Local News Archives for 2023-02

Redmond Woman Accused Of Trafficking Fentanyl

PRINEVILLE, OR -- A Redmond woman is accused of trafficking drugs from Portland into the High Desert, following a surveillance operation conducted by the Central Oregon Drug Enforcement team. Detectives say 41-year-old Christie Dillman brought methamphetamine and fentanyl into the region from the Portland-metro area.

She was arrested during a traffic stop in Crook County last week. CODE says K-9 “Bonnie” helped lead detectives to a substantial amount of drugs and money in Dillman’s car. The drugs included counterfeit Oxycodone pills made of fentanyl. 

At the same time, agents searched Dillman’s home on SW Canal Blvd. in Redmond, and say they found more fentanyl tablets, packaging materials and two loaded guns.

Her teenage daughter was also home at the time, but was released at the scene and referred to DHS Child Welfare.

Dillman was booked into the Crook County Jail on charges of Unlawful Possession and Attempted Distribution of Fentanyl, Unlawful Possession and Attempted Distribution of Meth, and Felon in Possession of a Dangerous Weapon. She later posted bail and was released. 

County Gives Approval For Bend Managed Homeless Camp

BEND, OR -- Deschutes County Commissioners are working with the city of Bend to find shelter space for the people living on Hunnell Road.

The camp must be dispersed to allow for the Highway 97 North Corridor construction. Officials estimate between 80 and 100 people need to be relocated.

At a meeting Monday, City Manager Eric King told commissioners a public-private partnership could create a camp at the south end of Bend near Murphy Road and Highway 97. Officials estimate several camps may be needed. 

Cheyenne Purrington, Houseless Strategies and Solutions Director, told Commissioners her office is looking for solutions, “There’s a range of options that might include Safe Parking, Managed Camps…Supported camps might just include a basic needs amenities station.”

Addressing Commissioners’ concerns, Purrington says sanctioned camps can be safe for campers and the surrounding area, “These supported camps can provide safety measure without involving formal security. Often those include community agreements…working with staff to identify any concerning behavior.”

Commissioners plan to send a letter to the Governor and Department of Emergency Management asking to suspend land-use rules, to allow more areas to be considered. 

That letter and other suggestions will be reviewed at Wednesday’s County Commissioner meeting.

Crook County Search & Rescue Sees Threefold Increase In Winter Missions

PRINEVILLE, OR -- With more snow in the mountains this year, the Crook County Sheriff’s Office has seen a huge uptick in Search and Rescue Missions. Lt. Mitch Madden tells KBND News nearly every call-out is related to a driver who went too far into the backcountry, "They’re encountering deep pockets of snow and, rather than trusting that voice in the back of their head and not proceeding, they’re going forward and ultimately getting stuck in the snow and needing help." He says the last few years brought little snow to the Ochocos, "But this year, there is a little more snow out in the Ochoco Mountains. That, coupled with people wanting to get out and explore the public lands, is a contributing factor."

Early Sunday morning, eight SAR volunteers rescued four people stranded in the Mill Creek/Harvey Gap area. Sunday evening, 11 deployed to the Frog Pond area (pictured) for one person. And the team’s 15th mission since January first was Monday in the Maury Mountains. "Normally, we’ll have a handful of missions this time of year," says Madden, "But this has really doubled, if not tripled the call volume for this time of year." And, he adds, they will continue to respond, "When we have a stranded motorist, especially in the snow and the cold weather, we still have an obligation to go out and rescue them, to prevent any further injury from happening." Drivers must then arrange for a tow to rescue the vehicle. According to the Sheriff's Office, the subjects of this winter's missions have been a mix of people from the Prineville area, Deschutes County and outside of Central Oregon.

Lt. Madden says SAR volunteers have logged around a hundred hours on these missions and in some cases, put their own life on the line, "They do a phenomenal job with the mission at hand, and also given the dangerous situation." Madden urges everyone to turn around when they encounter deep snow.


Rep. Chavez-DeRemer Discusses Border Visit

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Congresswoman Lori Chavez DeRemer says a recent visit to the southern border shaped her work on bills to combat Oregon’s fentanyl epidemic. The Oregon Republican represents the Fifth Congressional District, which includes Bend, Redmond and Sisters.

The “Protecting First Responders from Secondary Exposure Act” has bipartisan support in the House and Senate. Chavez-DeRemer says it would help fund the safe storage of dangerous drugs, "It allows the state and local governments to purchase those containment devices to store those narcotics as it goes through the judiciary system; there’s evidence of what they’re gathering. We didn’t have that access before."

She says fentanyl trafficking has reached crisis levels and first responders need to be protected, "They’re the first line of defense when there’s an overdose. We had something in the schools there in Oregon, where first responders are there, our teachers are exposed. So, this kind of bill will help them with the asks they’re experiencing every single day." In January, a Yamhill County deputy and several middle school students were treated for possible fentanyl exposure during a drug investigation at a school.

A separate proposal would increase the charge to felony murder for a dealer who supplies fentanyl that leads to an overdose death. "When these drug cartels are serving up this drug and it’s killing Americans, we have to have deterrents and this bill will allow for that," Chavez-DeRemer tells KBND News. 

The Republican recently visited the southern border with other members of her party and says talking with an Arizona farmer convinced her to take action. "One of the things he said is, ‘ya know, we’re tired. We don’t know how to do this anymore alone. We’re not understanding why the federal government isn’t stepping up. We’re at a loss; we need the federal government’s help.’ That’s what these bills will do. It’s a first step in solving this crisis and I want to be a part of that solution."

To listen to our full conversation with Rep. Lori Chavez-DeRemer, visit our Podcast Page


No Charges In Fatal Prineville Shooting

PRINEVILLE, OR -- The Prineville man responsible for a fatal shooting inside his apartment in January will not stand trial. A Crook County Grand Jury determined Darrien Ruiz acted in self-defense, when he shot Kade Nichol at the Wild Horse Mesa Apartments.

According to the District Attorney's office, the two men had been friends but had a falling out in October. On January 8th, an intoxicated Nichol went to Ruiz’s apartment and tried to push his way inside. Ruiz's girlfriend and 8-year-old child were also home at the time. The two men fought and Ruiz fired his gun. Authorities say he asked his girlfriend to call 911 and fully cooperated with the investigation.


The following is a summary of portions of the investigation submitted to the District Attorney and provided to KBND News:


On January 8, 2023, at approximately 4:35 pm, officers from Prineville Police Department and Crook County Sheriff’s Office responded to a shooting at the Wild Horse Mesa Apartments in Prineville. Upon arrival, officers located 27-year-old Kade Nichol with a single gunshot wound lying in the stairwell outside Ruiz’s apartment. Several concerned citizens were attempting to render aid. Despite efforts of law enforcement and emergency medical personnel, Nichol was pronounced deceased at the scene. Nichol died as a result of a single gunshot wound.

The shooting was investigated by the Central Oregon Major Incident Team, led by the Prineville Police Department, and was overseen by the Crook County District Attorney. The Prineville Police Department and Crook County Sheriff’s Office quickly and safely secured the scene by detaining the shooter, 29-year-old Darrien Ruiz. Ruiz was cooperative and was transported to the Prineville Police Department for further questioning.

Detectives from numerous agencies canvassed the area to interview eyewitnesses and gather evidence.  The Oregon State Police Forensic Services Division responded to examine and collect forensic evidence. The Deschutes County Digital Forensics Division assisted by completing forensic analysis of cell phones belonging to the involved parties.

The investigation determined the individuals involved knew each other. Nichol and Ruiz had known each other since high school and were close friends until October 2022, when their friendship ended. The two men had a falling out related to Ruiz’s relationship with Nichol’s wife.

Prior to the shooting, the two men last communicated with each other via text on October 11, 2022. Following the end of their friendship in October, the two men next exchanged messages on January 8, 2023, shortly before Nichol drove to Ruiz’s residence. Multiple witnesses reported Nichol was distraught over the death of a close friend who died January 6, from injuries sustained in a car crash. On January 8, Nichol made multiple statements to people that he intended to fight Ruiz if he attended their mutual friend’s funeral.

On January 8, 2023, at approximately 4:18 PM, Nichol was at his residence with his three children and a friend. Nichol had been drinking and began texting Ruiz. The two men exchanged the following texts:

  • Nichol @ 4:18 pm: “I hope you know imma run up on you if I see you at ryans service you punk ass [***]”
  • Ruiz @ 4:21 pm: “no your not shut up”
  • Nichol @ 4:21 pm: “Bet”
  • Ruiz @ 4:21 pm: “Then your gonna get beat up in front of everyone”
  • Ruiz @ 4:23 pm: “I’m at my house. I’ll meet you outside rn”
  • Nichol @ 4:23 pm: “Lets good”
  • Nichol @ 4:23 pm: “Let get it”
  • Ruiz @ 4:23 pm: “Just leaving me alone would be your best bet buddy”
  • Ruiz @ 4:24 pm: “Why you even text me anyway”
  • Nichol @ 4:25 pm: “Come outside”

Nichol, who appeared intoxicated, had been at his residence with his children and friend, showed his friend the text messages and made a statement about intending to fight Ruiz. Nichol asked his friend, “Do you have my kids?” and left his house intending to confront Ruiz. Nichol’s friend called Nichol repeatedly trying to stop Nichol, telling him, “I don’t know what you’re planning on doing. Be smart, you got [***] kids at home.”

Moments later, witnesses observed Nichol get out of his vehicle at the Wild Horse Mesa Apartments. Nichol left his keys and wallet behind in his unlocked vehicle. Nichol called Ruiz attempting to entice Ruiz down to the parking lot to fight. When Ruiz would not leave his apartment, Nichol was heard saying “You’re not gonna come out? Then I’ll come up there.” Witnesses reported seeing Nichol run up the stairs toward Ruiz’s apartment shortly before hearing a gunshot.

The shooting was reported to 911 dispatch at approximately 4:35 pm. The evidence corroborates witness statements that when Ruiz opened his door, Nichol punched Ruiz and pushed Ruiz back into his apartment approximately 12 to 15 feet. Ruiz’s 8-year-old daughter was playing in the kitchen, just a few feet away from the altercation and Ruiz’s girlfriend was also inside. Nichol pushed Ruiz backward into a door in the hallway, at which time Ruiz discharged his firearm, striking Nichol one time. Nichol immediately left the apartment where he collapsed and died in the stairwell.

Immediately following the shooting, Ruiz locked his apartment door and asked his girlfriend to call 911 dispatch. Upon law enforcement’s arrival, Ruiz was cooperative and was transported to the Prineville Police Department for further questioning.

Under Oregon law, the DA's office says, a person can be justified in using deadly physical force if another person is committing or attempting to commit a burglary in their dwelling or if another person is committing or attempting to commit a felony involving the use or threatened imminent use of physical force. The laws relating to self-defense inside a person’s residence, commonly referred to as the Castle Doctrine, are different than the self-defense provisions which apply to deadly physical force used outside of a residence. Under Oregon law, a person has an absolute right to feel safe and secure in their own home.

In this instance, the Crook County Grand Jury determined Ruiz was acting in self-defense and therefore justified in using deadly physical force upon Nichol to defend against Nichol’s unlawful entry into his residence and use of physical force against Ruiz.

The Crook County District Attorney’s Office reminds the public the purpose of our local law enforcement is to preserve the peace and ensure public safety for all.  Our dedicated law enforcement officers are well trained in de-escalation tactics and have the ability to diffuse difficult situations in a safe manner. When possible, please make every effort to call the police and request assistance before taking matters into your own hands.  A quick phone call and response by an officer can quickly resolve a situation before matters escalate out of control.

The Crook County District Attorney’s Office also sends condolences to the Nichol family. Kade Nichol was a loved son, brother, father, husband, and friend to many and he will be greatly missed. His family has been very understanding as we have worked through the lengthy investigative and legal process.

Contributing agencies to this investigation include the Prineville Police Department, Crook County Sheriff’s Office, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Warm Springs Police Department, Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office, Bend Police Department, Oregon State Police, Redmond Police Department, County Medical Examiner, Oregon State Police Forensic Laboratory, Oregon State Medical Examiner, the FBI, and Crook County Fire and Rescue.


File photo: Wild Horse Mesa Apartments

Gordon Named Permanent St. Charles CEO

BEND, OR -- St. Charles Health System Interim CEO Dr. Steve Gordon has been named to the permanent post.

According to the health system, the St. Charles Board worked with an external search firm to conduct a survey to determine the attributes most desired in the next CEO. They say the top qualities identified by more than 1,600 St. Charles caregivers and community partners were compassion for patients and staff, experience as a direct health care provider and visibility and presence across all sites of care and in the communities St. Charles serves. “During this interim period, Steve has naturally embodied these attributes making him easily the top choice for the position,” Ann Rhoads, chair of the board’s CEO search committee, said in a statement. “We heard repeatedly from the listening sessions that caregivers, physicians and community partners would be thrilled to see Steve in the role for the long term. We believe he is the best person to lead St. Charles into the future and that he will drive the system to provide excellence in care, service and organizational culture.”

Dr. Gordon took the interim job in July, when Joe Sluka resigned“The board has been very appreciative of Steve’s leadership and desired to have him become the permanent CEO,” said Jamie Orlikoff, chairman of the St. Charles Board of Directors. “We are thrilled he has accepted the position. We look forward to a productive partnership with him for the benefit of the community and our patients.”

Gordon issued a statement saying, “I am energized to build on what we’ve learned so far from service line development in many areas of the organization. Plenty of work still lies ahead, but we’re seeing results from focusing first on clinical excellence and a better experience for our patients, caregivers, physicians and providers. I have enjoyed getting to know this extraordinary organization in a new and deeper way in recent months. We simply have the best people who are committed to providing patients with exceptional care. I want to continue supporting them in that noble endeavor.”

Injured Hiker Rescued From Horse Ridge

BEND, OR -- Deschutes County Search and Rescue helped an injured hiker on Horse Ridge Saturday evening. The woman was about 1.5 miles from the trailhead when she hurt her ankle and was unable to walk out on her own. 

