Local News Archives for 2021-02

OR COVID-19 Update

The Oregon Health Authority reports 437 new confirmed and presumptive cases of Covid-19 in the state with 28 in Deschutes County, 8 in Crook County and 7 in Jefferson County. The OHA reports 32 new deaths statewide bringing the total to 2,194. The report says there are 162 patients hospitalized statewide—3 fewer than yesterday. There are 46 patients in ICU—2 more than yesterday.

Alpenglow Park

There’s a new community park coming to southeast Bend. Bend Parks and Rec Project Manager Ian Isaacson says they broke ground last week on Alpenglow Park, a 37 acre site on southeast 15th street north of Knott Road. He says the park will have a water playground or “sprayground”, trails, and even a bouldering area for climbers of varying skill levels. The district has allocated over 9 and a half million dollars for the development of the park, which is expected to open summer 2022.

Sheriff's department New Technology

High speed pursuits are not uncommon in our area and they are dangerous for those involved and for the public. Deschutes County Sheriff Shane Nelson said the pursuing officer has to weight the Risk versus Benefits of continuing the chase. To bring a high-speed pursuit to a quick, safe conclusion the Sheriff’s Office will be implementing some new technology. The Star-Chaser: A tracking device which can be launched onto the suspect vehicle from the patrol car. And, a mobile spike-strip which enables a patrol unit to deflate a suspects' tires while driving. Sheriff Nelson emphasizes the purpose of the new technology is to end high speed pursuits quicker.

Extortion Charges

A Bend resident is facing charges of extortion relating to an alleged threat made against a Redmond landscaper last summer. The Deschutes County District Attorney’s office says 61 year old Thomas Schlossmacher sent a text to Cuauhtémoc (qua-TAY-moc) Cardona threatening to turn him in to immigration authorities if he didn’t pay 15-hundred dollars on a truck that was used as partial payment for Cardona’s landscape work. The D-A’s office says it’s unlawful to threaten to report someone’s suspected immigration status to compel them to do something. Officials say Cardona is a legal U-S resident.

Blood Needed

Winter Storms in the Willamette Valley and across the country continue to have a ripple effect in the state. The Red Cross says the 9 days of weather-related closures have impacted their blood drives and their blood supply. Sharon Jones with the Red Cross says they’re looking to other areas like Central Oregon to replenish their blood and plasma reserves. You can donate blood today at Planet Fitness on Greenwood in Bend from 8:30am to 1:30pm or go to redcrossblood-dot-org.

Redmond Schools Reopen

Redmond Schools reopened this week for on-site learning for the first time since May of last year. Dr. Charan Cline, Superintendent for Redmond Schools said Teachers, Students and Parents alike were excited for the day to arrive. The openings look different for the different school levels. Elementary students will use an on-site hybrid model. Middle schools will run every other day while high schoolers are attending every day, but only half-days. On behalf of teachers and staff Dr. Cline expressed "it's great to have kids back on campus!"


More groups are becoming eligible for the covid-19 vaccines but local health officials say that’s not a guarantee people will line up to get one. In Bend Chamber’s vaccine webinar yesterday, Deschutes County Public Health Director Nahad Sadr-Azodi says on the spectrum from “no” to “yes” there are a large number of “maybe’s.” Sadr-Azodi says an 80-percent vaccination rate is needed, but a survey last December showed only 55 percent of local residents said they would. He also says he thinks confidence is growing.

Risk Levels

Crook County businesses are planning next steps for re-opening. The Governor’s latest covid risk levels have moved the county from “extreme” risk to “high” risk. Vicky Ryan Public Information Officer says Crook County had only 19 cases of the virus last week. She says that played a big part in the state’s decision. Ryan says Crook County will officially re-open under the new risk level starting Friday. Deschutes County remains at “high” risk and Jefferson County remains at the “extreme” level.

Distracted Driving

Bend Police want drivers to slow down and put down the cell phone. Lt. Juli McConkey with Bend PD says the department conducts several distracted driving details throughout the year. She says they’ve been focusing on schools zones this month. She says on February 16th officers cited 32 drivers for speeding and 4 for cell phone use near Elk Meadow Elementary and Mountain View High. She says in the first 2 weeks of the month police have issued nearly 100 warnings.

Veteran Vaccines

Veterans at Bend/Robert D. Maxwell VA Clinic will be receiving 144 critical second doses of vaccine, thanks to a historic flight from Portland to Redmond on Friday. Veterans Administration Portland healthcare officials say this was the first such authorization in the entire VA to avoid weather-related travel issues. VA Portland expects to send about 144 doses per week of the Pfizer vaccine to Bend and, starting in March, about 600 doses per month of the Moderna vaccine.

Vaccine Delays

No new first-dose vaccine appointments will be scheduled in Deschutes County for this week. Health officials say shipping delays are the issue. Molly Wells-Darling with the Deschutes County Incident Management Team says they moved quickly to try and secure as many vaccine doses as they could on loan. She says Legacy Health System provided 1,700 doses but anyone who had an appointment yesterday (Sunday) will be rescheduled for Thursday. And, although people aged 70 and older are now eligible, officials say appointments will not re-open until more vaccine is available.

Hit-And-Run Arrest

Criminal Charges are pending for a suspect in a hit and run. Warm Springs police report in a Facebook post that the call came in from Madras Police around 1pm Friday afternoon near the Plateau Travel Plaza. Police say officers made contact with the driver who fled, leading them on a short pursuit and then crashing into a concrete barrier off westbound highway 26. Police say the driver’s blood alcohol content was 0.77%...more than nine times the legal limit. The driver was taken to the hospital to be medically evaluated.

Affordable Homes

The Bend City Council has funded several housing projects that could lead to hundreds of new affordable housing units. Bend City Manager Eric King says 1-point-3-million dollars from the city’s affordable housing fund included more than 600-thousand dollars to Housing Works to buy land in the Urban Growth Boundary expansion area along Highway 20. He says to be affordable the housing must be available to people earning a percentage of the local area median income. King says another project already being built is Veterans Village which has tiny homes and is almost ready for move-in by 15 veterans. The city fund contributed 200-thousand dollars to the village project.

Deschutes County Offers Free COVID-19 Rapid Testing Tomorrow At Kenwood School

Deschutes County offers free COVID-19 rapid testing on Saturday, February 20


Deschutes County is offering a free COVID-19 rapid testing event on Saturday, Feb. 20, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Highland Magnet at Kenwood School.


This testing event is being held to help identify and assess the potential presence of COVID-19 in the school community and the community as a whole, following an outbreak of cases linked to students at Summit High School.


People experiencing symptoms and anyone who may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 five or more days ago are encouraged to attend.


Those who plan to attend the event are asked to complete this survey, which will aid in staffing and testing supply planning. This short survey asks how many people from your household plan to attend and what time you expect to attend. The survey is not required to attend.


There is no cost to attend this event and no identification is required. Those under the age of 15 will need the consent of a parent or guardian to complete testing. Test results will be available approximately 15 minutes after your test is complete.


Highland Magnet at Kenwood School is located at 701 NW Newport Ave, Bend. 

Deschutes County Offers Free COVID-19 Rapid Testing Tomorrow At Kenwood School

Deschutes County offers free COVID-19 rapid testing on Saturday, February 20


Deschutes County is offering a free COVID-19 rapid testing event on Saturday, Feb. 20, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Highland Magnet at Kenwood School.


This testing event is being held to help identify and assess the potential presence of COVID-19 in the school community and the community as a whole, following an outbreak of cases linked to students at Summit High School.


People experiencing symptoms and anyone who may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 five or more days ago are encouraged to attend.


Those who plan to attend the event are asked to complete this survey, which will aid in staffing and testing supply planning. This short survey asks how many people from your household plan to attend and what time you expect to attend. The survey is not required to attend.


There is no cost to attend this event and no identification is required. Those under the age of 15 will need the consent of a parent or guardian to complete testing. Test results will be available approximately 15 minutes after your test is complete.


Highland Magnet at Kenwood School is located at 701 NW Newport Ave, Bend. 

Health Officer Says Teens At Super Bowl Parties Were Not Symptomatic

BEND, OR -- None of the teenagers who attended Super Bowl weekend parties that led to an outbreak of virus cases at Summit High School were symptomatic. Health Officer Doctor George Conway told county commissioners being asymptomatic, the teens may have exposed elderly or medically fragile relatives to the virus who could become very ill. Conway also urged asymptomatic teens who attended those parties to go to a public testing event to be announced in the next day or two. So far 43 virus cases have been reported at Summit High and at least one case at Bend, Mountain View and Skyline High Schools.

Governor Comments On Return To In-Person Learning

Governor Brown Issues Statement on Return to In-Person Instruction

“Thanks to the incredible work of our superintendents, school board members, educators, parents, and community members,
Oregon has more than doubled the number of students
learning in-person, to 116,749.”

(Salem, OR) — Governor Brown issued the following statement today:

“Eight weeks ago, I directed the Oregon Department of Education and the Oregon Health Authority to put more schools on track to return students to in-person instruction, with a focus on our youngest learners. Since then, thanks to the incredible work of our superintendents, school board members, educators, parents, and community members, Oregon has more than doubled the number of students learning in-person, to 116,749.

“Starting next month, even more school districts across Oregon will begin returning elementary students to the classroom for hybrid instruction––including our second largest school district, Salem-Keizer, with over 17,000 elementary students. By the end of April, most elementary students in Oregon will be learning in classrooms again.

“I am thrilled to see so many of Oregon’s school districts and teachers working hard to help return our children to the most effective learning environment: in-person, personalized education. Now, middle and high school students must get the same chance, so that all students have the opportunity to benefit from in-person instruction, regardless of the community in which they live. It has been almost a year since most Oregon students have set foot in a classroom, and they are suffering. The social, emotional, mental, physical, and academic impacts of distance learning on our students have been well-documented. And, much has changed since last March.

“Oregon is committing robust state and federal resources for our schools––including our supplies of Abbott BinaxNOW rapid tests for on-site testing––to get students back into classrooms. We are utilizing $500 million in federal relief to implement safety standards and buy personal protective equipment for staff and students. All educators who want a vaccine will soon be fully vaccinated.

“The science is clear: with proper health and safety protocols in place, there is very little risk of COVID-19 transmission in schools. As districts implement the more than 160 health and safety protocols outlined in Oregon’s Ready Schools, Safe Learners guidance, we can reopen our school buildings in a way that protects students, staff, and our communities.

“When I made my announcement in December, many thought in-person elementary was far beyond reach. At the height of our winter surge, COVID-19 case counts were high and hospital capacity was threatened. Since then, thanks to the smart choices of Oregonians, our case rates, hospitalizations, and deaths from COVID-19 have steadily declined, and even our largest school districts, including in the tri-county area, today meet or exceed Oregon’s advisory school metrics for hybrid in-person instruction.

“Our students only grow up once. We cannot let the school year end with the class of 2021 never having set foot in Oregon high schools. I know that some have had their doubts. But we can do this, by continuing to work together. It is within our power to provide every Oregon student the opportunity for in-person instruction this school year.”


