Local News Archives for 2022-11

Expansion of Parole & Probation Facility Reaches Midway Point

BEND, OR -- Deschutes County’s Community Justice Parole and Probation division is halfway through a $6.5 million building renovation and expansion.

Department director Deevy Holcomb is looking forward to having the department in one place after years of separate locations on the public safety campus at the city's north end, “All staff assigned to Bend will report to and work out of one building. And that building will have offices for everybody. There is going to be some shelled out space that doesn’t have any offices yet but will be ready in 5, 10 years when we need it.”

“We will have a large conference room that will be sufficient for training. So, our parole and probation officers have kind of a similar level of law enforcement training you might imagine. Lots of physical activity and training that needs to happen to make sure folks remain safe. So that can all happen on site,” said Holcomb of the 8,400 square-foot addition.

Construction began last spring and is expected to be completed in late spring or early summer next year.

“I think it’s going to be really good for cohesion and it’s just a nicer space. It’s a little bit bigger; we do lots of physical activity. We need to have room that’s sufficient for safety; for working with clients, sometimes we’re conducting arrests or searches. That kind of thing. We need wide hallways, lots of sufficient light to keep things safe. We’re just really excited,” said Holcomb.

Bend Public Survey To Guide City Council

BEND, OR -- City Councilors will get public feedback on potential future goals, through a 10-minute survey that launches Thursday.

“It's a very general, open-ended kind of set of questions to ask people what are their priorities, or where do they think the city should be prioritizing its resources and time,” Anne Aurand, Communications Director for the City of Bend, says it will roll out in two parts, starting with phone calls and texts to 400 people selected at random adding “This first round is that representational, kind of ‘gold standard’ of survey methodology, with the phone survey. And not everyone will get called.”

The second phase is an online survey, starting December 12th asking the same questions and open to everyone who lives in the city.

Aurand says City Council will use the feedback during goal-setting sessions scheduled for January, “It’s taken in context; and they’re going to get input from all of their advisory committees - they’ve got a handful of advisory committees, and different community groups and neighborhood associations will all be able to come as part of this listening session. So, it’s not the only input that influences them.”

Surveys are conducted every two years after a Council election. Past feedback has pushed for prioritizing transportation and affordable housing.

Four Animals Taken In Reptile Store Break-In

BEND, OR -- Bend Police are investigating a burglary at the Reptile Zone on Northeast Greenwood. Owner Jeff Jensen says surveillance cameras caught one man breaking in through the back, after 11 p.m. Sunday. He believes two people are responsible and thinks they've been in the store before. "They spray painted the back parking lot camera, cut the line, found the second camera that they were actually being filmed on a little bit later, cut it," he tells KBND News, "They knew exactly what they were doing, they knew where the animals were." 

Jensen says four animals were taken, including one that wasn't for sale, "They took a very expensive what’s called Leucistic Ball Python - also known as a ‘blue-eyed lucy’ because they’re the only snake in the world that is blue eyed when they’re all white, like that - a very large, beautiful ratsnake, a Pacman and then they also stole a baby rattlesnake that I had back there that’s mine." They also stole supplies, including a snake hook. Jensen says it all totals around $3,000, "I just never felt so violated; and disappointed because it’s obviously someone that’s been in my store, that knew my animals and knew what they wanted. I don’t think this is something they did for resale or profit, because they took cages to go with them." 

Jensen says he's offering a reward for information leading to an arrest, "As of right now, we don’t have a lot to go on except for the one blurry image of the guy. He was wearing a ski mask and a hood, but he’s got a sweatshirt that’s got a logo that’s reflecting in the night camera that I had." More photos are available on the Reptile Zone's Facebook page. He says he just wants his animals back. If the burglars turn themselves in and return the animals, he says he won’t press charges.


Redmond School District Focuses On Student Kindness

REDMOND, OR -- School districts around the country have reported behavioral issues among students, following pandemic-related closures. In Redmond, Superintendent Charan Cline says this fall school staff are focused on student kindness, “We took a survey with our kids last year and asked them about school and how it was going, and what they told us was school is doing pretty well and the teachers were pretty good and they cared about them. But, they, themselves, the students didn’t treat each other well. So, we’ve been thinking and working really hard this year to reinforce treating each other well, treating each other kindly and respectfully. It is across all grades. We surveyed from kindergarten to seniors in high school, and it was a consistent message across the entire spectrum.”

Cline says staff are seeing more aggressive behaviors since returning from virtual learning, “I think there was an issue of students somewhat being unsupervised during the pandemic; plus, what we see in online behavior tends to be very extreme and aggressive. And so, what we’ve had come back to us is students who treat each other poorly with poor negotiation skills.”

Dr. Cline asks the community to help by reinforcing positive behaviors outside the classroom, as well.

ODF Grants Mitigate Wildfire Risk

SISTERS, OR -- A delay in the state’s wildfire risk map put a portion of Senate Bill 762 on hold, but another piece of that sweeping wildfire mitigation legislation is seeing some success, including in the High Desert. SB762 set aside $20 million in grants for nonprofits, local governments, conservation districts, even private landowners and federal partners to make their landscapes more resistant to wildfire.

Grant Coordinator Jenna Trentadue says it provides reimbursement for everything from prescribed burning to forest thinning, to invasive grass removal, "It really covers how we’re doing some actionable items out on the ground to really minimize that risk to communities [and] to resources and kind of address the landscape-scale type of projects that we need to be implementing to help keep our state safe from those catastrophic wildfires." The U.S. Forest Service has implemented similar federal grant programs, but Trentadue says this is the first time the state has had "skin in the game."

So far, the Oregon Department of Forestry has doled out about $9 million, with 153,000 acres treated around the state. Trentadue tells KBND News a number of those projects are in Central Oregon, including in Sisters and Black Butte Ranch, "There’s just a lot more people living in the wildland-urban interface, so it’s even more crucial that we have programs like this that do address that risk for people who are starting to build in areas that are higher risk due to being on the outskirts." The Upper Deschutes Watershed Council received money for thinning. Those trees were then used to improve habitat in a nearby stream.

Trentadue says the goal is to improve overall forest health, "How do we keep our trees healthy so that they can survive through drought? And sometimes, removing some of the trees and thinning out the areas can reduce the competition between the trees. So that’s the type of thing we’re looking for in this type of grant, where we can emphasize the health of the trees and the resiliency to both drought and wildfire."

ODF plans to treat more than 200,000 acres before the Landscape Resilliency Grant Program ends in June. 

Submitted Photos: (Top) A group tours an Upper Deschutes Watershed project receiving ODF funding. (Upper Right) State Forester Cal Mukumoto lights a slash pile.

Prineville Debuts ADA-Accessible Wagons

PRINEVILLE, OR -- Two new wheelchair accessible community wagons made their debut in last weekend’s Prineville Christmas Parade.

The project started in the spring of 2019, after City Engineer Eric Klann asked a group of first graders to become junior land use planners for the Barnes Butte Recreation Area. "After they were onsite multiple times, they really appreciated the open space and kind of the natural beauty," he tells KBND News, "And from there, they said we should try to keep it as natural as possible; you know, open space is important." But the kids realized not everyone could enjoy the area, "One of the young ladies that was in that group was bound to a wheelchair, and so she wasn’t able to participate in any of the outings because - we did have old wagons, but they weren’t ADA accessible."

So, Klann says, they turned to the community to create large accessible wagons - trailers that can hold up to 50 people. "We designed these parade wagons with wheelchair lifts. We had Crook County High School welding construct one, and Mountain View High School out of Bend construct the other over the course of several years. We finally finished them and we debuted them at the Christmas Parade, last Saturday, here in Prineville."

That original Barnes Butte Elementary class got to take part in the inaugural ride on Saturday, "Now they’re fifth graders," says Klann, "And the young lady that was bound to a wheelchair, she was able to attend and ride in the wagon. It was a long time coming, COVID and just material supplies really kind of drug it out. But, now these wagons will be staged at the fairgrounds for the fair, for the horse races, for the rodeo we’ll use them to get people around, and then any other activities in the community when we’re working with the school district." 

Klann says the project cost the city very little and was made possible by donations from community sponsors. 


Bend Parks And Recreation Winter Programs Registration Next Week

BEND, OR -- Bend Parks and Recreation opens winter registration next week. In an effort to avoid the technical problems seen in the fall, Julie Brown says there will be three different days to sign up for programs, “Monday the 5th we’re going to be opening our enrichment and art and cooking type of activities. And then on Tuesday, we’re going to open our swim lessons. And then on Wednesday, we’re going to open our sports program.”

Brown says the district has also upgraded its website to better handle demand, “Breaking it up into three different days, that’s going to spread out the activity on our registration system. In addition to some technology improvements that we made, too. So, fingers crossed everything is going to be a lot smoother when we open registration next week.”

She tells KBND News, “We’re also introducing a new virtual waiting room. It basically mimics standing in line and it helps to moderate the number of people who are trying to do their transactions at the same time. So, we’re really hopeful that those things are going to make it a lot smoother next week.” 

You can browse available programs starting this Thursday on the Bend Parks and Rec website.

Bend Police Arrest Assault Suspect

BEND, OR -- Bend Police are searching for a 35-year-old Bend man they believe is responsible for two weekend assaults in the Hunnell Road area. Kenneth James Sommerset is wanted for Robbery, Theft and Aggravated Assault.

Just before 8 a.m. Sunday, officers responded to a report of a man with blood on his face stumbling along Highway 97. He told police someone struck him with what may have been a CO2 gun. The suspect then pointed the gun at him and emptied his pockets, taking his wallet and cigarettes.

Sommerset is also accused of  spraying bear spray into a person’s face during a Sunday evening argument.


UPDATE:  Bend Police tracked Sommerset down in a trailer on Hunnell Road. Just after 5 p.m. Monday, CERT responded and worked for several hours to try to get him to come out. After receiving a search warrant, officers forced entry into the trailer and deployed K-9 Kim to help take him into custody just after 8:30 p.m. 

Ochoco National Forest Celebrates Winter With Free Event

PRINEVILLE, OR -- The Ochoco National Forest hosts a free event this weekend, in coordination with Discover Your Forest, the non-profit stewardship partner of the Forest Service.

Saturday, December 3 from 1-3 p.m, families can take part in a winter scavenger hunt, story time with Ranger where Forest Service staff will read winter-themed children’s stories, enjoy a visit from Smokey Bear and more. Christmas tree permits will also be available for purchase at the event for $5.
Field Rangers will also lead a guided snowshoe tour at 2 p.m. starting at the gated entrance to Walton Lake. A limited number of snowshoes are available for on-site use but the public is encouraged to bring their own if they have a pair.

Directions to the Ochoco Ranger Station Pavilion - From Prineville, Oregon, take Highway 26 north for 16 miles. Turn right on Ochoco Ranger Station Road and go 9 miles to the Ranger Station, then turn left, proceed across the small bridge and take a right into the Forest Camp fee station. Continue on to the pavilion group site.

Bend Man Accused Of Weekend Hostage Situation

BEND, OR -- A Bend man is accused of Kidnapping and other charges after what police are calling a "hostage situation." Bend Police responded to a home on Alpine Drive, Saturday night, for a reported unwanted person. The suspect, identified as 36-year-old Austin Michael Supica, reportedly refused to leave and threatened to shoot himself with a flare gun. Witnesses told officers Supica had been asked to leave earlier in the evening, but returned and forced his way inside. 

When officers arrived at about 9 p.m., two people were able to leave, but Supica allegedly refused to allow a third person to exit. Police say he repeatedly refused to come out and continued to prevent another person from leaving. The Central Oregon Emergency Response Team was activated and arrived just after 10 p.m. 

