Local News Archives for 2023-11

Santa Express Returns To Bend Monday

BEND, OR -- Bend Firefighters launch the annual Santa Express drive Monday. They’ll collect food, clothing and toys for families in need, while spreading a little holiday cheer.

Fire trucks will drive through neighborhoods Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Click HERE for the complete schedule of locations. 

You can also drop off donations at any Bend Fire Station, the Bend Airport Flight Center or at the Salvation Army through December 15th.

Curbside pickup is also available in Bend. Call 541-322-6386 to arrange a date and time. 

Last year, they were able to help more than 600 families.


Photo courtesy of Bend Fire & Rescue

Madras High Evacuated After Reported Bomb Threat

MADRAS, OR -- Madras High School was evacuated Thursday morning after what the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office described as "a threat made specific to Madras High School." Families were told not to come to the campus, to allow law enforcement to investigate. JCSO later revealed the agency received a bomb threat against the school at about 8:15 a.m.

Joey Prechtel, with the Jefferson County 509J School District, tells KBND News initially Madras High was put into lockdown. Two neighboring schools were also impacted, "Once Madras High was placed into lockdown, the decision was made to place those two elementary schools - Buff Elementary and Madras Elementary - into what we call a secure status. Secure is where school is operating as normal inside the building. Exterior doors are locked and no one is supposed to be going in and out of the building." 

Within an hour, MHS was evacuated, "It was a police-led evacuation. We bussed all of our Madras High students, as well as our - we have a preschool program within Madras High School - those students were bussed as well, to the Jefferson County Fairgrounds." All but about a dozen students were picked up at the fairgrounds. 

"We had received the all clear from law enforcement. They’d conducted several thorough searches throughout Madras High School, they deemed it safe to re-enter. So, our staff, as well as the students who were not picked up, returned to Madras High School," says Prechtel. About 90 minutes after returning to the campus, those final students were bussed home. "We did make the decision to hold our after-school programming at Madras High School that we’d normally have Monday through Thursday, and then we also made the decision to hold our athletic practices, as well."

JCSO says there is no credible threat and classes will resume Friday. According to Prechtel, trained staff will be on hand today (Fr) for students who need to talk to someone about the incident.


file photo

Envision Bend Shifts Focus

BEND, OR -- Envision Bend is moving from planning to a guiding stage. The group released its Vision Action Plan in September. Executive Director Matt Muchna tells KBND News they identified short- and long-term goals in growth, economic, inclusivity, and environmental areas, “Wanting to take on projects that are near the finish line that might just need an extra push this next year. But then also maybe look at one or two of those bigger, more aspirational kind of move the needle projects that we think really need a spark.”

Projects include public transit, mental health, and adaptation to climate change.

Over 3,500 people participated in a survey for the action plan and 128 partners are onboard. Muchna says they’ll start with a mix of easily attainable goals and larger challenges, “So, I think partners will work with Envision Bend and let us know what support might be needed and we're going to do the same. We're going to reach out to partners to figure out how we can best support these organizations in their work. …Trying to balance and pick a couple of strategies this year to throw our weight behind and try to make some action happen.” He considers the Vision Action Plan a living document, “Things are already changing and partners are moving. And so, it's important to us to have a framework that updates this plan on an annual basis. Having an annual update to the plan will help. It won't be a full revamp, but rather just additional tweaks and changes and making sure that it's current to reflect the community.” Envision Bend took input for the Vision Action Plan from surveys and meetings over a 17-month period.


Downtown Bend Tree Lighting Kicks Off Holidays Friday

BEND, OR -- Bend officially kicks off the holiday season Friday. "This is a really big weekend for downtown Bend," says Shannon Monihan, Executive Director of the Downtown Bend Business Association, "The fun starts about 4 o’clock, when Santa Claus arrives outside the Commons Plaza, kind of perched to the left, if you were to walk up to the door of the Commons coffee shop. He’s going to be out there ready to greet children."

The tree lighting program starts at 5 p.m. "We’re going to have children from Silver Rail Elementary talking about what Christmas means to them. We have several dance groups performing, the Oregon Youth Choir," Monihan tells KBND News, "We’re going to do the countdown of the tree lighting at 5:30. And then we’re going to follow that immediately up with more performances until about 6:30 or 7."

First Friday Art Walk also runs from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday. "Once we get through Art Walk, we have our Christmas parade Saturday." Just before the parade, kids can take part in a new free fun run at 11 a.m., "It’s called the Reindeer Rush. It’s going to take place from Goody’s to 900 Wall, and it’s just a short little run to get everyone’s Christmas energy out," says Monihan, "It’s geared towards the sixth grader, that age bracket. Cascade Relays is putting that on and they’re giving out 500 antlers." Click HERE for more information and to register for the kids fun run. Bend's annual Christmas Parade starts at noon, weaving around Drake Park and Mirror Pond. This year’s theme is "The Lights of Christmas."

Santa will also appear at Kobold Brewing Company and the Oxford Hotel for families to visit throughout the season. Click HERE for more information. 

File photo couresy of Visit Central Oregon

Mt. Bachelor Plans To Open Saturday

BEND, OR -- Mt. Bachelor plans to open its ski and snowboard season this weekend, thanks to an "atmospheric river" forecast for the Cascade Mountain this week. The resort will open Little Pine and Sunrise lifts Saturday morning, December second, conditions permitting. Mt. Bachelor’s Nordic Center also expects to open for the season on Saturday. Mountain Gateway at West Village, West Village Lodge, and Sunrise Lodge will be open daily starting Saturday.

Starting at 12:01 a.m. Thursday,  the mountain will be closed to all uphill travel to allow for season preparations. Uphill travel will reopen on opening day and a new Uphill Policy will go into effect. The Cinder Cone Route will be the only uphill travel route available starting on opening day until Pine Marten Express opens.

Bachelor officials say they will continue to assess conditions and expand terrain as conditions allow. More updates are available at the daily Mountain Report.

Vets Suggest Precautions For Dog Owners

BEND, OR -- Oregon is one of a number of states reporting a mysterious respiratory illness infecting dogs. Since August there have been 200 reports in the state.

While canine illnesses are not uncommon, veterinarians and the state Department of Agriculture are trying to narrow down the cause of the disease. “A few years back, there was canine influenza. So, this is not out of the norm to see these kinds of outbreaks. We want to encourage people to be just preventative and be cautious, not to panic and not to be worried,” The Humane Society of Central Oregon’s Lynne Ouchida says there are precautions dog-owners can take, “Keeping your dogs current on vaccinations is key. Talk to your veterinarian and see what vaccines they've had. And if they recommend anything else, that's the advice that you should pay attention to.”

And avoid popular spots. “Find alternatives to dog parks. Great time to go, maybe check out the Badlands or teach a dog how to play fetch or frisbee, and avoid those public water bowls,” she says.

This particular disease resembles kennel cough but does not respond to antibiotics, and could lead to pneumonia. 

No cases have been reported in Central Oregon. Ouchida says no cases have been reported in shelters, which is generally an area of concern for spreading illness.


Pedestrian Killed In SW Redmond Crash

REDMOND, OR -- An 85-year-old woman was killed while crossing SW Canal Blvd. Tuesday evening. Redmond Police say Maria Socorro Nunez Rodriguez attempted to cross two lanes of traffic just north of Odem Medo, at about 5 p.m. She was struck by a southbound pickup and died at the scene.

The 45-year-old Bend driver was unhurt and police say he is cooperating with the investigation. 

RPD reminds drivers to remain vigilant, especially at night, and urges pedestrians to wear light-colored or reflective clothing after dark.

Redmond Schools Joins Lawsuit Against Social Media Giants

REDMOND, OR -- A local school board believes social media has led to a massive jump in depression, anxiety and social isolation among students, and wants those companies to pay up. "The Redmond School District has joined up with other school districts to sue social media companies," says Superintendent Dr. Charan Cline, "For the amount of mental health damage that we believe social media is causing our kids over time."

Several other Oregon districts are involved in this and other lawsuits against companies like TikTok, Google, SnapChat, YouTube and Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram. More than 200 districts around the country have reportedly also launched similar legal battles. The suits claim the companies take advantage of vulnerable young minds. Cline tells KBND News, "We’re having huge, huge spikes in mental health issues in kids - not just here in Redmond but around Oregon and around the nation. A lot of researchers link that to social media. Since social media and smartphones came out in 2008, the big jump in mental health issues have been huge." 

Dr. Cline says the district’s budget also suffers, "We’ve calculated over the last three years, including this one, we’ll spend about $10 million on mental health issues. Those are counselors and specialists. That’s money that can be better used for instructional purposes." But he acknowledges winning the suit is a longshot, "I don’t know that we’ll win that, as they have all the money in the world. But I do think it’s important for our community to know that our school board is taking it seriously enough that they want to try and do something about it."


BPRD Winter Rec Registration Opens Monday

BEND, OR -- Bend Parks and Rec kicks off winter recreation activities, leagues and classes very soon. "We are going to be opening our winter registration next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday," says the parks district's Julie Brown. 

Sign-up periods will again be staggered. "Next Monday, December fourth, is when we’re going to open our Recreation, our Enrichment and some of our sport camp-related programs," says Brown. Also Monday, families can register for upcoming no-school days, including during Spring Break. "Tuesday, December fifth, is going to be our swim lessons; that’s always a big day. And then on Wednesday, December sixth, is when we will have our sports leagues opening." She tells KBND News, "Now, our sports leagues, in particular, are going to be for winter and spring. So, you really have to be thinking about - not only what you might be wanting to do in January, but all the way through into that March timeframe." Brown says, "Our sports leagues that are going to be opening are going to include hockey and another season of curling at the Pavilion. It’s also going to include lacrosse and softball."

Each days’ registration period opens online at 6 a.m. Brown acknowledges stretching sign ups across three days can be inconvenient, "For some folks, that means having to get up at 6 a.m. three days in a row. But for us, it means that it has spread out the amount of activity that we were having with registration, so everything goes a lot smoother and we’re not having those long wait times that we had before."

If you haven’t accessed your Bend Parks and Rec account in a while, Brown recommends logging in this week, just to make sure you remember your password. 


Deschutes Co. Discusses Accommodations For Safe Parking Program

BEND, OR -- Deschutes County Commissioners continue to look for ways to create more safe parking sites - locations where the unhoused can live in an RV or car while receiving case management services. 

Commissioner Patti Adair has asked for months for more safe parking locations. At Monday's work session, she expressed frustration only four churches have signed up for the program. "It’s been incredibly successful. And I would love the message to get out that when you actually have safe parking in your parking lot, it actually makes your entire property safer." She added, "Fewer kids come in and have parties in the middle of the night, all kinds of things. Because these people actually look out for the church property. It’s quite amazing."