Redmond Giving Away Free PPE For Businesses At City Hall 10am To 1:00pm

City to Distribute Free PPE to Redmond Small Businesses on February 18



REDMOND, OREGON – City of Redmond will hold a FREE PPE pick-up event in the parking lot at City Hall, 411 SE 9th Street, Thursday, February 18, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Business owners or their representatives are encouraged to come by and select supplies needed to help keep staff and customers safe. Available supplies include masks, hand sanitizer, disinfectant spray, thermometers, gloves, wipes, and face shields. Quantities are limited.


This distribution event is part of Redmond Rallies, the City’s on-going COVID-19 business support response effort. The project, in collaboration with local partners, works to help centralize pandemic information and resources.  Since March 2020, over 70,000 units of PPE has been distributed to over 200 businesses, helping protect 1,000’s employees. Additionally, Redmond Rallies has helped facilitate $630,000 in grant funding and debt relief to more than 100 local businesses.


“The City continues to connect businesses with the resources they need to stay open in a safe manner. We know small businesses are bearing a lot of unexpected costs due to the pandemic. In order to help defer some of those costs and will seek to provide PPE and grants funding as resources are available,” said Chuck Arnold, Redmond’s Urban Renewal Manager.

Redmond Giving Away Free PPE For Businesses At City Hall 10am To 1:00pm

City to Distribute Free PPE to Redmond Small Businesses on February 18



REDMOND, OREGON – City of Redmond will hold a FREE PPE pick-up event in the parking lot at City Hall, 411 SE 9th Street, Thursday, February 18, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Business owners or their representatives are encouraged to come by and select supplies needed to help keep staff and customers safe. Available supplies include masks, hand sanitizer, disinfectant spray, thermometers, gloves, wipes, and face shields. Quantities are limited.


This distribution event is part of Redmond Rallies, the City’s on-going COVID-19 business support response effort. The project, in collaboration with local partners, works to help centralize pandemic information and resources.  Since March 2020, over 70,000 units of PPE has been distributed to over 200 businesses, helping protect 1,000’s employees. Additionally, Redmond Rallies has helped facilitate $630,000 in grant funding and debt relief to more than 100 local businesses.


“The City continues to connect businesses with the resources they need to stay open in a safe manner. We know small businesses are bearing a lot of unexpected costs due to the pandemic. In order to help defer some of those costs and will seek to provide PPE and grants funding as resources are available,” said Chuck Arnold, Redmond’s Urban Renewal Manager.

Today Is Exclusion Day For Kids Without Up To Date Vaccinations

As of today school children who don’t have their vaccination records up-to-date and are missing required immunizations will be sent home or blocked from remote learning. Under the Oregon Immunization Plan children may also be blocked from daycare if they need vaccinations. Health officials say vaccines are the best way to protect against preventable diseases such as measles and mumps. Parents who need to get their children immunized should contact their health care provider, the county health department  or for children over age 7 a local pharmacy.


Mt Bachelor Adds New, 4-Legged Employee

MT BACHELOR, OR -- Mt. Bachelor Resort has gained a new 4-legged employee. “Shasta” is a 9 week old Golden Retreiver puppy…in training to be the resort’s next avalanche dog. Mt. Bachelor Brand and Marketing Director Leigh Capozzi (kah-POH-zee) says “Shasta” was introduced to the public on Valentine’s Day and is the resort’s 16th avalanche dog since the program started in the 90’s. Capozzi says avalanche dogs provide critical support to ski patrol, moving over debris easily and using sense of smell to locate victims.

Some Parents Want "Consequences" For Party That Closed Summit High

BEND, OR --  As we reported this week, Summit High reopened last week but had to close due to a COVID-019 outbreak that infected 43 people. Central Oregon Daily reports some parents have communicated with the principal of the school that students who went to the party should be held responsible.  One mother who asked not to be identified said she wrote, “whether it be a public apology, community service or some consequence such as not being allowed to participate in in-person learning.” The letter concluded, ”A clear consequence is what a lot of parents would like to see.” Principal McDonald was not free to comment on the letter. In-person learning is supposed to resume at Summit High Monday February 22nd.

Birds Dying Due to Salmonella At Bird Feeders

Bird feeders in Central Oregon and elsewhere are spreading salmonella that’s killing birds…notably pine siskins and finches. The Bulletin reports in the winter when many birds congregate at feeders, wildlife officials say the birds leave feces infected with salmonella that can spread to other birds. The salmonella outbreak has been reported as far away as San Francisco and British Columbia. Pine siskins are starting to leave the area and it’s expected the outbreak will slow down. Wildlife officials suggest cleaning bird feeders about once-a-week with a diluted bleach solution.

Governor Brown Declares Abnormal Market Disruption Due To Weather

Governor Kate Brown Declares Abnormal Market Disruption Due to Winter Weather State of Emergency


(Salem, OR) — Governor Kate Brown today issued EDisruptionxecutive Order 21-03, declaring an abnormal market disruption as a result of the severe winter weather emergency in nine Oregon counties. This order is in response to reports of unusual increases in lodging rates for Oregonians who have sought temporary stays until power can be restored at their homes.  

“During a time when so many Oregonians have been without power for days, it is absolutely unacceptable to price gouge those who are seeking a warm, safe place to stay until power is back on in their homes,” said Governor Brown. "This order empowers the Attorney General and the Oregon Department of Justice to investigate these instances and take appropriate action if businesses are found to be in violation.”

“We appreciate Oregon’s lodging businesses that have provided warmth and shelter to families without power due to the President’s Day weekend storm that hit much of the state," said Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum. "However, price gouging is illegal. Please consider this a clear message to businesses that you may not raise the price of lodging, or any other goods or services, due to increased demand from this storm. If anyone feels they have been the victim of price gouging, please contact our Consumer Protection Hotline right away.” 

Oregonians who believe they have been subjected to excessive prices for lodging or essential consumer goods and services due to this disruption can report these instances to the Oregon Department of Justice through their Consumer Protection Hotline at 877-877-9392. Oregonians can also visit www.OregonConsumer.gov for more information. The Oregon Department of Justice has the authority to investigate unlawful trade practices.

This Executive Order is in addition to, and does not replace, Executive Order 20-15 or Executive Order 20-57, which declared an abnormal market disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the Labor Day wildfires, respectively. These orders remain in effect.



League Of Women Voters Updates Affordable Housing Study From 2016 On March 4th

The League of Women Voters of Deschutes County will release an updated Affordable Housing Study at a Zoom meeting in early March.  The league conducted an affordable housing study in 2016 but that report only looked at Bend. The new study expands the scope to all of Deschutes county which has been researched for two years by the league’s Affordable Housing Committee. The Zoom meeting is scheduled for Thursday, March 4th beginning at 11am.  Go to the League of Women Voters of Deschutes County website for more information. 


COCC Offers Addictions Services Classes

BEND, OR -- COCC is offering Addiction Services classes. Professor Sara Henson chairs the  Social Science Department and says the COVID-19 pandemic appears to have caused a spike in substance abuse. She says the demand for addiction counselors is strong and the college offers both certificate and degree transfer programs. Henson says the college is also offering a class this spring, called Orientation To Human Services Classes. She says the class gives students an opportunity to learn if a job as an addiction counselor would be a good fit for them. 


Deschutes County Health Starts Vaccinations For People 75 And older

Adults 75+ can schedule vaccine appointments


Oregon Health Authority has allocated 1,300 first-dose COVID-19 vaccines to Deschutes County for the week.


Starting Tuesday, Feb. 16 at 9 a.m., eligible individuals can schedule an appointment online or by phone to receive their first-dose vaccine at the Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center.


Eligible groups include:



Vaccine appointments can be scheduled online at https://www.stcharleshealthcare.org/covidvaccine.


If you need assistance scheduling a vaccine appointment, please call 541-699-5109. Staff is available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week.


Federal Retail Pharmacy Program


Some retail pharmacies in Central Oregon are offering the COVID-19 vaccine to eligible groups through the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program for COVID-19 Vaccination. There will not be enough vaccines to vaccinate all eligible Oregonians at these locations due to the limited supply. Appointments may be available by visiting:


Other vaccine clinics


100 first dose appointments were scheduled through Mosaic Medical for eligible residents. Additional appointments are not available. Please do not call the clinic to inquire about receiving a vaccine.


100 first dose appointments were scheduled through the La Pine Senior Center for eligible residents. Additional appointments are not available.


St. Charles Family Care in Madras will be providing the vaccine to some eligible patients this week. All appointments are full. Please do not call the clinic to inquire about receiving a vaccine.


Vaccine eligibility


Central Oregonians in Crook, Deschutes and Jefferson counties can sign up here to be notified when they are eligible to receive the vaccine.


To learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine in Central Oregon



Jefferson County Health Department

Parents Reminded Tomorrow Is Exclusion Day If Student Shot Records Not Up To Date

Get immunizations updated before School Exclusion Day on Feb. 17

Parents must provide schools and childcare facilities with kids’ vaccine records

PORTLAND, Ore. – School looks different for kids. While many children still rely on remote learning, we want to make sure they are safe as schools reopen across the state. This includes making sure kids are up to date on childhood vaccines, like measles.

Feb. 17 is School Exclusion Day, and the Oregon Immunization Program reminds parents that children may not be able to attend school or childcare on that day (or when their school reopens) if their records on file show missing immunizations. Schools also have the option of blocking remote learning access for kids without current immunization records on Feb. 17.

Under state law, all children in public and private schools, preschools, Head Start and certified childcare facilities must have up-to-date documentation on their required immunizations or have an exemption. The COVID-19 vaccine is not currently required for children; the current Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs) from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) do not allow for children under 16 (Pfizer) or under 18 (Moderna) to be vaccinated.

“Immunization is the best way to protect children against vaccine-preventable diseases such as whooping cough and measles,” said Stacy de Assis Matthews, school law coordinator in the Oregon Health Authority Public Health Division. “Just two years ago, we saw several measles cases in the Northwest. We don’t want another disease outbreak of on top of COVID-19. Immunizations are the most effective way to stop the spread of measles, to keep kids and school communities healthy and safe.”

If a child’s school and childcare vaccination records are not up to date on Feb. 17, the child will be sent home. In 2020, local health departments sent 21,598 letters to parents and guardians informing them that their children needed immunizations to stay in school or childcare. A total of 3,268 children were kept out of school or childcare until the necessary immunization information was turned in to the schools or childcare facilities. This year, letters to parents were mailed on or before Feb. 3.

Parents seeking immunizations for their children should contact their health care provider or local health department, or call 211Info — just dial 211 or go to 211info.org. No one can be turned away from a local health department because of the inability to pay for required vaccines. Many pharmacists can immunize children age 7 and older; contact your neighborhood pharmacy for details.

Additional information on school immunizations can be found at the Immunization Program website.

Watch personal stories on why Oregonians are deciding to vaccinate by visiting OHA’s Facebook page and Twitter. OHA also invites people to join the conversation and share why they vaccinate by using the hashtag #ORVaccinates on social media.