The alleged hostage escaped the home at 10:34 p.m. while the suspect was using the bathroom. Once Supica was the only person remaining in the house, CERT negotiators talked him out, and he was taken into custody without incident at 10:45. 

He was jailed on charges of first-degree kidnapping, first-degree burglary and a felony in-state warrant.

Commissioners Split In Vote On Rezone Proposal West Of Terrebonne

TERREBONNE, OR -- Deschutes County Commissioners have given the initial go ahead to change zoning in an area west of Terreboonne, to allow a new housing project to be built. The approximately 710 acres would change from Exclusive Farm Use to Rural Residential, if final approval is given. Commissioners Patti Adair and Tony Debone both voted in favor of the first reading, after county planners approved of the rezoning. 

Commissioner Phil Chang wasn’t convinced the land is unsuitable for farmers and ranchers, "Speculative rezones like this are driving up the price of land and again, making it more difficult for farmers and ranchers to do their agricultural business. So, I’m very concerned about this trend,” said Chang while casting the lone ‘No’ vote.

While Debone supports the rezoning, he acknowledged there are different views, “As I say, it’s awkward because it’s a hearings officer approval. The land use system in the state of Oregon has authorized this path with other previous approvals.”
The second reading for rezoning the area is scheduled for next month.

Hundreds Of Goats Clear City-Owned Property In Redmond

REDMOND, OR -- A herd of goats is still chomping away on 138 acres of city-owned property, northwest of Redmond’s wastewater treatment plant. Wastewater Division Manager Ryan Kirchner says the city gets two cuttings a year of orchard grass from the field and sells it to local farmers. On November 16th, the goats started eating what’s grown since the second cutting, which can't be harvested. "It’s really good for the orchard grass, and it’s beneficial for a local farmer," Kirchner tells KBND News, "Instead of him having to utilize hay that he’s bailed up or stored or purchased for the winter, he’s able to utilize this hay, which otherwise would just go to waste because the grass would die over the winter."

He says the city isn't paying for the animals to take the grass down to bare dirt, "Around 600 goats came out to the property. The goat herder set up the fences. There’s a goat dog that protects the goats; and he’s quite ferocious."

The goats are working around the Wastewater Division's schedule, as the property is used for their operation. "We actually spread biosolids this time of year. Those biosolids are what’s produced at the wastewater facility," says Kirchner, "We use those biosolids as nutrient fertilizer for the orchard grass; we typically spread in the fall and the spring." He says the goats eat a section of the parcel, called a "pivot," before the farmer shifts them to another area, "We’ll move them to another pivot, so then we can spread the biosolids on the one that they were previously on." The farmer must wait 30 days before the goats can return to a section where biosolids have been spread. 

"The goats, right now, in that short amount of time since the 16th, have eaten the grass down to bare earth. They’ve eaten about 15 acres of it." They’ll keep rotating around sections of the property as long as the feed lasts and the weather holds. This is the first time Redmond has used goats to clear the property. Kirchner says it’s going so well, he’s sure they’ll do it again.


Senior Holiday Program Aims To Combat Isolation

BEND, OR -- After two years of limited, virtual giving, “Be A Santa To A Senior” trees laden with tags are up around Central Oregon, ready to collect gifts. Gloria Vloedman helps organize the program for Home Instead. She says recipients typically have no family around at Christmas, "More than likely, they’ll be waking up alone Christmas morning. And that breaks my heart saying that, but it really is such a big impact, especially for those seniors who are alone. It’s not just folks that are low-income; we have folks who might have money but they’re still lonely. Money doesn’t buy companionship." She says the pandemic worsened that feeling of loneliness for many seniors, "Being thought of means the world to them and helps combat isolation."

In 2019, before the pandemic, Home Instead provided gifts to 1,300 seniors through the program. That number plummeted to 300 in 2020, and 500 in 2021, when the program was forced online. This year, Vloedman says they're back up to 800 recipients, nominated by local senior service organizations. She tells KBND News the number was held lower than pre-pandemic levels because of a potential lack of help. "I really rely on folks who work in the senior care world to be volunteers for me, and so many people left and jobs changed and, with the employee crisis that we’re in right now in the healthcare field, especially, there’s just not as much availability for volunteers." But, she says, that concern turned out to be unnecessary as volunteers appeared anxious to get back to "normal."

To Be A Santa To A Senior, visit one of the ten trees around Central Oregon, choose a tag, buy the gifts listed for that senior and return them unwrapped to the tree by December 9th. 

Tree locations:

  • Bend Senior Center – 1600 SE Reed Market Rd. in Bend 
  • Bend Fred Meyer – 61535 S Hwy 97 in Bend 
  • DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel – 300 NW Franklin Ave. in Bend 
  • Verizon Wireless – 1120 SE 3rd St. Suite 300 in Bend 
  • The Alexander – 1125 NE Watt Way in Bend 
  • All Star Labor & Staffing – 550 NW Franklin Ave Suite 348 in Bend 
  • La Pine Activity Center – 16450 Victory Way in La Pine 
  • Prineville Soroptimists Senior Center – 180 NE Belknap St. in Prineville 
  • Redmond Senior Center – 325 NW Dogwood Ave. in Redmond 
  • Redmond Fred Meyer – 944 SW Veterans Way in Redmond 

Volunteers will wrap them the following week at the Eastside 10 Barrel. "Anyone who is good at wrapping presents, or bad or otherwise, please come to the wrapping party on December 13th, 5 to 7 p.m. at 10 Barrel," says Vloedman. Those gifts will be delivered in time for Christmas. 

Be A Santa To A Senior began in 2003. Click HERE for more information. 


Safe Parking Pgm Expands In Redmond

REDMOND, OR -- A “safe parking” program in Redmond is expanding to a third location. Mountain View Community Development Safe Parking Director Sierra Hopper says they provide space for adults and families living in a car or RV. But participants must agree to meet with a case manager regularly, "They help you towards overall stability. Maybe it’s getting a Social Security card or a birth certificate so you can get your license; it could be as basic as that. Writing a resume so you can get a job; working with other outside agencies to get on some affordable housing lists," she tells KBND News, "As well as allowing someone a safe place to park where law enforcement won’t be constantly asking them to move."

The Redmond program is run out of Mountain View Fellowship, the first safe parking location. Four participants are currently at the church, with another family at the Redmond VFW. This third location, set to open next week, is on county-owned land at SE Seventh and Evergreen. 

Hopper hopes eventually to expand to 40 participants spread across 10 host sites. But, she acknowledges the concept has been tough for the community to embrace, "People don’t just believe when I tell them, ‘no, our participants are good people that are just looking for some help.’ They need to see it. And so, I think with this new property coming available and with people being put on it, they will see that what we’re saying is true and that will open up a lot more opportunities for us, in terms of businesses and other churches and agencies willing to help." Many of the participants are families, the youngest is just one year old. 

"This is a low-cost, easy program that actually works and helps people, and it’s proven," says Hopper, "It’s a nationwide program, we’re not the first to invent the wheel. You can easily do a Google search and you will find this program in many other counties and areas of Oregon and in other states." 

Click HERE for more information, to volunteer or to sign up for the program. 


File photo


Bachelor Delays Season Opening To November 30

BEND, OR -- Despite a little precipitation this week, Mt. Bachelor will not open its ski and snowboard season this weekend, as planned. "There is just not enough snow on any of the lifted runs to get any of those runs open for this Friday," Mt. Bachelor's Johnny Sereni told KBND News Tuesday afternoon, shortly after assessing conditions, "It was really touch and go. We were just up on Little Pine run, under the lift, and it looks like there’s about 3-4” of snow once it had been groomed down, and it’s had a couple of warm days attacking it as well."

But, he's optimistic the season can open November 30th, "There is significant snowfall predicted for Sunday, Monday into Tuesday, Wednesday next week. And we believe that if that comes true and it arrives, then we will have a very good chance of getting both Little Pine and Pine Marten open on Wednesday."

Sereni says there will still be plenty to do on the mountain this weekend, for what they're calling "Thanks-jibbing." He says, "We will have the conveyor lift running, there will be retail and food and beverage open, and there will be some Stoke events going on here. And, people are welcome to come play in the snow and try out their first skiing and riding on the ‘magic carpet.’" Conditions permitting, that “chipmunk lift” conveyor belt will operate for beginners Friday through Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Mt. Bachelor will close Monday and Tuesday to prepare for Wednesday’s anticipated season opening. 


Bend Fire Santa Express Returns Monday

BEND, OR -- Bend Fire's Santa Express will visit neighborhoods starting Monday, collecting donations for the Salvation Army.

Deputy Fire Marshall Dan Derlacki says Bend Fire and Rescue personnel are excited to team up with Santa again this year after a pandemic pause, “We’re asking for new toys, clothing of all types, and then any food to fill out food baskets for the holiday meals. But also, just food baskets in general to give to people and help them out in these holiday times and then throughout the year.”

The Salvation Army would like to express the need for gifts to be given to teenage age kids as well.

“The fun part is we get to go with Santa and we get to come out to those neighborhoods. We make a ton of noise, run through with Santa and say hi. And you can donate your items right to us right there. If we don’t make it through your neighborhood, you can come to any one of our fire stations. We have bins out front to collect it,” Derlacki says they are excited this Bend tradition has returned, “This is the best part of the year. We get to go and talk to the community, and see the kids, and bring Santa with us. So, we’re super happy to be back. Weather looks like it’s mostly going to cooperate with us so we’re not going to be super cold. It’s a great way to celebrate the holiday and have fun out in the neighborhood.”

Bend Fire Stations, The Salvation Army, and local businesses will have donation bins set up through December 16th.

There a list of the neighborhoods with maps for the nightly walks on the Bend Fire Website.

ODOT Reminds Drivers To Be Cautious Traveling This Week

BEND, OR -- Oregon’s Department of Transportation asks drivers to mind their manners, this week.

ODOT’s Kacey Davey says the forecast is mostly dry for now but snow could hit the higher elevations Saturday or Sunday, “If you’re planning to go over the mountains and you’re coming back on the weekend, be prepared any time, but especially if it’s snowing. Make sure you’re driving for the conditions. So that means slow down, give more space, give our snowplows extra space, especially. Don’t ever pass one on the right.”

It’s important to plan for changing road conditions so you don’t get stuck. “Not only do you not get where you’re needing to go, but it means that a lot of other folks behind you might not also be getting where they need to go,” says Davey who also suggests packing an extra blanket and jacket, phone charger and medications in your car in case you do get delayed.

And Davey says there are a few things to do before you leave home, “Make sure your vehicle has appropriate tires. Make sure, if you’re going to carry chains, that you know how to use them. Things like windshield wiper blades, sometimes people forget about those; they need to be in good shape going over the mountains.”

Bend Top Thanksgiving Destination For AAA

BEND, OR -- With 777,000 Oregonians expected to travel this week for Thanksgiving roads in the High Desert will get very crowded, starting today.

“Bend is always a favorite. It’s not always number one, but this time it is the top regional destination for members of AAA Oregon. And, it’s no surprise. Bend has something for everybody. Sounds cliche but it’s true,” said AAA’s Marie Dodds noting, “We did see a lot of people travel last year; but still, people were hesitant to travel last year. This year, with pandemic restrictions lifted, people feel more comfortable about traveling, they are eager to go. And especially when it’s a family-oriented holiday like Thanksgiving, people are just really eager to carve out time with family and friends and loved ones.”

Holiday traffic congestion will start as early as Tuesday afternoon, “The days before Thanksgiving, those are the busiest travel days. So, if you can avoid traveling in the afternoon and early evening on Tuesday and Wednesday, great. Same thing when you’re coming home on Sunday; 4-8 p.m., that's the busiest time to travel” says Dodds who advises trying to avoid peak commuting times, “So that you don’t intermingle with folks who are trying to get home from work while you’re trying to leave on your Thanksgiving trip.” 

