Local News Archives for 2023-09

Scammers Target Sunriver Vacation Rentals

SUNRIVER, OR -- Sunriver Police are investigating a spike in rental scams. Sgt. John Beck says incidents are rare in the small resort town, but they've received three reports in just the past week. They all share common threads: vacation rentals found on Marketplace, CraigsList, even E-bay, and the alleged rental company sends over a contract. "They get paid and then basically they disappear," Sgt. Beck tells KBND News, "They never send them codes to get into the homes. Once they get payment, they’re gone."

In at least one incident, the victim was left stranded. "The people that had paid the money to rent the house did show up at the house and then never received a code, so weren’t able to get into it. And then, as they start understanding that there’s a problem, they kind of had a feeling that they’d probably been scammed," says Beck. "It's Kind of a sad deal when you’re all excited to spend a few days away in Sunriver and it turns out like this." 

Sgt. Beck says the cases all present red flags people should watch for, like, if the deal seems too good to be true, it almost alway is. "I assume people realize what the rates are here in Sunriver. But the one, they were like $150 a night, which is just kind of unheard of down here." He adds, "Are you renting a house for half of what everybody else is trying to get for rent? Other things to watch for: absolutely, how the payment is made. Are they asking for - as funny as it sounds - iTune cards? A payment through a web app or phone app that doesn’t offer any protection?"

And, he suggests doing a little online research before you book, "The contract they sent that has the property management name on it, had they Googled that name, they would have found that it really doesn’t exist." In Sunriver, Beck says, most of the rental homes are managed by a local company, and not rented out by a homeowner. 

Beck says they are issuing subpoenas for bank records and other evidence to track down the scammers. But he admits, they're likely not operating locally and may be outside the U.S.

 

Nosler Sign To Remain At MVHS For Now

BEND, OR -- Bend-La Pine Schools officials say a promotional sign for an ammunition company will remain below the football scoreboard at Mountain View High, pending a review of district policies. The district recently heard from people concerned about advertising Nosler, a local company that makes and sells ammunition, weapons and hunting gear. 

The school district issued a statement, saying in part, "After considerable consultation with the District’s legal department, the superintendent will allow a Nosler-sponsored sign to be displayed this fall below the Mountain View High School football scoreboard. The District will maintain the status quo with respect to Nosler’s sponsorship at MVHS and other schools while conducting a review of its existing policy and procedures related to advertising displayed on school property." Officials say Nosler and its owners have supported MVHS for over 25 years. 

Bend-La Pine Schools' administrative regulation states: “Advertising which is consistent with community standards, school curriculum and academic goals, and which is age-appropriate and consistent with district non-discrimination policies, may be accepted for placement in school publications and on certain district property.  Advertising on district property shall be prohibited where the circumstances, in the judgment of the superintendent or designee, may be considered exploitative of the students of the district or may otherwise compromise the District?s educational mission.” It also says the district cannot accept advertisements that "promote the use of illegal drugs, alcohol, tobacco, gambling or firearms; are associated with any company or individual whose actions are inconsistent with the District?s mission and goals or community values; or promote any product or service not permitted to minors by law."

But authorities say they need time to interpret how that applies to Nosler: 

  • What is meant by “promote,” and does a sign featuring the company name/logo promote the use of firearms?
  • Would an interpretation extend to any business, including sporting goods stores and general retailers, that sell firearms and/or ammunition? What about businesses that produce and sell alcohol, such as local breweries?
  • In Oregon, minors under age 18 may not purchase or possess a firearm, although minors are permitted to use firearms for hunting and target practice. 

The district notes, "Those who questioned the placement of the Nosler sign in early September asked if it’s appropriate to allow a business name associated with firearms to have such prominent placement at a school. Some referenced the shooting by a former MVHS student at a Bend Safeway store in August 2022, an event that was deeply upsetting for students, staff and our entire community. As awareness of the sign in question has grown in recent weeks, the school and district also heard from community members supporting how the school recognizes Nosler for its tradition of supporting students in our District."

Humane Society's Wiener and Bulldog Races Sunday

BEND, OR -- The fur will fly in downtown Bend Sunday. After a three-year pause, the Wiener Dog Races return, along with the first ever Running of the Bulldogs. “The Wiener dog races are back! Dachshunds have long bodies and little tiny short legs to run on. And then the Bulldogs are just kind of machines that really weren't meant to run. We're adding the Running of the Bulldogs and that includes watching those amazing English bulldogs with their lips flapping, as well as the French bulldogs racing down the track,”

The Humane Society’s Lynne Ouchida says the race that started as a Bend Oktoberfest event has been a long-time crowd pleaser. “A perfect event for anybody who loves dogs. I don't care if you're a small breed lover, medium or large or even giant breed lover, you will find something fun to be entertained with by these races,” adding they’re for a good cause, “100% of the registration fees go directly to help the animals in our care and spectators are free. But of course, we'd love it if you can help fill our empty shelves of dog treats, or even just a couple of dollars will go a long way to helping the animals at the Humane Society.”

She says the course is about 75 feet long, “So not too long. Of course, these breeds should not be running for extended lengths. You can line up along the edge and cheer on your favorite dog or your favorite breed. It'll be, I guarantee, an afternoon of laughs.”

The Running of the Bulldogs starts at Noon; Wiener Dog Races begin at 1 PM. 

Competitors must be pure bred Bull dogs and Dachshunds, respectively.

Online registration ($20) closes Saturday, September 30th at noon. Late registration ($25) on Sunday, October 1 is from 11am to noon at Troy Field before the races.

 

Envision Bend Releases Five-Year Plan

BEND, OR -- Envision Bend releases its Action Plan Friday. Executive Director Matt Muchna says it's the culmination of several years of research and listening to the community, "We heard a lot of things that won’t be surprising to folks that have been in the region for a long time. We value our clean air and water, we value outdoor access, we value small-town feel. And we have issues - we have affordability issues, transportation issues, housing shortage."

He tells KBND News the group focused on four key goals after narrowing down the community’s priorities: "Create an inclusive economy for everyone, working to guide our growth and development, creating an inclusive culture and a sense of belonging in our community, and also creating a safe and healthy environment."

To achieve those broad goals, the 44-page report includes 28 strategies, including increasing workforce housing, improving student mental health and well-being, and preserving Skyline Forest, "How can we conserve and potentially purchase Skyline Forest for the benefit of our community?"

Muchna says it takes into account the city's place in the region, "Really we’re looking at the next five years. And importantly, we’re looking at greater Bend, so this regionality approach. I think it’s Bendcentric, but I think importantly, we’re understanding the implications of living in the Central Oregon region and what that means to Redmond and to Sisters, La Pine, Sisters, Prineville, Madras." He adds, "We can’t plan for Bend’s future without thinking about the region."

Click HERE to read the entire report. Listen to our complete conversation with Matt Muchna at KBND's Podcast Page. The last large-scale visioning project was completed in 2005 and 2006, under the old title “Bend 2030.”

 

Affordable Housing For Sisters Schools' Staff

SISTERS, OR -- Sisters School District employees will get priority in the new Woodlands planned community, as a part of a workforce housing initiative. 

“The Sisters School District, the local EDCO, and the City of Sisters reached out to us and asked if we would consider building affordable housing in Sisters. So, we've been working on this partnership for the past six months,” Rooted Homes Executive Director Jackie Keogh tells KBND News the affordable housing non-profit, formerly known as Kor Community Land Trust, is eager to help. “Our homes are going to go for an average of $430,000 compared to The Woodlands current asking prices averaged $700,000,” she says the Sisters district was looking for housing solutions, “They see the need to retain and hire folks who want to be educators but can't afford to live here. And so, we will be giving a preference to Sisters School District employees.”

Rooted Homes helps families who earn too much to qualify for traditional affordable housing programs. “These are the folks that we call our missing middle. Folks who have good jobs, but those jobs just don't pay enough, given the cost of homes in the market,” says Keogh adding they have more plans for the community, “Our goal is to really expand throughout Sisters with our own new construction, as well as subsequent phases of the Woodlands development.”

Two houses in the Woodlands will go to two district staff selected through a lottery conducted by Rooted Homes this fall. They’re expected to move in next spring.  

 

File Photo: Sisters High School

Commissioners Formally Deny Petition For New City Of Mountain View

BEND, OR -- Deschutes County Commissioners unanimously agreed Wednesday to not reconsider their denial of the Mountain View incorporation. The original proposal was to incorporate 265 square miles into a new city. The area includes Millican.

Commissioner Phil Chang says there may be other ways forward for the community southeast of Bend, "What interests me about this whole proposal and this application is trying to provide better services for Deschutes County residents. If incorporation or special districts are two potential pathways to pursue better services, I think there are probably more and we’re open to discuss those."

County Counsel Dave Doyle told Commissioners forming a special district for fire or other services would be a separate process. "It would operate completely independent and autonomous of anything that the county would be involved with. And it has about as much chance, I think, of getting off the ground as the city incorporation did." He went on to say, "There’s 150 people out there in an area the size of 10 Bends. You’re not going to get there from here. This fellow can keep trying and trying but he’s not going to get there. He’s eating up a lot of staff time and resources in the process."

Mountain View supporters say they plan to appeal the county’s decision to the state Land Use Board of Appeals.

Also Wednesday, Commissioners received a briefing on how a federal government shutdown could impact local operations. County Treasurer Bill Kuhn told Commissioners local governments around the country will take a hit, "It’s estimated that it could affect as many as four-million federal workers that will be furloughed almost immediately, and a huge impact to our budget; $5 billion per week of wages taken out of the economy."

Commissioner Phil Chang asked about county-run programs that are funded by federal grants and the government, like WIC, which provides health and nutrition services for low-income women and children, "That critical support to those families is going to be cut off. So, I’m curious what that means for us in terms of whether that actually affects - not just the money we put out into the community, but our workforce."

County Chief Financial Officer Robert Tintle said some programs might be able to continue, "What I’ve experienced in the past during these shutdowns, a lot of times, especially grant funded or federally funded programs, funding may be delayed in some areas. Eventually they may catch up, sometimes, depending on if that funding source has a reserve or they have funds they can utilize until they get the additional funds."

In Central Oregon, furloughs could impact everything from the Forest Service and BLM, to the TSA screeners at the airport."