Hear how Sarah’s powerful conversations changed her mom’s long-held views on vaccinations: https://youtu.be/dPB2sfySwJQ

Reverend Dr. Currie discusses whether there are legitimate reasons for religious exemptions: https://youtu.be/D6XnPm1N4iQ

As a parent herself, Dr. Choo talks about why she vaccinates her children: https://youtu.be/aDy7sseKs24

HSCO Celebrating 60th Anniversary

Together, Hand and Paw, Changing Lives for 60 years 
Bend, OR (February 16, 2021) – The Humane Society of Central Oregon (HSCO) is celebrating its 60th anniversary of serving the people and animals in our community.         The shelter location, name and mission statement has changed over the decades, but compassionately caring for animals and providing services for our community remains at the heart of HSCO.  
“The foundation of HSCO’s success is our community of supporters, adopters, volunteers, business partners, veterinarians, and media partners that have helped improve the lives of animals in our county, and beyond, over the past sixty years,” said Sabrina Slusser, executive director of the Humane Society of Central Oregon. HSCO will celebrate the human-animal bond and share our story throughout the year.  
In 1960, the population in Bend was 11,936 and Deschutes County was 23,100. A small grassroots group of animal lovers decided that Bend needed a Humane Society. After research, fundraising, and lots of hard work, the Deschutes County Humane Society became a reality on February 14, 1961.  
Central to HSCO’s mission is to create a community responsible for animals. Thanks to a community supporting the programs and services of HSCO, the number of animals in HSCO’s care has decreased over the decades, despite the increase in population. Our community has been receptive to spaying and neutering to decrease pet overpopulation and humane education to improve the lives of all animals. Thirty years ago (Bend population 25,000) HSCO cared for 4,500 homeless and unwanted animals annually. Today, with a population four times as large, HSCO cares for 1,500 fewer animals.  
HSCO programs and services have expanded and changed to meet the needs of the people and animals in our community. Today, the population in Bend is over 100,000 and Deschutes County comes in around 200,000. In 2018, HSCO added the Bend Spay+Neuter Project to the organization, now HSCO’s Bend+Spay Neuter Clinic. Currently, HSCO’s programs include adoptions, reuniting lost pets with their family, spay and neuter assistance, vaccine & microchip clinics, HOPE Pet Food Bank, community cat program, cremation services, humane education, youth and adult volunteerism and more. Donations provide housing, medical care, behavioral training and adoption for over 3,000 homeless, abandoned, neglected and abused animals annually at HSCO. 
In 2020, HSCO expanded the HOPE Pet Food Bank to help people keep their pets during the impact of the COVID-19 crisis. To reach those suffering from food insecurity for themselves and their pets, the program expanded into the tricounty area with pet food being distributed to human food banks. The shelter continues to provide essential services to the community throughout the pandemic.  
HSCO’s success is built on its volunteers, and much needed support from the community. Volunteers contribute vital services to help care for the animals and generate revenue at our Thrift Store. At the core of HSCO’s shelter, thrift store and Bend Spay+Neuter clinic you’ll find volunteers working in nearly every aspect of our organization. For more information on our programs, services, and volunteering opportunities, visit hsco.org.  
Help us celebrate and support the animals at the Humane Society of Central Oregon by purchasing a limited edition mask for $15 (BlackStrap of Bend, OR) or long sleeve t-shirt for $24. HSCO 60th Anniversary items are available at HSCO shelter and thrift store.  

More Than 330,000 Oregonians Without Power As Of This Morning


Governor Brown Issues Statement on Continued Severe Winter Weather and Power Outages in Willamette Valley

(Salem, OR) — Governor Kate Brown issued the following statement today on the continued severe winter weather and power outages across the Willamette Valley:

“Last night's weather continued to create widespread outages throughout the Willamette Valley, with more than 330,000 Oregonians without power as of this morning," said Governor Brown. "While utility crews are making progress, the weather is leading to new outages faster than the pace of restoration, with the tri-county area now being the hardest hit.

"Utilities in our region have never experienced such widespread outages, including during the September 2020 wildfires. The state of emergency I declared on Saturday will ensure that all necessary state resources are available on the ground to help Oregonians impacted by this winter storm.  

“I want to thank all the local and state workers, first responders, and utility crews who continue to work around the clock in incredibly difficult conditions to clear roads, restore power, and aid families in need. I am also incredibly grateful for work crews who have stepped in from other states to assist.

"If you or your loved ones are among the thousands who have been impacted, please know that crews are working as fast as they can to restore power. Please do not call 911 unless it is for a life-safety emergency. Use 211 or your local non-emergency line for assistance or information about services in your area.

“Oregonians in impacted communities should remain home as much as possible, as road conditions remain poor. Check on your neighbors and loved ones when you can do so safely. Please help our first responders by staying home when you can.”

Warming Shelter Resources
Severe weather shelters and warming spaces are available in Multnomah County for Oregonians in need. More information is available at 211 or 211info.org. In Washington County, call 211 or Community Connect at 503-640-3263. Information on Clackamas County warming centers is available here.

Sign up for Public Alerts
Please use 911 for life-safety emergencies only; instead call 211, sign up for Public Alerts for updates, or call non-emergency lines for assistance:

  • Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office: 503-655-8211
  • Hood River Sheriff’s Office: 541-386-2711
  • Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office: 503-823-3333
  • Washington County Sheriff’s Office: 503-629-0111
  • Marion County Sheriff’s Office: 503-588-5032
  • Oregon State Police: 800-442-0776

Report Power Outages
Please also do not call 911 to report downed power lines and outages. Please call your electric company or cooperative instead:

  • PGE: 800-544-1795
  • Pacific Power: 1-877-508-5088
  • Hood River Electric: 541-354-1233
  • Salem Electric: 503-362-3601
  • West Oregon Electric: 503-429-3021

Road condition updates are available at ODOT's Trip Check page.

More information about Governor Brown’s state of emergency declaration is available here.

Public Health Continues Vaccinations Today For People 75 And Older

The Deschutes County Health Department will continue to vaccinate residents this week. Morgan Emerson at the department says they received 13-hundred first doses for this week for people 75 and older. She says next Monday they’ll start vaccinating people over age 70. Emerson says 29-thousand-727 people have been vaccinated in Deschutes county and of that number 12-thousand-543 have received their second dose. Log onto vaccine-dot-deschutes-dot-org and fill out a form to be notified when your age group is eligible for the vaccine.


Bend High Principal Reports Person Associated With School Has COVID-19

BEND, OR -- Bend High School Principal Christopher Reese has informed parents that a person associated with the school has been diagnosed with COVID-19. Reese’s letter says anyone identified as a close contact to the person will receive a contact tracing communication.  Reese says if parents don’t receive an individual contact it means their child was not (not) a close contact. The letter urges parents to contact their health care provider if a student in the home becomes sick with symptoms of the virus between now and February 22nd. 



Summit High Closed To In-Person Classes Until February 22nd

BEND, OR -- In a letter to Summit High School parents, Principal Michael McDonald has confirmed that there are 24 positive COVID-19 cases as of Saturday, prompting further delays to in-person classes. McDonald says the positive cases have self-identified as primary or secondary exposures to those who attended a party in Bend last weekend. McDonald says although there is no current confirmed spread of the virus at school, distance learning will continue this week. He says, at this time, Summit High School plans to return to in-person learning the week of February 22nd.


Enrollment For Health Coverage Starts Today



News Release from Oregon Dept. of Consumer & Business Services
Posted on FlashAlert: February 15th, 2021 4:00 AM


(Salem) – Today is the first day of a COVID-19 special enrollment period, which lasts until May 15, 2021. This special enrollment period will allow people throughout the United States, including Oregonians, who are looking for health coverage to shop at HealthCare.gov.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought significant change to hundreds of thousands of Oregonians, who either lost their job or experienced a loss in income. As a result, these Oregonians may be newly eligible for financial help to purchase health insurance. Unlike a typical special enrollment period, this enrollment period is available to everyone, not just those who have experienced a life event. Until May 15, any person who is eligible to shop through the Marketplace may enroll in new coverage or change their current plan.

Insurance agents and community partner organizations throughout the state are available to help people apply for financial assistance and choose private plans. People can also browse plans and find out how much savings they are eligible for at OregonHealthCare.gov/WindowShop.

Oregonians who do not get health insurance through their job or a program such as the Oregon Health Plan or Medicare may qualify for help paying for 2021 coverage through the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace. Even if people are temporarily uninsured or are currently enrolled in COBRA coverage, they can sign up for help between Feb. 15 and May 15 to get health insurance for 2021.

“The pandemic has made life uncertain for many Oregonians. We want to help you find a way to control your finances,” said Chiqui Flowers, administrator of the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace. “Quality health coverage protects your financial future in the event that you get sick, injured, or something else unforeseen happens.”

“It is true. The pandemic has proven that life is unpredictable. That can be scary when it comes to the health and financial security of your family,” said Amy Coven, communications strategist for the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace. “Health coverage brings predictability to health needs that may arise, as well as a wealth of benefits to keep you healthy.”

Individuals making $51,040 or less per year, and families of four making $104,800 or less, may get help paying for coverage. In 2020, more than seven in 10 Oregonians who chose plans through HealthCare.gov got financial help for monthly premiums and out-of-pocket costs. These savings lowered the average premium to just $145 per month.

To apply, go to OregonHealthCare.gov between Feb. 15 and May 15 and answer a few Oregon-specific questions to get to the right application. You can also search the “get help” directory on OregonHealthCare.gov to find an insurance agent or community partner organization to help complete the application and enroll. Insurance agents and community partners provide local, one-on-one assistance at no charge to the client. This help is available virtually and over the phone, and in person following safety protocols.


The Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace, a part of state government, helps people get health insurance when they do not have job-based coverage, and do not qualify for the Oregon Health Plan or another program. The Marketplace is the state-level partner to HealthCare.gov, and a division of the Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS). For more information, go to OregonHealthCare.gov.

Bend Man Jailed On Drug, Weapons Charges



News Release from Bend Police Dept.
Posted on FlashAlert: February 13th, 2021 5:19 PM

Incident: Arrest of wanted suspect regarding weapon possession

Case Number: 2021-00008186

Date and Time: Saturday, February 13, 2021 at 12:07pm

Location: 300 Block of NW Colorado

Suspect: Mackenzie Benton Now             36 year old male                  Bend resident


On February 13, 2021 at 12:07pm, Officers with the Bend Police Department received information that a suspect in several recent cases involving a firearm was currently located inside a residence in the 300 block of NW Colorado.

Mackenzie Benton Now is suspected to have been previously in possession of a stolen handgun. The firearm was located on Thursday February 11th, alongside over 26 grams of suspected heroin.

The information received by officers on Saturday led them to the residence on NW Colorado. The Central Oregon Emergency Response Team was activated due to the nature of the investigation and the presence of firearms.

Crisis Negotiator Team members were able to make contact with Mackenzie Now and he agreed to come out of the residence. At 3:17pm Mackenzie Now taken into custody, outside of the residence, without incident. At the time of this release, the investigation is still ongoing.

Mackenzie Now will be transported to the Deschutes County Adult Jail, where he will be charged with Theft I, Felon in Possession of a Firearm, Burglary I, Possession of a Controlled Substance-Heroin and Delivery of a Controlled Substance- Heroin.