89% of holiday travelers are estimated to be driving, which will make for a very busy weekend for our roads. 

Single Day Ballot Return Record Set In Deschutes County

BEND, OR -- Election Day is almost two weeks behind us but final certification won’t happen until December 5th.

108,081 ballots were cast in Deschutes County this Election with nearly a quarter of those coming in right at the November 8th at 8 p.m. deadline.

“We had that late push of record numbers on the Monday and Tuesday. We had more ballots cast on Election Day than we ever have and it wasn’t even close. Over 27 thousand ballots cast on election day and we had never even reached 20 thousand ballots on a single day,” said Deschutes County Clerk Steve Dennison adding, “That late push really did help push up the turnout percentage. We’re still sitting under 70%. With the ballot being chalk full of contests that people were getting excited for one way or another I was hoping for a 75% turnout.”

While most ballots have been tabulated, more still need to be run before the next round of results are released on November 30th, “Voters have up until the 29th if they have a challenged signature. Meaning that their signature on their ballot did not match the signature we have on file for them; they have until the 29th to resolve that issue so we can still count the ballot,” said Dennison.

Some races were very close, but not tight enough to trigger a recount.

With so much election scrutiny, Dennison says the ballot counting observations went smoothly, “It’s a way for people to really see and hear what our process is. Those are the people that really see what we do, and have a better understanding of the security, and the measures that we take, the checks and balances, and just the overall process.”

HD53 Could Be Sign Of Shifted Political Landscape

REDMOND, OR -- One local race remains so tight, the losing candidate refuses to concede. 

In House District 53, Democrat Emerson Levy remains ahead of Republican Michael Sipe by a margin of 412 votes. Sipe said in a blog post last week he would not yet concede, and that Levy’s victory declaration was premature.

OSU-Cascades Political Science Professor Judy Stiegler says last year’s redistricting shifted the political dynamic, “I think you have to look at part of who the district is now taking up. But, even if you look at Redmond, and the numbers in Redmond, those numbers are changing. And a lot of that has to do with just the lay of the land of Central Oregon now, or in particular Bend/Redmond.”

Stiegler believes political affiliations in Redmond are changing, “You also have a growing non-affiliated group of voters. They now outnumber both D’s and R’s in the state. But, also I think you have a growing number of younger people that are starting to become more involved and saying, ‘ok, we have to pay attention.’”

District 53 now also includes Eagle Crest and Sisters, but lost Sunriver.

Child Killed In Highway 58 Crash

OAKRIDGE, OR -- A Sunriver couple was injured in a Sunday evening crash on Highway 58, about 25 miles east of Oakridge. A child in the other vehicle was killed.

Oregon State Police say a westbound Honda Accord, driven by 26-year-old Amber Shaleene Gonzalez Riddle, of Portland, crossed into the oncoming lane and collided with a Toyota Rav 4, driven by 66-year-old Debra Baker, of Sunriver. Baker and her passanger, 67-year-old John Baker, were pulled from the SUV before it was fully engulfed in fire, following the collision. They were taken to a local hospital. 

A five-year-old girl from the Honda was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver, a 23-year-old passenger and a three-year-old girl were taken to an area hospital with injuries.

Highway 58 was affected for approximately six hours while the OSP Collision Reconstruction Unit investigated the scene. OSP was assisted by Oakridge Fire Department, Central Cascade Fire Department, Oakridge Police Department and ODOT. 

OHA, Mosaic Medical Partner For RSV Message

BEND, OR -- With the rise in RSV and flu cases, the Oregon Health Authority urges parents to take preventative steps to keep kids out of the hospital. In a video released by the OHA, Mosaic Medical Pediatrician Beau Gilmore says upcoming holidays come with an increased risk of spreading viruses, "When we or someone we care about get sick, a natural reaction is we want to go to the hospital. But this year in Oregon and across the nation, hospital emergency departments are already filling up with people experiencing everything from respiratory symptoms to life-threatening injuries and illnesses." To prevent spreading germs this holiday season, he urges people to get their flu shot and COVID booster, cover your cough, practice good hygiene and hand-washing, and consider masking indoors. There is no vaccine against RSV, and the virus is spreading earlier than normal, this winter.

Dr. Gilmore says most kids will get RSV before they’re two, "It usually only causes mild, cold-like symptoms, like runny nose, coughing, sore throat - symptoms that are worse on day three to five. And most infections go away in a week or two." He adds, "If that happens for your child, stay home from work or school and avoid holiday gatherings, manage the fever and pain with over-the-counter fever reducers and pain relievers, drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. A humidifier and lots of nasal suction can help small children breathe easier." He cautions against giving an over-the-counter cold medicine to young children without talking to a doctor.

But, Gilmore says parents should seek medical care if those symptoms become severe, "These include trouble breathing, dehydration, gray or blue color to their tongue, lips or skin, or decreased activity and alertness."

Click HERE to view Dr. Gilmore's entire video message. 


Bend Camping Code Gets Preliminary Approval

BEND, OR -- More than a dozen people testified during this week’s Bend City Council hearing on a new unsanctioned camping code; many concerned rules would not be enforced. 

City Manager Eric King says the new code sets time, place and manner guidelines, “Time, for example, there’s a 24-hour time limit allowed for folks that are camping on the right of way or city property. Manner; some things that are part of that are you can’t have more than a 12x12 space. And then in terms of place; there’s no camping allowed in residential areas, no camping allowed in what’s called our Water Overlay Zones - so anywhere near the Deschutes River,” but King admits the timeline is longer, in reality, “There’s a 24-hour time limit, but the state of Oregon also has some laws around camps and restrictions, and things, and there has to be a 72-hour notice for removal. So, if someone has been camping for 24 hours, they would get notified that they need to remove their campsite within the 72 hours.”

Council voted 4 to 3 to approve the first reading of the code, King expects final approval to come at their next meeting, “It doesn’t go into effect until March 1st, to give us some time to put some administrative policies in place. Essentially what it’s going to do is really create more certainty for folks. It does give folks, if they don’t have anywhere else to go, to get the rest that they need. But it does really restrict those large encampments.”

A separate resolution outlining the city’s intent to provide support for the unhoused sheltering in rights of way received unanimous approval.

Deschutes County Readies Next Step For Psilocybin Services

BEND, OR -- Deschutes County voters chose not to ban psilocybin manufacturing and service centers in unincorporated areas. Psilocybin facilities were made legal in 2020 under state measure 109, but that measure also allowed communities to opt out, if voters approved. 

County Commissioner Tony DeBone is glad people had their say in the matter, “When we exercised the option Measure 109 says local jurisdictions shall have an opportunity to put an opt-out measure on the ballot. So, we exercised that.”

The recently re-elected Debone says that with the ‘No’ vote on Measure 9-152, it becomes a land-use issue, “Our planning commission and our staff has put a proposed code package together for ‘where would psilocybin services production and processing happen in rural Deschutes county?’ And we just had a work session on that the other day in preparation for a public hearing.”  

Debone supported a local ban but says the county is moving forward, thanks to additional time provided by the election, “We, the planning commission, land-use, and the public needed to digest…what is this thing with psilocybin and where would it be allowed. You know, the services…So, I’m fine, let’s move forward, the people have spoken. And we’ve got more clarity and we’ve been able to do our homework on the land use.”

That public hearing is set for this Monday the 21st.

Redmond Mayor Makes Recommendation For Homelessness Solution

REDMOND, OR -- The city of Redmond is looking outside the area for ideas on how to address the homeless crisis. 

Mayor George Endicott says there are plausible ideas out there, including creating a “safe camping” area. “I personally am most intrigued with the Seaside one, especially since the county has already agreed to about 10 acres on the edge of Redmond for us to use for homeless activities,” said Endicott who explained Seaside’s approach, “What they’ve done is actually set aside a designated area where the homeless can go and camp: either RV or tents. And then, once a week they have to clear out so the area can be cleaned up; and the city provides port-a-potties, sanitation stations, water.”

But, he admits implementation of any plan will be up to the next Mayor and Council, who take office in January, “I hope they would agree with what I’m describing. I mean, we’re all struggling with this. We don’t quite know how to deal with it. If it were a simple solution, someone would’ve already discovered one; and we know there aren’t any. Even in the state of Oregon, but nationwide, no one seems to be able to come up with an adequate approach.”

Cranston Convicted Of Manslaughter

BEND, OR -- Ian Cranston, of Redmond, was convicted of First and Second Degree Manslaughter and two counts of Unlawful Use of a Weapon, along with one count of Assault in the First Degree. The Deschutes County jury handed down the verdict Wednesday after deliberating just one day. They found him not guilty of Murder in the Second Degree. 

Cranston, who is white, shot and killed Barry Washington, a black man, outside a Bend bar on September 19, 2021. Prosecutors say Cranston was angry because Washington had complimented Cranston’s girlfriend. The defense had argued the shooting was self defense because Washington punched Cranston. 

District Attorney John Hummel issued a statement Wednesday, saying, “Today is not a day to rejoice, nor is it a day to celebrate. Today is a day of accountability for Ian Cranston and it is day 424 of Barry Washington’s family and our community mourning his passing.  By all accounts, Barry was a dear friend to many and a wonderful son to Lawanda Roberson. This verdict does not provide Ms. Roberson what she ultimately wants, but hopefully knowing that the residents of Deschutes County valued Barry’s life provides her some comfort moving forward.”  

Hummel told KBND News this week he recognizes emotions ran high throughout the investigation and trial. The Deschutes County Sheriff's Office has expressed concern over potential protests and beefed up courthouse security for the trial. Wednesday afternoon, the Sheriff Shane Nelson tweeted, “The Cranston trial has concluded with a verdict. I have the utmost confidence in the criminal justice system. I support peaceful protests but breaking the law will not be tolerated. Those who break the law will be held accountable.” 

Sentencing is scheduled for November 28, 2022 at 2:30.


DEQ To Test Well Water Quality In South County

BEND, OR -- Oregon's Department of Environmental Quality will offer free well water testing in southern Deschutes County next year. It's part of an ongoing groundwater quality study. The last time this area was sampled by the DEQ was 2014. Interested property owners can email the DEQ or call 503-693-5736 to be considered for the study. 

DEQ will test 60-100 wells in spring and fall 2023 for nitrate, bacteria, arsenic, pesticides and other contaminants and send property owners their individual results. The Oregon Health Authority recommends people test well water regularly to protect their health.

DEQ says South County has porous, volcanic soil and many shallow groundwater aquifers, both of which allow the potential for contamination. Possible sources of groundwater contamination include failing septic systems, current or prior application of fertilizers and pesticides, and leaking underground fuel tanks.

Property owners are responsible for maintaining and monitoring private wells in Oregon—the state does not have water quality regulations for private wells. Well water testing is only required if the property is being sold.

DEQ will provide study participants with information on proper well maintenance, the health effects of common contaminants and options for water treatment. Sample results will be publicly available, but individual landowner information will not be included in the public database.

Southern Deschutes County is the seventh geographic area DEQ has studied as part of its Statewide Groundwater Quality Monitoring Program, which evaluates the current condition of Oregon’s groundwater. DEQ selected the area because existing groundwater data shows elevated nitrate levels in some water samples, shallow and vulnerable aquifers, and a lack of robust data in the basin over time. 

Click HERE for more information about participating in the study. 

ODOT Has Winter Driving And Thanksgiving Travel TIps

BEND, OR -- The Oregon Department of Transportation is gearing up for winter driving season, while still working on various construction improvements around Central Oregon. Some of those projects will pause for the holiday, but ODOT public information officer Kacey Davey says drivers should still plan ahead, “The best thing you can do before you even leave home is to go to tripcheck.com and see what the conditions are like for the route that you are going. So, you can see cameras that will show if there is snow on the road. It’s a really good tool to use before you even leave the house.”

