Local News Archives for 2022-04

Vandals Cause Thousands of Dollars Damage to Redmond Parks

The estimated amount of damage to Redmond City parks now sits at around $75,000. Park officials have had to close restrooms due to extensive damage to bathroom fixtures by vandals. Park users are now forced to find alternative bathroom facilities for their children. Whoever is carrying out the vandalism is breaking restroom fixtures and leaving graffiti on walls. The perpetrators left behind rocks and sticks as evidence of their handiwork.The park restrooms closed for repairs include Sam Johnson, Fairhaven, Quince, American Legion, and Kalama.


Alpenglow Community Park Boasts New Bridge

Construction crews have placed a new bridge over the railroad tracks at Alpenglow Community Park, pushing the long-awaited Bend Park and Recreation District project closer to completion. The 71,000-pound structure was moved into place this weekby a large crane.The bridge will facilitate pedestrian access to 600 households within a 5-minute walk on the west side of the railway and park. Final work includes pouring the concrete bridge and installing steel bridge guardrails, and constructing the bridge’s ramp that connects the bridge to the park’s pathway. The work is expected to last a month and will be completed by the park’s June opening date. The $9.52 million community park on 15th Street includes a splash pad, dog park, multiple climbing structures, open lawn space, an event space, and demonstration garden.



Cascades Academy Wins "Green" Award

Cascades Academy has been named among 2022's 100 Best Green Workplaces in Oregon.The ranking, by Oregon Business Magazine, recognizes organizations that implement green policies - and whose employees place high value on sustainable practices. The 100 Best Green Workplaces are selected annually. They are based on anonymous employee surveys and independent assessment of the employers' sustainability practices. Last year Cascades Academy added 14 acres to its campus, bringing the total campus size to 53 acres. The academy’s campus buildings feature geothermal heating, photo-voltaic energy, energy-efficient lighting, displacement ventilation, among other sustainable features.


Infrastructure Dollars Coming to Local Irrigation Districts

TUMALO, OR -- Ten Oregon irrigation districts will share $30 million in new federal funding. U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) says Tumalo, Owyhee, East Fork and Ochoco Irrigation Districts will use their share of the money for piping projects, "We’re trying to, essentially, get the water out of the canals where you lose it to evaporation in the air, and you lose it to the gravel at the bottom of the canal. We’ve just got to make those delivery systems a lot more efficient."

Some of the funding comes from last year’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Merkley tells KBND News, "There’s a combination of infrastructure money, of community initiated project funding - those are ideas that the community came up with and said, ‘hey, help us get this inserted into a special project for Oregon in the spending bill,’ and some of the funding comes from normal annual appropriations." He adds, "We realized how precious water is and it means we have to use it incredibly efficiently. And the advantage of piping is, it both allows more deliveries to the farm but also more water to be able to stay in the river." Merkley says droughts will become more common as climate change advances, making modernization projects even more critical.


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GOP Candidates Spar at CD2 Forum

BEND, OR -- Republican candidates for Oregon’s Second Congressional District discussed hot topics at a Thursday forum, but the incumbent chose not to appear. Challengers Katherine Gallant and Mark Cavener took park in the virtual event - Cavener appearing from inside his car. Congressman Cliff Bentz currently represents CD2, a district with new boundaries this election. Moderator Matt McDonald, from Central Oregon Daily News, said Bentz did not respond to repeated requests from the League of Women Voters to participate. 

Pandemic Response

The candidates were asked what they felt the federal government’s role is in responding to a pandemic. Gallant responded, "Stay out of our business. We can’t expect the federal government to understand who we are, where we are." Cavener repeatedly referred to a "Plandemic" and said, "They need to stay out of things like the pandemic. There was no pandemic. OK? It was fake. When you look at the numbers and the definition of Pandemic, it was not."

Climate Change

On climate change, they were asked how best to mitigate the impacts of climate change. Mark Cavener responded, "It’s just another way to steal our money. It’s a bunch of hooey." He went on to claim he has evidence the deadly 2020 fires near Phoenix, OR were intentionally set so the government could take over private land, saying, "We think that all these wildfires of the last two years were due to climate change? It’s a bunch of BS. It was a controlled burn." Katherine Gallant said she supports more local control of forest management, "We need to take care of our forests. We need less regulations and we need more input from our communities."

Gun Control

They were also asked whether they would support legislation to curb gun violence. Gallant said new laws won't work, "We have to do more about developing a culture that is conducive to less crime." Cavener said, "Maybe a law that requires everybody to bear an arm? Now, I think that if everybody had ‘em there probably would be very little gun violence."


The two Republican challengers hoping to unseat Rep. Bentz in the Primary agreed on a number of other issues, including support for many Trump-era policies. Both said Joe Biden is not the duly elected President. They attacked the incumbent on multiple occasions; Cavener called Bentz a "RINO" ["Republican In Name Only"] several times. They also both said they would agree to debate any opponent if they win the Primary. And, if elected, they both committed to holding town halls across the vast Second Congressional District. 

Thursday's forum was hosted by City Club of Central Oregon and the League of Women Voters of Deschutes County. Click HERE to watch the full GOP CD2 forum and others. 


Photo: (top right) Moderator Matt McDonald, Central Oregon Daily News; (bottom left) Katherine Gallant; (bottom right) Mark Cavener

Tree Removal Causes Delays Near Sisters

SISTERS, OR -- Drivers may face delays west of Sisters next week, as Oregon Department of Transportation crews work to remove dead trees from along Highway 20. "Anytime you have a dead tree that’s close to a highway, there’s a risk that tree could fall on the road, potentially cause an accident, or fall on to a vehicle," ODOT’s Kacey Davey tells KBND News.

She says these are not connected to the large-scale die-off of Ponderosa pines in 2018 caused by an herbicide, "All of those trees have been removed a few years ago. And now, this is a separate project with about 100 trees that are spread out over 20 miles or so." Davey adds, "These are dead trees and we don’t know the reason they have died. There are a number of factors that trees die from - drought or stress or beetle kill."

The project stretches along Highway 20, from the 126 junction to near Suttle Lake. Drivers can expect delays up to 20 minutes. Work starts Monday and should finish Friday.

Fire Free Events Start This Weekend

BEND, OR -- Fire season is right around the corner and a series of events can help people in Deschutes and Jefferson counties get their properties ready.

"Fire Free provides that opportunity for the individual resident to do their part preparing for fire season," Project Wildfire Director Boone Zimmerlee tells KBND News. He says that preparation means creating defensible space around your home by clearing away brush and low branches, even getting those pine needles out of gutters, "And when we really look at fires on the landscape and what’s being threatened out there, our greatest value at risk that’s being threatened are our homes. So, we need to start at our home and work our way outward." Zimmerlee adds, "80-90% of our home ignitions are caused by ember fallout. So, we really want to think about those ignition sources around our home and where those embers would land. And those are things we want to focus on removing from around our structures."

Drop off yard debris for free at the Knott Landfill in Bend, between Saturday and May 15. You can also take approved materials to sites in Redmond, Sisters, La Pine, Sunriver and Madras over the next few weeks. You'll find a complete schedule and list of approved materials at the Fire Free website


Homeless Town Hall Highlights Strategies to Address a Growing Problem

Deschutes County’s homeless population has now reached more than 15-hundred people. During last night’s second town hall meeting on homelessness at Caldera High, about 130 people showed up to hear about strategies to fight the homeless problem, as well as hear about changes to shelter codes. The town hall was hosted by Bend Neighborhood Associations and Bend Cares. Guest speaker Alan Evans of “Helping hands Re-Entry Outreach Center” talked about the problem from a personal perspective having suffered houselessness and trauma as a child. Questions were posed to a panel that included County Commissioner Patti Adair, Police Chief Mike Krantz, Bend City Council member Megan Perkins and Evans. Perkins talked of the need to respond to the crisis as a community as a whole. Responding to a question about shelter security in residential areas, Bend City Police Chief Mike Krantz said security is the responsibility of the shelter itself in concurrence with any good neighbor agreements.




DCSO Equips Vehicles With Mobile Spike Strips

The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office has added mobile spike strips to ten of their vehicles. The Sheriff’s Office says vehicular pursuits create a substantial risk of injury to the public, the deputy and the suspect. The use of MobileSpike offers DCSO another option to lower the risks associated with vehicle pursuits. The spikes allow deputies to act immediately before vehicle speeds increase. MobileSpike is deployed from a moving patrol vehicle with the push of a button, causing a controlled deflation of the suspect’s vehicle tires. 


Secrecy Envelope Omitted From Deschutes County Ballots

BEND, OR -- Ballots for the May 17 Primary are now appearing in local mailboxes and Deschutes County Clerk Steve Dennison says some may notice a change, "We’re no longer using that blue secrecy sleeve - the optional secrecy sleeve. It will not be in the packet. But we will have a little note in there; we have a flyer just to indicate that that piece of their packet is not missing. This is intentional."