 

Early Snowfall Interrupts Late Summer Ops At Mt. Bachelor

BEND, OR -- After a long, dry summer, Mount Bachelor is getting a little taste of winter this week. "We’ve had rain, we’ve had fog, we’ve had snow, we’ve had wind, and snow levels have really dropped towards almost the base of the mountain, right now. So you’re seeing white-capped Mt Bachelor," says Bachelor's Lauren Burke. 

It’s great for the impending ski season. Not so much for summer operations at the bike park, which are supposed to continue through this weekend. Little Pine will be open Thursday, with access to lower mountain trails only, "If we can get some sun on the upper mountain and start to work on some of those trails, then we’ll do our best to open the upper mountain throughout the weekend, as conditions allow," Burke tells KBND News, "But the forecast still looks pretty wintry for the next few days." Visitors should check conditions on Mt. Bachelor's website before heading up to the mountain. 

This early snow isn’t expected to move up opening day of the snow season, scheduled for the day after Thanksgiving, "As we know, weather is extremely variable, especially in that early season. So, we’re still targeting that November 24th date, and as that timeframe gets closer, we’ll have a better idea of what operations look like."

That opening will occur amid ongoing construction of the new Skyliner Express lift, "We plan on opening here at our West Village area with Pine Marten, potentially Little Pine, or vice versa. And then as we get snow and snow-making across the mountain, we’ll continue to open more lifts. But in terms of Skyliner’s scheduled opening, it is scheduled to open in mid- to late December, right now."

 

DCSO Prepares For Seasonal Shift In Search & Rescue Calls

BEND, OR -- Deschutes County’s Search and Rescue teams are preparing for the shift in operations, from lost or injured hikers to the inevitable motorist stuck in backcountry mud or snow. "Some people may underestimate their vehicle’s capabilities or weather can just dictate. Mother Nature is a fickle beast, that’s for sure," says Sheriff's Sgt. Jason Wall. "We encourage everyone to get out and enjoy the seasonal change. However, with that being said, at high altitude - or even just here in the High Desert - weather can change extremely quickly. So, we want to make sure people are prepared."

Sgt Wall tells KBND News, "If they’re going to be hiking or on some other type of conveyance in the backcountry, take a map or take a GPS, take a compass - know how to use those instruments - some water, maybe some energy bars or something that’s going to provide them with a burst of energy in the event that they’re confronted with weather." He adds, "It’s not unreasonable to carry a spare layer, whether it be a waterproof or windproof jacket or some type of insulative - a puffy coat; the jacket of Bend, if you will. Have that in the backpack or, if weather does move in, you’re prepared to wait it out or find shelter so you can wait for us."

If your vehicle gets stuck, stay put and call for help. "Stay with your vehicle, try to stay warm and dry and continue to charge your cellular device, because it is an amazing tool for us to help locate you." And, Sgt. Wall says, if you’re headed off the beaten path, always tell someone where you’re going and when you expect to return. 

file photo: DCSO SAR rescues a stranded motorist in January 2023.

OSU Study - No Big Social Media Effect At State Parks

TERREBONNE, OR -- A new study from Oregon State University published in Land Economics shows social media doesn’t have as much effect on State Park visitations as once thought.

OSU’s Dr. Ashley Lowe Mackenzie says the research goes against a narrative that apps like Instagram push visitors to find more scenic locations, “Initially a lot of the conversations were around how geo tagging was increasing visitation across various different locations. And the research we did, we found that it was really isolated to a small set of parks that went kind of viral on the app.” The survey of 18 years’ worth of data shows geotagged posts increased monthly visitation by 4% at Smith Rock, Silver Falls, Ecola, and Oswald West Parks. “People within the app really liked those locations and you could tell from the amount of likes that those photos received and Smith Rock of course, was one of the most viral parks out of the Oregon State Parks,” says Dr. Lowe Mackenzie.

Dr. Steve Dundas tells KBND News officials can use the information to gauge trends at popular spots, including Smith Rock, “I view this as a cautionary tale for public land managers who tend to be chronically understaffed and underfunded that at any given moment, there might be a natural feature that's under their management, that could go viral. They could be in line to experience some kind of increase in visitation…Potentially even predict where that next kind of big new place or thing where people want to get selfies will be. And that could help them plan for influxes of visitors that you know, they have to balance providing a good visitation experience while also protecting their resources.”

Dr. Lowe Mackenzie is currently working on a similar study of national parks.

 

RSD Expands FoodCorps Partnership

REDMOND, OR -- A national program aimed at improving childhood nutrition is expanding in Redmond. "FoodCorps’ mission is to help kids learn how to eat well, in terms of nutrition - good nutrition and that kind of stuff," Redmond Schools Superintendent Dr. Charan Cline tells KBND News, "Really focusing on getting our kids eating fresh fruits and fresh vegetables."

He says the program will grow to all schools this year, after a successful start at one location, "Last year, we had a FoodCorps person sitting at Lynch Elementary, which is our school that has the highest poverty rate in our district. And the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables those kids ate by far was higher than any other school. They really had a huge impact. Kids were trying new kinds of food; they were really focusing on eating healthy."

FoodCorps serves two other districts in Oregon: Portland and Umatilla, as well as programs in 15 other states. "It’s like an AmeriCorps kind of position, where young people around the nation agree to serve for a couple of years at fairly low pay, and they go and they do good work around the nation," says Dr. Cline, "You see this with teaching corps, you see this with AmeriCorps."

The local program is a partnership with The Environmental Center in Bend and OSU’s Extension Office. It includes classroom lessons, work in school gardens and cafeteria-based food tastings. Cline says, "We’re looking forward to seeing what it can do for kids’ health and just attitude about eating healthy"

Photo courtesy of FoodCorps: A FoodCorps worker delivers apples at M.A. Lynch Elementary in Redmond. 

Fire Interrupts Operations At Bend TV Station

BEND, OR -- A fire at KTVZ's building on OB Riley Road forced employees to evacuate Tuesday evening. Bend Fire and Rescue responded just after 7 p.m., after staff called 911 and reported smoke in the building.

Firefighters searched inside and the roof for the source of the smoke, and discovered a small fire inside an office. They put the fire out and ventilated the building. 

Damages are estimated at around $60,000. The fire's cause is under investigation. 

News programming was canceled Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning. According to KTVZ, "The newsroom and studio were not impacted. Damage was confined to a single office." Station management says, "NewsChannel 21's regular newscasts will resume as soon as possible. We apologize for the interruption in our broadcast schedule."

 

file photo

Deschutes County Launches "I Voted" Sticker Contest

BEND, OR -- Deschutes County is revamping its “I Voted” sticker for the 2024 election. Actually, County Clerk Steve Dennison says, the new design will come from local kids. "It’s just always seemed like a fun idea to me, and a way to engage youth - students - in a way that’s not typical," he tells KBND News.  

His office is accepting submissions of original art from Deschutes County K-12 students to be used on the 2" round stickers. Dennison hopes the sticker contest will get kids thinking about elections, "Nobody’s ever too young to start working and understanding our elections process, and understanding how the whole thing works. Having kids engaged in the process and let them gain a better understanding - at least try and provoke their thought to what it means to vote."

But, of course, those stickers can be hard to come by because most people put their ballot in the mail. And that means the little stickers could become a collectors' item, "Deschutes County Clerk’s office is the only place in town to get a 'I voted' sticker. That’s just how vote by mail works." Dennison says some lucky voters might get one at a ballot drop site, "Our guys that drive around the county and pick up our ballots at our dropboxes, they do have pockets full of ‘I voted’ stickers, as well. So, if they come across a voter that’s dropping their ballot off and that voter timed it right, they’ll be able to receive an ‘I voted’ sticker at that time, too."

Elementary student (K-5th grade) submissions are accepted through the end of December, with the winner announced in February, ahead of the May Primary. Middle and high schoolers (6-12th grade) have until the end of June, with the winner announced in August for the general election. Dennison says they could also be used in the future, "I’m anticipating and hoping for some fun entries that might stick around."

Click HERE to download the submission form. 

Photo: Deschutes County Clerk Steve Dennison shows off a sample "I voted" sticker created by his child. 

Help Available For Bend Housing Payments

BEND, OR -- NeighborImpact launched a new rent and mortgage assistance program this week for people living in Bend. Funding comes from the city and includes $90,000 toward housing payments.

Households making 80% of the area median income or less - based on family size - are eligible to apply for financial help, mentoring on household budgeting and financial coaching. For a family of four, that income limit is $76,150 a year, and $53,350 for a single-person household. 

Applications are accepted at NeighborImpact’s website or at the nonprofit's Bend office (20310 Empire Ave.). Completed and eligible applications will be reviewed on a first-come, first-seved basis. 

 

Bend Masseuse Arrested, OSP Says May Be More Victims

BEND, OR -- On Friday, July 14, 2023, Oregon State Police Major Crimes Section initiated an investigation involving sexual abuse occurring at the May Spa on Bellevue Drive within Bend Oregon and the Deschutes County area.  The victim reported she had been sexually assaulted by her masseuse during a routine session.  Through the course of the investigation, the suspect was identified as Jianming Tang.

On Friday, September 15, 2023, an undercover operation occurred with the assistance of the victim and during that investigation detectives established probable cause of the crime of Sexual Abuse in the 3rd Degree.  Jianming Tang was arrested and lodged into the Deschutes County Jail.

The Oregon State Police would like to credit the victim for her bravery in participating in the undercover operation. OSP would also like to thank the Central Oregon Drug Enforcement team for their assistance, along with the Deschutes County District Attorney’s Office. 

OSP understands there may be other victims who have not disclosed similar incidents.  To report any related or similar incidents involving the May Spa, please contact the Oregon State Dispatch Center at (541) 726-2525 or *OSP and reference OSP case number SP23-216409.

Teen Shelter Receives Federal Grant

BEND, OR -- J bar J Youth Services and Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council received $953,950 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

“The community is taking policy strides and doing all the right things to lay the groundwork for additional housing supply and for homeless response. So, really showing the solution-oriented approach,” HUD’s Northwest Administrator Margaret Salazar told a gathering of officials from the city of Bend, COIC, and area non-profits Central Oregon is a model for its efforts to end youth homelessness, “We know that when we invest in our youth, not only are we changing the trajectory of their lives, but we're preventing adult homelessness.”

The grant is part of $60-million in federal grants aimed at ending youth homelessness across the country. Central Oregon is the only community in the Pacific Northwest to receive the funding.

J bar J Youth Services Program Director Eliza Wilson says the money is a big boost, and she has several plans to put it to use, “I definitely think having a place where youth know to go, and they can go every day to access things like showers and things like that.” Wilson added it would be a collaborative effort in deciding how the money is spent.

