Local News Archives for 2022-08

Sisters Rodeo Tickets Go On Sale

SISTERS, OR -- The 2023 Sisters Rodeo is 9 months away, but tickets go on sale Thursday. All tickets are sold online. Starting September first, you can purchase reserved seats at tickets.sisetersrodeo.com.

The 83rd annual rodeo kicks off with Xtreme Bulls on June 7th, followed by rodeo performances June 9th through the 11th, 2023.

Tryouts for Rodeo Queen are September 10th. The competition is open to young ladies living in Oregon who are between the ages 18 and 25 as of June 1, 2023.  If elected they have the opportunity to represent the Sisters Rodeo around the state in various rodeos, interviews, parades and other promotional activities. Applications are available on the Sisters Rodeo website.

FOUND: Redmond Police Seeks Missing Teen

REDMOND, OR -- Redmond police are searching for a teen who may be in danger after running away. The agency says 15-year-old Briseis Nelson was reported as a runaway Monday morning; she was last seen late Sunday night. Authorities are concerned because she may be at risk of harming herself; she also left without taking needed medication.

She’s white, 5'5" tall, 110 pounds, with black hair, brown eyes and a nose piercing. Anyone with information on her whereabouts is asked to call Redmond PD immediately through Deschutes County Dispatch, 541-693-6911.

 

5:45 p.m. UPDATE -- Redmond Police say Nelson was located in Bend and is back with her family. 

SW Redmond Fire Forces Evacuations

REDMOND, OR -- A fire on the southwest edge of Redmond forced evacuations Wednesday afternoon. Incident 820 started just before 4 p.m. It was initially estimated at about 8 acres, near Helmholtz and Obsidian.

Level Three - GO NOW evacuations are ordered for the area between Highway 126 and Obsidian, and SW 58th and Helmholtz.

Level One - BE READY orders are for between Obsidian and WIckiup Avenues, from SW 35th to Helmholtz:

 

6:00 UPDATE: The following addresses remain at a Level III: 4831 SW Obsidian Ave, 4723 SW Obsidian Ave, 4635 SW Obsidian Ave, 4584 SW Obsidian Ave, and 4574 SW Lava Ave. All others are reduced to Level I.

 

6:45 UPDATE: Redmond Fire and Rescue released the following:

At approximately 2:50pm multiple callers to 911 reported a fire in a field in the 4700 block of SW Obsidian Ave. Responding crews reported seeing a large column of smoke as they were approaching the scene. With the high temperature and winds the incident commander called for more resources to the scene to include air support. With the quick action of the crews firefighters were able to protect numerous residential structures. There were a total of four outbuildings that werre damaged by the fire and there are no reported injuries and no residential structures we lost.

The fire burned a total of 10 acres.

Crews will remain on scene mopping up hot spots for the next few hours. 

Fire investigators are currently on scene and the fire is under investigation.

Thank you to Bend Fire & Rescue, Black Butte Fire, Cloverdale Fire Department, Crooked River Fire & Rescue, Crook County Fire & Rescue, Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office, ODF, Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire, US Fire Service and Warm Springs Fire & Safety for the assistance.

 

 

Bend Fire Responds To 51 Calls In 24 Hours

BEND, OR -- Bend Fire & Rescue reports crews responded to 51 calls, including a structure fire and six separate natural gas leaks, on Monday. 

Firefighters responded to a blaze on Mahogany Street in Southwest Bend, just before 7 p.m. They say a neighbor noticed smoke coming from the house and no one was home at the time. First arriving crews found the house completely filled with smoke and a fire in the kitchen. Investigators believe a burner on the stove was accidentally turned on and a box left nearby ignited. Damages are estimated at $40,000. The Red Cross helped teh family of three find a place to stay.

Deputy Fire Marshal Dan Derlacki says the six gas leaks were from different causes, from lack of maintenance to a burner left on, to excavation. 

Mental Healthcare Key To Community Healing

BEND, OR -- Mental health experts say feelings of anger, sadness, anxiety, even fear are very typical after a traumatic event, like Sunday’s shooting, even for those not directly involved. Deschutes County Director of Behavioral Health Janice Garceau says It’s okay to admit this is hard, "Acknowledging that an event like this is painful for you, even though we all try to tell ourselves why it shouldn’t be as painful for me as it might be for someone else, that moment of acknowledgement is such a powerful way that we’re part of a community and that we acknowledge our humanity. And that we make contact with our heart. It turns out that that is the part of ourselves that we need to connect with other people; that we need for hope; that we need for compassion."

She tells KBND News there are things we need to do to start that healing process, "First of all, to know that it is normal to have strong feelings. Second of all, to really pay attention to the signals that our body and our social circles send us that maybe we’re having more than the - I hate to use the word ‘normal’ - but we’re having a level of response that we should be concerned about." If you notice changes to sleep or eating patterns, lose interest in activities, or depression, she urges you to seek additional help, either from a therapist, faith leader or family.


WEB EXTRA: More of the conversation with Garceau and KBND's Heather Roberts:


The Community Assistance Center is at Pilot Butte Middle School, available from 3 to 7 p.m. through Friday. "It’s a place where people can drop in if they’re just struggling to shake some of the more strong feelings associated with an event like this," says Garceau, "There are staff there that are trained in how to help people debrief after a crisis." It’s a partnership between the county, DA Victims' Assistance office, Bend-La Pine Schools and St. Charles. If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the 9-8-8 crisis line or visit Deschutes County’s Stabilization Center.

A northeast Bend church will hold a public prayer vigil Wednesday evening, in an effort to allow the community to grieve together. Bend Church of the Nazarene is located on 27th Street, just north of The Forum Shopping Center. They will also have a memorial wall where the public can leave messages. The prayer vigil starts at 6:30 p.m.

 

Image: A crowd gathered at Drake Park for a community vigil Monday evening, 24 hours after the deadly Safeway shooting.

Editorial: 48 Hours Later

For more than 80 years, KBND has been entrusted with providing important, accurate and timely information to Central Oregonians. It’s a responsibility we don’t take lightly. As we all continue to process the tragic event that unfolded in just four minutes Sunday evening, I want to take a moment to explain why you won’t hear certain details in our coverage. 

We reported the gunman’s identity when the police released his name. We have made the editorial decision to not use his name again. While KBND received a copy of the killer’s so-called “manifesto” early on, we have chosen not to report on its contents, the website(s) on which it appears, nor the internet handle he used. After reviewing the disturbing journal-like entries written by someone claiming to be the gunman, it is very clear he wanted notoriety. KBND News will not provide that recognition. His words will not appear on our website or on-air. You will not see his photo, nor will we talk with those who knew him. 

This is not a criticism of the media outlets who choose to do so. We know this may risk “ratings,” as listeners find the information elsewhere. But, after the national media moves on to the next big story, we remain. This is as personal for us as it is for you. Here at KBND and Combined Communications, our roots run deep in this community. Our responsibility is to you: our listeners, our neighbors and our family. 

We will continue to report on the investigation as it progresses. We will also focus on the heroes of that day: Mr. Surrett, the employee who sacrificed his life in an attempt to stop the gunman; the first responders, who entered the store while hearing gunfire inside; the first victim, Mr. Bennett, killed during a routine Sunday evening shopping trip; and the Good Samaritans who attempted to save him by pulling him from harm's way. 

Thank you for supporting us as we do our best to support you during this time.

 

Heather Roberts

KBND / Combined Communications News Director

 

Bend PD Details Grocery Worker's Heroism

BEND, OR -- Bend Police are releasing more details about the heroism displayed by several people during Sunday's shooting at The Forum Shopping Center and inside the Safeway:

An investigation shows the suspect fired into his own vehicle, a 1997 Ford F-250, in the parking lot of the Fox Hollow apartments before walking into the parking lot of The Forum. 

While law enforcement has not completed its search of shell casings, more than 100 have been recovered from the scene, including at the apartment complex, The Forum shopping center and the interior of the Safeway. 

The suspect obtained his three firearms legally and purchased them himself. No other weapons or guns have been recovered. An additional 25 shotgun shells were found in the suspect's apartment, and 150 rounds of 5.56 ammunition and a box of 25 rounds of shotgun shells were in the suspect's vehicle.

The suspect, who police have confirmed did work at Safeway for a short time, had four magazines of 30 rounds of ammunition for his AR-15 on his person at the time of his death. 

Video surveillance shows that upon hearing gunshots in the Safeway, victim Donald Surrett, Jr., had ample time to flee the scene but instead moved a produce cart into position to hide from the attacker. When the suspect approached, Surrett waited for the suspect to look away, then attacked the suspect with a produce knife he kept on his hip. The suspect shot and killed Surrett, then ended his own life as officers entered the building. 

In addition, video surveillance shows two community members who, upon seeing Glenn Bennett injured on the floor near the Safeway entrance, re-entered the store and pulled Bennett out of the building, where he was attended to by medics and officers. 

Bend Police are extremely thankful to our community members for the efforts they made during this incident. 

At this time, law enforcement remains on scene at Safeway. Bend Police expects to limit its investigative area to the grocery store, allowing the adjacent parking lot to reopen. 

One Injured In NE Bend Stabbing

BEND, OR -- One person was injured in an apparent domestic dispute in northeast Bend, Tuesday morning. Police responded to the intersection of NE 4th and Kearney just before 9:30 a.m. Investigators say a woman trying to retrieve property from an RV parked in the area stabbed a man, who was living there, in the face. 

The man was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Police recovered the knife. No arrests have been made and the investigation is ongoing. 

NE 4th Street was closed for about 40 minutes while officers investigated the incident. 

Sisters City Manager Proud Of Tenure

SISTERS, OR -- Sisters is in the process of searching for a new City Manager. After four years, Cory Misley’s last day is Wednesday. He's leaving to take a job in Portland

He tells KBND News growth is a challenge everywhere in Central Oregon, "We’re feeling and seeing a lot of the same pressures that I know folks who have lived in Bend for 10 or 20 years are saying. It’s like, ‘hey, this is my beloved special place and we’ve added amenities. But we also have more traffic than we’ve ever had. And there are challenges with affordable housing and all of these things that come with being a special place." He says managing all of that needs to start with a vision, "So, we’re bringing that community vision to life through that Comprehensive Plan. It’s a long-range document. It’s sort of the rutter for the five, 10, 20 year perspective of where the city is going to go. But you have to keep your hand on that rutter or else you can go adrift. And thankfully, I think that work that we’ve done will help preserve that small town feel."

Misley started his career in La Pine, in 2015. He became the City Manager in Sisters in 2018. Since then, he believes the city has accomplished a lot, "Updating our comprehensive plan here, updating our law enforcement partnership with the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office, just recently creating a new organization - a new nonprofit separate from the city - called 'Explore Sisters'."

The city is now recruiting candidates to replace him; a process expected to take several months. 

Listen to our full conversation with Misley:

 

Bend City Council Statement On Shooting

BEND, OR -- From the Bend City Council in response to Sunday night’s shooting:

 

“No words can fully describe the terror and grief that our community experienced last night when a gunman opened fire at a local grocery store and took the lives of two of our community members. We mourn the loss of the victims, Glenn Edward Bennett and Donald Ray Surrett, Jr.

Surrett, a Safeway employee, potentially saved many lives as Police believe he tried to disarm the shooter, a heroic act for which we are so thankful for.

We are heartbroken for their families and friends.

We hold in our thoughts everyone who was there on Sunday night and experienced the trauma of a shooting in a place where people should feel safe getting their groceries.

We are incredibly thankful for the exceptionally swift response from the Bend Police Department and for the cooperation and collaboration of every local law enforcement agency in the area. We appreciate the community’s patience as our law enforcement professionals do their job, investigate this horrific crime, and collect accurate information before sharing it with the public.

Our community has had its sense of safety shattered by this act of violence. We must all come together to support one another as we process the wide range of emotions that we are all feeling right now. If you are struggling for any reason, please reach out the Deschutes County DA’s Victims Assistance and Deschutes County Behavioral Health. They have arranged for a community support center at Pilot Butte Middle School from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., today, Aug 29, and tomorrow, Aug. 30.

Anyone can access these free counseling services as needed by dropping in.

There are also Victims Assistance support services for those present at the scene or their next of kin. Links to can be found on the Deschutes County District Attorney’s website.  

We are devastated that Bend has become the latest community to experience a mass shooting aimed at causing fear. As leaders at the local level, we pledge to do everything in our power to advocate for the policies we need as a state and a country to curb gun violence and end the epidemic of mass shootings that plagues our communities. Everyone deserves to feel safe from gun violence in our community.”

- Bend City Council  

 

Community Gathers For Somber Vigil

BEND, OR -- The Bend community gathered at Drake Park Monday evening to honor the lives lost in Sunday night's shooting at the eastside Safeway. Speakers included City Councilor Melanie Kebler and two local pastors.

A choir from the Unitarian church sang; at times, the crowd quietly joined in. Several attendees were visibly shaken during the event. But most applauded thanks to first responders for their quick action, and calls that shootings like this are not "normal" or "status quo."

It lasted less than 45 minutes but the quiet crowd visited and hugged afterwards. A handful of people laid flowers on the stage. 

More from the vigil:

 

Slain Grocery Store Worker Heralded As Hero In Bend Shooting

BEND, OR -- One of the victims in Sunday night’s shooting in Bend is being called a hero. Bend Police Monday released the identities of those killed inside the Safeway. Glenn Edward Bennett - an 84-year-old customer - was the first one shot as the gunman entered the store. Bend PD’s Sheila Miller says the shooter then made his way back to the produce department, where 66-year-old Donald Ray Surrett Jr. worked. "Surrett engaged with the shooter, attempted to disarm him and may very well have prevented other deaths," Miller said in a Monday afternoon press conference, "Mr. Surrett acted heroically during this terrible incident." 

Surrett was shot and killed by the gunman, identified Monday as 20-year-old Ethan Blair Miller.

Mayor Pro Tem Anthony Broadman said he and the entire city are heartbroken over this heinous act, "We had brave first responders, brave citizens, people willing to stand up for their neighbors, and nothing illustrates Bend and Central Oregon more than that."

Police say it was just four minutes from the first call to 911 until officers found the suspected gunman dead of an apparent self-inflicted wound. 

Miller says the OSP bomb squad was called in to search the suspect’s apartment, "In the shooter’s vehicle, we located three Molotov Cocktails, as well as a sawed-off shotgun. We also located additional ammunition and digital devices. And those are currently being reviewed." She says they are continuing to follow up on leads, "We are aware that the shooter may have posted online about his plan. We’re investigating this. We have no evidence of previous threats or prior knowledge of the shooter. We received information about the shooter’s writings after the incident had taken place. And the shooter has no criminal history in the area." 

A vigil is planned for 6:30-7:30 p.m. Monday at Drake Park. 

Bend Police expect this investigation to continue for several days. They've set up a tip line for anyone with information in the case: 541-322-6380. 

Bend Mayor Pro Tem speaks at a Monday press conference.
 

Camping Code Mtg Changes Location

BEND, OR -- The City of Bend’s informational open house on the camping code process has moved locations due to the active investigation into the deadly shooting at Safeway in Bend. The informational open house, originally scheduled at the Municipal Court, will now take place this evening at 5:30 p.m. in Council Chambers at City Hall (710 NW Wall Street). It will also be available to view online.

“I think it’s important to move forward with this event,” Mayor Pro-Tem Anthony Broadman said. “We can acknowledge the moment and focus on some constructive work we need to do as a community”.

The City of Bend is developing municipal code provisions to regulate unsanctioned camping on City rights-of-way and City-owned property, like public streets, sidewalks, and landscape strips in Bend. As part of developing the code, the City is hosting two informational sessions this month about the process for the code development.

The first open house occurred August 16 and the second will be held tonight both in person and online. The online meeting will be available with live simultaneous Spanish interpretation. The event will be streamed on the City of Bend YouTube channel. Those who wish to ask questions during the open house should register with this Zoom link.  Information is also posted on the unsanctioned camping code webpage.

The purpose of the open house is to inform the community about how developing an unsanctioned camping code fits into the City and community response to houselessness. City staff will share information about the legal principles involved in regulating public property in light of recent federal court decisions and Oregon statutes and the process for developing the code, including when community members will have opportunities to provide input. The open house provides time for community members to ask questions about this process.

Accessible Meeting Information

These open houses are accessible. Sign language interpreter service, assistive listening devices, materials in alternate formats such as Braille, large print, electronic formats, or any other accommodations are available upon advance request. Please contact Shelly Smith at 541-388-5535 or shsmith@bendoregon.gov for accommodations. Providing at least 3 days’ notice before the event will help ensure availability.

About the Unsanctioned Camping Code

Unsanctioned camping along City streets and sidewalks is the type of camping the City hears a lot of concerns about. The Bend Municipal Code currently does not ban camping on public property or rights-of-way. The City of Bend is developing a code to help regulate City-owned property and rights-of-way to make them safer for everyone and intends to regulate unsanctioned camping in a manner consistent with federal court decisions and Oregon law. There will be opportunities for the community to provide input on the proposed code before Council votes on adopting a code this fall.

Learn more about the unsanctioned camping code at bendoregon.gov/camping-code

Lawmakers Respond To Bend Shooting

BEND, OR -- Oregon elected officials are responding to Sunday evening's mass shooting inside a northeast Bend grocery store.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) tweeted Monday morning, "The Oregonians who went to shop or work at the Bend shopping center where last night's mass shooting happened need our thoughts and actions."

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) tweeted Sunday night, "My heart breaks for the families of the victims and the many people whose routine Sunday evening shopping turned into a terrifying run for their lives in Bend."

And, Second District Congressman Cliff Bentz (R-OR) tweeted Monday, "Heartbreaking and tragic. Please join Lindsay and I in praying for the victims and their families."

Governor Kate Brown issued a written statement Monday morning: 

“I am asking all Oregonians to keep the victims of last night’s shooting in Bend and their families in your thoughts and in your hearts today. Every Oregonian should be able to go to a grocery store without the fear of gun violence. While there is still much we don’t know, Oregon State Police are working with local authorities to respond to and investigate this tragic event.
“Last night’s shooting was one of several in Oregon just this weekend. The families of these victims will forever be impacted by these senseless acts. All Oregonians deserve to be safe from gun violence.”

Bend Mayor Pro Tem Anthony Broadman issued a statement at 10:45 a.m. Monday: 

Yesterday was a dark night in Bend. As we grieve last night's senseless gun violence, I want to make sure that people have good facts and the resources they need.

The Bend Police Department is providing factual updates as they are able. There will be an additional press conference today at 12:30 p.m. that will be livestreamed on the City of Bend’s YouTube channel.