Dennison tells KBND News, "The Secretary of State’s Office allowed us to make that change and no longer use it. It’ll save us money and it’ll also save us a lot of time in processing ballots."

Not to worry; voter privacy is still protected, "What we did add was a privacy weave on the inside of your ballot return envelope- it’s kind of like a banker’s envelope type of thing. So that pattern on the inside, to maintain voter privacy."

OregonLive reports about half of Oregon’s counties did away with those secrecy envelopes this election.


ODF Video Highlights Local Forest Restoration

BEND, OR -- Central Oregon Forests are prominently featured in a new video series produced by Oregon's Department of Forestry. The "Forward Together" series is part of ODF's Federal Forest Restoration Program.

In the episode titled "Restoring the Backyard Forest," Deschutes County Commissioner Phil Chang explains how our local forestland is a critical part of our economy and ecosystem, "It provides important fish and wildlife habitat; it provides carbon storage to help us combat climate change. And, restoration represents an opportunity to employ hundreds of people in our community in keeping that forest healthy and resilient."

Other episodes highlight the work being done in other regions to restore the forests and balance the needs of fish, recreators, wildlife, watersheds and timber. Officials say it takes collaboration to manage the patchwork of state, federal and private forestland around Oregon. 

You'll find all four episodes at ODF's YouTube page.



Crook County Promotes Working Close to Home

PRINEVILLE, OR -- With employers struggling to fill jobs, communities are finding new ways to attract workers. Crook County officials say workers leaving the county to work in Redmond or Bend for work is straining the county's economy. Crook County Judge Seth Crawford says new highway billboards promoting the benefits of working closer to home is an example of the county’s long standing history of collaboration, "We were brainstorming at our EDCO meeting about employees and we brought up the idea that people working outside our community are going in one certain direction, so you know, it gives us a certain opportunity to have a candid audience.” In this case, the collaborative entities are the Prineville Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development of Central Oregon. Crawford says employers are doing everything possible to attract and retain workers, including offering increased wages and other benefits to offset the imbalance.

But, Employment Department Regional Economist Damon Runberg says the highway goes both ways, "Because of the growth of the data centers, there is a huge, huge workforce who are Bend residents, who are driving to Prineville every day. So, Bend could make the same argument back to Prineville - ‘stop driving to Prineville for work and stay here!’" And, he tells KBND News, and not all commuters are created equal, "I would imagine that Crook County is sending some lower wage workers to Bend or Redmond for jobs. And, ironically, Bend is likely sending high wage workers from Bend to Prineville to work at the data centers. So, they’re not necessarily a one-for-one comparison."

While the billboards may cause some people to rethink where they work and how far they drive to get there, Runberg says for others, living in Central Oregon means having a certain freedom of lifestyle, "A lot of folks are making those choices because they want to have their Powell Butte ranchette and their horse property, and they want to do their job in Bend. That’s completely their economic and lifestyle decision that they’re making."

GOP Candidates for Deschutes Co. Commissioner Face Off at Forum

BEND, OR -- The two Republicans running for Deschutes County Commissioner Position One faced off in a virtual forum, Tuesday, hosted by the League of Women Voters and City Club of Central Oregon.

Top Priorities

Challenger Scott Stuart and Incumbent Tony DeBone were asked what they think are the most important issues. Stuart cited water, homelessness and what he called “the voting issue.” He says those issues could all be fixed by implementing "home rule." Stuart says, "If the people vote for this on a ballot measure in November of this year, it will give the County Commissioners the power to legislate ordinances that are on the same level as the state statutes." Incumbent Commissioner DeBone says managing growth is the biggest issue facing the county, "We do have people moving here; we have a high cost of housing. And I really do advocate for maybe opening up the land use book that Oregon has."

Pandemic Response

The two candidates discussed a range of topics, from social justice and the water crisis, to recent lawsuits against the Sheriff. But things got a little heated when the candidates were asked about the county’s pandemic response. Both said Governor Brown overstepped her authority. But overall, DeBone stood by county-level decisions, "I was always an advocate of a culture of prudence and safety. If you want to get a vaccine, if you want to wear a mask, please do. It may be prudent if you’re in a store and you’re immunocompromised." Stuart gave the county an ‘F’ grade, saying he’s running for office because of what he sees as a lack of county leadership during the pandemic, "I’ve never worn a mask. I’ve been out on the frontlines. People’s Rights- that group formed because nobody was listening to us."

Candidate Differences

Stuart and DeBone were asked what sets them apart from the other candidate. "I’m a lion," said Stuart, "I don’t know what Tony is, but I know he’s not a lion. Right now, our county needs leadership- leadership that will take action." Commissioner DeBone responded, "I feel like my opponent is speaking to a small section of the community in every topic that he’s talking about. I’m experienced and I do know that I represent everybody."


The winner of the Republican nomination on May 17 will take on Oliver Tatom in the November Election. Tatom is the only Democrat running for Deschutes County Commissioner Position One. Click HERE to watch Tuesday's forum and others hosted by the League of Women Voters of Deschutes County. 


Photo: (top right) Moderator Gerry O'Brien, Bulletin Editor; (bottom left) Challenger Scott Stuart; (bottom right) Incumbent Commissioner Tony DeBone

Voter Registration Deadline for May Primary is Tuesday

BEND, OR -- Voters have until midnight Tuesday, April 26 to get registered to vote in the May Primary or update their party affiliation. "Which is a really tricky deadline too, because ballots are mailed out on Wednesday," says Deschutes County Clerk Steve Dennison, "So voters will start to see them later this week. But, by the time voters have their ballots in their hands, it’s already too late to change your party affiliation."


While most eligible Oregonians are already registered, thanks to the state’s “Motor Voter” law,  many are listed as “Nonaffiliated.” In Deschutes County, Dennison says more than a third are not registered with a party, "Countywide, we have over 51,000 registered as non-affiliated voters, and then 47,000 Democrats and 44,000 Republicans; and then a handful of minor parties, as well." Dennison says those Nonaffiliated voters won’t get a say in partisan races on May 17 if they don’t update their registration by the deadline, "If a voter wants to see partisan contests and candidates on their ballot, they would need to affiliate with either the Republican or Democrat parties."


He tells KBND News changing your party affiliation is pretty simple, "Updates can be done online. Voters can go to OregonVotes.gov, there’s a section of that website called My Vote. That’s the Oregon Secretary of State’s elections webpage. And you can update your information there, you just need to enter your Oregon Driver License or ID number." Online updates must be done before midnight. You can also update your voter registration card at your local county clerk’s office, library, DMV or post office during business hours.


Seasonal Job Openings Abound in Central Oregon

BEND, OR -- Central Oregon’s hospitality sector continues to struggle to fill job openings, and near-record-low unemployment and rising inflation could impact Central Oregon’s summer tourist season. Oregon Employment Department Regional Economist Damon Runberg says we’ve entered what’s called a wage-price spiral, "As inflation rises, we see workers request higher wages to help compensate for their own inflation that they’re paying. So, businesses will offer those higher wages, and then they have to pass those higher wages on to the consumers of those products and you get sort of a spiral that exists." He says there’s no good answer to break the cycle. 


Runberg tells KBND News seasonal hiring for summer typically peaks in March, "Here in Central Oregon, there were over 3100 job ads in March, which is a 12% year-over-year increase from what it was last March. And, here’s the crazy number: That’s an 85% increase in job ads compared to what it was in March 2019. So, we’re talking about levels of hiring demand in anticipation of the summer season far in excess of anything we’ve seen here locally, in Central Oregon." But, what if all those visitors don’t materialize? Runberg says, "Even the industry associations associated with hoteliers are anticipating a pretty sizable decline in hotel visits this summer across the nation, so we’ll see. In theory, inflation and the savings being depleted should lead to a slightly less busy summer season for hotel destinations." Runberg says it could be a good thing, helping even out the supply and demand of the workforce.  

