Local News Archives for 2021-08

Emergency Fishing Closures in the Deschutes

Tomorrow, September 1, 2021, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is closing summer steelhead fishing in parts of Central Oregon for the entire month of September, including sections of the Deschutes River. The department says it’s an emergency measure prompted by extremely low returns, and say it will offer the best chance for the fish populations to rebound. The part of the Deschutes impacted by the steelhead restriction is from the lower end of Moody Rapids upstream to Sherars Falls. Fishing of any kind is prohibited during September from the lower end of Moody Rapids downstream to the mouth of the River at the I-84 bridge.

NeighborImpact to Build New Food Warehouse

Starting this spring, NeighborImpact will start construction on a new food distribution warehouse. Deschutes County Commissioners are putting almost two and a half million dollars in American Rescue Plan Act funds toward the project. The additional space for food storage and distribution is expected to help needy families throughout Central Oregon. Last year NeighborImpact says it’s food program handed out more than 4 million pounds of food, providing almost six million meals.

Edward J. Ray Hall Opens Tomorrow at OSU-Cascades

A new 55 thousand square foot academic building is opening at Oregon State University Cascades tomorrow, September 1, 2021.  It’s only the second academic hall on campus – and the first to sit on what used to be pumice mine property before the school purchased it a few years ago.  School officials say the new Edward J. Ray Hall will revolve around the STEAM disciplines of science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics. 

Masks Required at Tower Theatre Starting Sept. 10

There's a new requirement if you plan to attend an event at the Tower Theater in downtown Bend next month.  Starting Friday, September 10, you’ll need to either 1) show proof you’ve had a COVID-19 vaccination and were fully vaccinated at least 14 days before the show … or 2) a negative Covid test result within 72 hours of the performance.  Masks will also be required inside the theater. 

Outdoor Mask Mandate Starts Today

The OUTDOOR mask mandate starts today.  Governor Brown's goal is to help stop the spread of the Delta variant, which has pushed the number of hospitalized patients with Covid in Oregon past 1,000.  It's not mandated for walking past someone - but will be required in all public outdoor settings when individuals from different households are not able to consistently maintain physical distance.  Children under five are exempt, and masks are not required while eating meals.  K-12 schoolchildren will continue to fall under the school mask rule rather than this new mandate.

Bend Man to Pay Nearly $3M for Medicaid Fraud

A Bend man and his residential care company will pay $2.9 million to settle allegations by the United States and the State of Oregon that the company submitted false reimbursement claims to the Oregon Medicaid program. Court records show 51-year-old Kevin Cox and his business At Home Care Group pleaded guilty to the charges. The fraud was committed over five years. As part of the settlement, cox will be excluded from participating in Medicare for 15 years and in Medicaid for eight years.

Redmond School Board Pushes for Local Mask Control

The Redmond School Board has narrowly passed a resolution by a vote of 3-2 calling for local control on K-12 mask and teacher vaccination rules, saying the district would seek all avenues - including legal action - against the state. Currently, Oregon students are required to wear masks indoors and all Oregon teachers, administrators and school volunteers must be vaccinated by Oct. 18th. The resolution says the new mandates are opposed by a segment of the district and present operational challenges, including the potential loss of students and staff who oppose the mandates.


Severe Staffing Shortage Could Limit Afterschool Program Enrollment

If your child goes to afterschool care, be prepared for extremely limited availability.  Kids Inc. is facing a severe staffing shortage. If jobs cannot be filled this week, Kids Inc. says it will be forced to reduce enrollment temporarily at its 14 elementary school locations. They will contact families as soon as Friday about any enrollment reductions. 

Statewide Outdoor Mask Mandate to Take Effect Friday

Governor Brown has just ordered a statewide OUTDOOR mask mandate to take effect on Friday.  Her goal is to help stop the spread of the Delta variant, which has pushed the number of hospitalized patients with Covid in Oregon past 1,000.  It's not mandated for walking past someone - but will be required in all public outdoor settings when individuals from different households are not able to consistently maintain physical distance.  Children under five are exempt, and masks are not required while eating meals.  K-12 schoolchildren will continue to fall under the school mask rule rather than this new mandate.

DA John Hummel Won't Seek Third Term

Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel has decided not to seek re-election.  Hummel has served for two terms, and his current term runs to the end of 2022.  The person to serve as the next District Attorney for Deschutes County will be decided in a May election next year.

Bend Population Swelling

If you’ve been a bend resident for the last ten years or more and you’ve noticed the city’s busting at the seams, you’re right.  According to the Office of Consumer Affairs that ranks cities by population and tracks their growth, Bend is one of the fastest cities in the country.  During the last decade, the city’s population has swelled by almost 33 percent.