Commissioners discussed potential code changes to make it easier for shelter sites like safe parking to come online in unincorporated areas. But they noted much of the land in rural Deschutes County is zoned Exclusive Farm Use (EFU) which, under state land use laws, isn’t allowed to be used for emergency shelter.

Also Monday, County Health Services Director Janice Garceau provided an update on homeless outreach efforts. She told said neighborhoods aren’t willing to support more shelter sites because of what they hear about the homeless community; much of which she says is inaccurate, "What I have observed over and over again are horror stories being told in public because they are eye-catching and attention grabbing, and scary for all of us who live in the community." She told Commissioners, "We are going to struggle to ask our neighbors to welcome the people we serve into their community if we only talk about how dangerous these folks are. The vast majority of the people we serve are not dangerous. In fact, they are ten times more likely to be victims of crime."

Garceau said, "I’m just inviting our community, our leaders to reflect what’s true about the vast majority of the people we’re serving. Which is they are in quite dire straits. They are welcoming of assistance; they may not use it the way we would always want them to. But that may be because of conditions they’re experiencing that most of us have no idea."


Hospice Of Redmond Festival Of Trees Saturday

REDMOND, OR -- The annual Festival of Trees is back at the Deschutes County Fairgrounds this Saturday, December 2nd. This 40th edition is expanding into two buildings to showcase over 30 decorated trees for an anticipated 2,500 guests.

“It's a popular event and so we want to do it justice. So, we've reserved both the Middle Sister and the South Sister,” Hospice of Redmond’s  Marketing Coordinator Lauren Lebien tells KBND News they appreciate the community support, “Basically all the funds that we raise help us offer services which are not covered by Medicare or private insurance… bereavement counseling… veteran services.” There are trees dedicated to specialty programs, as well. “A Camp Sunrise tree. We have a grief camp for Children in the community who might have lost a loved one. So, we have a tree for that.” There’s also the ‘Pet Peace of Mind,' “It's basically a program where people who are on hospice who don't have a caregiver need help caring for their dog or their cat,” she says.

There are many trees to bid on at the gala. “We're featuring a live auction of about 33 creatively decorated holiday trees. We have raffles, live entertainment and refreshments. So, we're hoping for a good turnout this year since it's our 40th anniversary,” she adds the festivities kick off in the morning, “We have a free family event starting at 10 a.m. So, families can come from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the 2nd and just enjoy the trees view them. We've got a kids' corner and Santa.”

Doors open for the gala 5 p.m.

Tickets are available at the Hospice of Redmond website


Redmond Home Destroyed By Fire Caused By Unattended Cooking

REDMOND, OR -- A manufactured home in southwest Redmond was destroyed by fire Friday morning. Firefighters responded to the house on SW Harvest Ave. at about 9 a.m. The first arriving crews found fire pouring through the roof. There are no fire hydrants in the area, so water was shuttled in by truck. 

No one was home at the time of the blaze. Investigators determined it started with food left cooking. The estimated loss is $500,000. The Red Cross is helping the displaced family. 

Redmond Fire & Rescue reminds everyone to never leave food cooking. If you must leave the kitchen, turn off the stove and move items away that could burn. 

Hiring Blitz For Crook Co. Bus Drivers

PRINEVILLE, OR -- Crook County Schools is trying to avoid a future bus driver shortage. The district’s Jason Carr says they have enough for now, but they  anticipate several retirements. CCSD also needs more substitutes to cover other drivers’ time off. 

Carr tells KBND News drivers enjoy building relationships with students and families, "That’s probably one of the things that you’ll hear a lot of bus drivers talk about is the relationships. And, especially in a small community like Prineville, you really get to know a lot of folks that way."

Starting pay is between $20 and $25 an hour. Drivers get weekends and holidays off. "We run a split schedule," says Carr. "Our elementary students are on one timeframe. They generally start around 8 o’clock in the morning, and are done around 2 o’clock in the afternoon. And then our middle and high schools start around 9 a.m. and finish between 3:30 and 3:45. So, our bus drivers are essentially running two routes in the morning and two routes in the afternoons." He adds, "Many of our bus drivers do also take kids on field trips and will choose to take the high school and middle school teams to sporting events." 

Carr says the district offers full benefits, "Generally when you’re around 30 hours a week; there’s a certain threshold. And we pay for your training. Because it’s not a job that you can apply for like today and start on Monday. You’ve got to go through the training and get certified to get there."

You’ll find more information on bus driver and other job openings for the district HERE


Search & Rescue Readies For Winter

BEND, OR -- The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office is getting set for another season of helping the lost or stranded. Lieutenant Ty Rupert, Search and Rescue Supervisor tells KBND News teams are ready for emergency calls, “That time of year where we're going to have the snowfall season. So, we're preparing for that. We have 133 SAR volunteers that are equipped and ready to go out at a moment’s notice if necessary.”

If you do get stuck, hurt, or disoriented don’t hesitate to call 911.

“Please call. Volunteers are excited. They want to go out on missions… But we want to make sure that everybody is safe and that they get to enjoy our beautiful back country. But we want them to be able to return home safely,” he says, while reminding that you should 'know before you go', and prepare for winter weather, even if you’re just out to find a Christmas tree, “Just do your research ahead of time. Don't always trust your GPS because it could take you on a detour route that you're not familiar with or prepared for.”

He says there are areas where they know they will be deployed, “Some of the trouble spots, obviously for us, for (rescuing) the snowmobilers... we always have issues with the Bend watershed area. Also, any of your backcountry skiing, snowboarding.”

The sooner you call for help the better chance for a positive outcome. “If you are in need of Search and Rescue or any service from the sheriff's office, please call. Call 911. Don't be afraid to call. Search and Rescue does not charge to come out and rescue people.”


Two Apartment Fires Keep Bend Crews Busy

BEND, OR -- Bend firefighters responded to two apartment fires over the long weekend. The first was on Atwood Drive, Thursday. Everyone evacuated the building after the batteries of an electric skateboard caught fire while charging in a bedroom. The building’s sprinkler system extinguished the flames and damage was limited to the bedroom.

Friday evening, a new tenant moving in to a newly constructed building in southwest Bend inadvertently turned on a burner while setting something on the cooktop. They quickly used a hallway fire extinguisher before the sprinklers activated.

Photos Courtesy of Bend Fire & Rescue

Bend Transient Arrested For Weapons Offense

BEND, OR -- A 34-year-old transient was arrested near China Hat Road Friday after allegedly threatening a group of UTV riders near his camp. Deschutes County deputies say Nathaniel Bennett pointed a gun at the group, and fired near a girl during the confrontation.

SWAT responded with an armored vehicle and tried to negotiate his surrender but authorities say he was uncooperative, retreating into his van where they believed he had more weapons. Eventually, two K-9s were deployed and captured Bennett.

He was evaluated at the hospital prior to booking. Bennett is charged with Unlawful Use of a Weapon, Coercion, Menacing, Attempted Assault and Reckless Endangering. 

Mt. Bachelor Opening Delayed

BEND, OR -- Mt. Bachelor announced Wednesday it has postponed the start of its winter season due to a lack of snow. Initially, the resort hoped to open Friday, November 24. 

Director of Marketing & Communications Lauren Burke issued a statement Wednesday, saying in part, "While we have received some solid early season storms in late Oct/early Nov, we’ve also seen a few rain events and warmer temps. In order to build our base for skiing and riding, we’ll need another solid winter storm to safely handle the volume of skiers and riders once the lifts start spinning." Currently, the base is just 8" on the lower mountain. 

Burke says there is not yet a date set for opening, but promises it will be "as soon as possible based on conditions and snowfall." 

Guests booked for this weekend will be refunded. 


Photo from Pine Marten Lodge, 11/22/23

BPD Increases DUII Patrols

BEND, OR -- Dedicated DUI patrols are looking for impaired drivers over the long holiday weekend. Bend Police Sergeant Tim Guest says everyone can keep an eye out, “We absolutely want our citizens and community members to call into dispatch when they see intoxicated drivers. So, if you believe it's an emergency situation, as some of them often are, call 911. And if you do not believe it's an emergent situation, then call our non-emergency dispatch number.”

He says there are no excuses to drink and drive, “Well with Lyft and Uber it’s all too simple to get a safe ride home these days.”

Police are increasing patrols in all areas of the city. “We're going to have multiple DUI patrols out. Some of them are regularly scheduled officers that are on DUI patrol and then through ODOT DUI grant funding, we have additional resources and officers that are out there as well,” Guest says.

Cat Dies In Redmond House Fire

REDMOND, OR -- A northeast Redmond home was heavily damaged by an early morning house fire. Firefighters responded to NE Shoshone Drive at about 3:30 a.m. Wednesday to find fire spreading quickly in one house, extending to a second. Families inside both homes safely evacuated after they were woken up by the smoke alarms. 

Firefighters quickly knocked down the blaze and rescued numerous reptiles from inside. Unfortunately, a cat did not survive. 

Investigators believe the fire started with a pellet stove that wasn't properly vented. 


Photo courtesy of Redmond Fire & Rescue.

Bend Woman Last Seen In June Reported Missing

BEND, OR -- The Deschutes County Sheriff's Office is asking for the public's help to find a Bend-area woman who hasn't been seen since June. 

DCSO says 31-year-old Kasie Marie Mae Jones was recently reported missing. She was last known to be living on the east side of Highway 97, just north of Bend, in an area commonly called "Dirt World."

Jones is white, 5'1", weighing about 130 pounds. She has brown hair and green eyes. The attached photo is from 2018. 

Anyone with information or who may have seen Jones is asked to call non-emergency dispatch at 541-693-6911 and ask for Detective Bryan Morris. 

Madras Tries To Prevent Camping In Willow Creek

MADRAS, OR -- Dozens of new signs are going up in Madras this week, reminding people there is no littering or camping in waterways or water rights of way, like on and under bridges. Community Development Director Nick Sneed says it’s in response to issues discovered along Willow Creek, "With our new Code Enforcement officer, we have enhanced capacity to assess the amount of trash that’s in our community. One of the areas that we’ve determined there’s a lot of trash and a lot of risk is in our waterways."

He acknowledges littering has always been illegal. But tells KBND News signs make it easier to enforce, "Some people may not know that these regulations already exist. But by putting up a sign, we can say, ‘Hey, as we’ve posted right here, what you’re doing is inconsistent with state law.’"