PCAC Looking for Volunteers

The Police Chief’s Advisory Council (PCAC) needs volunteers. Part of the City of Bend's 2021-2023 goals include a safety, health, accountability, and justice. The PCAC is instrumental in helping the city achieve those goals serving as a communication tool for building relationships and trust within the community. Applications to become members of the PCAC are now being invited from members of the community interested in joining the council. The PCAC Council is made up of people whose diverse backgrounds are reflective of the Bend community as a whole. Meetings will be held one evening per month for about 90 minutes. For more information, visit:  https://www.bendoregon.gov/government/departments/police/police-chief-s-advisory-council


Community Input Welcomed for Central Oregon Center for the Arts

A group of Central Oregon residents continues to explore the idea of building a Central Oregon Center for the Arts (COCA). Jon Thompson, COCA Communications Chair, says the idea has been on the burner for several years but plans were interrupted by the Covid-19 crisis. Thomson says the group has since forged ahead with their vision, forming a “discovery study” to determine the feasibility of a Center for the Arts. Last fall, a firm was hired to oversee the study and get the community’s response to the idea and narrow down logistics like location, building size, goals, and how best to serve the community. The COCA board will hold a series of community town halls to establish answers to these questions. The community and members of the business and arts communities are invited to attend the meetings on May 3rd, 4th and 5th at COCC’s COATS Campus Center from 4 - 5:30 p.m. The meetings will be moderated by the Arts Consulting Group, the company hired to perform the discovery studyThe Arts Consulting Group has developed an online community engagement survey to gather feedback and ideas.  Click here to participate in the survey. The survey deadline is May 8. Attendance is free, but registration is required. To register for the event, please visit: www.cocarts.org. For additional information, contact Jon Thompson, COCA communications chair, at info@cocarts.org. or at (818)207-1026




Gov. Brown Declares Drought Emergency

SALEM, OR -- Governor Kate Brown issued drought declarations for four Oregon counties Monday afternoon. Citing low snowpack, low reservoir levels and low streamflows, Brown declared drought emergencies in Deschutes, Lake, Malheur and Grant counties. Read her official declaration HERE


Governor Brown said forecasted water supply conditions and precipitation levels are not expected to improve, with drought likely to have a significant economic impact on farming, ranching, recreation and tourism. State agencies continue to monitor conditions. 


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Worksource Hosts Regional Job Fair

BEND, OR -- Amid near record low unemployment in Central Oregon, Worksource Oregon and the Employment Department are hosting an event to match companies with potential workers.


Tuesday’s job fair is a match-making event, of sorts. "The goal is to get all 25 businesses that are hiring, to give them lots of candidates to interview," Worksource Oregon’s Forrest Smith tells KBND News. He says it's also beneficial for job seekers, "[It's a] more engaging way for community members to learn about positions that they may never have thought of." He adds, "We want to give all job seekers an opportunity to have face to face interactions with employers and become more than just an online resume."


Smith says there are a variety of employers to choose from, "Ranging from IT and tech, to construction and manufacturing and the healthcare industry. We’re also going to have public employers, nonprofit and private industries. So, really we’re trying to make sure there’s an employer in every sector."


The downtown Bend job fair runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday at Troy Field; priority service is offered to Veterans for the first 30 minutes. It is outdoors, so dress for the weatherAlso Tuesday, Bend Parks and Rec hosts its own job fair at their district office, from 4 to 6:30 p.m. 

Hot Tub Causes LaPine Structure Fire

A hot tub is blamed for a structure fire in LaPine. La Pine Rural Fire Protection District firefighters responded at 2:47 a.m. to a home on Wood Duck Court. The residents were awakened by their fire alarm system to discover a large fire burning on their deck. Deschutes County Sheriff Deputies were first on scene and were able to assist the occupants and use a garden hose to slow the spread of the fire. Firefighters quickly extinguished the blaze which had spread underneath the eaves to the outside walls of the two story home. The fire was determined to have been caused by an electrical fault with the hot tub which had recently been serviced.

Three Vie for Crook County Commission Seat

Three candidates are running for a commission seat on the Crook County Commission.  Incumbent Brian Barney, a Prineville native and former rancher, faces challenges from Corey Whalen and Doug Muck in in the May 17 Primary Election. All three are vying for Position 2 on the county court. It's Barney's third bid for the position he's held since 2017. He's running on his background which includes helping establish a new Crook County jail and airport, and helping the county's approach to the drought crisis. Whalen, of Prineville, is a farmer and former business owner, he said he wants to encourage young people to get into politics. Muck, also a resident of Prineville, is a rancher and entrepreneur, and hopes to see more accountability in county government. Two candidates will advance to the November election.


Bend Parks & Rec Hosts Hiring Event Tuesday

The Bend Park and Recreation District is holding another hiring event. It will be tomorrow (Tuesday) from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Bend Park & Recreation District office on Columbia Street. Prospective team members can find out more about job opportunities and attend on-site interviews. Job offers will be made on the spot. The Park District hired 19 employees during a March hiring event. As staff look toward a busy summer they hope to fill remaining openings. Those include lifeguards, swim instructors, outdoor recreation leaders. Open positions can be found at: www.bendparksandrec.org/jobs.




Multiple Agencies Respond to Outbuilding Fire

REDMOND, OR -- Firefighters battled an outbuilding fire for more than an hour, Saturday night, west of Terrebonne. As crews responded to NW Grubstake Way at 9 p.m., they learned the building housed large amount of ammunition. Due to the danger posed by the ammunition and the rapid spread of the fire, multiple agencies responded from Bend, Crook County and Cloverdale.

Firefighting efforts were made more difficult by the ammunition and black powder going off inside the building. Crews were forced to temporarily seek shelter to allow the ammunition to burn. 

The outbuilding was deemed a total loss. The cause of the fire is under investigation. 

Bend Home Damaged by Sunday Fire

BEND, OR -- An early morning fire damaged a southeast Bend Home, Sunday. Bend Fire and Rescue officials say one person was asleep in a second-floor bedroom, directly above the blaze. She awoke to the sound of smoke alarms, called 911 and evacuated with her dog. 

Investigators say the fire started at the natural gas fireplace, although the exact cause has not been determined. Damages are estimated at $22,000.

Bend Fire says the smoke alarm batteries were recently replaced, and says working smoke alarms save lives. 

Serious Crash on Highway 97 Closes SB at Revere Exit

A serious crash involving two vehcles Friday on U.S. Highway 97 has closed southbound traffic at the Revere Avenue exit. The crash was reported at 8:34 a.m. in the southbound lanes just north north of the exit. Two children in one of the vehicles were both injured and transported to SCMC - Bend. The drivers of both vehicles were evaluated and treated at SCMC - Bend. SB lanes of Highway 97 were closed between Empire Avenue and the SB onramp at Revere Avenue and expected to remain closed until 1pm while the Bend PD Crash Reconstruction Team is on scene. The Bend Police Department was assisted by the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office, Oregon State Police, Bend Fire & Rescue and the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT). Anyone who witnessed this motor vehicle crash is encouraged to call non-emergency , 541-693--6911, and request to speak with the Crash Reconstruction Team.


Lemon Gulch Mt. Bike Trail Project Opposed by Residents

There was a large turnout at the Crook County Fairgrounds this week about a proposed mountain bike trail system on Lemon Gulch in the Ochoco National Forest. The proposal calls for up to 52 miles of bike trails - the vision of the Ochoco Trails group for several years in the making. A series of public hearings have now been held on the subject.  During Wednesday's meeting a number of Mill Creek residents continued to voice opposition to the idea, namely due to the perceived impact on wildlife and grazing cattle. Crook County Commissioners discussed the project at length this week. They voted unanimously to request the forest service to consider starting the whole process over again.

Brief Lockdown at St Charles - Bend

St Charles Health System went into lock down Wednesday night after police had to escort an individual out of the hospital. Public Information and Government Affairs Officer, Lisa Goodman, confirms that for a short period of time - from 11:32 p.m. to 11:58 p.m. the hospital locked its doors after a “disruptive individual” in the Emergency Department lobby had to be escorted outside of the building by security. When the individual attempted to get back inside the hospital, hospital officials called the Bend Police Department. The individual was placed under arrest and taken into custody.



Biden Promotes Airport Funding at Oregon Visit

PORTLAND, OR -- President Joe Biden spent Thursday afternoon in Oregon to promote his Bipartisan Infrastructure Law; his first visit to the state since being elected President. He met with Portland Airport officials and dignitaries to discuss several PDX projects receiving federal funding, including a new roof and upgraded runway. He later spoke inside an Oregon Air National Guard hangar, saying the threat of a large earthquake poses a big risk to the airport's infrastructure. "It wouldn’t just threaten lives, it would threaten to shut down the local economy for a heck of a lot longer than the two months it takes to fix an escalator. Folks, but your Senators and Congressmen are looking out for you. They fought to dedicate $3.75 million in the last omnibus bill to build a resilient runway here at PDX." 

The President says of the $25 billion the law will spend to modernize airports nationwide, $211 million is earmarked for 50 Oregon airports, "These ports and airports are open for more business. And we’re sending the same message about your roads and your bridges. Right now, there are nearly 400 bridges and about 1300 miles of highway in poor condition, just here in Oregon." Biden said driving on those poor roads costs Oregonians an extra $256 a year in gas, repairs and longer commutes, calling it a "hidden tax." He says the infrastructure law will help, "We’re making the most significant investment to modernize roads and bridges in the last 70 years, since Eisenhower’s state highway system. This year alone, we’re delivering $662 million to fix roads and bridges in Oregon, plus an additional $53 million in dedicated funding for bridges."