Along with CERT, several law enforcement personnel with the Bend Police Department, Oregon State Police and the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office assisted with taking Mackenzie Now into custody safely.

Due to the location for the residence and the proximity to NW Colorado, the roadway was closed from NW Sisemore to NW Lava. The closure caused some traffic disruption around the area. The closure was in effect for over three hours.

The incident also caused some disruption to the nearby businesses, specifically Market of Choice. This business is directly across from the location where Mackenzie Now was located.

****End of release****

Office Of Emergency Management Offers Safety Tips

Oregon Office of Emergency Management leans forward to assist, offers safety tips.

Salem, OR. – February 13, 2021 – Ice, snow and high winds during the last 24 hours over much of the state have resulted in multiple road closures and downed trees resulting in extensive power outages and fractured communications. Oregon Governor Kate Brown declared a state of emergency for nine counties impacted by the severe winter weather: Benton, Clackamas, Hood River, Linn, Marion, Multnomah, Polk, Washington and Yamhill.

“This is another example of how emergencies can strike at any time, and why we need to be prepared,” said Oregon Office of Emergency Management Director Andrew Phelps. “Our state coordination Center (ECC) is active virtually, and along with state partners, we are leaning forward and stand ready to assist counties as needed.”

Key messages for Oregonians:

  • Stay home/off the roads unless absolutely necessary; downed trees and power lines, as well as slick roads make for hazardous travel.
  • A large number of damaged cell towers make for challenging communications via mobile phones and the Internet; use a battery-operated radio to listen to public broadcast stations for weather and situation updates.
  • While utility repair crews are out working to restore power, outages are widespread and may not be back up for some time. Check on family/neighbors who may need assistance.

Additional winter weather safety tips and resources are available at:

# # # 

Person Associated With Bend High School Tests Positive For COVID-19

Bend Senior High School 230 NE 6th St Bend OR 97701 Principal: Christopher Reese 
February 11, 2021 
Dear Bend High School Families,  This informational letter is to let you know that we have been made aware that a person associated with your student’s school, Bend High School has been diagnosed with COVID-19.  The name of the person is protected by federal law through HIPAA. The individual was on site on February 8. Our health team has completed an investigation, which includes contacting tracing, regarding this case.  Note: If at any time your child is identified as a being a close contact to a person diagnosed with COVID-19, please know you will receive a close contact tracing communication - in addition to this school wide notification. If you do not receive an individual contact, your child was not a close contact of the case. (Close contact: defined as having a cumulative of 15 minutes or more of less than 6-foot distancing within 24 hours)    If your student, or anyone in your home, becomes sick with one or more of the following symptoms between now through February 22, please contact your health care provider for guidance: Fever of 100.4 or more; chills; loss of taste or smell; cough; difficulty breathing; sore throat; headache; congestion/runny nose; nausea; vomiting; diarrhea (3 or more watery stools in 24 hours); muscle aches/pains; and/or fatigue. *Please notify your student’s school if your student develops symptoms.  
More information can be found on the Oregon Department of Education’s COVID-19 page, the Oregon Health Authority’s COVID-19 page and Bend-La Pine Schools COVID-19 Communications. 
The best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to practice good health hygiene habits. Wearing a mask will reduce the spread of virus and help prevent those who have the virus (with or without symptoms) from passing it to others. Be sure to wash your hands frequently with soap and water, cover your coughs and sneezes, and avoid contact with people who have signs of illness. Get plenty of rest, exercise, and eat a healthy diet. Stay home if you are sick. Protect the community by following the Governor’s social distancing requirements. 
I am including, below my signature, information about contact tracing, positive case notification and more for your review.  
I am empathetic that these messages may cause concern. We believe that it is important to keep our families in the loop while reinforcing positive behaviors that help to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our schools and community while balancing trust and transparency through this information sharing. 
If you have any questions, please contact the Bend High School COVID Safety Team Lead, Gabe Pagano and/or Nurse Shanon Bryant.  Sincerely, 
Christopher Reese, Principal Bend Senior High School 
Bend Senior High School 230 NE 6th St Bend OR 97701 Principal: Christopher Reese 
COVID-19 What to Expect & Prevention Letter – emailed home on February 12, 2021 
 Dear families,   As schools are reopening for more in-person instruction, we want to take a moment to share details about what to expect when there is a positive COVID-19 case in a school setting. We know many of you may have questions about the process and we want to help explain so that the steps are clear.   Positive Case Notification When we become aware that a person positive with COVID-19 has been in our school, we will communicate with all school families. This notification is intended to raise awareness and provide transparency and does not imply that there was a close contact exposure with students  It is our hope that these updates will help to keep top of mind the ways that we can all work to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our communities and to provide you with timely information about cases in our community that have a nexus to our schools. 
We understand that this notification may generate questions or concerns. Most cases of COVID-19 that we have seen to date, among our staff and students, have been community spread. And our safety practices and protocols have helped to reduce spread into our schools.   Once a positive case has been identified, we work quickly to determine if there has been an exposure at school and who, if anyone, is a close contact of that individual.   Contact Tracing Once a report of a positive case is confirmed, our designated COVID-19 support staff take a look back, 48hours, from the date of symptom onset (for symptomatic individuals) or the date the COVID-19 test was administered (for asymptomatic individuals). Information is collected and reviewed on staff/student attendance, transportation (bus, carpool), and staff and student interactions to help identify close contacts of the COVID positive individual. After this thorough review, our designated COVID support staff will reach out to identified close contacts and provide instructions for quarantine, based on state and local public health guidelines.   We want our families to know: If your child is ever identified as a being in a cohort where a close contact was made, please know you will receive a separate close contact communication - in addition to the school wide exposure notification. If you do not receive a separate close contact communication from the district, your student has NOT been identified as a close contact of the case. (Close contact: defined as having a cumulative of 15 minutes or more of less than 6-foot distancing within 24 hours)   You can learn more about our processes in detail by reviewing our District’s COVID-19 Communication toolkit.   We are partnering closely with our district’s nursing team and local public health officials who will provide support and direction for managing COVID-19 related scenarios that impact our school community.   Quarantine Instruction Teachers will continue to provide learning materials and instruction to students who are quarantining. It is possible that an entire cohort or school could be closed due to quarantine requirements. In such cases, learning would continue remotely through Comprehensive Distance Learning.   Additionally, our district has hired 16 new staff members to help support and fill-in for teachers and classroom staff throughout the pandemic, as well as more than 350 individuals from the High Desert ESD substitute pool who have said that they stand ready to help. 
Bend Senior High School 230 NE 6th St Bend OR 97701 Principal: Christopher Reese 
  Reminders We want our community to protect themselves against COVID-19. Here are some ways to protect your family: ? Keep children who are sick at home. Don’t send them to school. ? Teach your children to wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. Be sure to set a good example by doing this yourself. ? Teach your children to cover coughs and sneezes with tissues or by coughing into the inside of the elbow. Be sure to set a good example by doing this yourself. ? Limit gatherings and wear masks around individuals outside of your household.   More information can be found on the Oregon Department of Education’s Ready Schools, Safe Learners page, the Oregon Health Authority’s COVID-19 page and our Return to School webpage.   Thank you for doing your part to help make our community safer for students, staff and families.   All the best,   Christopher Reese, Principal Bend Senior High School 

CET Operates Bend Fixed-Route Buses On Snow Schedule Today

For Immediate Release


CET to Operate Bend Fixed-Route Buses on a Snow Schedule on Friday, 2/12


February 12, 2021 Bend, ORE - Due to inclement weather, Cascades East Transit (CET) will operate on a snow schedule on Friday, February 12 as described below. Stops at the COCC campus in Bend will also be closed on 2/12 due to slick roads. Please dress warm and allow extra time for travel, as schedules may be affected by traffic and weather conditions.

  • Bend Fixed Route services will operate on a snow schedule with buses scheduled to leave Hawthorne Station on the hour. This facilitates a successful transfer from Community Connectors to Fixed Route services and allows extra time for Bend buses to complete their routes.
  • Community Connector and Dial-A-Ride buses will operate on regular schedules; however, those services may experience delays.
  • Mt. Bachelor will continue to operate its regular schedule—information can be found at https://cascadeseasttransit.com/ride/mt-bachelor-winter/.

CET strives to provide safe, efficient, and reliable transportation services for all users of the system and implements Oregon Health Authority guidelines to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Face coverings are required at all bus stops and transit facilities and also when boarding and riding the bus. Maximum occupancy limits are posted on each bus to ensure adequate social distancing. All CET services are currently fareless to limit interactions between drivers and passengers. For further updates, visit www.CascadesEastTransit.com or CET’s Twitter or Facebook page. For general service-related information, please call CET’s customer service representatives at 541-385-8680. 



Derek Hofbauer

Outreach and Engagement Administrator

Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council

OHA's COVID-19 Update

Oregon reports 621 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, 12 new deaths

PORTLAND, Ore. — There are 12 new COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 2,056, the Oregon Health Authority reported at 12:01 a.m. today.

Oregon Health Authority reported 621 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of 12:01 a.m. today, bringing the state total to 149,082.

Vaccinations in Oregon

Today, OHA reported that 19,695 new doses of COVID-19 vaccinations were added to the state immunization registry. Of this total, 14,004 doses were administered on Feb. 10 and 5,619 were administered on previous days but were entered into the vaccine registry on Feb. 10.

Cumulative daily totals can take several days to finalize because providers have 72 hours to report doses administered and technical challenges have caused many providers to lag in their reporting. OHA has been providing technical support to vaccination sites to improve the timeliness of their data entry into the state’s ALERT Immunization Information System (IIS).

Oregon has now administered a cumulative total of 623,909 first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines. To date, 884,175 doses of vaccine have been delivered to sites across Oregon.

These data are preliminary and subject to change. OHA's dashboards provide regularly updated vaccination data, and Oregon’s dashboard has been updated today.

COVID-19 hospitalizations

The number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 across Oregon is 209, which is two fewer than yesterday. There are 50 COVID-19 patients in intensive care unit (ICU) beds, which is three 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.

COVID-19 variant tracking

OHA is now reporting the number of people in Oregon with confirmed variant strains of the virus that causes COVID-19 on Oregon’s COVID-19 Update dashboard. New variant cases will be reported via this dashboard Monday through Friday.

New SARS-CoV-2 variants have been documented in the United States and globally during this pandemic, and information about the characteristics of these variants is rapidly emerging.

Viruses constantly change through mutation, and new variants of a virus are expected to occur over time. Most variants do not change how the virus behaves and many disappear. 

OHA continues to monitor variants that are being identified and will provide updates.

Weekly media briefing scheduled for Feb. 12 at 11 a.m.

Media are invited to attend a media briefing at 11 a.m. tomorrow, Feb. 12, with Oregon Health Authority Director Patrick Allen and Oregon State Public Health Officer and Epidemiologist Dr. Dean Sidelinger. OHA will discuss the COVID-19 vaccination update in Oregon. Media will be able to join via this Zoom link.