Willow Creek is a dry stream-bed right now, "But when large water events come - That could be where we have a lot of snow and it melts really quickly - water can flow through Willow Creek very quickly. That’s a problem," says Sneed, "We also have large rain storms, usually with thunderstorms, things like that in the spring, maybe fall, sometimes summer, can create water in Willow Creek all of a sudden." He says a wildfire near the creek could also make it very dangerous, making it necessary to keep people out of the area, "So that during inclement weather, we can keep our residents safe. We want to remove the trash; we want to find safer places for people to live, if they happen to be camping there."


Redmond-Dallas/Ft. Worth Flights Begin In May

REDMOND, OR -- After several years of work, the Redmond Airport has secured its easternmost route, with American Airlines. "Starting May 6 of 2024 until October 6, we’re going to have a seasonal direct Dallas flight from Redmond," announced Airport Director Zach Bass on Monday. "We’ve been looking at Dallas for quite a long time. It’s one of the larger markets that we don’t have direct to." Bass says several major hiccups led to long delays in negotiations, "COVID and some of the pilot shortage issues that are going on in the industry have made it take a little longer than I would’ve liked." He tells KBND News, "We got a grant from the Department of Transportation to help kind of push this along, which we were hoping to use earlier. It just kind of - it came to fruition now and will start in the summer. So, we’re excited."

The Nonstop flights will depart Dallas at 10:15 a.m. and land at Redmond at 12:31 p.m. The outbound flight leaves RDM at 1:16 p.m and arrives in Dallas at 6:57 p.m. "It’ll be daily and on an Airbus 320, 150-seater," says Bass.

The new destination provides a lot of opportunities for local travelers, "It is [American Airlines'] headquarters and largest hub. Almost 800 daily flights on American leave Dallas-Fort Worth," says Bass, "So basically, you can get from Redmond to Dallas, and I think from there almost anywhere you want to go; especially with connections to the southeast part of the country, and then even Mexico, Central America and basically anywhere."

The announcement comes just ahead of the return of Alaska Air's Portland-Redmond flight, which starts November 29th after a two year hiatus. Flights to Palm Springs on Avelo Airlines have also returned for the season. 


Giving Plate's New Holiday Fundraiser Nears

BEND, OR -- The Giving Plate’s Jingle Store opens next month, for low-income Central Oregon children. 

“It's really grown over the years that it was sparked by one little boy's question for a gift to give his mom for Christmas,” Executive Director Ranae Staley tells KBND News the nonprofit expects 900 kids to pick out gifts for their family at the River House Convention Center. “We take over the whole downstairs and it's now an experience where they walk through Winter wonderland. They meet Princesses, and Buddy the Elf, and Mr. and Mrs. Claus, ballerinas… and then get to go into the Jingle Store and shop and have presents wrap.”

Staley says the Santa’s Plate event helps provide funding for the Jingle Store, “Families get the same walkthrough experience as they do with Jingle. But kids get to decorate cookie plates as keepsakes and it's really fun. We had great feedback last year.”

It’s a unique experience according to Staley, “Really, really magical. There's nothing quite like it in Bend. So, we are pretty confident that families who get to come and experience it will create memories that they cherish forever with their kids.”

The second annual Santa’s Plate fundraiser is at the Riverhouse Convention Center December 17th and 18th.

Ticket and information can be found here.


Redmond Parks Could Get More Pickleball Courts

REDMOND, OR Changes are planned this spring for two Redmond parks. City Council is expected to award a contract tomorrow night for renovating Tennis and Pickleball Courts. “Starting in April we'll do the resurfacing and conversion of our Valleyview tennis and pickleball courts. Currently, there's two tennis courts, we'll be resurfacing them and converting one of those into four pickleball courts.” Redmond Parks Planner Maria Ramirez says Valleyview’s courts will be done by May, “Shortly after the (high school) tennis season concludes, we'll be resurfacing the Sam Johnson tennis courts and resurfacing and repairing the Sam Johnson pickleball courts.”

Ramirez tells KBND News the sport’s booming popularity is behind the department’s decision to convert one of the tennis courts at Valleyview Park into four pickleball courts. “Everyone agreed that this is a great opportunity to alleviate some spacing that's happening at Sam Johnson and bringing them to the Valleyview area. It's a prime location for size and noise away from neighbors. So, that's ultimately the decision that we move forward with.”

Parks system development charges will pay for the project which is included in the fiscal year 2023/24 budget.


Humane Society Shelter Stresses Appointment Policy Over Holidays

BEND, OR -- The Humane Society of Central Oregon is struggling to accommodate everyone who needs to give up an animal, at a time when shelter capacity is unpredictable, "The drive for adoption around the holidays is usually very high. But we also see an uptick in intake during that time, as well," says HSCO Animal Management Director Karen Burns. 

She tells KBND News, since the pandemic, the shelter has asked people to make an appointment if they need to surrender a pet. Pre-scheduling allows the Bend shelter to make sure shelter space and appropriate staff are available for things like medical care and kennel cleaning. But, Burns says, too many pet owners aren't following that procedure, which strains resources. "It’s detrimental to the animal, at that point, too, because you’re forcing a same-day intake when we don’t have the resources to take care of that animal."

Late last week, someone left a litter of puppies in the Bend shelter’s parking lot. "Three-week-old puppies that are left in our parking lot with no mom; I mean, that’s basically worst case scenario." Burns says HSCO was very lucky to be able to find foster homes on such short notice, "It can be really hard, especially around the holidays. Trying to get those puppies out the week before Thanksgiving was a challenge."

Reasons for a pet's surrender vary, but Burns says many come in because of changes in living situations. "Sometimes I get calls from people who say it’s an emergency because they knew they were moving for two months and they waited until the last day to call me. To me, that’s not an emergency." She adds, "If you know you’re moving in a month, even if you’re not 100% sure that you want to surrender your animal or that you need to surrender your animal, call me. We can have a conversation, I can get you on the schedule. And, if you’re able to rehome them or you’re able to find housing in that time that allows your animal, then it’s just simply canceling your appointment, and you have that appointment to fall back on."

If you’d like to help, HSCO needs more foster families. Donations of canned dog food and treats are also appreciated. The shelter reports food donations have declined this year, leaving some cupboards empty


La Pine Cracks Top 10 Most Popular Holiday Destinations

LA PINE, OR -- Bend consistently makes AAA's list of top regional holiday destinations. For the first time, La Pine cracked the top ten for this Thanksgiving travel season. "All of a sudden, folks are looking at it and saying, ‘you know, we usually stay in Bend or Sisters or Redmond or Madras. Let’s try La Pine, this time’," says Marie Dodds, with AAA-Oregon. She says holiday vacationers realize South County is less expensive than its more popular neighbors, "And in fact, if you want to go to Mt. Bachelor, or you want to do some hiking, it’s actually closer to some popular spots than some other Central Oregon destinations. And La Pine has more accommodations than it had a few years ago."

Three Central Oregon cities made this year's regional list for Thanksgiving: Bend came in first, followed by Seattle, Lincoln City and Redmond. Boise rounds out the top five; La Pine is tenth. 

"No matter where you go," says Dodds, "Make sure you let friends or family know where you’re going and your itinerary. That way, if you don’t show up at your destination, folks have an idea where to start looking for you." She also suggests drivers prepare for changing road conditions. If you're heading out of time, you should have traction tires or chains, "Practice how to put them on before you head out on the family road trip. We’ve got everything you need to plan for winter travel; visit AAA.com/winterprep."


Fire At County Building In Bend Ruled Arson

BEND, OR -- A Bend man is accused of intentionally setting fire to a Deschutes County building, Thursday night. According to the Sheriff’s Office, evidence found at the facility on NW Harriman in Bend led detectives to 48-year-old Demian Christian.

He was arrested Friday at his northeast Bend home. Christian is charged with Arson, Burglary and Criminal Mischief.

High Desert Museum Nursing Baby Beaver Back To Health

BEND, OR -- The High Desert Museum has a new “branch manager.” The baby beaver, known as a “kit,” was found alone in a John Day parking lot back in May, weighing less than a pound and a half. It took most of the summer for the beaver's condition to improve. The kit is now an estimated 17 pounds, thanks to the work of museum veterinary staff.

The beaver is believed to be female, but it can be very difficult to conclusively identify a beaver’s gender. She will eventually become a beaver ambassador for the museum.

“The beaver is doing well and learning behaviors that assist with her care,” says Curator of Wildlife Jon Nelson. “She is learning target training, how to sit on a scale to be weighed and to present her feet for voluntary inspections and nail trims. She also enjoys time playing in the Museum's stream after hours.”

We await the beaver’s name, selected by the winning bidder at last summer’s High Desert Rendezvous fundraiser.

Bend Company Receives EPA Grant

BEND, OR -- A Bend company has won a $399,618 dollar grant from the EPA’s Small Business Innovation Research program.

LeapFrog Designs CEO and Co-Founder Adam DeHeer tells KBND News the company creates technology to treat so called ‘graywater’, “So, it uses plants and natural systems found in wetlands to treat water for onsite water reuse. Right now, we treat water from non-kitchen sinks, showers, and laundry, and we treat that with this ecological treatment platform. And then it's ready for reuse in toilet flushing and irrigation.”

Reusing onsite graywater could reduce overall water consumption by 40%. DeHeer notes that’s important for our high desert climate, and beyond, “We can start to address this problem locally. At the same time that we scale to all the water scarce areas where groundwater is at risk for contamination. There's a lot of places in rural regions where new wells are becoming a real issue and onset water reuse can directly address that problem, which I'm excited about for Central Oregon.”

DeHeer says the grant will expand the operation beyond graywater “We're expanding that to include kitchen waste water, which is considered ‘black water’. And then we're even including the treatment of septic effluent.”


Much More Snow Needed For Bachelor Opening

BEND, OR -- Mt. Bachelor's planned opening on the day after Thanksgiving is now in doubt. "We are keeping a close eye on the weather forecast, on conditions and - full transparency - we need some more snow." The resort's Lauren Burke tells KBND News an early season storm looked promising, but it was followed by rain that washed away almost all of the snow. 

Now, "There is not even close to enough snow on the mountain. It looks so snowy when you’re in town and you’re looking up here. But, just a couple inches of snow here and there really isn’t enough for us to safely ski; especially on the lower mountain," says Burke. 

Mt. Bachelor isn't alone, "Unfortunately, the west is off to a slower start, this season," says Burke, "Some resorts are starting to open with snow-making only. But, as we all know, snow will come. It’s just when it’s going to come and how much is going to come." And snow-making isn't an option for Bachelor yet, "Currently it’s much too warm to make snow. So, we need a mix. We need a mix of snow-making and some natural snowfall, right now."