Biden also says money is coming to speed up recovery from extreme weather events. "Over the last decade, extreme weather has cost the state of Oregon at least $5 billion in damages," he said, "Our infrastructure law upgrades, modernizes and strengthens transmission lines, helping communities to deal with floods, drought and wildfires that are only coming with more frequency and ferocity."

He also said the law funds more drinking water infrastructure and expands broadband access. His speech was to a friendly crowd of union workers and politicians, including Governor Kate Brown, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, a few City Councilors and Oregon’s Democratic Congressional Delegation. After Biden’s visit to the Airport, he took part in a Democratic fundraiser at the Portland Yacht Club. He's in Seattle on Friday.

GOP Candidates for CD-5 Take Virtual Stage

BEND, OR -- Five candidates are vying for the Republican nomination in Oregon’s Fifth Congressional District. Four took part in a virtual forum on Thursday, hosted by City Club of Central Oregon and the League of Women Voters of Deschutes County.  The candidates were asked about a variety of topics:

Top Priorities:

They were each asked to list their top three priorities if elected. Madison Oatman, the only Central Oregonian on the panel, said the most important issues are term limits in Congress, protecting the Second Amendment and maintaining free speech, "Government should not be involved in anything we have to say."

Jimmy Crumpacker wants better forest management and border control. But says his top priority is inflation, "Inflation’s 8.5% right now. This is the highest it’s been since 1981."

Laurel Roses says she’s focused on immigration, states’ rights and education, "I think it’s time to turn education back to the parents."

For Lori Chavez-Deremer, border protection and inflation are top priorities, and she believes energy costs have a big impact on rising inflation, "We need to immediately start building back the Keystone Pipeline. We also need to start drilling more."


Asked about immigration and border management, Roses says she supports a permanent residency program for undocumented people who have lived in the US for a long time and have no criminal record, "They’ll never be able to apply for citizenship, and they’ll never be able to vote but they can stay here, come out of the shadows and live a happy and productive life."

The other three candidates all say the answer is at the Southern border. "We need to, from a federal standpoint, increase the budget of our border security," said Crumpacker. Chavez-Deremer said, "We have to shut that southern border and we have to protect our borders as a sovereign nation." And Oatman added, "One policy I would support is funding border patrol. The second is finishing the wall."

Pandemic Response:

There was full agreement when asked whether the government should spend more to build resiliency into the federal COVID response. All said they didn't want any more federal money spent. Chavez-Deremer: "I’m not buying into it and I think we need to get back to normal." Oatman said, "Last thing we need to do in this economy is spend more money." Roses: "Adding to our national debt for anything at this point is unacceptable and unsustainable." And Crumpacker added, "I am very worried about the federal government spending more money."


They also discussed gun background checks, homelessness, Congress trading stocks and redistricting. Click HERE to watch the full forum. John Di Paola is the fifth Republican running for CD-5. He was unable to attend the forum. City Club hosted a forum for Democrats running for CD5 earlier in the week. 

The deadline to register or change party affiliation for the May Primary is next Tuesday, April 26.

Photo: Clockwise from top left: Lori Chavez-Deremer, Laurel Roses, Jimmy Crumpacker, Madison Oatman

Canal Breach Blamed on Rock Chucks

REDMOND, OR -- An irrigation canal breach flooded roadways and prompted emergency alerts south of Redmond, Wednesday night, according to the Central Oregon Irrigation District. COID officials say the break in the Pilot Butte Canal occurred at about 9 p.m. on Young Avenue, between 61st and Canal Blvd. The canal was flowing at 250 cubic feet per second at the time. "We have stopped the flooding and are assessing how to help people who are impacted," COID Managing Director Craig Horrell said in a Thursday morning statement. "At this time, there is no projection of how long it will take to repair and restore the canal." Officials have confirmed the breach was caused by burrowing rock chucks, which led to the breaking up of canal banks. The extent of the damage is unclear. "We want to thank the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office and Deschutes County Road Department for their excellent emergency management support and equipment," said Horrell.

Redmond Plans Community Forum on Proposed Public Safety Facility

Neighbors for a Safe Redmond plan to host a community forum for those who want to learn more about the Public Safety Facility bond on the May ballot. A presentation of the proposed Public Safety Facility project will be presented by Redmond Police Chief Devin Lewis. The Redmond Police Department has outgrown its current, building which was originally intended to house only 30 people.  This event is free and takes place on Monday April 25th at the Redmond Senior Center from 4:00 to 5:00pm. Participants can also view the meeting online via Zoom. You can register for Zoom at www.neighborsforasaferredmond.com.







Redmond Mayor Delivers Annual State Of City Address

During his State of the City address at the Central Oregon Business Expo and Job Fair luncheon Wednesday, Redmond Mayor George Endicott touched on multiple topics, but mostly the city’s rapid growth. Latest projections show Redmond’s population will grow by 50,000 over the next 20 years.That means population of 85,000 by 2042. That equates to almost 8 people a day. The city is more affordable than Bend, family friendly and its airport attracts businesses. Industrial parks are rapidly growing. Redmond has a Comprehensive Plan to manage future growth and development over the next 20 years. In February, the City Council approved adding a 40-million- dollar bond on the May ballot to fund a new police headquarters. The Redmond Police Department has outgrown its current facility - originally designed to house around 30 people. Endicott talked of about housing efforts: last year building permits were issued for 950 new residential homes. And the city continues to look at workforce and affordable housing options and more assistance for the city's homeless population through a county-wide coalition. Endicott also talked about the city’s efforts to support local businesses during the pandemic. About 416,000 units of PPE - including masks, wipes, and sanitizer were dispersed to 450 businesses.






New Exhibit Explores Historic Multi-Cultural Logging Camps

BEND, OR -- Post-Civil War, African Americans found a decent living as loggers. But, by the 1920s, there was a "Great Migration" as many people of color sought to escape Jim Crow laws in the South. At the same time, timber companies had their eyes on Oregon, "And a lot of employees from the South see that as an opportunity to come west," says Deschutes Historical Museum Executive Director Kelly Cannon-Miller, "And see if they can make a better life for themselves out here."

A traveling exhibit coming to the museum in Bend explores one such logging camp, known as "Maxville," which worked near the eastern Oregon town of Joseph from 1923-1933. Cannon-Miller says racist “exclusion laws” remained on the books in Oregon for the first three years of Maxville, "But here you have a place where loggers who know each other, who have moved out together in family units - it’s a population of about 400 and 40-60 are African American. While the town was segregated on paper, they didn’t actually play that out in real life. The town did integrate." She says children played and attended school together, families gathered together - it was a multi-cultural community not seen elsewhere in Oregon at the time. 

But, it couldn't last. "It’s just like all Oregon logging stories," Cannon-Miller tells KBND News, "Eventually the trees are gone, and the logging operation winds down and comes to a close, and then you have to find a new job. So, for a lot of African American employees, the next opportunity available to them was the Vanport Shipyards in Portland." But in 1948, Vanport would also disappear, destroyed by a flood. 

The exhibit runs April 28-June 10 at the Deschutes Historical Museum. It coincides with a performance of "From Maxville to Vanport" at the Tower Theatre on April 27. Cannon-Miller explains, "The Portland Jazz Composers Ensemble found out about this story and created a whole new body of work that’s musical and video and film, based on the lives of these loggers, following through to the Vanport story."

Ticket holders for the Tower performance can show their ticket to receive buy one, get one free admission to the museum's exhibit. 

Click HERE to learn more about the traveling exhibit from the Maxville Heritage Interpretive Center.


Photo: courtesy Maxville Heritage Interpretive Center. 

ODOT Wraps Up Work at Highway 97 and 61st Street

REDMOND, OR -- Oregon’s Department of Transportation is wrapping up work at a critical intersection between Bend and Redmond. The project is aimed at improving safety on Highway 97. 

According to an ODOT study, the stretch of 97 between Bend and Redmond saw 130 crashes, between 2011 and 2015. Ten of those resulted in serious injuries or death, and many were at or near the intersection with 61st Street. 

ODOT's Kasey Davey says driving the corridor should get a little easier next week, "By the commute on Tuesday morning, folks should see all of the construction, all of the temporary barrier at that intersection picked up and you’ll have new improvements there." Those improvements include new flashing lights alerting people of the intersection, and acceleration and deceleration lanes, "So, when you want to slow down to make a right on to 61st, like you’re coming from Redmond, you can pull over into your own lane  and slow down without affecting traffic behind you. The same thing on the other side. So, if you’re trying to make a right and go towards Bend from 61st, you’ll have 2,000 feet of your own lane to get up to speed before you have to merge into traffic."