First, there is no indication at this time that there was more than one attacker. The apparent killer is deceased. While this remains an active investigation, and regrettably we must always be vigilant, at this time, we do not believe there is further immediate danger in connection with last night's incident. Second, the men and women of Bend Police Department and several local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies worked through the night to protect people in Bend and conduct a thorough investigation, collecting all evidence and processing it properly. This takes time.
Thank you to Chief Mike Krantz for helming this multi-agency effort, which included support from @BendFireRescue , Oregon State Police, @DeschutesSO and the FBI.
Thank you to the emergency and medical personnel, St. Charles, and everyone who stepped up to shepherd this community through a horrific night, along with @OregonGovBrown who monitored the situation closely throughout the evening.
Today we will begin to mourn those we have lost, support the families stricken by this immense tragedy, and comfort our traumatized City. Mourn now, and let us continue to work as a community to ensure these tragedies are not repeated, that gun violence is not part of our culture, and that we live our lives free of terror. We are strong when we stand together.
I learned of the shooting, like so many of you, from a friend at the scene, helping those who'd been shot. He's one of my church friends, who I normally text with about snow reports and homebrew recipes.
Our entire community has been attacked, and the families of the loved ones we have lost will need our strength in the coming hours and days.
As we are all processing the trauma of last night, remember there are mental health resources available. The Deschutes County Crisis Line available to anyone who is experiencing a crisis or needs crisis support. Call 541-322-7500 ext. 9. Deschutes County Walk-in Crisis Services also provides access to a therapist for individuals experiencing a crisis. Contact the Deschutes County Stabilization Center at 63311 NE Jamison Street in Bend. Or call their 541-585-7210- Office Line for Non-Emergency.
And finally, if you are interested, there is a community vigil tonight in Drake Park from 6:30-7:30. Watch for more information throughout the day.

Three Dead In Bend Grocery Store Shooting

BEND, OR -- Bend Police confirm three people are dead following a shooting inside the Safeway at the Forum Shopping Center in northeast Bend. Bend PD's Sheila Miller tells KBND News multiple calls cam in to 911 just after 7 p.m. Sunday of an active shooter at the Forum.

Witnesses told investigators the suspect entered from the back of the parking lot and shot toward Costco and Big Lots before moving to the Safeway. The person entered through the west enterance of the grocery store and shot one person. That first victim was taken to the hospital and pronounced dead. 

Officers entered the store and found an additional deceased victim and the person believed to be the shooter, also dead. Police say they fired no shots.

Miller could not confirm the identity or gender of the victims nor the shooter, Sunday night. 

Shelter in place orders remain, as of Sunday evening.

(11 p.m.) -- Bend Police Chief Mike Krantz said at a press conference late Sunday the suspect is a male. He was found with an AR-15 style rifle. Click HERE to watch his press conference. 

This is a developing story and more information will be added once it becomes available.

 

Airshow Of The Cascades Takes Off Friday

MADRAS, OR -- The Airshow of the Cascades starts Friday afternoon at the Madras Airport. Gates open at 2 p.m., with vintage planes on display and helicopter rides.

Live music starts at 5 p.m., with aerobatic performances at 7 p.m. and a special night display at 9 p.m.

The airshow continues tomorrow, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with aerobatics at 1 p.m.

Click HERE for more information and to reserve tickets.  

Unions Demand Audit Of St. Charles Payroll System

BEND, OR -- Two labor unions representing front line workers at St. Charles launched a petition drive this week, to push the health system for an independent audit of its payroll practices.

They say accounting failures resulted in more than $2 million in alleged payroll overpayments the hospital now says staff must pay back. Union members say they won’t agree to a repayment plan proposed by St. Charles until a third-party provides specific details on when the overpayments - if any - occurred.

 

 

Internet Speed Study Aimed At Securing Federal Funds

BEND, OR -- The Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council is joining others around the state in a campaign to study internet speeds. COIC's Scott Aycock says economic development districts all over the state are researching broadband gaps in an effort to secure federal funding for improvements, "It’s coming through many different federal agencies and most of it is coming as competitive funding, so you need really good data on what your needs are and how to prioritize meeting those needs, in order to get your piece of the pie."

That “pie” comes from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, The American Rescue Plan and other sources, "The real driver here is an unprecedented, once in a lifetime investment from the federal government in increasing broadband infrastructure availability and the ability of households and businesses to pay for it." But the funding is competitive based on demonstrated need and Aycock says that will take at least 10% of the population contributing to the data, "Where we have gaps in broadband service, not just on the infrastructure side, but also the ability of households and businesses to pay for it."

Aycock expects to see patterns in the research, "Probably, we’re looking at ‘the more rural you are, the less service you have.’ And then, on top of that, you can have all the service in the world but if you can’t afford it, it’s as if it doesn’t exist. So everywhere, we’re going to be identifying folks that just simply can’t afford what is available."

He asks everyone to visit FasterInternetOregon.org and answer three questions, "It’s ‘do you have it or not?’ And if you do, you then are pitched over to a speed test so it tests your upload and download speeds. And, if you don’t have it, why? ‘It’s not available’ or ‘you can’t afford it’."

The goal is to wrap up initial data collection by October 15th. 

 

 

 

Bike Features Coming To Big Sky

BEND, OR -- A popular northeast Bend park is in the middle of a multi-million dollar expansion. Bend Parks and Rec's Julie Brown says construction is underway at Big Sky Park on new bike features, "We’ve got a single track, kind of a dirt trail, that’s going in there. We also have one of those pump tracks, very similar to what they have in Redmond where you can get going and your momentum will carry you across these humps in a track. It’s asphalt covered. That’s actually coming together really, really well."

It might be coming together a little too well, "Unfortunately, we’re at that spot where it looks very attractive but it’s not quite finished yet," Brown tells KBND News, "And we’re having some folks that are going out there and trying to make use of it already. So, I’m really hoping that everybody can be patient. We should be finished with that project next month - so, September or early October, that should be completed."

It’s all part of a $4.8 million dollar project at the park, located near Hamby and Neff that also included a new new entrance on Hamby and 93 more parking spaces. 

 

Deschutes County Shredding Event

SISTERS, OR -- The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office hosts a shredding event this weekend in Sisters.  "You can bring in any of your documents you want shredded, as well as any unwanted prescriptions that you have and we can dispose of them for you," Sgt. Jayson Janes  tells KBND News, "Just have your stuff in a bag, any documents you want in a bag so it’s easy to get your stuff into the truck and get shredded. Also, you can just have your medications in a bag and hand them off to someone."

The event is Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon, in the parking lot of the Sheriff’s Office substation on North Larch in Sisters. 

Bend Man Killed At Dillon Falls Identified

BEND, OR -- A Bend man was killed when he went over Dillon Falls in an innertube. Bystanders called 911 just before 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, after the 41-year-old had been missing about half an hour. 

Deschutes County deputies, Officers with the U.S. Forest Service, along with Bend Fire and Rescue responded and began searching for the man.  At about 6:19 PM, a deputy operating a drone located his body in the Deschutes River, just below Dillon Falls. The deputy provided the coordinates to Bend Fire and Rescue, who were nearby. Bend Fire located the body and removed him from the river.

Search and Rescue responded with a motorized boat and transported the victim down to the Aspen Camp Boat Launch.  

Thursday morning, DCSO identified the victim as 41-year-old Maximillian Zelaya, of Bend. 

Idaho Abortion Ban Expected To Impact Bend Clinic

BEND, OR -- Stricter abortion laws are set to take effect in Idaho Thursday, and Planned Parenthood expects an influx of patients at its Oregon clinics, especially in Bend. Late Wednesday, a federal judge ruled the state could not enforce the law in cases deemed medical emergencies.

At a Wednesday morning press conference in Portland, Planned Parenthood of Oregon Executive Director An Do (pictured) said Idaho’s ban on abortion has limited exceptions, "The ban is devastatingly cruel. It is just the latest in a series of states to ban abortion, proving that the overturning of Roe v. Wade was just the beginning." Do says the organization expects a 234% increase in out-of-state patients.

Montana Pindell is a patient navigator for Planned Parenthood. She tells KBND News those patients are already seeking care in Bend, which is the only Oregon clinic east of the Cascades. "With the Idaho ban going into effect, we’ve had patients that have taken taxi rides from Idaho to get to our Bend health center that was a five hour ride that cost this person $1200; that’s what they reported." She believes eastern Oregonian women will also be impacted, "Because where they live in Oregon is closer to Idaho, they’ll still have to drive three to five hours to get to our Bend health center." Pindell adds, the ban will also impact local patients, as out of state women claim a finite number of appointments.

Do told reporters Wednesday, "Already in Idaho, lawmakers have said they plan to bring forward bans on emergency contraception and IUDs. The fight is only the beginning." She vowed to continue offering services in Oregon to any woman who seeks care.

 

RSD Focusing On Security

REDMOND, OR -- Redmond Schools are gearing up for the start of another year and the Superintendent says security is top of mind. Dr. Charan Cline tells KBND News the district looks at security in three pieces, "What we do first to prevent things from happening, how we secure our buildings so we create a better envelope, if you will, a safer area there; and then finally, what do we do for operations? What do we do once things happen?"

For prevention, he says students have access to several mental health tools and staff watch for emotional and behavioral struggles.

Dr. Cline says Redmond is improving building security with a new video surveillance system, "We’re putting in more cameras, we’re upgrading the cameras we have. Our new software system will actually be connected to the Redmond Police Department, so they’ll be able view what’s happening inside of the school from their headquarters." He says a recent voter-approved bond is also paying for upgrades at older schools, "We’re doing a huge remodel over at Obsidian Middle School, kind of moving office spaces and moving how people come into the building. We’re building a security vestibule - somebody described it as an airlock, if you will. You go in, the doors are behind you, you have a locked door in front of you, you talk to the front office about why you need to come into the building and then you’re allowed in."

On the third piece - operational security - Cline says five armed, trained School Resource Officers are available every day, and Redmond Police train on active threat response at least once a year. Also, he says the main entrances of schools have card readers, this year, to allow officers inside in a hurry, because all exits will be locked. "All schools have lots of exterior doors, you know, because we’re big plants. So, if we have a fire, kids have to be able to evacuate effectively. You can’t not have doors, right? You have to give people the opportunity to get out without stampeding each other," says Cline, "But that creates a real security problem, so we have to make sure all those doors stay locked."

 

Threats Of Production Cuts Could Impact Gas Prices

BEND, OR -- Local gas prices fell again this week. Bend drivers are now paying an average of $4.85 for a gallon of regular. It’s good news for drivers planning their final road trip of the summer. "We are seeing pump price decline for the 10th week in a row," AAA's Marie Dodds tells KBND News, "National average for regular loses 6 cents this week, down to $3.89 a gallon. The Oregon Average slips 4 cents to $4.82."

Dodds says the price of crude is in flux, which is a big factor in gas prices, "We saw the news that OPEC might be considering production cuts, that sent crude oil prices higher. But, we saw crude reach a recent high above $120/barrel in June, and crude has been trading in the $80-90/barrel range this week. So the important thing is crude oil prices are relatively lower."

And, she says, changes in Saudi Arabian production is one of three factors that could drive prices back up, "Any production cuts from OPEC+ would put upward pressure on crude oil prices and therefore upward pressure on pump prices, the increase in demand that we’ve seen for gas in the U.S. and tightening supplies."

Dodds believes Labor Day demand could put some upward pressure on prices before they fall again before the end of the year. 

Job Growth Slows In Central Oregon

BEND, OR -- Local unemployment levels held steady in July, following the post-pandemic rebound. Regional Economist Damon Runberg says year-over-year job growth shows the local economy is slowing, "We’re only up 670 jobs more in Deschutes County than we were this time last year. That’s dramatically slower growth than what we’ve seen in a long time - one of the slowest growing metro areas. Now, we are one of the only metro areas to have fully recovered, so you’d expect to be growing slower at that point. But, we’re at a growth rate over the last year of less than a percent."

Runberg says it's expected, given the strong local picture, pre-COVID. "Growth was slowing before the pandemic; however, we basically got back to where we were before, which was a good position, as far as economic activity. So, you wouldn’t really expect the economy to still be rip-roaring after we sort of got back to what was, before, considered a good spot."

He believes we won’t see an increase in the jobs numbers until we can expand the labor force, by either bringing more workers into the area or waiting for teens to get their first job. 

Deschutes County’s jobless rate ticked up a tenth of a point in July to 3.5%, Crook County remained at 4.7% and Jefferson County held at 4.6%. 

Deschutes County lost 920 jobs in July, according to the latest report, But Runberg says that's not unusual, "Every regional and local economy in the United States loses jobs on a non-seasonally adjusted basis in July; and it has everything to do with local schools. They have two, three months of cutting a lot of their payroll for the summer break." He admits the number is a little higher than typical, but he’s hesitant to call it a trend just yet.

 

Detectives Renew Fentanyl Warnings Ahead Of School Start

BEND, OR -- With Fentanyl distribution, use and overdoses reaching crisis levels in Oregon, drug detectives urge everyone to be aware of the dangers associated with the black market drug.

"It’s become the modern-day version of Russian Roulette." And Detective Sgt. Kent Van der Kamp says it’s not a game anyone should play. The Central Oregon Drug Enforcement team member says because ingredients are unregulated, users may take one tablet laced with Fentanyl and have little reaction. But the second could be deadly. "Recognize that that blue pill could be the last thing you take."

Van der Kamp worries warnings are not getting through, especially to young people, "With school getting back, or the pre-school parties that’s happened the last couple weeks, it’s happened." He says kids often don’t realize the pill or joint they get at a party from a friend is laced with deadly Fentanyl; and they aren’t the only demographic to fall victim, "From young teens to 60-year-old people who are trying to find alternatives to pain medications that they can’t afford, and everything in between. We’ve had instances where maybe mom calls up another friend and says ‘hey I hurt my back.’ And they say, ‘hey, I got these pain medications on the internet’ or ‘I got them from a friend. Here take one of them’." The drug is also evolving, with "rainbow Fentanyl" now appearing in Oregon in powder, block and tablet form. 

Det. Sgt. Van der Kamp tells KBND News the ingredients often come from the Chinese black market and the drug is getting more deadly, "Paramedics show up and they start applying Narcan to a person who’s down. It may take three, four times as much Narcan as normal to get a response from that person because the Fentanyl that they’re using is resistant."

CODE is based in Deschutes County, but the team investigates trafficking cases throughout the state. Van der Kamp says the synthetic drug is typically made outside the U.S. and brought into the country through the southern border. From there, it comes to nearly every community in Oregon. "The biggest markets, right now, in Oregon [are] Medford, Roseburg, Salem, Eugene, all the way up to Portland," he says, "We’ll have traffickers that literally will leave Sacramento, Stockton, Modesto and just right up the Five and make their stops along the way up to the Canadian border. But those are the major routes that we see on the I-5 Corridor." They also come up Highway 97, hitting Klamath Falls and Bend. Then, he says drugs and money run through all points east and west, north and south. 

 

Second Open House Scheduled For Camping Code

BEND, OR -- The second unsanctioned camping code open house is scheduled for Monday. Bend city councilors and staff will answer public questions and explain legal principles they must follow, as the city develops regulations for camping on city rights of way and city-owned property like sidewalks and landscaping strips.

The first open house was August 16. This second one starts at 5:30 p.m. Monday, August 29, at Municipal Court (555 NE 15th Street) or online. The event will be streamed on the City of Bend YouTube channel with live simultaneous Spanish interpretation. Those who wish to ask questions during the open house should register with ?this Zoom link. Information is also posted on the camping code webpage.

Unsanctioned camping along city streets and sidewalks is the type of camping officials hear a lot of concerns about. The Bend Municipal Code currently does not ban camping on public property or rights-of-way. The City of Bend is developing a code to help regulate City-owned property and rights-of-way, and intends to regulate unsanctioned camping in a manner consistent with federal court decisions and Oregon law. There will be opportunities for the community to provide input on the proposed code before Council votes on adopting a code this fall.

Learn more about the camping code at bendoregon.gov/camping-code.

Hunnell Road Camper Arrested On Drug Charges

BEND, OR -- A Bend man faces several drug charges after police searched his trailer at the corner of Hunnell and Loco roads on the north end of Bend. Detectives had been investigating 41-year-old Corey Fernandez and executed a search warrant Monday afternoon, with the help of CERT.

They say they found commercial amounts of meth and blue pills believed to contain fentanyl. Bend PD says Fernandez was taken into custody on two felony charges of Unlawful Possession and a charge od Unlawful Delivery of Methanmphetamine. But as of Tuesday, he no longer appeared on the jail roster.

Volunteers Needed Amid Record Fall Soccer Enrollment

BEND, OR -- Bend Parks and Rec faces a shortage of volunteer soccer coaches for this fall. "We have about 2,300 kids playing on 173 teams," says BPRD's Julie Brown, "That bumps up to almost 2,700 if you include the almost 400 that are playing in our kindergarten soccer. That is an all-time high that beat last year’s all-time high, which beat 2019’s all-time high."

She tells KBND News, "We are making use of just about every patch of lawn in every park in town." But it also means there aren’t enough adult volunteers, "We still need about a dozen or so volunteer coaches. So, if anyone is interested in helping, all you need is some very basic knowledge of soccer and about 5 hours a week to dedicate to helping those kids."

A continued lack of referees also means parents may need to help out, "This is a shortage that’s happening across the board; it’s not something that’s just happening here in Bend. And, we do the best that we can with our paid officials," says Brown, "But there are times, especially at the younger grade levels, where sometimes we have to ask parents who are there onsite if they would be willing to be the official for the day, because we just don’t have enough to go around."

If you’re interested in volunteering for Bend Parks and Rec, you’ll find sign-up information on their website. The season starts this month.

 

Bend-La Pine Schools Bus Route Info Released

BEND, OR -- Bend-La Pine Schools released bus routes and schedules over the weekend for the start of school. The district’s Director of Transportation Kim Crabtree says parents should check for the latest info, "Routes and stops do change every year, because stops are centrally located to where students are and that changes as kids move from elementary to middle to high."

She tells KBND News, "Double check your stop because that could’ve changed. Times definitely changed because we’re back to two bell times this year, from three bell times that we had kind of during the COVID era." Crabtree suggests, "Log on to our webpage and look up their bus stop, and if something doesn’t look right, give us a call. It’s still a work in progress. Then also, check back just a day or two before school just to verify those times haven’t changed. As kids get added in, times could change by a minute or two."

Families new to the district or a school need to register for transportation through their Parent-Vue account. Click HERE for details. Crabtree says returning students are automatically signed up.

Kim Curley-Reynolds, with Commute Options, says there’s a new choice for kids who don’t ride the bus, called “School pool”.  She tells KBND News it's a "Closed network systems where, for instance, all Ponderosa Elementary students, they get a unique link and they’re able to connect with each other and share the ride. So, those details are to be worked out between the parents." School Pool is available for most Bend-La Pine elementary and middle schools, along with some high schools. Also, Redmond Proficiency Academy and some elementary schools in Redmond. Commute Options also offers walking school bus routes again this year.