She expects to know more Monday, once a more reliable forecast is out for the week, "Any little bit helps. Looking out there, there’s probably a couple of inches of a true base - six or so inches. But, in order to safely ski and cover those big volcanic rocks that you see at a place like Mt. Bachelor, you need a couple feet." Burke adds, "You know, if Mother Nature doesn’t exactly cooperate, we’re going to keep doing our snow dances and adjust based on conditions." 

Photo: The view from the Cloudchaser Lift, as of 11/17/23

Officials Say Bend's Camping Code Is Working As "Intended"

BEND, OR -- Eight months after enforcement began, the City of Bend is making small changes to its camping code. City Manager Eric King says one recommendation is to clarify parking regulations, "We have a requirement that you can’t be parked in the city street for more than three business days. Some folks will park, and then just move a few feet. So, we have more clarity to have that be 750 feet." That's about a block or two, depending on the location. 

City Council got an update on enforcement this week. The report shows 351 notices issued in the past eight months to people camping in cars or tents in violation of the new code, "It’s doing what it’s intended, which is to prevent large encampments. That’s where we see a lot of problems occur," says King. 

He says partnerships with nonprofits have helped create more indoor shelter space, "Now, we have over 500 shelter beds. Just a couple years ago, we just had a little over a hundred." But more options are needed for those unable or unwilling to utilize those facilities, "Particularly those that are camping in areas like Juniper Ridge, or China Hat or Phil’s Trail, to provide safer places that provide support services and get folks into a better situation."

Councilors signed a letter to the Governor, joining Redmond and the county, to push for more collaboration to create a managed outdoor shelter site. King tells KBND News, "We need some help from the Governor’s office. Deschutes County has agreed to help hold the contract to manage those places. And the cities, our role is to provide some infrastructure as needed, to ensure a site is ready for folks." He adds, "It could be a place for folks to take their RVs, it could be the Pallet structures you’ve been seeing - kind of the tiny homes - or it could be a supported camp, as well."

File photo: Hunnel Road encampment in NE Bend, prior to the city's eviction of campers earlier this year.

New Bill Would Create Co-Stewardship Agreement With Warm Springs

CONFEDERATED TRIBES OF WARM SPRINGS -- The U.S. Forest Service would partner with the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs to manage some parts of the Mount Hood National Forest bordering the Warm Springs Reservation, under a congressional proposal.

Oregon Senator Ron Wyden and Congressman Earl Blumenauer re-introduced the Wy’east Tribal Resources Restoration Act this week. Warm Springs CEO Bobby Brunoe tells KBND News it would create Treaty Resource Emphasis Zones, "Those would be areas managed by Warm Springs for things like wildfire, fuels reduction, enhancement of treaty resources - such as huckleberries, habitat for deer and elk, watershed enhancement, meadow restoration, wetlands. A host of things on the borders of the reservation here that are important for the tribes and our culture here in Warm Springs."

He’s excited about the possibility of establishing the first place-based co-stewardship agreement in the nation, "Using our traditional ecological knowledge that the tribes have for things such as prescribed fire and how we manage our resources here on the reservation, and using those same practices on Forest Service lands."

Brunoe adds, "It gives us the ability to do a lot more fuels work on the borders. Opportunity to enter into an agreement with the Forest Service for building capacity for Warm Springs to hire technical staff, such as hydrologists, biologists to be able to go do the work, and firefighters."

Wyden and Blumenauer call the act groundbreaking, and say it would capitalize on the generations-long knowledge of the tribes, who have been good stewards of the land and wildlife since time immemorial. 



Special Crook County School Board Meeting To Discuss Complaint Against Board Chair

PRINEVILLE, OR -- The Crook County School Board will hold a special meeting Thursday night to continue discussion of a complaint made against Board Chair Jessica Brumble. The allegation, which was not made public, was first raised at Monday’s meeting.

Brumble told the board she wants an investigation, “I would prefer executive session as my minor child is also in these allegations. So, for her protection in executive session, I think would be best. My minor child is being addressed or attacked by an adult. And there was a lot of mentioned members in that complaint that are Crook County school district employees.”

Board member Cheyenne Edgerly agreed an investigation is needed.

“I believe after looking at some things that it's a blatant lie and there's evidence, clear evidence that it's not true and there was slander brought against board chair Brumble,” Edgerly told the board.

The Board called for an executive session to discuss the complaint on December 18th and noted they need to bring in legal help to guide the process.

Tonight’s meeting at the district office starts at 6 pm.


Thursday Event Shines Light On Youth Homelessness

BEND, OR -- A Thursday event in Bend aims to bring attention to the struggles of runaway teens who frequently end up homeless. Eliza Wilson, with J Bar J Youth Services, says runaways often feel they have no other choice, "Many times, when a young person is running away, it is that they’re running away from abuse or neglect situations in the place that they’re staying."

Wilson tells KBND News, "Central Oregon has some of the highest rates of unsheltered youth who are experiencing homelessness in the country. We work diligently to provide prevention services; so trying to prevent youth from even ever experiencing homelessness. And then, also to support youth who are experiencing homelessness so the experience is brief, and they don’t go on to become adults who experience homelessness." She says there is an overall shortage of services for teens, "We have 18 beds at The Loft. We have host homes throughout the community, but we always need more host homes. And then, we also have Grandma’s House of Central Oregon, that is a home for pregnant and parenting teens. And that home has nine rooms." Click HERE for more information on those programs. Wilson adds, "We don’t have the number of shelter beds that we need to address the issue. But also, we are an affluent community and many times that means there’s not housing for people that are lower income."

In coordination with National Runaway Prevention Month, J Bar J hosts Thursday's event at Silver Moon Brewing, 4-6 p.m. Wilson says there will be booths and raffles, "To raise awareness around our local youth who are experiencing homelessness and then also to give the community an opportunity to learn about the programs of J Bar J that are working with the youth of Central Oregon." They’ll also provide information on becoming a host home for unsheltered teens, including compensation and training.


Jefferson Co. Among Sites Searched In Large DEA Bust

GRANTS PASS, OR -- The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and eight Oregon law enforcement agencies conducted a large bust this week. David Reames, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Seattle Field Division, said Wednesday 24 people were arrested in the operation. "For 18 months, DEA and our partners have been investigating an armed group of fentanyl, methamphetamine and weapons traffickers centered in Grants Pass and operating throughout southern and central Oregon."

Nine search warrants were executed Tuesday, leading to the seizure of 37 firearms, a grenade, $33,000 in cash and a large amount of fentanyl and meth, as well as cocaine, marijuana and illegal mushrooms. Reames noted, "We assessed the quantity of fentanyl we seized; [it] had the potential to yield 144,575 lethal doses. These numbers will increase when we sort through the evidence we collected in the search warrants."

The Central Oregon Drug Enforcement team (CODE) confirms it assisted with a search in Jefferson County. Oregon State Police Captain Kyle Kennedy said the operation was, "An inter-agency investigation into a local drug trafficking organization. Today that organization has been dismantled and is no longer in operation."

Grants Pass Police Chief Warren Hensman says the large bust is one way to reduce crime and improve overall community safety, "We need to recognize as a team that overdoses in southern Oregon are at an all-time high. It’s absolutely disgusting when you think about the amount of life that is lost to overdose related death."

SAC Reames says the drugs likely came from outside the U.S., "Fentanyl and methamphetamine both come from pretty much the same sources. They come from chemicals, largely produced in China, shipped to Mexico, where both methamphetamine and fentanyl are made in large labs in mostly central Mexico. It’s pressed into methamphetamine or fentanyl, depending on the case, and then shipped north."


Shepherd's House Seeks Thanksgiving and Clothing Donations

BEND, OR -- Shepherd’s House Ministries is temporarily moving its low-barrier shelter to a space on Franklin Avenue in Bend, just in time to host Thanksgiving dinner next Wednesday. 

“It's actually the old blue dog RV facility. We are, as we speak, moving into this facility to be able to provide day services for the Lighthouse Navigation center,” Navigation Services Director Evan Hendrix tells KBND News the move is to accommodate renovations underway soon at the Second Street location. Shepherds House is asking for food donations for their holiday meal. “I would encourage anyone interested in donating food to stop by our Men's Center on 1854 Northeast Division,” Hendrix says it’s a special time, “Thanksgiving is really just an opportunity to kind of pause our day-to-day activities and create something really special and significant and invite a lot of people in to partner and to share in that experience.”

Warm clothing and gear donations are also accepted. “Specifically warm coats that provide a layer of weather proofing insulation doesn't have to be waterproof, but at least if it's weather resistant, that helps the jackets and the layers that are underneath last a little bit longer in this kind of weather,” says Hendrix. Clothing donations can be taken to the Men’s Center on Division Street, the new Lighthouse location on Franklin Avenue beginning November 20th, or the new Redmond Center on South Highway 97 which opens for the first time Wednesday the 15th.


Three LPHS Students Injured In Bus Crash

CRESCENT, OR -- A bus carrying a group from La Pine High School to Albany was involved in a crash early Wednesday morning. According to a Bend-La Pine Schools official, the bus hit a patch of ice, lost control and skid off the road, striking a tree. The incident occurred on the Crescent Cutoff Road, between Highways 97 and 58.

Nine students and a teacher were on board, in addition to the bus driver. At least three students reportedly suffered non-life threatening injuries and were taken to St. Charles Bend. 

The group was traveling to Linn-Benton Community College for a welding competition. District support staff are available at LPHS to assist students and staff, following the crash.


Photo courtesy of Bend-La Pine Schools

Father, Son Arrested On Suspicion Of Fentanyl Trafficking

REDMOND, OR -- A father and son were arrested by the Central Oregon Drug Enforcement Team this week, following a long-term investigation. CODE detectives believe 64-year-old David Hanegraaf Sr. and 45-year-old David Hanegraaf Jr. were trafficking fentanyl into the area.

After a sruveillance operation, the pair was arrested in or near vehicles as they left their homes in Redmond and Sisters. Search warrants were then executed at both locations, where investigators say they found fentanyl, cocaine, psilocybin mushrooms, multiple guns and cash. A large commercial illegal marijuana grow and BHO lab were also dismantled at the Sisters home of Hanegraaf Sr., where a third man was arrested.

Detectives say 54-year-old William Pelham lived in an RV and tended the marijuana grow at the property. He's accused of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Hanegraaf Sr. is charged with Unlawful delivery of a schedule II-controlled substance, Unlawful possession of a schedule II-controlled substance, Unlawful delivery of cocaine and Unlawful possession of cocaine. Hanegraaf Jr. is charged with Unlawful delivery of a schedule II-controlled substance, Unlawful possession of a schedule II-controlled substance. 