Cases and deaths

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Benton (35), Clackamas (35), Clatsop (1), Columbia (11), Coos (17), Crook (11), Curry (4), Deschutes (26), Douglas (46), Grant (1), Harney (5), Hood River (1), Jackson (43), Jefferson (16), Josephine (14), Klamath (6), Lake (10), Lane (57), Lincoln (2), Linn (23), Malheur (1), Marion (32), Morrow (6), Multnomah (77), Polk (17), Tillamook (2), Umatilla (27), Union (5), Wallowa (4), Wasco (4), Washington (58) and Yamhill (24).

Oregon’s 2,045th COVID-19 death is a 79-year-old man in Clackamas County who tested positive on Dec. 27 and died on Feb. 6 at Kaiser Sunnyside Medical Center. He had underlying conditions.

Oregon’s 2,046th COVID-19 death is a 96-year-old man in Jackson County who tested positive on Dec. 22 and died on Feb. 10 at his residence. He had underlying conditions.

Oregon’s 2,047th COVID-19 death is a 93-year-old man in Deschutes County who tested positive on Nov. 23 and died on Jan. 17 at his residence. He had underlying conditions.

Oregon’s 2,048th COVID-19 death is an 83-year-old woman in Josephine County who tested positive on Jan. 1 and died on Feb. 7 at her residence. The presence of underlying conditions is being confirmed.

Oregon’s 2,049th COVID-19 death is a 91-year-old woman in Marion County who tested positive on Dec. 15 and died on Jan. 20 at her residence. She had underlying conditions.

Oregon’s 2,050th COVID-19 death is a 74-year-old woman in Multnomah County who tested positive on Nov. 24 and died on Dec. 31 at her residence. She had underlying conditions.

Oregon’s 2,051st COVID-19 death is a 58-year-old man in Multnomah County who tested positive on Feb. 9 and died on Feb. 10 at Adventist Hospital. He had underlying conditions.

Oregon’s 2,052nd COVID-19 death is a 67-year-old man in Multnomah County who tested positive on Feb. 4 and died on Jan. 31 at his residence. He had underlying conditions.

Oregon’s 2,053rd COVID-19 death is a 72-year-old man in Multnomah County who tested positive on Jan. 15 and died on Feb. 2 at his residence. He had underlying conditions.

Oregon’s 2,054th COVID-19 death is a 66-year-old man in Washington County who tested positive on Dec. 10 and died on Feb. 6 in Portland. The presence of underlying conditions is being confirmed.

Oregon’s 2,055th COVID-19 death is an 88-year-old man in Washington County who tested positive on Dec. 23 and died on Feb. 5 at his residence. He had underlying conditions.

Oregon’s 2,056th COVID-19 death is a 76-year-old woman in Jefferson County who died on Dec. 15 at St. Charles Bend Hospital. The death certificate listed COVID-19 disease or SARS-CoV-2 as a cause of death or a significant condition contributing to death. She had no underlying conditions.

FBI Warns Of On-Line Love Scams On Valentine's Day Weekend

Valentine’s Day is this Sunday and the Oregon FBI wants to remind you that love-scams are on the rise, especially online. Oregon FBI spokesperson Beth Anne Steele says, in 2020, victims reported more than $600 million in romance fraud…

up from $475 million in 2019. Steele says the love scammers case victims’ social profiles to know exactly what to say to separate you from your cash. She says in one case last year an elderly man from Eugene was coerced into laundering money by his online love and ended up facing charges himself.


Free Fishing, Crabbing & Clamming In Oregon This Weekend

This weekend Oregonians can go fishing, crabbing or clamming for free.  No licenses or tags are required however, all other regulations including closures, bag limits and size restrictions remain in place. Those who want to fish for salmon or steelhead should check the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife Recreation Report for possible in-season regulations that may have changed.  The report also includes information about the best fishing opportunities this time of year. With winter weather in the forecast ice fishing for trout or perch could be an option, just be sure the ice is safe and wear safety gear.

Bend Police Chief Krantz Supports Community Policing

BEND, OR -- Bend Police Chief Mike Krantz supports the idea of Community Policing. He says it’s a philosophy that says how do you police in a community without seeming like you are just enforcement tool. Krantz says Bend police have strong community partnerships. He says he asks his officers to spend 20 hours a year in non-enforcement, non-call related engagement, in relationship building. Krantz says this helps build trust between the police and communities they serve.

Chang Says Feds Need To Step Up Vaccine Supplies To States

Deschutes County Commissioner Phil Chang says the effort to fight COVID-19 in Oregon comes down to vaccines. He noted that two weeks ago 12-thousand doses were received but last week only a few hundred doses came to the county. He says an increase vaccine supplies is critical. Chang says the federal government needs to act. He says the board of commissioners sent a letter to the White House and the Oregon Congressional delegation asking them to do just that. As of today Deschutes county is in the High Risk category regarding COVID-19 after being stuck in the Extreme Risk category since November.

Oregon Lottery Adds Drop Box In Salem For Winners



News Release from Oregon Lottery
Posted on FlashAlert: February 11th, 2021 1:37 PM

New Lottery prize drop box in Salem

Downloadable file: New Lottery prize drop box in Salem

Feb. 11, 2021 - Salem, Ore. – Beginning Friday, Feb. 12, a new drop box at the Lottery offices in Salem will open for players to submit their winning tickets and claim forms. The drop box is for prizes over $600 and up to $50,000. Prizes of $600 or less can be redeemed at any Oregon Lottery retail location. The Lottery’s Wilsonville office remains closed and does not have a drop box.

For the health and safety of Lottery players and employees during the pandemic, the Lottery’s payment centers in Salem and Wilsonville have remained closed to the public since March 2020.

“With Lottery offices closed to the public, winners of Lottery prizes over $600 had limited options to claim their prize,” said Lottery Director Barry Pack. “Players could either patiently wait for the Lottery payment centers to reopen or mail their winning tickets to the Lottery office in Salem. Providing the drop box is just part of an on-going effort to give our players a way to get their prizes without having to put their winning ticket in the mail.”

The drop box offers 24/7 access to submit a prize claim at the Lottery office in Salem. Lottery staff will process claims daily, and players should allow up to 14 days to receive their prize in the mail. Winner claim forms and envelopes will be available at the drop box for players to submit their prize claims.

In addition to the new drop box, the Lottery has been exploring other ways to provide players who have won prizes over $600 with a way to claim their prize. In the coming months, a new walk-up window and a new player-appointment system will also be available.

Players with winning tickets of $50,000 or more, still need to make an appointment to come to the Oregon Lottery office in Salem. Call 503-540-1000 for assistance. As always, players should be certain to sign the back of their tickets.

For downloadable claim forms and updates, players can go to oregonlottery.org/claim-a-prize.

Since the Oregon Lottery began selling tickets on April 25, 1985, it has earned more than $12 billion for economic development, public education, Outdoor School, state parks, Veteran Services, and watershed enhancements. For more information on the Oregon Lottery visit www.oregonlottery.org 

Vaccine Clinic Today At Deschutes County Fair & Expo

The vaccine clinic at the Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center will continue operations as scheduled despite weather conditions. Those who were scheduled to receive a dose yesterday (Thursday) or today (Friday) -- and are unable to safely travel to the clinic due to inclement weather -- will be contacted early next week to have their appointment rescheduled. Information on Deschutes County’s website says they will have crews onsite to make sure roads are clear and mobility assistance is available.


Deschutes County COVID-19 Vaccination Rate 15%

Health Officer Doctor George Conway told Deschutes County Commissioners during a briefing the vaccination rate is good. He says they have given 18-thousand first doses of vaccine and 10-thousand-500 second doses. Conway says the total is near 29-thousand which represents a vaccination rate of 15-per cent. He says last week the county received 12-hundred first doses of vaccine and 900 were allocated to people over age 80 and the rest went to health care workers and educators. Conway says county health will learn tomorrow how much vaccine will be received next week.

February 17th Exclusion Day; Students Must Have Up To Date Vaccinations

With more schools allowing kids in for hybrid learning, and rural schools opening up, your children have to be vaccinated.  School Exclusion Day is February 17th, meaning childhood vaccinations have to be up to date, or kids won’t be allowed in school, or childcare, unless they have a special exemption.  The Covid-19 vaccination is NOT required for youth.  Currently the FDA doesn’t allow kids under 16 to get the Pfizer vaccine, or be under 18 for the Moderna shot. 

Dungeness Crab Season North Of Cape Falcon To Open Tuesday, February 16th

Dungeness Crab Season from Tillamook north to the lower southwest coast of Washington state, will reopen next Tuesday, February 16th Troy Buell is the Oregon Fishery Program Manager and says the reopening of crab season will carry some requirements because of the presence of domoic acid. Buell says the meat is not affected however the guts from those crabs must be removed by a licensed processor to make sure a safe product gets to market. He says crabbers can set their gear north of Tillamook, beginning this Saturday.

OSU TRACE Team Reports Redmond Virus Rate Higher Than Other Cities

REDMOND, OR -- OSU’s TRACE team has released findings from their Covid sampling in Redmond. The data from a random test of 30 neighborhoods and 376 residents indicates that 32 people in 1-thousand within the community have—or did have—the virus at the end of January. TRACE project leader Ben Dalziel (Dee-ELL) says that’s on the high side compared to other test cities but not unexpected. He says more importantly this testing shows true infection rates which inform communities of their overall Covid health. During a canvas of 30 Redmond neighborhoods at the end of January 38-per cent of residents contacted agreed to be tested. 

Snowstorm Headed To Central Oregon; Road Crews Preparing

Snow…and lots of it…could hit Central Oregon today through the weekend as a Winter Weather Advisory is in effect. The Director of Bend’s Transportation Department David Abbas says they did preparation work yesterday using mag chloride to reduce ice and snow from staying on the surface of roads. Abbas says Priority One will be major arterials with most of the traffic. Priority Two will be Collector Roads that feed the major arterials and Abbas says the Third Priority will be local residential areas with low traffic volumes.  He says they’ll have workers on overtime with 10-to-12 hour shifts and will bring in outside contractors to help. 

Summit High Back To Distance Learning Following Virus Exposure

BEND, OR -- Summit High School is closed today because of a COVID-19 exposure at the school. Central Oregon Daily reports Principal Michael McDonald sent a letter to parents expressing disappointment over a recent party attended by dozens of teens who were unmasked and crowded together.  Parents also reached out to the school to make them aware of additional positive COVID-19 virus cases. Students will go back to distance learning today and tomorrow and all athletics and activities are cancelled. The school is working with Deschutes County Health to offer free virus testing tomorrow for anyone who thinks they may have been exposed.


ORLA Responds To Restaurant Re-Openings On Friday

Indoor Dining Back for Most of Oregon

A Total of 22 of Oregon’s 36 Counties Open for Indoor Dining Friday

Wilsonville, OR– Hundreds of Oregon restaurants will open their doors to indoor dining starting Friday, February 12 as case counts per 100,000 residents drop below the coveted 200 case mark over the course of the previous two weeks in specific counties. As industry suppliers and restaurant owners scramble to safely open for indoor dining, two prevailing issues remain – continuity of restaurant operations and getting employees back on the schedule.