Bend Fire & Rescue asked for Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue to assist. A total of nine SAR volunteers responded at about 4 p.m., with a wheeled litter to rescue the patient. They reached the trailhead at 4:30 pm, and were to the patient by 5:05 pm. She was transferred to Bend Fire medics at the trailhead at 6:25 p.m. and was later taken to St. Charles Bend for treatment.

Bend PD K9 "Kim" Retires

BEND, OR -- One of Bend Police Department's best known K9 officers has retired. Kim, an eight-year-old Belgian Malinois, arrived in Bend in 2017. She was trained as an apprehension dog, able to track, find and hold suspects until the handler calls her off to make an arrest.

Over her five-year career, Kim was deployed 913 times, making 98 captures and locating eight pieces of evidence. She also assisted on Central Oregon Emergency Response Team callouts throughout her career, and officially served on CERT from November 2021 until her retirement on January 31, 2023. 

Bend Police calls her “small in stature,” but “fierce and tenacious” and "an invaluable member of our team." Her last partner, Corporal James Kinsella, said in a statement, “K9 Kim never had a bad day at work. She never just wanted to stay home and take the night off, and never got paid a dime. Her payment was the appreciation from her officers, her recognized contributions to the Tri-County area and her opportunity to serve this community.” 

She will live with a retired K9 handler in Oregon.




photos courtesy Bend Police


Redmond Public Safety Building Design Moving Forward

REDMOND, OR -- Plans for Redmond's new Public Safety building are moving forward. The design was unveiled last week during an open house.

Police Chief Devin Lewis looks forward to a larger, more modern facility, “We’re lacking enough parking for not only our staff and our police vehicles, but we don’t have any parking for public and the community to either report a crime or to get some sort of services from us.”

Lewis is excited for the new building and the public’s positive feedback, “What we heard kind of mirrors what we’re hoping for as well. They want to see a building that reflects Redmond. So, use a lot kind of a lot of the natural resources in the construction, is built in a sustainable, energy efficient way, but is also open and inviting to the public."

Lewis tells KBND News the new building will offer much more than the current one, “A lot of positivity on the proposed spaces for the people coming to the police department to talk to police so they will have that visual and auditory privacy if they’re here talking about something sensitive or making a crime report. Also, designating an area of that parking that would be under video surveillance and is designated as safe exchange area. Lot of feedback on our proposed community room.” That community room would be available for public meetings, training and emergency operations.

The facility will be built on 8-acres on Northwest Canal Boulevard, at the north of Redmond, thanks to a voter approved $40-million bond. It’s set to be finished in February 2025.

Drivers Cited For Ignoring NE Bend Road Closure

BEND, OR -- City officials warned drivers about last week’s closure of a major northeast Bend intersection. But, according to police, some didn’t get the message. 

Road work at Neff and Purcell is rerouting traffic to allow for a major reconstruction project near the Bend hospital and Forum Shopping Center. It's scheduled to last through mid-summer. Sheila Miller, with Bend Police, tells KBND News, "Whenever a big intersection like that closes, it does put a kink in people’s plans." But, she says, that’s no excuse for what some have seen, "We’ve gotten calls from neighbors on residential streets who say people are going 50 mph down their residential road." She adds, "We’re also seeing people who are just driving right past the road closed sign, going up on sidewalks, just really exhibiting some problematic behavior."

Miller says that "problematic behavior" can be very expensive, "Driving past a road closed sign is illegal. We have been citing people in the last couple of days who are doing this, and the citation is for ‘failure to obey a traffic signal.’ And that is punishable by a citation of $265."

There is a signed detour, including NE 8th, Greenwood, Butler Market and 27th street. An interactive map is also available on the city’s website. "We’re just asking for people to plan ahead, have an idea of where you’re going and give yourself a little extra time. We know it’s frustrating. But, you’d hate to hurt somebody, and you’d hate to get a $265 fine, too," says Miller, and those extra patrols will continue, "If you’re going to drive on the sidewalk illegally through a closure, we’re going to be there to ticket you, for sure."


Bend Parks & Rec Survey Shows Satisfaction Slipping

BEND, OR -- Bend Parks and Recreation says a recent survey shows the community is generally satisfied with the district’s services and rate parks, trails and recreation as a good value.  However, the survey also showed opinions are not as strongly positive as in 2013, 2016, and 2019. 

Bend Parks and Rec’s Julie Brown tells KBND News there’s room for improvement, given the number of people who weren’t sure about services, “They weren’t necessarily yes or no, but they indicated they don’t know. That’s an opportunity to do a better job of informing people of what we’re offering. So that’s one of the areas we’ve been specifically looking at. There are areas here with high marks for satisfaction with Parks and Recreation and quality of life, and the role that we play in quality of life. But, they’re down from where they were at all-time highs in 2019. So, our team, while not surprised, is still hoping we can make improvements the next time we survey.”

Brown says the company hired to conduct the statistically valid survey believes the pandemic is to blame, “Their assessment was this is consistent and it’s not something that’s Bend specific. It is something they’re seeing statewide, as well as nationally.”

81% of the 900 respondents say they visited a park or trail in the past year, and the vast majority say they felt welcome and safe. 

“We’re always looking for perfect tens across the board. So, the results of this, while not necessarily surprising after the last three years that people have had, it’s still a little disappointing,” said Brown.

The survey results (linked here) will be used to determine future parks district priorities and projects. 


Piglets Farrowed At DCSO Rescue Ranch

BEND, OR -- After 87 animals were taken from a Terrebonne property for suspected neglect in January, the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office now finds itself with a slew of swine.

“We have probably close to 90 pigs out at our Rescue Ranch right now, because the pigs that were seized have had babies,” Sheriff Shane Nelson tells KBND News those animals are not yet available for adoption, “They still belong to the owner of the pigs, who is going through the criminal justice process. But pigs and other animals that have become the property of the Sheriff’s Office, we do adopt those animals out to our community members. We have a process for it; there’s no fee. There’s probably going to be anywhere from 15 to possibly 20 babies, by the time it’s all said and done, because some of the pigs were pregnant.” 

Right now, there are six horses, some sheep, and a few unrelated pigs and goats available for adoption at the Sheriff’s Office rescue ranch.  The facility is currently caring for more than 100 animals in total, not counting birds.


Food Banks Prepare For End To Emergency SNAP Relief

REDMOND, OR -- Local food banks are concerned about Tuesday’s expiration of the Emergency Allotment  for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Congress enacted the extra food stamp benefits at the start of the pandemic.

Even with that extra grocery money, NeighborImpact’s executive director Scott Cooper tells KBND News the non-profit has struggled to keep up with food needs,Some of our partners are reporting that they’ve seen double the requests in the last month and the SNAP benefits haven’t even ended yet. So, we think there’s around 35,000 people that are going to be affected by the elimination of some of their benefits. Some will see an average cut of around 250 dollars. That’s a big loss in buying power. Cost of groceries and everything else is going up. So, we are thinking there will be a lot of interest in getting even more food out of food banks that aren’t prepared to get more.”

Since the pandemic began, NeighborImpact has seen the number of people requesting food go from 16,000 in 2020, to 60,000 last year.

NeighborImpact Food Director Carly Auten says local food banks have seen an uptick in requests when other government food programs ended, “With food prices inflated in the last year and a half or so, people are already wondering how they’re going to buy food.”

In order to meet demand, NeighborImpact is stocking up from local grocery stores, receiving shipments from the Oregon Food Bank, and holding community fundraisers and food drives.

Cooper thinks the state could do more to help, “Food is foundational to anti-poverty work. Why there’s not more of a response from state officials to try to overcome this is a little curious to me.”

Second Suspect Arrested In Connection With Halloween Shooting

WARM SPRINGS, OR -- Both men suspected in a fatal shooting in Madras on Halloween are now in custody. Warm Springs Tribal Police and the FBI executed a search warrant at a home in the West Hills area of the Warm Springs Reservation Thursday and arrested Chance Stwyer (pictured, left). Detectives were acting on a tip. 

Stwyer was wanted as part of a Madras homicide investigation. Edgar Miguel Torres-Aguilera died after he was shot multiple times on Halloween, 2022, in the Strawberry Heights neighborhood. A second suspect, 18-year-old Andre Sterling Spino (pictured, right) was arested in January. 

Also taken into custody during Thursday's search in Warm Springs, Antoine Scott, a tribal member was arrested on an unrelated Jefferson County Warrant.

Connectivity, Congestion Relief Targeted By County Road Crews

BEND, OR -- Deschutes County road crews are working on a number of new projects, long before the traditional start of road construction season. Chris Doty says several projects are just on the outskirts of Bend, "County roads that connect to cities are seeing a heavy increase in traffic, especially during the commute hours."

Doty is the Director of the Deschutes County Road Department. He says new roundabouts are coming this year to the intersection of Deschutes Market and Hamehook roads, and Powell Butte Highway and Butler Market Road, "These are two intersections that have had crash issues and capacity issues, just in serving the amount of traffic through there."

Just north of Bend, as ODOT begins work on the Highway 97 North Corridor, a parallel project is underway on Hunnell Road (pictured) designed to allow for local access when the highway is rerouted. County crews will take on that local road project. "That’s about a four mile collector road that’s historically been a local street, basically, for neighbors in that area," says Doty, "So, we’re providing connectivity from Tumalo Road, near the Deschutes Market Road interchange on Highway 97, all the way down into the city basically, connecting to Loco Road; and then to Cooley Road will provide that full corridor, when it’s all said and done."

But he acknowledges they can’t begin until the large homeless camp is cleared, "That’s part of the discussion: When is that necessary, based on the transportation improvements and use in the area? There’s a whole variety of things happening in that corridor; both with the state highway project, private development and then our project, as well. Certainly that’s going to be used more importantly as a transportation piece in the coming future, so that’s a concern." He expects the project to be mostly complete by the end of the year.

To hear the full conversation with Deschutes County Road Department Director Chris Doty, visit our Podcast Page.

Bend Vision Project Enters Next Phase

BEND, OR -- Envision Bend is done with the community input phase of the Bend Vision Project, and will use volunteer teams this spring to develop strategies, as it works toward a five-year action plan for the city. According to the feedback, residents treasure the greater Bend area’s outdoors recreation opportunities, small-city friendliness, creative culture, and family atmosphere. But residents also believe Bend has big challenges to navigate successfully if the community is to remain livable into the future.

Among those challenges: Managing growth effectively in the midst of rapid population gains; meeting the basic needs of people, including housing for all income levels; protecting environmental resources in the face of climate change and growth; and creating a more inclusive and welcoming community.

The findings are detailed in a Community Input Report published this month by Envision Bend. The report captures input received from more than 2,250 residents by Envision Bend’s “Bend Vision Project,” which conducted a survey, community leader interviews, and focus groups in 2022.

"There is a sense in the community that this is a pivotal moment for greater Bend,” said Matt Muchna, Envision Bend executive director. “We need to take action today to build a future that reimagines what is possible. One that faces the inequality of today to create a livable and vibrant future or everyone.”

Key findings from the Community Input Report:

The Community Input Report wraps up the “outreach phase” of the Bend Vision Project. The next phase is scheduled to begin this spring when volunteer “action teams” utilize what was learned from residents and develop strategies for Bend to reach its desired future. These strategies, built from ideas initially suggested by community members, will be featured in a five-year plan scheduled to be released later in 2023. The plan also will list lead partner organizations that have agreed to champion each of the strategies and overall vision.

To assist the action teams, the Bend Vision Project is launching an online poll next week asking residents which potential strategies designed to ensure Bend remains livable in the future are the highest priority for the community. The poll will be available at envisionbend.org in both English and Spanish.

The potential strategies were derived from more than 3,000 ideas provided by residents who participated in the Bend Vision Project’s outreach work last year.

Envision Bend is a nonprofit organization that works with government, business, community groups, and people of all backgrounds and perspectives from across the Bend area to help shape the community’s future, making Bend a better place for everyone.

For the entire Community Input Report and more information on the Bend Vision Project, please visit envisionbend.org/reports.

  • Core values — Residents overwhelmingly value the region’s natural environment, scenery, parks, and outdoor recreation opportunities. They also value Bend’s sense of community, small-city characteristics, family atmosphere, education and health care systems, growing diversity, lack of serious crime, innovative entrepreneurial culture, the arts, and shopping amenities.

  • Growth — Many Bend area residents say growth is impacting virtually every aspect of community life, and they believe there needs to be greater balance between future growth, development and livability. Residents say the lack of affordable housing is forcing people to live farther and farther away from the city and their workplace, leading to increased traffic, negative environmental impacts, more sprawl, less cultural diversity, and a shrinking labor pool. Some point to the housing crisis as a contributor to the number of unhoused people living in Bend.

  • Residents rank the impacts of climate change — such as declining water availability, lingering drought, and catastrophic wildfires — third behind growth and housing as Bend’s biggest challenge. They say climate change has left Bend’s environment, economy, infrastructure, and livability vulnerable today. While not every Bend resident believes humans are the cause of a warming planet, there is consensus that temperatures are rising and there is less precipitation.

  • Is Bend a welcoming place? Some residents say Bend retains a strong sense of community, while others fear Bend is losing that connectedness, mentioning rapid growth, an influx of wealth and new residents, and divisiveness over politics, pandemic mandates, and cultural issues as factors. Some say tension exists between people who have lived in Bend for at least several years and those who arrived during the pandemic or shortly before.

  • Who is welcome here? Bend is becoming more racially and culturally diverse, but some residents say they don’t consider Bend a welcoming community. They cite the lack of access to affordable housing, transportation, and health care as major barriers, along with discrimination and stereotypes. The lack of diversity in community leadership positions and the lack of materials translated into Spanish also are cited as barriers.

  • The COVID pandemic continues to impact specific communities in the region. About 54 percent of Latino survey respondents, 39 percent of low-income earners, and 33 percent of younger people under the age of 30 say the pandemic and other public health concerns are the biggest challenge to Bend’s resilience. Just 20 percent of overall survey respondents say so.

The Community Input Report wraps up the “outreach phase” of the Bend Vision Project. The next phase is scheduled to begin this spring when volunteer “action teams” utilize what was learned from residents and develop strategies for Bend to reach its desired future. These strategies, built from ideas initially suggested by community members, will be featured in a five-year plan scheduled to be released later in 2023. The plan also will list lead partner organizations that have agreed to champion each of the strategies and overall vision.