County Mulls Future Campground Sites

BEND, OR -- Deschutes County Commissioners are looking at ways to create new R-V campgrounds for visitors in order to meet increased demand.  The county contracted with a research firm, ECO Northwest, to study three potential locations at Crooked River Ranch, just north of Bend on Fort Thompson Lane, and Drafter Road in La Pine.

During a presentation on the firm’s report, Commissioner Tony Debone said the information is useful, “It's a great starting point to really think about where are the next RV type sites possible, from a county's point of view. This could be picked up by private landowners too, and just be able to see the numbers and understand the scope and scale of what's possible.”

The Drafter Road area seems the most likely spot for a new campground at this point, mainly because of zoning and construction challenges at the other two sites.

Commissioner Patti Adair said cost is also a consideration, “Well, Drafter seems to not the most exciting place to put in an RV park, but the full ask is less than 5 million.”

Commissioner Phil Chang is also leaning that way, “I think we can explore proceeding on a Drafter Road project.”.

Commissioners called yesterday's presentation on the three sites a good starting point.


North Corridor Project Enters Next Phase

BEND, OR -- Major changes took effect Monday on the north end of Bend, "A temporary traffic shift is in place on Highway 97, between Grandview Drive and Empire Avenue, for about the next eight months." That includes narrowing all driving lanes, "From 12’ down to 11’," says ODOT's Mindy McCartt, "And that’s both directions." Shoulders are also smaller and vehicles are just generally closer together. McCartt says, "The center median barrier is being removed during this portion of construction."

There’s a permanent closure of Grandview Drive for northbound traffic. But McCartt says there is an alternate route, "Northbound travelers can access Grandview Drive by turning left onto Cooley Road, right onto Hunnel Road, and then right onto Loco, left onto Clausen Road, and then right onto Grandview Drive. I know that sounds like a lot, but it’s just the rerouting of the entire roadway." A temporary closure is also in place for Clausen, from southbound 97. 

The work is part of the multi-year Bend North Corridor Improvement Project. McCartt tells KBND News the timing of this phase means typical holiday traffic near Cascade Village Shopping Center will likely be even more congested, "And a lot of people that are coming into the area to visit people who live in the Bend area, and are maybe not familiar with the roads. And then add on top of that, construction zones." She reminds drivers speed limits are always lower in work zones, "We’re asking drivers to pay attention when they see the orange signs, barrels, cones, barricades, not only in the work zone but in the area of transition into those work zones."


Recalled Applesauce Sold In Deschutes Co. Tied To Lead Poisoning

BEND, OR -- The FDA is recalling cinnamon applesauce pouches over lead poisoning concerns. At least 22 reports of illness are potentially linked to the applesauce sold under multiple names.

Several Oregon children have been identified with elevated blood levels after eating WanaBana Apple Cinnamon Fruit Puree pouches. A child from Lake County reportedly consumed the recalled product, purchased in Deschutes County.

WanaBana fruit puree pouches are distributed through Amazon, Dollar Tree and other retailers. Also recalled: Schnucks brand cinnamon-flavored applesauce pouches and variety pack, and Weis brand cinnamon applesauce pouches with the UPC 041497216123.

Lead Toxicity can cause headache, vomiting and anemia. Long term exposure can result in irritability, fatigue, muscle aches and difficulty concentrating.

"If you think your child may have consumed recalled fruit pouches in the past few months, you should talk to your child's healthcare provider about getting a blood test," Dr. Rita Bacho, Deschutes County's Communicable Disease Program Manager said in a statement. Parents or caregivers should also stop feeding children the recalled fruit pouches, regardless of if the child shows symptoms of lead poisoning. 

More information on the recall is available from the FDA

La Pine Mountain Star Family Relief Nursey Opens

La Pine, OR -- Mountain Star Family Relief Nursery recently celebrated a new location in La Pine. It will open by the end of the year, offering abuse and neglect prevention services for families with young children. Executive Director Kara Tachikawa says they’ve worked for several years to get a building in the area, “We have had an individual worker in La Pine serving South Deschutes County since 2016. And we've been working to try to find a way to bring more services, to bring therapeutic classroom services specifically, to that community since that time. Initially, we plan to have four staff working on site and eventually to expand to have seven staff. During this first year, we are anticipating having about 15 kiddos in the classrooms. But then another 10 Children and their families who will be receiving the wraparound support.”

The first location opened in Bend in 2001. More facilities followed in Madras and Prineville. Redmond opened in 2020. “For this last year, we served just a little over 300 children across the region and we expect that number to continue to increase over the coming year,” Tachikawa says.

She appreciates the efforts of Deschutes County commissioners who helped secure American Rescue Plan Act funding two years ago, “Mountain star received a portion of that to get started in La Pine. And then we had several other state and local funders as well as individuals and businesses that gave generously to make it a possibility.”


Elderly Hunter Rescued From Maury Mountains

PRINEVILLE, OR -- An 82-year-old hunter was rescued Sunday evening after he got separated from his group in the Maury Mountains. Crook County 911 received a call at about 6 p.m., reporting the man did not arrive at a designated location and was not responding to honking vehicles or other attempts to find him. He was not prepared to spend the night in the wood. 

Crook County Search and Rescue responded to Arrowwood Loop Road with 15 volunteers and headed into the area with numerous vehicles and off-road gear. This was the first mission with a newly purchased side-by-side. Search teams also included two dogs. 

The missing hunter was quickly located alive, but exhausted. CCSO SAR transported him back to the command post where he was reunited with his group. 

Former Rep. Mike McLane Announces Senate Run

POWELL BUTTE, OR -- Former Powell Butte State Representative Mike McLane is running for the State Senate. He tells KBND News, "When Senator Findley told me he was not going to run for re-election and urged me to put my name in, I did."

Senator Lynn Findley (R-Vale) is one of 10 Republican lawmakers deemed ineligible for re-election, after last session’s walk-out. A handful of those Senators are suing the state over Measure 113, which prevents legislators from running again if they have 10 or more unexcused absenses. McLane - now a judge - believes the law's language is clear and can't be overlooked, even if it opposes the intent of voters. "There certainly is plenty of evidence that the drafters of Initiative 113 wanted Senators who had 10 or more unexcused absences to not be eligible to run again. If the court says that, then what the court is having to do is look past the very plain language and the very simple interpretation of what exactly Measure 113 says. I hope they don’t do that."

McLane spent five terms in Oregon's House, many of those as Minority Leader. He left the Legislature in 2019, when he was appointed to the Crook County Circuit Court bench. Now, he says he wants to return to Salem because he sees an impending statewide financial disaster, "Really, from the pandemic to other initiatives, there’s been a lot of money coming from Washington DC to the state of Oregon and I think that’s going to start to contract. There’s going to be some budget battles. I’m concerned that Central and Eastern Oregon will be left behind when it comes to that negotiations."

Senate District 30 is the largest in the state, comprised of Baker, Crook, Grant, Harney, Lake and Malheur counties, as well as parts of Deschutes and Jefferson counties. McLane says, "I do have a sense of urgency about some of the issues that our district faces, and frankly, all of Central Oregon." He acknowledges there is a deep partisan divide in Salem and says, "I’ve been there before and I’ve made policy with colleagues. And having someone there to advocate for our Constitutional rights, to be able to articulate what’s important to those of us east of the mountains, that’s an important role."


Southeast Bend Home Damaged By Kitchen Fire

BEND, OR -- A kitchen fire caused about $30,000 in damage to a home in southeast Bend. Firefighters responded to Devon Circle Friday evening, just after 6 p.m.

They say a neighbor knocked down the majority of the fire with a dry chemical extinguisher. Firefighters put out the rest of the fire, limiting damage to the kitchen; although smoke spread throughout the house. Four adults, three children and a dog are receiving help from the Red Cross.

The cause was determined to be spilled cooking oil on a hot burner, which ignited nearby combustibles and the kitchen cabinets.


Photo courtesy of Bend Fire & Rescue

Negotiations Continue Between Bend-La Pine Schools, Union

BEND, OR -- The union representing Bend-La Pine Schools teachers says it will meet with the district again Monday for another all-day bargaining session. Teachers are currently working under an expired contract.

During an eight hour session earlier this week, both sides exchanged proposals related to insurance benefits, compensation and other issues. Union officials say the district still needs to do more to address concerns regarding the lowest wages on the salary scale.

County Delays Unsanctioned Camping Enforcement

BEND, OR -- Deschutes County Commissioners voted this week to push back enforcement of the new camping code to the end of March, because there is still no identified location for a managed homeless camp. Enforcement was supposed to begin November 21st. 

Commissioner Phil Chang says it’s the right call, “I think having this ordinance is helpful for us to keep us laser focused on establishing the authorized planned managed, structured, regulated outdoor shelter opportunities that our community needs and that we need in order to ask people to leave, unauthorized encampment. I'm glad that we can inch the date out a little bit farther so that we maintain our sense of urgency and focus.”

Commissioner Patti Adair notes more indoor shelter is becoming available, “Good news is that the City of Bend in the month of December will have the capacity up to 600 beds.” And, she believes the reopening of Bethlehem Inn’s Redmond facility will help while noting campers are already living in some locations under consideration, “In fact, one of the tent areas was state property that I'd looked at about three weeks ago for a camp within the city of Bend.”

Board chair Tony Debone says the county needs guidance from the state, “There's just not an extra green space in the city of Bend that easily points to a place where we want to put this... a camp or whatever place for people is going to be. So, it's just, we're in that same situation. We've been there all year.”

The commissioners also signed an agreement Wednesday with the Governor’s Office and the cities of Bend and Redmond to locate and establish areas for authorized camping.


High Desert Museum Bobcat Gets A New Name

BEND, OR -- The High Desert Museum’s new bobcat finally has a name. “Timber” arrived at the museum just over a year ago after state wildlife officials found him in the Portland area separated from his mother. Despite efforts to reunite the family, the cub gravitated toward people and could not be returned to the wild.

Previous Coverage: Bobcat Kitten Makes Himself At Home At High Desert Museum

Timber has appeared in public since April, in a habitat across from the Spirit of the West exhibition. His name was chosen by a raffle winner at the museum’s annual High Desert Rendezvous fundraiser in late August.

“Timber is smart and took quickly to training and working with wildlife staff,” Curator of Wildlife Jon Nelson said in a statement. “He also enjoys visitors and at times can be seen playing with people through the viewing glass of his habitat.” In the wild, bobcats eat a wide range of prey including birds and small mammals. Timber enjoys meals of rats, mice, rabbit, quail and other whole-animal foods at the Museum.