It’s also the first busy weekend for ODOT's new safety equipment on Highway 97 between Bend and LaPine, “We call them variable speed limit signs, and those speed limit signs are actually linked to a bunch of weather stations. And so when there is bad weather the speed limit through that section of highway will actually lower” said Davey.

Several projects in Bend and Tumalo are in full swing and could impact holiday travelers, “The big one is 3rd street improvements around Mervin Samples and Bend River Mall. New signals are going up; a new sidewalk. And then our other project is near Tumalo on highway 20 where we’re putting in a couple roundabouts,” says Davey who adds that there are reduced speeds and lane closures in those areas.

She says construction crews will pause for next week, “No more work is going to be done once Thanksgiving hits, around Wednesday of Thanksgiving. And the 3rd street one is going to completely picked up for the holiday weekend for all the folks that are going to be coming and going.”

ODOT also recommends making sure your vehicle is properly equipped before traveling in winter conditions.

Death Investigation Underway In Warm Springs

WARM SPRINGS, OR -- Warm Springs Police and the FBI are investigating the death of a man discovered inside a home on Dry Creek Trail Road.

Tribal Police received a call Monday night about a death. Arriving officers noticed a wound to the man’s head, prompting the investigation. The FBI’s Evidence Response Team is processing the scene.

The man was identified as 43-year-old Diamond Tewee.

Jury Now Deliberating In Cranston Murder Trial

BEND, OR -- The fate of Ian Cranston is now in the hands of the jury. Central Oregon Daily News reports Judge Beth Bagley dismissed the two alternate jurors, Tuesday, and gave strict instructions to the other 12 that a guilty verdict must be unanimous.

Cranston is charged with second degree murder, first degree manslaughter and second decree manslaughter in the death of Barry Washington outside a downtown Bend bar in September 2021. 

"Mr. Cranston admits he shot and killed Mr. Washington. The question is whether that was justified," Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel told KBND News this week. He believes prosecutors proved their case, "We’ll see what happens. I’m confident; it’s always up to the jury, though." Hummel thinks deliberations will only take a day or two.


Open House To Explain NE Bend Road Project

BEND, OR -- A major construction project could impact travel in Northeast Bend next year. Project Engineer Drew Wells says they’re reconstructing the intersection of Neff and Purcell, “So just an increase in capacity there, improving the safety issues and improving mobility for all users through there; bike lanes that go through a little better than they do now. So, that’s the intersection portion of it. There’s a large fill there, so we’ve got to close the whole intersection down and do some deep sewer work there. So that’ll be closed from early 2023 to mid-summer, when it’ll open back up.”

Wells says the contractor is working with the hospital to provide emergency access during construction, “What they would typically do is - they get a call, they plate a trench they might have open, so emergency vehicles can get over it, and then they go back to work kind of thing. There are impacts; there’s the detour, which adds some time to get to the hospital, depending on where you’re coming from. But we’ll be modifying all the signage to accommodate that.”

The city will host an open house Thursday evening that will explain the impacts in northeast Bend, especially between Holliday and Full Moon Drive, “Which is where we’re bridging that Purcell gap. And, just south of that gap we’re filling in, we’re modernizing that section of road where we’re widening it to add bike lanes and sidewalks on both sides. So, at the open house, we’ll present the overall final design for that and the final design for the intersection, and we’ll have some idea on the schedule and traffic control we’ll see too, as far as detouring,” said Wells.

That open house is 5 to 7:30 on Thursday at the Deschutes Children’s Foundation building on Daggett Lane.

Survey Reveals Affordable Housing Hampering Local Businesses

BEND, OR -- A new report from the Bend Chamber of Commerce points to just how deep businesses are impacted by Central Oregon’s housing shortage. CEO Katy Brooks hopes the information will be used to affect state policy during the next legislative session, “But, it’s really clear that the way housing is set up on a statewide basis is really not working. There are lots of constraints in the state of Oregon, as far as land-use; as far as incentivization. “

Brooks believes it’ll take a multi-pronged approach that also includes employer-supported housing and increased use of ADUs, “If you can just get more units and lease them to the workforce that is hear, that just increases inventory and opportunity.”

The report surveyed more than 200 employers in Bend and Redmond and found 91-percent blame the high cost of housing for limiting growth and straining the existing workforce. “And, of those businesses, 52% said they’ve lost at least 5% of their revenue, directly related to their inability to hire people; and that’s directly related to the fact that they can’t attract them because folks can’t afford to live here,” said Brooks, adding there is not a one-size fits all solution, “It’s a silver buckshot, not a silver bullet. There are many things you’ve got to deploy at the same time. For example, you can have employer-supported housing, you can have new legislation that lowers the cost of building so it’s more attainable.”

Many companies have raised wages to help employees afford housing but the market is just too high for many in the workforce, despite pay hikes according to Brooks.

D A Hummel Says Cranston Murder Case Finishing This Week

BEND, OR -- The murder trial of Ian Cranston is expected to conclude this week.

Cranston is charged in the shooting death of Barry Washington, Jr. in September of last year. Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel says this has been a difficult case, “People are all bringing their A game. There’s lots of emotion, as you can imagine on both sides. The courthouse has been packed for the last few weeks, and we’re going to get a decision Wednesday, probably, Thursday at the latest.”

Cranston claims he shot Washington in self-defense. The state argues self-defense was not justified.

Hummel acknowledges the efforts on both sides of the emotional case, “My office has pulled together local law enforcement…(they have) done a great job. And Mr. Cranston’s attorney is doing a great job. And Judge Bagley, the most experienced judge in Deschutes County is presiding. She’s on top of it as always. I’ve been really impressed.”

Hummel says murder trials aren’t common in Deschutes County, “Most murder cases have not gone to trial. Usually there’s a deal worked out. The defendant and the prosecution kind of agree on a resolution that’s acceptable to everyone. So, you rarely see a murder case go to trial because of the high stakes involved.”

The shooting and trial have garnered much attention in Central Oregon.

Hummel expects the case will go to the jury this week.

Pedestrian Killed In Weekend Madras Crash

MADRAS, OR -- A Madras man was killed while crossing Highway 26 in Madras, Saturday evening. State Police say 22-year-old Stuart Smith, of Warm Springs, was driving northbound when he struck the victim near Poplar Street, just north of the north "Y."

That victim was later identified as 70-year-old Albert Lloyd French III. He was pronounced dead at the scene. No one in the car was hurt.

The cause of the crash is under investigation. Highway 26 was closed for about four hours for the investigation by OSP and Madras Police. 

On November 12, at approximately 7:23PM, the Oregon State Police responded to a vehicle vs pedestrian crash on Hwy 26, near NE Poplar St, in Madras.

La Pine Driver Survives Fatal Hwy 58 Crash

CRESCENT, OR -- A Salem man was killed in a head-on collision with a La Pine man, near Odell Lake, Friday night. According to State Police, 25-year-old Sabino Cuautenango-Zacualpa was eastbound on Highway 58 during icy conditions when he lost control of his vehicle at milepost 64. His car crossed into the westbound lane at 10:12 p.m., and into the path of a Ford F-350 pickup, operated by 83-year-old Kenneth Lane, from La Pine.

Cuautenango-Zacualpa was pronounced deceased at the scene. Lane sustained minor injuries and declined medical transport. Willamette Highway was reduced to one lane for approximately five hours to investigate and clear the roadway. 

OSP was assisted by the Klamath County Sheriff's Office, Central Cascade Fire and EMS, and ODOT.

Sisters Man Accused Of Trafficking Fentanyl

SISTERS, OR -- A Sisters man is accused of importing fentanyl pills from Portland and trafficking them around the High Desert. The Central Oregon Drug Enforcement Team arrested 46-year-old Paul Weston Friday morning, after a short investigation that began with community complaints.

After an overnight surveillance operation in the Portland area, CODE Detectives conducted a traffic stop on Highway 20 west, near milepost 96, pulling over Weston who was driving a pickup pulling a dump trailer. CODE Detectives and DCSO Deputies executed a search warrant, seizing a commercial quantity of fake pharmaceutical tablets made of fentanyl and a separate package of methamphetamine. At the same time, they say Weston was driving under the influence of a controlled substance. 

The greater Portland area is a central 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 that make it easy for shipments to be smuggled to other destinations around the pacific northwest.

Weston is charged with DUII-Drugs, Unlawful Possession of a Schedule II Controlled Substance (Fentanyl) and Unlawful Possession of Methamphetamine. 

Redmond Winter Shelter Opens Tuesday

REDMOND, OR -- The Redmond winter shelter opens at Mountain View Fellowship Church Tuesday for its ninth season. "We’re expecting more guests than ever in Redmond, at our winter shelter," Andrew Hoeksema tells KBND News, "And we’re primarily basing that on what we’re seeing in Bend. We’re seeing a higher demand for shelter in Bend than we’ve ever seen before." Hoeksema is the Redmond City Director for Shepherd’s House Ministries, which manages the shelter. He believes the increased demand is due to the new full time Navigation Center in Bend, "So, the longer we stay consistently open, the more reliable and trustworthy we are to the community seeking shelter. And, we’re offering more comprehensive services, which means that people are actually sticking with us, which we think is important in their pathway towards healing and their pathway out of homelessness."

This is the first time Shepherd’s House has been able to keep the Redmond warming shelter in one location for the entire season. By next winter, Hoeksema hopes the new year-round Shepherd’s House shelter near Veteran’s Way will be ready. For now, the building - first a restaurant then a church - is still being renovated. "We made a choice, because our attention is also on the construction project, to just find one location. We also know that it’s better for our guests to just be at one location, so they can find us at the same place all winter." He adds, "And, we’re really grateful to partner with Mountain View Fellowship Church because they have, at their own cost, installed showers and laundry that will be accessible to our guests."

For now, Bethlehem Inn has Redmond's only full-time shelter for the houseless community. But, Hoeksema says, Shepherd's House offers the only low-barrier shelter, which means guests are not required to enter a program or follow certain entrance requirements. Although, he points out, there are rules they must follow while on-site. 

Paid Shepherd’s House Ministries staff manage the shelter, but volunteers are needed to help and the community provides hot meals through a Meal Train system. Hoeksema says, "At this stage of living with COVID, we’re really welcoming volunteers back to the shelter, to really interact more with our meal service and interact with our guests in a way we haven’t been able to do for a couple of years. So, we want to invite those volunteers back in to be a part of the community of the shelter. This is our ninth winter doing that in Redmond and we really want to build on that community experience."

The shelter will open every night from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m. at Mountain View Fellowship Church, from November 15 through March 15.


No Injuries Reported In Clausen Drive Shooting

BEND, OR -- Bend Police say no one was hurt in a Sunday afternoon shooting, but one person was taken into custody. Officers responded to the area of Clausen and Grandview Drive, on the north end of Bend, on the report of an altercation involving a firearm.

Witnesses told officers 27-year-old Tanner Edwards and another person got into a verbal dispute, during which he unholstered his gun and allegedly fired one round into the ground. 

Edwards was found later in his trailer and taken to jail for Menacing and Unlwarful Use of a Weapon. 

Suspected Cocaine Trafficker Arrested In La Pine

LA PINE, OR -- A Bend man faces drug charges after an investigation into cocaine trafficking. Central Oregon Drug Enforcement (CODE) detectives arrested 35-year-old Benny Garcia at about 12:30 a.m. Monday. Investigators believe Garcia was importing cocaine from southern California, to distribute it in Central Oregon.

They executed a search warrant during a late-night traffic stop on Highway 97, near Finley Butte Road, and  say they found a commercial quantity of coke inside his pickup. Garcia was taken into custody on charges of Unlawful Possession of Cocaine  and Attempted Delivery of a Controlled Substance.