To assist the action teams, the Bend Vision Project is launching an online poll next week asking residents which potential strategies designed to ensure Bend remains livable in the future are the highest priority for the community. The poll will be available in both English and Spanish.

The potential strategies were derived from more than 3,000 ideas provided by residents who participated in the Bend Vision Project’s outreach work last year.

Envision Bend is a nonprofit organization that works with government, business, community groups, and people of all backgrounds and perspectives from across the Bend area to help shape the community’s future, making Bend a better place for everyone.

OSU-Cascades Launching Career Readiness Program

BEND, OR -- OSU-Cascades will launch a new initiative in the fall integrating career readiness into every course of study. 

Interim Vice President of the Bend Campus Andrew Ketsdever tells KBND News the goal is to help students find their path and prepare for the workforce,Nationwide, about 80% of students change their major and part of Cascades Edge is to help students with that exploration very early in the process. And to make sure they understand and know that it’s okay, that exploration is meant to be part of that academic process.”

Ketsdever says it’s partially in response to concerns from parents and students who want to know they’re getting a good return on their educational investment, “This program is also attempting to help students understand the job market and what jobs are right-sized for their educational level. And also understand the financial parts of the university.”

The Cascades Edge program will be integrated into every class, every term. "We’re not making new degree requirements," he says, "We’re providing opportunity." Ketsdever noting it’s also an opportunity for local companies, many of which find it tough to get qualified workers for their openings,So, we’re working with corporate, government, and nonprofit leaders to come into the university and to talk about their jobs; to talk about the jobs that are available at their companies to students in the early stages.”

Cascades Edge could also serve as a model for the main campus in Corvallis.


Deschutes County Requests Drought Emergency Declaration

BEND, OR -- After hearing about water levels and weather forecasts at Wednesday’s meeting, Deschutes County Commissioners declared a state of emergency and voted to request a State Declaration of Drought Emergency.

Deschutes Basin Water Master Jeremy Griffin laid out the conditions, “It took several drought years to get us in this situation. It’s going to take several above average snowpack and precipitation years to get us out of it. I’m expecting Wickiup to fill to about 130,000-acre feet, which is one of the lowest years. The last couple have rivaled that.” Griffin told the commissioners this year’s snowpack is not enough to make an impact, “It’s been a long time with not a lot of above average. Historically we get above years and we get below average and you could weather that storm, but this has been a lot years that we’ve been talking drought. It’s going to take a lot of wet years to get out of it.”

In agreeing with fellow commissioners Tony Debone and Patti Adair, Phil Chang said irrigation users need Disaster Relief, “That’s, in my mind, the primary reason we’re voting on this today. It doesn’t allow us to address some of the broader issues around water supply for all different kinds of users in the basin, but it does provide a little bit of flexibility, and a little bit of relief for our farmers.”

It’s the fourth straight year Deschutes County has asked for a drought emergency declaration. A significant portion, particularly the eastern half, is under severe or extreme drought.

Similar requests from Crook and Jefferson County were approved by Governor Kotek last week.


Crook County SAR Stays Busy With Snowy Rescues

PRINEVILLE, OR -- Crook County Search and Rescue teams remain busy, helping drivers stranded on mountain roads unmaintained in the winter.

Sunday morning, SAR responded to the Ochocos near Walton Lake, about 30 miles east of Prineville, after two people used GPS to navigate down a rarely used road and got stuck. The caller used the "SOS feature" on their cell phone, providing a GPS location to Crook County 911 dispatchers. The team responded with snowmobiles, a tracked side-by-side and 10 SAR members.

The pair was brought back to Prineville where they could make arrangements for a tow to get their vehicle. CCSO SAR says, "If the road seems unplowed or little used, be cautious and don't be afraid to turn around. Your GPS won't be mad, it will just recalculate your route."

Tuesday night, the team responded to the Mill Creek/Harvey Gap area (pictured), about 20 miles north of Prineville after a caller reported a man and his toddler were overdue. Calls to the man's cell phone went to voicemail and a "ping" of his phone did not provide useful information. The team of 12 members deployed with five vehicles, snowmobiles and a tracked side-by-side. 

A deputy found fresh tracks in the snow on FS Rd 33, heading into the Harvey Gap area, but the road was too slippery for vehicles to proceed. After an arduous climb in the tracked vehicle, the team found the father and son. The crew decided it was best to continue over the gap, due to the steep terrain, and they met the rest of the team on the other side, at the 27 road. 


Suspected Redmond Car Thief Arrested After Chase

REDMOND, OR -- A man from Wood Village faces numerous charges in Deschutes County, following a Tuesday evening car chase. A deputy spotted a stolen vehicle near the Redmond Home Depot and attempted to pull it over, but the driver took off. Redmond Police Officers, and other Deschutes County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the area to assist.

The suspect continued to elude law enforcement until he abandoned the stolen vehicle in the area of Veterans Way and ran off. Deputies ultimately found the driver hiding in bushes across Highway 97 from the abandoned stolen vehicle.

The driver, identified as 32-year-old Trevor Petricevic, was arrested and taken to St. Charles Redmond for evaluation after he advised deputies he'd ingested around 75 Fentanyl pills. Petricevic was medically cleared at the hospital and transported to the Deschutes County Jail. In addition to charges related to the chase, Petricevic is suspected in numerous vehicle thefts. He also had an outstanding warrant from Clackamas County.

Bend High Among Schools Targeted By Hoax Threats

ROSEBURG, OR -- Bend Senior High is among numerous schools around the state targeted in a new rash of fake threats. Douglas County, Medford, Ashland and Hermiston also reported calls Tuesday of a school shooting, later determined to be false.

Douglas County 911 was overrun Tuesday morning by parents calling to check on reports of possible school shooters after social media posts indicated there was an active incident in Roseburg. Douglas County Sheriff’s Lt. Brad O’Dell tried to calm parents' fears in a live Facebook video. "I want to assure everyone that these reports, so far, are false," he said, "We’ve responded to three incidents at this point. Every single one of those have been unfounded."

Lt. O’Dell called the reports “Swatting” and said in the video, "Swatting is intended to generate panic and intended to generate a police response to specific areas. So far, we’ve received three reports at various schools throughout Douglas County. Every single one of these reports, at this point, is false." He added, "With that said, we’re going to continue to take them seriously. If there is another report, we will respond accordingly. We will take that as if it were active and we will investigate that until which point we are confident it is not an active incident."

He says similar reports were made across the country in the past 24 hours, "Multiple of our other jurisdictions in Oregon are making similar responses this morning. We believe that these are false, intended to cause panic."

A Bend-La Pine Schools official tells KBND News Bend Police received a call through non-emergency dispatch and determined it was a hoax, similar to the incident on February 9th. A School Resource Officer was at Bend High when the call came in Tuesday, and was able to quickly determine it was not credible. Classes were not disrupted. 

The FBI later tweeted information about possible sentences for those convicted of calling in a fake threat against a school. An FBI spokesperson shared the following tips with KBND News:

  • Don’t ever post or send any hoax threats online… period.
  • If you are a target of an online threat, alert your local law enforcement immediately.
  • If you see a threat of violence posted on social media, immediately contact local law enforcement or your local FBI office. Members of the public can always submit a tip to the FBI at tips.fbi.gov.
  • Notify authorities but don’t share or forward the threat until law enforcement has had a chance to investigate – this can spread misinformation and cause panic.
  • If you are a parent or family member, know that some young people post these threats online as a cry for attention or as a way to get revenge or exert control. Talk to your child about the proper outlet for their stress or other emotions, and explains the importance of responsible social media use and the consequences of posting hoax threats.

Jeff Co Sheriff Looks To Rejoin CODE

MADRAS, OR -- Jefferson County Sheriff Jason Pollock wants his office to rejoin the Central Oregon Drug Enforcement team. Drug trafficking, particularly fentanyl and other opioids along with meth continues to be a challenge for Central Oregon law enforcement.

“Yeah, it’s always been an issue in our county,” Lieutenant Jason Evan says that’s why it’s important for Jefferson County to be part of the CODE team, “For the drug issues that are never-ending. I don’t even know how long it’s been since we have actually had somebody in CODE.”

Evan says rejoining became a priority for Sheriff Pollock after he took office last year, and he’s working on finding funding for the program. 

Lieutenant Evan tells KBND News being a part of CODE would be a benefit, “It draws resources from other places. If there’s something big enough going on in Jefferson County, the CODE team would bring people from Deschutes County, Crook County, OSP, all those agencies in to assist with dealing with it. It’s not like you seen on TV. It is a lot of leg work and paper work. And it just brings more resources to bear on that issue.

There is not yet a specific timeline for JCSO to rejoin CODE.


Deschutes Co. Commissioners To Discuss Drought Declaration

BEND, OR -- Deschutes County Commissioners will discuss asking for a state drought declaration. Emergency Services Manager Nathan Garibay says if the Board approves the request, it’ll be the county’s fourth year under the designation, "Our snowpack is better than it has been. But I think the reality of it is, after coming out of such a long-term drought, conditions have improved but [are] unlikely to get us all the way out of drought conditions this year." Wednesday morning, he'll present the current situation to Commissioners. 

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, Deschutes County is still in moderate to extreme drought. "Every day, moving forward, our chance of getting enough precipitation to drastically impact that starts to decrease," says Garibay, "I think it is very, very, very unlikely that we’ll receive enough precipitation to fully correct the drought situation." He adds, "It is only February; the situation could improve significantly. The situation could also deteriorate."

A drought declaration from the Governor allows farmers and others impacted by the lack of water to access financial help. Garibay acknowledges it’s earlier than normal for such talk. But he tells KBND News it’s important to get started on the long process, "The first step is to have the local government, so the Board of County Commissioners, review that process and make a request of the state. And then it goes before the Drought Council, and ultimately to the Governor."

Last week, Governor Kotek approved drought declarations for Crook and Jefferson counties.


Dog Killed In East Bend RV Fire

BEND, OR -- An RV fire east of Bend appears to have killed a dog living inside. Bend Fire responded to the motorhome on Stevens Road, just east of 27th Street, just after 3:30 Wednesday morning. Crews stopped the flames from spreading to nearby power poles and brush, but the RV was a total loss.

The fire department says no one was around at the time of the blaze; it was called in by several passersby on their way to work. During the investigation, crews found "biological remains" inside the motorhome and launched a death investigation with Bend Police. Due to the extent of the damage, location of the body and dark hour, they couldn't determine who or what was inside. 

After the sun came up, the owner returned to the RV and firefighters determined the body was that of the owner's large dog. 

The fire appears to have started from a propane heater left unattended in the camper while the owner was away. It's unclear if the heater malfunctioned or if some sort of combustible ignited on or near the heater.

The motorhome and contents are a complete loss, totaling approximately $4,000. 


photo courtesy Bend Fire

Two Buildings Heavily Damaged In SE Bend Fire

BEND, OR -- A garage fire led to three families being displaced in southeast Bend, Tuesday. Fire crews responded to SE Woodland near SE Centennial just after 11:30 a.m. and found a detached garage fully involved. Flames were seen 50-75 feet in the air and the dark column of smoke could be seen from several blocks away. Witnesses reported hearing explosions from propane tanks, ammunition, motorcycle tires and paint stored in the garage.

Firefighters stopped the blaze, but not before the wind spread flames to nearby homes. BNSF stopped rail traffic in the area for about an hour to prevent damage to trains. Fire crews remained on scene for several hours to extinguish spot fires.

Investigators say the fire was an accident caused by fuel leaking form a motorcycle in the garage. Gas vapor came in contact with a propane heater in the garage and ignited. 

Losses are estimated at $350,000 between two structures. A total of nine people are displaced from three homes. The Red Cross is helping with emergency lodging.


photo courtesy Bend Fire

Bend-La Pine Schools Plans CTE Experience Day

BEND, OR -- Bend-La Pine Schools is working to increase enrollment in Career and Technical Education programs. College and Career Readiness Director Stephen DuVall says on March second, 8th graders will get to preview what options they’ll have in high school during CTE Experience Day. “Many of our students don’t know the full extent of our CTE offerings," he says, "And so, we will have all our eighth grade students fly up to the high school they’ll be attending before they choose their electives and their classes, so they can get a rotation of these CTE classes and just see a little bit of the space, hear from the teacher, get a little bit of hands-on activity in that space and learn a little bit more about what’s offered for them at high school.”

DuVall tells KBND News students often don’t realize the variety that’s offered beyond construction, “Manufacturing technology, which is a big one in our area; metals. We have engineering, education, criminal justice, business. Each of these programs have a different pathway; graphic arts. And so, students can start with an introductory level class and then go on and go as deep as they want.”

College is still important. But, “That’s not the only path, nor is it the only path we should be communicating with students," says DuVall, "There are a variety of great paths that lead to high-scale, high wage opportunities in our communities. Some of these programs, students can start as freshman and continue on in those pathways, all the way until they’re seniors. If we’re having them take it when they’re seniors, it might be too late, in terms of finding their passion and their purpose.”

Mtn Biking's Origins Display At Deschutes Museum

The Deschutes Historical Museum is celebrating Central Oregon’s role in the development of mountain biking as a sport.

Executive Director Kelly Cannon-Miller says the trend started in California in the 1970s, “Central Oregon actually got connected with folks who were throwing themselves around on bikes in northern California pretty quickly. And, Central Oregon had a lot of areas that were just perfect for mountain biking, and originalists with ‘klunker’ bicycles to be throwing themselves around in the forest.”

Cannon-Miller tells KBND News much of the credit goes to Bob Woodward, “Who ends up becoming Mayor of Bend and who was known as ‘the mountain biking mayor of Bend.’ He actually wrote the first book on mountain biking for Sports Illustrated introducing a whole new audience to the world of “dirt bombing” and “klunkerz.”