Photograph from June 2023 taken by Abbott Schindler, courtesy of the High Desert Museum

Mount Bachelor Ranked Second Most Affordable Ski Destination

BEND, OR -- Mount Bachelor is one of the best ski destinations in North America, according to the vacation rental company HomeToGo. According to its annual ski season report, the Bend resort ranks second for affordability, behind only Mission Ridge Ski Area in Washington.

Bachelor comes in ninth overall. Another Oregon destination ranked slightly higher; Mt. Hood Meadows was sixth on the overall list. Idaho's Schweitzer Mountain was number one. Click HERE for the full report. 




Christmas Tree Season Begins on Deschutes, Ochoco National Forests

BEND, OR -- It’s almost Christmas tree season on the Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests. "This is one of those things that living in a place where we have such close and easy access to the forest is really a win for folks who want to have a different experience this Christmas," says Kassidy Kern, with the U.S. Forest Service. "The adventure is in that $5 and taking your friends or your family out and going out to pick your own Christmas tree."

Those permits are now on sale, "You can buy your permit online at Recreation.gov. They do have a couple dollars of a fee there. So, if you don’t want to pay the fee, which - I don’t want to pay the fee - I always come into our offices; open 8-4:30." And, she tells KBND News, if you come into an office, you'll also get useful information, "We’ll tell you some great spots to go, if you want different kinds of trees. Obviously, the lower elevations you’re going to get a Lodgpole, which is also known as the Charlie Brown Christmas tree. As you get higher up in elevation, you’re going to get into the fir."

Kern suggests, "Have an idea of where you want to go. Again, our folks at the front desk, when they sell you that $5 permit, can help point you in the right direction. We always take along some sleds, we take along some hot chocolate, we take along some snacks for the kiddos. If there is a place that we’re going that we know is going to have snow - and my fingers and legs are crossed for that - then sledding is an adventure. So you can really kind of make a day of it."

Those $5 permits are also available at some local retailers, "You know, when you think of the Bi-Mart locations, places that you might be going to get some hot chocolate already, they’re going to be the places to pick up your Christmas tree permits too, if you want to do that maybe on a weekend instead of during the week."

If you’re heading into the mountains, be prepared to hike in if roads are blocked by snow. Click HERE for more tips, rules and restrictions. 

Christmas tree hunting season runs from Friday, November 10 through December 31. 


Phil's Skills Bike Park Opens

BEND, OR -- Construction is now complete on the Phil's Skills Bike Park.

Central Oregon Trail Alliance Program Coordinator Vanessa Fron tells KBND News the popular mountain biking area west of Bend needed an upgrade, “Phil's trailhead had a bike park that was really run down and needed a lot of work to get it back up to normal jump heights and levels.” She says the first phase was built in the Spring for more advanced riders; it now offers terrain for all levels of expertise, “With the second phase, we added smaller features like a strider course, drop jumps, drop zones...There is a flat zone for coaching… So, people can go out and just learn how to maneuver on a bike. The whole strip starts off with a beginner level in the front and skills progress, the further you go back and then eventually there's a big jump track and pump course.”

The project was a joint effort with contractors, the Forest Service, and tons of dirt and boulders. “Once all of that was done, all of the COTA volunteers came out and finished with hand tools, shaping, watering, so that everything stays in place. And now that winter is upon us, we are hoping that the snowpack will really settle everything in,” Fron says.

Funding for the $50-thousandr project came from local businesses and non-profits. COTA is looking for more donations and volunteers to keep up with necessary maintenance of the skills park, “It costs roughly $15,000 to maintain one bike park for one year. And COTA currently maintains about five different bike parks,” says Fron.

Although COTA volunteers will do more hand-finishing next spring, the Phil’s Skills Bike Park is open for riding now.

File Photo

Deschutes County Honors Longtime Veterans Advocate

BEND, OR -- Deschutes County Commissioners presented longtime veterans advocate Dick Tobiason with a special plaque Wednesday, commemorating his almost two decades of work. Tobiason is also a veteran; he's a retired Army Lieutenant Colonel.

During the presentation, Tobiason thanked County Commissioners for their partnership over the last 19 years, starting with his desire to recognize Medal of Honor recipient Bob Maxwell, "We named the bridge over the Deschutes River in south county for him." His Bend Heroes Foundation is behind numerous projects, "We’ve done the Bend Parade of Flags; Bob and I started that. Then the Bend Hero’s Memorial." That memorial is at Brooks Park. 

"Our foundation objective is to honor veterans and first responders. So, every step of the way, you’ve been there. For instance, we did the World War II Highway. At that time, we had a lot of World War II veterans left; we probably had 200-300 World War II veterans in Deschutes County. We only have a handful - I only know of two. Eric and I did the Honor Flight trips, and you donated to that," said Tobiason, "The World War II Veterans Historic Highway, you paid for a couple signs. That’s a long time ago. Those signs are at the point we might have to start replacing." 

And, more recently, the Bend Heroes Foundation built Veterans Village for homeless vets. Commissioner Phil Chang thanked Tobiason for that lasting impact, "The Veterans Village has not just moved 34 folks on to better places, more permanent housing, stable employment and other things; it has provided a template, or example for our community for how we can move folks who are not veterans who are homeless out of homelessness, and provide a pathway and stepping stones for those people." Veterans Village is managed by Central Oregon Veterans Outreach. 


Sisters Workforce Housing Project Gets $10M Funding Boost

SISTERS, OR -- A new affordable housing project is in the works for Sisters. The nonprofit Northwest Housing Alternatives just received a $9.8 million grant from Oregon Housing and Community Services for the Trinity Place development. "This announcement of funding award from OHCS is a massive step in the right direction," says Trinity Place lead developer Clayton Crowhurst, "It gives us and a lot of our other funding partners a ton of assurance that this project is real and moving forward."

He tells KBND News the 40-unit apartment complex will be built on the west side of Sisters, close to schools and other services. Crowhurst says there is a desperate need for family and workforce housing in Sisters Country, "There are plenty of folks who live, work and have kids in school in Sisters, but live in the National Forest outside of town. These are people that want to be members of that community and live there; they just can’t find anything to afford." He notes others commute from Redmond and Prineville to work in Sisters. 

Trinity Place will feature one, two and three bedroom apartments. Income restrictions will range from 50-80% of the Area Median Income (AMI), depending on the unit. "More, that 60 and especially into that 80% range, that might be where you have a one-bedroom unit with a single person. They might be an entry level teacher or firefighter," says Crowhurst.

In addition to the recent OHCS grant, the city has provided some affordable housing funds. "We also were awarded some agricultural worker housing tax credits," says Crowhurst, "We’ve actually been working with the High Desert Food and Farm Alliance, as well as some of our local ag producers in Sisters, to talk with them and explore ideas around providing housing for folks that are growing the food, herding the cattle, planting the trees there in the community." 

The project is still in the very early stages. Crowhurst says designers are still firming up preliminary plans. He hopes construction will begin in late 2024 or early '25. All 40 units will likely fill as soon as they’re available the following year. Crowhurst says, "Every project that I personally work on across coastal, Central and frontier Oregon, we have 50- or 70-person waitlists after we lease up."

Trinity Place is the second Central Oregon project for Northwest Housing Alternatives.


NE Bend Intersection Should Open Dec. 4th

BEND, OR -- The northeast Bend intersection of Neff Road and Purcell Boulevard that has been closed since February was supposed to reopen in August. It should be open early next month.

“The striping, which should be going down this week, we have this signage that needs to get installed and then we need to get the signal poles physically checked out. We have ODOT coming out on November 28th to do the testing and the programming of the signals to make sure they work properly. We should be able to open this thing up to traffic probably the first week in December. So, December 4th is a Monday and then we would continue to monitor the signal under traffic,” Ryan Oster, the city’s engineering director, says work was slowed by old utility lines. “We ran into a lot of unmapped conflicts out in the field. We just had to take an extra level of precaution there. Getting 20 feet down to build a retaining wall, we ran into two different levels of utilities, and a lot of those older ones were just not mapped because they just didn't do it back in the day”, he said, which caused some challenges, “When you run into a new conflict every day, you've got to kind of slow down and ‘ok, if we tear this up, we're not cutting power to the hospital, are we?’ Unfortunately, it added a couple of months to the project. But yeah, we did that to ensure that we weren't going to critically damage any of the infrastructure out there and make sure we got this thing built right. “

The Purcell extension, north of Neff Road, should also open around that first week of December.


Voters Appear Supportive Of Fire Levies In Early Returns

BEND, OR -- Voters appear supportive of local fire levies in Tuesday's election, but one race is especially close. In the first round of ballot counting, the Redmond Fire and Rescue levy was passing by fewer than 40 votes. The Crooked River Ranch fire levy is passing by a larger margin - 57% to 43%.

More definitive numbers will take several days. Arriving ballots will still be counted if postmarked by November 7th. Voter turnout in Deschutes County as of Election Day was just 20%; 36% in Jefferson County.

Click HERE to view the latest results. 

Two Redmond Men Accused Of Street Racing In Bend

BEND, OR -- A pair of 22-year-old men from Redmond face criminal charges after videos allegedly showing them street racing in Bend turned up on social media. Mason Price and Tyler Fox were cited for Reckless Driving. Price is also accused of Driving While Suspended.

Sheila Miller, with Bend Police, tells KBND News, "Street racing has long been an issue in Central Oregon." But investigators don't often get such details videos of the criminal activity. "Their license plates were visible and sometimes there were faces visible in videos, as well," says Miller.

"We received a traffic complaint on the night of one of these incidents, of a person who witnessed it. And then, our department also received information about these Instagram posts from a member of the public," says Miller, "So it just kind of led down a rabbit hole, and it became clear that this was behavior that was happening repeatedly by the same people." 

The videos from August show cars racing around the 18th and Cooley roundabout and other locations, "Some of them appear to be in Tumalo, some of them appear to be roundabouts in Bend. The middle video is on Archie Briggs." 

Miller tells KBND News Bend PD takes street racing very seriously because the incidents can have deadly consequences. "You can see that to go that quickly through a roundabout does require an awful lot of squealing tires and dangerous placement of your vehicles. 18th and Cooley is a bit off the beaten path still. It’s quite close to Juniper Ridge. Perhaps people think that it’s a safer spot; it is not. There’s cross traffic visible in some of the videos that we were able to access." 

The investigation is ongoing, and more citations may follow. 