“Today’s announcement represents a significant step in the right direction,” said Jason Brandt, President & CEO for the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association. “It’s our job to make sure the Governor’s Office and Oregon’s Legislators understand what we think will happen next because of today’s news. Top on the list are the challenges facing small businesses attempting to manage two weeks of operational certainty at a time which includes finding workers who are trying to pay monthly bills. And we must acknowledge the 14 counties with restaurant operations still trying to survive in the winter with no indoor dining.”

Opening and closing restaurant operations continues to be cited as the number one challenge facing the industry with the biggest issues revolving around worker schedules and forecasting food supply needs in a limited time period once announcements on changes are made.

“It is our job to be there for our workers and we will be doing our best to explain the uncertainty surrounding future work schedules,” said Dan Lenzen, Co-Owner of Dixie Tavern in Portland.  “I hope our ability to open indoors represents a turning point allowing us to be open longer than two weeks. To stay in business, we need the ability to safely use some of the space inside our restaurant consistently and provide the jobs that go along with it.”

February 12 appears to represent a key marker in the fight to mitigate virus spread as most Oregonians will now have indoor dining back as an option in their community for the first time in months. Still, restaurant operators in 14 counties continue to rely on Payroll Protection Program funds, limited outdoor operations if available, and takeout/delivery to scrape by. Approximately 38 percent of Oregonians still live in a county where indoor dining is not currently available.

“We continue to be faced with incredible headwinds in the restaurant industry with the ban on indoor dining in Marion County,” said Conrad Venti, Co-Owner of Venti’s Taphouse and Basement Bar. “Every change we have managed as a company has impacted our employees just as much. We have permanently lost several long-term employees, including management, who have chosen to move on to other industries because of the complete instability and continuous changes we’ve had to face in the last year.”

“With recent numbers trending in the right direction I was hopeful we would be inviting our guests and community back in to dine with us, and bringing employees back to work,” said Kevin Boyles, Co-Owner of Sassy Onion Restaurant in Salem. “Being in the extreme risk category while most of the state reopens is even more frustrating knowing my long time customers are able to make a small trip and enjoy a dining experience elsewhere, while my business continues to suffer.”

ORLA is mounting a grassroots effort of industry professionals this week to continue encouraging outreach to Oregon’s Legislators and Governor Brown’s professional staff given the clear divide being experienced in a state with just over half its restaurants open while the others attempt to hold on.

“We know firsthand how difficult it is for Oregon’s restaurant industry to ramp up their businesses two weeks at a time,” said Brandt. “Our goal in facilitating ongoing communication is to provide our elected leaders and their professional staff with the personal stories behind these challenges in hopes of providing more runway and a glide path for work schedules Oregonians can rely on. The easiest way to accommodate this would be to move to a system based on Low, Moderate, and High COVID-19 risk in each county and eliminate the Extreme Risk category altogether. Having three levels of risk instead of four would provide an additional level of flexibility needed as restaurants continue their fight for survival.”

For more information on the efforts of the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association please visit OregonRLA.org.


OHA Lifts Outbreak Status At St. Charles Redmond



OHA lifts outbreak status of St. Charles Redmond


BEND, Ore. — The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) has notified St. Charles Redmond that all COVID-19 tests in the previous 14 days related to the Redmond outbreak resulted negative, prompting the agency to lift the COVID-19 “outbreak” status of the hospital.


The health system’s investigation of the outbreak, which was traced to 28 people including 25 caregivers, revealed the source was a COVID-positive patient. 


Though the outbreak has resolved, many of the changes instituted at the Redmond hospital remain in effect, including:


  • Increasing air exchanges to at least six times per hour, and even more frequently in patient rooms 
  • Increasing air filtration to more than the CDC recommendation (+90% filtration at .3 microns) 
  • Instructing caregivers who are within an arm’s length of a patient with respiratory symptoms for more than 15 minutes to use N95 respirators and eye protection throughout their shift while the outbreak is ongoing 
  • Adding hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies to more locations throughout the facility 
  • Asking caregivers to eat in the cafeteria or on the outside patio rather than in break rooms to create a larger space between caregivers when their masks are down
  • Reducing maximum capacity in all break rooms and conference rooms to ensure physical distancing can be maintained 


Starting Wednesday, visitation restrictions will be lifted to allow one visitor per patient, per day.


“I have been impressed by the commitment and resilience of the Redmond community, caregivers, patients and their families to come together and comply with enhanced restrictions so we could resolve the outbreak as quickly as possible,” said St. Charles Redmond Chief Nursing Officer James Reedy. “We have learned lessons that we will continue to practice.”


About St. Charles Health System

St. Charles Health System, Inc., headquartered in Bend, Ore., owns and operates St. Charles Bend, Madras, Prineville and Redmond. It also owns family care clinics in Bend, La Pine, Madras, Prineville, Redmond and Sisters. St. Charles is a private, not-for-profit Oregon corporation and is the largest employer in Central Oregon with more than 4,500 caregivers. In addition, there are more than 350 active medical staff members and nearly 200 visiting medical staff members who partner with the health system to provide a wide range of care and service to our communities.

Governor Moves Deschutes County Down To High Risk From Extreme Risk On Friday

Governor Kate Brown Announces 10 Counties Improve from Extreme Risk

Updated county risk levels take effect February 12


Correction: Due to a correction to the initial risk level calculations for Harney County, the county will remain at Lower Risk.

(Salem, OR) — Governor Kate Brown today announced that 12 counties improved in risk level, with 10 improving from Extreme Risk for the first time since November, effective February 12. County risk levels under the state's public health framework aim 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 February 12 through February 25, there will be 14 counties in the Extreme Risk level, 11 at High Risk, two at Moderate Risk, and nine at Lower Risk. A complete list of counties and their associated risk levels is available here.

“Thanks to Oregonians who have stepped up and made smart choices, we have made incredible progress in stopping the spread of COVID-19 and saving lives in Oregon," said Governor Brown. "This week we will see 10 counties move out of Extreme Risk, including the Portland tri-county area, for the first time since November. This is welcome news, as we'll start to see more businesses open up and Oregonians being able to get out a bit more.

"It’s also incredibly important that we continue to remain vigilant and protect our neighbors and loved ones as we face virulent new strains of COVID-19. This means continuing to wear masks, keep our physical distance, and avoid indoor gatherings. If we want to keep businesses open, reopen schools for in-person instruction, and stay safe, we must keep up our guard. Until vaccines are more widely available, case counts could go back up if we don't keep following safety measures."

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 be announced February 23 and take effect February 26. 

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



Deschutes Farm Bureau Offers Scholarships

The Deschutes County Farm Bureau has announced the scholarships available for students in the 2021-22 academic year. Tom Maddux with the DCFB says there is 10-thousand dollars in scholarship money available to high school, college and FFA students. He says a new 25-hundred dollar scholarship has been added this year. Anyone interested in applying for scholarships can go to the Oregon Farm Bureau website or contact Deschutes County Farm Bureau. Application deadline is April 30th.


Man Indicted For Pointing Gun At October Fight Still On The Run

A man indicted in connection with a fight between pro and anti-Trump supporters at Pilot Butte Neighborhood Park in October is still on the run. Deschutes county D-A John Hummel says Jake Strayer may be armed. He says Strayer pointed a gun at a person during the October fight but has not shown up for court appearances. Hummel says do not approach Strayer but instead call the police if you know his whereabouts.


State Land Board Meets This Morning At 10AM; Redmond Land Sale On Agenda

The State Land Board holds a virtual meeting at 10 this morning. The board will be asked to approve the sale of 20 acres in Redmond to the Oregon Military Department for 1-point-66-million dollars. Ali Ryan Hansen, Communications Manager at the Division of State Lands says the all of the money from the sale will be given to the Common School Fund. She says the Oregon Military will use the site for a new Readiness Center which will help Oregon bounce back after a Cascadia Subduction Zone Earthquake. The State Land Board meeting will be live streamed on the Department of State Lands You Tube channel, again, at 10-this morning.


Redmond High Schoolers Back In Class Four Days A Week

            Redmond and Ridgeview high schoolers will be on campus four days each week


After exploring a variety of scheduling models in an effort to have high school students on site as often as possible, the Redmond School District is excited to bring high school students back to in-person learning on a morning and afternoon A/B hybrid schedule.


All students who indicated they want to return to in-person learning will have a morning or afternoon schedule based on their need for district-provided transportation. All students will attend a half day on site Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday each week and virtual classes the other half of each day. Students will learn remotely on Wednesdays, while teachers provide office hours and personalized learning support, which takes place from 11 a.m. to  2 p.m. each Wednesday.


  • Cohort A will attend classes in-person at their school from 7:30 a.m. to 10:20 a.m., with remote classes in the afternoon from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. (district-provided transportation available for this cohort)


  • Cohort B will start the day with remote classes from 7:30 a.m. to 10:20 a.m and will attend classes in-person at their school from 12 p.m. to 2:50 p.m. (no district-provided transportation for this cohort. Students will need to self-transport to and from school.)


All students, when not on site with teachers, will attend classes virtually in CANVAS to complete the other half of the school day.


Based on recent survey data, we learned that most high school students plan to get themselves to school. As a result, we were able to create this new schedule. At this time, the district is unable to provide a morning/afternoon hybrid model for middle schools because that model would require all middle school students in the afternoon cohort to get a ride to and from school. When we took a parent survey about transportation in late January, we saw the majority of middle school students needed district transportation. The district will continue to review the middle school hybrid schedule to determine how to get students on campus on a more regular basis.


This is a change from the previously planned hybrid high school schedule, which would have featured high school students in each cohort attending in person two days each week. There are advantages to this schedule. Most importantly, every high school student will attend in person four days each week instead of two. Student cohorts will stay well under 75, helping the district comply with state rules and cutting down on the number of potential people who would have to quarantine in case of illness. We believe this schedule will help our students’ social and emotional wellbeing, decrease their screen fatigue, and renew their connection and investment in their education. Because of this shift in schedule, students who have chosen the Full-Time Online option will also have more opportunities to connect with their teachers.

Oregon Arts Commission Gives Grants To Arts Organizations

Salem, Oregon – Awards totaling $910,568 have been distributed to 150 Oregon arts organizations through the Oregon Arts Commission’s fiscal year 2021 Operating Support Program. There are 12 more recipients than in fiscal year 2020 due to a growing number of eligible organizations.

Ranging from $2,828 to $ 22,888, the grant awards are available to nonprofit organizations with arts at the core of their mission and budgets over $150,000*.

“We often hear that operating support is the most important type of award,” said Arts Commission Chair Anne Taylor. “Especially now, as arts organizations continue to suffer great losses due to the pandemic, these awards can help relieve a bit of the economic pressure.”

In 2019 organizations receiving Operating Support from the Arts Commission expended $213 million, employed 11,681 FTE and produced events and activities that were attended by close to 3.7 million people.

*Organizations with budgets under $150,000 are eligible to apply to the Small Operating Program. This program funds an additional 97 arts organizations.