During Wednesday’s check presentation at youth homeless shelter, the LOFT, COIC’s Tammy Baney thanked local officials, service providers, and non-profit leaders for their efforts, “Today is the day that we get to tell our youth that hope is on the horizon.”

In Central Oregon, there are 29 shelter beds for teens, between the LOFT and Grandma’s House.

The number of unsheltered children rose 30% in the last year. The region has one of the highest rates in the country.

 

Deschutes Co. Commissioners Shoot Down New City Petition

BEND, OR -- Deschutes County is not getting a new city. Commissioners unanimously  denied a request to incorporate an area east of Bend into the town of Mountain View.

At Wednesday's public hearing, Senior County Planner Nicole Mardell said the petition had the required number of signatures, but the 265-square-mile area may not meet population minimums set by the state, "Staff has concerns with this second requirement, as there was not enough information in the record to confirm that there are 150 people residing in this proposed boundary area." Andrew Aasen, who submitted the proposal, says it does, "I went to every single tax lot in the area and tallied how many people were in the homes. I established over 200."

Aasen asked Commissioners to send the question to voters inside the proposed boundary, which includes Millican, "So, the vision and the purpose of incorporation was brought forward through community participation and the petition was born. Its purpose is to address necessary services and realign the area with its current social and economic trends."

But there was overwhelming opposition to the plan at the public hearing, including from county staff and several local and state agencies. Jon Jinings, from the Department of Land Conservation and Development, testified on the difficulty in creating an urban growth boundary and other zoning rules in such a remote area, "There’s immense, possibly overwhelming, challenges to standing up a city like this - to standing up a town out of virtually nothing. We’re really doubtful that it gets them what they want in the first place."

Maryanne Terry lives in the area and initially thought the proposed city could help ease Bend’s overcrowding, "When we got the idea from the letter about Mountain View, we thought, ‘great! This will help Bend’s whole infrastructure because it is just a city to go to.’" But, she admitted there were a lot of unanswered questions,  and she was concerned about the proposed city's size. At 265 square miles, Mountain View would be bigger than Portland. Aasen argued the boundary was based on historic grazing lands used by George Millican, and said the area needed to be large to meet population requirements. 

Darryl Barnes also lives in the area and told Commissioners, "It seems like pie in the sky to even do a city out there, given the problems with infrastructure, water, services, all of that." He added, "I think a lot of these people in favor of this proposal are disgruntled property owners because they didn’t do their due diligence to find out what they could do with their property and the zoning."

Commissioners suggested taxes collected from such a small group of people would not be enough to support necessary city services and, because 75% of the area is federal land, much of it cannot be developed. After hearing complaints about a lack of fire services in the area, Commissioners encouraged the community to pursue joining a rural fire protection district instead of creating a city, which is a much more expensive endeavor. 

 

Culver Teacher Honored With Regional Prize

CULVER, OR -- A fifth grade teacher in Culver is one of Oregon’s 17 regional teachers of the year. Becky Brouillard was presented the award at a surprise assembly Wednesday, with representatives from the Oregon Department of Education and Oregon Lottery. "It’s an honor. It’s great to be recognized and appreciated," Brouillard told KBND News shortly after Wednesday's assembly at Culver Elementary. She also receives a $1,000 prize. "I got a lot of hugs from last year’s class, the sixth graders, as they were leaving the assembly; and this year’s class, I did get a few hugs from them as they walked out too. I think they’re all pretty excited."

Culver Superintendent Stefanie Garber says Brouillard has taught at the school for 32 years, "A lot of people might, after that length of time, take the easy way out and do the same things over and over. And she has never. There has never been two years that have looked the same." Garber added, "She is so innovative. And she’s by far the most tech savvy person in the building. Her classroom is just such a dynamic place to be."

With so many teachers leaving the profession, Garber says the award is meaningful even beyond Culver, "To recognize somebody who has been here through and through, and is loyal and dedicated and loves children every year for 32 years, I don’t know that there’s a better way to show others who might be thinking about the profession how rewarding this really is."

Brouillard believes she’s in good company, "There’s so many teachers doing so many wonderful things. And unfortunately we can’t recognize everybody. But it’s nice to pick out a couple here and there and showcase what they’re doing." 

Brouillard will represent the Jefferson County region in the statewide 2023-24 Teacher of the Year competition. That winner will be announced in October and receives $10,000. The winner's school gets $5,000. 

 

New Art Station Planned For Larkspur Park

BEND, OR -- Bend Parks and Recreation's board of directors has agreed to build a permanent Art Station at Larkspur Park. The district took over Art Station programs in 2016 after the nonprofit Arts Central closed. But the programs had to move out of the old train depot in the Old Mill last year, when the amphitheater needed the space. Since then, they’ve been held at various locations, including at the Larkspur Community Center.

“Constructing a new facility for the Art Station at Larkspur Park provides considerable opportunities for shared staffing, co-programming and scheduling coordination,” Matt Mercer, recreation services director, said in a statement. “The placement within a park also provides direct connection to both developed and natural areas that will enhance art programming and ignite creativity for youth and adults.”

Parks officials believe construction will cost around $2.5 million and hope to have the new facility open by the summer of 2026.

 

Image courtesy Bend Park & Recreation District

Klamath County Turning To Central OR For Eclipse Advice

KLAMATH FALLS, OR -- In less than a month, another eclipse will appear over a portion of Oregon. Klamath Falls is in line for some of the state's best viewing of the annular eclipse on October 14, if the clouds stay away. 

Klamath County Commissioner Kelley Minty says they have to be ready for the county’s population to nearly double, "We don’t know how many people will come. We’ve heard estimates anywhere from 5,000 to 60,000; and our county is a county of 73,000 people." 

She and other local leaders have talked with officials in Jefferson and Crook counties about their experiences during the 2017 eclipse, discovering traffic is one of the biggest concerns, "We’ve learned through them that there was sometimes upwards of a 30-mile stretch of road at standstill traffic. Not only is it frustrating for people, potentially, but it can also be dangerous when you’re trying to get emergency vehicles around, i.e. an ambulance, and you have 30 miles of backed up traffic." But they're looking at all potential issues, "Whether it’s a lot of people on the roads, whether it’s emergencies that result from a lot of people being here, i.e. somebody accidentally starts a fire, we’re trying to plan for all those scenarios."

Like requests made to Madras and Prineville residents in 2017, Minty urges locals to enjoy the event but shelter in place, if possible. "I’m suggesting, and my plan is to stay off the roads, stay out of the stores, be prepared, have cash on hand, have groceries, have gasoline for your vehicle. Those of us who live here, we’re going to need to try to really live light with a very light footprint over those four or five days, to accommodate all the new people here."

In an annular eclipse, the moon passes between the earth and sun, but it’s farther away and doesn’t completely cover the sun. The eclipse creates what’s known as the ring of fire. 

Two large viewing events are planned for Klamath County: Eclipse Fest features the band Smash Mouth near Crater Lake, and the Running Y resort is hosting an Eclipse Into Nature party.

 

Bear Creek Elementary Celebrates 60th Birthday

BEND, OR -- Bend’s Bear Creek Elementary celebrates its 60th birthday this year, and the community is invited to a special celebration this Friday evening. "It’s for anybody that’s a current Bear Creek student or family member, and then, the alumni that we’ve had from the last 60 years of people going to Bear Creek," says interim Principal Marc Zollinger.

He tells KBND News the school has made a deep impact over the years, "And it seems like everybody’s got a story or they know something about it. So, it feels like because Bend is expanding so much, it’s been one of those things that’s been here for the last 60 years and it has kind of a storied past at this point."

R.E. Jewell was superintendent when Bear Creek opened in September of 1963. It had 35 more students than its capacity of 240. Today, 505 students are enrolled. Bear Creek launched the first dual immersion program in Bend-La Pine Schools; it's entered its 14th year. The first dual immersion kindergarten class just graduated high school in 2023. 

Zollinger says, "Bear Creek, in its time here in the community, has been kind of a place for students and families to go and find that connection. And we want to celebrate the fact that Bear Creek does this special job of being a dual-immersion school, and we’re just bringing cultures and languages together." He says the sense of community is an even bigger focus this year, "Really, what we’re trying to do is just be a community within the school that includes the families and the parents, and then that really includes the community at large. So that’s one of the big focuses of the school this year, is that concept of community and that concept of belonging. And an event like this that celebrates the heritage of the school  and of Bend, I think really kind of helps bring things together."

Friday’s celebration at the school starts at 5:30 p.m. and includes family activities, snacks and a one-mile fun run. Click HERE for more information.

 

Redmond Hunter Rescued From Linn County

LINN CO., OR -- A Redmond hunter was rescued from the Mount Jefferson Wilderness Tuesday morning, after he fell ill while camping on the Pacific Crest Trail. The Linn County Sheriff's Office first received a report Monday at about 9:45 p.m. that Curtis Nitschelm was unable to move. Life Light responded at about 11 p.m. and attempted to recover the 64-year-old but was unable to land.

Linn County Search and Rescue volunteers arrived at the Cabot Lake Trailhead in Jefferson County, which is the closes access point to the Linn County location where the patient was camping near South Cinder Peak. SAR hiked through the night and provided immediate medical attention to the man. A Coast Guard helicopter arrived to hoist him up at about 8 a.m. Tuesday. He was flown to the Redmond Airport and then taken by ambulance to the hospital.

Reopening Of Smith Rock Footbridge Delayed

TERREBONNE, OR -- Replacing the footbridge in Smith Rock State Park is not going quite as planned. Park Manager Matt Davey says construction crews ran into a problem during the delivery of the first of three massive support beams, "There was a bit of a learning process, where that beam was slightly damaged during that delivery into the canyon. The beam is currently shipped back to the mill and the mill is doing a repair."

He says there were six deliveries, "The beams are going to be a total of over 100’ in length. However, they were cut in half for the delivery, and then the contractor splices them back together at the bridge site, after the delivery." Davey tells KBND News, "These are big glue-lam beams, over 50’ long and each weighing about 6,000 pounds, roughly, when they get spliced back together."

He says, overall, work to replace the 50-year-old span over the Crooked River has gone well. But there have certainly been challenges, "Due to creating a new bridge in place, where there is a current one, as well as just the access to that location. The access is probably one of the most challenging parts of this job." And that access appears to be where the problems started on the steep path to the canyon, "That combination of steep and tight corners is really what was the tricky navigating part for that beam." 