Local motorcycle manufacturer Speed and Research built “The Outback” - one of the first bicycles made specifically for mountain biking which will be on display at the museum. “We’re going to have some fantastic ‘80s biking outfits that have some spectacular colors on them, and some personal stories from folks in developing it in those early years,” says Cannon-Miller adding that a soft opening for the exhibit is planned for March 17th. “Around April 1st, we’re going to have an official opening and a party, and celebrate Bob and Phil, of Phil’s Trail, and Peter Dog, and you’re going to learn all of their great nicknames that they had for one another. Just in time for mountain biking season.”

Neff + Purcell Intersection Closure

BEND, OR -- The intersection of Neff and Purcell closes Wednesday for a major improvement project that will last into summer.

This closure will detour drivers around Pilot Butte onto Greenwood Avenue and Butler Market Road, but the intersection will remain open to foot and bike travel.

The City’s Engineering and Infrastructure Planning Director, Ryan Oster says access to St. Charles will remain, “None of the entrances and exits to the hospital are impacted by this closure. Clearly the biggest impact is going to be people that are coming towards St Charles from the west, in coming down Neff there. And so, in that case, we’ve got a plan in place. If we have to react quickly, we can plate a trench or we can do something to allow that emergency to get through. To date, the fire, EMS, and St Charles are saying ‘we don’t think we’re going to need it but let’s see how this thing goes'.”

During the work, school bus routes have been modified, and parents were advised on drop-offs and pick-ups for schools in the area.

“We’re going to maintain pedestrian access through the intersection. So, peds, bikes, and others are still going to be able to get through. So, we have a plan in place for that with our contractor. We’ve been talking to the Bend-LaPine School district for a few months now just like we’ve been coordinating with St Charles,” Oster told KBND News.

This project is part of the Transportation GO Bond, bringing upgrades to the traffic light at Purcell and Neff, sidewalk improvements, bike lane striping, and the connection of Purcell Boulevard between Holliday Avenue and Courtney Drive.

Six People Rescued From China Hat Snow

BEND, OR -- Deschutes County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue teams helped two unrelated groups stranded in the snow on China Hat Road Sunday night.

The first call came in just after 8:3o p.m., regarding two overdue subjects who were attempting to pull a stuck vehicle out of the snow on China Hat Rd. near milepost 28.  The caller reported his brother and a friend left Saturday afternoon to attempt to pull out his friend’s vehicle. The caller also reported he had not heard back from his brother for approximately 24 hours. He suspected his brother and friend had been stuck overnight attempting to dig out.  The caller was concerned they needed rescue as there is no cell service in the area, and they had yet to return home. 

A Special Services Deputy assigned to Deschutes County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue made initial phone contact with the caller and gathered additional information regarding the overdue subjects’ names, vehicle descriptions, and location.  Several calls and texts messages were sent to the overdue subjects with no response. A cell phone ping was conducted that provided general location the phone was last used, consistent with the caller’s description of their location. 

At approximately 10 p.m. Sunday, the SAR team headed to the location towing a snow tracked vehicle called an ARGO. As they responded, a second call was received by the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office Dispatch.  The second caller reported he had not heard from his two friends who drove out to China Hat Rd. near milepost 29 to recover his stuck vehicle. This second call was unrelated to the initial call, thus it was suspected that there were at least four vehicles with two separate groups stuck in the area within a mile of each other. This information was relayed to the SAR team. But, due to a limited radio and phone service in the area, it was not received.

The SAR team deployed in the tracked vehicle on China Hat Rd. near milepost 24 and made their way through the 3' ruts in the icy snow. At approximately 11:15 p.m., they reported finding a total of six people and four vehicles stuck in the snow (high centered on ice), stranded and in need of rescue.  All six stranded motorist were reported to be uninjured and did not need medical assistance. They are described as:

  • 49 year old male from Bend, OR 
  • 52 year old male from Bend, OR 
  • 32 year old male from Sunriver, OR 
  • 36 year old male from Bend, OR 
  • 34 year old female from Bend, OR 
  • 38 year old female from Bend, OR

The SAR team then began to shuttle everyone out of the location.  A Deputy responded to assist with transportation.  As they were brought out to the staging area, the Deputy transported two (the originally overdue subjects) where they were met by friends and taken to Bend.  The remaining four were provided with a ride by the Deputy to an address in Bend. 

After rescuing all the stranded motorist out of the area, the team returned to the SAR office, completing this rescue mission at 2:45 a.m. Monday. 

Rep. Chavez-DeRemer Visits Southern Border

COCHISE COUNTY, AZ -- House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and a group of first-term Republicans visited the southern Border last week. Congresswoman Lori Chavez-DeRemer (OR-5) spoke to reporters from Arizona Thursday"I was a former Mayor of Happy Valley, Oregon for eight years. I sat before the group today at the round table and I listened to Mayors and listened to the supervisors, and I listened to Border Patrol. And, if you could’ve heard their voices; they’re shaking, they’re not sure what to do, they’ve lost hope." Chavez-DeRemer represents Oregon's Fifth Congressional District, which includes Bend, Redmond, Sweet Home and Oregon City.

The Freshman Representative believes a lack of security allows drug cartels to funnel massive amounts of fentanyl into the U.S., "Fentanyl is attacking the streets of Oregon. We had our largest drug bust in Oregon’s history in my district this past year. It would’ve killed 4.5 million people. That is more than the population of Oregon as a whole." She added, "Why am I here? Not only to support my colleagues, not only to get this under control. We all ran on border security. It is our job. We will help; help is on the way."

On Friday, she tweeted a video saying she wanted to see firsthand what's happening to business owners, ranchers and families in the area, "We were able to take a helicopter ride up over the mountains to see exactly what they’re dealing with on a daily basis. And I can tell this is what I heard: People are scared. People are hurting." Chavez-DeRemer says she will be reviewing legislation in the coming days to help tackle the crisis.


Northeast Bend Shelter Opens

BEND, OR -- Neighbor-Impact and the city of Bend unveiled the newly renovated Stepping Stone Shelter Friday. The 28-unit facility is part of Project Turnkey, a state-funded program to remodel hotels and motels into homeless shelters.

Bend Affordable Housing Coordinator Amy Fraley says renovations on the former Value Inn motel started last May. Now the rooms are ready for move-in. “Neighbor Impact our community partner has identified the 28 families that will be coming over to these units. It’s all going to happen Tuesday. So, we are very excited to have it open and providing resources so people can move to more permanent housing in our community,” says Fraley who told KBND News Bend's model could set an example for the other 19 Project Turnkey sites in Oregon, “If we can make this work, and if we can find sustainable operational funding, this can be duplicated. It’s just that operational funding piece. The City Council has stepped forward and committed to three years. Neighbor Impact has stepped forward, committed to three years of operations here, but that’s just the start.”

In addition to the remodeled rooms, there are laundry facilities, and a lawn for a children’s play area.

Neighbor Impact Executive Director Scott Cooper says the city deserves credit for their efforts to help the houseless, “They’ve gone from a position of having very little engagement to being, I think, one of the leading cities in the state, that not only is making the effort but is getting it right, in terms of how they are addressing what is a problem state-wide that nobody has good solutions to.”

The former Rainbow Motel on Franklin Avenue is next to be renovated in Bend as a Project Turnkey site. 


Bend Medics Train On New Cardiac Technique

BEND, OR -- Bend Fire & Rescue is changing how it responds to cardiac arrest calls. EMS Training Captain Petar Hossick says paramedics are learning the new Double Sequential Defibrillator technique, which now is being used in a number of cities around the country. Although, he believes Bend is the first in Oregon to begin training with two Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs) at once. "For a select group of patients, we’re going to basically bring in two defibrillators - two of our $50,000 machines - and basically shock both of them at the same time," Hossick tells KBND News, "So, when you watch those medical dramas and they pull out the pads and stuff, think about two people at once doing the same thing: One front to back, one side to side." He says it changes the direction of electricity through the heart.

Hossick says a recent study found patients had about a 13% chance of survival when medics use just one AED, "If you jump up to Double Sequential, it jumps to 30%. So, a significant increase in survival for those patients."

Bend Fire has one of the highest cardiac survival rates of any agency in the U.S. and Hossick says using "Double Sequential" will help even more patients survive. But it's contingent on a bystander jumping in and starting CPR immediately and continuing until paramedics arrive, "What we’re adopting, you could not do without the community’s help. They have to do CPR before we get there to make this next piece work."

Hossick says it's not easy to coordinate simultaneous shocks with additional personnel on scene. Medics trained on the new process Friday, "We’re trying to do all this in the first 4-6 minutes. So, it’s one more piece of this whole dance that we’re doing. When we add this into it, it just adds another little ripple to all the boxes we’re trying to check off in the very beginning of these cardiac arrests. So, it does take some training to make all these pieces flow together." He adds, "It’s a bit of a dance for our paramedics to get all this done, because we’re doing a lot of other things at the same time. And, most importantly, we’ve got to keep that good CPR up for our people. We know that is the base of everything and it’s what gets the most bang for the buck."

Bend Fire offers free community CPR training on the first Wednesday of every month. Click HERE for details. 


Life Sentence Handed Down For Bend Double Murder

BEND, OR -- Wesley Brady will serve the rest of his life in prison for the murders of 18-year-olds Angela Pastorino and Alfredo Hernandez. Their bodies were found last August inside a Bend garage where they’d been working with Brady.

Prosecutors say the two men fought before the murders. Brady was arrested the next day, when he returned to the home during the police investigation. He pled guilty this week to two counts of First Degree Murder and one count of Strangulation.  Brady was sentenced Friday to life without the possibility of parole.

The Deschutes County District Attorney's Office issued a statement following the sentencing hearing: 

We would like to acknowledge the outstanding work of the Bend Police Department patrol officers and detectives who investigated this case, as well as the Central Oregon Major Incident Team, the Oregon State Police Crime Lab and the Oregon Medical Examiner’s Office. We would also like to acknowledge our victim advocates for their hard work and dedication to bring justice to the victims and their families.

As we remember Angela Alexus Pastorino and Alfredo P. Hernandez, whose lives were tragically cut short, we want to send our condolences to their loved ones and recognize the impact this terrible act of violence has had on them and the community as a whole.

Bend Fire Dept Levy On May Ballot

BEND, OR -- Bend voters will decide in May whether to approve an increased five-year operating levy for the fire department.

City Manager Eric King says the current rate is 20-cents per thousand dollars of taxable assessed value, “So, we’ve had ten years at that rate, without it changing. But during that same period of time, we’ve had a 60% increase in calls for service. So, in order to meet that increasing demand for service, we need to hire staff to respond to those calls and keep the response times down.”

King acknowledges going from the current rate of 20 cents per thousand dollars of taxable assessed value to 76 cents, which equates to about 19-dollars a month for a home with a taxable assessed value of 300-thousand dollars, is a big ask, “That’s always a challenging conversation to have, but it’s also a fairly basic service that I think our community expects to be able to have a response when they’re in crisis. So, we need to make sure we prioritize our public safety services. This is not a levy rate based on an aspiration. It’s based on what the community needs.”

Bend has a unique relationship with the surrounding rural fire protection district, which will also vote on the request. 

“The city of Bend not only provides fire and EMS services for our residents here, but we also provide that same service in the rural areas going all the way out to Brothers and all the way up to Bachelor; it’s a very large area. And so, there will be two ballots: one in the rural district and one in the city, for the same amount,” says King.

City Council unanimously approved a resolution this week, sending the question to the May ballot, but the levy wouldn’t take effect until next year.

The rural district resolution is expected to be approved at the county level next week.

15th & Wilson Closes Monday For Roundabout Construction

BEND, OR -- The intersection of 15th and Wilson closes for roundabout construction next week, in southeast Bend. The single-lane roundabout should help traffic flow, according to Engineering and Infrastructure Planning Director Ryan Oster, “One of our worse backups in town is that left turn movement from Wilson to 15th. So, with a roundabout there now it will function in a much safer fashion. And you’ll be able to get through that intersection more efficiently,” adding the roundabout should be complete in late April, “That’s why we were working over the winter. All of the utilities, a lot of the underground stuff has been done; as much as we could to date. This is really a focus on doing the surface level stuff. So yeah, it’s only going to take a couple months there.”

Oster says he understands drivers’ fatigue from the ongoing project, ”It’s going to be pretty impactful from a daily commute standpoint. But that’s why we were doing everything we could outside of the footprint of the roadway to get a couple months’ worth of work knocked out. Couldn’t do much more without a closure at this point.”

The Roundabout will also open up access to the Wildflower housing development planned for southeast of the intersection.

Starting Monday, drivers will be detoured around 15th and Wilson until the roundabout is complete. 

Northboud Detour - Take 15th Street to Reed Market Road. Turn right on 9th Street. Turn right on Franklin Avenue. Turn right on 10th Street (turns to Bear Creek Road).

Southbound Detour - Take 15th Street to Bear Creek Road (turns to 10th Street). Turn left on Franklin Avenue. Turn left on 9th Street and continue to Wilson Avenue.

Two Arrested In Hunnell Road Fentanyl Bust

BEND, OR -- Two people living in an RV on Hunnell Road were arrested Thursday, suspected of trafficking fentanyl and meth on the north end of Bend. The Deschutes County Sheriff's Office Street Crimes Unit executed a search warrant and say detectives found a commercial quantity of fake Oxycodone pills, likely containing fentanyl. They also seized a commercial quantity of suspected methamphetamine and two firearms. They arrested 49-year-old Thomas Dillard and 28-year-old Jaelene Lyman.

District Attorney Steve Gunnels told KBND News this week, "Fentanyl is found in just about every drug arrest. It’s mixed with heroin, it’s mixed with methamphetamine, and it’s found just by itself in bags of either powder or pills." Experts say a small amount of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, can be deadly. It's considered 50 times stronger than heroin.

"Drug dealers don’t care about the safety of it; they just care about making money. And the users are paying the price," says Gunnels, "We have drug overdoses every week here, and it’s typically people 18-40 years old. There’s no quality control on these drugs, the potency varies from very low to very high and there’s no way to predict how it’s going to go."

In the Hunnell Road case, both suspects were booked into the Deschutes County Jail on numerous drug related charges. Dillard is also a sex offender and is accused of being out of compliance with his registration.

images: (top) DCSO captures aerial footage of the camp by drone. (middle) Items seized in the search on 02/16/23.