Fiscal year 2021 Operating Support Grants, sorted alphabetically by geographic region (see end of list for region and county key), were awarded to:


BendFilm, Bend: $3,898

Sisters Folk Festival, Inc., Sisters: $5,368

Sunriver Music Festival, Sunriver: $3,335

The High Desert Museum, Bend: $14,180

Tower Theatre Foundation, Inc., Bend: $4,751

White City Man Sentenced For Killing Trophy Bull Elk In Crater Lake National Park



News Release from U.S. Attorney's Office - District of Oregon
Downloadable file: PDF Release (Updated)


EUGENE, Ore.—On February 4, 2021, a White City, Oregon man was sentenced for violating the Lacey Act by illegally poaching a trophy bull elk in Crater Lake National Park, announced U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams.

Adrian Duane Wood, 44, was sentenced to three years’ federal probation to include a six-month stay at a residential reentry center. The court also ordered that Wood be banned from Crater Lake National Park and restricted from hunting for the duration of his probation. He must also pay $42,500 in restitution to the National Park Service.

“Our nation’s environmental laws are in place to protect vulnerable wildlife populations and ensure that future generations will have the opportunity to enjoy these animals as we do today. Mr. Wood preyed on elk and deer who were unaccustomed to being hunted and thus uniquely vulnerable to poaching,” said U.S. Attorney Williams. “Beyond the depravity of his crimes, Mr. Wood further engaged his minor son in his illegal acts and bragged about his criminal behavior to others. Thanks to the hard work of federal and state investigators, justice has been served and Mr. Wood has been permanently banned from Crater Lake.”

“Our public lands are special places for both people and wildlife,” said James Ashburner, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “The defendant's blatant disregard for the law caused great harm to the elk herd in the park. This joint case demonstrates the resolve of National Park Service, Oregon State Police, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in protecting our nation’s natural resources. A special thank you goes out to the Service's National Wildlife Forensics Lab for their incredible work on this case, as well as to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Oregon for placing an emphasis on environmental crimes that impact the natural world we all enjoy.”

According to court documents, in July 2014, the National Park Service (NPS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), and Oregon State Police (OSP) began a multi-year investigation into Wood’s illegal hunting activities based on reports that he was poaching wildlife in Crater Lake National Park. At least two sources stated that Wood had killed several deer and elk on the west side of the park after baiting them into meadow with rock salt. OSP received further reports that Wood was illegally poaching wildlife at night.

On August 31, 2014, an OSP trooper observed Wood and his son leaving the national park after dark. When the trooper approached him, Wood hurried toward his vehicle and acted as if he were trying to hide something. After speaking with Wood, the trooper located a loaded AR-15 semi-automatic rifle outfitted with night optics beneath his truck. Wood initially claimed the rifle was for bear hunting, but after the trooper pointed out that the rifle was not lawfully equipped to hunt any wildlife, Wood then claimed it was for personal protection. The trooper cited Wood for being a felon in possession of a firearm and seized the rifle. Wood was convicted in state court of the charge and placed on probation.

Throughout 2015, NPS and OSP continued receiving reports of Wood’s illegal poaching. NPS rangers found carcasses and piles of rock salt in an area of the park frequented by Wood. In October 2015, an NPS ranger found an elk skull, jaw, and vertebrae in the national park. The remains were determined to be near a custom track log found on Wood’s GPS unit. Investigators later learned Wood entered and won second or third place in a Sportsman’s Warehouse Big Bull elk hunting contest.

In August and September 2016, Wood engaged in several incriminating text conversations. On August 28, 2016, Wood texted his wife about his attempt to locate a bleeding elk he had shot. A photo later discovered on Wood’s phone, taken on August 28, appeared to depict a trail of blood. Investigators also found a custom waypoint named “Hit” on Wood’s GPS device created the same morning as the date-stamped photo. The “Hit” location was within the boundaries of the national park.

On September 7, 2016, Wood texted another individual, bragging about his hunting activities: “I’ve been in the elk since opening season and passed up 5 last Sunday because I have a problem shooting a small 5 point when there is a monster 50 yards away screaming at me…I’m pretty good at finding elk around here, I’ve killed 24 and get one every year.”

On September 22, 2016, OSP contacted Wood in his vehicle as he was pulling a horse trailer near the boundary of the national park. Although Wood stated he had not been hunting in 2016, the trooper observed blood on Wood’s hands and clothing. Wood then gave the trooper a partially validated Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) archery elk tag, which also had blood on it. The next day, an OSP trooper returned to the area where they had contacted Wood, walked a short distance into the national park, and discovered a freshly killed and partially butchered elk. The carcass was in the same meadow wherein Wood was previously reported to have hunted elk. The trooper noted that the elk’s head was sawed off and some meat was removed. Shortly thereafter, Wood texted photos of himself posing with the elk. OSP obtained the photos and matched them to the carcass.

On October 4, 2016, FWS agents executed a federal search warrant on Wood’s residence. They located multiple firearms, assorted ammunition, and several wildlife specimens. FWS special agents later searched Wood’s GPS units and confirmed he was in the national park when he killed the bull elk on September 22 and had marked the location of the kill. They further confirmed that the majority of his GPS hunting waypoints and track logs between 2011 and 2016 were within the boundaries of the national park.

Forensic scientists at the FWS National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Lab, conducted forensic examinations and genetic analyses of the wildlife specimens taken from Wood’s residence and compared them to animal remains recovered in the national park. DNA analyses revealed that Wood possessed parts of at least 13 elk, 12 deer, and one black bear, and the blood found on Wood’s ODFW archery tag matched the DNA of the elk poached on September 22. A forensic pathologist further determined the elk killed on September 22 had been killed by a gunshot. In total, investigators definitively linked six seized specimens to elk or deer poached by Wood in the national park in 2015 and 2016.

On May 1, 2019, Wood was indicted by a federal grand jury in Medford, Oregon for violating the Lacey Act by unlawfully taking and transporting a trophy bull elk from Crater Lake National Park and illegally possessing ammunition as a convicted felon. On August 17, 2020, Wood pleaded guilty to the Lacey Act charge and agreed to pay restitution to NPS for the wildlife illegally taken from the national park.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement, National Park Service, and the Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife Division. It was prosecuted by Adam E. Delph, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is responsible for protecting America’s wildlife from poaching, illegal commercialization, and other kinds of wildlife crime. If you have information related to a wildlife crime, please call 1-844-FWS-TIPS (1-844-397-8477) or email fws_tips@fws.gov.

OSU Gets Huge Donation for Stadium Rennovation in Corvalis

A historic donation has been made to help transform OSU’s Reser Stadium (Corvalis) into a best-in-class football facility.  The donation was for a whopping fifty million dollars and it came from an anonymous donor.  It’s the biggest donation injection the school’s ever received.  School officials say that will go a long way toward paving the way for year-round programs and facility access to OSU students, faculty, and staff.  The stadium renovations are expected to cost $153 mil, and the plans involve the complete transformation of the west side of the stadium.  Final approval of the renovation plans for the stadium is expected by the school’s Board of Trustees in May.  If they get the thumbs up, construction would start right after the 2021 football season with completion expected for the start of the 2023 season.  OSU will continue to play at Reser while the construction’s going on.


Bend May Be Getting New Campgrounds

Two new campgrounds are under consideration for Bend.  One is off Highway 97 North just North of the city where the owner of an almost ten acre lot wants to convert it into a campground with 15 campsites.  A lack of showers there prompted an initial denial of that proposal by county officials but that decision is being appealed and the County Commissioners are now reconsidering the proposal, with site visits planned.  The other site is West of Highway 97, just off Murphy Road where a 13 acre lot is under consideration for a luxury RV park.

New Mechanical Arm Being Installed at Centennial Parking Garage in Bend

A new access control system is being installed in the Centennial Parking Garage in downtown Bend, and the city’s Parking Services Division says it will add safety and simplicity to your parking experience.  It’s actually a new mechanical arm that will go up and down to control the entrance and exit of vehicles, so only paying customers will be allowed in.  The number of cars allowed in will have a cap, and the current three hour free parking in the garage is being replaced with a merchant validation program. The new access control system is expected to be in by Monday, and will help track the number of spaces being used at any given time.  Parking officials say it’ll provide a safer and more efficient parking experience, while encouraging shopping at local vendors who can validate.  If you prefer to register online to avoid Covid exposure when you park in the garage, you can do that on the Pango mobile app.

Residents Escape House Fire on Warm Springs Reservation

Residents of a home in the Sidwalter Flats neighborhood on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation are lucky to be alive today after their home went up in flames Tuesday night, and they made it out safely.  Fire crews say the home was in the 84 hundred blocks of the B166 Road.  The family pet – a ferret – died in the fire.  The official cause is under investigation, though a resident’s daughter-in-law told fire officials a burning log had rolled out of a wood stove and touched it off.

Bend Apartment Fire Forces Evacuations

Bend fire officials say a fire in an apartment in the Northeast part of the city Wednesday afternoon caused by a joint that hadn't fully extinguished forced eight residents and some neighbors to evacuate.  They say the fire started in a bedroom of an apartment at the Mountain Glen Apartments at 900 Northeast Butler Market Road.  Fire officials say it started in an upstairs bedroom in one of the four units in the building.  There were no injuries.

Self-Proclaimed Meth Addict Gets Five Years for Violent Offenses


A five year prison term has been slapped on a self-proclaimed 44 year old meth addict who appeared in Deschutes County Circuit Court yesterday (Wednesday).  Vincente Guerra told the judge he’d been using the drug since he was 17.  Guerra was convicted of firing a gun in the parking lot behind Okawa Steakhouse and Grill in Bend in 2020, grazing one of two people he didn’t know in a car.  In 2019, he was convicted of manhandling his girlfriend.

Reckless Driver Arrested After Tailing Bend Resident

Bend Police say they arrested 19 year old Jonathan Erickson of Bend who they say was driving recklessly through the Northwest part of the city Tuesday night.  Police say a resident drove to a parking lot and confronted Erickson revving his engine and doing donuts in the street – asking him to stop – but told police he refused, and says Erickson followed him through the city with his high beams on.  Cops intervened and chased Erickson down after he rammed two police cars, ran into an apartment on Northwest Regency, and finally surrendered to police.

KIDS Center Bend Anticipates Increase in Child Abuse Reports as Schools Re-Open

KIDS Center in Bend is preparing for an increase in reports of child abuse as kids return to in-person learning.  Marketing Director Robin Antonson says that’s because the kids will have that watchful eye on them while they’re in the classroom.

Antonson says Covid has added tremendous financial and emotional stress to many families, which she says poses a greater risk for child abuse.  She says Kids Center offers virtual training to both identify child abuse, and help parents manage stress around their kids.

Deschutes County Extends State Of Emergency 60 Days

Deschutes County Commissioners have extended the COVID-19 State of Emergency for another 60-days. Deschutes County Legal Counsel David Doyle told commissioners, when it comes to reimbursements, FEMA is very technical. He says if there is a break of just one or two days between State of Emergency declarations FEMA could reject reimbursement to the county. Commissioners first declared a COVID-19 State of Emergency on March 13th 2020. The latest extension will continue to April 2nd although Doyle said if conditions change the board can revoke the order at any time.