The footbridge closed August 14th and was supposed to reopen this Friday. Davey says it’s now unclear when visitors will be allowed to access the other side of the Crooked River. "We have seen a few people wading across to access on the other side and we are discouraging that." He says water levels are rising, which makes the river very unpredictable.

  • Trails that will stay open include: Rim Rock Trail, Homestead Trail, Rope-de-Dope Trail, Canyon Trail and North Point loop
  • Climbing areas accessible during construction include: North Point area (accessible from the Homestead and North Point loop trails), Rope-de-Dope boulder (accessible from the Rope-de-Dope trail and Canyon Trail) and The Lower Gorge (Climber Access routes)

Oregon Parks and Recreation Department will update the footbridge closure dates on the Smith Rock webpage and through smithrock.com as information becomes available.

 

COCC Prepares For Enrollment Increase

BEND, OR -- Orientation is underway this week at Central Oregon Community College; classes are set to start next Monday. The school expects 306 students to move in to Wickiup Hall on Thursday. That's 96% of the Bend residents hall's capacity.

COCC’s Alicia Moore says fall enrollment is up, "After the pandemic, we lost a lot of students nationally for community colleges, and we’re starting to see that rebound - not only across the country, but here in Central Oregon Community College. Right now, looking at next week’s enrollment, we’re up at least 10% over last year." In fact, the college reports the academic year will begin with 11.1% more credit-seeking students. The total count, including noncredit students, is up 21%. "Students who are transferring in with a lot of credits from another institution is an area in which we’re seeing our biggest growth, as well as students who’ve taken some time off and perhaps need to come back for some retraining," says Moore. 

Teachers are getting ready. Moore says staff training this week includes how to improve online learning, "Since that’s a new tool for many of our students, especially our adult returning students. They’re also spending quite a bit of time talking about how artificial intelligence tools, such as Chat GPT, can really be a learning tool, instead of being afraid of it as a way for students to cut corners in their learning." She adds, "Really incorporating that into the classroom to make it a more engaging experience for our students." Moore tells KBND News, "It is a great tool, and more and more colleges and universities are starting to discover how we can use that as a way to really help students explore their learning far beyond what we might’ve been able to do in a more traditional environment."

COCC offers two new certificates this year, after successful pilot programs: one in community health work  and the other for graphic design. 

 

Proposed Mountain View City Public Hearing Wednesday

BEND, OR -- Deschutes County's public hearing for creating a new city is Wednesday morning. The proposed city of Mountain View is a 265-square-mile site east of Bend, with Millican in the center. The population just meets the state-required 150 resident minimum. 

“The official numbers from the Portland State Census Bureau shows over 160 people. Just from personal account going to every tax lot that had an individual living on it, I would say there are over 200 people from my tally count,” Millican resident Andrew Aasen tells KBND News city incorporation would allow improved resources to those people. “It just stems from the inability to come up with any major solutions to the county or local government to improve the area. The main areas of concern were the lack of fire services and medical protection, as well as inadequate zoning. The Oregon statute defines zoning as areas that meet the current economic and social trends of the area. And that's not the case for that region.” Aasen says the plan to incorporate Mountain View has been in the works for three years. A petition signed by more than 20% of people who live in the area was certified in April.

For the county to approve Mountain View’s incorporation and send the decision to a vote for those residing in the proposed city boundary, three criteria must be met, including a plan for how to pay for services.

Aasen believes the money can be found, “I think that there are a lot of notions as to funding availability. But with over a billion dollars available for small cities, there is a substantial amount that can be sought after to start these improvements right away.”

Aasen will give his proposal for City of Mountain View incorporation at Wednesday morning’s public hearing; part of the Commissioner’s regular meeting starting at 8:30 AM.

 

Trout Creek And Petes Lake Fires Keep Crews Busy

BEND, OR -- Wildland fire crews continue to battle two fires in Central Oregon after a weekend of hot, dry and windy weather.

The Trout Creek Fire (pictured), 10 miles north of Madras, is about 25% contained at 1,550 acres, as of Tuesday morning. It was first reported Sunday at 1 p.m. "It did grow quickly; just dry fuels, dry conditions," says Kaitlyn Webb, with the Central Oregon Fire Management Service, "It’s a little bit of a mix, fuel-wise: grass, sagebrush and some trees." It's burning on private land and the cause has not been determined.

Webb tells KBND News the initial attack was a multi-agency collaboration, "We had a variety of resources out there. There was the local rangeland protection association, Jefferson County resources, Bureau of Land Management and US Forest Service resources." Webb adds, "We had both air and ground resources responding. We had everything from hand line to dozer line, to aerial retardant line around that fire." 

After three weeks of very little activity, the Petes Lake Fire also grew quickly over the weekend, in the Three Sisters Wilderness. It's now over 3,000 acres. "It’s not that we were surprised at all, nor would this be unexpected to have a fire, once it’s hot and dry, to move out of just sort of a smoldering condition into producing more smoke," says Jean Nelson-Dean, "We knew, based on predicted weather, that we were going to face some hot and dry conditions with low humidity, with some winds. So, the growth on the fire was not unexpected and was being closely monitored the whole time." The Deschutes County Sheriff's Office issued new evacuation notices Monday, due to the fire's expanded perimeter. Find the latest info HERE

She tells KBND News, "We prepared for contingencies ahead of time by putting in a shaded fuel break along the Cascade Lakes Highway. And today we have firefighters basically doing wrapping and structural protection work around Lava Lake and Elk Lake." Nelson-Dean says that shaded fuel break will provide an access point for ground crews if the fire approaches the Cascade Lakes Highway. For now, much of the firefight is happening from the air, due to the rugged terrain. Nelson-Dean reminds drone pilots that several fires in the Three Sisters Wilderness are relying heavily on aerial support, and those teams can’t fly if drones are in their airspace. 

A Type 1 Management Team takes over the Petes Lake Fire Tuesday. Nelson-Dean says it was a logistical move because the same team is already working other fires in the area. 

Picture of the Trout Creek Fire, courtesy of COFMS (09/18/23)

New Mural In Downtown Bend

BEND, OR -- Bend got its own Greetings mural this weekend. The large-letter postcard-style artwork faces Franklin Avenue on the Chase Bank Building.

Graphic Artist Victor Ving tells KBND News Oregon was chosen from dozens of suggestions for one of the landmark murals, spanning 60 cities across 27 states. “We kind of geographically picked Bend, and we thought it was a great town that we can attract tourism to as well and hopefully help a lot of these small businesses,” Ving says he, along with Bend’s Vivi Design Company, collaborated for months on the mural’s local features, with painting on the wall taking about a week. “It's been a great experience because we've been able to connect artists throughout the country throughout this project and Vivi Design…they've been amazing to work with. We gave them the creative freedom to do what they wanted. There's a big difference between doing your art in public and creating like true public art that involves the community because that process of gathering the ideas and sure there's like a lot about them, but we can't fit everything in there. So, we really have to distill it down.”

Ving says the projects are intended to help small business by drawing tourism, “When we're gone, it kind of belongs to the people that live in the area and we want them to take ownership of it and feel proud of what they're doing.”

The art projects are funded by grants from the Greetings Tour.

They finished Sunday, with Ving handing out postcards and stamps of the Greetings from Bend design.

 

Petes Lake Fire Expands, Along With Evacuation Warnings

SISTERS, OR -- The Petes Lake Fire grew rapidly over the weekend, due to hot and windy conditions. Acreage increased from 320 on Friday, to 3,009 acres as of Monday morning. It has not crossed the crest of the Cascades. 

The Petes Lake Fire was first reported August 25th in the Three Sisters Wilderness. Cascade Lakes Highway recently reopened to two-way traffic, between Elk Lake and Lava Lake, but fire managers warn delays could occur with fire equipment moving in and out of the area.

Deschutes County's Sheriff's Office issued a Level 2 (Be Set) Evacuation notice, Monday, for: Areas around Elk, Hosmer, Lava and Little Lave Lakes. This includes areas east of Cascade Lakes Hwy from Blue Lagoon north to Quinn Meadows.

The Level 3 (Go Now) Evacuation notice is still in place for: All areas west of the Cascade Lakes Hwy from the Lucky Lake Trailhead north to the Mirror Lake Trail. This includes the areas around Lucky Lake, Leech Lake, Doris Lake, Blow Lake and Mirror Lakes.

Bend Conducting Fair Housing Survey

BEND, OR -- Bend is asking for feedback on the availability of fair and accessible housing in the city. Affordable Housing Manager Racheal Baker says a new survey will collect data from the community about their housing experiences, "And make sure that they have housing choice in our community, and that they can access housing in any neighborhood they would like to choose, and that they have the community resources in the neighborhoods in which they live." 

She tells KBND News the city is trying to gather important feedback, "If they have experienced discrimination; if they have accessibility in the housing with which they live; if they have their safety concerns addressed in their neighborhood; if they have access to hospitals, grocery stores, childcare, within their neighborhood."

The city typically conducts surveys every two or three years, to comply with requirements for recipients of federal community development block grants. "We did one last year," says Baker, "And it was a little more difficult during the pandemic to get the outreach. So, we’re redoing this. And, in addition, the federal government has slightly restructured things, so we’re trying to adhere to those requirements." She says last year's survey received around 800 responses. 

Baker admits past surveys in Bend have revealed obvious challenges, "I think it’s really difficult to have fair housing if people cannot afford the housing with which to live in. And so, as the Affordable Housing Manager, it is my job to make sure that we’re doing our best to create affordability throughout our community." 

The online survey should take about 10 minutes and Baker says the goal is to hear from a diverse array of residents. Click HERE to access Bend's Fair Housing Survey by October 13th.


 

Local Nonprofits Seek More Volunteers As Needs Grow

BEND, OR -- Several local nonprofits are joining forces this weekend, to recruit much-needed volunteers. Bethlehem Inn Volunteer Manager Jordon Walker says shelters in Bend and Redmond couldn’t operate without extra help, "We rely significantly on volunteers to help us run all of our programs." But, he says, many people think volunteers must be retired or have special skills; when, in fact, there are opportunities for anyone who’s willing. 

"The need for services is growing," says Walker, "And so, we’re going to continue to need to bolster the amount of people that are involved in being part of that solution. So, it’s really a never-ending goal of trying to get as many people involved in what we do, to complete our mission."