Gov. Issues Drought Declaration For Crook, Jefferson Counties

PRINEVILLE, OR -- Governor Tina Kotek has declared drought emergencies for Crook and Jefferson Counties, directing agencies to prioritize assistance to the region. Both counties requested the declaration in January. These are Oregon's first drought declarations of the year.

The U.S. Drought Monitor has had at least a portion of Crook County under an “Exceptional Drought” designation since July of 2021 and current reservoir storage is just 10% of capacity.

Portions of Jefferson County are in "Severe" or "Extreme" drought and Kotek's office says reservoir supplies are at or near all-time lows.

Deschutes County Commissioners are scheduled to discuss a drought emergency request for that county on Wednesday.

ODOT Studies Possible Multi-Use Path For South County

LA PINE, OR -- Oregon’s Department of Transportation is studying the best route for a continuous multi-use path between Sunriver and La Pine. ODOT officials say the goal is to promote walking and biking, while providing safe and convenient connections between the Lava Lands Visitor Center, Newberry National Volcanic Monument and the Deschutes National Forest.

It would also work "in concert" with the Bend to Lava Butte Multi-Use Path, to provide "a seamless active transportation connection betwween La Pine and Bend," according to ODOT.

An online open house is available through March fifth, where people can submit feedback and get background information on the study.

Informational 'Bend 101' At The Tower Theater

BEND, OR -- The Chamber of Commerce hosts Bend 101 Thursday, February 16th. It’s a quarterly meeting aimed at helping people understand the greater community around them. This session is focused on the region’s Entertainment scene.

The Chamber’s Cyrus Mooney says there’s a lot to learn for those new in town and long-time residents, “You can expect to hear a lot about the history and development or arts and culture in our region and also other industries in terms of what we’ve seen in growth since Bend became a town in 1904.”

“In Central Oregon and Bend in particular, we just have very strong values and I think it’s important to be intentional with retaining those so we can have the high quality of life that we all most likely moved here for. And that takes a lot of effort, and people getting involved,” says Mooney of the event where concert and entertainment promoters, the Historical Museum director, a COCC Music professor, and city and state officials are scheduled to speak.

Mooney tells KBND News everyone can benefit from learning about the past and current happenings, “We see a majority of those folks that are in that newer to the region demographic. But then we also have folks that have been here decades that come and learn a lot, and feel reengaged in their community and hopefully inspired to start getting more involved again.”

Local musicians will perform before the speakers take the stage starting at 5:30 Thursday, February 16th.

You can buy tickets online or at the Tower Theater.

Car Stolen From Bend Car Wash Linked To Eugene Thefts

BEND, OR -- Bend Police are looking for the woman they say stole a car parked at the Red Carpet Car Wash on Southeast Third Street Monday afternoon. The car's owner dropped off his 2018 Toyota RAV4 to be cleaned. When he returned to pick it up, he learned his vehicle had been stolen. Surveillance footage showed the vehicle was taken from the car wash lot at approximately 3:11 p.m. 

On Tuesday, February 14, Eugene Police contacted Bend Police to report the stolen vehicle had been used in several thefts committed in Eugene that morning. Eugene Police identified the suspect in the thefts as a white female in her late 20s or early 30s, wearing shiny black leggings and light pink Vans shoes, a red shirt, beige sweater and sunglasses. Car wash employees confirmed the suspect was the same person who stole the vehicle from their lot on Monday. Bend Police and Eugene Police have so far been unable to identify the woman.

The vehicle is a 2018 white Toyota RAV4 with a gray Yakima roof storage box on top, and bears a California license plate of 8CXY122.

If you recognize the suspect or see the stolen vehicle, please call non-emergency dispatch at 541-693-6911 and reference case number 2023-00008802.

Skier Dies At Mt. Bachelor

BEND, OR -- A 79-year-old man died at Mt. Bachelor Wednesday morning. Stacey Huchinson, a spokesperson for the mountain, issued a statement to KBND News saying the skier was wearing a helmet and fell on the Wanoga Way run, “Ski patrol responded promptly, care was transferred to Bend Fire, and he passed away at St. Charles. Our entire team is deeply saddened and sends our sincerest condolences to the family.” Wanoga is an intermediate run.

According to Bend Fire logs, medics responded to Mt. Bachelor just after 9:30 a.m. Wednesday. No other details have been released. 


file photo

Deschutes Co. Commissioners Mull New Housing Fund

BEND, OR -- Deschutes County Commissioners appear supportive of a proposal to create more workforce housing.

Former Bend State Representative and local restaurant owner Cheri Helt presented her idea to Commissioners at their Wednesday meeting, "Deschutes County needs 55,887 homes by 2040; and Deschutes County needs 11,412 homes for the 80-12% of Area Median Income (AMI) in the next 20 years." She wants the county to use $2 million in unallocated Transient Room Tax dollars to create a Housing Trust Fund. Helt believes the fund could provide financial incentives that would lead to the development of 66 homes in a year, "A $30,000 developer credit per workforce home, upon completion, to offset the high cost that the market-prohibitive conditions have set and incentivize free market development. Because right now, the free market cannot develop homes at the prices that are before us."

Under Helt's proposal, the homes would be sold to households earning 80 - 120% of AMI, properties would be deed restricted for 30 years, with the guarantee the homeowner works in Deschutes County, "Because if we’re going to build workforce housing, we’re going to have to have some sort of restriction that says you work in Deschutes County. We don’t want to build homes for other folks, at this point, with this program."

Commissioner Phil Chang acknowledged the current real estate climate means workforce housing developments don't pencil for builders, "With land costs what they are, with construction costs what they are and with infrastructure costs what they are, it takes public investment to put housing within reach of people making local salaries and wages." He also said approving a local program could make it easier to leverage state and federal funds to supplement the fund.

All three Commissioners also noted there are different funds for "affordable housing," for people making under 80% of the AMI, and there is already housing being built for households earning more than 120%. Commissioner Tony DeBone told Helt, "This may not be the long-term housing, but it’s the starter home; it’s the beginning opportunity, it’s a place for somebody to settle in. So, it looks like there’s some buy-in and excitement up here for this."

They said more work is needed to determine who would manage such a program and if the local funding is actually available, given the number of requests for unallocated Transient Room Tax dollars.


List Of Potential Landfill Sites Narrows Again

BEND, OR -- Seven properties remain on the list of potential locations for Deschutes County's next landfill. A committee started with 13 properties in the county, but sites have fallen off for a variety of reasons. On Wednesday County Commissioners approved removing two more because they are within the five mile radius of a public airport. Landfills attract birds, which can lead to hazardous conditions for aircraft.

During the presentation from the Director of Solid Waste, Commissioner Tony DeBone appeared to speak to the community, "We’re looking to site one landfill in Deschutes County. It’s going to be cost effective; it’s going to be cost effective for generations, if we can do this." He had strong words for the hundreds of people who have written to Commissioners and the Solid Waste Advisory Committee, "It is so easy to say, ‘wait a minute. My backyard? Let me stay up all night and list all the reasons why this shouldn’t happen.’ I understand. We’re all in that spot. But, as residents of Deschutes County, wanting to have an orderly, safe, healthy environment where we have a cost-effective disposal location, let’s take half a step back and look where is reasonable?"

Commissioner Phil Chang said he met with members of Oregon’s Congressional delegation last week in Washington, DC and learned federal land previously ruled out might be available for the project.

Officials have said they want to have a final site selected in about a year. The Knott Landfill is expected to reach capacity in 2029. 


Bend Murder Suspect Pleads Guilty

BEND, OR -- The man responsible for a double homicide on the south end of Bend last summer has pleaded guilty to two counts of First Degree Murder and one count of Strangulation.

Police arrested 41-year-old Wesley Brady in August after the bodies of Angela Pastorino and Alfredo Hernandez were found in a garage. Both were 18 when they were killed.

The three were working at the house when investigators say the two men got into a fight and Brady killed the couple. Sentencing is set for Friday.

Previous coverage: Bend PD Investigates Double Homicide

St Charles-Bend Nurses' Contract Negotiations Continue

BEND, OR -- Contract negotiations between St Charles Bend and the Oregon Nurses Association continue. At a rally hosted by the union Tuesday, member of the negotiating team and Registered Nurse Megan Bovi told KBND News it was important to have a large show of support, “To actually see a group of people come out, it provides a much stronger feeling. And to show, you know what, we are not just numbers. We are actually faces, we are actually human beings, and we are here and we love our community.”

Bovi says there is an urgent need for a new contract, “We have been dealing with unsafe and unworkable for a very, very long time. It’s kind of sad that it’s taken the pandemic to really bring to light the unfortunate things that we are experiencing in our workplace. We need to start fighting and we need to start fighting right now.”

The nurses’ contract expired at the end of last year. The union’s contract priorities are competitive wages, safe staffing, and schedule security.

St. Charles Senior Nursing Director Julie Ostrom tells KBND News those priorities are being addressed, “We are extremely focused on recruitment and retention, especially in the nursing workforce. Yesterday (Monday), we announced our annual increases for all of our caregivers, including the $5 an hour across the board increase for the nurses.”  Ostrom says the hospital bargaining team has offered more than 30 dates in the next two months to meet with the nurses, and shares the desire to get a contract as quickly as possible.

The fourth day of negotiations is scheduled for Wednesday, February 15th.


'Greater Idaho' Gets ID Legislative Support

BOISE, ID -- Idaho’s legislature is showing support for efforts to move Oregon’s border.

Former Oregon House Speaker Mark Simmons, who lives in Elgin, testified before Idaho’s House State Affairs Committee this week in support of the Greater Idaho Movement, “We see this as a solution. Consider us refugees. Consider us…We would like to be good neighbors to the folks on the west side, while they continue with their social engineering experiments; go ahead. Just leave us out.” Elgin says bringing his and other eastern Oregon counties into Idaho is best for both states, “We want to see the kind of law that reflects faith, family, moral virtue, self-reliance, hard work, the things that Idaho is based on, applied in our side of Oregon.”

The State Affairs Committee asked about the potential cost to Idaho of taking on the large rural area, but voted unanimously to approve ‘House Joint Memorial One’ with a recommendation that it be passed by the full House. It states the Idaho Legislature “stands ready to begin discussions with Oregon’s Legislature” about the potential relocation of the border.

“Why wouldn’t we want to have a conversation that involved increasing water, and some of the resources, agriculture, timber, minerals?” said Idaho State Representative Barbara Ehardt.

Greater Idaho Movement spokesperson Matt McCaw testified eastern Oregonians don’t fit in with the state in which they live, “The people of eastern Oregon are very similar to the people of Idaho, culturally, economically, socially, values-wise, politically. As Rep. Ehardt has mentioned several times, it makes far more sense for the people of eastern Oregon to get their state-level government from Idaho that matches their values. And that’s what we’re asking you all to do.”

A similar proposal in Oregon’s Senate is not yet scheduled for a hearing.

Two Accused of Brutal 2022 Assault

REDMOND, OR -- An Idaho man accused of a brutal attack in Eagle Crest last May, will soon be back in Oregon to face charges. Daniel Chamberlain was recently arrested in Utah. 

The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office believes he and Tasheena Lang, of Independence, OR, broke into the hotel room of a Tennessee man while he slept,  sprayed him with bear mace and beat him with a golf club before stealing his phone. The previous night, investigators say, the pair smashed out the windows of the victim's car while it was parked at the hotel.

Sergeant Jason Wall admits the investigation has taken months, "This is a very convoluted case from the beginning. The victim and the suspects were known to each other. And they also live out of the area; two of which lived out of state, so it took a long time to track those individuals down and compile a comprehensive investigation." He tells KBND News, "Together with the video surveillance, victim statements and video surveillance from the prior evening’s vandalism to the victim’s vehicle, investigators were able to narrow down their suspect pool and then start using other investigative tactics to develop specifically who had committed the assault and burglary."
Wall calls this an "isolated incident" involving co-workers. All three worked together on a traveling show being held at the fairgrounds at the time. 

Lang and Chamberlain were indicted in October on multiple charges, including Burglary and Assault. Lang voluntarily appeared in court late last year and has a trial date in May. Chamberlain awaits extradition from Utah; it's unclear how soon before he returns to Deschutes County.


BPD: Impaired Pedestrian Dies After Being Hit By Pickup

BEND, OR -- A Bend man was killed overnight in northeast Bend. Police say officers responded to a report of a vehicle vs. pedestrian crash on Boyd Acres Road near Murray Road, at about 12:25 a.m. Tuesday. When officers arrived, they found 39-year-old Timothy Joseph Lyon, Jr. in the roadway. Officers and Bend Fire personnel performed CPR on Lyon, but he was pronounced dead at the scene. 

Witnesses told investigators Lyon, who was walking home after a party, was southbound on Boyd Acres when he attempted to cross. Lyon, who was wearing dark clothing, fell in the road. Due to icy conditions and his level of intoxication, Lyon was apparently unable to stand and was crouched in the road when a Bend driver traveling south on Boyd Acres Road struck Lyon with a pickup. The driver called 911 and remained at the scene. At this time, there is no indication the driver was impaired, and he is cooperating with the investigation.  

The road was closed until approximately 4:15 a.m. for that investigation. 

High Desert Museum Announces Name Of Otter Pup

BEND, OR -- The High Desert Museum has announced the name of its newest river otter. Wesley is a 10-month-old pup who has been at the Museum since May after he was found abandoned near Sunriver. He's adapting to his new surroundings according to Wildlife Curator Jon Nelson, “We started letting him in the exhibit in September. At that point I still wasn’t letting him spend the night with the other two adult otters. It took a while for that to start happening. But they get along great now. When you come, you’ll see him playing with the other two. There’s a lot of social grooming.” Nelson tells KBND News the once-malnourished pup is now thriving, and learning from the other two otters, “There was a little bit of establishing boundaries with the adults when he first went in. So, he didn’t have any matters when we threw him in there. It took awhile for him to learn that. But the other two were good mentors. He’s gotten a lot better.” Nelson says early on the young pup wore out the adults, “I would have to make sure they got a little bit of time without the baby otter to take a nap. Now, he’s pretty good about it. When they’re off sleeping, he’ll just stay out and play. He does a lot of swimming. He’s very engaging for our visitors. Spends a lot of time swimming in the underwater windows playing with kids.”