Deschutes County To Seek Wildfire Risk Prevention Grant

BEND, OR -- Recently the Emergency Board allocated grant money to the Department of Forestry which in turn is awarding grants to counties around Oregon. Deschutes County Forester Ed Keith told county commissioners the money is to be used for wildfire risk reduction. Keith says he identified three properties…one in La Pine, one in Bend and one just north of Bend. He says he picked the properties because they have the potential for fire start or fire spread, and pose a risk to nearby developed areas. Commissioners gave Keith the okay to apply for a 225-thousand dollar grant. If approved, the work from the grant must be finished by the end of June.

Insurance Companies Must Cover COVID-19 Vaccinations

State now requires insurers to cover COVID-19 vaccinations

PORTLAND, Ore. — The State of Oregon now requires health benefit plans in Oregon to cover costs of vaccination for COVID-19, following an order by state Public Health Director Rachael Banks.

The Jan. 27 determination cites Oregon Revised Statute 743A.264 (2) and (3) in mandating that private health plans operating in Oregon not charge patients for most costs related to providing the vaccine. That includes the cost of all doses of the vaccine and associated supplies, and expenses for administering the shot, such as those related to staff time.

The Oregon Health Plan and Medicare programs do not charge patients for costs of vaccinations.

“We are in the midst of a devastating pandemic that has affected more than 142,000 people in Oregon and claimed almost 2,000 lives,” Banks said. “There should be no financial barrier to getting the vaccine, whether it’s a copay or administrative fee. Even small costs can be a big burden for people with limited resources, particularly considering the economic challenges people have faced for the last year.”

She said she encourages providers to bill patients’ insurance for any vaccination costs and avoid asking or expecting patients to cover vaccine administration costs.

In her order, Banks points to “[t]wo safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines (that) are currently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under Emergency Use Authorization.” Both vaccines — one made by Pfizer-BioNTech, the other by Moderna — “are currently available to eligible individuals in Oregon. More COVID-19 vaccines may become available following clinical trials and approval by the FDA.”

Therefore, the order continues, “having determined there exists a disease outbreak and that vaccination is necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the cost of vaccination for COVID-19 shall be covered by insurance …”

Oregonians who have questions about their insurance coverage are encouraged to contact their Coordinated Care Organization, insurance company or agent. If they still have questions or concerns, consumer advocates are available.

  • Oregon Health Plan: Call Oregon Health Authority at 800-273-0557 (toll-free).
  • Commercial insurance plans: Call the Oregon Division of Financial Regulation at 888-877-4894 (toll-free).
  • Medicare: Call 800-633-4227 (toll-free).

Vaccinations in Oregon

OHA is providing daily updates on administered doses of COVID-19 vaccines in Oregon on its vaccination data dashboard.

The dashboard provides weekday updates on the number of people vaccinated, both by state and by county, along with key demographic information showing the race, ethnicity, sex and age of everyone who has been vaccinated.

Nearly 700 people applied to be on the Vaccine Advisory Committee (VAC).

Members were chosen by a cross-sectional team from Oregon Health Authority (OHA), Community Partner Outreach Program (CPOP) and Oregon’s Office of Equity and Inclusion (OEI).

New Recycled Tire Project Expected to Extend Life of Bend Roads

A new road improvement project's expected to start this summer in Bend.  Transportation experts have proposed a roadway sealing project for the city that uses rubberized chips from thousands of recycled tires.  They say the anti-oxidants, chemical properties, and ultraviolet inhibitors in the chips extend the life of pavement by 5 to 7 years - preventing cracking, increasing flexibility, and adding durability.  The plan is to seal almost fifteen miles of city streets in Bend with the chips in a first of it’s kind project, with the chips supplied by Intermountain Slurry Seal Incorporated at a cost of $414 thousand dollars.

Grant Money to Help Needy Families Hard Hit by Covid

The Tykeson Family Foundation has given a $25 thousand dollar grant to the Family Access Network to help local families impacted by Covid-19.  Since 1993, The Family Access Network has provided direct assistance to needy families in Central Oregon impacted through a loss of income, childcare expenses, or illness.  The $25 thousand dollars in grant money will help families in Deschutes, Jefferson, and Crook counties that are struggling pay their rent, buy food, pay their utility bills, and pay for transportation needs.  The Family Access Network operates 62 sites in Central Oregon, manned by 26 employee advocates that work to help families emerge from poverty.   

Bend La Pine Schools Offer Free Meals Through End Of School Year

Bend-La Pine Schools continues to offer free meals for remainder of the school year


Bend-La Pine Schools’ free meal services are expanding to all school sites, as schools reopen for in-person learning, Nutrition Services Supervisor Garra Schluter announced today. Schluter says the meals program is changing its practices to offer free meal options both for those students who are attending in-person school as well as offering several ‘Grab and Go’ sites for students who are learning from home. All meals served will be free of charge, through the end of the school year.


“We are excited to continue to serve our families and offer options for meals whether students are learning in-person or learning from home,” said Schluter. “We are proud of how our team has adapted over time to best serve our students. We have served nearly 1.3 million free healthy meals to local students since the start of the pandemic.”


Students returning to school buildings will be able to enjoy breakfast, lunch and supper offerings at school on the days they are on-site. Additionally, any child age 0-18 can receive free meals at one of several ‘Grab and Go’ pick up sites throughout the district.


The following sites will offer “Grab ‘N Go” brown bag meals from 11:30 a.m to 12:30 p.m., Monday through Friday:


  • Bend Senior High - 230 NE 6th Street, Bend
  • La Pine High - 51633 Coach Road, La Pine
  • Mountain View High - 2755 NE 27th St., Bend


 Families can find daily menus online at https://bend.nutrislice.com.






Prineville BLM Moves To Protect Eagle, Falcon Nesting Sites

Bureau of Land Management announces efforts to protect birds of prey 

Central Ore. -- The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Prineville District has started implementing a series of annual wildlife closures to protect several birds of prey species during sensitive nesting periods. Harassment by humans – unintentional or deliberate – is a leading cause of nest failure or abandonment. People walking or riding near a nest—or even being within view of an eagle on a nest—can cause an adult bird to abandon the nest. This means eggs can get cold, young don’t get fed, and the nest is open to predation. The BLM will manage the closures to be lifted once monitoring demonstrates the nest is not being used, the nest has failed, or the young have fledged to allow continued recreation access on public lands. 


All public uses will be prohibited in the closure areas including hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and off-highway vehicle (OHV) riding/driving. 


Depending on the type of bird, closures begin between January 1 through February 1 and continue until August 31. BLM wildlife staff will monitor nests frequently and will lift closures as soon as possible; no sooner than May 15. 


The following areas now have seasonal closures in effect: 

  • Millican Plateau OHV Trail System (Route #95 only) – This one-mile section of the route is closed Jan. 1 – Aug. 31 to protect nesting bald eagles. There are numerous other routes in the area for out-and-back as well as loop rides. 
  • Tumalo Reservoir – This route is closed January 1 to August 31 to protect nesting bald eagles. Visitors can hike or ride in the northeast corner of this trail area or move east to the Cline Buttes Recreation Area for a similar experience. 
  • Trout Creek Trail (South side of the Trout Creek Trail only) – Visitors are required to stay on the Trout Creek Trail or between the Trout Creek Trail and the Lower Deschutes River. This area, which includes the Trout Creek climbing walls, is closed from January 15 to August 31 to protect nesting golden eagles. Climbers can use other climbing locations such as Rattlesnake, Skinners Butte, or the Gorge at Smith Rocks. 
  • Cline Buttes Recreation Area – Portions of the Deep Canyon, Fryrear, Maston, and Jaguar Road only are closed from February 1 to August 31 to protect nesting golden eagles. Alternative Trail Use Areas in Cline Buttes include Tumalo Canal Historic Area, the Buttes, and the open portions of the areas listed above.
  • Horny Hollow Trail near Crooked River Ranch is closed from February 1 to August 31 to protect nesting golden eagles. Alternate trail sites in the area include Otter Bench, Scout Camp, Folley Waters, and Steelhead Falls. 
  • Dry River Canyon Trail on the southeast side of the Badlands is closed to protect nesting prairie falcons and golden eagles from February 1 to August 31. Alternate places in the area to recreate include Badlands Rock Trail, Flatiron Trail, and the Horse Ridge Trail Complex. 


Bald and golden eagles are protected by three Federal laws: the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and the Lacey Act. Coverage provided by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act also extends to prairie falcons. 


Violating the closure orders can lead to a fine up to $1,000, imprisonment of up to 12 months, or both. Convictions under the protection acts listed above can be much more severe. The BLM will lift closures earlier if biologists determine a nest is not occupied or the young have left the nest. 


For more information about these closures, please call the Prineville BLM office at  

(541) 416-6700. Maps of these closures will be posted at the closure areas and will be available on the BLM website at https://www.blm.gov/office/prineville-district-office under the seasonal closure tab. 


DHS Announces Increased Food Benefits Through February


News Release from Oregon Department of Human Services
Posted on FlashAlert: February 1st, 2021 9:41 AM

The Oregon Department of Human Services will continue to offer increased food benefits in February 2021, to help Oregonians struggling as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This benefit increase applies to current Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients who are receiving less than the maximum allotment. Additionally, in response to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, there is also a temporary increase in SNAP benefits of approximately 15% for all recipients.

SNAP recipients do not have to take any action to receive additional benefits as they will be placed directly on their Oregon EBT cards. Households receiving SNAP benefits will see the additional supplement to their benefits based on a maximum allotment scale. For example, if there are four individuals in a household and that household is currently receiving $500 in benefits, the emergency allotment supplement will raise their benefits to the maximum allowed for households of four, which is $680 per month – or an increase of $180. With the additional increase in benefits, the total food benefits for that household would be $782 for the month. Total supplemental benefits will differ based on each household’s regular monthly allotment.

Household Size

Maximum Monthly Benefit Amount

Benefit amount with 15% increase

























Each additional person




Additional benefits will be issued on February 10 and February 25. The February 25 benefits are for anyone who began receiving SNAP February 10 or after. Households only receive one allotment.

For more information about emergency supplemental allotments or to review frequently asked questions, visit https://www.oregon.gov/dhs/ASSISTANCE/FOOD-BENEFITS/Pages/About-SNAP.aspx.

Oregonians who receive SNAP can contact their local Self-Sufficiency Programs, Aging and People with Disabilities or Area Agency on Aging office for more information. Find a local office at https://www.oregon.gov/DHS/Offices/Pages/index.aspx or call 2-1-1.


This is the eleventh month Oregon has issued emergency supplemental allotments. Administered by ODHS, SNAP is a federal program that provides food assistance to approximately 1 million eligible, low-income families and individuals in Oregon, including many older adults and people with disabilities. Oregonians in need can apply for benefits, including SNAP, childcare, cash assistance and Medicaid. Learn more at https://govstatus.egov.com/or-dhs-benefits. For local resources in your area, such as food or shelter, please call 2-1-1 or reach out to the state’s Aging and Disability Resource Connection (ADRC) at 1-855-ORE-ADRC or 1-855-673-2372.


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