Water Year Ends, Outlook Mixed

BEND, OR -- Drought conditions continue in much of Central and Eastern Oregon, despite spring rains and recent storms. The water year officially ended in July and Larry O’Neill, with the Oregon Climate Office, says conditions didn’t improve much in the last two months, "The average temperature for the month of July, for most of the Pacific Northwest, was much above normal with even a few scattered patches of ‘record warmest.’ Precipitation, on the other hand, even though it seems like we’ve had a lot of thunderstorms in the Pacific Northwest, the last 60 days have actually been much drier than normal." While 17 Oregon counties remain under a drought declaration, he says conditions are slowly improving.

O'Neill was surprised in the shift from spring of 2021, which was the driest on record, followed by the spring of 2022, which was one of the wettest, "The whiplash between these two different springs was really a challenge in advising people on water supply and wildfire risk issues." And, he says those challenges will continue, especially in these La Nina years, "If the wintertime precipitation isn’t well above normal, then we’re really going to depend on spring conditions to make up any deficits. And these last two springs really show us that we can go back and forth into extremes in either direction."

The National Weather Service predicts we will remain in the La Nina pattern for a third consecutive winter, which could bring more moisture than normal.

The Pacific Northwest didn't see much change in drought conditions in the last two months of the water year, but it's a vast improvement over 2021, according to Larry O'Neill with the State Climate Office at OSU. 

Memorial Planned For Fallen Firefighter

BEND, OR -- Bend Fire & Rescue announced plans on Tuesday for a joint memorial service for twin brothers Mark and Daniel Harro on Sunday, August 28. The brothers died August 15 after taking off from the Johnson Creek airstrip near Yellow Pine, Idaho. Daniel and Mark were returning from a backcountry flying and camping trip when the crash occurred, the cause of which is still undetermined. They were the only two occupants of the aircraft along with Daniel and Elisif’s dog, Cinder, who miraculously survived and is recovering at home in Bend.

Daniel Harro is survived by his wife, Elisif, and Mark Harro is survived by his wife Kelly. The Harro brothers are also survived by their parents, John and Denise Harro, and younger sister, Laura. At the request of both families the memorial will be a joint service for the brothers and will include a full fire service active duty death ceremony arranged by Bend Fire & Rescue, the Oregon Honor Guard, and numerous other emergency service agencies. 

A public viewing for Daniel Harro will be held at Niswonger-Reynolds Funeral Home, 105 NW Irving Avenue in Bend, on Saturday, August 27, from 2-6 p.m. A private viewing for Mark Harro is scheduled for family members. 

The memorial service will begin Sunday at 11 a.m. in the Hayden Homes Amphitheater, 344 SW Shevlin Hixon Drive. Members of the public as well as members of the Oregon Fire Service are invited to attend. Attendees are encouraged to arrive at least 30 minutes early due to the potential for traffic congestion and remote parking. 

Fire service personnel attending the service with fire apparatus are asked to RSVP with Tim Guest of the Bend Police Department to arrange for apparatus parking reservations as space is limited. Shevlin Hixon Drive will be closed to through traffic from 8 a.m. on Sunday until sometime in the afternoon.

Parking for the public is available at no cost in the Old Mill District parking lots and the amphitheater can be accessed the footbridge in the Old Mill District. Attendees needing disabled parking may enter via Shevlin Hixon drive by displaying a valid disabled permit to parking attendants. 

A warm day is anticipated on Sunday and there is no shade within the amphitheater. Attendees are encouraged to wear light clothing, hats or head coverings, or bring small umbrellas which will not obstruct the views of those behind them. Water bottles will be allowed into the venue and are encouraged to maintain hydration. 

Two GoFundMe accounts have been established to help support the families with mounting expenses during this time. If you would like to donate please visit Daniel's page or Mark's page to leave your donation. 

There are also online memorials for the brothers where visitors can share encouraging words, memories, and photos for the families. Daniel Harro's memorial page is HERE; Mark Harro's page is HERE

From Bend Fire: "Bend Fire & Rescue extends deep gratitude to the community of Bend for supporting our fire family during this difficult time, as well as to our neighboring central Oregon fire departments and others throughout the state who have offered their love, support, and assistance to us. Words can’t express our appreciation for your actions." 

Rep. Bentz Supports Release Of Trump Affidavit

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The public may soon see a redacted version of the affidavit used to get a search warrant for former President Trump’s estate in Florida. Congressman Cliff Bentz (R-OR) told Newsmax he supports the move, "The affidavit, of course, would reflect the basis for the raid on Maro-Lago. And, I must say, we’re all anxious to see what was in it that caused our Attorney General to use what I would suggest is dramatic overreach in assessing the records."

Bentz, who represents Oregon's Second District and is running for re-election, is Oregon’s only Republican in Congress and continues to support the former president. As a member of the House Judiciary Committee, he wants to know why the Attorney General took action the way he did, "Knowing that if you’re going to send the FBI after a former president, you’re throwing gasoline on a political fire, why was the FBI used in this fashion? There are many other ways they could’ve used. They could’ve used a subpoena that was previously issued, they could’ve asked a court to look into that. They could’ve done other things; they did not."

Previously released documents show agents recovered top secret files from Mar-O-Lago.

 

Photo: Rep. Cliff Bentz recently appeared on Newsmax joinimg calls to release the affidavit. 

Bend Airport To Close For Repaving

BEND, OR -- The Bend Airport is getting a bit of a facelift. City Manager Eric King says the runway will be repaved in early September. "The airport - like our streets, there’s a lot of pavement out there and from time to time, that pavement needs some attention," King tells KBND News, "So, there’s some crack-sealing, a fresh layer of pavement in certain areas. It’s getting that routine maintenance." The runway will also be restriped.

The closure is from September 7th through the 16th. "Then, in another 30 days after that, there will be another few day closure to be able to do the work safely," says King.

Airport Manager Tracy Williams tells KBND News 32 guidance signs will also be replaced with LED signs, which she says will be cheaper to operate. The entire project has a $1.8 million price tag. Williams says 90% of that comes from an FAA grant. The rest is paid for through a state grant and fees from airport users.

COCC Hosts First Hiring Fair Tuesday

BEND, OR -- Central Oregon Community College hosts its first ever hiring fair Tuesday evening, "For our custodial, grounds, landscaping positions," says COCC's VP of Student Affairs, "As well as partner with our food service provider for all sorts of food services positions. From cooks, to baristas to dishwashers." Full- and part-time positions are available; all come with benefits. 

Moore tells KBND the positions are all very important to setting the tone for the college experience, "Having comprehensive, high-quality, dedicated staff just round out some fantastic opportunities for our community and for our students in making our college campuses welcoming and supportive." She adds, "Our custodial crews just do an amazing job to help ensure we have state of the art facilities, whether that’s in our dental labs or in our science labs, or working in our aviation program. Our grounds crew does a fantastic job in making sure our campus - all of our campuses are a welcoming environment for students." Moore says, "Whether they’re in the classroom, hanging out in our campus quad or participating in some sort of outdoor event, we can’t provide that great place for our students without teams like this."

Tuesday’s job fair is at the Bend campus of COCC, inside the Coats Campus Center (2600 NW College Way), from 5 to 7 p.m. Qualified candidates may be interviewed and hired on the spot. Click HERE for more information.

UO Studies Historic Nels Anderson Homestead

BEND, OR -- They say you can’t stop progress. But a group from the University of Oregon is working to make sure a piece of Bend history isn’t lost in the process. Archeologist Brian Lane is leading a dig at the Nels and Lillian Anderson Homestead site, which is directly in the path of the future Highway 97 North Corridor Project, "We’re really mitigating the work that will be done with the highway construction because there’s not really much wiggle room in terms of the planning on the ODOT side, as I understand it," he tells KBND News, "So, that kind of necessitates the work here to record and preserve as much information about this site as possible."

The team from from the University of Oregon’s Museum of Natural and Cultural History is digging up an old trash dump, "We’re finding a lot of household materials that’s coming out, like glass and bits of metal and ceramic plates and cups that have been broken and discarded through use, over time," says Lane, "And what’s really nice and unique about this site, in particular, is we’ve got such a nice story and such a nice connection with Nels and Lillian Anderson’s house, and their story in the history of Bend, in general." Nels and Lillian Anderson operated one of the area's first dairy farms on 800 acres. The house was built in 1930, but the patent on the property dates back to the teens. Lane says, "It coincides quite nicely with the construction of the Swalley Canal, which is just adjacent to our site. In the past, it was an open canal that ran right next to the property. They were probably dumping their trash right next to the canal. And then, another 20 or 30 yards beyond the canal, we have railroad, as well. So, there’s a lot of very important infrastructure in Bend’s history that’s right adjacent to where this farmstead, this homestead was built."

The home is just north of Empire, at the south end of what's now Nels Anderson Road. Currently, Instant Landscaping runs its business from the location. Lane says there is hope that building will be saved and moved to another location before highway construction begins next year.

Lightning Sparks Big Canyon Fire

CULVER, OR -- Lightning is blamed for another wildfire near Lake Billy Chinook, over the weekend. The Big Canyon Fire was spotted Friday and quickly spread in juniper, bitter brush and sage.

Flames ran up toward homes and prompting brief evacuation warnings for the Three Rivers subdivision. Ground and air crews attacked the fire, stopping forward progress before dusk on Friday.

Evacuations were lifted Saturday evening when the 10-acre fire was estimated at 50% contained.

 

Photo courtesy Jefferson County Sheriff's Office

OHA Says Monkeypox Unlikely To Spread In Schools

SALEM, OR -- With the state’s first confirmed case of Monkeypox in a child, this week, the Oregon Health Authority is addressing concerns the virus could spread in schools. State Health Officer Dr. Dean Sidelinger says because hMPXV is transmitted through prolonged skin-to-skin contact, “School settings present low risk for transmission of Monkeypox.”

But, at some point, he says there will be students or staff diagnosed with the virus. “We encourage them to stay home if they’re sick or develop a new rash, seek care for testing and treatment. This will help minimize potential exposures, even exposures that present low risk for transmission in schools.”

Dr. Sidelinger says districts should prepare for potentially long isolations for those people because recovering from hMPXV can take weeks, "We are asking schools to plan now for how they will support staff and students who may have prolonged times isolating at home while they recover. Schools should plan for how they will protect confidentiality of school community members who are sick and address Monkeypox in a non-stigmatizing manner."

The OHA released few details of the pediatric case - refusing to reveal the child’s age range, gender or region of the state, Dr. Sidelinger would only say the child is connected to a known adult case.

More: OHA Launches Monkeypox Website

Sunriver Police Chief To Retire

SUNRIVER, OR -- Sunriver’s Police Chief will retire at the end of this month. Chief Cory Darling (pictured above/left) has been with the department four years, and in law enforcement for 34 years, in total. “Being the Chief of Sunriver was a great way to wrap up a career," Darling said in a statement, "I have accomplished everything I wanted to accomplish in Sunriver and now it’s time to turn it over to the next generation of law enforcement executives.” 

The Sunriver Service District Board unanimously voted Thursday to appoint Michael Womer (pictured below) as chief, effective September first. “I have had the tremendous opportunity to be mentored by Chief Darling, who is an exceptional leader and friend,” said Womer in a statement. “I look forward to taking on the new challenges that come with the position of Police Chief. I am honored and humbled by this opportunity, and grateful for the trust and confidence placed in me by the SSD Board, community members, and amazing Officers of the Sunriver Police Department.”

Womer has over 28 years of law enforcement experience, getting his start at the Washington County Sheriff's Office. He's been with Sunriver PD since 2014.

 

Unsanctioned Camping Code Draft Takes Shape

BEND, OR -- Bend City Councilors continue to work through guidelines for a new code regulating unsanctioned camping. City Manager Eric King says advocates for the houseless community brought concerns and questions to a recent open house, "Saying that 'you should be focused more on support services and building more capacity, not regulating camping in the rights of way.' We also got concerns about a lot of the crimes that are occurring, they’re very difficult to - I think a lot of folks have an impression that we can go arrest folks, when we have to see the crime in progress. I think this is an issue that generates a lot of interest from the public on all sides."

Councilors and city staff this week began developing time, place and manner guidelines. "Things like avoiding any kind of destruction of public property, excavation, digging, connecting to electrical outlets," King told KBND News Thursday, "We also talked about the size of a footprint for a camp and what that could be."

King says this will be a lengthy process, "We’ve got probably another work session to go, another Council meeting. We’ll have a draft code in September and then we’ll have some opportunities for the public to get more involved. We’ll have some roundtable discussions with the public in late September and probably adopt the code in October or November."

Redmond Pair Suspected Of Drug Trafficking

REDMOND, OR -- A Redmond couple faces charges following an investigation by the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Street Crimes Unit. DCSO says they conducted a short term investigation into 32-year-old Michael Meston for the sales of fentanyl pills imported from Portland and later distributed in Deschutes County.

At about 5 p.m. Wednesday, detectives executed a search warrant at the Village Squire Motel where Meston and his girlfriend, 24-year-old Katelynn Davis live.

During the execution of the search warrant, they say they found evidence of the sales of counterfeit oxycodone pills containing fentanyl. Detectives also located a user amount of methamphetamine and a user amount of fentanyl.

Meston and Davis were taken to the Deschutes County Jail. Meston is charged with an outstanding warrant and Davis for violating probation. 

This is an ongoing investigation and additional charges may follow.

Bend PD Investigates Double Homicide

BEND, OR -- Bend Police discovered the bodies of two teens inside a garage on the south end of town late Wednesday. Officers were called the home on Mt. Faith Pl just after 11 p.m. when the homeowner reported finding a dead body in the garage. The two victims are from Bend and were identified as Angela Pastorino and Alfredo Hernandez, both 18.  

An initial investigation found that on Tuesday, Aug. 16, the victims and 41-year-old Wesley Abel Brady were doing work around the house for the homeowner. While drinking alcohol at the home later that evening, Hernandez and Brady got into a fight, and police say Brady murdered both Pastorino and Hernandez. He then put their bodies in the home’s garage before eventually traveling to a property in Christmas Valley. The victims had been reported missing earlier in the day by a concerned family member. 

While police were at the scene, Brady arrived in the area of the home and was detained. He is now at the Deschutes County Jail on charges of Aggravated Murder, Murder in the Second Degree, two counts of Abuse of a Corpse, Sodomy, Sexual Abuse, Strangulation, Tampering With Evicence, Arson and Burglary. 

Bend Police applied for and received search warrants for the home on Mount Faith Place, two vehicles and the property in Christmas Valley. The Central Oregon Major Incident Team was activated. The investigation is ongoing. 

Bend North Corridor Project Starts This Fall

BEND, OR -- After years of planning, Oregon’s Department of Transportation begins the much-anticipated Bend North Corridor project this fall. ODOT’s Kacey Davey says most of the early work will happen at night. In February, they’ll begin major work on Highway 20, "We’ve got two roundabouts coming to US 20. So, one at Robal and one at Cooley," says Davey

Then, comes work on Highway 97, later next year, "The current US 97 will become like future Third Street - you know, a business local access," Davey tells KBND News, "And then where the railroad tracks are, just a little further east, we’re actually building an extension of the Parkway, which will be 97. So, if you don’t want to stop and use the businesses or anything on the north end of town, you can just go right on through and bypass all of that without hitting any traffic lights."

There are also improvements coming for non-drivers, "Things like multi-use paths, and more and wider bike lanes, a new bus transit stop up there, enhanced pedestrian and bike crossings. You know, those crossings where you push a button and the lights flash at cars to warn people that people are going to be crossing." Click HERE for more information. 

Davey says all the work is to achieve a set of goals, "Improve safety, mobility and accessibility, and relieve congestion and improve travel times on that part of town; because everyone knows that can get a little bit congested right now."

The $175 million project is expected to be fully complete by December of 2024.

Redmond Approves Psilocybin Ban Request

REDMOND, OR -- Redmond City Councilors spent nearly an hour, this week, discussing how to approach the impending statewide legalization of psilocybin, also called "magic mushrooms," and how to ask voters in November to ban related businesses.

The conversation centered around the overall lack of information from state authorities and confusion over how mushrooms are grown and processed. They took no public comment. Several Councilors asked whether the decision could be pushed, but the City Attorney said they need to meet the Friday deadline to submit a ballot title for the General Election. 

Councilor Ed Fitch - who is running for Mayor - pushed for a temporary ban on service centers to see how areas like Bend handle these newly legal businesses. He told fellow Councilors he'd like to discuss it again in two years, "[In] June or May of 2024, to start getting the information, getting some public input, which we don’t have this year. And, it really just puts us in the same position now, but with more information, more lead time to actually make the best decision."

They agreed to send two measures to voters in the fall: a two-year temporary ban on service centers and a permanent ban on manufacturing facilities, "Which would give Redmond voters a chance to decide whether they want the manufacturing of psilocybin to occur in Redmond at all, and whether or not they want service centers - essentially, medicinal therapeutic use of psilocybin to occur," City Manager Keith Witcosky told KBND News on Wednesday. 
It means Redmond voters will see a total of three psilocybin-related measures on their ballot in November. The third is a request to ban all psilocybin facilities in unincorporated areas of Deschutes County, approved by County Commissioners earlier this month. Witcosky says, "County is doing the same thing. And for them, I think the likelihood of manufacturing is more than with the city. Within city limits, we just have different agricultural rules, from a land use perspective."

Redmond voters did not support Measure 109 in 2020, which legalized psilocybin in Oregon. "We looked at each precinct, and I would say on average about 45% voted yes and 55% voted no," said Witcosky. 

Madras City Council also agreed this week to ask voters to ban psilocybin businesses.

 

Wednesday Procession For Fallen Bend Firefighter

BEND, OR -- The procession carrying Bend Fire & Rescue Engineer Daniel Harro and his twin brother Mark Harro home to Bend will pass through town on Highway 20/Greenwood Avenue on Wednesday August 17, sometime between 4:15 and 4:45pm. The brothers were killed in a plane crash Monday morning, while returning home from a camping trip in Idaho. 

They will be transported home from Idaho by a Bend Fire & Rescue medic unit and escorted by Bend Fire & Rescue personnel. They will be escorted to the Idaho border by the Idaho State Police and then escorted by the Oregon State Police home to Bend. 
Those wishing to pay respects to the Harro families by viewing the procession are encouraged to line the sidewalks of NE Greenwood Avenue between 8th Street and 12th Street. There is ample street parking along the Greenwood Avenue side streets, and Bend Fire encourages people to respect the designated parking lots of local businesses and maintain a safe distance from the roadway as traffic will be flowing normally on both ends of the procession. On-duty Bend Fire & Rescue crews will stage at the Pilot Butte Drive-In, 917 NE Greenwood, to view the procession. 
The public should expect traffic congestion in the area of Niswonger-Reynolds Funeral Home on Irving Avenue during that time as well, as fire apparatus break free from the procession and return to quarters. Bend Police and Public Works may temporarily close streets near the funeral home to assist with traffic congestion from fire apparatus.