Wesley was named by a family who provided the winning bid for naming rights at a fundraising auction last summer. 

You can watch all three otters play at the museum’s 1 pm daily Otter Encounter.


Redmond Holds Public Hearing On Camping Code

REDMOND, OR -- Redmond’s City Council holds a public hearing Tuesday on Time, Place and Manner (TPM) restrictions for unsanctioned camping on public property. City Attorney Keith Leitz tells KBND News Council is discussing a draft of the new code, "This is something we’ve been working on behind the scenes for probably close to a year, and we’ll continue to work on as we go forward. Now was just the point at which we felt it was important to actually bring it to Council and bring it to the public."

The meeting comes two months after Bend finalized its unsanctioned camping code. Letiz admits Redmond is moving more slowly, but says it's a discussion that must happen, "All cities in Oregon, basically as a result of House Bill 3115, should be taking a look at their regulations around camping, sleeping, lying, sitting, keeping dry and warm. We started that conversation internally last year, and now we’re just moving it into the public sphere." He says under state law, without TPM guidelines, the city would not be allowed to manage camping on public property, like in parks and on sidewalks, which could lead to larger public health concerns. 

Among other restrictions, Redmond's draft includes prohibiting sleeping or leaving camping paraphernalia on public property between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. It also bans camping on City Hall property, inside the Central Business District and near schools. Campers also would not be allowed to block access on sidewalks.

Leitz says a violation could lead to a citation and fines, "And that’s where it differs from a criminal sanction." KBND News asked how fines will be collected from people who can't afford to pay. Leitz responded, "Yeah, I get what you’re saying. We’re just limited on the tools we have for enforcement. And really, the enforcement to me is kind of the bottom rung of how we address homelessness. Putting TPMs in place won’t build a home. But it’s one of the many tools that we have to put in place."

Tuesday's Redmond City Council meeting starts at 6 p.m.


Oregon Celebrates 164 Years Of Statehood

PORTLAND, OR -- Oregon celebrates its 164th birthday Tuesday, but Oregon Historical Society Executive Director Kerry Tymchuk says the fight for statehood, back in 1859, wasn’t easy, "Right at the lead up to the Civil War, of course. Opposing views from ‘slave states’ - the southern states - and the ‘free states,’ [there was a] big debate on who should come into the Union and whether that would offset a balance between the slave states and the free states. So, it took quite a while before the Senate, on February 14, 1859, by a majority of only 11 votes, made Oregon the 33rd state."

Prior to becoming a state, Oregon voters - only white men at the time - approved the state’s Constitution, "And by about a 3-1 margin, about 10,000 voters at the time - Caucasian men - they voted to enter as a free state. But the other question they were asked was ‘when Oregon entered the Union, should we allow Blacks to live in Oregon at all?’ And by an 8-1 margin, the answer was ‘no.’" Tymchuk tells KBND News, "So, when Oregon entered the Union, believe it or not, in 1859, we entered as the only state - before or since - with a Constitution that specifically banned Blacks from living in the state." He says it was never enforced because it violated the U.S. Constitution, but it remained on the books in Oregon until the 1920s. 

KBND News asked Tymchuk about the new fight over the state’s border. He says, "Is it interesting to talk about? Yes. Will it ever happen? No." Tymchuk doesn’t believe the Greater Idaho Movement will gain the necessary bureaucratic traction, "Oregon is Oregon. We’re obviously a very diverse state, between urban and rural. And what’s good for rural Oregon is good for urban Oregon, and vice versa." He says the key is to remember we’re all part of the same state. 

The Oregon Historical Society Museum offers free admission Tuesday, in recognition of the state's birthday. It will also host a Citizenship Ceremony at 11 a.m. for 30 new U.S. citizens. 

Image courtesy Oregon Historical Society: On November 9, 1857, eligible Oregonians voted to ratify the proposed Oregon state constitution. This undated preliminary abstract of votes includes a breakdown for precincts in Multnomah, Washington, and Clackamas counties and corresponds closely with the final election results. Votes recorded here were for or against the proposed constitution, whether slavery would be permitted, and whether free Blacks would be allowed in the state. Note that all three counties voted overwhelmingly to oppose slavery and free Blacks in the state. OHS Research Library.

Inmate Found Unresponsive At Deschutes Co. Jail

BEND, OR -- A Deschutes County inmate was found unresponsive in the jail Monday evening. According to the Sheriff, a deputy and corections nurse were distributing medication at about 8:30 p.m., and discovered the person unresponsive in their dormitory cell. DCSO says immediate lifesaving actions were taken by corrections staff while simultaneously summoning Bend Fire Department medics to the jail. Paramedics transported the inmate to St. Charles Hospital for additional medical care. 

Oregon State Police are conducting the investigation, assisted by the Central Oregon Major Incident Team. 


2:30 P.M. Update (02/14/2023) The Bend Police Department is now leading the investigation and says the woman remains hospitalized, although her current condition has not been released. Corrections deputies and a jail nurse reportedly did CPR and used an AED before medics arrived. Investigators believe she attempted to take her own life.

Crook Co. SAR Rescues More Stranded Drivers In The Ochocos

PRINEVILLE, OR -- Crook County Search and Rescue responded to a report of another stranded vehicle in the Ochoco National Forest last week. This is the latest in a string of incidents where vehicles ill-equipped for the conditions got stuck in heavy snow.

On Thursday, the SAR team was notified of five people stranded in the Maury Mountains, near the Agate Beds. Nine personnel responded. Emergency responders were able to use cell phone data, placing the subjects on Forest Service RD 1680.

Upon arrival , SAR members found one person walking from the vehicle in an attempt to find help. SAR deployed a specialized side-by-side tracked vehicle and a snowmobile to reach the four remaining people.  After two trips, all were successfully evacuated and transported back to the Prineville area.

Crook County Sheriff’s Office reminds everyone:

  • Once contact with help has been made, stay with the vehicle.  A vehicle provides shelter, heat, and a fixed location for emergency personnel to respond.  
  • If you come to a road that is not maintained during winter months that is a good place to stop and enjoy the scenery.   
  • Whenever you are traveling, especially in the mountains, let someone know where you are going, when you will be back, and stick to your plan.
  • Please take adequate food, water and warm clothing in case you get stuck regardless of the road conditions.

Madras Traffic Stop Leads To Drug Arrests

MADRAS, OR -- Oregon State Police say the stop of a speeding car in Madras led to the seizure of more than seven pounds of Methamphetamine, Sunday evening. A Trooper pulled the car over on Highway 97 near E Street and suspected other criminal activity. The driver consented to a search and the trooper discovered the drugs.

OSP identified the people in the car as 42-year-old Luiz Maria Ramirez-Gutierrez, of Yakima, WA and 20-year-old Reyna Paola Marin-Ramirez, of Kennewick, WA. They're charged with Possession and Manufacture of a Controlled Substance and Attempted Distribution of Commercial Quantities of Meth. Both were booked into the Jefferson County Jail. 

Gas Pipeline Expansion Sees Support and Opposition

A demonstration against the proposed expansion of a Natural Gas pipeline was held in Bend Friday and environmental groups host a hybrid town hall Monday with U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley scheduled to speak.

Protest organizer Freddy Finney-Jordet tells KBND News why a student coalition opposes increasing capacity of the Gas Transmission Northwest pipeline, “It would release 3.7 million extra tons of greenhouse gases a year, and it would be paid for of our pocket. So, we’re doing this demonstration in order to show the FERC that this is not something we want to happen. …The biggest thing is the climate crisis. This would just continue us down a path toward a future that is not livable for people my age and my co-organizers.”

‘FERC’ is the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which is scheduled to discuss the project Thursday.

Despite a favorable environmental impact statement, and support by some public officials, 350 Deschutes Executive Director Diane Hodiak says the GTN Xpress is too risky, “We know that all pipelines leak methane. And methane is known to be a significant health risk. And that pipeline runs very close to our Central Oregon cities. It's within a couple miles of downtown Bend.”

Supporters say expanding the aging pipeline, which runs from Canada through Idaho, Washington, Oregon, and into California, is necessary to meet continued demand for Natural Gas in the Pacific Northwest.

CODE Arrests Two For Fentanyl Trafficking

CRESCENT, OR -- A Washington man and Bend woman face drug-related charges following a bust in Klamath County. At about 11 p.m. Saturday, the Central Oregon Drug Enforcement (CODE) team and Deschutes County Sheriff's Office Street Crime Unit concluded a long-term investigation and interstate surveillance operation with the arrest of 45-year-old Keith "Buddy" Goodman, of Bellingham, and 45-year-old Chelsea Kelly, a Bend-area transient. 

Investigators say they identified Goodman as a fentanyl trafficker in Central Oregon. They believe he has been importing large quantities of fentanyl pills from central California into our region, where he distributes it primarily in the Deschutes County area. Goodman also had an outstanding nationwide arrest warrant for escape from the Washington State Department of Corrections after being convicted of unlawful firearm possession. 

After a multi-day surveillance operation throughout California and Oregon, CODE Detectives, with the assistance of DCSO Deputies and Detectives, Bend Police stopped Goodman and Kelly on Highway 97 in Crescent, as they sat inside a parked car. Goodman is also accused of recently eluding Bend Police and has a history of running from law enforcement. Based on his dangerous driving history, they decided to stop him while parked, where law enforcement officers conducted a high-risk stop. 

Afterward, CODE narcotics detection K9 “Bonnie” was deployed and alerted her handler to the presence of a controlled substance. K9 “Bonnie” is only one of two K9s in Central Oregon trained and certified in detecting fentanyl, in addition to other controlled substances. Based on the investigation, CODE Detectives applied for and obtained a Search Warrant for Goodman's silver Honda Accord.  

A subsequent search of the car located a commercial quantity of counterfeit Oxycodone tablets made of fentanyl and fentanyl powders, drug paraphernalia, and several prohibited weapons. Authorities say these counterfeit tablets have been linked to an ongoing overdose epidemic in Central Oregon and contain fentanyl and can be deadly to an unsuspecting user. 

Goodman was lodged in the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Jail for his outstanding arrest warrant and felony eluding. Additional charges were referred to the Klamath County District Attorney's Office with the following criminal charges: Unlawful Possession and Attempted Distribution of a Schedule II Controlled Substance (Fentanyl) and Felon in Possession of a Dangerous Weapon.

Kelly was lodged in the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Jail with the following criminal charges unrelated to this case: Robbery III and Theft III. Additional charges for Kelly have been referred to the Klamath County District Attorney's Office: Unlawful Possession and Attempted Distribution of a Schedule II Controlled Substance (Fentanyl). 


file photo

Redmond Takes Poll On Fireworks

REDMOND, OR -- Redmond’s City Council is gathering input on whether fireworks should be allowed inside city limits. As of Monday morning, an online poll showed 35% of respondents believe they should be banned year-round, 41% say they should be allowed all the time, and 11% say they should only be allowed when fire danger is low. 

Redmond Fire Marshal Tom Mooney tells KBND News it’s too early to know just what this year’s fire season will look like, “Just a super-early prediction right now: precipitation starts to dwindle off in April, which is kind of early. We’re hoping that doesn’t happen and it stays around a little longer, like it did last year in June. And then there’s early predictions of a possible fire season going later into October, this year. Our job is to provide that data and background information about how many fires we’ve had, what is the potential if a fire does start. Kind of the education piece of just reminding people if they do plan to use fireworks how to use them safely.”

Redmond Fire and other agencies will talk with the City Council at Tuesday’s meeting about the risk, “We’re going to give them our professional opinions on the fire hazards of fireworks, the dangers that could happen this summer and the Fourth of July. Honestly, the decision is ultimately theirs of whether the data is accepted and they understand there’s still that risk, and they’re willing to accept that risk. The fire department has zero authority on banning fireworks. That all rests with the city or the county.”

Mooney says there were three fireworks-related fires around the last Fourth of July; all were small, caused by legal fireworks disposed of in a container before they were fully cooled. 

It’s unclear when the Redmond City Council will make a final decision.

You can take the Redmond Fireworks Survey here

Food Cart Damaged By Fire

BEND, OR -- Bend Fire and Rescue says a weekend food cart fire shows why stricter rules are needed. Fire heavily damaged the Bigfoot BBQ truck at The Podski, Saturday afternoon. Crews responded to the food cart lot on NW Arizona Ave. just after 2 p.m. They removed metal siding and quickly extinguished the fire, which started behind the cart's cooktop. Damage is estimated at $8,000.

Investigators say it was caused by grease accumulation on an electrical box and insulation. The area was exposed to high heat because the backsplash behind the cooktop had a cutout for a covered electrical outlet.

New fire codes being phased in over the next three years require food carts to have kitchen exhaust hoods and fire protection just like brick-and-mortar restaurants.

Polar Plunge Saturday At Riverbend Park

BEND, OR -- Bend's Polar Plunge is Saturday at Riverbend Park. The chilly fundraiser supports more than 5,000 Special Olympics athletes in various events throughout the year.

Plunge Manager Britt Gamble has a rundown of the day’s events, “The 5 K starts at 10. We do a costume contest for any of the plungers at 10:45. We’ve seen some fun outfits throughout the years. People dress up as their businesses, or with the friends. We’ve had the Titanic, we’ve had some floaties. So, it’s a really fun time to dress up with your friends and family. The new puppy plunge that we’re having this year. Any of those that don’t want to actually get in the water themselves can have their dogs do it for them. All of the dogs will get bandanas and they have the option to plunge in the river or in a kiddie pool. Then opening ceremonies at 11 and then plunge starts right after basically from 11 until 12.”

Participants raise money through donations for their plunge. First Responders and Law Enforcement from Bend, Redmond, Sunriver, Deschutes, and Jefferson County have a friendly competition to see who can raise the most money.

Bend is the first Polar Plunge of the year, then Corvallis and Eugene hold theirs next week. Salem, Medford,and Portland plunge in March.