Bethlehem Inn hosts what Walker calls a Volunteer Community Conversation Sunday afternoon with Saving Grace, KIDS Center, CASA and the region’s other shelter provider, Shepherd’s House. "We’re all trying to do amazing, great things. It isn't a competition," Walker tells KBND News, "It’s just about trying to get people to the right place where they have their volunteering home." And, he says, it’s not uncommon for someone to help out at more than one organization, "Oftentimes, what you’ll see, too - once you start volunteering in one nonprofit ‘here,’ and you go to another one. A lot of the communities actually overlap. So, you might be helping someone at Saving Grace who you later see at Bethlehem Inn."

Sunday’s event is from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. at Bethlehem Inn’s Bend shelter (3705 N. Highway 97), where prospective volunteers will hear from various nonprofits and be able to sign up. 

 

Two State Senators Deemed Ineligible for Reelection File As Candidates

SALEM, OR -- Bend State Senator Tim Knopp filed for re-election Thursday, despite being deemed ineligible to run by Oregon’s Secretary of State. Senator Dennis Linthicum (R-Klamath Falls) is also running for re-election.

Ten State Senators racked up more than 10 unexcused absences during a GOP-led walkout in the 2023 legislative session, including Knopp and Linthicum. Six of those Senate seats are open in 2024. The Secretary of State has said those incumbents cannot be re-elected because of Measure 113, which the Senators are fighting in court. 

Linthicum’s wife Diane has also filed for the Klamath Falls Senate seat. 

Thursday was the first day candidates could file for the May primary.

Bear Creek Fire The Latest In Long List Of 2023 Human-Caused Wildfires

PRINEVILLE, OR -- Investigators now say a wildfire reported Tuesday in the Ochocos was caused by an abandoned campfire. Kassidy Kern, with the Ochoco National Forest, says there are often obvious clues in human-caused wildfires. "If you have a campfire ring and there’s a distinct black pattern that runs away from that and into nearby vegetation, it actually is not rocket science, as it turns out," she tells KBND News, "There are certain things that could not be more of an arrow pointing directly to the cause of the fire." 
Firefighters quickly responded, holding the fire to 25 acres. "This Bear Creek Fire really was a bit of a wakeup call for us. And I hope that we all take it for what it was," says Kern, "This could’ve been a bad deal and it ended up being okay and we had the air support available close by to assist firefighters. But we can’t let our guard down." The Bear Creek Fire is at least the 157th human-caused fire in Central Oregon this season, compared to just 59 started by lightning.

Kern says, "We’re still under those elevated conditions, that if we do get an ignition, it’s much more likely to stand up and want to take a run." Cooler fall weather usually brings overnight humidity. But that hasn't materialized yet, "We are not seeing the humidity recoveries at night and our temperatures are hotter than normal. So, we aren’t getting that break where our fuels might be able to suck up a little bit more moisture, so they’re more dry, it’s hotter - so any fire that starts is going to spread more, and we do have some breezy conditions." Those breezy conditions are blamed for a new smoke column in the Petes Lake Fire area Thursday, visible from Bend. 

Even hotter weather is expected this weekend, and potentially gusty east winds.

Photo courtesy Central Oregon Fire Management Service. 

County Preps ODF Wildfire Map Meeting

BEND, OR -- Deschutes County officials plan to meet next week with the Oregon Department of Forestry, to give input on the state’s revised Wildfire Hazard Map, formerly the Wildfire Risk Map. County Forrester Kevin Moriarty told commissioners Wednesday the new map has inconsistencies on classifications, “My biggest concerns are probably the areas ranked moderate with areas adjacent to it are ranked high and there doesn't seem to be any discernible difference in vegetation or location between those two... There are several communities that are split between high and moderate. And so, if you're managed at an HOA level, you're going to have certain tax lots that would be ranked high and certain that would be ranked moderate, that could cause issues within a neighborhood association or an HOA.”

Under a new Senate bill, properties in the Wildland Urban Interface boundary classified as high hazard will face more development regulations.

“I do find it fascinating that somebody who has hay fields and two incredibly large ponds here is considered high, you know, all the agriculture that I drive by, it's still in the top category,” said Commissioner Patti Adair, also raising concern about insurance companies setting rates based on the map, something prohibited by new state legislation. 

Commissioner Phil Chang thinks it’s important for the county to provide input at next week’s meeting with the Oregon Department of Forestry, “Our job is to help them get all the variables and the analysis in the model right. And if they do get that right, then it'll show up as a more accurate mapping.”

Next Thursday’s meeting in Klamath Falls will include ODF, the State Fire Marshal, and Association of Oregon Counties.

There’s no firm deadline for finalizing the hazard map, but it’s expected to be next spring.

 

DCSO Main Office Dedicated In Honor Of Late Sheriff

BEND, OR -- Deschutes County’s ninth and current Sheriff - Shane Nelson - honored the seventh Sheriff - Les Stiles during a special dedication ceremony Wednesday, "By my order as your Sheriff, the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office main campus was proclaimed the Les Stiles Justice Center." 

The renaming actually occurred in December, after Nelson learned Stiles was terminally ill. "I was really happy that we were able to put some things together and let Les know how we wanted to honor him while he was still with us," Sheriff Nelson told the crowd of Stiles' friends and family, "And of course, Carol told me he appropriately responded, ‘I don’t deserve this.’ Because he didn’t do the work to be recognized. He did the work to better the office and better the community." Stiles died in early January. 

Nelson credits Stiles for creating lasting programs and policies for the agency, "Together with his wife Carol, he established our Shop with a Cop program. The budget for the first event, 23 years ago, was a few thousand dollars, helping 10 kids and their families. Today, the program helps over 110 kids and 600 family members." He also founded the COPY program and helped pass a ballot measure providing DCSO with a stable funding source. "His service had a significant positive impact on the future of our office and service to our community," Nelson said Wednesday, "He believed in fostering leadership at every level."

After Stiles retired from Deschutes County, he served as Prineville’s interim police chief and launched his own consultant practice. 

 

Shots Fired During Pursuit Of Suspected Energy Drink Thief

MADRAS, OR -- Police say they heard shots being fired during a foot pursuit Wednesday afternoon, in Madras. Officers were chasing a man accused of stealing an energy drink from the Human Bean coffee kiosk on NE Plum Drive. 

The first arriving officer saw a man matching the suspect's discription crossing Highway 26; but he ran off as the officer approached. As other Madras oficers joined the foot chase, they say they heard gunfire. They awaited backup as the suspect ran uphill.

Christopher Chilton, a 53-year-old from Klamath Falls, was eventually taken into custody at gunpoint by Jefferson County deputies. He's charged with Escape III and misdemeanor Theft, and is due in court Thursday afternoon.

Chilton was arrested in Multnomah County in July for misdemeanor Theft, Trespass and Criminal Mischief, and was out on pretrial release. He's scheduled to appear in a Portland courtroom on those charges on September 28th. 

Deschutes County Urges Suicide Prevention Awareness

BEND, OR -- Deschutes County hosts a candlelight vigil Thursday, in recognition of those who have lost a loved one to suicide. The county's Suicide Prevention Project Coordinator Bethany Kuschel says events like this helps promote healing, "It gives people an opportunity, maybe if they’re struggling or maybe if they’ve had some experiences around suicide, to open up and talk about it. And maybe that can open up a connection to get some resources and then potentially get some help and support." She tells KBND News, "Often loss survivors experience a level of stigma and shame and guilt, that really only other loss survivors can understand. So, being in a space where they can talk openly and remember their loved one without having to worry about what other people are thinking about them or judging them."

The vigil is from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on the front lawn of the Bend-La Pine Schools Education Center, at 520 NW Wall Street. 

It's one of several events planned for National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, aimed at brining survivors together. "There’s always this kind of recurrent theme of healing and joining together to support one another in a shared experience that’s pretty particular," says Caroline Suiter, Deschutes Count's Suicide/Mental Health Promotion Strategist, "That also can help prevent suicide by helping people heal, and recognize the losses that they’ve had and share about that lived experience in safe ways."

Next Thursday, Kuschel and Suiter will lead a free prevention training, "Some of the biggest barriers for people to get involved with someone who might be struggling with suicide, is a feeling of discomfort and not knowing what to do," says Kuschel, "That training, hopefully, breaks down some of those barriers and gives people confidence that asking directly about suicide is the right thing to do; it doesn’t put the idea in anyone’s head." The "Question, Persuade, Refer" (QPR) training is September 21 at 2 p.m. at the downtown Bend Library.

If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, visit Deschutes County’s Stabilization Center at 63311 NE Jamison Street, in Bend. Or, contact the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline anytime via call or text at 988. Deschutes County's Crisis Line is staffed during business hours at 541-32207500, ext. 9. There's also more information at the Central Oregon Suicide Prevention Alliance website

 

Bend Man Accused Of Stealing $1800 In Liquor

BEND, OR -- Bend Police seized $1,850 in wine and liquor from a man accused of shoplifting. The Wagner Mall Beer and Wine Shop first reported a $500 bottle of tequila missing earlier this month. But a review of surveillance footage revealed the suspect also stashed two others in his pants before buying a $10 bottle.

Officers identified 56-year-old Benjamin Brambila and say he told investigators he gives away the bottles to friends or in exchange for services. After he consented to a search, officers say they found five bottles in his car and 52 in his home. The original three bottles of tequila were not recovered.

Other liquor stores were advised to review their surveillance footage for Brambila as part of the ongoing investigation. Those who believe their business might be a victim are urged to contact nonemergency dispatch at 541-693-6911 and reference case no. 2023-00054560. 

Crook Co. Neighborhood Opposes Planned Redmond Shelter

REDMOND, OR -- A neighborhood just outside of Deschutes County is voicing opposition to plans for a managed homeless camp three miles away in Redmond. The city has been discussing the proposed Oasis Village project for about a year and it's received state funding to bring utilities to the site near the Redmond Airport. But neighbors on the western edge of Crook County now say they should have been consulted before the site was approved.  

"Many residents of the West Powell Butte Estates and other concerned citizens are in opposition to the plans for this development," Trish Davis told Redmond's City Council Tuesday, "Also, we’d like to have the unauthorized homeless camps that are currently there now be moved to a more appropriate areas." She went on to say the project will increase crime in the region. "In addition, the increased traffic entering the circulation on Highway 126 including the airport traffic access, and adding more vehicles will only exacerbate the congested issues." She added, "And, the fear and safety of extreme fire danger in this area, as there is already very dangerous, major fire from unauthorized homeless camps that had already spread in our direction, that happened last year, in 2022."