Bend Fire thanks our community for their patience and support during this difficult time for the organization and Harro families. 

Madras Voters To Decide Psilocybin Ban

MADRAS, OR -- Madras voters will decide in November whether the city should ban psilocybin-related businesses.

In a special meeting on Tuesday, Madras City Councilors voted unanimously to approve an ordinance, pending voter approval. No one spoke during the public comment period.

The ordinance prohibits psilocybin product manufacturers and service center operators once they become legal in Oregon in January.

Jefferson County Commissioners agreed last month to refer a similar ban to voters.

Gas Prices Fall For Ninth Straight Week

BEND, OR -- Drivers are getting more relief at the pump this week. The national average for regular is down 8 cents to $3.95 a gallon, while Oregon’s average fell 4 cents, to $4.87. In Bend, the local average dropped 7 cents to $4.88. "This is the ninth week in a row that we’ve seen pump prices decline," AAA's Marie Dodds tells KBND News, "We are seeing crude oil prices remain below $100 a barrel and demand for gas is lower than it was a year ago." She adds, "Demand for gasoline is bigger than it was a week ago, so we are seeing growth in demand. But it’s still significantly less than it was a year ago - about 307,000 barrels a day lower than it was a year ago at this time."

She expects we’ll see even bigger price declines later in the fall.

ODOT Continues Summer Maintenance Projects

SISTERS, OR -- Oregon Department of Transportation crews are repairing a portion of Highway 20 in Sisters this week. Kacey Davey says “patch paving” from Locust to Pine should be complete before the weekend, "So, that’s from 10 o’clock at night to 5:30 in the morning, and Thursday will be the last night. There will be one lane of traffic impacted while we’re working on the pavement of the other lane." Click HERE to learn more about the project. 

Davey tells KBND News, "In Redmond, we’re doing a little patch paving work on US 97 between Yew and Evergreen. But again, that’s going to happen at night and just be one lane at a time. So it should be minimal impact to folks." Both the Redmond and Sisters projects should be complete by the weekend.

In Crook County, they’re doing pavement repairs on Paulina Highway - that’s Highway 380. That work could take three to four weeks. 

Families Frustrated By BPRD Fall Registration

BEND, OR -- Complaints came pouring in to Bend Park and Recreation Tuesday from families struggling to register for fall programs. Registration opened at 6 a.m. but the district’s website crashed intermittently until 8:30, as thousands tried to sign up for swim lessons, ice hockey, and non-school day programs all at the same time. 

Those trying to sign up in those first two hours were met with spinning circles and log-in errors. BPRD's Julie Brown called it a "disappointment" for the district, "It was a confluence of a couple of different things and the underlying issue that we are having is that we have very, very high demand and stress on our registration system, all at exactly the same time."

Brown says it’s common for demand to be high in the first couple hours, "But what we have seen recently - and it has been an incremental increase over the last couple of years - it is doubling and tripling in volume in those first couple of hours in a way that we have not been able to keep up the technology piece of it. But, it also tells us that our community has probably grown to a size where we do need to think about opening registration differently, and maybe having some staggered openings."

Brown says BPRD had 8,400 registrations between 6 a.m. and 1 p.m. Tuesday. That's 200 fewer than opening day for summer registration in April 2022, which set a Bend Parks and Rec record. The first day of fall registration in 2018 saw 1,000 registrations by 1 p.m. For fall of 2019, there were 1,500.

She says discussions of staggering registrations are longside talk of expanding current technology and possibly changing the time of day registration opens. But the biggest issues are with those most favored activities, "Our swim lessons are a very, very popular program that have high demand, as well as when we have those non-school day programs and summer camps, as well as our ice season programs. You know, hockey and curling and our learn-to-skate programs are very, very popular. And what happened was that several of those high-demand programs were opening at the same time."

According to BPRD, 85% of registrations on Tuesday occurred online. The remaining 15% were in person or by phone. If you didn’t get into the programs you wanted, Brown encourages you to sign up for the waiting list. Here are the most popular registrations on Tuesday:

  • 2,800: swim lessons including 1,400 enrolled and 1,400 on waitlists
  • 1,500: ice programs including skate lessons and hockey
  • 1,400: sports programs

Image: BPRD posted to their Facebook page Tuesday morning

Habitat Townhomes Get Additional Funding

BEND, OR -- Bend-Redmond Habitat for Humanity received a $10,000 grant from the U.S. Bank Foundation to fund the construction of eight Watercress Townhomes in Bend.

Bend-Redmond Habitat for Humanity is honored to continue to partner with U.S. Bank in building community though affordable homeownership. When a family has a safe, stable, and affordable home, they experience lasting change that impacts not only generations in their family, but also in our neighborhoods and community. U.S. Bank’s partnership and support enables us to serve more families and widen our impact, and we are grateful,” Mellissa Kamanya, Bend-Redmond Habitat for Humanity’s Director of Grants Management, said in a statement.

Bend-Redmond Habitat for Humanity plans to complete the Watercress Townhomes and welcome eight families into their new homes in early 2023.  This is Bend-Redmond Habitat’s third site using a permanent affordability model, leaving a legacy of affordable homeownership by ensuring that the homes are only available for resale to low-to-moderate income families forever. When Watercress Townhomes are complete, there will be 39 Habitat homes permanently affordable in Bend and Redmond, 12 more to be added in late 2023, and many more in the early planning stages.

The Watercress Townhomes are being built with green building and energy efficient practices such as such as heat pumps, high efficiency windows and insulation, and solar panels. These homes will contribute less overall greenhouse gas to the atmosphere, but also drastically reduce utility bills for the homeowners for years to come.

More Arrests In SE Bend Drug Investigation

BEND, OR -- Bend Police arrested more suspects in connection with an ongoing drug investigation on Foxborough Lane. Two people were caught during an initial search warrant on August first: 25-year-old Chelsea Kelly and 36-year-old Clayton Kirkey. Hayden Liapes, age 29, was issued a citation and 30-year-old Christine Witham was released pending additional investigation. But, at that time, BPD said one suspect, 27-year-old Erick Kelly, could not be located. 

Later, investigators learned Erick Kelly and Christine Witham were also suspected in a La Pine-area shoplifting case. Witham was arrested Sunday; police say she had 400 fentanyl pills, meth and cash, as well as stolen goods in her car.

On Monday, August 15, Bend Police, with assistance from Deschutes County deputies, observed Erick and Chelsea Kelly enter the Foxborough Lane home. Officers made contact, but the suspects refused to come out. BPD got a search warrant, then entered the home. They arrested Erick Kelly on outstanding warrants, as well as four counts of mail theft, frequenting a place where controlled substances are used, kept or sold and delivery of fentanyl.

Chelsea Kelly was re-arrested, as well, on multiple warrants. Charles Anthony Mansfield was also taken into custody on a probation violation and frequenting a place where controlled substances are used, kept or sold. They were all transported to the Deschutes County Adult Jail. Brittany Nichole Miller, Kamilla Makenzie Thomas, Laura Lenore Wattenbarger and Sierra Jodi Connell were at the home and were all cited and released for frequenting a place where controlled substances are used, kept or sold. 

Sen. Wyden In Bend To Push New Profiteering Act

BEND, OR -- Oregon Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) met with a local farmer, student and nonprofit organizer in Bend Monday, rallying support for a new effort he says will reduce fuel prices.

He introduced the “Taxing Big Oil Profiteers Act” last week, and says it’s different from the “Big Oil Windfall Profits Tax” proposed by a group of Democrats earlier this year, "The tax is based on profit margins, not oil prices. Then, we close some accounting loopholes. For example, there’s one that allows big oil companies to game the value of their inventory. And then, we have a very significant stock buyback penalty." He tells KBND News the bill applies applies a 21% additional tax on excess profits of oil and gas companies with more than a billion dollars in annual revenue. Wyden says normal profits, money used to invest in workers and green energy would be exempt, "But if you’re profiteering rather than taking steps to help people in Central Oregon with efficiency, more productivity and improvements in terms of environment, like the carbon capture, then you’re going to face the tax."

"This is a chance to get more stability when you’re going to a gas station," says Wyden, adding that the outcome of the bill sends a message, "For example, in Central Oregon, who do you care about? Do you care about the farmer? Do you care about mill owners in Central and Eastern Oregon and moms trying to afford gas to take their kid to childcare? Or do you want to see money just sent to wealthy executives for stock buybacks?"

Bend Considers Changes To Short-Term Rental Code

BEND, OR -- The city of Bend is considering a major change to its short-term rental rules. Senior Planner Pauline Hardie says the goal is to increase housing options and inventory, "One direction from City Council is to propose an exemption to the Bend Development Code, as well as to the operating license that a property owner can use their short-term rental for over 12 months and not lose their short-term rental permit." She tells KBND News, "The City Council is interested in incentivizing short term rental permit-holders to use their property as long-term rentals. And the code today doesn’t really allow that." Currently, a permit-holder must use the unit as a short-term rental at least once every 12 months. 

The other proposed change is likely to reduce the overall number of short-term rentals in Bend. Hardie says Council wants to change density requirements following public feedback, "They directed staff to bring back a proposal increasing the distance between short-term rentals from 250’ to 500’." 

Hardie says there is a timeline in place for the changes and opportunities for the public to weigh in, "The Planning Commission is holding a work session on August 22nd at 5:30 p.m. and then a public hearing on September 12. And then, the City Council will hold a public hearing on October 5th. And the second reading, if all goes as planned, would be on October 19th. And then it would go into effect 30 days after that." That August 22nd Planning Commission work session will be hybrid - in person in Council Chambers, and virtually. Attendance instructions for the virtual meeting will be on the meeting agenda which will be posted on the Planning Commission webpage prior to the meeting. Comments can be sent ahead of the September 12th public hearing to phardie@bendoregon.gov.

According to city officials, Council’s 2021-23 biennium goals include: “Take meaningful action to make this statement a reality: People who live and work in Bend can afford housing in Bend.” The goal includes a strategy to “Pursue policy actions to increase the supply of housing as a platform for equity.”

Sisters Parks And Rec To Expand Childcare Pgm

SISTERS, OR -- Sisters Parks and Recreation plans to expand its childcare program, thanks to new funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Executive Director Jennifer Holland says the $25,000 will help them serve about a third more three to five year olds this school year, "By getting these funds, we’re able to add an additional classroom, which can serve up to 20 more kids, so that those kiddos can be properly prepared as they enter into kindergarten; not only education-wise, but it can also meet that need for families." She tells KBND News the money will be used to recruit and retain new teachers for an additional 3- to 5-year-old classroom, cover start-up costs and possibly create scholarships for needy families, "It’s not only going to let us add that classroom, but it’s going to allow us to add additional staff to support the existing classrooms, so we can take those up to capacity. They were not at capacity last year because of staffing shortages."

She says there is a serious lack of childcare providers in Sisters, "We’ve had an ongoing waitlist, not only in our preschool program, but in our after-school program. And when we have that waitlist, we have parents that don’t have the ability to work in the community even though they really want to." That waitlist, she says, was 60 families long, last year, "And that’s insane. Not only do we have the lack of ability to run these programs. But then, being a small town, it’s hard to hire people - it’s hard to recruit people. So, people have these jobs in Redmond or Bend. It’s really trying to find those people here in Sisters who want to do these jobs and give back to their community in this way."

Deschutes County Commissioners recently approved the funding distribution. Also receiving ARPA funds in this latest county allocation, the nonprofit Furnish Hope. Commissioners approved $81,000 to help with their mission to provide basic household furniture to families in need. 

Portion Of China Hat Road To Get Work

BEND, OR -- A Deschutes National Forest road crew is repairing pavement edges and patching potholes on Forest Service Road 18 – also known as China Hat Road. They expect the work to last through this week and will cause delays of up to 30 minutes between Highway 97 and milepost 9. Beyond that the road is not impacted by the work and access from Highway 20 and other routes remain open.

Bend Firefighter Killed In Idaho Plane Crash

YELLOW PINE, ID -- Bend Fire & Rescue issued the following alert Monday afternoon:

Bend Fire & Rescue was struck with the tragic loss of a dedicated member on the morning of Monday, August 15, 2022. Engineer Daniel Harro, 38, was killed in a small plane crash near Yellow Pine, ID. The cause of the crash is unknown at this time and is under investigation by local authorities.  Engineer Harro and his twin brother Mark were returning to Bend from a back-country plane camping trip near McCall, ID. Daniel was the plane’s pilot and an avid flight enthusiast. He is survived by his wife, Elisif. “This is a devastating loss for our family,” Bend Fire Chief Todd Riley said in a statement, “Daniel was well-loved and well-respected by everyone who worked with him. We will miss his presence every day.” 

Harro, who had previously worked for the Scappoose Fire Department, began his career with Bend Fire on January 13, 2014 as a Firefighter/Paramedic. Daniel quickly established himself as a proven leader, and became heavily involved with the Bend Fire & Rescue specialty Rescue Team as well as serving on the Bend Professional Firefighter’s Local 227 Executive Board. A strong paramedic, Harro worked with department administrators and physician advisors to assist in the updating of Emergency Medical Service (EMS) protocols, maintaining Bend Fire & Rescue as a top-level provider of emergency medical services in the state of Oregon.

The Bend Fire Department family is shocked and heartbroken by this tragedy. Bend Fire & Rescue administrative staff and Local 227 representatives are coordinating active member honor services for Engineer Harro with the Oregon Fire Service Honor Guard and the Harro family. 

Weekend Fire Closes Hwy 26

MADRAS, OR -- Several pieces of equipment were destroyed in a weekend fire north of Madras. According to Jefferson County Fire & EMS, crews initially responded to a backyard fire on NW Columbia Drive on Saturday, just before 7 p.m. They accessed adjacent properties and formed a fire line.

BLM fire crews mopped up the perimeter while other firefighters extinguished outbuildings and other equipment. The fire was contained to 4 acres, but damaged a large greenhouse, small outbuildings, a 4-wheeler, motorcycle, RV and other vehicles. 

Sunday morning, crews returned to check for hotspots. Around 5:30 p.m. they were called back to the scene when fire rekindled and jumped containment lines. It burned grass and juniper along Highway 26 for about 3/4 of an acre. Firefighters remained on scene late into the evening and plan to check on hot spots again Monday. 

Investigators believe the fire started with a campfire too close to other combustible materials. 

 

State Says Fire Map Won't Impact Insurance

SALEM, OR -- Insurance companies do not plan to use the statewide wildfire risk map to determine their rates, according to Oregon’s consumer protection agency. Mark Peterson, with the Department of Consumer and Business Services, says they’d had informal conversations with companies before the original map was released in July, "Once the concerns were raised during some of the public listening sessions about the map, we decided to put out a formal ‘data call,’ which is a formal inquiry that insurers are required by law to answer truthfully. What we found is that all of the insurers responded that they don’t use the map for rating and underwriting and they have no plans to use it." He tells KBND News, "The thing with the insurance companies is that they’ve been using their own maps and their other risk management tools to assess things like wildfire risk, for years."

Because the situation could cause confusion, DCBS urges insurance agents to be honest and careful how they describe underwriting decisions. "We obviously take any policy cancellations very seriously," says Peterson, "And if consumers have concerns they can contact our Division of Financial Regulations Consumer Advocacy Hotline." That number is 888-877-4894. You can also file a complaint at dfr.oregon.gov.

Fire Season Off To Mild Start

BEND, OR -- While a number of wildfires continue to burn in Oregon, we have not seen the mega-fires agencies expected at the start of the season. Oregon’s Office of State Fire Marshal continues to shift crews into regions at high wildfire risk, Oregon's Department of Forestry is flying recon flights to watch for new starts after lightning storms.

ODF’s Christie Shaw says the proactive moves are possible because there are - so far - no large fires, "This year definitely didn’t play out as the fire season we all thought it was going to, in March, when we start making all our fire season plans and we start planning for people to come on. Back in March we were - low snowpack, hadn’t seen moisture in forever and there were dire concerns about what fire season was going to be like." 

Those late rains pushed out the start of fire season, which Shaw says typically starts after Memorial Day, "In early June, we’re having team deployments and things like that. And we didn’t see that this year because we had all that moisture that kept coming through in May and June, where it was like cyclic rain. So then our concern - ‘oh, we’re going to have all these fuels out there, when fire season comes!’ And we do. But the thing that we haven’t seen play out is we haven’t had all those lightning storms come through." While multiple lightning storms have moved through in recent weeks, she says they’re much weaker than what we normally see this time of year.

We’re not out of the proverbial woods yet. Oregon’s fire season typically stretches into September.

 

Photo courtesy Oregon Department of Forestry

New Armor For K9 Deputy Safety

BEND, OR -- Deschutes County K9 deputies are getting new body armor. Sgt. Jayson Janes says, "We’ve tried different armored vests for our dogs for years, but they were all basically one-size-fits-all; small, medium and large. So, they didn’t work for our dogs because not all dogs are the same size. And they would get raw spots from the vests, and they just didn’t work out." He tells KBND News, "It wasn't until we found this company, K9 Storm, that we found body armor that was actually custom fit for each individual dog. So they could actually wear it and it doesn’t give them rub marks or injuries from wearing the vest all day."

Janes says the vests are more than just bullet- and stab-resistant, "If they’re searching a construction site, or somewhere out in the woods, it’ll protect their belly area from getting punctures or scrapes while they’re out searching around, as well."

Riko, Ronin and Roper are the first to be outfitted. The other two patrol K9s will get theirs in the next few months.

Bend Man Accused In Southern Oregon Carjacking

SHADY COVE, OR -- A 33-year-old Bend man is accused of trying to steal a car in Southern Oregon with a baby inside. Jackson County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a carjacking and attempted kidnapping at the Shady Cove Chevron gas station Friday morning at 10:45.

Investigators say a man stole the victim’s running vehicle parked with her 1-year-old child inside. A few feet away the mother saw what was happening and ran to the car, opened the driver’s door and pleaded with him to stop so she could get her child out. Knowing the infant was in the car he still attempted to flee with the mother hanging on the outside of the door. The mother fought with the suspect and was able to get him to stop in the middle of Hwy 62. The suspect ran and JCSO deputies and a K-9 unit began to track him. He was located hiding under a tarp and arrested.