The project aimed at improving safety comes with a $6 million price tag. "But that’s not just for 61st Street," Davey tells KBND News, "That’ll include improvements at Quarry, some median barrier, some visibility improvements and a turnaround at the end of that median barrier." That next phase is expected to start as soon as crews can shift equipment north from 61st to Quarry Avenue.


Judge's Lifting of Mask Mandate Solicits Mixed Reaction

With Monday’s announcement that a federal judge in Florida struck down the federal mask mandate for public travel, people across the country are greeting the news with mixed reactions. While an appeal of the ruling is still possible, there is joy, confusion, and anxiety over the announcement. Redmond Municipal Airport Director, Zach Bass, says they are excited and happy to see customers mask free faces but respects that for many, the choice to wear a mask is optional as many airlines are now indicating. If anything changes, Bass says the airport will immediately adjust. Just days before the mask mandate was struck down US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced the mandate would be extended through May 3rd. The US Surgeon General based their decision on increasing rates of Covid-19 and sub-variants.




Local Snowpack Lags Despite Recent Storm

BEND, OR -- Despite recent rain and snow, Central Oregon’s snowpack remains below normal for the year. "The valve kind of shut off January 6-8 and we flatlined, which means we didn’t receive snow," says Scott Oviatt, Supervisory Hydrologist with the USDA's Natural Resources and Conservation Service in Oregon, the agency who conducts snow surveys.

Oviatt says this third year of drought is taking a toll, "If you have dry soil going into the winter months when you accumulate snow on it, there’s no place for that snow to runoff into the streams. It’s going to be absorbed into the soil, kind of like a dry sponge." He adds, "We went into the fall with very low stream flows - record lows in some cases, very low reservoirs for storage upstreams in the Deschutes Basin. And, we’re just not going to replenish those, so we’re just going to have inadequate water supplies which we could typically rely on later in the year." Those water supplies are critical for spring stream-flowsm summer irrigation and recreation.

He says snowpack in the Deschutes Basin typically peaks March 28, "Now we’re on the side of the curve where we should be melting out. Fortunately we’re gaining snow, which is beneficial, of course. But, we’re so far behind in terms of accumulation for the year and for the winter, it’s almost a too little too late scenario."

One Dem. Candidate Appears for CD5 Forum

BEND, OR -- City Club of Central Oregon and League of Women Voters of Deschutes County kicked off a series of Primary Election candidate forums with the Democrats running for Oregon’s Fifth Congressional District. After initially agreeing to take part in the Tuesday event, the League of Women Voters says incumbent Representative Kurt Schrader backed out. His Primary challenger Jamie McLeod-Skinner appeared at the virtual forum alone, answering questions from moderator Aaron Switzer, of The Source Weekly.

Click HERE to watch the full virtual forum, but here are a few highlights: 

Pandemic Response

McLeod-Skinner was asked about a variety of topics, including the "proper role" of Congress in preventing future pandemics. "Congress’ role is really to look at the crises we can avoid, things like the climate crisis that we’re fighting, and change the trajectory that we’re on," said McLeod-Skinner, "And then, it’s also to appropriately fund the preparedness and the recovery piece."

Homelessness & Housing

The Terrebonne Democrat was also asked how the federal government should address the housing crisis: "You know, the city of Bend is really doing some creative things around housing. Providing the resources to enable them to do that work is really critically important." She added, "Congress holds the purse-strings and the federal government has an opportunity to make those investments now so that people get access to housing. Housing - affordable housing is a huge issue throughout the district, throughout our state and really throughout our country.


And, on  Congress’ role in protecting voters from misinformation online, she said, "Creating restrictions and monitoring social media platforms, that’s accountability that Congress can actually be stepping up and be a bit more aggressive on - holding hearings and also establishing laws and expectations for those who are using the information super-highway of the internet. I think Congress has an important role to play there."

Oregon's New 5th District

Until last year's redistricting, Central Oregon was part of the Second District, represented by Congressman Cliff Bentz (R). The new boundaries split our region, with portions of Jefferson and Deschutes Counties now in the Fifth District, currently represented by Congressman Kurt Schrader (D). The district also includes portions of Multnomah, Clackamas, Hood River, Marion, Benton and Linn counties. McLeod-Skinner was asked whether the eight counties making up the new Fifth District have anything in common. She responded, "So, the newly drawn district now extends from the Sellwood Bridge to Sunriver, is really a shortstop for it. But we have urban and rural areas, like throughout our state. And, what’s so exciting about CD-5, is it’s really a microcosm of Oregon and a microcosm of our country. So those partnerships, and bringing folks together across that urban-rural divide, is something that I find really exciting."


McLeod Skinner ran unsuccessfully against now-retired Congressman Greg Walden in the Second District in 2018, and for Oregon Secretary of State in 2020.

Republican candidates for CD-5 debate Thursday.

River Recreation Visitors Face Parking Limitations

The quest to find free parking near the Deschutes River this summer could turn plans to float down the river into an obstacle course before even hitting the river. Before Christmas, Bend City officials designated a year long pilot program designed to prioritize residential parking in Old Bend neighborhood's "parking benefit district" as a permanent fixture of the city. That includes streets near Miller's Landing Park. In the future river users may have to pay for parking and it could be time-limited. Farther upstream, Riverbend Park, could also be impacted by condominium housing under construction at SW Columbia and Shevlin Hixon Drive. Public feedback on the proposed paid and time limited parking will considered by the Bend Park and Recreation District.

Students Encouraged to Sign Up Soon for COCC Campus Housing

Central Oregon Community College’s fall 2022 housing applications are currently open to students. COCC offers a unique, 320 bed residence hall on campus with views of the Cascades Mountains. Andrew Davis, director of student and campus life and interim director of campus safety, says students should sign up early as spots fill up quickly. Besides the obvious benefits to living on campus at COCC, including amenities and student life opportunities, research indicates students who live on campus typically have higher academic success rates and satisfaction than those who do not. Living on campus helps students cut down on commuting and housing expenses. Prospective students can apply online; an application fee and background check for each student is required. Financial advisors will guide students through a budget sheet to figure out how much it will cost with financial aid and how much they have to pay out of pocket. Davis says a $1000 down payment and 200 dollar security deposit is required to secure a spot. For a tour of COCC and Wikiup Hall, students should call the college.





Crook County Educator Selected as Oregon Principal of the Year

Crook County High School Principal Michelle Jonas has been name one of Oregon’s top education leaders. Jonas was selected by the Coalition of Oregon School Administrators (COSA) as Oregon’s Principal of the Year (for 2022). COSA Executive Director Craig Hawkins traveled from Salem to make the announcement.  Jonas’ was honored for several accomplishments, including her response to the pandemic and getting students back to school quickly. During her tenure the school’s graduation rates improved from 59 to 98 percent. She was also instrumental in increasing high student engagement through career & technical education, after-school clubs, performing arts, athletics, and - an enhanced counseling program. Jonas has served CHSS for 13 years, including as vice principal for four years and principal for the last nine years. The Coalition of Oregon School Administrators will officially present Jonas with her award at their annual conference in Seaside this June. 



Deschutes County Receives Elections Grant

BEND, OR -- Deschutes County will receive an Elections Modernization Grant from the state approved Monday by County Commissioners. 

"They've offered us $15,000," County Clerk Steve Dennison told Commissioners Monday, "It's to be spent on things such as updating voting machines, purhcasing ballot dropboxes, video surveillance and things like that."

Dennison says the local allocation will be used for new equipment, "Aditional dropboxes as spares, and as we're rolling out new dropbox locations. And then, an ADA-compliant voting device, where a voter can vote unassisted ona  compliant terminal that is associated with our current voting system." He told Commissioners the current terminal used by people with disabilities was a hand-me-down from the state, is outdated and is not compatable with the county's ballot counting system. 

He admits he requested an amount on the low end of what was available, "Each county got a minimum of $15,000. So, some counties had a more dire need for things like - to replace their entire voting system, which we did just five years ago."

The new equipment will not be in place for the May 17 primary. Dennison says the money isn't available until July. 

Body of Missing Man Found

A body of a Bend man who went missing last week, was found Saturday. 70-year-old Coty Alexander, was found in an undisclosed location. The man’s family has been notified, according to the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office. Alexander was reported missing from his camp on China Hat Road last Wednesday. The man’s dog and vehicle were left behind at the campsite. The last confirmed sighting of Alexander was on April 8th the south end of Bend. 


Lemon Gulch Project Continues to Draw Criticism from Area Residents

Residents who live near a proposed trail project to build up to 52 miles of single track trails near Prineville along Lemon Gulch in the Ochoco National Forest are not backing down in their opposition to the project. The trail system would include three trailheads and a parking area. During a public hearing last week in Crook County, several area residents who live in the Mill Creek Road area told Forest Service  Representatives they do not want the trails to be developed. Among them, farm owners, who say developing Lemon Gulch into a mountain bike trail system, will disturb grazing cattle and area wildlife. Kassidy Kern says she is not sure why some residents are claiming they were blindsided about the development. She says the project, which is not set in stone, has been widely advertised on the US Forest website, and on Facebook. She said hundreds of letters were also sent out to residents. An environmental assessment is planned soon and another public hearing on the matter will be help in June.