Registration starts at 9 Saturday morning. Learn more at the Special Olympics Oregon Polar Plunge Website

Bend Police, Schools Respond To Threat

UPDATE (7:30 p.m.) -- Bend Police say detectives have determined the phone call originated from outside the country. 


BEND, OR -- All Bend-area high schools and Bear Creek Elementary were put into "Secure" status Thursday afternoon. Sheila Miller, with Bend Police, tells KBND News, "Around 1:15, we received a call on non-emergency dispatch from a person saying they were in the Bend High parking lot and threatening to enter the school with weapons. We had a School Resource Officer on scene, and that person was able to immediately put the school into Secure status."

"Secure" means all outside doors are locked but school operations continue inside. Miller says it was lunch time and a number of students were in the parking lot at the time. 

Police responded to Bend High and other Bend-area schools. They searched the campus, including using drones, but Miller says no weapons were found. She says investigators believe it was not a credible threat. 

During the search, an unattended bag was located on the exterior grounds of the school. Out of an abundance of caution, Bend Police cordoned off the affected area at the request of the Oregon State Police Explosives Disposal Unit. The unit responded and at 4 p.m. determined the bag was not a threat. 

More than two dozen law enforcement personnel responded to the scene, including members of the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office and Redmond Police Department. Bend Fire also responded to the scene. 

As a precaution, law enforcement maintained an increased presence at schools throughout the afternoon. 



This is a developing story


Pilot Shortage Brings Bigger Planes To RDM

REDMOND, OR -- Amid a widespread pilot shortage, airlines don’t plan to add more flights to existing routes any time soon. What passengers can expect are fuller flights and bigger planes.

"We’re not seeing any decrease in frequency but, instead of adding maybe a fourth flight to - say - Salt Lake, we’ll have three but one of those will be larger," Redmond Airport Director Zach Bass tells KBND News, "Most of our fleet has been regional aircraft, so around 75 seats. What we’re looking at, especially over summer, is an upgauge in aircraft to what they call ‘mainline,’ which is almost 175 seats. So, those big 737s,  those A320s, Salt Lake, Denver, Seattle, San Francisco, LA. And again, that’s a product of growth in the region; but it’s also a product of we don’t have enough pilots."

Bass says a new local program could help ease the shortage, "In the last year, Alaska Airlines actually contracted with Hillsboro Air to be their primary ‘pipeline feeder’ for training pilots for Alaska Airlines. So, almost 250 people, once it gets fully up and running, will be training out of Redmond to become Alaska Airlines pilots." But, that training takes time, "What we’re being told, we won’t see the end of this pilot, crew crunch until at least 2024." 


County Approves Encampment Removal Project Manager Position

BEND, OR -- Deschutes County will assign someone to oversee the planned removal of homeless camps. Commissioners approved shifting an employee from the county’s COVID Response and Recovery program to the newly created project manager position to provide support services as city officials move forward with encampment closures along Hunnell Road in Bend, and southeast of Redmond.

Health Services Director Janice Garceau told commissioners the COVID program is transitioning away from the pandemic to more basic emergency preparedness efforts, “In this particular case it’s a very specific need. It’s kind of a full-time project. It’s a 90 day, I believe, funding request for that particular position. But hopefully this is something we can help support in some way.” Garceau told commissioners how she sees the work, “My understanding is the need at the moment is for a person to help project plan these 3 planned events. And really, they’re not responsible for the closure; they’re responsible for coordinating the services that are going to support the people impacted by the closure.”

There is concern those efforts would extend beyond the June 30th end to the project manager position but the county could find other funding to keep it going. 

Commissioner Tony Debone also wants to examine Health Services’ ongoing COVID program, “Aligning with the community expectations about the efforts we’re doing is something we could probably look at in the near future. These are the duties and this is the need that we aren’t even seeing as much anymore.”  Health Services says the county’s current COVID recovery efforts are now focused on vulnerable people, and monitoring for outbreaks. 

WA Man Accused Of Robbery In Sisters-Area Homeless Camp

SISTERS, OR -- A Washington man faces numerous charges after deputies say he robbed someone at one Sisters-area homeless camp and destroyed a tent in another. 

At about 8 a.m. Tuesday, Deschutes County deputies were dispatched to the Mainline Station convenience store. Staff reported a man had made concerning comments about houseless camps across Highway 20 in the adjacent Forest Service land. 

Deputies arrived and identified the man as 42-year-old s Dana Roy. They talked to him, but eventually determined there was no probable cause for an arrest at that time. 

As they talked to people in some of the homeless camps near the area, DCSO says deputies believed Roy had approached a man at his camp, pointed what appeared to be a handgun and later brandished a knife, ordering the victim to give him two backpacks and his sleeping bag, which the man did. Roy reportedly took those items and went to another camp and slashed a tarp, a tent and ransacked the camp. Deputies searched the area and recovered the two stolen backpacks and the sleeping bag, which had been abandoned in the forest.  

Deputies re-contacted Roy, who was still in the area, and arrested him without incident.  He faces various charges including robbery, menacing and theft. The gun was later determined to have been an airsoft gun and has not been recovered.


Drug Lab Raided In NE Bend

BEND, OR -- Central Oregon Drug Enforcement (CODE) detectives, the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Street Crimes Unit and SWAT raided what officials called a clandestine drug lab in northeast Bend Wednesday morning. They executed a search warrant at a duplex on the 1400 block of NE Tucson Way at about 8 a.m. 

During the search, investigators say they found an active lab alleged to extractDimethyltryptamine (DMT) on the property. DMT is the prototypical indolethylamine hallucinogen - an engineered psychedelic. Authorities say illicit DMT labs present serious concerns over possible fires, explosions, and chemical burns. The scene is currently stable, and no evacuations have been ordered. However, investigators ask the public to avoid the area as the investigation continues. 

The Oregon State Police Clandestine Lab Team, Oregon Health Authority, and the Oregon DEQ are helping to safely deactivating, dismantling, and decontaminating the lab. 

Four people were arrested:

Matthew C Carroll, age 34, of Bend

  • Manufacturing a Controlled Substance Within 1000 Feet of a School
  • Distribution of a Controlled Substance Within 1000 Feet of a School
  • Frequenting a Place with Controlled Substances

Sherri Hope Price, age 56, of Bend

  • Manufacturing a Controlled Substance Within 1000 Feet of a School
  • Distribution of a Controlled Substance Within 1000 Feet of a School
  • Frequenting a Place with Controlled Substances
  • Five Outstanding Arrest Warrants

Steve Leonard Kearney, age 56, of Bend

  • Frequenting a Place with Controlled Substances

Justin Montoya, of Bend

  • Manufacturing a Controlled Substance Within 1000 Feet of a School
  • Distribution of a Controlled Substance Within 1000 Feet of a School
  • Frequenting a Place with Controlled Substance
  • Parole Violation

Tourism Declined During Holiday Season

BEND, OR -- Fewer tourists stopped in Bend over the holidays. According to Visit Bend, Transient Room Tax collection dropped in November and December by about 10% from the previous year.

Visit Bend CEO Kevney Dugan told the Bend Economic Development Advisory Board this week he isn’t sure why, “Did we just do so well through Covid because we were one of the few destinations you could drive to and get fresh air? And now international destinations are opening, and that competitiveness is pulling people elsewhere. That’s still yet to be determined, but this is what’s going on.” Dugan pointed to an overall decline across the state, “Oregon as a state, about 5% down. You can see the coast down, you can see Eastern Oregon significantly down, and then Central Oregon off about 11% for the month of December. City of Bend from an occupancy rate stand point was off 10%.”

Dugan says the decrease could be a leveling-off, after a spike in visits during the pandemic, “So we’re still up against 2019 which is why this isn’t sort of a doom and gloom scenario. That this isn’t indicative that we aren’t still desirable to the consumer. I think this is a little bit of a correction, if you will.”

Visit Bend's Cultural Tourism and Sustainability funds could shrink if Transient Room Tax collections continue to decline.

February: Talk To Teens About Dating Violence

BEND, OR -- February is when many of us celebrate loving relationships. But, for Saving Grace, it’s also time to educate teens about healthy dating. According to a recent state survey, one in eight students will experience dating violence by the age of 18. 

The local nonprofit's Assistant Executive Director Trish Meyer says adults can also help by watching for the signs a young person might be in an abusive relationship, "Checking the partner’s phone or email, or wanting to know passwords for social media, and controlling their presence on social media or texting." Other signs are similar to adult abuse, "Frequent put-downs, dismissing the person - particularly in front of others, making the partner feel badly about themselves." 

Meyer acknowledges kids don’t always want to talk with parents about dating, but she says opening the lines of communication is critical if they see signs of potential abuse, "Talk about what you’re hearing. If it’s, 'These behaviors are not normal, that your partner is doing to you. I’m concerned for your safety.' And, 'What are some safe outlets for you if you don't want to talk further with me, as your parent, get a plan together for who you can reach out to and get support'." She tells KBND News parents can steer kids to other trusted adults, "There are safe people that they can talk with if they don’t feel comfortable to talk with Mom or Dad about what’s going on; to help a teen recognize who the safe folks are in their life. It could be a counselor at school, it could be a teacher, it could be a coach, it could be somebody in their faith community."

This is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, and Meyer says it's a good opportunity to take proactive prevention steps by talking about setting relationship boundaries, "What are the limits that I want to set, in terms of what I share with my partner, whether that’s physically or emotionally. And when boundaries are set and are mutually respected, that’s when trust can develop." But she says one of the best ways adults can teach kids about healthy romantic relationships is by modeling them. 

For more tips and information on Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month visit LoveIsRespect.org.


Redmond Attracting New Businesses

REDMOND, OR -- Redmond is attracting new companies hoping to build manufacturing and production facilities in Central Oregon. 

Pat Kesgard, with Compass Commercial Real Estate, says Bend is no longer the hotbed for industrial development, “We have no industrial ground, there’s virtually no speculative construction in Bend, we lost all that industrial land on Nels Anderson to the new highway. So, Redmond has really done a great job expanding the UGB; there’s opportunities over there for companies to build, expand, as well as investors.”

And, he says, those new businesses bring more jobs, “Right now, there’s roughly 56,000 square feet of industrial buildings available to lease in Redmond. Having said that, there’s about a half a million square feet that’s going through the city now. One of those projects is Wild Mike’s Pizza to build a 300,000 square foot production facility.” The frozen pizza maker is relocating from Clackamas later this year. “So, in the case of Wild Mike’s Pizza, we sold them I think it was 43 acres on the east side of Redmond. And that business alone will create about 130 jobs. There are good production facilities over there. Some of these companies are expanding.”

Barnes Butte Rec. Area To Get Paved Trail

PRINEVILLE, OR -- Prineville’s Barnes Butte Recreation Area is getting a 5K paved trail. Public Works Director Casey Kaiser tells KBND News, "This will basically provide a loop trail around the low gently rolling terrain area of the Butte, so I would say an area approximately 250 acres or so. It goes along a wetland, and across some juniper uplands and some sagebrush steppe. So, it’s a nice trail, as far as providing access to a lot of the unique kind of scenery there in the area."

He says it'll also serve neighbors, "It’s a nice connecting trail that will provide some pedestrian and bicycle access - non motorized vehicle access - from some of the neighborhoods on the north side of the wetland to be able to cross the wetland area via a couple of footbridges and be able to get over to the commercial centers of the city, to the south."

He acknowledges the community wants the area to remain as natural as possible, "The idea of the paved loop trail is really to intrude as little as possible into that natural feel of the Barnes Butte Recreation Area out there, while still kind of providing that accessibility. And it makes it easier for people of varying skill levels and abilities to be able to traverse a large part of that area and get to enjoy it too."

Some work was done on the trail last year, but Kaiser says it’ll wrap up in the next few months, "This week, all of the base rock and all of the rough grading for the trail will be done. And then, we’ll basically be waiting for the paving plants to open up so we can pave it in the early spring."

The $280,000 project is partly funded by a Recreational Trails Program grant from Oregon State Parks.


Envision Bend Holds Community Vision Summit

BEND, OR -- Envision Bend will present survey results from the Bend Vision Project Tuesday afternoon.  The public is invited to attend this interactive summit meeting to ask questions, provide more feedback, and volunteer to help shape Bend’s five-year action plan.

Board member Leigh Capozzi tells KBND news they’ve been gathering data since last year, “We have gotten 2,045 community surveys, we’ve done 72 interviews, and held 17 focus groups with the general public.”

The meeting is interactive, according to Capozzi, “…Share some of the big ideas that the community has said ‘hey we think this could be great’…and then talk about what’s next, and create opportunities to ask questions, and then volunteer to sign up if folks want to get involved some vision action teams which will be the next phase of this project.”

Capozzi says researchers tried to talk to traditionally disconnected communities, “Bringing all these voices to the table really creates this well-rounded, well represented voice, as we start to see these themes, and think about creating action plans that the broader community wants.”

The Envision Bend Community Summit is at COCC from 4:30 to 6:30 Tuesday, February 7th in Willie Hall in the Coats Campus Center.

Redmond PD Aided By Grant Funds For Enhanced Safety Patrols

REDMOND, OR -- The Redmond Police Department conducted enhanced safety patrols in December, thanks to grant funding. As a result, officers wrote 34 citations and made four DUII arrests. Redmond Police Lieutenant Jesse Petersen tells KBND News the grants pay for officers to work overtime and focus strictly on traffic patrols, ”We can continue to enhance our patrol efforts both during the day and nights by having more officers out on the streets conducting traffic enforcement and education.”  Lt. Petersen says safety is the goal, “We always want compliance. So, if we can, we educate people about the laws, if they’re unaware of them, or give them a good reminder about how to follow them. That way we have safer streets, and we’re reducing or limiting the amount of motor vehicle accidents.”

The department was able to focus their efforts having officers strictly on traffic patrols thanks to grant money from ODOT and Oregon Impact. “So, the importance of these grants is we have more officers on the streets; conducing traffic enforcement and education. Therefore, reducing the number of motor vehicle accidents that are occurring, and of course, making people drive safer,” said Lt. Petersen.