Jason Lee Cheatham, of Bend, is charged with unlawful use of a motor vehicle, two counts of second-degree kidnapping, two counts of recklessly endangering, first-degree robbery, second-degree disorderly conduct, and harassment. He is lodged in the Jail under several Measure 11 felony charges and is not eligible for pre-trail release. Further information will come from the Jackson County District Attorney’s office.

Gov. Brown Visits Warm Springs

WARM SPRINGS, OR -- Governor Kate Brown visited the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs last week for government-to-government meetings with tribal leaders. During the visit, her office says the Governor attended a Tribal Council meeting where she received a briefing on ongoing water treatment issues; toured the Tribe’s Native American Youth Suicide Hot Line office, as well as Warm Springs’ shelter units, which are helping people experiencing homelessness transition to permanent housing; and visited the Museum at Warm Springs. She was joined by Tribal Council members, including Vice Chair Raymond Moody and Acting Secretary-Treasurer Michael Collins, General Manager for Health and Human Services Caroline Cruz, as well as Executive Director of the Legislative Commission on Indian Services Patrick Flanagan.
“I want to thank the Warm Springs Tribal Council and staff for their hospitality, and for showing me how they are working to invest in the next generation and make quality-of-life improvements to tribal facilities for their members,” Governor Brown said in a statement. “Ongoing water treatment infrastructure challenges are incredibly concerning, and I appreciated the opportunity to hear directly from the Tribe on how they are working to use state and federal resources to address these issues. I am grateful for every opportunity to strengthen Oregon’s long-standing government-to-government relationship with the Warm Springs Tribe.”

CODE Continues Investigation Into International Cartel

MADRAS, OR -- The Central Oregon Drug Enforcement team says detectives executed another search warrant in Madras Friday, related to an ongoing investigation into an international drug cartel. At approximately 7:30 AM, detectives with the Oregon State Police, CODE, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Deschutes County Illegal Marijuana Enforcement team, and United States Homeland Security Investigations executed a search warrant at 637 NE 10th St. 

This is a continuation of the June 2022 investigation and series of search warrants related to the international drug organization that is alleged to be growing and processing illicit marijuana from Madras and Culver, Oregon before delivering it to Portland for nationwide distribution. 

During this search, 60 lbs of bulk unprocessed marijuana and 807 plants were seized. Several additional suspects, both foreign and domestic, have been identified. Detectives expect additional arrests are forthcoming once additional follow-up investigations and search warrants are complete. 

Detectives found this particular grow site used jerry-rigged copper wire that bypassed the circuit breakers, inferior extension cords, and power strips secured with zip ties as permanent exterior wiring for processing equipment, lighting, fans, etc. Overloaded electrical wiring has caused fires in other marijuana to grow facilities. 

CODE and DCIME investigators have found illegal marijuana grows diverted or stolen significant water from nearby homes, commercial farms, or directly from pumps connected to underground sources in the arid central Oregon high desert. It is estimated that indoor marijuana cultivation uses between 2.5 and 3.0 gallons per day per plant. That equals to about 2,421 gallons per day or 72,630 gallons of water per month at this grow site alone. US Department of Interior and the USGS estimates that an average person uses 3,000 gallons of water monthly, so a family of 4 would use 12,000 gallons for bathing, cooking, washing, recreation and watering.

Additionally, Illegal marijuana farms, including this one, often use pesticides and insecticides that threaten residential water supplies and endanger the end user. This particular grow site was also infested with black mold. According to the CDC, Black mold is dangerous to those with immune suppression, asthma, or other respiratory problems. There are reports that ingesting or inhaling toxigenic molds, like black mold, can cause unique or rare health conditions such as pulmonary hemorrhage or memory loss. 

This remains an active investigation. CODE and DCIME have identified additional grow sites operated by this organization. Investigators know the remaining locations and will continue to dismantle these sites as the investigation progresses.

 

 

 

 

BPRD Fall Registration Opens Tuesday

BEND, OR -- Bend Park and Recreation District opens registration for fall recreation programs beginning Tuesday, August 16 at 6:00 a.m. An online Fall 2022 Online Playbook is available for viewing and download.

Fall programs run from September through December and include youth and adult activities, no-school day programs, arts, outdoors, swimming, sports and ice season favorites including skating, hockey and curling.

Patrons are encouraged to register online or in person at the Juniper Swim & Fitness Center, Larkspur Community Center, and the District Office during regular business hours.

If establishing a household account for the first time, the process can take up to 24 hours. All new and returning patrons are encouraged to verify account details before Aug. 16 when many programs are expected to fill up quickly.

For additional information, contact the BRPD Customer Service Team at (541) 389-7275 or visit www.bendparksandrec.org.

OHA Launches Monkeypox Website

PORTLAND, OR -- Oregon Health Authority has launched a new webpage for information about the hMPXV outbreak. State Health Officer Dr. Dean Sidelinger says it’s more user-friendly, "Has more accessible information on who’s at risk for Monkeypox and how they can access testing, vaccines and treatments, and take additional steps to protect themselves and others. It has links to additional resources, including guidance on isolation, what to do if you’ve been exposed [and] answers to frequently asked questions." It will also provide weekly updates on the spread of the virus. Sidelinger says new information will typically post on Wednesdays.

As of Thursday, there are 95 confirmed and presumptive cases of hMPXV in Oregon, three are women. Dr. Sidelinger says cases are spread across seven counties, "Three in Clackamas, one in Columbia, one in Coos, 17 in Lane, one in Marion, 57 in Multnomah and 15 in Washington."

Lane County public health officer Dr. Patrick Luedke says access to the vaccine is critical, "Our recommendations to other jurisdictions that have not yet seen a case is to make sure that they secure a few doses of the JYNNEOS and TPOXX; when they get a case, they can jump right on it very quickly."

OHA stresses Monkeypox is not airborne, and, while men who have sex with men are most at risk, anyone can contract the virus through prolonged skin-to-skin contact with an infected person. 

OSU-Cascades Close To Success Center Design

BEND, OR -- OSU-Cascades is getting closer to a final design for its $19 million Student Success Center. Jarrod Penttila is Construction Manager for the Bend campus, and says student input has been an important part of the process, "They want to see landscaping outside the building that they can really hang out in. They’re looking for spaces where they can socialize. And then, there are certain services that they’ve highlighted that are really important to have in the building, like academic success services, academic advising, student club spaces, a Diversity Equity lounge; and then student life and student government spaces, as well."

Penttila says the goal is to provide room for future expansion, "Over time, as we grow from the 1400-ish students that we have today, to 3,000 or 5,000 over the coming decade, that student success center will actually grow with the student population. So, for the next 15-20+ years, it’ll be that 20,000-square foot building." He tells KBND News they're going for a certain concept, "There’s an interesting look and feel to our campus character, and it’s really important to us to continue that, so we fit into the character of the greater Central Oregon area. And also, provide a building that’s comfortable for students and feels maybe a bit informal."

Lawmakers approved $14 million in state funding in the last legislative session. The other $5 million comes from student fees approved by the student body in 2017.

Penttila expects the design to be finalized later this year, and submitted for city permits. Construction on the 22,500 square foot facility should begin next spring, with completion slated for Summer of 2024.

Young Bus Riders Invited To Event

BEND,OR -- New bus riders, kindergarten students and their families are invited to learn about bus safety and take a spin on a school bus during the Winnie the Pooh School Bus Safety programs at Bend Transportation Department’s Bus Center August 16 and 17. During the events, families will watch a short movie featuring Winnie the Pooh, learn about the rules of bus riding and ride a bus together.

“The Winnie the Pooh Bus Safety events are a great opportunity for us to meet new bus riders and make sure they understand bus safety and how to ride our buses,” Kim Crabtree, Director of Transportation, said in a statement. “These events give us time before the start of the year to answer questions and demonstrate the safety features of buses, so come September, both riders and families feel confident about students riding the bus.”  

One-hour sessions are scheduled to take place at 501 SE Second St., Bend (at the corner of Second and Wilson avenues in Bend). 

• Tuesday, Aug. 16, 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.

• Wednesday,  Aug. 17, 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.

At the events, students learn how to cross the street safely, line up to wait for the bus and about behavior expectations while riding the bus. A Spanish-speaking staff member will be available during all sessions. Refreshments will be provided. 

For more information on the Winnie the Pooh School Bus Safety Program, contact 541-355-5702.

Defensible Space Code Mtgs In Central Oregon

BEND, OR -- Oregon’s Office of State Fire Marshal will host a series of meetings in Central Oregon next week to discuss defensible space code. Allison Green says the agency was given a number of duties through SB 762, "One of them, which is why we’re visiting Central Oregon next week, is around developing a minimum defensible space standard and language that then we can use statewide."

The code will eventually be applied to properties deemed at high or extreme wildfire risk based on the map created by the Department of Forestry and OSU. ODF pulled down that map last week so it could be re-tooled. But Green says they don’t need a map to develop language, just for eventual rollout and application of the code. "We have to have that language done by the end of this year, which is why now we’re going out to Oregon to hear from folks. What are your concerns around defensible space? What do folks do in their yards, in their spaces that works? And what can we capture and add into the code to make sure that it works for as many Oregonians as possible?"

She tells KBND News, "We want to hear from folks on what’s working, what are the concerns, what can we address? Before we have the language finalized and adopted that doesn’t reflect the folks that we serve." Green adds, "We’re preaching to the choir that is Central Oregon, right? Folks in Central Oregon have been working on wildfire and wildfire risk things for going on almost 30 years, at this point. So, when we talk defensible space, we may learn a lot of things from Central Oregon. Folks are experts in their own property."

In the meetings they've held elsewhere, Green says they heard concerns from farmers and ranchers in areas that might be considered at high or extreme risk for wildfires, which would trigger potential future code enforcement, "We have folks here that have irrigated croplands. They have certain agricultural uses, and so folks were like, ‘Am I going to have to cut down my alfalfa field?’ All of agricultural lands are going to be considered exempt."

OSFM hopes to have draft language by October and will take more feedback at that point. SB 762 dictates the code must be finalized in December. Oregon is only the second state in the country to have such a code; California was the first. The agency plans a total of 17 public meetings around the state, five in Central Oregon: 

  • August 16 at 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m., Sunriver, Three Rivers School Gym, 56900 Enterprise Drive 
  • August 16 at 5:30 – 7 p.m., Bend, Sky View Middle School Cafeteria, 63555 NE 18th Street 
  • August 17 at 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m., Sisters, Sisters Community Room, Sisters Fire, 301 S Elm Street 
  • August 17 at 5:30 – 7 p.m., Prineville, Crook County High School Auditorium, 1100 SE Lynn Blvd 
  • August 18 at 5:30 – 7 p.m., Madras, Madras Performing Arts, 412 SE Buff Street  

For a full schedule, visit the Oregon Defensible Space Code webpage. 

The OSFM has a section on its website dedicated to the defensible space code development process. To learn more:  defensible space code requirements. 

Sisters Releases City Manager Survey

SISTERS, OR -- The city of Sisters continues its search for a new City Manager. They’ve released a survey to get feedback on what skills, experience, and other attributes the community feels are important for the successful candidate. Click HERE to access the survey. The deadline is August 25th. 

A virtual, facilitated input session will also be offered on Tuesday, August 23rd from 6-7 pm via Zoom. Click HERE register for the virtual input session. If you have any questions or concerns please contact Emily Rehder by email emily@jensenstrategies.com.

Current City Manager Cory Misley is stepping down at the end of the month to take a job in Portland.

CODE Welcomes New Team Member

BEND, OR -- The Central Oregon Drug Enforcement Team welcomes Bend Police drug detection K9 Ladybug and her handler, Detective Rob Pennock, to the team. Ladybug is highly trained at using her sense of smell to detect a variety of controlled substances, except marijuana. She will be a valuable tool to her teammates during our investigations all around central Oregon. 

K9 Ladybug was selected to join CODE based on her unusually high play, prey, hunt and retrieve drives.  K9 Ladybug was also selected based on her socialization, personality, size, and confidence in all environments such as elevated and slick surfaces, confined spaces, and inclement weather.   

Detective Pennock and K9 Ladybug have taken and passed the Drug Detection Dog Certification Test as written and administered by WSPCA (Washington State Police Canine Association) as well as the OPCA (Oregon Police Canine Association) and CNCA (California Narcotic Canine Association).  

Ladybug, who recently celebrated her 10th birthday, is a Belgian Malinois from California.  When she’s not working, she enjoys hanging out around campfire with her family and lots of tummy scratches.

Local Couple Accused Of Drug Trafficking

PRINEVILLE, OR -- Another local couple is accused of trafficking drugs from the Portland area to be distributed in Central Oregon. On Wednesday, the Central Oregon Drug Enforcement Team concluded a long-term investigation with the arrest of Israel Sanchez-Villagomez, age 26, of Prineville, and Katlyn McCue, age 22, of Redmond. 

During a concurrent investigation, drug agents identified Israel Sanchez-Villagomez as a fentanyl trafficker in the Crook County area. The initial investigation alleges Mr. Israel Sanchez-Villagomez imported fentanyl pills from the SE Portland / Gresham area into central Oregon where he distributes them throughout the community. Detectives had received information that Israel Sanchez-Villagomez may be armed with a firearm. 

Following an overnight multi-county surveillance operation, CODE Detectives applied for, obtained, and executed a search warrant. At approximately, 11:15 AM, Sanchez-Villagomez and his girlfriend were contacted during a traffic stop on Highway 26 near NW Ryegrass Rd while she was driving an Audi A4. 

CODE Detectives and Crook County Deputies gathered and seized a commercial quantity of fake pharmaceutical tablets made of fentanyl along with powder fentanyl, cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin and other evidence of commercial drug sales from within the Audi. In addition to the drugs, Sanchez-Villagomez, a previously convicted felon, was also in possession of a loaded Smith & Wesson revolver. 

A “a commercial quantity” is defined by statute as five grams or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of fentanyl, or any substituted derivative of fentanyl as defined by the rules of the Oregon Board of Pharmacy. This is not a separate criminal charge, rather an increase in the sentencing guidelines. 

The greater Portland area is a major transshipment hub where illegal drugs coming from the southwest border are stored in local warehouses, storage units, and residential properties. The bulk shipments of drugs are usually broken down into smaller quantities and transported to other states or distributed to local dealers. The Portland area has an international airport, interstate highways, and bus and train lines that make it easy for shipments to be smuggled to other destinations around the pacific northwest.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 107,000 people have died as a result from a drug overdose or poisoning in the U.S. Criminal drug networks in Mexico are mass-producing illicit fentanyl and fake pills pressed with fentanyl in filthy, clandestine, unregulated labs. These fake pills are designed to look like real prescription pills right down to the size, shape, color and stamping. These fake pills typically replicate real prescription opioid medications such as oxycodone (Oxycontin®, Percocet®), hydrocodone (Vicodin®), and alprazolam (Xanax®); or stimulants like amphetamines (Adderall®).

Mr. Sanchez-Villagomez and Ms. McCue were lodged in the Crook County Sheriff’s Jail with the following criminal charges:

  • Unlawful Possession and Attempted Distribution of a Schedule II Controlled Substance (Fentanyl) 
  • Unlawful Possession and Attempted Distribution of Cocaine (Felony) 
  • Unlawful Possession and Attempted Distribution of Methamphetamine (Felony)
  • Unlawful Possession and Attempted Distribution of Heroin (Felony)
  • Felon in Possession of a Firearm (Sanchez-Villagomez Only)
  • Arrest Warrant - Parole Abscond (Sanchez-Villagomez Only)

CODE Detectives were assisted by the Crook County Sheriff’s patrol deputies, Deschutes County Sheriff's Office, Redmond Police Street Crimes Unit, Oregon State Police, Crook County Parole and Probation, Warm Springs Tribal Police and Crook County 9-1-1. 

Deschutes Co. Commissioners Discuss Psilocybin Land Use

BEND, OR -- Two days after agreeing to send a measure to the November ballot asking voters to ban psilocybin facilities in unincorporated areas, Deschutes County Commissioners began talking Wednesday about land use guidelines, should that measure fail.

County Community Development Director Peter Gutowsky told Commissioners, "Deschutes County - as I take a breath - is at the forefront of this issue. To my knowledge, you are the first county to officially adopt an opt out ordinance to refer the matter to the voters. You are the first county that has directed staff to develop TPM [Time, Place & Manner] amendments with a specific concept in mind." He added, "We don’t have the luxury of looking ahead to other jurisdictions that have had these conversations, that have engaged their legal counsel, that have engaged their County Commissioners with questions and comments. I dare say, most counties are tracking our process." 

Commissioner Phil Chang, the lone opponent of a ban, expressed frustration with discussion of another land use public hearing, "Again, I’m highly skeptical that, based on our recent performance in relation to this issue, that public testimony is going to be honored and utilized." He pointed to last month’s hearing, when Commissioners heard from around 80 people. Chang says after 90% testified in opposition to an opt out measure, the other two Commissioners still voted to send it to the ballot. Commission Patti Adair insisted they're trying to protect the interests of rural residents.

If the November opt-out measure fails and psilocybin treatment and manufacturing facilities are allowed in uncorporated Deschutes County, any land use restrictions must be in place before January's state rollout of the psilocybin program. 

Oregon legalized psilocybin with Measure 109, which passed in 2020 with nearly 53% support in Deschutes County. 

Thursday Wildfire Update

BEND, OR -- Oregon’s Department of Forestry is flying reconnaissance flights across the region, looking for smoke or fires sparked by lightning. ODF’s Christie Shaw says crews have, so far, been able to keep fires small, following this week’s storm, "While there initially was a little bit of dry lightning at the very beginning, for the most part, there was a lot of moisture with them. So, that really moderated the fire behavior, allowed firefighters to get to those fires and kind of do an initial attack in a really direct way." The rain could, though, allow holdover fires to creep around for days or even weeks before getting large enough to create a visible smoke plume. 

Fire crews responded to around 15 new starts Wednesday, but Shaw says things could be much worse, "This is our fire season; right? This is kind of the peak of the fire season that we see in Central Oregon, where fuels and vegetation’s been drying all summer long. And then, we get these lightning storms and this is where we see lots of big fires." But that hasn't happened yet, "We’ve had a very mild fire season up until now," Shaw tells KBND News. "We haven’t even had lightning storms hardly come through. We didn’t have fires already on the landscape that we were battling. For the most part, all of our IA resources, including aircraft and tankers, everybody was available and staffed up, knowing that these thunderstorms were coming through. So, we had a lot of resources that were able to immediately respond and get on these fires, and move from fire, to fire, to fire."

Most of the fires sparked by this week's storm were held at less than a quarter acre, but two are drawing a larger response. Incident 674 is estimated at about 120 acres. It's burning on private lands within the Post-Paulina Rangeland Fire Protection Association. And, the Doghouse Gulch Fire (pictured) near the John Day River, is estimated at 57 acres.