Jefferson County Elects First Time Commissioner

MADRAS, OR -- A political newcomer is heading to the Jefferson County Board of Commissioners. With nearly 60-percent of the vote, Mark Wunsch defeated two-term incumbent Commissioner Mae Huston on Tuesday.

He attributes the win to his background, “I think my big focus was ag and natural resources. And the need that we have currently in Jefferson County with the drought and other things, I think was a big part of it.”

The 33-year-old grew up in Jefferson County on the cattle ranch he now operates. He feels that perspective will help him guide the county, “I think we need to be methodical when we’re thinking about growth and look at the bigger picture. What is this county going to look like in 5, 10, 20 years. And make sure we’re set up for that future success, and not have a short-term vision when it comes to growth.”

Wunsch will be the first commissioner in 24 years from the agricultural industry. He thinks that resonated with Jefferson County voters, “I just appreciate their support and vision in me to help lead and help this county out. Very humbling feeling to get that so I’m just really excited.”

COCC Renames Science Building

BEND, OR -- Central Oregon Community College has renamed the science building on the Bend campus. In a special ceremony Wednesday evening, the school formally dedicated the Middleton Science Center, in honor of Dr. Jim Middleton. 

COCC’s Jen Kovitz says it recognizes Middleton’s contributions as President, "His vision and his drive, and his advocacy really stewarded COCC through our fastest time of growth, as well as through some really important building projects." The Science Center opened in 2012. Kovitz teslls KBND News, "So many of our state of the art facilities that we are known for today - our Science Center, our Health Careers Center, our Jungers Culinary Center; and those are just three of several - are all thanks to his vision and advocacy. They were all developed and constructed during his tenure." He also oversaw COCC's establishment of campuses in Madras and Prineville.

Dr. Middleton led Central Oregon Community College from 2004 until his retirement in 2014. Kovitz says the Board chose to honor him with this facility because of its expansive use, "We also are really proud of the Science Center. It, I think, defies normal expectations of the kinds of facilities you might see at a community college. And defying expectations of community colleges is something that Dr. Middleton excelled at."



RAPRD Gets Mixed Result For Rec Center

REDMOND, OR -- Voters were split on funding Redmond Area Parks and Recreation. The district's construction bond is passing by a slim margin, as of yesterday, with 51.48% percent voting yes. However, 60.20% of voters rejected RAPRD's operating levy request.

Matt Gilman, Chairman of the Redmond Area Parks and Recreation Board, says they are moving forward with a new facility, “Getting the plans ready for the building. Starting to understand the programming and the activities. The operational costs obviously is going to be a big issue.”

Gilman acknowledged they need to find a funding solution for the recreation center, “Really trying to figure out how to either go back to the public and ask for a levy again. Or to figure out a different to way to raise money so that by the time this thing is ready to have its doors open at the end of 2025 we can afford to do so. Because we think that once people start seeing it getting built, once they start hearing about the activities and programming that it will be a much clearer picture of our ask if we do end up going out for a levy in an upcoming election.”

Kotek Declares Victory

PORTLAND, OR -- The campaign for former Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek has declared victory in the race for Governor. As of 8 p.m., the Democrat had 46.7% of the vote, compared to Republican Christine Drazan's 43.8%. Kotek released a statement after reviewing Wednesday's returns:

“Oregon faces major challenges, and I look forward to getting to work to solve them. I promise to be a Governor for all of Oregon. I will start by working tirelessly to deliver results on issues of shared concern across our state: housing and homelessness, access to mental health and addiction treatment, helping our students succeed, and supporting small businesses.

“I ask Oregonians – no matter who you voted for in this election – to believe in our state, to stay engaged, and to help figure out solutions together. 

“I am honored and humbled by this opportunity to serve Oregon, and I will strive every day to be a force for positive change in our state.”

Previous Coverage: Kotek Holds On To Slim Lead In Governor's Race

Fire Damages Brasada Ranch Building

POWELL BUTTE, OR -- Fire caused substantial damage to a maintenance building at Brasada Ranch, early Wednesday morning. Crook County Fire and Rescue responded just before 6 a.m. and found the large building fully involved in fire.

Crews were able to knock down the flames then used hand lines to fully put it out. 

The cause of the fire could not be determined. 

Fill Your Pantry Saturday

REDMOND, OR -- The seventh annual Central Oregon Fill Your Pantry event is Saturday, November 12th at the OSU-Extension parking lot at the Deschutes County Fairgrounds from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

Fill Your Pantry is a community bulk buying event for Central Oregonians to fill up pantries, freezers, root cellars, and garages full of nutritious local products for the long high desert winter. Farmers, ranchers, orchardists, and producers will sell large quantities of items: 10 lb bags of onions, 20 lb boxes of apples, mixed boxes of grass fed beef, gallon jars of kraut, etc. All items will be at discount bulk prices. This is a great opportunity for farmers to sell food before the harsh Central Oregon winter and for Central Oregonians to save money and eat well all winter long. This event operates like a Farmers Market, except in bulk quantities. 

“With the volatile economy, ever-changing food prices, and transportation issues, now feels like the time to secure our food for the winter,” says Megan Kellner-Rode, event coordinator. “It is wonderful to know that we can rely on our local farmers to feed us all winter long.” 

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP/EBT) and Farm Direct Nutrition Program (FDNP) vouchers are accepted at this event. Bend Farmers Market will be present to exchange SNAP/EBT for tokens that can be used at most vendor booths, and will be offering up to $20 matching funds with the Double Up Food Bucks (DUFB) program. This means that if $20 of SNAP funds are exchanged, $40 in SNAP tokens will be received! 

Visitors are encouraged to dress for the weather, and bring a cart, wheelbarrow or wagon to help haul bulk vegetables, meats, and more.

Bend Mayor, Council Frontrunners Have Sizable Leads

BEND, OR -- In the race for Bend Mayor current city councilor Melanie Kebler at 54.92% of votes is defeating former councilor Chris Piper at 44.85%.

Kebler says she is ready for the challenge to lead Bend, “I think it’ll be a lot of continuing to work collaboratively with the council and other governments to tackle housing, and homelessness, and transportation. And protecting our environment.”

Councilor Barb Campbell with 42.02% appears to have won reelection to her Position 4 seat, Ariel Mendez is leading in the race for Council Position 5 with 64.43%, and Position 6 leader is Mike Riley at 60.67%.

Votes can still be counted for 7 days.

Click HERE for the latest results.

Redmond Mayor And Council Races Still Very Close

REDMOND, OR -- After George Endicott announced he would not run for re-election after serving 14 years, Redmond had 4 candidates to choose from to be the next Mayor.

Ed Fitch has 34.19% of the votes; marking a slim lead over Ben Schimmoler (32.53%) and Jay Patrick (31.37%), as of Wednesday morning.

“It’s a great community for people to raise families and they want to make sure that this community is moving forward progressively to ensure that the city stays in a place where families are the focal point, where neighborhoods are the focal point,” Fitch says Redmond is ready for a change and more open dialogue to face its issues.

Cat Zwicker, Kathryn Osborne, and John Nielsen appear poised to claim the three open seats on Redmond City Council. Zwicker was the only incumbent running.

Click HERE for the latest results.

Deschutes Commissioner Incumbents Likely Keeping Seats

BEND, OR -- Deschutes county commissioners appear ready to retain their seats. 

Incumbent Tony Debone faced challenger Oliver Tatom in Position 1. Incumbent Patti Adair took on challenger Morgan Schmidt in Position 3.

As of this morning, Debone earned 52.4% of the votes. “It’s an honor to be serving. This is the process. It’s good to hear from everybody. You know the voice of the people is through the vote right now,” said Debone who has served as commissioner since 2011.

Adair and Schmidt’s race is a little closer with Adair garnering 51.21% of the 99,931 votes tabulated so far. Although Adair is likely staying on the commission, she said it was important to wait until all votes are counted.

Measure 09-148 to make Deschutes commission seats non-partisan is passing with over 61% in favor.

Mixed Results In Local Elections

BEND, OR -- Voters were split on requests to fund Redmond Area Parks and Recreation. The district's construction bond is passing by a slim margin, as of Wednesday morning - with 51% voting yes. However, RAPRD's operating levy request is failing handily, with 60% voting no. Crook County voters also shot down the Bowman Museum’s operating levy request. However, Madras-area voters approved their Aquatic Center’s levy renewal. The $250 million bond for Bend-La Pine Schools appears to have been approved, based on preliminary numbers.

Deschutes County voters overwhelmingly approved making County Commissioner seats and elections nonpartisan. And requests to ban psilocybin facilities passed in La Pine, Redmond, Culver, Madras, Metolius, Prineville and Crook and Jefferson counties. However, Deschutes County voters said no to a ban.

In Oregon House District 53, currently held by Redmond Republican Rep. Jack Zika, Democrat Emerson Levy had a slim lead of just 278 votes as of Wednesday morning, over Republican Michael Sipe. If she holds on, it would be the first time HD53 has gone blue since the seat was created in 2000. In House District 54, Bend Democrat Rep. Jason Kropf easily beat his Republican challenger.

Jefferson County Commissioner Mae Huston appears to have been unseated by challenger Mark Wunsch. Mike Lepin appears to have won his bid to become the next Mayor of Madras. 

OR Voters Approve Anti-Slavery, Anti-Walkout Measures

PORTLAND, OR -- Oregonians had strong opinions on the four statewide ballot measures, but only two showed clear outcomes as of Wednesday. Measure 112 - removing language allowing involuntary servitude as punishment for crime appears to be passing. The ACLU celebrated the win, "We are so grateful to Oregonians with lived experience of incarceration, and the young people at Willamette University who got Measure 112 on the ballot. And, we are so grateful to Oregonians who said no to slavery." Another supporter said Tuesday night, "This part of the Constitution enshrines one of the darkest parts of our nation’s history. But tonight we move it forward. We just want to be clear that there is still more work to do to bring equity."

Measure 113 saw a decisive victory. It prohibits state lawmakers with 10 unexcused absences from serving another term. Supporters said Tuesday night it will help important issues move forward, "Like protecting our climate, standing up for workers, a women’s right to choose, preventing gun violence, addressing homelessness and standing up for Oregon values that have otherwise been derailed by walkouts." And, she said, it will hold legislators accountable, "We can’t walk off the job with zero consequences and zero accountability; and Oregonians are tired of politicians who think they can play by a separate set of rules. This is a victory for all Oregonians who care about our Democracy and about moving our state forward."

Measure 111, ensuring affordable healthcare access, and Measure 114, requiring a permit to buy firearms were still too close to call, as of Wednesday morning. Click HERE for the latest statewide totals.

Chavez-DeRemer Adds To CD5 Lead In Overnight Count

REDMOND, OR -- Control of Congress was up for grabs last night, with both parties carefully watching races in Oregon. In the newly redrawn Fifth Congressional District, Republican Lori Chavez-DeRemer took a slim lead over Democrat Jamie McLeod-Skinner Tuesday night. By Wednesday morning, that margin had widened, with Chavez-DeRemer leading by about 9,400 votes. The GOP had hoped to flip the seat currently held by Democrat Kurt Schrader after redistricting stretched CD5 from a corner of Multnomah County to Redmond. Click HERE for the latest results.

In the Second District, Republican incumbent Congressman Cliff Bentz easily beat his Democratic challenger. Democrats Suzanne Bonamici in Oregon’s First Congressional District and Earl Blumenauer in the Third District also celebrated reelection victories, based on preliminary counts. Democrat Val Hoyle claimed victory in the Fourth Congressional District, replacing retiring Democrat Peter DeFazio. And, Democrat Andrea Salinas appears to have eked out a win in the new Sixth District with 50% of the vote, over Republican Mike Erickson's 48%. 