Mobile COVID-19 Clinic in Prineville

It’s no secret that cases of COVID are on the rise. The Oregon Health Authority and the Crook County Health Department (CCHD) want to help protect the community by adding a mobile vaccination clinic. Anyone who needs the vaccine can walk in without an appointment during the week of August 23rd in multiple locations in Prineville — Paulina General Store, Prineville Presbyterian Church, Juniper Canyon Baptist Church, and the Crook County Library. The mobile clinic will provide first doses of all three vaccines — Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson and Johnson — and, if needed, will schedule second doses. Johnson and Johnson is a one-shot vaccine. For more information, visit the CCHD website.

State Corrections Official Arrested for DUI

The Superintendent of Oregon’s Deer Ridge Correctional Institution faces charges of driving while intoxicated following his arrest yesterday for DUI and resisting arrest.  Bend Police say they took 46 year old Randy Gilbertson of Payette, Idaho into custody yesterday (Thursday) morning around 2 am on the north side of Bend after trying to pull his pickup over during a traffic stop.  Investigators say Gilbertson initially ran away from the officer trying to arrest him while he was being evaluated at the scene for DUI.

Bend to Form Park Naming Committee

Here’s your chance to help name future parks, facilities and trail projects in the Bend Park and Recreation District. The district’s board of directors is establishing a five-member naming committee to make recommendations. Anyone with relevant historical knowledge and who is familiar with the community character, or those who have a passion for placemaking and community building, should apply by September 13th.


Bend City Council Extends Fireworks Ban

The Bend City Council has ratified a local emergency declaration prohibiting the use of all fireworks within Bend city limits through Dec. 1, 2021. Council earlier supported this prohibition during its Aug. 4 meeting as a way to preserve public safety and mitigate fire risk until the Council is able to consider a permanent prohibition on the sale and use of fireworks in Bend later this year. Under the emergency declaration, use of any fireworks is a class A civil infraction and carries a penalty of a fine up to $750.



Redmond Man Faces Charges of Setting Off Homemade Bomb

A 30 year old Redmond man faces multiple charges following his arrest early this morning for allegedly detonating a homemade bomb near the Bonneville Power Station. Bomb squad investigators say they found additional destructive devices at the home of Andrew McLaughlin on Juniper Avenue. No one was hurt.


COCC to Hold Vax Clinic in Madras Next Friday

The first of two free Covid vaccination clinics being held by COCC in partnership with Jefferson County Public Health is being held next week.  The pop-up clinic won’t require a photo ID or health insurance.  It’s being held Friday, August 20th from 3-7 pm at COCC’s Madras Campus.  All three vaccines will be on hand so you can choose the one you want.  Anyone 12 or older is welcome.


Governor Issues Heat-Wave State of Emergency

Governor Brown has declared another State of Emergency in Oregon in light of another triple digit heat wave this week.  The Governor has directed the Office of Emergency Management to activate the state’s Emergency Coordination Center to take protective measures.  She’s also directed state agencies to provide assistance to support those measures.  She says Oregonians should prepare for potential power outages and transportation disruptions that may occur. 

Second Homeless Shelter Coming to Redmond

Redmond is planning to open a second low-barrier homeless shelter within the next two years.  This one will be on south Highway 97 in the former Grace Gate Community Church building.  Construction has already started on the first one in what used to be the Greenway Motel in downtown Redmond which will be operated by the Bethlehem Inn.  The goal is to open the second shelter at the end of 2022.  That one will be run by Shepherd’s House Ministries.


School Supplies Drive for Needy Students in Central Oregon Underway

Mid Oregon Credit Union has launched its annual Supplies 4 Schools drive to support needy students in Central Oregon in partnership with Family Access Network.  Throughout this month, Mid Oregon will be collecting school supplies and cash donations at their seven branch locations in Bend, La Pine, Redmond, Sisters, Prineville, and Madras.  You can also make a donation on their website.  Last year the drive raised more than $27 hundred dollars in addition to donated supplies for Central Oregon students. 

Bend City Council to Consider Permanent Fireworks Ban

The Bend City Council will be taking a vote in the near future on permanently banning fireworks in the city.  Mayor Sally Russell supports an outright ban saying the safety of the community is paramount in light of extreme heat and weather conditions that can change quickly and can’t be controlled.  City Manager Eric King says he’ll propose an extension of the current temporary ban until the idea of a permanent ban can be fully flushed out by the council and the community in the next couple months.

Joint Job Fair Seeks to Fill 1,000+ Positions

St. Charles Health and Express Employment Professionals are holding a job fair next Tuesday, August 10th to try and fill more than a thousand open positions in Central Oregon.  Full-time, part-time, and flexible schedules are available.  It’s being held from noon to 6 pm at Bend Church of the Nazarene on 27th Street.  They have a wide array of job types available.  Interviews can be in person or from your car, and some jobs will have next day placement.


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