The Cedar Creek Fire, spotted August first in the Willamette National Forest, is more than 3,800 acres and 0% contained. Crews are using drones to search for new lightning starts near that incident. Five small lightning-caused fires were quickly contained. The Waldo Lake Wilderness remains closed to allow for firefighting activities. However, the lake itself, campgrounds and trails on the east side remain open. 

Oregon’s Office of State Fire Marshal is pre-positioning resources due to the elevated fire risk in Central and Southern Oregon. The agency is moving two structural task forces. Officials say they’ll bolster initial fire attack and allow for quicker response to new incidents.
A crew from Marion County is heading into Deschutes County Thursday, with 13 firefighters, four engines and a water tender. And, on Saturday, a task force from Benton County will mobilize in Klamath County, with 14 firefighters, four engines and a water tender. 
 
 

Changes To Redmond City Council Coming In 2023

REDMOND, OR -- Redmond’s City Council will look different in the new year. Councilor Krisanna Clark-Endicott announced Tuesday she won’t seek re-election in November. Hers is one of three seats up for grabs this year.

Councilor Jay Patrick has filed to run for Mayor, opting not to run to keep his Council seat. And, the third position is held by Cat Zwicker, who plans to run for a full term after being appointed in 2021, although she has not yet submitted all appropriate paperwork. According to the City Recorder, Branegan Dixon and John Nielsen have filed to run for Council, and Kathryn Osborne and Bill Trumble say they are running but have not submitted paperwork.

Also running for Mayor: Councilor Ed Fitch, who lost his last race for Mayor in 2018. His Council seat isn’t up this year, so he’ll remain if he loses his Mayoral bid. Charles Baer, who ran unsuccessfully for Bend Mayor four years ago. And Ben Schimmoller, who narrowly lost to Jack Zika in the 2018 Republican primary for House District 53. 

Clark-Endicott is married to Mayor George Endicott who previously announced he’s retiring at the end of the year.

 

UPDATE (4:30 p.m.) -- Redmond's City Recorder says Cat Zwicker submitted her candidate paperwork Wednesday and officially qualifies for the November ballot. 

 

BPD Sees Rise In Opportunistic Theft

BEND, OR -- Following a number of recent theft cases, Bend Police Chief Mike Krantz acknowledges the city is seeing more low-level crimes. "We have a decrease in person crimes, crimes of violence," Krantz tells KBND News, "But we do have an increase in that opportunistic crime."

The unfortunate reality, he says, is that everyone bears responsibility to be proactive in preventing theft. "We always encourage people: Remember to lock your doors. This is Bend. I know a lot of people leave their doors unlocked; they still do, both in their house, their car, their shed and their garage. It’s really critical to lock doors."

Previous Coverage: Mail Theft On The Rise In Deschutes County

Krantz says it’s part of our changing city, "It’s growth. And with that comes some of these growing city pains, in that there is an increase in some of these criminal activities. You know, I’m still thankful that we live in a very safe community. I talk to people about that all the time - yes, some of our lower level crimes of opportunity are increasing. But, overall, our violent crime, our person-to-person crime [is] extremely low for a community our size, actually."

The Chief also responded to concerns, following a brazen theft in the Old Mill. Krantz believes the three people who stole $20,000 worth of sunglasses from a store in the Old Mill, are committing similar crimes up and down the west coast, "Where you have a small group of people who go in and just overwhelm the store - not by force, not by robbery. But just start taking stuff and piling it in. And, for a variety of reasons there’s apprehension on the part of the employees; whether it be they’re just outnumbered, they’re in fear, corporate policies, whatever it is, they don’t intervene. It’s such a fast crime. It’s a minute or two and they’re out. Our average response time for in-progress crimes is about four minutes, so trying to get there on time, while it’s in progress, is difficult."

Click HERE to listen to our full conversation with BPD Chief Mike Krantz.

Madras Hires Director Of Police Services

MADRAS, OR -- Madras now has a Director of Police Services. City Council approved the appointment of retired Milwaukie Police Chief Steve Bartol to oversee Madras PD while Chief Tanner Stanfill is on Medical Leave.

Initially, a Madras Sergeant was appointed as interim chief, but officials say it quickly became clear that created a shortage in detective and patrol efforts. Bartol will serve in a civilian capacity and is not authorized to make arrests, perform officer duties or carry a badge.

Beginning this week, he’ll oversee day-to-day operations and perform administrative functions until Chief Stanfill returns. 

Redmond Man Arrested Following Child Porn Investigation

REDMOND, OR -- Redmond police arrested a 47-year-old man, following a four-month investigation into child porn. Officers executed a search warrant at Brian Zollman’s home on Tuesday. He was taken to the Deschutes County jail for six counts of Encouraging Child Sexual Abuse in the first degree and ten counts of Encouraging Child Sexual Abuse in the second degree.   

Based on information learned during this investigation, police believe Zollman may have had access to children in Redmond and Bend.  If your child has had contact with Zollman over the last year, or if you have information regarding this case (RPD case #22-18415), please contact RPD through dispatch, at 541-693-6911. 

RPD thanks The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, and the Central Oregon Digital Forensic Laboratory for their assistance with this investigation.  If you want to report child sexual exploitation you can do so through Deschutes County Dispatch, 541-693-6911, or through NCMEC’s Cyber Tip Line, https://report.cybertip.org, which is the nations centralized reporting system for the online exploitation of children.  You can make reports of suspected online enticement of children for sexual acts, child sexual molestation, child sex abuse material, child sex tourism, child sex trafficking, unsolicited obscene materials sent to a child, misleading domain names, and misleading words or digital images on the internet.       

Open House Schedule Announced For Camping Code

BEND, OR -- The City of Bend will host two open house meetings as part of its development of  municipal code provisions to regulate unsanctioned camping on City rights-of-way and City-owned property, like public streets, sidewalks, and landscape strips in Bend. 

The purpose of the open houses is to inform the community about how developing an unsanctioned camping code fits into the City and community response to homelessness. City staff will share information about the legal principles involved in regulating public property in light of recent federal court decisions and Oregon statutes and the process for developing the code, including when community members will have opportunities to provide input. The open houses will also provide time for community members to ask questions about this process.. Both open houses will be hybrid events. The online open houses will be available with live simultaneous Spanish interpretation.

The open houses will be held:

  • 10 a.m. on Tuesday, August 16, in Council Chambers (710 NW Wall Street) or online
  • 5:30 p.m. on Monday, August 29, at Municipal Court (555 NE 15th Street) or online

Both open houses will be streamed on the City of Bend YouTube channel. Those who wish to ask questions during the open house should register with the Zoom links that will be posted on the unsanctioned camping code webpage.

Unsanctioned camping along City streets and sidewalks is the type of camping the City hears a lot of concerns about. The Bend Municipal Code currently does not ban camping on public property or rights-of-way. The City of Bend is developing a code to help regulate City-owned property and rights-of-way to make them safer for everyone, and intends to regulate unsanctioned camping in a manner consistent with federal court decisions and Oregon law. There will be opportunities for the community to provide input on the proposed code before Council votes on adopting a code this fall.

Learn more about the unsanctioned camping code at bendoregon.gov/camping-code.

Sisters To Host City Manager Recruitment Mtg

SISTERS, OR -- The city of Sisters is moving forward with plans to recruit a new City Manager. Cory Misley says he is stepping down and moving out of the area at the end of this month. A virtual community meeting is planned for August 23rd at 6 p.m., for citizens to provide feedback on the kind of person they want in the position. 

The City Manager oversees city departments and answers only to City Council and the Mayor.

 

 

Mail Theft On The Rise In Deschutes County

BEND, OR -- The Deschutes County District Attorney’s Office is investigating more theft cases, including identity and mail theft, "Particularly the mail theft, which is, historically, not something that we’ve seen a lot of around here. But, in the last few years - and even, I would say, in particular, in the last six months, we’ve seen a rise in mail theft cases," Chief Deputy DA Stephen Gunnels tells KBND News, "I think word gets around among thieves that that’s an easy way to steal someone’s identity."

Bend Police report officers investigated two reports of mail theft in the first six months of 2021, compared to four in the city in the past six months. 

He says it’s primarily a crime of opportunity, "For example, in rural areas, you have the mailbox that just opens and shuts and there’s no lock on it. Those are easy for thieves. Especially at night, if someone leaves their mail in the mailbox overnight. If you put a check in the mail to go out the next day, I would suggest that you not do that; that you wait until the next morning to put it out there for the mail carrier to pick it up." Gunnels adds, "There are just really obvious things that we see over and over again, where somebody gets ahold of your debit or credit card and they go into the store, they buy very expensive power tools in order to pawn them, so they can get cash. They order huge amounts of food at grocery stores; things like that. Until the person whose bank accounts are being exploited cancels their debit card or credit card."

There are simple things you can do to protect yourself: cancel lost or missing debit or credit cards right away, watch account statements and immediately report unauthorized purchases, and get a locking mailbox. Gunnels says thieves almost never target a locked box.

Swimmer Dies Near Terrebonne

TERREBONNE, OR -- The body of a 37-year-old from Prineville was found in the Deschutes River near Terrebonne, over the weekend. A friend reported the person missing Saturday night.

The two had been swimming near Lower Bridge Way, but the friend left for an errand and when he returned, the victim had disappeared.

Deschutes County Search and Rescue responded that evening, but were unable to find the person. More resources responded to the area Sunday morning, including 17 SAR volunteers and the swift water rescue team, K9’s, and drone teams. After approximately five and a half hours, they found the body in the river approximately ½ mile downstream from Lower Bridge Way.

DCSO says this is a non-criminal investigation and nothing suspicious was noted. 

The name of the deceased is being withheld pending next of kin notification. 

Deschutes Co. Commissioners Meeting Heats Up Over Psilocybin Vote

BEND, OR -- Deschutes County Commissioners formally voted Monday to ask voters in November to opt out of allowing psilocybin facilities in unincorporated areas.

Previous Coverage: Psilocybin Hearing Draws Dozens Of Supporters

Commission Phil Chang was the sole "no'' vote, expressing frustration with the debate over what he says is a scientifically proven treatment. He told the other two Commissioners, "You all have been trying to define this purely as a land use issue. But, to me, this is an issue that we need to consider under our authority as the local mental health authority and the community mental health program, because these treatments have been demonstrated by Johns Hopkins and a whole bunch of pretty prestigious medical institutions throughout the United States."

In November 2020, 53% of Deschutes County voters approved Measure 109, which legalized so-called "magic mushrooms" as a medical treatment in Oregon. Chang asked to discuss the wording of the new local measure, "I would encourage us to include those statistics in the measure language itself." But Commissioner Patti Adair, the Board Chair, replied, "I personally don’t want to go that far. People can write it when they want to. I believe that 19 of the 24 rural precincts voted against it. So, there’s different sides of the issue." Chang also said it's premature to vote on a measure when they haven't decided on the verbiage being sent to voters. The other two Commissioners agreed to debate the measure language on Wednesday. 

As they headed to a vote, Chang tried again, "I believe that referring this ballot measure is both unnecessary and an expense to the taxpayers of Deschutes County that we do not need to incur." Adair immediately responded, "Ok; for a vote then - Commissioner DeBone?" Tony DeBone voted yes. "Commissioner Chang?" He voted no. The vote closed with Adair saying, "And the Chair votes yes."

Crook and Jefferson Counties expect to send similar opt out questions to the ballot in November. Voters in those two counties opposed to M109 in 2020. 

La Pine Chase Ends In State Park

LA PINE, OR -- A La Pine man faces charges after leading Deputies on a pursuit that ended in La Pine State Park.

The Sheriff’s Office says a deputy tried to pull  35-year-old Robert Alford over after he blew through a stop sign at Huntington and State Rac Road, just after 11 p.m. Sunday. When he didn’t stop, DCSO chased him into the park where he tried to drive off-road.

He high-centered on a boulder and was taken into custody without further incident.

Monday Wildfire Update

BEND, OR -- The Waldo Lake Wilderness remains closed as wildland crews battle the Cedar Creek Fire (pictured), east of Oakridge. It nearly doubled in size Sunday; estimated at 3,234 acres, as of Monday morning. The fire is burning in steep, rugged terrain, which makes it difficult for firefighters to access from the ground. A community meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Monday on the Cedar Creek Fire Facebook page

The Potter Fire, also in the Willamette National Forest, is 234 acres, with zero containment. The nearby Windigo Fire, in the Umpqua National Forest, is 1,053 acres and 25% contained. 

Near Maupin, the Miller Road Fire is now 98% contained at 10,847 acres. All evacuations were lifted Sunday.

On the Malheur National Forest, the Beech Creek Fire is at 155 acres and 69% contained. It continues to burn on both sides of Highway 395, nine miles south of Long Creek.

Locally, smoke jumpers responded to a new incident in the Deschutes National Forest, Sunday night. Incident 569 was reported near Lily Lake, northeast of Waldo Lake. Air resources responded from the Cedar Creek to provide water drops. 

 

Two Arrested In Redmond Drug Bust

REDMOND, OR -- Two people from Redmond were arrested during a drug bust last week. At about 8 a.m. on Thursday, Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Street Crimes Detectives executed a search warrant in the 700 block of NW 5th Street in Redmond. A multi-county surveillance operation was conducted. They say 34-year-old Joseph Pedro and 26-year-old Kerstin Arias were observed in the Portland area, believed to be purchasing controlled substances for distribution in Central Oregon.  

Pedro and Arias were detained without incident, upon their arrival home. Pedro was found with a commercial quantity of Fentanyl. Arias had a felony amount of Methamphetamine.  

The greater Portland area is a major transshipment hub where illegal drugs from the southwest border are stored in local warehouses, storage units, and residential properties. The bulk shipments of drugs are usually broken down into smaller quantities and transported to other states or distributed to local dealers. In addition, the Portland area has an international airport, interstate highways, and bus and train lines, making it easy for shipments to be smuggled to other destinations around the Pacific Northwest. 

Both Arias and Pedro were taken to the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Jail, where he is charged with Unlawful Possession of a Schedule II Controlled Substance (commercial quantity of fentanyl) and Attempted Unlawful Delivery of a Schedule II Controlled Substance (fentanyl.)  She is accused of Unlawful Possession of Methamphetamine-Felony. 

Crook County Rancher Creates Celebration Of Dirt

PRINEVILLE, OR -- A Central Oregon farm is partnering with the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service for a celebration of dirt, this weekend.

Crook County rancher Jeff Fox grows grass, lavender and bees at SunLife Farm, but he also wants it to be a destination for learning. "Soil is such an important part to framing that I just had a hair-brained idea to do something called Dirt Day." It's a "soilebration," if you will.

Dirt Day provides an exploration of dirt, with the help of some expert guests talking about important topics, "From native grasses and native soils, and the breakdown of what has happened on the native front here in Central Oregon, and just overall, the changes. And hopefully what we can do better, as the public, moving forward, to put some emphasis back into sustainability. And, I guess, give them more of an appreciation of where everything comes from and just how interconnected we all are." He tells KBND News he offers "Just an overall understanding of what has happened with soil, what is happening to soil at varying levels - be it from climate change, be it from our drought situation. But there’s an ever-changing nature to the ag industry, here in Central Oregon."

Saturday’s event includes food, the NRCS soil health trailer, and, of course, a big pit to explore, "Give a true, live look at what happens beneath the surface; what’s below there. And, how that all works relative to water and watering, if you would, relative to nutrients in the soil - what it takes to actually grow crops, here."

Dirt Day is Saturday from 10 to 3:30, you’ll find more information at SunLifeFarm.com.

 

Wildfire Risk Map Pulled Down, Redmond Meeting Still On

REDMOND, OR -- Barely a month after the Department of Forestry released a statewide wildfire risk map, the Oregon State Forester pulled down the original version. However, a public meeting in Central Oregon will go on as planned, this week.

ODF’s Derek Gasperini says the agency complied with a new law by getting a first version out by June 30th, "Senate Bill 762 has a lot of pieces for a lot of agencies. But, for the Department of Forestry - specifically, it required the Department of Forestry to work with Oregon State University, who are some of the nation’s leaders in fire science, to create a map that assesses wildfire risk at a property ownership level and identifies the wildland-urban interface; basically, where wildland fuels and vegetation meets homes and communities."

But, the State Forester says feedback from nearly 2,000 people over the past month helped them understand key areas of concern and are working with OSU to improve the map. Gasperini says those developers followed guidelines. "As the legislation requires, the risk is based on a combination of climate, weather, topography and vegetation," he told KBND News last week, "So, when you have a hot, dry climate; when you have troubling, steep topography - or proximity to those, then that increases the risk of occurrence of wildfire."

ODF sent out 100,000 notices to property owners in high and extreme risk areas, which are now subject to change with a new map. Any appeals are also moot.

ODF will be in Redmond this week, to talk with Central Oregonians about the map. Gasperini says they still want to provide a chance for Central Oregonians to talk to the agency and researchers from OSU, "The folks who have spent the last year writing the rules, building the map, just basically creating the policy and the science behind the risk assessment. And, sharing what the outcome of that map is, its purpose, [and] the appeal process."

Wednesday’s meeting is at the Deschutes County Fairgrounds at 7 p.m.

Motorcycle Rider Rescued After Crash Near Pine Mountain

SUNRIVER, OR -- Deschutes County Search and Rescue helped a 27-year-old Bend man after he crashed his motorcycle on a Forest Road south of Pine Mountain, Sunday morning.

According to the Sheriff's Office, 13 SAR volunteers and two deputies responded to the area just before 11 a.m. The first responder on scene was a Seasonal Deputy, who was working OHV enforcement.  That deputy stayed with the rider and guided in SAR volunteers to the rider's location when they arrived with the second deputy.  

The rider was put into a wheeled litter and carried to nearby SAR vehicles, then driven to an OHV staging area where an ambulance was waiting.

He was taken to St. Charles for evaluation.

Photos courtesy Deschutes County Sheriff's Office

$20k In Sunglasses Taken In Theft

BEND, OR -- Three people are on the run after Bend Police say they stole $20,000 worth of sunglasses from the Sunglasses Hut in The Old Mill District, Sunday morning.

Officers responded just after 11 a.m. and learned a man and two women entered the store and began putting sunglasses into bags. They continued, even after being confronted by an employee. There were other customers in the store at the time. The three then took off.

During the investigation, police were able to get photos of the suspects and their vehicle - a gray Hyundai, possibly a Sonata, with tinted windows. There were no license plates on the vehicle when they left the location. There is damage to the driver’s side.

If you see this vehicle or the subjects in the photos, please contact the Bend Police Department through non-emergency dispatch at 541-693-6911.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photos courtesy Bend PD

Defensible Space Code Development Meetings Planned

SALEM, OR -- The Office of State Fire Marshal (OSFM) is hosting a series of town hall meetings to talk about the 2022 Oregon Defensible Space Code, its development, timelines, and upcoming opportunities for community input.