U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) easily won reelection last night over GOP challenger Jo Rae Perkins. He addressed supporters at the Democratic Party of Oregon gathering Tuesday night, "I am humbled and honored that you have chosen me to represent you for the next six years." He added, "In all 36 counties, Oregonians have trusted me to listen to their concerns and follow up, and I vow to continue those conversations in countless town halls, grocery store aisles and chance encounters in Main Street in Oregon."


Kotek Holds On To Slim Lead In Governor's Race

PORTLAND, OR -- Democrat Tina Kotek took an early lead in the race for Governor, Tuesday night. She addressed supporters in Portland just after 11 p.m. and wasn’t ready to claim victory, "It looks like we might be waiting a while until things are official. And frankly, that’s OK, because we want to make sure that every Oregonian who turned in their ballot gets heard." She added, "The reality is the race is just too close to call tonight. I am optimistic about the numbers but it is still too early, folks."

Christine Drazan still hopes to become the first Republican Governor of Oregon in nearly 40 years. "We knew this was going to be a close race. And it turns out, it is," she told supporters gathered in Silverton at around 11:30 p.m., "We know that when the results are counted and all of the results are in, that we will in fact lead Oregon in a new direction."

Unaffiliated candidate Betsy Johnson conceded early on, after she failed to garner even 10% of the vote. 

Click HERE for the latest results in the Oregon Governor's race. Due to the postmark law allowing ballots to be counted if mailed by Election Day, it could be a week before the final outcome is known.



November Midterm Election Results

BEND, OR -- With Oregon's law allowing ballots to be counted if received up to seven days after Election Day, as long as they're postmarked by November 8th, we may not know the final results of races for some time. 

Oregon's Secretary of State tracks results from every county. Click HERE for the latest numbers. 

You can also visit each county's results to view individual break-outs, but many ballot issues cross over county boundaries and may not provide the full picture of a race or measure:

Deschutes County Elections Results

Crook County Elections Results

Jefferson County Elections Results

Redmond DMV Reopens Next Week With Limited Hours

REDMOND, OR -- Oregon’s Department of Motor Vehicle says the Redmond DMV office will reopen next week, with limited hours. Due to ongoing staffing shortages throughout the department, the Redmond location will open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The office at 3835 SW 21st Place, Suite 101, in Redmond will remain closed Mondays and Fridays.

“We recommend going online to DMV2U more than ever,” DMV Administrator Amy Joyce said in a statement. “Every time you need a DMV service, see if you can get it done at DMV2U.Oregon.gov. We’ve added over two dozen services in the past three years.”

Some services, like adding the Real ID option to your license, must be done in person. Before you go to DMV, make sure your local office is open by visiting OregonDMV.com.

“DMV has been experiencing the same shortage of applicants for job openings as other employers statewide and nationwide,” Joyce said. 

Jefferson County Offers Ballot Counting Room Livestream

MADRAS, OR -- In-person and online observation of ballot counting has become more popular this election cycle. Starting in the May Primary, Jefferson County Clerk Kate Zemke offered a live-stream via the county website for the public to watch the process,
“The virtual viewing opportunity; that’s just going to be kind of a standard thing. I’ll put it on Facebook, and then I notified the Republican and the Democrat parties of this virtual streaming. And then I’ve got quite a few observers coming.”

Crook County offers a similar live-stream that can be accessed through the county website. They’re part of a trend to try to show more transparency in the system, following increased elections scrutiny across the U.S. But Zemke thinks transparency in ballot counting has always been important, “I think that my observers are all very glad that they come. Most of them say ‘boy this was eye opening’. They’re very pleased with our process. I feel like one of my jobs is to educate the public and this is one tangible way that can happen.”

Zemke says people like watching the tabulation process online and it helps county staff feel more secure, “I know not all counties feel comfortable with it but I’ve visited with our IT and they assure me that we have a system that they feel confident.”

As of yesterday, around 40% of the Jefferson County ballots were in, just over 40% in Crook County, and 45% in Deschutes County.

Bend Road Crews Prepare For Winter Season

BEND, OR -- With freezing temperatures back in the daily forecast, road crews are now on-call.  Bend Transportation and Mobility Director David Abbas says everyone has transitioned from construction season to winter operations, “That’s everything from working with our mechanics in the shops, transitioning equipment over, getting sander units slid into some of our dump trucks, snowplows, there’s training for staff, we review our snow and ice control plan.”

Street crews are ready to plow when needed, but drivers can’t expect every road to be cleared at once, “We work on a prioritized system. With 880 lane miles it’s not realistic to have enough equipment to hit all of that, because that equipment and things would be sitting around for a good part of the year,” says Abbas who noted the top priorities are those busy commercial routes, the arterials, then collector streets, with local, residential roads as the lowest priority. 

Bend crews use almost every snow removal tool to keep roads clear. “We don’t use salt, really, in the area. You know, we’ve got the Deschutes River running right through town, so we don’t use salt like back east. When there’s about two inches of snow accumulated and we can start plowing, we start plowing. But up to that, it’s sanding those safety areas: corners, hills, intersections, that type of thing,” said Abbas.

Streets will also be chemically pretreated when it’s appropriate, but last week’s storm came with rain, which made pre-treating impossible. 

Sisters Releases Affordable Housing Survey Results

SISTERS, OR -- Sisters city officials have released the results of a public survey on building codes and affordable housing. Nearly 170 people responded to the request for input as staff work to update the city’s growth plan and prepare for a potential doubling in population.

Respondents appear concerned about urban sprawl and several people said they don’t want to "End up like Bend or Redmond." Opinions were mixed on increasing density or building heights, but most agree they want the city to make it less costly to build affordable housing.

Click HERE to view the survey breakdown.

County Clerks Prepare For Ballot Tabulation Under Increased Scrutiny

BEND, OR -- Deschutes County Election staffers are preparing for a deluge of ballots today and tomorrow, with around 70 thousand expected by 8 pm Tuesday, or at least postmarked by then.
With so many still questioning the legitimacy of the process, County Clerk Steve Dennison is proud of the work he and other elections officials do for Oregon. “I know who the clerks are around the state. I trust each and every one of them. I’ve been working in elections for a long time. The common thread with everybody: they have that same air of trusted public servants who just want to get it right. Nobody wants to make a headline and have something happen on their watch.”
Former Gubernatorial candidate Marc Thielman filed a federal lawsuit last month, claiming a lack of public confidence in the voting process.  Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan and 12 Oregon counties including Deschutes are named as defendants. Dennison is pleased a judge denied the plaintiff’s request to monitor ballots and collect forensic evidence, “I trust in our security processes. And even some of the wording that was used in there saying there was no credible evidence in support of the allegations. I wholeheartedly support the ruling of course, and I’m thankful that the judge found the same.”
Dennison says he understands the increased scrutiny over elections, “That doesn’t change the fact that we’re here doing the same work that we’ve done for a long, long time. And I’m excited that the public that is curious to learn more about it, and people that do come through to observe or for a tour feel a lot better about the people and the processes and procedures that are conducted in managing these elections.”
Dennison anticipates Deschutes voter turnout will end up around 75%.

Deschutes Co. Sheriff, DA At Odds Over M112

BEND, OR -- Oregon voters will decide Tuesday whether to remove the slavery exception from Oregon’s Constitution. Measure 112 would ban the use of forced labor as punishment for a crime. 

Deschutes County Sheriff and President of the Oregon State Sheriff’s Association (OSSA) Shane Nelson says it puts at risk vital inmate work crews, "I don’t know if anybody who supported Measure 112 went and interviewed anybody who’s been in custody, or ever had an opportunity to work in an inmate work program. But, they do a lot of good for a lot of individuals." Nelson tells KBND News inmates appreciate giving back to their community, "And, a lot of times they can earn some credit on a sentence, which I’m a complete supporter of. But I would never want to see those programs go away as a result of a ballot measure."

Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel says he’s talked to hundreds of inmates and expects many will choose to stay on a work crew if Measure 112 passes, "They’ll be voluntary and the vast majority of inmates will choose to do them because there’s benefits to it: they stay busy, they learn skills, they can get time off their sentence."

The OSSA says it would end jail maintenance programs for adults in custody who have not yet gone to trial, like cleaning cells or doing laundry. That argument isn’t enough for Hummel, "I have no doubt that doing away with slavery hurt the bottom line of plantation owners; and that was the argument for slavery, 'look, it’s really good for business.' Are you for slavery or are you opposed to slavery? This is kind of the simplest argument for a ballot measure ever."

He says under the measure inmates could volunteer to work and a judge could sentence them to a work program. But a corrections official could not force them without due process, "Oregon is one of only 10 states with the inmate slavery exception. This is not an unworkable thing. It’ll be fine when it passes; you’ll see every inmate work crew will continue to exist." 

file photo: A Deschutes County inmate work crew cleans graffiti in 2017


Former Youth Soccer Club Administrators Accused Of Deleting Files

BEND, OR -- Three former employees of the Bend FC Timbers youth soccer team were charged last week with a Class C Misdemeanor. Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel says the defendants were upset after the executive director was fired. Former Executive Director Tara Bilanski, former Assistant Director Jen Davin and former bookkeeper Emily Williams are accused of deleting hundreds of files from the club’s Google Drive and downloaded other files used to set up a competing club. 

"I asked the court to treat the matter as a violation, which is less than a crime. Think of it as a traffic ticket," Hummel tells KBND News, "So, what I’ve charged them with is not eligible for a jail sentence."

Hummel says this case is separate but related to an ongoing civil suit, "Attorneys on the other side of things have been - ‘pressuring’ is a fair word - pressuring me to throw the book at these people, and seek the maximum penalties." But, he says, their alleged crime is the modern-day equivalent to a disgruntled employee throwing files in a shredder, "And, while this does violate the law and they do need to be held accountable, what they are alleged to have done does not warrant the degree of punishment that the FC Timbers attorney was advocating for." 



Report Of "Active Shooter" In La Pine Unfounded

LA PINE, OR -- Reports of an active shooter at a La Pine bowling alley Friday evening sent law enforcement pouring into South County. The report turned out to be untrue, but a 34-year-old was arrested for allegedly firing shots into the air in the Shandy’s parking lot. The Sheriff’s Office says Anthony Bauman got in an argument over a pool game and grabbed a gun from his car. After firing into the air, they say he left the scene. No one was hurt.

Deputies identified Bauman from witness statements and video evidence from the scene. They found Bauman’s vehicle at his residence in the 52000 block of Hwy. 97 in La Pine. Deputies maintained surveillance on the house until members of Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office SWAT responded. SWAT negotiators were able to get everyone to come outside. At approximately 9:00 PM Bauman was taken into custody without incident.

He's charged with Felon in Possession of a Firearm, Menacing, Theft I (stolen firearm), Reckless Endangering, Disorderly Conduct II, Tampering with Evidence, and felony arrest warrant out of Texas.


file photo

Bend Man Arrested After Early Morning Pursuit

BEND, OR -- A 40-year-old Bend man was arrested early Friday morning after deputies say he led them on a pursuit near China Hat Road. Deschutes County Deputies first tried to pull over the 2004 Chevrolet Blazer for a traffic violation, just after 3 a.m. They say instead of stopping, it accelerated and led the deputy on a short pursuit before he lost sight of the vehicle.  

DCSO deputies and Bend Police officers conducted a search of the area later locating the Blazer involved in the pursuit. Law enforcement followed shoe impressions from the vehicle to a nearby camp where they contacted people inside a motorhome. Based on statements and evidence located at the camp, deputies determined Kori Kinsley was the driver of the Blazer during the pursuit. 