In the past, Redmond's Mayor praised the location for its distance from residential neighbors. Oasis Village expects to begin moving people in to its 15 tiny shelters by the end of the year. KBND News talked with Redmond City Councilor Tobias Colvin about the project and this new opposition on Wednesday morning. To hear that full conversation, visit our Podcast Page.

 

BPD: Abandoned Cars, Parking Complaints Top Calls For Service

BEND, OR -- Bend Police want to manage community expectations for responding to the top reason people call the agency: parking complaints. "This cannot be our highest priority," Bend PD's Sheila Miller tells KBND News, "Our officers get called to hundreds of calls every day, and those things are often emergencies or crimes in progress, or something that’s really dangerous."

Miller says, "We’ve already received about 2500 calls for abandoned vehicles, so far in 2023. And then if you combine that with parking complaints, which is about 1500, we’re at over 4,000 calls for service on those two issues." And the complaints run the gamut, from nuisance vehicles, to cars parked illegally or just parked too long in one location. She says there are 10 Community Service officers who respond to abandoned vehicles, when they have time, "Vehicles have just been left by the side of the road, right? Somebody broke down, maybe they’ll come back for it, maybe they won’t. And those can be fairly straightforward." She says the rest get triaged, "If it’s a hazard, if it’s putting people in danger, if it’s a safety issue, we’re going to respond to those much more quickly than we are to, ‘this guy parks his junker in front of my house and I don’t care for it’." 

Under the city’s parking ordinance, Miller says cars only have to move every three days, "So, I can park my car in your neighborhood, I can park it in my neighborhood, I can park it anywhere I want. And as long as I move it every three days - and in our city parking ordinance, it does not identify how far I have to move it. I just have to move it."

Parking complaints should be reported through non-emergency dispatch, at 541-693-6911.

file photo

DCSO Youth Mentor Class Coming

BEND, OR -- The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office has volunteer openings in its program for children of an incarcerated parent.

Project coordinator Bob Moore tells KBND News there are a variety of ways mentors connect with kids in ‘Central Oregon Partnerships for Youth’, or COPY.

“One of my gals that was talking about stop motion film her and that youth have been connected doing that as a project. I just had another volunteer that got back from a petting zoo that's in Prineville,” Moore says in the program’s almost 20 years ago, the Sheriff’s office has established partnerships with local businesses, like rock climbing gyms, and trampoline parks. He says these activities offer order at a chaotic time, “These aren't juvenile offenders; these aren't kids that have been in trouble. These are kids that just don't have the same opportunity that other kids have out there to do kind of regular kids, sort of stuff. And so, we want to be providing those kids with equal opportunities to succeed.”

COPY is designed for children to spend time with a role model, or at least somebody to hang out with. “A lot of times we have volunteers that come with specific skill sets. And other times we've got folks that just want to spend some time out in the community with youth. And so, it really can be that broad,” Moore says volunteers spending just a few quality hours a week makes an impact, “A lot of our kids have a lack of stability in their lives. Just a lot of stuff that's going on and to have one stable adult that they can count on is a big piece.”

On Saturday, September 23, COPY will offer a volunteer training. This 3½ hour class covers program policies, Q&A from a current volunteer, how to establish a mentor relationship, the impact incarceration has on families, communication skills, and the stages of a mentoring relationship. There is no cost to attend, but advanced registration is required. Light snacks and refreshments provided. For additional details please call 541-388-6651 or email COPY@deschutes.org. Additional program information is available at the Sheriff’s Office web site at www.sheriff.deschutes.org/copy.

 

 

Madras Man Stabbed, Arrested For Prior Assault

MADRAS, OR -- Police are releasing details about an incident that sent SWAT to a home on the south end of Madras last week. Officers responded to a domestic violence call on Murray Street on September sixth involving a man with a lengthy criminal history, but could not locate the suspect.

On Monday, September 11, officers were called to St. Charles Madras when a stabbing victim showed up at the hospital. Investigators learned the stabbing victim was 34-year-old Davis Stwyer, Jr., the same man suspected in the earlier domestic incident.

Stwyer faces numerous charges, including Strangulation and Menacing. He's due in court Wednesday afternoon. 

River Access Improvements Coming To Bend Parks

BEND, OR -- The Bend Parks and Recreation Board has approved designs for new river access points at three parks. New walkways and steps are designed to address erosion and improve riverbank habitat at McKay, Miller’s Landing, and Columbia parks.

Parks and Rec project manager and landscape architect Ian Isaacson says the parks have consistently seen heavy usage, “These are right in the heart of downtown Bend. Some of the most popular destination locations for folks to access and recreate in the river. They're just downstream from the Bend Whitewater Park.”

Isaacson tells KBND News the need for improvements at the parks were identified in 2021 as part of the Deschutes River Access and Habitat Restoration Plan. There are three focuses. “To manage increased recreational river use… We want to improve the experience for all river users, and we want to better facilitate sustainable use of our river resource. Whether you live here in town or are a visitor, I think all three of those goals are worthy of support from everybody and everyone has been extremely, extremely supportive of this project so far," Isaacson says.

The nearly $1-million projects will be paid for by property taxes, SDC reimbursements. and grant funding. The designs need to be finalized. Estimated completion is in 2025.

 

Summit High Student Arrested After Bomb Threat

BEND, OR -- Police say a Summit High student faces criminal charges for a bomb threat against the school. Bend PD's Sheila Miller says the threat appeared on social media over the weekend, "From an anonymous Summit High student claiming to be planning to detonate an explosive device on Monday. And we’ve determined that this 17-year-old is responsible."

Citing the ongoing investigation, Miller released very few details about the suspect, but says the threat was very specific, "The time, the date, the location and details of what this person was going to do. And it was referencing a specific event - it was going to take place on September 11th."

Police were first alerted Saturday evening by an anonymous report to the Safe Oregon tip line, which Miller calls a critical link, "You may not feel comfortable walking into the principal’s office and saying, ‘hey, this kid said this thing.’ But you can file an anonymous tip and share your concerns in that way. That is really vital. I think it’s also important to remember this was an anonymous threat that was shared on social media; seems very likely that a lot of people saw it, yet we only received one tip about it."

Following the tip, BPD involved federal authorities, "When these things involve threats to schools, threats to public agencies, threats involving incendiary devices, that sort of thing, it’s not uncommon to have the FBI get involved," Miller tells KBND News. There were also security sweeps of the school and all classes and activities were canceled Monday, "Because we couldn’t say with certainty that this was a hoax initially, that’s why we took it so seriously. During the course of our investigation, we did determine that this was a hoax."

After news broke of the teen's arrest, Bend-La Pine Schools issued a statement saying in part: 

Bend-La Pine Schools is relieved this situation was resolved quickly and that no one was placed in harm’s way. We are also grateful that investigators were able to identify the responsible party, who now faces appropriate disciplinary consequences. 

We stand beside our law enforcement partners in reminding our students and families that any hoax related to school safety is extremely serious and will result in significant consequences. 

 

Deschutes D.A.: Weaver Murder Case Remains Priority

BEND, OR -- It’s been almost two months since the body of Evelyn Weaver was found inside her home on Northwest Hill in Bend, and still authorities have not named a suspect. "It’s a very active investigation," says Deschutes County District Attorney Steve Gunnels, "And the Bend Police detectives - all of them - are and have been involved in this investigation since the murder occurred."

Weaver was found murdered on July 18th. Her vehicle was discovered in Klamath Falls a few days later. Detectives have not released any details on what was found in the house or car, nor have they revealed Weaver’s cause of death. Gunnels tells KBND News, "The Oregon State Police Crime Lab is assisting in that investigation. We just had a meeting in my office with detectives and the crime lab last week, getting an update and kind of deciding some investigative paths we want to take." He adds, "I do believe this murder will be solved and that the perpetrator will be held accountable. But I can’t give you a timeline for it. Ultimately, we want the investigation to be as thorough and complete as possible."

Gunnels says the Weaver murder investigation is very different from that of a Redmond man recently killed in downtown Bend. The suspect in that case was arrested in Tennessee, less than two weeks after the shooting. "The people knew who the shooter was and were able to identify the shooter to law enforcement immediately. In the Evelyn Weaver case," says Gunnels, "that murder happened inside a home, there were no other witnesses other than the murderer and Ms. Weaver. So, investigators have to use forensic evidence, leads and interviews of people who potentially know the murderer."

For our full conversation with D.A. Gunnels, visit KBND's Podcast Page.

 

OSU-Cascades Open House Focuses On Campus' Next Phase

BEND, OR -- OSU-Cascades hosts an open house Thursday evening, to outline development plans for the Bend campus. The second phase begins this month and includes remediation of part of the former demolition landfill and preparation for development of the first eight acres of the future innovation district, as well as a second campus entrance on Century Drive.

University planners, as well as representatives from contractors Knife River, Maul Foster & Alongi, and SRG Partnership will be available to discuss the planned work. They will also provide contact information that community members can use throughout the development for questions or concerns.

Thursday’s open house is free but registration is requested. It takes place in the Charles McGrath Atrium in Edward J. Ray Hall, from 4-6 p.m.

The project is funded by the State Legislature, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and OSU.

Input Sought On Cline Buttes Enhancement Plan

REDMOND, OR -- The Bureau of Land Management is considering a new parking lot and other enhancements at the Cline Buttes Recreational Area, west of Redmond. The goal is to protect golden eagle nests and other resources by restoraign areas damaged by user-created routes, while also improving human access to the popular hiking, biking and equestrian trails.

“We plan to connect existing trails, providing even longer routes for recreators,” Deschutes Field Office Manager Lisa Clark said in a statement. “This project is special because it protects the area while also meeting our community’s need for expanded trail access.” 

BILM is taking public online comment on the plan through 4:30 p.m. on September 21st. Comments may be submitted through the ePlanning website, where the full plan is also available to the public.

Near Capacity Franklin Ave Shelter Making Adjustments

BEND, OR The city of Bend needs to adjust the rooming situation at its Franklin Avenue Shelter.

Amy Fraley, Bend’s Houselessness Services Senior Program Manager tells KBND News the shelter’s operator, Shepherd’s House, determined there are many non-related people using larger rooms intended for families.