The OSFM has been working through a public development process with the Oregon Defensible Space Code Development committee; a diverse group of stakeholders, to develop the new code based on the framework established through SB 762. To continue that process, the OSFM is hosting a series of 17 community townhalls across Oregon, which began last week in Southern Oregon.

Local meetings are:

Tuesday, August 16

  • Sunriver, 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m., Three Rivers School Gym, 569000 Enterprise Dr.
  • Bend, 5:30 - 7 p.m., Location TBD

Wednesday, August 17

  • Sisters, 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m., Sisters Community Room, 301 S Elm St.
  • Prineville, 5:30 - 7 p.m., Location TBD

Thursday, August 18
  • Madras, 5:30 - 7 p.m., Madras Performing Arts, 412 SE Buff St.

For a full schedule, visit Oregon Defensible Space Code webpage.

Oregon Senate Bill 762 directs the OSFM to establish minimum defensible space code standards and where those may apply. Accordingly, the OSFM has set up a special section on its website dedicated to the defensible space code development process. Those wishing to learn more can do so here defensible space code requirements.

Bend Continues Work On Unsanctioned Camping Code

BEND, OR -- Bend’s City Council continues to get regular updates on efforts to reduce homelessness. Mayor Pro Tem Anthony Broadman says the conversations are long overdue, "This Council has taken up, in the last several months, both unsanctioned camping and the regulation and siting of homeless shelters. So, two big issues previous Councils had not addressed. I don’t know why; obviously this is a top-line issue for folks in Bend." While many in Bend point to the pandemic as a big factor, Broadman says there has been a steady increase in the number of unhoused people in Bend, over the last 10 years. 

Broadman tells KBND News city staff now have clear instructions, "Build this code that prohibits camping. Then, make sure that, even on top of that, within residential areas, there’s no camping allowed. And a buffer around existing homeless service providers." He adds, "We need to restrict - we need to regulate where unsanctioned camping can occur, or limit it in many ways, by what the courts have told us in terms of regulating where and how people can camp." Those court decisions say cities cannot impose laws that criminalize homelessness, and a camper must have access to a shelter bed. But, Broadman says, Council can dictate how public rights of way are used, "We can regulate time, place and manner of where people can sleep and camp. And we have to do that because we regulate the public right of way in many ways. So, we’re not regulating the existence of people who are homeless. We’re simply saying ‘if you are going to use public space you have to do it in a safe way."

Council also plans more opportunities for feedback before the code is finalized, "We want the input from the public. We’re going to have multiple open houses on just the unsanctioned camping code," says Broadman. A draft code could be ready for public input later this summer or fall. 

Previous Coverage: City Council Agrees On Framework For Camping Code Development

Friday Morning Wildfire Update

BEND, OR -- All evacuation levels for the Fly Creek Fire, near Lake Billy Chinook, have been lifted. As of Thursday afternoon, the fire was 95% contained at 274 acres. Due to firefighter's progress, management will be downgraded Friday morning, with no more official updates. 

The Green Butte Fire, about 13 miles southeast of La Pine, is estimated at just 23 acres adn 25% contained. Firefighters continue mop-up efforts Friday to improve the fire line. 

Friday morning's Central Oregon Fire briefing is HERE

The Windigo Fire in the Umpqua National Forest, 20 miles southwest of La Pine, is estimated at 978 acres, as of Friday morning. Nearby, the Potter Fire is about 125 acres in the Willamette National Forest. Both remain 0% contained.

The Cedar Creek Fire, also on the Willamette, has grown to 830 acres. It's about 15 miles east of Oakridge. Crews continue to struggle with access as it’s burning in steep, rugged terrain. It's also zero contained.

The massive Miller Road Fire in Wasco County continues to burn grass and brush 8 miles southwest of Maupin. Friday morning estimates put it at 11,186 acres with 25% containment. Evacuations remain in place for areas near Maupin and Tygh Valley.

At a Thursday briefing, Vince Stafford, with the State Fire Marshal's Office said, "We did lose one primary structure out there. We were fighting around and then we brought in some heavy aircraft to help us. They did a great job catching that." Another 880 structures are still threatened. Stafford says more resources are coming, "So, you’re going to see a lot more activity, more equipment and crews being put on the fire." A unified command takes over Friday morning. 

Another fire in The Dalles pulled some resources from Miller Road. 

Click HERE to read the full Friday morning briefing from the Northwest Coordination Center. 

 

Photo: Cedar Creek Fire 08/04/22, courtesy NWCC

FOUND: State Searches For Missing Bend Siblings

UPDATE: (08/04/22) Oregon's Deparment of Human Services says both children were found safe on Thursday, August 4th. 

 

BEND, OR -- (07/21/22) Oregon's Department of Human Services issued the following missing persons alert:

Nova Millsap, age 13-months, and Artimay Millsap, age 7-weeks, went missing with their father, Charles Millsap and their mother, Kayla Spills (aka: Kayla Millsap) from Bend on July 7. The Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS), Child Welfare Division believes that Nova and Artimay may be at risk and is searching for them to assess their safety.

ODHS asks the public to help in the effort to find Nova and Artimay. Anyone who suspects they have information about the location of Nova and Artimay, or their parents should call 911 or local law enforcement. 

They are believed to be in the Redmond, Terrebonne or Prineville areas of Oregon. There is also a chance they may travel out of state. They are suspected to be traveling together in a white Honda Accord with Oregon license plate #SBD139. Kayle Spills sometimes goes by the name Kayle Millsap. 

Name: Nova Lou Millsap
Pronouns: She/her
Date of birth: June 17, 2021
Height: 30-inches
Weight: 20-pounds
Hair: Strawberry blonde
Eye color: Blue

Name: Artimay Dianne Millsap
Pronouns: She/her
Date of birth: June 3, 2022
Height: 15-inches
Weight: 7-pounds
Hair: Strawberry blonde
Eye color: Blue
Other identifying information: Artimay is a very small infant

A small number of children in foster care may be in significant danger when they run away or have gone missing. As ODHS works to do everything it can to find these missing children and ensure their safety, media alerts will be issued in some circumstances when it is determined necessary. Sometimes, in these situations, a child may go missing repeatedly, resulting in more than one media alert for the same child.

Report child abuse to the Oregon Child Abuse Hotline by calling 1-855-503-SAFE (7233).  This toll-free number allows you to report abuse of any child or adult to the Oregon Department of Human Services, 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year. 

Bend Plans To Ban Pet Store Animal Sales

BEND, OR -- Bend City Council appears ready to ban the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits at pet stores. Councilor Megan Perkins says she proposed the ordinance after hearing repeatedly from a group concerned about puppy mills, "We’re sort of doing two things. One, is making a statement that Bend doesn’t want to see these types of pets from these irresponsible breeders in our stores and in our community. And, second, we want to encourage, as a community, that we should all be supporting our rescue organizations." She tells KBND News, "So far, there are no pet stores in Bend that are selling dogs, kittens and bunnies from these puppy mills. We’re just putting this ordinance through that would just say that this is not something we want to see in the future."

Perkins acknowledges this is not a major issue for the city, "This is not something that has taken up a lot of Council’s time; it has not taken up a lot of staff time. And we do not foresee that happening in the future. And part of that reason is because it is a proactive measure. But part of the reason is, we’re not going to be talking about this Council meeting after Council meeting after Council meeting. This is sort of like a one and done."

The first reading of the ordinance passed Wednesday night, 7-0. The second reading is scheduled for August 17. It encourages stores to continue partnering with animal rescue organizations to hold adoption events instead of selling dogs, cats and rabbits for profit.

At Least Seven Apparent Drownings In 12-Day Span

BEND, OR -- More than half a dozen people have died on Oregon waterways in just the past two weeks. The most recent apparent drowning was in Cottage Grove Lake, in Lane County. A 75-year-old man went into the water while boating Tuesday and didn’t resurface.

Ashley Massey, with the State Marine Board, says environmental factors can have a big impact on a person in the water, "Exposure to sun, to heat, to glare on the water, to wind, to noise. And then you add on top of that physical exertion, like swimming and getting back out, chasing your friends, jumping off a dock or any of that other activity."

She says victims don’t realize they’re in trouble until it’s too late, "Often times, when you’re just lounging around and floating on a lazy river, you may not recognize those impacts on your body, until you have to exert yourself."

Massey says there are proactive steps you can take, "Staying hydrated with water. Avoid the caffeinated drinks and alcohol, of course; any type of impairing substance. Also, wear a hat and sunscreen, and that glare really does impact you so wear sunglasses, too. And then, take frequent breaks in the shade." And, she urges everyone to wear a lifejacket, regardless of swimming ability.

Since July 22nd, incidents in the Portland-metro area and Lane, Deschutes and Jefferson counties claimed the lives of at least seven people. While one victim was 17, most are adults. Massey says around 85% of victims in fatal boating incidents were not wearing a life jacket, "It’s state law that if you’re in a boat that’s underway and you’re under 13, you have to wear a lifejacket. And we’re not seeing those kids get injured or involved in fatal accidents. We need to incorporate, not just what we tell our kids but take that behavior on ourselves." Click HERE for a map of life jacket loaner stations around the state. 

According to the Oregon State Marine Board, there have been 11 recreational boating fatalities so far this year; six occurring in July. Seven involved nonmotorized watercraft like kayaks, canoe, raft, SUP or sailboat. Four were motorized, involving open motorboats and a personal watercraft.

Thursday Morning Wildfire Update

REDMOND, OR -- The Miller Road Fire, burning 13 miles southwest of Maupin is now estimated at 10,500 acres, with no containment. As of Thursday morning, evacuation orders remain in place, as air tankers and ground crews converge on Juniper Flat in Wasco County. [Pictured: Miller Road Fire camp]

Carol Connolly, with the Northwest Coordination Center, says the Miller Road Fire is growing fast, "They have still been receiving some high winds and that fire has been wind-driven. It’s burning in heavy dry fuels, including grass, shrubs and juniper. The crews are currently evaluating some of the snags along the perimeter and along Highway 216. However, the primary focus is protecting structures and attacking the east and south flanks." She tells KBND News, "It’s a mixed landscape with a lot of ranches and farms, and there are primary structures, cabins, outbuildings in that area. So, there has been structural protection put in place in and around those buildings. However, I have not received a report if we have had any structures lost at this time."

FEMA has authorized federal funds to help pay for fighting the Miller Road Fire. The agency says the fire threatens to "cause such destruction it would constitute a major disaster." It threatens homes in and around Pine Grove, Tygh Valley and Maupin, as well as a major power transmission line and three communications towers.

Oregon received 5,000 lightning strikes in a 48-hour period, sparking more than a hundred small fires, including several in the Deschutes National Forest. About 13 miles southeast of La Pine, the Green Butte Fire is mapped at just 23 acres but is 0% contained. Connolly says, "Because we had the air support in the region, they assisted the ground firefighters and the ground engines working that fire. So, we’re very fortunate that we have had a lot of air tankers in Oregon and Washington."

The Cedar Creek Fire was discovered late Monday in the Willamette National Forest, 17 miles east of Oakridge. Connolly says it was first reported Monday and quickly grew to around 500 acres, "Local crews had a really hard time getting to the fire. It’s very steep, rugged terrain with minimum roads and minimum access. Aviation resources have been flying the fire." She adds, "Aviation resources have been working the fire. However, ground crews have not been able to get in there because there are no safety zones or escape routes for our firefighters." An incident management team takes over command of the fire Thursday, and there are emergency closures in place. 

In the Malheur National Forest, the Beech Creek Fire is now 15% contained, at 248 acres. Highway 395 is open with a pilot car from milepost 103 to milepost 106.5, north of John Day. But, drivers should expects delays and heavy fire traffic.

New Destination Coming To RDM

REDMOND, OR -- A new destination for the Redmond Airport was announced Thursday morning. Avelo Airlines, a low-cost boutique start-up, will offer direct flights to and from Palm Springs, beginning in the fall.

Avelo's Jim Olson tells KBND News there has been a lot of demand for the non-stop flight, "Redmond and Bend are a very popular location for people from southern California to visit; and vice versa. There are a lot of folks up in Central Oregon that want to go down to southern California. So, it’s one of those unique markets that actually has appeal on both ends of the route, and that’s not true for every single route. So it’s a win-win on both ends." He adds, "We know a lot of folks have second homes down there. We know that there are a lot of people, especially in the fall and winter that enjoy escaping to a little bit of sunshine."

Olson says the airline is growing, "Palm Springs, for us, is a new destination, so it’s a brand new dot on our map. There are going to be three spokes, or destinations that we’ll serve. So, it’s going to serve Santa Rosa, California, Eugene and Redmond."

He says adding Palm Springs to its Redmond and Eugene options fits in with their model, "One of the things we like to do at Avelo is fly to convenient airports. We like small airports, in particular." Olson says, "You just kind of walk right off the plane, you pick up your bag and you’re on your way to whatever you’re going to do. Same thing with the Palm Springs Airport. It is very much a community airport. It’s an open air airport and once you get there, you’re essentially on your way to play some golf or hang out by the pool, or go get some great food."

Avelo will fly from Redmond to Palm Springs twice a week, Fridays and Mondays, between November 11 and April 29. Olson says it could expand if there’s enough demand. One-way tickets are as low as $39 during an introductory period.

Palm Springs is the second destination for Avelo from Redmond. They launched in the spring of 2021 with direct flights to Burbank.

DA Rules Madras Officer-Involved Shooting "Justified"

MADRAS, OR -- The Jefferson County District Attorney has concluded his investigation into the July 22nd officer-involved shooting near the fairgrounds. DA Steve Leriche called the shooting justified, citing evidence the suspect - Rafael Gomez - tried to fire on law enforcement and civilians during a foot pursuit.

Previous Coverage: Investigation Continues Into Shooting Near Jefferson County Fairgrounds

Gomez is accused of stealing an AR-15 from a vehicle parked at the fairgrounds. Leriche says Gomez then ran toward several businesses, pointing the rifle at a number of people before deputies and police shot him as he tried to enter the Madras KFC. The gun was recovered with two rounds jammed in the chamber.

Gomez was treated at the hospital. While getting booked into the jail, Leriche says Gomez asked if media was present, and expressed an interest in becoming famous.

 

Help Wanted: Bend Parks & Rec Hiring 30+ Staff

BEND, OR -- With the school year around the corner, Bend Park and Recreation District is hosting a special KIDS Inc. Hiring Week for afterschool childcare job opportunities. BPRD hiring managers are looking for applicants who like working with children to join the team as a Youth Recreation Leader. To schedule an interview, interested applicants can complete a one-minute KIDS Inc. Hiring Week Interview Form. The KIDS Inc. Hiring Week is Tuesday, Aug. 9 through Thursday, Aug. 11 at the BPRD District Office (799 SW Columbia St. in Bend). 

During KIDS Inc. Hiring Week interviews, attendees can learn about positions and benefits and ask questions about their potential role. BPRD plans to make job offers on the spot and has successfully hired dozens of candidates at prior events this spring and summer.

From September to June, the KIDS Inc. program serves families with high-quality afterschool care. After a full day of school, kids need some down time to be care-free and Youth Recreation Leaders guide activities while creating a safe and enriching environment. The Youth Recreation Leader is responsible for facilitating classes and activities through developmentally appropriate crafts, games, and/or other planned activities. Youth recreation jobs have relevant, real-world experience to use towards professional pathways in childcare, education and other fields.

“While Youth Recreation Leaders can have a ton of fun on the job, they play a valuable role at the district,” said John Batacan-Wilson, BPRD Recruiting Specialist. “They help provide critical childcare services and support kids and their families in our community.”

BPRD offers benefits, which may include insurance, paid leave, recreation facility passes and recreation program discounts. Plus, KIDS Inc. employees receive a special benefit – their elementary school-age children can attend KIDS Inc. at no cost.

Available for ages 16 and older, the featured part-time openings include:

  • Afterschool Childcare/Youth Recreation Leader 1 – little to no experience
  • Afterschool Childcare/Youth Recreation Leader 2 - some experience
  • Afterschool Childcare/Youth Recreation Leader 3 – minimum 2 years’ experience

New this year, local high school or college students qualify for paid positions that include scholarships for COCC and OSU-Cascades students and paid internships for Bend La-Pine high school students.

KIDS Inc. hours are:

  • Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday: 2:00 – 5:30 pm
  • Wednesday: 12:30 – 5:30 pm

Three-day and five-day schedules are available, and working only during weekday afternoons means mornings, evenings, weekends and holidays are free.

Learn more about positions and apply at: https://www.bendparksandrec.org/jobs.

Bend Woman Arrested After Early Morning Shooting

BEND, OR -- A Bend woman was arrested Wednesday morning, after a shooting. Officers responded to NE Scarlet Court at about 3:20 a.m., following a report of a woman firing a gun at a house. Bend Police and Deschutes County Sheriff’s Deputies found evidence of numerous handgun rounds being fired from a .380 handgun.

Around15 rounds were fired and several rounds struck the home and a parked vehicle. No one was injured and the house was unoccupied at the time. The shooter took off in a Jeep prior to police arriving.

An investigation by Bend Police Detectives led to the arrest of 26-year-old Megan Leeann Teeter around 09:30 a.m. at 61140 Chuckanut Drive by CERT (Central Oregon Emergency Response Team). According to the BPD Twitter account, the suspect surrendered after talking with negotiators. She was taken to St. Charles Medical Center for evaluation. She's accused of Unlawful use of a weapon, Reckless endangering and Attempted murder

The property at NE Scarlet Court is the home of a relative of Teeter. Detectives served a search warrant at the Chuckanut Drive address and seized the handgun they say was involved in the shooting. 

Wednesday Morning Wildfire Update

BEND, OR -- The Fly Creek Fire, near Lake Billy Chinook, is now 80% contained. It held overnight at 280 acres and evacuation levels were reduced Tuesday. 

The Tolo Mountain Fire, in the Crescent Ranger District, is now 100% contained at just 41 acres. 

And, Local wildland fire crews continue to respond to new starts reported after several days of lightning. Jean Nelson Dean, with the Deschutes National Forest says Central Oregon’s fire season is now in full swing, "It’s easy, I think, for people to get kind of lulled into that we hadn’t had a lot of fires in June and July. But, we’re really just kind of at the start of when we normally do have fires." She urges campers to follow current restrictions and only have campfires in designated areas, before you leave, make sure those fires are “dead out” - which means cold to the touch.