Kinsley was arrested without incident and taken to jail. He faces Attempt to Elude and probation violation charges 

La Pine, Madras Crashes Blamed On DUII Drivers

MADRAS, OR -- Madras Police are investigating a crash they believe may have been caused by a drunk driver. Officers responded to 4th and Pine, just beofre 4:30 a.m. Friday, and discovered an SUV upside down below the Willow Creek Bridge (pictured). They say the woman crashed through a concrete retaining barrier. She was pulled from the wreckage and taken to St. Charles Madras.

Firefighters were also called to put out a resulting brush fire. ODOT closed one lane of the bridge for the investigation, and to evaluate damage to the structure.  

Thursday night, just before 10:30 p.m., the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office responded to the area of Huntington Road and Memorial Lane in La Pine for a single-vehicle crash. Deputies say the vehicle was northbound on Huntington when the driver crossed over the fog line, overcorrected, crossed both lanes and left the roadway. It rolled, breaking a tree in half and coming to rest against another tree. 

A 15-year-old passenger was ejected from the vehicle. Investigators say the 16-year-old driver was intoxicated and took the vehicle without permission. Both teens were taken to St. Charles Bend with non-life threatening injuries. A 14-year-old passenger was taken to St. Charles by private vehicle for evaluation. 

After the driver was released from the hospital, he was transported to the Deschutes County Juvenile Detention Center where he's charged with Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle, DUII, Reckless Driving, Reckless Endangering (two counts) and Assault II. 

Crook Co. Voter Turnout Slower Than Expected, Interest in Ballot Livestream

PRINEVILLE, OR -- Just like other counties and statewide, Crook County reports a lag in voter turnout so far in this election cycle.

County Clerk Cheryl Seely says returns are pacing about 5 to 7% behind that last midterm election, “We are sitting right now at a little over 30%. We’re just hoping that everybody turns everything in the last couple days and the numbers get back up and we can pass up that 67% we had in ’18 and hit 70%”.

Seely isn’t sure whether more people are just waiting to mail their ballot, “We’ve only been through one election where that postmark law was in effect. If they are mailing it on election day, I hope they’re taking it to the post office and getting it hand-cancelled and not relying on the fact that they got it in a (mail) box before a carrier picked it up.”

There are three drop box sites in Crook County.

There has been interest in the county’s live stream of their vote tabulator machine this week. “We are running the tabulator again today (Friday), and then again on Monday and Tuesday. I get a few questions on ‘what did they do there’ or ‘what’s happening here’. I think it works very well. I’m glad I can offer it and I’m glad they can sit at home or wherever and watch.”

The Livestream is posted on YouTube under Crook County Oregon Live Stream.

Redmond Fire & Rescue To Conduct 'Burn To Learn' Exercise

REDMOND, OR -- Redmond Fire plans to conduct a training burn Saturday, November 5th at a house on SW 23rd, behind Redmond High School. 

Training Captain Bill Welch says it allows recruits to practice key skills, “Fire behavior observation, we’re training on moving a charged hose line through a complicated floor plan - not just a simple in and out straight shot - and we’re training on fire attack methods, as well as some more search evolutions.”

There will be much activity during the ‘burn to learn’ operation.  “You’re going to see lots of fire engines and ambulances there. We’re conducting the training burn starting at 8, and hopefully being done by 12:30 or 1. So, you’re going to see smoke in the area, they’re going to see fire as we let that building go fully engulfed,” says Welch.

Four new recruits from other agencies and three college students will practice pulling hose lines through a home, as well as fire attack and search methods. The operation is at a house behind Redmond High; its School District property donated to the fire department for training purposes. “We have some training facilities here at Redmond Fire, but nothing like an actual fire to go train in, and burn,” notes Welch adding, “There will be smoke and fire in the area. We won’t give that back to the school district until we’re sure that it’s not going to cause any more smoke. We’ll get the road closures lifted as soon as we can.”

SW 23rd between Highland and Glacier will be closed during the burn.

Two Accused Of Numerous Car Prowls, Thefts

BEND, OR -- A local man and a woman from Salem are accused of breaking into numerous cars in Bend - in some cases stealing them, over several weeks. Between October 11 and 30, Bend Police received multiple reports of stolen vehicles and car break-ins, primarily in Northeast Bend. In one case, a Jeep Cherokee reportedly pulled up, a passenger got out and stole a running vehicle. That vehicle was later recovered. Another vehicle stolen from the Vogt Road area on October 27, was located by officers on Hunnell Road. 

On October 30 at about 1:30 p.m., an officer was in the area of Hunnell and Loco roads when he spotted a gray Jeep Cherokee with no front plate. The back plate on the Jeep returned stolen. Officers conducted a stop on the vehicle in the Lowe’s parking lot. The driver was identified as Emmett Jackson, of Bend. The officer learned he had warrants out of Polk, Marion and Linn counties. Inside the vehicle police say they found stolen property from multiple car break-ins. The Jeep was also stolen.

Jackson was booked into the jail on charges including three counts each of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle, as well as Theft II and Theft III. 

At about 3:30 p.m. on November 3, Bend Police arrested 20-year-old Abigail Leanne Wells, of Salem, Jackson’s suspected accomplice in the thefts. She was lodged on two counts of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. 

Bend Police are asking the public to report any suspicious activity, car break-ins or stolen vehicles that took place during this time and may be connected to this case, and to share any video surveillance that may be linked to these crimes. Contact nonemergency dispatch at 541-693-6911. 

Giving Plate Reports Record Year

BEND, OR -- Giving Tuesday is still three weeks away, but one local nonprofit says this year’s need is bigger than ever. Ranae Staley, Executive Director of The Giving Plate, says 2022 has been their busiest since opening 13 years ago, "We are now 60% higher in our monthly average in the number of families and individuals we’re serving, compared to 2021. And, September of this year was our busiest month ever. If we compare that month alone to September of last year, it was an 83% difference."

Staley tells KBND News the end of the pandemic exposed a financial crisis covered by COVID assistance programs, "The band-aids could only stay on for so long, from the government, and then we have to deal with the real wound. The real wound is still there, and it’s actually becoming a little bigger because the impacts are snowballing. We didn’t have the inflation dynamic increases early in COVID, but we’re having that now - cost of food, cost of gas, cost of rents, all going up." She says many clients also say the rising cost of childcare is a factor.

According to Staley, 90% of The Giving Plate's clients are housed and most are employed - some with multiple jobs, "The stories are all so different but the thread of commonality is just how hard it is to live in Central Oregon. The cost of living here is so high; and then with the inflation that we’re experiencing this year - the face of hunger is not what our community realizes."

The Giving Plate offers between $500 and $700 in groceries per family per month. Staley is optimistic about 2023. A donor recently helped the nonprofit food bank pay off its building. Instead of worrying about a mortgage, she says The Giving Plate will be able to help more people. 


Weekend Event Focuses On Great Basin Archeology

BEND, OR -- A weekend symposium in Bend looks at the history of humans in Oregon’s Great Basin. Eliza Canty-Jones, with the Oregon Historical Society, says moderns society can learn a lot from artifacts uncovered by archeologists and passed down by tribal ancestors, "Finding these remains that people who lived thousands of years ago left behind, and they’re understanding ways about how those people lived, how they lived with changes in climate, how they lived with the plants and animals around them, how they lived through different kinds of seasons and with the changes in the landscape." 

This weekend’s event at OSU-Cascades is a partnership between the Oregon Historical Society, Deschutes County Historical Society, Burns Paiute Tribe and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Indians. 

Nearly two dozen K-12 teachers are registered to attend, to learn more about southeast Oregon’s ancient history and new ways to present it to students. "This is a place archeologists have been studying for a long time. But of course, it’s a place that tribal members have ancestral knowledge about since time immemorial," says Canty-Jones, "These ways of learning about the world and learning about the past, they’re different kinds of tools, they’re different kinds of approaches." She tells KBND News, "And sometimes these approaches are at odds with each other. But, the time that we’re living in now, there’s been really decades in which tribal and non-tribal people who are interested in this history have grappled with some of these differences together. And I think they work closely now in ways they did not several decades ago, when archeologists began working in this area."

Registration for the symposium is full, but there is an effort to use the content in a special issue of the journal Oregon Historical Quarterly.



Sisters Transportation Project Offers Concepts For Public Input

SISTERS, OR -- The city of Sisters is looking for public feedback on plans to create a transportation hub at the East Portal Site, a triangle-shaped property bordered by Highway 20, Hood Avenue and Highway 242. The Forest Service sold the parcel to the city earlier this year.

Project Coordinator Jackson Dumanch says they’re now looking for input on several concepts, “We’re maintaining the restroom on site, the community labyrinth, potentially the information kiosk and also just trying to make sure that we hit all the bases, so to speak. We have bus transportation, we can accommodate park and ride, bicycle parking, you know anything that falls under that umbrella of transportation.”

People who live in Sisters Country are encouraged to take part in an open house later this month. “Come to city hall between 4 and 7 p.m. November 16th for the open house, where they can see the concepts, talk with city staff, as well as the project team and they can share their input on what they like, what they’d like to see and we’ll take all that under consideration,” said Dumanch.

He expects City Council will make a final decision early next year. 

Bend City Council Approves Camping Code Resolution

BEND, OR -- The Bend City Council reviewed their Camping Response Strategy at a work session Wednesday night. The draft code specifies 24 hours as the amount of time an individual can spend in the rights-of-way. This would still require a 72-hour removal notice in the event of a violation which is state law for established campsites. Also, where and how valuable items will be stored was clarified.

Councilor Anthony Broadman was concerned about city and county responsibilities, “Doing work that the county needs to be doing. Specifically, like we continue to do the county’s work for it and you know I don’t think we can do anything else but the county needs to step up particularly on a lot of the items we’re committing to on this code.”

“I think the intent with the code in its current draft form would be implementation in March and that is to give us some time to work through some of those details,” City Manager Eric King said after presenting the latest plan to the council.

Council approved the draft plan after proceedings were interrupted by protesters. Mayor Gena Goodman-Campbell then outlined the next step, “I think we have a draft that is ready to come us on November 16th for our official consideration and public hearing. There may be some small changes to the resolution but it sounds like we have what we need there as well.”

The public hearing for the Camping Response Strategy resolution will be at the next council meeting on Wednesday, November 16 at City Hall.

Three Arrested For Non-Injury Madras Shooting

MADRAS, OR -- Three people, including one teen, were arrested this week, in connection with an October 29th shooting in Madras. Police responded to a report of shots fired near SE "C" and Fifth Street in downtown Madras, at about 1 a.m. Saturday. Officers found a parked car that had been struck by several bullets. The two people in the vehicle at the time were not injured in the incident.

Officers recovered ammunition casings at the site and during their investigation, obtained video evidence from several downtown businesses. Investigators say that video evidence helped officers identify three suspects. Over the next several days officers located, interviewed, and arrested two adults and one minor. The two adult suspects, 30-year-old Ivan Felix of Madras and 28-year-old Heli Vivanco of Metolius were charged with conspiracy to commit aggravated murder and lodged at Jefferson County Jail. The juvenile, a 14-year-old from Metolius, was lodged at the Deschutes County Juvenile Detention Center on charges of attempted murder.

“These arrests were expedited in part due to the video footage we were able to obtain from Downtown businesses. Surveillance cameras are a valuable asset for both businesses and public safety. We strongly encourage all businesses to have them installed,” Madras Police Detective Sgt. Steve Webb said in a statement. “Madras PD appreciates the assistance of our Downtown businesses along with the cooperation of our partnering agencies, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office, Jefferson County Community Corrections, and the Oregon State Police. This case is an excellent example of private and public safety collaboration that helps bring criminals to justice and make our communities safer.”

If you have any information regarding this case, please contact Detective Sgt. Steve Webb at 541-475-2424 or at swebb@madraspd.us and refer to Case No. 221234.

