Local News Archives for 2021-10

Joint Homelessness Office

The City of Bend and Deschutes County are exploring a joint homelessness office. Nothing was finalized at a meeting yesterday, but the two agencies agreed to move forward with the idea. In general, the city deals with land use and housing, while the county works with public health and mental health services. At the meeting, Bend Mayor Sally Russell said that throwing money at the homelessness crisis won’t work and both the city and county need to be strategic. The Emergency Homelessness Task Force reports that on any given night in Central Oregon, 1,000 people—including families with children—experience homelessness.

Cascade Natural Gas Prices Increase

If you are a customer of Cascade Natural Gas, expect to see an increase in your bill as early as November first. Residential customers will an increase of 10 percent, roughly an extra $5.33. Commercial customer bills will go up 12 percent…. and industrial customers will see a 12.5 percent increase.

Bend Man Rams Police Car

After an attempt to flee, yesterday, a Bend man has been arrested and faces a list of 15 charges. Investigators say that it all began last Wednesday, when Bend Police responded to a burglary on Twin Knolls and used video surveillance to identify the suspect as 29-year-old Brenden Camirand. Yesterday, around noon, officers attempted to contact Camirand in a parking lot on Highway 97. The suspect tried to escape by getting into his car and ramming the police car that blocked him. Bend PD arrested Camirand when he eventually came out of the car and transported him to St. Charles for evaluation. Upon release, police will take him to the Deschutes County Jail on multiple charges including burglary, eluding police, and attempted assault on an officer. No one was injured, but both vehicles were damaged.

Financial Aid Forum Tonight

FAFSA? What’s that? It’s the Free Application for Federal Student Aid ….. whether attending a community college, a traditional, 4-year university, or a trade school. To help families understand FAFSA and other financial aid opportunities, the Bend- La Pine School District is hosting a virtual, info session tonight at 6 p.m. The talk will attempt to unravel the complicated world of educational financial aid and provide families with resources. The event is free and is open to families throughout the district. Join in the live, virtual presentation at  bls.fyi/financialaidnights.



As ODOT crews work on wildlife corridors, drivers south of Bend are asked to pay more attention. ODOT’s Peter Murphy says traffic changes are coming to Vandevert, near Sunriver … where the highway will eventually grow from two-to-four lanes. The project also includes an upgrade for wildlife in the area.  A similar project is also in the works for Gilchrist. Murphy asks drivers to be prepared for lane changes, watch for deer and stay safe. Here the entire Your Town conversation here.

Hummel Named Candidate for OR US Attorney

The United States Department of Justice is searching for the next U.S. Attorney for Oregon…And Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel is a candidate. This Oregon office is one of 93 in the nation. Hummel was elected as District Attorney in 2014 and reelected in 2018. Anyone can comment about the seven candidates by emailing the selection committee at selectioncommittee_@wyden.senate.gov by Friday, November 5, 2021.

Apply for Financial Aid

COCC advises students to apply for financial aid as soon as possible. Today, on Your Town, Breana Sylwester, Director of Finanical Aid at COCC, discussed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, and other finanical support opportunities. There are multiple forms of financial assistance including grants, scholarships, loans, and work study. Apply early to not miss out on grants. Financial aid is complex and can be frustrastrating to understand, but COCC Financial Aid counselors are availble onine an in person. Listen to the entire interview here.

Math Teacher is Educator of the Year

Brad Soto, a math teacher with Bend-La Pine Schools Online, is named the Outstanding Educator of the Year. Soto has served as a math teacher for nearly three decades and worked at Mountain View and Skyline high schools before moving to the online program. Bend-La Pine Schools Superintendent Steven Cook presented the award during a surprise ceremony yesterday. Soto was one of six teacher finalists considered by a committee of six community members. Mid Oregon Credit Union sponsored the $500 award. Details.

Three Redmond School Bus Routs Paused

The Redmond School District is pausing three bus routes and will pay some parents who end up driving their children to school. Beginning Tuesday, October 19th, three school bus routes, serving about 160 students, will be paused due to a persistent shortage of drivers. The District will provide $10-per-day-per-family to eligible families. The school district closed the three in-town routes to ensure the continuation of rural ones. In the meantime, the Redmond School District is actively recruiting new drivers, offering incentives, and asking the Oregon Department of Education for assistance. Paused Routes: 12, 18 and 24;   Elementary Schools: Hugh Hartman, John Tuck, MA Lynch and Tom McCall; Middle Schools: Elton Gregory and Obsidian; High Schools: Redmond and Ridgeview .Bus Updates

Bend Man Arrested for Luring a Minor

Early this morning, 30-year-old Steven Ransom, of Bend, has been arrested for Luring a Minor for Sexual Conduct. Yesterday, a Bend Police Officer posed as a 15-year-old female on a mobile app. Ransom began conversing with the fictitious child and made very graphic and detailed references about his intentions when they met. Early this morning, Ransom agreed to meet with the fake kid. Upon arrival, Ransom was taken into custody and lodged at the Deschutes County Adult Jail.