In the Umpqua National Forest, the Windigo Fire is burning 20 miles southwest of La Pine. Updated mapping shows it's 978 acres, instead of the previously reported 1,200. As of Wednesday morning, it's remains 0% contained. Nelson Dean says spot fires have been reported in the Deschutes National Forest, "And that’s primarily around the Pacific Crest Trail area, so people have been moved out of the Pacific Crest Trail. We do have a closure form Hwy 138 to Hwy 58, given the amount of fuels we have in that area and the fact that a fire could really get up and run there." The size of the Potter Fire, in the Willamette National Forest, was also reduced Tuesday. It's 97 acres, as of Wednesday morning. Because of their proximity to each other, Potter and Windigo are being managed together.
Ryan Sullivan is on the management team. During a Tuesday briefing on the Potter Fire [pictured], he said, "This fire’s in some pretty steep, nasty terrain and we have just limited resources, right now." Of the Windigo Fire, he said, "We started pushing dozer line around the south side of the fire. We also had a few hotshot crews - two hotshot crews up on the north side of the fire, starting to construct some line."

Governor Kate Brown invoked the Emergency Conflagration Act late Tuesday, in response to a new fire in Wasco County. As of Tuesday evening, the Miller Road Fire was estimated at 1,000 acres. It was first reported Tuesday morning; its cause is undetermined. By mid-day local agencies were calling for aerial support as it grew to 200 acres. "There are ground resources making progress on it. It is east of the small community of Pine Grove, Oregon; which is also east of the Mt. Hood National Forest boundary," Carol Connolly, with the Northwest Coordination Center, told KBND News, Tuesday. She added that it spread quickly in grass, brush and juniper, "So, it is on private land. It had a really strong wind on it and it was pushing the fire to the east. There were some evacuations in place, structures threatened, and Highway 216 is closed near Maupin." That highway reopened Wednesday morning, although drivers are asked to use caution. The Governor’s declaration clears the way for more resources available. An incident management team from the State Fire Marshal’s Office will take command Wednesday morning and five more task forces are expected to respond. 

DCSO Launches Text Alert For Deschutes County Fair

REDMOND, OR -- If you’re headed to the Deschutes County Fair this week, the Sheriff’s Office encourages you to sign up for text alerts to get notifications of emergencies related to the fair.

Sgt. Jayson Janes says it uses the existing “Deschutes Alerts” text notification system, "If there’s an emergency, we can let everybody know. Or, if we have a missing child and we need help finding the child. Anything that would be of interest that’s directly related to the fair."

He says the Sheriff’s Office came up with the idea after the officer-involved shooting in Madras two weeks ago, just outside the Jefferson County Fair.

Sgt. Janes tells KBND News it’s part of an updated plan, now that DCSO is in charge of fair security, "There will be times throughout the fair when we’ll have more deputies there, more security than typically they’ve had in the past. Now that we’re responsible for it, we’re going to start doing different things and trying to be creative in making it as safe as possible and still family friendly."

To sign up, text the word “DCFAIR” to the number 888-777, the keyword subscription automatically expires at the end of the fair. 

Gas Prices Still Dropping

BEND, OR -- Prices at the pump fell for the seventh week in a row. The national average dropped 14 cents to $4.19, Oregon’s average slipped a dime to $5.05 and Bend's local average fell 13 cents to $5.09, this week.

AAA-Oregon’s Marie Dodds says the decline is because of falling crude oil prices, "Crude has come down in price from where it was when Russia first invaded Ukraine. But it’s still higher than it was a year ago. It’s trading between $94-$96 a barrel. And, a year ago, crude was around $71a barrel."

About half of Oregon gas stations are now selling regular for less than $5 a gallon. Dodds says the Portland area is among the most expensive regions in the state, but drivers in more remote areas are paying even more, "The current average for Multnomah county: $5.24; Clatsop County: $5.19; Tillamook, $5.20. Wallowa County: $5.31; Coos County: $5.17; Curry County: $5.71 and Josephine: $5.26."

Deschutes County Fair Opens Today

REDMOND, OR -- The Deschutes County Fair kicks off at 11 a.m. Wednesday. Director Geoff Hinds says it’s a far cry from the non-existent fair in 2020, and it’ll look more “normal” than last year. "But, there will still be some adjustments that we made last year," he tells KBND News, "Some of them that we kept in place because the response from our customers was overwhelmingly positive. And some we’re doing just to provide a responsible activity and event for our community. We’ll continue to have our concerts in an outdoor space and we continue to spread things out on the property and provide a lot more park-like setting." 

The rodeo moves indoors, "We have our first night of NPRA Championship Rodeo inside its new home in the Wilco Arena, inside the First Interstate Bank Center. So, we’re really excited to showcase that new venue for that event. As well as our first of our free summer concert series, with Chase Rice taking the stage."

The free summer concert series stretches five nights, this year, with the fair’s first-ever Spanish-language concert scheduled for Sunday, "We’re programming for a little of the diversity we have here in Central Oregon with a Spanish language show. But also showcasing the uniqueness of that entire culture with some baile folklorico groups and some other bands and entertainment throughout a number of stages on the grounds." Other entertainment - like the lumberjack show, ventriloquist and K-9 Kings are more spread out across the property, Hinds says it provides for more greenspace where people can relax. 

Don’t forget the carnival rides, animals and, of course, the typical fair fare, "We’ll obviously have the traditional deep-fried everything here at fair. And we’ve got over seven brand new food booths, showcasing all of their amazing different types of food."

The Deschutes County Fair opens at the fairgrounds in Redmond each day at 11 a.m. and closes at 10 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 8 p.m. on Sunday. Click HERE for a video on traffic pattern changes implemented by the county to address evening congestion. 

More Cases Of Bird Flu Found In Deschutes County

BEND, OR -- On July 22, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS) confirmed highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in two non-commercial backyard flocks in Deschutes County. Each property had 70 to 80 birds, a mix of chickens, ducks, and Pea fowl. All birds were humanely euthanized on July 24. The flock owners did not sell eggs or other poultry products therefore federal guidelines do not require expansion of the existing regional quarantine.

Deschutes County now has 6 cases of HPAI confirmed. There will be no poultry exhibit at the county fair, which starts Wednesday, due to a quarantine from previous cases. State Veterinarian Ryan Scholz expects more cases of HPAI statewide as we move closer to the fall season and birds begin their winter migration. To keep the public informed ODA will provide weekly HPAI summaries beginning August 8 and post all confirmed Oregon HPAI cases online. Please sign up to receive HPAI updates via email. ODA will continue to issue news releases to announce the first case of HPAI in domestic poultry in a county that has not previously had a case of HPAI, and for new or expanded regional quarantines.

As always, ODA advises commercial poultry and backyard flock owners to be vigilant with biosecurity measures and surveillance. Preventing any contact between wild birds and domestic flocks is the best way to protect domestic birds from HPAI. Death or illness among domestic birds should be reported to ODA. Please report by calling 503-986-4711 (Alt phone 1-800-347-7028).

To report the death of wild birds please contact the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) by calling 1-866-968-2600 or email Wildlife.Health@odfw.oregon.gov.

For more tips on protecting backyard flocks please visit ODA's Avian Influenza webpage or en Español at Avian Influenza-Spanish.

DCSO: Trailhead Theft Suspects Arrested With Cache of Weapons, Drugs

BEND, OR -- A couple suspected of breaking into vehicles at local trailheads was arrested over the weekend. The Deschutes County Sheriff's Office says an employee at All Seasons RV/Marine reported seeing the pair on Saturday, just before noon, saying the man had a gun in his waistband. 

DCSO deputies contacted and detained both people. They say 33-year-old Cody Huckaby was carrying a 9mm semi-auto handgun and suspected fentanyl pills. He was also had a nation-wide warrant for his arrest for escape out of Washington. With him was 26-year-old Jesi Whiteantelope, also from Washington.

Detectives were contacted and a search warrant was obtained for the truck and trailer belonging to Huckaby and Whiteantelope. During the search of the truck and trailer, they found numerous identification cards and credit cards from the trailhead and day use area thefts. Deputies also discovered property from a burglary in the La Pine area, as well as nine firearms, replica police badges, an external body armor vest with "US Marshals" markings and a ballistic helmet. The truck Huckaby was operating was also equipped with red and blue emergency lights along with a siren. Deputies also seized Methamphetamine and suspected Fentanyl. 

Previous Coverage: Suspects Sought In Trailhead Thefts

Huckaby and Whiteantelope were both transported to the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Jail. He's accused of Racketeering, Felon in Possession of a Firearm (9 counts), Manufacture Delivery and Possession of Methamphetamine, Manufacture Delivery and Possession of a Schedule II Controlled Substance (Fentanyl), Felon in Possession of Body Armor, Aggravated Theft I, Criminal Impersonation of a Police Officer, False Information to a Police Officer, and a Warrant for Escape out of Washington State. She faces charges of Racketeering, Felon in Possession of a Firearm (9 counts), Manufacture Delivery and Possession of Methamphetamine, Manufacture Delivery and Possession of a Schedule II Controlled Substance (Fentanyl), Felon in Possession of Body Armor, Aggravated Theft I, and  Criminal Impersonation of a Police Officer. More charges are likely as deputies continue to sort through evidence and locate additional evidence of crimes and victims. 

The Sheriff’s Office thanks the observant community member for reporting what he saw to our office. His actions are believed to have helped solve this and a number of other cases. 

Tuesday Morning Wildfire Update

BEND, OR -- Oregon saw more than 870 lightning strikes from Sunday to Monday morning, sparking at least 19 fires in that timeframe. Carol Connolly, at the Northwest Coordination Center, says that storm is believed to be responsible for two neighboring fires. Windigo was reported first, 20 miles southwest of La Pine. "The local unit, which is the Umpqua National Forest - which has the Windigo Fire, ordered a team," Conolly said, referring to an Incident Management team, "But they also said, under the direction of that team, they’d also like to include the Potter Fire, which is on the Willamette National Forest. So, this one team, working for two forests to manage the resources of both fires, because they’re so close together." 

As of Tuesday morning, the Windigo Fire is estimated at 1300 acres with zero containment; its cause is undetermined. The Potter Fire is estimated at 400 acres, also with zero containment. Investigators have confirmed it started by lightning.

Connolly says a variety of resources are now on-scene, working both fires, "We have Hotshot crews, Type 2 IA crews; there’s various pieces of equipment: engines, water tenders, etc. They’re working on setting up where fire camp will be and they’re setting up on how the management of those two collectively will go." A portion of the Pacific Crest Trail is also closed. 

Central Oregon’s largest wildfire is burning in Jefferson County. The 280-acre Fly Creek Fire [pictured] started Sunday when lightning moved through the area, forcing evacuations of two campgrounds near Lake Billy Chinook. "It was a really fast-moving fire. It was burning in grass, brush and juniper and those fuels were pretty dry. Firefighters responded with three heavy air tankers, in addition, so we had air support as well," says Kaitlyn Webb, with the Central Oregon Fire Management Service.

Managers say lines held overnight and the Fly Creek Fire did not grow; it's still 280 acres, and is now 25% contained. The latest update issued Tuesday morning notes, "Seven engines, two handcrews, Prineville IHC, four water tenders and two dozers are on scene today. Air support will be available as needed and will be dipping out of Lake Billy Chinook. Portions of the lake will be closed for public safety again today where air resources are working." The Level 2 evacuation notice for Three Rivers was reduced to Level 1, Tuesday morning. However, Level 3 "go now" evacuations for Perry South and Monty campgrounds remain in place. 

Webb tells KBND News, "Obviously, we pay a lot of attention to weather predictions; we’re constantly evaluating fuel moisture levels. So, we knew that we were expecting to get lightning, we knew that fuels were dry, so resources were definitely prepared." Webb adds, "They’re responding as needed. It’s very fluid. Whenever we have lightning busts like this, where we have a number of incidents, our resources are very flexible and they are responding to multiple fires throughout the day, throughout the night, as needed."

Now, they’re concerned about what might pop up later this week, "Holdovers that we haven’t found yet, and then also how these predicted weather conditions are going to impact the active fires that we have, like the Fly Creek." Webb says now that fire season is in full swing, firefighters’ hands are full. She urges everyone to take precautions to prevent human-caused fires.

The Tolo Mountain Fire, which started last week in the Crescent Ranger District of the Deschutes National Forest, is now 75% contained and remains at 41 acres. 

You'll find details on several smaller incidents in Central Oregon HERE.

Elsewhere in Oregon, the Big Rattlesnake Fire was reported late Sunday, "It’s 11 miles southwest of Medical Springs, Oregon, which is down in that kind of southeast part of the state," says NWCC's Carol Connolly. It burned 425 acres of grass and brush, 12 miles north of Baker City and is now considered 100% contained. 

National Night Out Returns In Person

REDMOND, OR -- A number of local agencies will participate in National Night Out Tuesday evening. It’s an annual event aimed at helping people connect with local law enforcement and learn about crime prevention. But Redmond Police Lt. Jesse Petersen says officers also benefit, "What we’ve seen in the past is after National Night out, the morale for our department has gone up significantly for at least a few weeks. And it’s because we get to see the people who enjoy seeing us, want to meet us, and it’s just a good time." The event was held virtually in 2020 and 2021, due to the pandemic. 

The national event is held each year on the first Tuesday in August. Redmond’s National Night Out starts at 6 p.m. at Centennial Park. Lt. Petersen tells KBND News, "You’ll see the vast majority of our police department out for this event. So, we’ll have us, along with the Sheriff’s Office just interacting with people, talking about crime prevention and awareness. We’ll have a K9 demonstration that takes place over by the splash park." He adds, "We’ll have community partners there with booths, so you will be able to talk about crime prevention and awareness. We’ll also have a free bar-b-q, you’ll have bouncy houses, all kinds of kids activities, you’ll have a dunk tank." Along with RPD and the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office, Redmond Fire & Rescue will also take part. Streets around Centennial Park are cloesd to vehicle traffic during the event.

Deschutes County deputies will also be at events in La Pine, at the Senior Center and Sisters, in Village Green Park. All events are free and run from 6 to 8 p.m.

 

Photo courtesy Redmond PD

Neighborhood Investigation Leads To Five Charged, One On The Lam

BEND, OR -- Five people face criminal charges after a Police investigation into possible drug activity in a southeast Bend neighborhood. Bend PD says the investigation started in January, with complaints from neighbors near Jewell Elementary.

On Saturday, they arrested 52-year-old Joseph Sanchez and 51-year-old Christopher Drake at a house on Nisika Court, across the street from the school. They're both accused of "frequenting a place where controlled substances are used" and other charges.

Officers also suspected criminal activity at a nearby home on Foxborough Lane. With help from CERT, they executed a search warrant Monday. They arrested 25-year-old Chelsea Kelly for frequenting a place where drugs are used and 36-year-old Clayton Kirkey for being a felon in possession of a firearm, meth possession and other charges. Hayden Liapes, age 29, was cited for frequenting a place where drugs are used. Another suspect, 27-year-old Eric Kelly has not been found.

Investigators says a handgun, pepperball gun and numerous stolen items were seized during the search. Additional charges are anticipated as the investigation continues.

SW Redmond Brush Fire Quickly Extinguished

REDMOND, OR -- Officials say a Sunday evening brush fire may have been caused by someone throwing burning materials from a vehicle. The fire was reported near SW 61st and Young Ave., south of Redmond, just after 6 p.m.

First arriving crews found about a quarter-acre brush fire slowly burning on to private property. 

Witnesses told Redmond Fire & Rescue a southbound vehicle on 61st may have thrown something from the window that started the blaze. The Deschutes County Sheriff's Office and State Troopers are conducting an ongoing investigation into the person responsible. 

Bend-La Pine Schools Hopes To Fill Openings Through Job Fairs

BEND, OR -- With near record-low unemployment, Bend-La Pine Schools - like nearly every other company in town - is struggling to fill job openings for the upcoming school year.

The district’s Executive Director of Operations Terry Cashman says a series of job fairs is focusing on positions like full and part-time custodial staff. "We also have great opportunities for those people who want to work in our Nutrition Services department," Cashman tells KBND News, "These ones are part time jobs that are fantastic jobs for those parents who want to work while their kids are in school, seniors who want to work a few hours, students." He adds, "There’s career growth in both of those, but that’s what we’re looking for right now. Not only is it really fun, rewarding work, but the impact you make is so huge. A lot of times, people have jobs. But this is a career where you will be making a difference every day."

Job fairs are every Thursday through August 18th at Bend High, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Cashman says attendees can drive a giant floor scrubber around an obstacle course, tour the district’s production kitchen, and take home fresh produce from the local farmers market, pizza and drinks are also provided.

Fire Crews Busy After Weekend Lightning

CULVER, OR -- Central Oregon remains under a red flag warning, after lightning moved through over the weekend sparking several fires. The largest is the Fly Creek Fire (pictured), burning in the Sisters Ranger District on the Deschutes National Forest, near Balancing Rock. As of Monday morning, it's estimated at 280 acres and 5% contained. The Metolius arm of Lake Billy Chinook is closed until at least this afternoon and “go now” level three evacuation orders were issued for the Perry South and Monty campgrounds. Level two “get set” was issued for the Three Rivers area. 

Four other fires in the area are also staffed with crews, along with two in the Ochoco National Forest.

The Tolo Mountain Fire (below) also continues to burn in the Crescent Ranger District on the Deschutes National Forest. As of Monday morning, it remains at 41 acres and is 50% contained. Crews continue mop-up efforts in the more remote areas of the fire. 
 

More Input Needed On Future Of Bend

BEND, OR -- The group Envision Bend continues to hold workshops, to hear what people in Bend want from their community in the future. Project Lead Jillian Taylor says about 800 people have respond to their online survey, so far, "Now, we are keeping an eye on the demographics of that. So that as we look at who's actually taking the survey, if we are missing key parts of our community, we are going out to where they are and encouraging them to participate."

But, she tells KBND News, it’s the listening sessions - or "workshops" - where they have real conversations, "We go deeper into four key questions, about values, challenges, dreams and opportunities, and game changers. It’s been really fun; we’ve done two of them, so far. We’ve had people from every quadrant and neighborhood from the city that have jumped on. And we just have these really rich conversations about what we’re concerned about and what we hope for."

Taylor says they hear from a lot of people grieving the loss of what they consider a small town feel, "Part of our mission is to dig into ‘What does that look like? What does that mean to you?’ And people will talk about knowing their neighbors, helping each other out, recognizing people when they go to a restaurant. How do we then translate that into city planning, transportation - you know, all these different structural mechanisms where we could actually create stronger neighborhoods?"

The next “Listen and Envision Workshop” is Tuesday, August 2 at 9 a.m. Click HERE to sign up for the free, virtual event. Taylor says they want to hear from all kinds of Bend residents, but also those who commute to Bend regularly.

In the fall, they’ll start putting together a five-year action plan, using the data they've gathered. Then, the full Bend Vision Project will be presented to the city early next year.

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