Protests Disrupt Bend City Council Session

BEND, OR -- Protesters disrupted Wednesday night's Bend City Council work session for about 10 minutes, chanting, "Say his name; Barry Washington," "No justice, no peace," and "Black lives matter."

They claimed to be showing support for Barry Washington, the 22-year-old African American man shot and killed in downtown Bend September 19, 2021. Jury selection got underway this week in murder trial of Ian Cranston, who is white. The group heckled Councilors who tried to gain control of the meeting, saying the city hasn't done enough to support Washington's family or erect a memorial in his honor. Watch the meeting here

Mayor Gena Goodman Campbell invited the group, "To come back during our public comment period; this is our work session. We do have rules about how we conduct our meetings." Protestors replied, "Give us the memorial you know that we want. We need more from you, it’s been over a year."

Council insisted they are in touch with Washington’s family and are trying to put them at the center of any city-related decisions. The group finally left after Councilors said they’d been heard. 


NE Bend Fire Blamed On New Dishwasher

BEND, OR -- A fire in a house on NE Pelican Dr. in Bend, Wednesday afternoon, was blamed on a dishwasher. According to Bend Fire, just after starting the dishwasher, the homeowner noted smoke coming from the back of it. As she attempted to shut off the power to kitchen and call 911, flames became visible and she evacuated. The house was found to be full of smoke, with flames in the kitchen as crews arrived. The first fire crew to arrive was able to use a dry-chemical extinguisher to stop the spread of the fire until other fire crews arrived shortly after. 

The cause of the fire appears to be a failure of the brand new dishwasher. Its unclear if this was due to an installation issue or a malfunction of the appliance. The Red Cross is providing a hotel for the adult and 2 children who live there for a few nights while the smoke and soot is cleaned up. Smoke and soot from fires can be dangerous to inhale up to days after a fire. Damage to the home and its contents are estimated at $15,000. 

Appliance fires can happen in new and old equipment. Bend Fire offers tips to help prevent these types of fires:

  • Ensure all appliances are installed, maintained and serviced by a qualified professional and follow all manufacture guidelines. 
  • Keep potentially flammable items, such as furniture, clothes, or curtains, away from heaters or appliances that produce heat.
  • If an appliance or lamp sputters, produces a spark, or gives you a shock when running, have it repaired as soon as possible.
  • Check the wires of appliances regularly. Replace or repair frayed, damaged cables.
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions manual that includes safety notices and usage tips.
  • Check the manufacturer’s website for updates on safety information about your unit.
  • Register your unit on the manufacturer’s website so that you receive notifications if the product is recalled.

Salem Murder Suspect Arrested In SE Bend

BEND, OR -- A Salem murder suspect was arrested in a southeast Bend neighborhood Wednesday morning. Salem Police believe 56-year-old Thomas Healy shot 35-year-old Scott Tanner in a Salem park on August 27th. Both may have lived in an encampment near Geer Park and investigators say they got into a fight before the shooting.

Bend Police detectives and the Central Oregon Emergency Response Team assisted Salem Police in arresting Healy on Willopa Court at about 7:45 a.m. Neighbors report seeing armored vehicles and a large police presence in the area during the apprehension 

Healy is being held at the Deschutes County Jail pending transport to Marion County.

“I offer my thanks to the Bend Police Department and the special team officers who assisted our detectives today,” Salem Police Chief Trevor Womack said in a statement. “We are grateful for the interagency coordination in apprehending a dangerous person and helping to bring justice to the victim’s family.”

Season's First Snow Hinders Commuters

BEND, OR -- The first big snow of the season fell on Central Oregon roads Tuesday morning. Chuck Swann, Street Division Manager for the City of Bend, says above-freezing temperatures helped the Street Division crews but icy conditions are possible over the next couple of days, “We’ll have our morning crew of about 15 staff that will be in at 4 am early before the commute running all of our sanding trucks.”

Swann has some tips for handling winter driving, “First thing is if you don’t need to drive when it’s icy, don’t. If you can stay home, stay home. But when you’re approaching plows try not to ever pass on the right. Leave yourself plenty of stopping distance. Those trucks make sudden stops and you want to make sure you leave plenty of clearance. Take your time. Don’t be in a rush to go anywhere. Enjoy it. It’s beautiful here when it snows, and we need it. I think if everybody just slows down, not in a rush, leave a little bit early. We’ll acclimate like we do every year.”

Freezing or nearly freezing overnight temperatures are forecast for the rest of the week.

Commute Options' Plan To Ease North Corridor Construction Traffic Delays

BEND, OR -- Bend's North Corridor improvement project won’t start affecting traffic on Highways 97 and 20 until next year, but drivers should start thinking now about how they can help reduce the inevitable congestion. 

Kim Curley, with Commute Options, says utility relocation work begins in January and work will impact nearly everyone who travels through the north end of Bend, “In late February, the west side of Cooley Road at Highway 20 will be closed for 70-plus days. So that traffic between Sisters, Tumalo, Bend will be needing to go around, and probably ending up on Highway 97 in some manner, which will be affecting the Redmond commuters.”

The $175 million project is expected to snarl traffic for close to two years. Oregon's Department of Transportation contracted with Commute Options for outreach efforts, to reduce congestion in the area. 

Curley says workers at businesses in and near Cascade Village are encouraged to carpool, work remotely or use public transit. “This isn’t just a ‘your neighborhood suffers.’ It’s ‘we’re all in this together.’ And if we could all just reduce the number of cars having to get through these difficult situations, we’re really hoping that can make a difference,” Curley tells KBND News. In an effort to reduce congestion, Commute Options is also working with Skyview, Lava Ridge and North Star schools, “We’re encouraging parents to get onto our School-pool system and maybe start reducing some of the trips that are coming in and out of the neighborhoods.” School-pool is a closed network system available to parents. Commute Options also offers the Get There Oregon program, a free online carpool matching platform available to the public. 

Curley says the overall goal is to reduce the number of vehicles traveling through detours and lane closures, “With more participation from employees, neighbors and through commuters, with fewer cars to be detoured things are not as painful as they could seem.”


Redmond Unified Soccer Team Preps for State Tournament

REDMOND, OR -- Redmond Schools are celebrating a new athletics program, as the Unified Sports team prepares for a state tournament.

Superintendent Charan Cline says Unified Sports is an inclusive program for Special Olympics athletes, “We have students who are both disabled and abled. It gives a situation where every kid can participate, no matter what their abilities, both physical and mental.”

Dr. Cline believes the program is an opportunity for students of all abilities to take part in athletics, “I got to go over to a game one day that we were doing between our two high schools and, it’s just great to see every kid out there participating and having a great time, and finding value through athletics. So, we’re really happy the program has started this year, and we’re looking forward to building it as the years come.”

Redmond’s unified teams will participate in a soccer scrimmage between Redmond High and Ridgeview High School teams on Friday, November 18th at 11 a.m. “They went to the regional competition and took third; took the bronze medal, this time around,” said Dr. Cline.

They are ramping up for the Unified State Tournament at Providence Park in Portland, Saturday, November 19th. 

Photo Released In Fatal Hit & Run Investigation

BEND, OR -- Bend Police released a photo of the suspect vehicle, believed to be responsible for a deadly hit and run at the 14th and Newport roundabout. The image was captured on a nearby surveillance camera.

The vehicle is a dark-colored, larger SUV, possibly a Chevrolet Suburban, Lincoln Navigator or Cadillac Escalade. The vehicle has been described as clean and shiny, possibly a 2008 to 2012 model. 

Police believe after striking the victim in the northwest portion of the roundabout, the vehicle traveled south on NW 14th Street toward Galveston Avenue. It then traveled west on NW Galveston Avenue.

Bend Police ask the public in that area to review any camera footage from Thursday, October 27 between 9:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. Please contact Bend Police through our nonemergency dispatch line at 541-693-6911 with any information on this case. 

The victim, 76-year-old Walter James Lane was found at about 9:30 p.m. on October 27. He was taken to the hospital where he later died from his injuries. 


UPDATE (11/04/22) -- BPD Detectives say there may be additional people who stopped to render aid to the victim, but may not have actually witnessed the event. Detectives need to interview those who stopped to render aid or assist in the aftermath of the incident. Those community members are asked to contact Detective Sgt. Tommy Russell at 541-312-7955 and leave a message with their contact information. 

One Dead In Madras Shooting

MADRAS, OR -- A Halloween night shooting in Madras left one man dead in the Strawberry Heights neighborhood. According to the Jefferson County District Attorney, the 24-year-old was found shot multiple times, at about 7:45 p.m. He was flown to St. Charles Bend where he later died.

The Tri-County Major Incident team is now investigating. They say many people were on the streets at the time of the shooting. Investigators ask anyone with information to contact Oregon State Police.
UPDATE: The Jefferson County District Attorney identified the victim as 24-year-old Edgar Miguel Torres-Aguilera. Investigators have also released a photo of  a white Chevy Tahoe believed to be connected with the case; at least one window may have been shot out. Anyone with information concerning this vehicle or the incident should contact the Oregon State Police Northern Command Dispatch at *677. The associated OSP case number is SP-293699.

Pile Burning Set To Begin On Deschutes National Forest

SISTERS, OR -- Firefighters on the Deschutes National Forest are preparing for pile burning season. Jaimie Olle, Public Affairs Specialist with the Forest Service says as long as the weather cooperates, they'll begin this week, “They’ll start those operations in the higher elevation areas near the Cascade Lakes Highway, and then on the Sisters Ranger District, out in the Green Ridge area along Forest Service Road 1130.”

There should be little public impact, according to Olle, “No road or trail closures are anticipated for this work and smoke impacts are expected to be minimal but again folks in the area could see that smoke lingering in the area for a few days.”

Olle says firefighters will only ignite piles if conditions are right, “We always take precautions to make sure that we’re in the correct prescription. So once piles are ignited those are monitored by firefighters until they are declared out and we typically only light piles when conditions are favorable for this work.”

Debris piles are burned on the forests in order to reduce hazardous fuels and minimize wildfire danger. Piles may smolder, burn, and produce smoke for several days after ignition. 

For more information on hazardous fuels reduction projects in Central Oregon, visit centraloregonfire.org/ or fs.usda.gov/deschutes and follow on Twitter @CentralORFire. Text “COFIRE” to 888-777 to receive wildfire and prescribed fire text alerts.

Hospitals See Uptick In Child Viruses

BEND, OR -- Oregon hospitals are making space for more pediatric patients as severe respiratory illnesses make an early surge.

 “Because of the last couple of years, where everybody was doing social distancing and wearing masks, a lot of the little kids weren’t getting exposed to their older siblings’ illnesses at school or otherwise, and so now we have a larger population of children who haven’t seen these viruses for a few years,” Dr. Suzanne Mendez, at St. Charles Bend, says R-S-V can be especially dangerous to young infants and preemies, “Just being cautious with the youngest babies, as far as taking them out and about in big crowds, or if the older sibling is sick then trying to limit exposure to the younger babies; especially the babies that are the first few months of age, [they] just tend to have more severe RSV every year.”

The illness typically doesn’t hit the west coast until January or February. The Oregon Health Authority already reports a 12% positivity rate, statewide. And Enterovirus usually strikes every two years, but didn’t in 2020 because of COVID precautions. It’s about three weeks ahead of schedule. 

Mendez suggests parents be pro-active if their child gets sick, especially kids under two. “Often, they can’t blow their nose and so they get really stuffy and then they can’t eat because they’re so stuffy, and they can’t drink and then they get dehydrated and that just makes them more stuffy because the mucus gets thicker. So, keeping their nose suctioned out is what we recommend and keeping kids hydrated, and that’ll often help kids get through the worst parts of the virus if they do get it,” she says while noting St. Charles has already sent twice as many kids to Portland - the closest pediatric ICU - compared to the last three years at this time.


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