Land Sale Proceeds Splits Deschutes County Commission

At yesterday’s meeting, Commissioners voted 2-to-1 in favor of using the profits to expand the courthouse, which has been an ongoing, long-term plan. Commissioners discussed finalizing the sale of a county-owned property in Bend at 27th Street and Conners Avenue. The county is selling the land for approximately $1million dollars to Housing Works, which is building affordable housing and providing clinic space. Commissioner Phil Chang proposed using the profit for additional affordable housing projects. But Commission Chair Tony DeBone and Commissioner Patti Adair disagreed. They argued that the proceeds would be better spent on the expansion of the courthouse.

Redistricting Lawsuits Filed

Oregon Republicans have filed a lawsuit against the new congressional districts that were approved by the special session of the legislature last month.  Former Oregon Secretary of State Bev Clarno is one of three Republicans behind the lawsuit.  They accuse Democrats of gerrymandering.  The lawsuit says the boundaries of the districts make it likely that Democrats will win five of the six seats in the House.  Oregon got a sixth congressional district, because the U.S. Census showed enough population growth in the state.

Bend Man Faces Hate Crime Charge

A Bend man is facing a hate crime charge for an alleged road-rage incident this summer. Yesterday, 34-year-old Christopher King appeared in Deschutes County Circuit Court. The State alleges that King became upset over the driving of Portland resident Isaiah Evans, a Black man. After pulling over, King reportedly threatened Evans with a knife; smashed out his car window; slashed his tire; and used a racial slur against him. King’s facing five counts, including the felony of first-degree bias crime. 

OR Sets New COVID-19 Death Record at 82

Eighty-two COVID-19-related-deaths set a new daily record for Oregon. Those deaths occurred over several days and the reports were confirmed on Tuesday. Hospitalizations continue to decline with 59 fewer patients for a total of 585. There have been 4,084 deaths and 345,344 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began. OHA says that the best way to reduce COVID-related deaths is by getting vaccinated. Third doses and booster doses are also recommended. Getting vaccinated is helping to control the surge due to the Delta variant and reduce the likelihood of other variants emerging.

City of Bend Seeks Feedback on Proposed Code Changes

The City of Bend is seeking feedback on proposed housing code changes that would allow homeless shelters in most areas of city. An interactive, online tool called “Houselessness in the City of Bend,” explains the homeless shelter types and is available in English and Spanish through November 1st. The proposed amendments were developed by a City-Manager-appointed group called “the Sounding Board to House Our Neighbors.” In November, the Sounding Board will review the public feedback and further refine recommendations for January committee meetings and a public hearing.

Crook County Schools Lose Few Staff to Vaccine Mandate

At last night's Crook County School Board meeting, board members were told that only 8 employees out of more than 500 have resigned due to a COVID-19 vaccine mandate.  The statewide mandate is scheduled to go into effect next Monday, October 18, 2021.  Crook County Schools say 110 employees have taken religous exemptions, six have medical exemptions while the rest showed proof of vaccination.

Double Homicide: New Indictment and New Charge

Prosecutors now believe the two men accused of a 2020 double murder in Bend were involved in a murder-for-hire scheme. Yesterday, 57-year-old Ken Atkinson, and 31-year-old Nathan Detroit, appeared in Deschutes County Circuit Court to face a new indictment and a new charge. The co-defendants now stand accused of first-degree murder under the theory Atkinson paid his nephew Detroit to kill Atkinson’s brother and the brother’s fiancée. The pair was arrested October 1, 2021, more than a year after Ray Atkinson Jr. and Natasha Newby were found dead in their home on 12th Street. The co-defendants are being held without bail at the Deschutes County jail.

Indigenous Peoples Day Events at COCC

Central Oregon Community College is celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day today with discussion and events, both virtual and in person. In a press release, Christy Walker, director of the college’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion program says that the inaugural celbration will feature learning opportunities and forums for opening dialogue. The day will include: a virtual talk about the purpose and impact of acknowledgements (9-10 a.m.); a talk on Christopher Columbus from a Native perspective (noon-1 p.m.); Incorporating Indigenous Perspectives in the Classroom (4-5 p.m.); and a video screening of “The Columbus Controversy” (5:30-6:30 p.m.). For details: https://www.cocc.edu/home/events/indigenous-peoples-day.aspx

Indigenous Peoples Day

Today is officially recognized as Indigenous Peoples Day. This spring, Oregon joined 12 other states to recognize the second Monday of October, long known as Columbus Day, as Indigenous Peoples Day. The Legislature’s only Indigenous lawmakers, Rep. Tawna Sanchez and Rep. Teresa Alonso-Leon sponsored the bill.