“To maximize the shelter space at Franklin by allowing individuals that don't pool their finances to live in the same room. So basically, it is so there can be roommates. They do have a number of individuals that would like to room together. But they're not families. So, they want to maximize the space by allowing people to do that. We thought pooling financial resources could be, for instance, sharing just like food costs or something like that if folks went out together and did shopping, but it's a little more involved than that,” Fraley says as of last week, 52 people are staying at the former Rainbow Motel, “Our plan for that facility is to be at 60 by October. So, they are well on their way.”

Deschutes County Commissioners will review a requested language change to the grant funding agreement at Wednesday’s meeting, to accommodate the roommate shift.

It’s a wording change from ‘non-congregant shelter’ to just ‘shelter’.

 

Hwy 20 Roundabouts Nearly Complete

BEND, OR -- Work zone traffic congestion should ease a bit in Tumalo in a few weeks, following months of work on two separate Highway 20 projects. Kacey Davey, with the Oregon Department of Transportation, says four new multi-lane roundabouts between Bend and Tumalo should fully open by early October, if not sooner. Most have one lane open. "For the Bend North Corridor section, big shout out to our contractor, we are ahead of schedule with getting those roundabouts done," says Davey There’s still more to do on Highway 20, "There’ll be a bunch of stuff still happening, but most of it will be happening off the road: signs getting installed and striping, and some finishing touches on that side."

Davey tells KBND News, "The project down in Tumalo also has some things other than roundabouts that are happening, like the tunnel that’s under the highway for bikes and pedestrians. They’ll still be working on that for a little bit and it will open a bit later this fall because they’re doing that after they finish the roundabouts." She urges drivers to continue to be cautious in the work zone. The speed limit between Bend and Tumalo is still 35 miles per hour, "Just keep it slow and steady. The roundabouts will also be slowing down traffic a bit, but hopefully they’ll also help in keeping traffic moving in all directions."

Prep work is now underway on the Highway 97 side of the North Corridor project, "Most of the work, actually throughout this year, will continue to happen on the side of the road, as they get the bridge structures prepared, get the new section of highway prepared. So there won’t be any major traffic impacts to the 97 side until next year." But, Davey says, drivers still need to pay attention, "It does look like on 97 that they’re widening the highway, but what they’re really going to do is just shifting traffic over a little bit to the west, to give themselves extra space to work." That lane shift is expected to take effect later this fall. 

Photo: Crews continue work on Highway 20 at Cooley Road.

Summit High CLOSED Monday, Suspect Arrested

10 a.m. UPDATE (9/11/23) -- Bend Police say a 17-year-old from Bend is now in custody, accused of Disorderly Conduct. Investigators first learned of a social media post from an anonymous Summit High student at about 7:30 p.m. Saturday, September 9. The student threatened to detonate an explosive device at SHS on Monday. Bend Police and the FBI investigated and contacted the suspect at their home late Sunday.

 

BEND, OR -- Summit High School is closed Monday after a threat made on social media over the weekend. All classes and all after-school activities, including practices and games, are canceled. The now deleted post referenced the anniversary of 9/11. 

Bend Police are investigating, along with State Police and the FBI.  Anyone with information is urged to call the non-emergency dispatch number (541-693-6911). KBND News is working to gather more information on this developing story. 

The district sent this letter to parents Sunday night:

 

Hello Summit families,

After a meeting this evening with our law enforcement partners, we made the difficult decision to cancel all classes and activities at Summit High School on Monday, Sept. 11, in response to a threat that was posted on social media this weekend. Law enforcement agencies are actively investigating this threat, and we believe it is best for students to stay home tomorrow. All students are excused for the day, and all after-school activities, including practices and games, are canceled.

We are working closely with the Bend Police Department in response to a post shared Saturday evening on social media. The post, which has since been deleted, used threatening language in reference to Summit High School, use of a destructive device, and tomorrow’s anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. With the assistance of Oregon State Police and the FBI, detectives are working to determine if the threat is credible or not. The school campus was searched today; an additional search will be conducted in the morning with the assistance of a trained OSP canine.

If you have any information on who may be responsible for the threat, please contact Bend Police at (541) 693-6911.

The tip we received about the threat was shared through the SafeOregon program. Oregon students, parents, school staff and community members may use this service to report student safety threats. Learn more at https://www.safeoregon.com/report-a-tip/

We will provide you with an update on this situation by Monday evening.

Thank you,

Bend-La Pine Schools

Terrebonne Fight Leads To Arrest

TERREBONNE, OR -- A Madras man is accused of pulling a gun on people inside the Terrebonne Grange Hall Saturday night. According to the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office, 23-year-old Elijah Quiroz got into a fight and was told to leave. Witnesses say he went to his car and returned with a gun, threatening those inside.

Some reported hearing gunshots, but deputies say it is unclear if Quiroz fired. No one was hurt in the altercation.

He was arrested after a short slow-speed chase. Quiroz is charged with Unlawful Use of a Weapon, Felony Fourth Degree Assault, Attempting to Elude, two counts of Menacing, two counts of Harassment, DUII, Reckless Driving and Disorderly Conduct. 

 

file photo

Deschutes County Considers Rural RV Rental Code

BEND, OR -- Deschutes County officials are considering how to implement a new state law allowing RVs to be used as housing on rural private property. SB 1013 was approved in the 2023 legislature and takes effect January first. "It’s a way to provide some additional housing in rural areas of the county," County Senior Planner Tanya Saltzman told County Commissioners this week. 

She says the legislature laid out a number of restrictions, "The property can’t be in an urban reserve. There has to already be a single-family dwelling on the property as the primary residence. There can’t be any other dwelling units on the property. This is a big one: the RV cannot be utilized as a short-term rental. So, that’s very similar to the ADUs; it’s not intended to be AirBnB/VRBO type of things." The motorhome or trailer must also be drivable and titled, and either leased or owned by the tenant. And, the state requires the homeowner provide what are considered essential services, "Essentially, it’s sewage disposal, water supply and electrical supply; so, basically an RV hook-up and some modification of that. We have our Building Division looking into what exactly that means, but the big point of that is there needs to be somewhere to deposit the waste." 

But, Saltzman says, there are still unanswered questions. "Most of these RVs, especially older ones, are not necessarily designed to handle significant snow-loads. So, should we require a ramada or a shelter-type thing that’s put over this RV? And if so, what might those standards be?" And, while the new state law mandates the rent charged by the property owner be "reasonable," Commissioners asked whether there was an option for rent to be free.  

County staff is now working on a draft code to align the RV rental rules with the recently developed code for rural ADUs. The Planning Commission will hold a public hearing November ninth before County Commissioners make a final decision on an ordinance. 

 

file photo

Prineville Rapist Sentenced To 25 Years

PRINEVILLE, OR -- A Prineville man will spend 25 years in prison on a number of rape and sex abuse charges. A jury convicted 28-year-old Joshua Quattlebum in August on two counts of Rap, Sodomy, First Degree Sexual Abuse, two counts of Second Degree Sexual Abuse, Endangering the Welfare of a Minor, Harassment and Disorderly Conduct. His victim was an adult known to him.

During sentencing, aggravating factors increased the penalty, according to the Crook County District Attorney, including deliberate cruelty and violence, a child was present in at least one attack, Quattlebum’s involvement in similar prior crimes and a lack of remorse. In 2015, Quattlebum was convicted of Attempted Sodomy and Sex Abuse for assaulting two different victims under the age of 14. 

He was also ordered to register as a sex offender and serve 10 years post prison supervision.

Deschutes River Woods Gets Wildfire Fuels Reduction

BEND, OR -- A big vegetation thinning project took place Thursday in Deschutes River Woods, with three local partners: Deschutes County Rural Fire District #2, the DRW neighborhood association, and Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council.

Fire Inspector Melissa Steele says private properties next to those forested areas with high fire risk get help thanks to combining over $400-thousand in Oregon State Fire Marshal grants. “We're all going to be taking our money, putting it together and then trying to figure out the best way to attack each specific topic when it comes to reducing fire and fuels,” Steele tells KBND News they’ve been aware of the danger in the area for a while, “We have identified Deschutes River Woods as a potential fire hazard since the late 1970s. And so now we finally have this money from Oregon State Fire Marshal and all of these agencies are working together.” Steele says another goal is getting property owners to create defensible space around homes.

COIC’s Lauren Street coordinates crews with the Heart of Oregon Corps to reduce hazardous fuels, “A lot of times we're working in the wildland-urban interface area. These are areas that are normally surrounded by the National Forest or other public lands. Anything that a prescribed burn would do, naturally, we're going in and doing it manually in areas that have too many structures to have those prescribed burns.”

“We couldn't do it without the help of Heart of Oregon. And the railroad has been a big part as well. They're going to help us with some equipment. We also have ODOT which is fantastic along highway 97 starting at Baker, heading south,” says Steele of the collaborative effort.

DRW Firewise Coordinator Greg Bryant says it’s a big job, “The Deschutes River Woods is over 2,000 lots, and each lot is almost an acre. So, we’ve got over six square miles… We’ve got 34 miles of roads that we have out here.”

Crews will continue work through the Fall on private land and the forest adjacent to Deschutes River Woods.

Denial Of Sisters Homeless Shelter Appears Imminent

SISTERS, OR -- The Sisters City Council is poised to deny a request for an extreme-weather shelter in a permanent location. Sisters has never had a permanent homeless shelter. For years, churches rotated hosting space during weather emergencies; volunteers manage the facility with help from Shepherd's House. But, in recent years, the number of available locations has dwindled, and last winter, there was no cold-weather shelter in Sisters. 

During a five-hour public hearing this week, Diane Prichard told Councilors she and the shelter board have secured $1.4 million from the Governor’s emergency order to purchase and operate a facility on Barclay Drive, "So, we have the funding and a suitable building, with a willing seller that meets the needs." The group also said it will work with the city, "We agree to the four staff-recommended conditions of approval." But Mayor Michael Preedin and Councilor Jennifer Letz expressed frustration with new state rules for shelters, including mandates they must be sited inside an Urban Growth Boundary. "These house bills were intended for larger communities with more resources, not a community like ours," said Councilor Letz. 

Mayor Preedin also believes the facility will attract more homeless to the area, "If we approve this, even with conditions, I feel the safety could get worse. Not by our homeless that are here already; it’s other homeless that come to find the showers or the mental health services that we currently don’t have." He echoed concerns raised by dozens from the community who testified in the public hearing. Councilor Susan Cobb disagrees, "It’s a difficult decision, but it’s an opportunity to help those that can’t necessarily help themselves. I do not see where we would be inviting people from other towns, since we’re surrounded by other towns that have much more services."

