID-19 is spreading faster in all parts of Oregon. It took six months before 25,000 Oregonians became sick with COVID-19 and two months more until we reached 50,000 total COVID-19 infections in Oregon. Most recently, it took three weeks to go from 50,000 cases to 75,000, and this weekend we crossed 900 total deaths,” said OHA Director Patrick Allen. 

“We can keep more people from getting sick and dying, if we stay true to science-based mask-wearing and social distancing. With the bright promise of vaccines coming on the horizon, we can’t give up.” 

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (2), Benton (9), Clackamas (228), Clatsop (1), Columbia (14), Coos (4), Crook (4), Curry (2), Deschutes (54), Douglas (33), Harney (1), Hood River (1), Jackson (54), Jefferson (9), Josephine (20), Klamath (1), Lake (1), Lane (62), Lincoln (3), Linn (16), Malheur (2), Marion (167), Morrow (1), Multnomah (320), Polk (26), Tillamook (2), Umatilla (40), Union (6), Wasco (2), Washington (202) and Yamhill (27) 

Oregon’s 906th COVID-19 death is a 64-year-old man in Lane County who tested positive on Oct. 28 and died on Nov. 28 at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center Riverbend. He had underlying conditions. 

Oregon’s 907th COVID-19 death is a 67-year-old man in Marion County who tested positive on Nov. 5 and died on Nov. 27 at Salem Hospital. He had underlying conditions. 

Oregon’s 908th COVID-19 death is an 85-year-old woman in Marion County who tested positive on Nov. 19 and died on Nov. 28 at Legacy Meridian Park Medical Center. She had underlying conditions. 

Oregon’s 909th COVID-19 death is a 48-year-old man in Multnomah County who tested positive on Nov. 22 and died on Nov. 25 at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center. He had underlying conditions. 

Oregon’s 910th COVID-19 death is an 83-year-old man in Multnomah County who tested positive on Nov. 17 and died on Nov. 25 at his residence. He had underlying conditions. 

Oregon’s 911th COVID-19 death is a 78-year-old man in Multnomah County who tested positive on Nov. 5 and died on Nov. 19 at Adventist Hospital. He had underlying conditions. 

Oregon’s 912th COVID-19 death is a 58-year-old man in Washington County who tested positive on Oct. 31 and died on Nov. 25 at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center. He had underlying conditions. 

COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to riseThe number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients across Oregon increased to 584, 45 more than yesterday. There are 117 COVID-19 patients in intensive care unit (ICU) beds, 10 more than yesterday. More information about hospital capacity can be found here. 

[graph of hospitalizations]#MyORHealth horizontal rule

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