  • Federal offices and courts are closed.
  • Post Offices are closed.
  • Many banks are closed – check with your institution
  • State offices in Oregon are open

City of Bend Supports Middle Housing

The City of Bend is taking action to increase affordable housing. On Wednesday, City Council approved amendments to the Bend Development Code and the Bend Comprehensive Plan that will implement House Bill (HB) 2001. In 2019, the Oregon State Legislature passed HB 2001, which requires cities with more than 25,000 residents to allow the development of “middle housing,” such as duplexes, triplexes, quadplexes, cottage cluster developments and townhouses. The new code allows middle housing in all residential areas of Bend, regardless of zoning. The updated code will go into effect in November 5, 2021.

K9 Ronin Assists Suspect Apprehension...... Twice

Do you remember when we told you about the man who was arrested after a police stand-off? Well, there's a new wrinkle to the story. Earlier this week, on Wednesday, a 33-year-old man accused of domestic violence, barricaded himself inside his house. The incident involved threats to set his house on fire and ended with a K-9 named Ronin biting the suspect. After the standoff, the man, who is yet to be identified, was taken to St. Charles. However, the following morning, without authorization, he left on his own two-feet through the Emergency Department entrance. St. Charles reported this and within ten minutes of arrival, Bend Police officers found him in the 2100 block of Kim Lane.  Just like on Wednesday, K-9 Ronin and his handler Deputy Mangin from the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office, assisted the apprehension of the suspect.  Bend PD took him into custody there, and then Bend Fire & Rescue transported him back to the hospital.  Later, the man was released from the hospital and then jailed at the Deschutes County Adult Jail. There are no new additional charges from this incident.

Bend City Council Bans Fireworks

Fireworks are now banned citywide. Last night, the Bend City Council unanimously voted to permanently prohibit the sale and use of fireworks within city limits. Several people spoke against the proposal, saying the ban was an overreach that would impact fundraising efforts for local nonprofits. A temporary ban went into effect in June due to the extremely dry conditions and fire dangers at the time. Neighboring towns like Sisters and Sunriver haven’t allowed fireworks for years. Professional fireworks shows like the annual display from atop Pilot Butte would still be allowed under the new city code. Violators could face a $750 fine.

Bend City Council Discusses Fireworks Ban

The Bend City Council will consider a permanent firework ban at tonight’s 5 o’clock meeting. It will read an ordinance that would amend the law, and then vote on whether to change it or to move forward. A temporary ban went into effect in June. Public comment will take place alongside the consideration of the ordinance, so the public can speak to this issue directly.

Redmond School Board To Hire Outside Counsel

The Redmond School Board is fighting for local control over COVID-19 mask and vaccination rules. In a special school board meeting last night, board members voted 4-to-1 to hire the Thenell Law Group, a Portland-based law firm that specializes in insurance-related cases. Students and staff in Oregon K-12 schools are required to wear masks indoors, and all school staff is required to be vaccinated by Monday, October 18th . The district already contracts with the High Desert Education Service District for attorney services, but the board has requested additional legal assistance for this case.

St. Charles Requires Visitors to Be Vaccinated

Starting, Monday, October 18th, visitors to St. Charles facilities must be fully vaccinated. This is the same day that all health care workers are also required to be fully vaccinated by the state of Oregon. In a press release, Dr. Jeff Absalon, the chief physician executive, says that safety is the top priority and they have had to make changes to the visitor policy to keep all patients, caregivers and others safe. Visitors will only be allowed with acceptable proof of vaccination.

Redmond Schools Bus Drivers call in sick

Bus driver shortages are causing havoc for Redmond Schools. Sunday night and Monday morning, seven school bus drivers called in sick, leaving about 140 students to find other ways to get to campus. Three routes had to be canceled Monday. The Redmond School District was already short 14 drivers due to hiring difficulties, forcing consolidation of routes and longer rides for some students. Bus routes are expected to run as normal today.

Arrests made in 2020 Double Murder

Two suspects are in jail in connection to the August 2020 murder of Ray Atkinson Jr. and Natasha Newby. 54-year-old Bend resident Kenneth Atkinson, and 31-year-old-Nathan Shane Detroit, of Redmond are charged with two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of first-degree conspiracy to commit murder. Kenneth Atkinson is the brother of Ray Atkinson Jr., Nathan Detroit is his nephew.

Kayaker Missing

A kayaker is missing in the area of Lava Island Falls. Friday, Bend Fire and Rescue and Deschutes County Search and Rescue (SAR) responded to a call with one deputy and eleven volunteers. The kayaker was last seen by his party near Lava Island just upstream from Meadow Camp in Class 4/5 whitewater. Search activities included shore searches, drones and water rescue teams. SAR teams continuously searched the area Friday through Sunday. Searchers later found the kayaker’s belongings including his kayak and paddle. At this time, the kayaker’s body has still not been located and he is presumed drowned.


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