In a preliminary vote, Councilor Cobb and Council President Andrea Blum supported the shelter’s plan with conditions. Mayor Preedin and Councilor Letz opposed. Councilor Gary Ross cast the deciding vote in opposition. He told the shelter board, "My frustration, to some degree, is I still don’t see a cohesive, coherent plan as to how this is going to be run. I hear you say what you’re going to do, and I hear what you want to do. But that’s an awful lot of hear and not an awful lot of ‘see’ written down on paper that allows me to be able to determine whether this is a functional, working thing. And that hurts you with me."

A final decision will be made September 19th.

 

Federal Funds Coming For Ag-Related Renewable Energy Projects

BEND, OR -- More than $2 million in federal grants are coming to Oregon for rural businesses and farmers to reduce energy costs. USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program will invest $266 million on 1,300 projects nationwide, including over two dozen in Oregon. 

Deschutes Soil and Water Conservation District Manager Erin Kilcullen says her group will use its grant to help ag producers convert to more efficient irrigation systems. "If a farmer wants to upgrade from a sprinkler system or a wheel line, or a flood system where they just flood their field, to a pivot system, that could qualify for a more efficient system," she tells KBND News, "Because that’s improving energy and saving energy. And then there’s also upgrades within different irrigation systems." She hopes the work will bring more solar powered systems to Oregon fields, which can reduce the cost of operating large irrigation systems. 

Kilcullen says those upgrades benefit the watershed, "For water conservation and energy conservation. But also, on the farm, it allows farmers to reach more acreage across their property; so it can help with yield, it can allow for more cattle, it can allow for more production on their farm at a lower cost." She adds, "A lot of rural businesses and agricultural producers throughout the state of Oregon are trying to make all of their systems more efficient, which includes water savings projects, irrigation efficiencies. And along with those big projects, comes an energy component."

But converting to renewables can be costly without help from grants, like the latest allocation from the USDA, "Funds can be used for renewable energy systems - it can be used for biomass, for example. It could be used for geothermal, for electric generation use, hydropower, wind generation, solar generation," says Kilcullen.

The Deschutes Soil and Water Conservation District will use its grant to partner with the Yamhill County Soil and Water Conservation District and the North Fork John Day River Watershed Council. Other grant recipients will purchase and install solar power systems at rural Oregon businesses to reduce utility costs.

 

List Of Possible Landfill Sites Narrows To Two

BEND, OR -- Oregon’s first new landfill in more than 30 years will be in Deschutes County. Knott Landfill is expected to reach capacity in 2029 and an advisory committee has whittled the list of possible locations for a new dump to two, after nearly four years of meetings, research and public input. Both sites are east of Bend.

One is called the Moon Pit, "It’s a Hooker Creek aggregate mine, just east of the Badlands Wilderness Area," says Solid Wate Director Tim Brownell, "And then, the Roth East Site, it’s named that because of the owners - the Roth Family. And that is just east of Millican, between Highway 20 and Pine Mountain." Learn more about the proposal HERE

Brownell tells KBND News neither site has fatal flaws found at other proposed locations, "Groundwater at both those locations is very deep, they aren’t on fault lines, they’re not in flood zones, there don’t appear to be any cultural or archeological areas within those sites that would be impacted." But, he says, "We are getting comments in regards to concerns on environmental impacts. The Pine Mountain area, there's quite a bit of recreation in that area, from hang gliders to some homesteaders and other folks out there - ATV folks. It is adjacent to some core sage grouse habitat, so different environmental groups are interested. They want to get more information."

Deschutes County will host an open house Monday evening, September 11, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. A formal presentation is scheduled for 6 to 6:30 p.m. at the Deschutes Services Building (1300 NW Wall St, Bend). Attendees can also join virtually HEREBrownell says the meeting serves two purposes, "For us to inform, but also to be informed. So, if there are reasons have concerns or why they think one of these two sites is a preferred site, or what have you."

Both sites are inside the boundary of the newly proposed town of Mountain View

Brownell says deeper research is needed on both properties before a final recommendation is made to the County Commissioners, which isn’t expected until next spring. 

 

Crook Co. Considers Leadership Structure Change

PRINEVILLE, OR -- Crook County is one of the last in Oregon managed by a County Court system, but County Judge Seth Crawford says that could soon change. "To me, it’s about what Crook County government looks like in the future." The proposal would transition the county from a full-time Judge and two part-time Commissioners to a board with three Commissioners, similar to surrounding counties. But Crawford says there are a lot of variables, "You could have three part time, one full time; three full time. My biggest thing is, I think you need at least one full time Commissioner ensuring that people’s voices [are] heard and they are there to protect the cultures and customs of Crook County."

Crawford tells KBND News other changes are already underway, "With the growth of the county and expansion, and so many more people living here, we’ve brought on an administrator position. It’s actually a contract right now, trying to decide what that’s going to look like long term."

Three interactive public meetings are scheduled for later this month to discuss the proposed transition and provide the community with an outline of the changes, "We’ll listen to the public and then, once we’ve had those listening sessions, the next step would be to make a decision." A public hearing and potential action is scheduled for October fourth. 

Crawford says the decision needs to be made quickly, "The time for running for the next year is coming and the county thinks it’s important that we come up with a plan before that point."

Interactive public meetings are:

  • September 19, 6-7:30 p.m. in Powell Butte.
    • Powell Butte Community Center, 8404 SW Reif Rd.
    • Click HERE for virtual access.
  • September 26, 10-11:30 a.m. at Meadow Lakes
  • September 26, 6-7:30 p.m. at St. Charles Medical Ctr. Prineville

 

Suspect Arrested For String Of Madras Burglaries

MADRAS, OR -- Madras Police believe they’ve arrested the person responsible for a string of downtown burglaries. The first was reported August 19th at the food court on SE 5th and "D" streets. On the 27th, the owner reported another break-in and investigators say it appears someone entered through the roof on at least one occasion. The next day, a nearby storage facility was hit twice. Officers responded to a burglary in progress but were unable to catch the person.

Then, on Saturday, September second, officers responded to an alarm on "D" Street just after midnight, and arrested 37-year-old Theodore Arce, Jr. Investigators say evidence ties him to the other locations. He's charged with seven counts of Burglary II, three counts of Theft II, two counts of Theft III, six counts of Criminal Trespass II, two counts of Criminal Mischief II and possession of burglary tools. 

School Zone Season Returns

BEND, OR -- Back to school happens in phases, in Central Oregon. But by the end of this week, most kids will have returned to class and that means the return of school zone speeds. 

Sheila Miller, with Bend Police, says a number of school zones transitioned last year to flashing lights alerting drivers when to slow to 20 miles an hour, "Different schools have different times when kids are arriving and departing, and Wednesdays are different because school ends early and there’s just all these different, little things. So, it is a 45-minute period at the start of the school day and the end of the school day. Those are flashing, and you should see them and then we ask that, obviously, you obey the regular speed limit the rest of the time." Miller tells KBND News the idea is, "To keep traffic moving, and recognizing that there aren’t kids out when they’re in school."

Bend PD plans to increase traffic patrols around schools over the next few weeks. Those additional officers and new temporary signs are aimed at reminding people school is back in session. "Often, what it takes is seeing those visual reminders," says Miller, "I would like to think that a flashing light is a good clue. But people zone out when they drive, so seeing a bunch of cops standing there reminding you to slow down is way more effective."

A school zone speeding ticket can be costly. If you're in an area where signs say "fines double in school zones," the fine starts at $225 for between one and 10 miles over. "If you’re 11-20 miles per hour over the speed limit in a school zone, that would bump up to $325. And then faster, gets over $500," says Miller. 

She also urges all drivers to stay off their phone while behind the wheel. "There’s going to be a ton more traffic, especially in these first couple weeks, as kids are going back to school. There’s kids walking, there’s kids riding bikes, a lot of kids crossing. And so, we just ask that people be prepared and look for kids at crosswalks and corners, crossing."

 

Pair Accused Of Squatting In Redmond House

REDMOND, OR -- Two people were arrested in Redmond over the weeked for allegedly squatting in a vacant home and falsifying rental documents. Police say a search of the home on Southeast Fifth also turned up a handgun, powdered fentanyl and other drug paraphernalia.

Officers responded to the report from neighbors of suspicious activity on Sunday. They discovered 37-year-old Kyle Wayne Van Dyke, of Klamath Falls, and 33-year-old Tia Lampe, of La Pine, had lived at the house several days. They're charged with Burglary, Forgery, Unlawful Possession of Controlled Substance and Theft of Services. 

Investigators contacted the homeowner, who lives out of state, and confirmed no one should be living there.

Bend City Councilor Launches Bid For State Senate

BEND, OR -- Bend City Councilor Anthony Broadman announced Monday he plans to run for District 27 in the Oregon State Senate in 2024, as a Democrat. The position is currently held by Republican Senate Leader Tim Knopp, of Bend. 

In a press release issued Monday, Broadman said, "While I thank Senator Knopp for his service on behalf of Central Oregon, I believe strongly that it’s time for a change. Our region needs a Senator who shares our values and will go to work, even when the issues get tough." 

Sen. Knopp and several other Republicans are suing the Oregon Secretary of State to be allowed to camaign in 2024. The group racked up more than 10 unexcused absences during the GOP-led walkout in the 2023 Legislative session, preventing them from running for re-eletion. 

Stars Over Newberry Fundraiser Friday, September 8

BEND, OR -- After a three-year hiatus, Stars Over Newberry returns this Friday.

The fundraiser benefiting Discover Your Forest is at the Lava Lands Visitor Center and atop Lava Butte, in the Newberry National Volcanic Monument.

Discover Your Forest Executive Director Karen Walsh says the event offers unique stargazing opportunities, The hop-servatory from Worthy will be there. We also have Sisters Astronomy Club, Oregon Observatory, and lots of astronomers to help all our guests and our staff enjoy the night sky.”

In addition to the stellar viewing, there’s live music, catered food and beverages, and a live and silent auction, “We have a Mount Bachelor chair from the Skyliner lift that had been decommissioned. We also have a chef curated dinner by Five Fusion. We have a plethora of wonderful trips… staycations.” Walsh says proceeds help Discover Your Forest’s conservation education programs, “In partnership with the U.S. Forest Service, we recruit and manage the second largest volunteer force on the nation's public lands and we annually provide field trips to upwards of 12,000 local K through 12 students.”

Find ticket information for Stars Over Newberry here.

 

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