Madras Receives Odot Grant For Safer Streets

The City of Madras has received a grant from ODOT for an infrastructure project to create more safety for students attending Madras Elementary School and Madras High School.The $300,000 grant from ODOT Safe Routes to School Construction Program will be used to increase safe walking and biking routes for students and other members of the community. A two-block section on 7th Street between “B” and “D” Streets - one of the busiest streets in town, will be replaced. That includes the sidewalks, and adding ADA ramps, new curbing, drainage, and paving. The area being upgraded, is adjacent to Sa-ha-lee Park. ODOT received 99 applications for the Safe Routes to School Competitive Construction Grant Program.. and awarded funding to 43 projects for a total of $28.3 million. The projects support under-resourced communities to create safer walking, biking, and rolling routes through the use of flashing beacons, crossings, sidewalks and bike lanes. 


Summer Academy Returns to OSU-Cascades

BEND, OR -- Summer Academy returns to OSU-Cascades in July. Teens from all over spend six days on Oregon State University’s Bend campus during Summer Academy.

"The best part about it is, it gives them a chance to experience what being on a college campus is like," says Blair Garland, with OSU-Cascades, "And that’s super important." He says some students can find the anticipation of college nervewracking. But, Garland tells KBND News, the Summer Academy helps overcome some of that anxiety, "Once they’re here and they see what it’s like, it takes that one part nervousness/one part excitement about the college experience and really makes it into two parts excitement  - 'wow, I’m excited about this; I can do this. I’m excited about my future and what college can bring'."

Garland says students come from all over Oregon, and the country. They spend their mornings on academics, trying out potential majors, "So, if your student is interested – or maybe doesn’t know what their major is, they could try one of these as a ‘taste test,’ if you would." Afternoons are a time for outdoor recreation – enjoying Central Oregon trails, rivers and lakes.

Summer Academy started at OSU-Cascades in 2019. Registration is now open for two six-day sessions to start July 31st or August 14th. 

Search Begins for Central Library Location

As the Deschutes Public Library System starts their search for land to build a Central Library, library board members are at odds on how best to proceed. A letter signed by more than 20 staff members essentially asks board members, Ray Miao and Anne Ness, to resolve their differences with other board members - or resign. Miao and Ness want to see more neighborhood libraries while the other three board members say they want to honor the voter approved bond for a 100,000 square feet Central Library. Deschutes Public Library Executive Director, Todd Dunkelberg, says the board is working to address their differences. Last month, the City Council balked at an amendment request to grant the library permission to build on a 12-acre parcel just north of Bend. Library officials withdrew their amendment to focus on alternatives. Options for potential sites will be presented to the board on May 11th. Dunkelberg says plans for a new library in Redmond and libraries in La Pine and Sisters,  are moving forward.





A Bend man was killed in a crash on Highway 97 Thursday just south of Redmond. Just before 7 a.m. State Police responded to a three-vehicle crash near milepost 125. A southbound Toyota 4-Runner, driven by 32-year-old Amadeo Inga of Redmond lost control on the icy roadway and spun into the northbound lanes striking a vehicle broadside. The vehicle, driven by 44-year-old Bend resident, Christopher May, was struck a second time by a pickup truck heading north. The driver of the pickup, 46 year old William Harsh, also of Bend, was not injured. Inga was taken to an area hospital with minor injuries. May was pronounced deceased at the scene. Crews closed to traffic for approximately 4 hours while the road was cleared.


Mayor Announces Won't Seek Re-election November

Bend Mayor Sally Russell announced Thursday she will not run for the mayoral race in November. The mayor said she reached her decision over time and with input from her family. Mayor Russell thanked the public for their support and said she’s appreciated everyone she has worked with, and will continue to work with over the coming months. Russell praised the tireless efforts of her colleagues and partners to make Bend a better place under the challenging circumstances of recent years. Speaking of her greatest accomplishments, the mayor said the city’s comprehensive transportation plan and passage of the largest transportation bond measure in the city’s history were some of the highlights of her time in office, as well as passage of the city’s urban growth boundary, and efforts to fast forward affordable and workforce housing. In the future Russell said she hopes to explore several projects close to her heart. One of those includes the Deschutes Collaborative Forest project; the mayor spoke of the need to protect forests more than ever in the face of climate change and drought.






Police Ask For Help To Find Missing Man

The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public's help in locating a missing man.70-year-old Coty Alexander was reported missing Wednesday from his camp on China Hat Roadnear near mile post 3. Alexander was last seen on April 8, 2022 on the south end of Bend and left behind his vehicle and dog. He is described as a while male, 5’09” inches tall, weighing 147 pounds with brown hair and blue eyes. There is no description available of what Alexander was wearing when last seen. If you can provide any information on his whereabouts, please contact the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office at 541-693-6911 (reference case # 22-19381).

City and County Address Unauthorized Camps

The number of unauthorized, unmanaged campsites in Deschutes County is growing, as is the concern of neighboring residents. Deschutes County commissioner Phil Chang, tells KBND News - while there are those homeless campers who are not yet ready to get off the streets - the majority don’t want to live outside in unauthorized camps. "There are people who are not quite ready to come indoors yet but we've seen the City of Bend an effort to expand facitilites of all kinds for people so they have alternatives with support and resources.” A proposed day-time navigation center at Shepherd House that serves as a clearing house of services is expected to help. A separate coordinated county-wide office that brings local governments together to support homeless service providers is expected to fill critical gaps in the continuum of services in facilities which are currently available. Chang hopes the county will eventually be able to authorize tougher law enforcement to stop displaced homeless people from relocating to areas where they create a disturbance or threat to themselves or their neighbors. One of those areas is a less restricted forested area of China Hat where police have responded to multiple calls of fires and reports of crime.








Co Approves Money to Grow Mobile Crisis Assessment Team

Deschutes County Commissioners unanimously approved the use of a new state funding to grow the Mobile Crisis Assessment Team. Behavioral Health Program Manager Holly Harris told Commissioners the 363-thousand dollar grant will allow them to hire another full-time team member. "These startup funds were intended to expand mobile crisis teams across the state, so we can look for ways to respond to certain calls without police." As we reported Wednesday, the unit - known as “M-CAT” - responds to reports of people in mental health crisis. Often, they can de-escalate a situation without requiring a law enforcement presence. 


Jefferson Co Public Health Services Director to Step Down

Jefferson County’s Health Services Director will step down this summer. Dr. Michael Baker tells Central Oregon Daily News, the pandemic brought a lot of frustrations with the Oregon Health Authority. “I didn’t realize the level of involvement that the Oregon Health Authority has on a daily level, in local public health here in Oregon. My job is often delegated to being their local representative, and that’s not what I wanted to do.” Dr. Baker has led the Public Health Department in Madras since 2016. He says he’d hoped to have a real impact - to help improve the health of the community. Instead… Baker says he worked long hours with just 13 full-time staffers, and little support from the state. He steps down in July. 


89 Unit Development Planned in Redmond

A new 89 unit housing complex has been approved by the city of Redmond. The proposed new development on Helmholtz Way in the city’s southwest side is part of the Redmond’s attempts to house a growing population. “Cottages on Helmholtz” is a detached multifamily complex development that would be located on a 7 acre parcel of property zoned General Residential (R-4) with a High Density Overlay Zone. A single-family dwelling and several outbuildings are currently located on the north section of the property. Redmond’s Urban Planning Commission estimates the need for 7000 new units over 20 years to accommodate area growth, and similar future developments are under consideration. Some neighbors have voiced concerns about the potential for an increase in traffic, and the safety of children. While the commission approved the project, Seattle based developer, LEDG CAPITAL, LLC. will have to meet 17 conditions for the development to move forward. Those include landscaping requirements, increased common space, fencing requirements, and, protecting the aesthetic character of adjacent neighborhoods.



Canna-Facts Website a Success

Just a month after launching an informational website on Deschutes County’s legal marijuana industry … District Attorney John Hummel is calling it a success. Hummel tells KBND News he has a responsibility to crack down on illegal pot businesses to protect legal agricultural operations. "We have a robust, legal, lawful marijuana industry in Deschutes County - One of the best counties in the country for legal marijuana businesses. And, these business owners spent hundreds of thousands, in some cases millions of dollars on their business making sure they’re in compliance and they’re following the law." The Canna-Facts website (canna-facts.com) is a partnership between the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office, Bend Police and the D-A’s office. Hummel says it will reduce the number of calls to law enforcement by people who just have questions about what’s legal and what’s not.