Image captured from the street racing video released by Bend Police.

Old McKenzie Pass Fully Closes Thursday

SISTERS, OR -- Old McKenzie Pass will fully close for the season on November 9th. Snow gates were closed on the west side of the pass on October 30th. Oregon Department of Transportation crews will close the gates near Sisters Thursday morning.

Once Highway 242 closes, it’s closed to all users - including cyclists and pedestrians. ODOT does not maintain the road in the winter, and says travelers going beyond locked gates could encounter equipment or other hazards. There is also little to no cell service on the pass.


Photo of the west side gate courtesy of ODOT

Fire Levies On Redmond, Crooked River Ranch Ballots

REDMOND, OR -- Fire departments in Redmond and Crooked River Ranch plan to hire more staff if voters approve tax levies in Tuesday’s election.

Crooked River Ranch Fire Chief Sean Hartley admits increasing the levy is challenging, especially with rising property tax bills, which showed up in the mail around the same time as ballots, “This one is an asked for an increase of 28 cents. So, it's actually a total of $1.17 per 1000 of taxable assessed value to bring in more funds to get our goal of retaining our firefighter paramedics.” He says the department has been explaining the need for the increase, “We've been doing a lot of getting out and talking to groups and getting information out in as many avenues as we can. We've gotten a lot of positive feedback. We've gotten some good questions really asking us how we came up with the number…Cautiously optimistic that we will see it pass.”

Hartley tells KBND News if the levy is approved, one firefighter-paramedic would be hired in order to keep up with increasing call volume, “When our on-duty crew is out, what we found is we get another call and we're waiting on volunteers to come into the station or potentially off duty staff who may be available to come help staff a call.”

Redmond also hopes to hire staff with its requested levy increase. Current levy rates aren’t enough to hire more firefighter - paramedics.  “26% increase in population, 68% increase in call volume. Those are the reasons for us to go out on the ballot right now,” Redmond Chief Pat Dale says the tax increase could be balanced by lower fire insurance premiums, “The biggest impact on improving fire classification rating is staffing. So, it's a fact that as we add staffing, the next time that we are re-rated, we will improve from a three to a two classification rating. There will be hundreds of thousands of dollars of savings.”

Ballots must be turned in to election drop sites or mailed by 8 pm Tuesday, November 7th.

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County Commissioners To Honor Long Time Veterans Advocate

BEND, OR -- Deschutes County Commissioners plan to honor Dick Tobiason at their Wednesday morning meeting, ahead of Veterans Day. Commissioner Patti Adair says he's well deserving, "What individual has done more to recognize the service of our thousands of veterans in Deschutes County and in our world?"

Tobiason is a Vietnam War vet and retired from the Army as a Lieutenant Colonel. "Dick happens to be 89. He’s just a young 89, and he’s the man who gets the flags up all those different days in the year," Adair tells KBND News, "Veterans Day, Memorial Day. He runs so many ceremonies, always honoring veterans. And I just felt like it was time we recognize all of is wonderful, wonderful efforts."

She says he also helped get Veterans Village off the ground, "We contributed more funding to add seven more cabins to that program. And those are all being constructed. The walls are on-site; they’re roofing them. It’s an outstanding program. 16 veterans have transitioned to - I could say housing from that program. And I just want to thank Dick for all of his work and his son Eric Tobiason, who is the leader of that group - the Veterans Village program."

Also at Wednesday’s County Commissioner meeting, Deschutes County Veterans Services staff will talk about what help is available for local vets. That meeting starts at 9 a.m. at the county services building (1300 NW Wall St.) in Bend. 

File photo: Dick Tobiason presents the flag at the Bend Heroes Memorial in 2018


Felon Arrested For DUII In Bend

BEND, OR -- A suspected drunk driver was arrested Saturday afternoon in downtown Bend, after multiple people reported seeing the man driving erratically.

Officers say Dennis Puente struck a parked car while attempting to pull over during a traffic stop on NE Third. He then got out of his car and allegedly refused officers’ commands. Bend PD says he resisted arrest and tried to reach for a knife on his hip, although no knife was found.

Puente, who is a felon, was placed in a WRAP device and taken to jail. A search of his minivan turned up a pistol stolen from Texas, hollow-point bullets, metal knuckles and multiple open containers of alcohol.

He's charged with DUII, Driving While Suspended, Reckless Driving, Resisting Arrest, Theft, Disorderly Conduct, Felon in Possession of a Firearm, Felon in Possession of a Restricted Weapon and a Probation Violation. 

Bend Approves Residential Building Code Adjustments

BEND, OR -- Bend’s City Council made a few minor changes to building codes the Mayor hopes will offer more flexibility for homebuilders. "This really came out of the work of our Affordable Housing Committee and some local developers that build housing, also our Middle Housing Program," says Mayor Melanie Kebler, "All looking for ‘what are some barriers to these more affordable types of housing and middle income housing types that are in our code that we can remove?’"

Among other admustments, the City Council approved a change to density guidelines, "Even in our High-Density Residential, we have a maximum amount of density you can do - a maximum amount of homes. And there are some developers wanting to do some smaller developments and go a little bit more vertical and build more homes. Our height allows it, but the density doesn’t. So taking out those density caps just allows more flexibility." Kebler adds, "We’re still going to see the right type of homes built in those particular zones. They’re just going to be a little taller and have a few more homes, which is what we need." She tells KBND News, "This is really drilling down into the details and seeing, where are still the little stumbling blocks we can clean up, that still allow us to achieve what our code wants to achieve, but make it easier to build more homes?" 

Oregon’s Governor wants the state to see at least 36,000 market-rate and affordable homes built per year. Kebler says these recent changes, coupled with the removal of parking mandates will make it easier for Bend to help meet that goal. "Most of the homes built in Bend are built by private developers and homebuilders, so we need to work together. Government needs to work with them and nonprofits and private developers; we all need to work together on our housing crisis."


Forest Service To Break Ground On New Sisters Ranger Station

SISTERS, OR -- The Forest Service breaks ground on a new Sisters Ranger Station this month. "The old ranger station is no longer up to code," the Deschutes National Forest's Kassidy Kern tells KBND News, "There are issues with the HVAC and the wiring. So, it was just really not something we could feasibly upgrade." She notes, "That building opened in 1962 and was well-suited for a 1962 workforce. We are now a 2023 workforce, and this building needs to last decades to come."

That 2023 workforce needs better electrical and internet infrastructure to accommodate increased connectivity. "If we have fires that are impacting the Sisters Ranger District, maybe we need to be holding community meetings that would probably be virtual as well as in person; and then, just generally speaking, we use technology all the time," says Kern. "This is really about bringing updated technology into a building for people who require technology and increased connectivity to do their jobs." She adds, "As well as we can, [we] kind of forecast out the needs of this and future generations." Kern says the 1962 building will eventually be torn down.

The new 13,500 square-foot facillity will be built next to the existing station. Construction begins in earnest in December, and it's expected to open by the end of 2025. 

Kern says the nearby Sisters Ranger District Warehouse was also recently renovated, "Together, these two buildings are really an investment, not just in the forest, but certainly in being in Sisters for a long time."

The Forest Service sold off 68 acres next to the ranger station a few years ago. That land sale provides some of the funding for the $9.6 million project. 


Eagle Crest Duplex Partially Destroyed By Fire

REDMOND, OR -- One unit of a townhome is considered a total loss, following a Sunday morning fire near the Eagle Crest Resort. Authoritis say renters smelled smoke coming from the laundry room, near the entrance from the garage. They realized the inside of the garage was on fire and evacuated while calling 911. 

Redmond firefighters responded to Forest Ridge Loop just after 10 a.m., along with help from Cloverdale and Bend Fire. They discovered the fire had spread to two vehicles in the driveway. Crews knocked down the flames and checked for extension to neighboring units. 

Adjoining townhomes were damaged by smoke, but losses in the original unit total around $750,000. The fire's cause remaisn under investigation, but Redmond Fire belives it started at the ceiling of the garage. 

Redmond Airport Shares Expansion Design Plans

REDMOND, OR -- The Redmond Airport has revealed the latest design plans for its terminal expansion. Work should begin on phase one of three next summer. 

Airport Director Zach Bass says that includes ticketing counters for more airlines and basement-level security and baggage areas, “What most people will see is a really large second floor concourse that pushes off the building to the west with about seven jet bridges, more retail, more food options and about almost 1000 seats.”

He tells KBND News major passenger impacts won’t be felt immediately though, “We probably won't start building out the concourse and impacting customers, their travel or flow through the airport until the summer of 2025. But overall, it will be about a 2-to-2-and-a-half-year project.”

Bass says the airport will try to strike a balance between modernization and Roberts Field’s rustic roots, “As we've grown and our aircraft size has grown. We need to make sure we are also providing customers with more options for food, for seating, for boarding planes that you don't have to go out in the ice and snow in the winter to do. And so yes, we want to keep the same feel with the understanding that we also need to grow.”

He says the terminal expansion will keep pace with what has become a major travel hub, “Eight years ago, we were at 600,000 total passengers. And this year we're projected to hit 1.25 million. We've seen extreme growth and we're going to grow along with it.”

Bass says there could be some first phase add-ons if more federal and state funding grants are awarded.

Madras Garage Damaged By Fire

MADRAS, OR -- A Thursday evening fire heavily damaged the garage of a two-sotry house in Madras, but did not spread to the home. 

Jefferson County firefighters responded to NE Kinkade just after 8:30 p.m. after the homeowner discovered smoke coming from the exterior garage door. Arriving crews discovered the blaze and quickly put it out.

Damages are estimated at $124,000. The fire's cause is under investigation. 

Ribbon Cutting For Redmond Center Shelter

REDMOND, OR -- Shepherd’s House celebrated its new Redmond Center Thursday at Highway 97 and Veterans Way. The shelter officially opens November 15th. 

Emergency Services Director John Lodise tells KBND News the new year-round facility is a big improvement from the winter-only shelter, “There will be a dinner meal, there will be showers available every night. There will be guest laundry. We'll have a takeaway meal in the morning when they leave at 7 a.m. We also have a clothing closet so they'll have access to warm winter clothing.” The facility will house about 50 people, and also offers computer access to look for jobs and housing.

Lodise says offering these services will make a big difference. “They can come here, they can stay here for as long as they need us and whatever is out there waiting for them beyond, they can take their time that they need to get there,” he says, adding there’s a plan to eventually do more, “We're aiming toward 24-7 next year, we're aiming toward more community meals next year, we're just aiming for more ways to get involved in providing the help that we see people need.”