Traffic safety blitzes are held throughout the year. A seatbelt awareness campaign is now underway through this Super Bowl Sunday.

Council Set To Vote On Bend Affordable Housing Development

BEND, OR -- A master plan is expected later this month for Parkside Place, a housing development on the east side of Bend made possible by a 2016 state bill allowing a quick Urban Growth Boundary expansion for affordable housing.

Bend’s Director of Housing Lynn McConnell says Hayden Homes took over the project, and will build 40-percent of the units as deed-restricted, “They recognized that they could not provide 50% affordable housing and make that work without taking on public subsidy and slowing the whole thing down. So, this is very much an experiment in how to get this done. This is a new thing that has not been done in Bend before; trying to develop affordable housing at scale without public subsidy.” Because of the rules set by the state, McConnell says the only qualifying location for the project was on the east side of Bend. It will be between Highway 20 and Bear Creek Road.

Mayor Melanie Kebler tells KBND News Parkside Place has been a long time coming, “It is part of a pilot project that started from a bill way back in 2016, that the Legislature passed in an attempt to get some land into the city in a quick way that would provide a lot of housing. It’s unfortunately taken a few years to get to this point.”

City Council expects to vote on the master plan later this month. “And then, once that gets approved, they can start moving forward. And what they’ve planned for the first phase of development is the actual affordable housing,” says Kebler who explained the types of housing to be built, “It’s mixed density, so it has everything from apartment buildings, townhomes, cottages, single family homes. And I’m really excited to see it get to the end stage and start moving forward, to actually come back in front of Council at a next meeting for the real plans and talk to Hayden Homes about getting the master plan done.”

AAA Releases Used EV Buyer's Guide

PORTLAND, OR -- With pushes at the state and federal level to convert to electric vehicles, more people are shopping for EVs. But buying new can cost $10,000 - $30,000 more than their gas-powered counterparts, pushing the price out of reach for many drivers.

AAA-Oregon's Marie Dodds says shopping used could be the answer, thanks to depreciation. "With electric vehicles, their value tends to go down more quickly than a gas powered vehicle," she tells KBND News, "So, when you’re looking at buying a used EV, the price gap between the comparable gas powered vehicle and the electric vehicle tends to be smaller."

AAA just released a 2023 Used EV Buyer’s GuideDodds says it offers information to help those looking for a pre-owned electric car, "The basic background of electric vehicles, driving range and charging; you know, what’s the difference between Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 charging. Used EV ownership cost comparisons; so, battery versus gas powered - how much does it cost you? Repair and maintenance costs."

Dodds says about a quarter of the nation’s EV shoppers would prefer to buy used, but hunting for the right vehicle is a little bit different, "There are certain things to consider that you might not consider if you’re buying a gas powered vehicle. For example, the age of the vehicle, how long will the battery last?"

While they tend to be more expensive than a gas-powered vehicle, Dodds says there are other areas EV drivers save money, "Most of the time, they cost less to maintain and repair than a traditional gas powered vehicle. And, of course, when you’re looking at fuel, you can save substantially because you’re not filling it up with gas."


All 30 State Senators Sign On To Knopp's Bill Banning Some Travel Pay

SALEM, OR -- A bill just introduced in the Oregon Senate would end one Pandemic-era reimbursement. At a recent press conference, Senator Dennis Lenthicum (R-Klamath Falls) said the GOP would hold state employees accountable, "During the COVID era, many employees were working in their new home state of Texas or their new home state of Louisiana, Idaho or wherever and flying back to Oregon, having the Oregon taxpayer pay for the roundtrip fare to get them from their offsite campus or home to their Oregon job." 

Senate Bill 853 would make those travel expenses the responsibility of state employees who choose to live outside of Oregon. It received its first reading on the Senate Floor Thursday.

Senate Republican Leader Tim Knopp (R-Bend) is the Chief Sponsor. "This would be high paid state employees - living in Florida, Texas and other locales were being reimbursed with your taxpayer dollars for travel back to the state to do their jobs," he said in a floor speech last week, "I, like many Oregonians, was - let’s just say - less than enamored with that policy."

All 30 Senators and a bipartisan group from Oregon’s House have already signed on to co-sponsor SB-853. "It may turn out to be the most sponsored bill in the legislature," Knopp told reporters last week. 


file photo

Bend Bicycle Wayfinding Project Advances

BEND, OR -- Bend City Councilors have approved a $122,000 contract to start on a bicycle “wayfinding” project. Mayor Melanie Kebler tells KBND News, "It’s signage around town to make sure people know where all of our infrastructure is - our paths, our separated paths and bike lanes - to get around town."

The goal is to reduce interactions between cars and bikes. "Really, it’s to make sure that if someone does want to get around by bike that they know where those good paths are," Kebler says, "And, even our staff person Brad, from our mobility department, was talking about [how] he likes to ride his bike to work; and even he didn’t know about something like the Larkspur Trail or the Canal Trail and where it connected. So the idea is to have some signs that will direct people, so that we’re not keeping secrets of some of the best routes to get around town."

Kebler says the idea has proven effective in other cities, where signs direct non-motorized vehicles and pedestrians to the safest and most popular travel areas.

The contract approved this week is for design, including signs and pavement marking, and to establish the first north-south and east-west routes. Kebler says, "We’re going to start with a couple of key routes that we’re going to firm up at a later meeting, exactly where these first few signs are going to go. But before we do that, we have to decide what are the signs going to look like and how are they going to inform people how to get around?" She adds, "We want to, as much as possible, direct people to the lowest stress paths and part of our network that we’re trying to build out with our key routes for bikes and peds, so they’re having less interactions with cars and feel more safe."


Bend Parks & Rec To Open Spring Registration

BEND, OR -- Bend Park and Recreation District will open registration for spring recreation and programs and spring/summer sports leagues February 6-8. Available activities include programs held in April through mid-June and sports leagues with registration deadlines during this time. An online Spring 2023 Online Playbook is now available.

After high demand in past seasons that overwhelmed the online registration system, BPRD is grouping program offerings and will have three days of registration openings.

  • Monday, Feb. 6, 6:00 a.m.: Recreation, Enrichment & Sports Activities
  • Tuesday, Feb. 7, 6:00 a.m.: Swim Lessons & Aquatics Programs
  • Wednesday, Feb. 8, 6:00 a.m.: Sports Leagues including adult and youth roller hockey, adult softball, and adult and boys volleyball leagues.

Register online or in person at any of these locations:

  • District Office: 799 SW Columbia St. - open at 8:00 a.m.
  • Juniper Swim & Fitness Center: 800 NE 6th St. - open at 5:30 a.m.
  • Larkspur Community Center: 1600 SE Reed Market Rd. - open at 6:00 a.m.

If experiencing difficulty registering online, contact the BPRD Customer Service by phone at (541) 389-7275.

Commissioners Hear Thornburgh Resort Appeals

REDMOND, OR -- Deschutes County Commissioners heard two appeals Wednesday of a request to modify the fish and wildlife management plan for the controversial Thornburgh Resort. After several hours of testimony, Commissioners decided to keep the comment period open for at least two more weeks.  Many people spoke against the proposed resort east of Redmond, including Austin Smith, Jr. who was representing the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, “We kind of want to collect ourselves really and understand all these mitigations and how they will impact or be productive for not only our fish species, but our cultural resources and our cultural foods.”

Joe Craig, of Bend, asked Commissioners to deny the amended plan, “I’m concerned on pressure place on our existing water supply in maintaining high quality water for people, wildlife, and agriculture.”

Many, like Susan Hart of Redmond, are concerned with the resort's impact, “I think that it is self-evident that with climate change and with lack of affordable housing that it is high time that we not look backwards but plan for the future.”

Thornburgh’s scientists and attorneys argued the resort’s proposed water usage meets current requirements, but ODFW has pushed back on those findings. 

Both the resort and a Bend citizen filed opposing appeals; disputing separate portions of a hearings officer’s recommendations to deny development of the resort.

Two Arrested In Klamath County CODE Bust

GILCHRIST, OR -- A 32-year-old La Pine man and another suspect from California were arrested Wednesday afternoon, following an investigation into drug trafficking. 

Central Oregon Drug Enforcement detectives say Gregory Stites imported controlled substances from southern Oregon into the High Desert, where he distributed them throughout Central Oregon.

State Troopers pulled over a car driven by Stites on Highway 97, between Crescent and Gilchrist. During the stop, drug detection dog "Bonnie" alerted to the presence of controlled substances inside the car and some luggage. Officers seized a commercial amount of Meth and Cocaine, and a user amount of Fentanyl, along with a loaded 9mm pistol. 

Stites and his passenger, 40-year-old Robert King III of Sacramento, were arrested on multiple drug-related charges. Stites is also charged with being a Felon in Possession of a Weapon. 

Juniper Ridge Encampment Destroyed By RV Fire

BEND, OR -- A motorhome caught fire in Juniper Ridge Wednesday morning, destroying an encampment. Bend Fire responded to multiple calls and crews were able to stop the flames from spreading to neighboring camps.

Firefighters took more than an hour to fully extinguish the fire, due to the extent of what had burned. 

It was caused by a failed heater, which allowed the propane tank to ignite. One motorhome, two vehicles and an adjacent tarped area were destroyed. But the person who lived there escaped unhurt. Losses are estimated at $20,000. 


Photo courtesy Bend Fire & Rescue

Bend Man Walks Aided By High-Tech Exoskeleton

BEND, OR -- A Bend man is able to walk again after being in a wheelchair for almost 14 years. Wearing a specially designed exoskeleton, Erik Himbert left a Bend physical therapy center Tuesday under his own power.

A year ago, he began using the technologically-advanced leg-brace system, “The company is called ReWalk. They’re just extremely amazing to work with. So, they came out, set the whole thing up, and I was finally able to get into a device. And here I am about ready to graduate from therapy to take it home and use it on my own. So, it’s been amazing,” says Himbert.

He’s especially ready to get back to his routine activities, “There’s a lot of outdoors things to do as you know around here in Central Oregon. There’s a lot of pathways that are really fun to go down. So, I’d love to just get out and enjoy the outdoors and be able to walk instead of being in my wheelchair.” He is excited for this opportunity, “To be able to walk and to be able to do kind of normal functions. Be able to have conversations with people standing upright. It’s so good, just mentally for me to be able to feel normal again.”

Himbert hopes others with spinal cord injuries will be inspired by his accomplishment.


Local Group Planning EV Car Share Program

BEND, OR -- Pacific Power recently awarded more than $2 million in Electric Mobility grants to 18 organizations. A local climate action coalition plans to use its allocation to create an equitable EV charging and car share plan for Central Oregon. Once developed, it will be the first of its kind in the state. 

350 Deschutes Executive Director Diane Hodiak says, "We know that they have car share programs that are highly successful in other areas outside of Oregon. It’s a question of ‘how do we make it available to underserved communities?’ How do we make it available so they can pay and so it’s also affordable?"

Hodiak notes it will primarily target underserved communities, many of whom don’t own a car and can’t afford to live in Bend, but need to commute in for work, "So, if they have a car they can use - maybe two to three times a week - that is affordable, that includes their insurance and includes everything that they need, that would be very beneficial to them. And we know that we can create a program like that, we just have to figure out how to do it." She tells KBND News her coalition will work with urban and rural leaders to involve Black, Tribal and Hispanic communities.

It’ll likely take about a year to develop. Then cities can use the plan to leverage federal funding to roll out a program, "Nearly every city that we talk to wants to be involved in this," says Hodiak, "And we just feel that by working together, we can use those dollars that are coming from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act most wisely."

Click HERE to register for 350 Deschutes' EV Planning Group. Representatives from the business, government and nonprofit community are encouraged to attend and learn how to access funding for EV infrastructure.


Redmond Man Accused Of Stealing $100k From Former Employer

REDMOND, OR -- A Redmond man is accused of stealing more than $100,000 from his former employer. The Deschutes County Sheriff's Office began investigating Todd Hedberg last week, when a construction company reported unauthorized checks and cash withdrawals, presumably made by a former business manager. They also say he made multiple online purchases using a business credit card.

Detectives analyzed financial documents and say the 48-year-old was responsible for the theft. With a warrant, investigators searched a home on SW 28th in Redmond and found items linked to the unauthorized online purchases, including receipts.

Hedberg was arrested, and is charged with seven counts of First Degree Forgery, three counts of First Degree Theft and two counts of Aggravated Identity Theft. 


Deschutes Co. Seeks One More Rancher For Wolf Committee

BEND, OR -- Deschutes County is forming a new Wolf Depredation And Financial Assistance Committee, in response to last year’s declaration by ODFW that this is an “area of known wolf activity.” But the group is short one critical member before it can get to work. 

County Commissioner Phil Chang says the committee is needed to disperse state and federal funding for projects that could prevent wolf attacks on livestock, "There’s some really simple things that livestock owners can do to reduce the likelihood that wolves are going to be attracted to and harm their animals." They’ll also help compensate ranchers whose animals are killed. He tells KBND News, "They’re not set up to exterminate wolves from your community, they’re not set up to let wolves run amok in your community. They’re set up to try to strike the balance between having a state and federally listed species in your community, with certain protections, but also to provide as much protection as possible for livestock owners against losses."

The committee will eventually have seven members. It needs two livestock owners or managers and two representatives from the conservation side. Once those four are in place, one County Commissioner will be assigned and the group will select two additional business representatives. But so far, only one rancher is on board with two people who support co-existence. Commissioner Chang would like to see a hobby farmer involved, "We got an application from a commercial-scale livestock operation and it might be very useful to have a small farm owner with a couple of animals, who’s thinking about how other small farm owners with a couple of animals are or are not impacted by wolves."

Chang says other counties have had such committees in place for years. But wolves have become a concern in Deschutes County only recently, "We’ve had wolves travel through in the past. But now there are wolves that are taking up residence, having puppies and are going to establish what appear to be permanent packs of wolves. And that increases concerns about the potential for depredation on livestock." 

Applications are due by February 24th and can be submitted on the county’s website

Image: Trail camera photo of an adult wolf with five pups photographed on July 4, 2022 in the Upper Deschutes wildlife management unit in Klamath County. Courtesy ODFW


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