CO to Receive $41 Million For Wildlife Crisis Management

Central Oregon will receive 41.3 million dollars in federal funds as part of the government’s bipartisan infrastructure bill to implement their 2022 Wildfire Crisis Strategy.  The money will fund thinning efforts on the Deschutes National Forest to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires and threat to surrounding town.. and improvements to forest landscapes in Central Oregon. Those include making forests more resilient to insects and disease.. and protecting the critical watershed both for wildlife and sources of community water.The Central Oregon Landscape covers State, private, and Federal lands on the eastside of the Cascades and includes Deschutes National Forest and portions of the Crooked River National Grassland. The Forest and Grassland is slated to receive an extra $4.5 million in funding for this year and $41.3 million through fiscal year 2024.In collaboration with state and other partners…the Deschutes National Forest expects to treat an additional 5,000 acres this year, and more than 50,000 acres by 20-24. 






Median Home Sales Prices Surge

Median home sales in the Bend-Redmond housing market are breaking new records. In Bend, the area median home sales price jumped 33-thousand dollars to $773-thousand dollars in one month. According to the Beacon Appraisal Group, in March, the number of homes sold in Bend rose more than 70 to 202. New home building permits in Bend, meanwhile, rose to near-record levels while houses continued to stay on the market for an average of 4 days. For entry level home buyers it’s a challenging time to be looking for a home. In Redmond the median price jumped $47,000 to $520,000, as sales doubled from February figures. The median sales price per square foot for Redmond held steady, at $288 while in Bend, it spiked to a a record $389 per square foot. Fred Johnson with Duke Warner Realty, says the problem is not the perception of people being displaced by newcomers; it's a scarcity of inventory and entry level home buyers are impacted the most.





Housing Crisis Impacting DA's Office

Central Oregon’s housing crisis continues to impact the worker shortage. For years, companies have reported difficulty in recruiting new employees to the area because of a lack of workforce housing. Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel says it’s now impacting public safety. He recently extended an offer for Deputy D-A to an out-of-area candidate. "She tentatively accepted and she started looking for housing, and she started looking for daycares – she’s a single mom. And, after a few weeks of looking, and working connections, and talking to realtors and talking to people in my office who were giving her tips, she reluctantly withdrew her acceptance. She said she could not afford to live here because of the housing costs." He says the high cost of daycare was also a big factor in the candidate’s decision. Hummel has two openings for Deputy D-A. In his 8 years in office, he says he’s never had this much trouble filling those vacancies.










GOP Governor's Debate

Oregon Republicans have 19 gubernatorial candidates to choose from in the May Primary. 11 from the crowded field joined the group “Timber Unity,” last week, to debate topics related to natural resources. The forum was broadcast on KBND. On wildfires - Bob Tiernan, Tim McCloud and Bill Sizemore agreed forest management is needed, but their ideas on how to accomplish that goal varied widely. Bob Tiernan: “Fires are a natural occurrence and what we can do as a state is to put them out as soon as possible, wherever they start.” Tim McCloud: “Destroying the pests and beetles that destroy our trees has to be at the top of mind.” Bill Sizemore: “So, the traditional approach to letting us go back in to log when we need to log, thin where we need to thin, spray where we need to spray, that’s what has to happen if we’re going to save our forests.” Other candidates included Dr. Bud Pierce, Jessica Gomez and Marc Thielman who covered a wide range of topics including cap and trade, water conservation and the timber industry. 


LaPine Firefighters Union Wants Fire Chief's Resignation

The La Pine Firefighters Union is fed up with their fire chief. On April 1st, the union submitted a letter of “no-confidence” to Michael Supkis and fire district’s board of directors. KBND’s Caroline MacGregor has the story.  After 7 firefighters left in one month, La Pine Firefighter's Union president Kevin Leehmann says the situation at the fire department has rapidly deteriorated. Leehmann says a total lack of communication from their chief is fueling ill will. "This isn't something that makes anybody feel good, and our union has to come out andbe more professional than our fire chief and that's unfortunate - that he's not able to act in a capacity of leadership” Eight grievances and two Unfair Labor Practices (ULP’s) are listed in the letter of no confidence to the board – of copy of which Supkis ignored, according to Leehmann. Along with a refusal to communicate, the union questions the chief’s qualifications, labor practice violations…a lawsuit involving St. Charles Medical over ambulance services, threats against union members and safety issues related to equipment maintenance. The district has been short staffed since December and firefighters say the chief is not making good on owed comp time. "We're anticipating that maybe this next board meeitng we can have a good discussion with the board and if the public's there, that's great, but if the chief doesn't resign on his own he'll have to be fired by the board.” Supkis did not respond to KBND's request for comment.

 The La Pine Fire District Board Meets this Thurday, April 14th, at 9 a.m.





Bend Council Approves $330,000 for Non Profits

The Bend City Council recently approved approximately $330,000 to help local nonprofits. The money will be used to develop affordable housing and social services to help address house-less-ness in Bend. The funding stems from two federal sources: the Community Development Block Grant Program and Community Assistance Grant Program. The Council approved $200,000 through the CDBG program for five projects, among them… Kôr Community Land Trust; Shepherd’s House; and Thrive Central Oregon. J Bar J Youth Services also received funds to help youth experiencing homelessness while Volunteers in Medicine received money to provide a year of free healthcare to low-income community members. The remaining $130,000 from the Community Assistance Grant Program was directed to the Boys & Girls Club of Bend, KIDS Center; and Saving Grace.  More information about the Community Assistance Grant Program can be found at bendoregon.gov/community-assistance.



Bend Resident Stabbed at Super 8 Motel

A man was stabbed at the Super 8 Hotel in Bend early Friday. Police say the victim is a 33 year old resident of Bend who was staying at the hotel at the time. Police say he was stabbing during an altercation with the suspect in the west parking lot of the hotel on 3rd Street. The victim, who did not know the suspect was transported to St. Charles with non-life-threatening injuries. The suspect fled from the scene and was last seen heading to the south. Police were able to obtain surveillance video of a person of interest. The Bend Police Department is asking for the community’s assistance in identifying and locating the person of interest. Call 911 if you recognize the person in this picture.



Deschutes County-Wide Homeless Response System

Deschutes County officials are moving forward with plans for a coordinated, county-wide homeless response system. Bend Mayor Sally Russell tells KBND News the effort takes a big step later today (FRI) with the draft of an intergovernmental agreement. "The Bend City Council and Deschutes Commission will be meeting. We’ll be discussing a collaborative homeless – how do I say – office? For all of Deschutes County. And, I know we have many partners in different cities throughout Deschutes County who have expressed strong support for this." Funding for the project comes from H-B 41-23, passed earlier this year by the Legislature. Russell says the goal is to develop support services to help provide stability to those struggling with houselessness and possibly keep people from becoming homeless.Today’s meeting starts at 10 and can be live-streamed on the county’s website.










City to Resume Water Shut Off for Delinquent Accounts

The City of Bend will soon resume collection efforts and water service shut-offs, for delinquent utility accounts. The City is no longer in a pandemic-related state of emergency and says it needs funds to operate and maintain its infrastructure.Starting July 1, the City will shut off water service to customers with unpaid bills. Payment plans will be available to people struggling to make payments and the city has utility assistance programs for qualifying customers. Two years ago on March 16th, the City suspended water service shut-offs and collection efforts for past due utility accounts after City Manager Eric King declared a State of Emergency due to the pandemic. Late fees, shut-off fees and reinstatement fees were all waived. That will no longer be the case. Beginning in April, customers will receive notices regarding the resumption of water service shut-offs and available assistance programs. Web: To avoid water service shut off or collections customers can contact the Utility Billing Department at 541-388-5515 or utilityassistance@bendoregon.gov to review their account or to learn more about payment arrangements and learn about assistance programs. Low-income qualifying customers can get help through the City’s partnership with NeighborImpact. Call 541-548-2380 or email bend@neighborimpact.org for information.


Missing Snowboarder Search Continues

The search continues today (THUR) for a missing snowboarder on Mount Hood. 30-year-old Ryan Mathers, of Aloha, was reported missing Tuesday night when he didn’t return home as planned from Mt Hood Meadows. His car was found at the ski area. Numerous agencies searched for him Tuesday evening and all-day Wednesday, including National Guard drones and teams from the Deschutes, Lane and Hood River County Sheriff’s offices. Eugene Mountain Rescue and Corvallis Mountain Rescue have also been on scene.


Deadline Looming to Register for May Primary Election

The deadline for Deschutes County voters to register to vote in advance of the upcoming May 17 Primary Election is just around the corner. KBND’s Caroline MacGregor reports. Voters who plan to vote in the Democratic or Republican closed primary elections must be registered as a member of that party by April 26th. Deschutes County Clerk Steve Dennison who says April 26th is also the deadline for voters to update or change their party affiliation. Voters not affiliated with a major party will receive a non-partisan ballot that will only contain non-partisan state and local offices and measures. Dennison encourages voters to be proactive and check their voter registration to ensure they’re prepared to vote in this year’s primary election. While ballots will be mailed to overseas or out of state voters early....Dennison said ballots for the primary election will be mailed to all voters on Wednesday, April 27.  Voters can check and update their registration status on the Secretary of State website or by using an Oregon Voter Registration Card. For more information email elections@deschutes.org or visit their website at: www.oregonvotes.gov/myvote.  



Earthquake Clusters "Regular Background Activity"

The U-S-G-S has recorded a new cluster of earthquakes in the Newberry Caldera, south of Bend. Seismologists noted 29 on the east side of Paulina Lake, between March 24th and April 3rd. “Newberry typically has earthquakes as a part of, as what we call ‘regular background activity.’” Seth Moran is a research seismologist at the US Geological Survey’s Cascades Volcano Observatory. He tells Central Oregon Daily News, those quakes are typically pretty small. The largest in this new cluster was a magnitude 1.7. Hundreds more tiny tremors have occurred recently across the 12-hundred-square mile Newberry site… but they’re so small, their exact locations aren’t known. Moran says there’s nothing to worry about; there’s no deformation of the land, and no magma coming to the surface. 




Chinook Fishing Opens April 15th

Spring Chinook fishing opens on the Hood River, April 15th. Fishery managers predict a higher return than last year - in that waterway. But, O-D-F-W’s Michelle Dennehy says that’s not the case, everywhere.  "Unfortunately, there’s not going to be a Spring Chinook season on the Deschutes, this year. We have another year of poor returns for both hatchery and particularly wild fish, to the Warm Springs River. This happens periodically; the last time we had a season on the Deschutes was in 2018. She says the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is even more concerned about summer steelhead on the Deschutes. They closed steelhead fishing last year, for the first time since the 1970s. ODFW is taking public feedback, as the agency determines future summer steelhead management on The Deschutes. An online survey https://oregonstate.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_bJYqhcM8W5y1Ne6  is available until Monday (4/11). A webinar to continue the discussion is scheduled for April 19th: https://www.youtube.com/user/IEODFW  . Survey: https://www.dfw.state.or.us/news/2022/03_Mar/032422.asp



Bend Marathon Returns After Two Year HIatus

This Sunday, the 7th Annual Bend Marathon returns to the city after Covid shut it down two years in a row. The event on April 10th, is now hosted by local friends and running enthusiasts, Kari Strang and Max King. The races will start and finish in the Old Mill District. Runners will follow a course through the downtown and West Side and back across the river. The race includes the Half Marathon, 10K and 5K. This year’s sponsor is the Cascade Lakes Brewing Company which has created a custom ale in honor of the races. The brewery’s general manager, Andy Rhine, said he hopes to help build off the Bend Marathon’s past success to make the event bigger, better, and more community-focused than ever. The Marathon kicks off Sunday at 7:00am followed by the Half Marathon at 8:00 am.  After that the 5K and 10K races will be held at 8:30 am. To sign up for the Bend Marathon race events, visit www.bend-marathon.com















Stevens Road Tract Public Open House

The City has launched a final online public open house on the Stevens Road Tract Concept Plan to give the public another chance to hear more about the plan and provide comments on development options. The virtual open house and public comment period is available now through midnight on Sunday, April 17th.  The City of Bend’s Growth Management Division is completing planning for the development of 261 acres of land on Bend’s east side for affordable housing. The Stevens Road Tract project acreage is part of the city’s comprehensive plan to use land within the Urban Growth Boundary for affordable and market-rate housing. To access the public open house visit www.bendoregon.gov/stevens-tract.


Prescribed Burns Earlier This Year

Central Oregon’s prescribed fire season is in full swing and wrapping up soon. Jean Nelson Dean, with the Forest Service, tells KBND News, continued drought conditions dictate an early end to the burn season. “Usually we’ll be later in April and into May. This year, because we anticipate fire season starting earlier, we’re going to finish up with our prescribed fire season. It’s kind of like everything is moving- bumping ahead a month or so.” She says fire managers prioritize burns in areas where the forest neighbors development, like residential areas or infrastructure. With several prescribed burns occurring in Sisters Country, the Deschutes National Forest will host an open house next week to answer questions and offer more information on the upcoming fire season. It’s next Monday, April 11th at 5:30at the Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire Hall.








Former Bend Man Charged in Portland Murder

A Mountain View High School graduate and former star running back was arrested in Bend Monday in connection with a Portland murder investigation. Twenty-year-old Keen Harpole was arrested at his family's property in South County hours after 19-year-old Amara Marluke was shot to death early Monday near the Portland State University campus. Harpole taken into custody and transported back to Portland where he faces charges of second-degree murder. PSU confirms he is enrolled as a freshman and referred to Harpole as a former football player. An autopsy confirmed Marluke died from gunshot wounds and her death has been ruled a homicide. Her GoFundMe page indicates she was a singer and songwriter studying music at Portland State. 


Public Invited to Weigh In On Lemon Gulch Trails Proposal

A proposal to create up to 52 miles of mountain bike trails in the Mill Creek watershed has its opponents.

The Ochoco National Forest initially presented the Lemon Gulch Trails project in early 2021. The multi-use single track trails would be on the west side of the forest close to Prineville as part of a forest wide effort to improve trail opportunities for recreational use. But some ranchers don’t like the idea. They say the trails will interfere with grazing cattle. Others say the area’s wildlife habitat will be negatively impacted. There are also claims the process was secretive, something US Forest Service, Public Affairs Officer, Kassidy Kern disputes. She tells KBND News, the controversy is due to misinformation and now is the time for people to get involved in the process. In 2021, Kern said the USFS took an 8 month pause in the process to allow for a public comment period as part of the NEPA review process. Kern says extensive social media efforts, she said, are further indication of transparency about the proposal. To participate in the discussion about the Lemon Gulch trail proposal, visit the Ochoco National Forest website: 

Ochoco National Forest & Crooked River National Grassland - Home (usda.gov).





Industrial Space Shortage in Bend

It’s no secret that Central Oregon’s housing market lacks inventory for people trying to move in or move up, here. However, businesses continue to struggle with a similar problem and now industrial space has become increasingly scarce. “There’s 14,988 square feet for lease in Bend. Compare that to 2012, when there was 2.1 million sf. We’re leasing it up; we’ve leased it up.” Brian Fratzke, with Fratzke Commercial Real Estate, tells KBND News there aren’t enough existing buildings for those companies with their eye on Bend and current supply chain slow-downs and shortages make it too expensive for many to consider new construction. He blames what he calls “The three I’s”… Inventory, interest rates and inflation. Fratzke says it’s pushing some to look in outlying communities, with industrial construction booming now in Prineville and Redmond.

Sewer Pump Fire Sparked by Propane Heater

A fire sparked by a propane heater caused an estimated $20,000 damage to a water pump that serves a major area of Bend. The fire occurred at the West Bend Sewer Lift station. Bend Fire & Rescue crews responded early Sunday to a report of a fire at NW Portland Avenue and Wall Street. The station, near Pioneer Park, pumps waste from Bend’s west side to the city’s treatment plant on McGrath Road. Loss of the station could have resulted in a loss of sewer capacity for a large part of town. Deputy Fire Marshal Dan Derlacki said firefighters were able to stop the fire spreading to the sewer pump stationand avoid the risk of discharge into the Deschutes River. Police say the propane heater was being used by someone sleeping outside the building.  


North Corridor Project Gets $50 Million Boost

The long-anticipated Bend North Corridor Project just got a new shot in the arm up to 50-million dollars approved by the Oregon Transportation Commission. ODOT’s Peter Murphy tells Central Oregon Daily News the exact amount has not been decided, but the allocation gives the project certainty. “We’ve got $133 million in the bank. We think we can get some help from the city and the county and we’ll add in whatever the OTC has done, whatever amount they have for us, that helps us get to the goal of $175 million.” The first phase of construction could begin later this year with a multi-lane roundabout planned for the Highway 20-Cooley Road intersection. Work will eventually move to Highway 97, between Cooley and Empire with the highway shifting east, and over Cooley Road. 



Cole Loop Trail Rerouted

The Cole Loop Trail has been rerouted over concerns about a target shooting area alongside the trail. Complaints from hikers and horseback riders prompted the decision by the Crooked River National Grassland to move the trail. The Skull Hollow Trailhead will be used as a day-use site, with no overnight camping allowed. About two miles of the Cole Loop Trail will be rerouted. Forest Service officials said they believe it's the best solution. There will temporary closures along the trail, but should not impact access to the area.More information is available at: https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=59134




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