It will be a low barrier shelter. “You're on the streets, you're in camps, you're looking to start getting shelter and getting connected to services and getting more connected to community. We're right at the front line of that,” he said, adding he’s also concerned the temporary closing of Redmond’s Bethlehem Inn could stall the process for residents ready to transition out of a low-barrier setting, “If they can't open until January or whenever they think they can open, that might delay our guests' ability to move on to the next step from here.”

Lodise and the Shepherd’s House staff expressed gratitude for private and public donations, and contributions to get the Redmond Center renovated at the site of the former Grace Gate Church.

Bend Councilors Support Reviving Drug Court

BEND, OR -- A month after the final participants in Deschutes County’s drug court graduated, Bend City Councilors are asking what’s needed to bring back the diversion program. During a presentation on local public safety this week, Councilor Anthony Broadman asked, "If there’s a promise of resurrecting it, or what we would need to do?" District Attorney Steve Gunnels replied, "I would say not a promise. There’s a hope of resurrecting it." Gunnels worked with the drug court for more than 20 years and said, "It’s hard for me to accept Adult Treatment Court shutting down. And I don’t accept that it’s going to shut down permanently."

He calls the program a success, "We’ve had a lot of people get their lives turned around so that they’re good parents for their children, they are productive members of our community, they’ve got jobs, they’re staying clean and they’re raising children to adulthood. Which, for some of the participants in our program who have got it turned it around, is a little miracle."

But, Gennels says, it boils down to staffing. "When the former Adult Treatment Court coordinator left to go to another job in the Willamette Valley, there was an opening. The courts went through a series of interviews of potential applicants and there were none who were able to fill that role." Gunnels added, "There’s also an issue with finding a treatment provider who can meet the very high standards of the Adult Treatment Court program." He says Measure 110 also played a small role.

Mayor Melanie Kebler tells KBND News the City Council wants the program resurrected, "We’re happy to take action there where we can, and help with that." 


County Commission Agrees To Hear Appeal On Eagle Crest Motocross

BEND, OR -- A motocross training facility proposed for north of Eagle Crest will get another public hearing. X Games competitor Justin Homan’s initial land use application was approved in August with around 30 conditions. Senior County Planner Caroline House told Deschutes County Commissioners this week Homan has appealed a handful of those, "They’re all related to motorcycle noise, the hours of operation, the number of visitors allowed on the site, as well as required new restroom facilities that were conditioned in the decision."

She says Commissioners may not be able to accommodate all of Homan's requests. The noise restriction would take a code change, "So, the county’s noise ordinance - and this is where it’s going to be difficult, potentially, for the applicant to establish their use - is that, if anyone can hear motorcycles, essentially, on their property from their house, that’s a violation of the county’s noise ordinance." House also told Commissioners, "Additionally, staff believes that the visitor limitation is a reasonable condition, to mitigate impacts to the surrounding properties. And on one of the other conditions, they’re asking to be modified, related to the restroom facilities. That comes directly from DEQ and our on-site wastewater division’s responsibilities. So the board would not be given deference on that decision." 

Planning Manager William Groves says the initial hearing over the summer drew a lot of public interest, "This is an important family activity, and the director of this is a beloved community member. And for people who are next to it, of course, I think we’d all have some reticence about living next to a motocross course." The county logged more than 120 public comments. Commissioner Patti Adair said, "Actually, I got emails on this months ago, about neighbors above it. And they were horrified that this was going to go in. And of course, we’ve received a lot of emails recently about supporting it."

Homan wants the facility to include four motocross courses, in an area zoned Rural Residential. A date for the appeals hearing has not been set. 


Deschutes Co. Approves Rules For Rural ADUs

BEND, OR -- Beginning December first, some property owners in rural Deschutes County will be able to apply for an ADU permit, thanks to new rules approved this week by County Commissioners. There are restrictions to what types of properties are allowed to build an Accessory Dwelling Unit.

  • The property must be located in a rural residential zoned area 
  • In most unincorporated areas of the County, the property must be at least two acres. In Southern Deschutes County, the property must be at least five acres.
  • The ADU is limited to 900 square feet of useable floor space 
  • The ADU must be located within 100 feet from the primary dwelling
  • The ADU must comply with all applicable state laws relating to water supply, sanitation and wastewater disposal

An informational meeting is planned for those interested in learning more about rural ADUs on November 30th at 3 p.m. It will be held at the County Services Building at 1300 NW Wall Street, Bend. RSVP required


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Bend, Warm Springs Councils Hold Joint Meeting

BEND, OR -- Leaders for the City of Bend and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs met to discuss common issues during a joint council meeting Wednesday.

Bend Mayor Melanie Kebler welcomed tribal leaders to the council chamber. “The Bend City Council is honored today to host the tribal council of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs. This is the first of what we hope will be many Intergovernmental meetings between our two governments to talk about shared issues and concerns.”

Warm Springs CEO Bobby Brunoe told the City Council the Confederated Tribes can include Bend in their ‘good neighbor policy’, “It's about how do we work with each other? How do we collaborate with each other? Work on projects that are in common interest with each other? So, we can move those forward as a group.”

Brunoe says water usage is always a concern, “We draw water straight from the Deschutes River… goes into a water treatment plant and then serves our community. So, you know, water quality is a very important thing.”

Tribal Council Chairman Raymond Tsumpti echoed Brunoe’s sentiment, “Keep us in mind as to the water always. I mean, not asking you to cater to us, but to keep us in mind when we do submit comment, we'd like to be heard.”

Mayor Kebler talked about another ongoing problem, “Economic development opportunities including work around housing. That's something that is a top concern for our constituents here in Bend is making sure there's enough homes for everyone.”

She also wants to hold more joint meetings, “One of the action items we wanted to have out of this meeting was actually a commitment of our two governments to meet at least annually and that we would come to you next time, and come to meet with your government up in Warm Springs.”

Kebler tells KBND News city staff will work up a memo to plan another meeting with the Confederated Tribes.


Mt. Bachelor Subsidizes Employee Housing At Bend Hotel

BEND, OR -- Seasonal workers at Mount Bachelor now have a new housing option: living at the Campfire Hotel in Bend. "lYear over year, we have lots of employees that inquire about housing opportunities through Mt. Bachelor," says Michelle Murray, Human Resources Director for Mount Bachelor, "So, in response to that, we’ve been chatting with local groups to see if we can partner on any opportunities."

She tells KBND News they’ve offered some rental help in the past, but as housing has become more difficult to find in Bend, Murray says they needed to expand the program. "A lot of our new hires might be coming from working at another resort somewhere else - either in Oregon or out of the state - and are new to Bend and are having a hard time with the pricing here, locally."

They’ll have 52 beds available at the hotel, with options for single or double rooms. "It's fun to see people respond to the questionnaires that we have on the application, to see if they are interested in a double room, what they’re looking for in a roommate and who they are," says Murray.

Rent will be subsidized by Bachelor, "After they pay those move-in fees, we’re taking the rent through biweekly payroll deductions. So, employees don’t have to worry about paying their rent on time, they don’t have to worry about having one big amount come out of their bank account once a month."

Murray adds, "Being able to provide an opportunity in town that also provides really good amenities, even though they are removed from the resort. The shuttle picks up at Hawthorne Station a couple of times a day, so employees can pop on the shuttle and come straight to work within walking distance from their front door. There’s a nearby food and grocery." She also notes the hotel has a heated year-round pool and offers guests numerous social activities. 

It takes around 600 people to staff the resort for winter, but Murray says most full-time and returning workers already have housing secured. Those living at the Campfire will move in November 15. Opening Day is slated for after Thanksgiving. 

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DCSO Consultant Arraigned In Portland Courtroom

BEND, OR -- A consultant hired by the Deschutes County Sheriff was arraigned in Multnomah County Wednesday, following a 19-count indictment. Kevin Dahlgren is accused of stealing from the city of Gresham during his work as a homeless outreach specialist, among other charges. 

"You can’t make this stuff up." Deschutes County Commissioner Phil Chang told KBND News Wednesday, "I mean, this is stranger than fiction." He's frustrated Dahlgren was hired by DCSO more than three months after Gresham put him on administrative leave and launched a criminal investigation. "Now that I’ve had some time to think about it, it really makes me question how much reference checking and credential checking the Sheriff’s Office did before they executed this contract." Chang added, "I’m pretty sure that if the Sheriff contacted Mr. Dahlgren’s most recent employer to understand what kind of expertise he had in homelessness, that they may have said what he was put on administrative leave for."

That $18,750 dollar contract was signed by Sheriff Shane Nelson on July 13, 2023 and terminated August 23, 2023, after his office learned of the Multnomah County investigation. However, he had already submitted a draft report on homelessness, dated "June 14th-July 31st, 2023." He billed DCSO for his work and the agency confirms Dahlgren was paid in full.

The report features numerous spelling and grammatical errors, and unsubstantiated statistics and assumptions. "After reading his draft report, which was quite a piece of work, by the way," said Chang, "I would say Mr. Dahlgren did nothing but harm." He went on to call the work "shotty." He added, "The damage of his work was already done. The impact of his work had already been accomplished." 

The Sheriff's Office issued a statement after Dahlgren's arrest saying "During the early summer of 2023, community members informed the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office about Kevin Dahlgren volunteering in the homeless encampments within Deschutes County. Our office made contact with Mr. Dahlgren regarding the homeless issues facing Deschutes County. Mr. Dahlgren was eventually contracted by the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office as a homeless consultant. Mr. Dahlgren was contracted to conduct outreach and determine the potential impact of the current homeless on safety."

Dahlgren has also made a name for himself on social media, posting videos and stories of people he claimed to come across in his work as an outreach specialist. Chang says the overall scope of work submitted to Deschutes County is not consistant with what's expected from a man claiming to be a social scientist, "There are some basic standards of maintaining privacy of human subjects and essentially not exploiting human subjects to promote the researcher."

Commissioner Chang says, "There are people in our community who want to create a narrative about homelessness. I believe those folks sought Mr. Dahlgren out because they were convinced he would reinforce the false narrative they were trying to promote." He notes the work Dahlgren was hired to do had already been conducted earlier this year, during the federally mandated Point In Time (PIT) count



County Historic Landmarks Commission Saved From Suspension

BEND, OR -- A proposal to disband Deschutes County’s Historic Landmarks Commission (HLC) appears to be dead, for now. Under a proposed code amendment, the duties of the HLC were to be taken over by the county’s Planning Division. County staff had expressed concern about a lack of interest, since three positions have sat vacant for a prolonged amount of time. Without those members, there's no quorum and the HLC can't meet. 

Deschutes Historical Museum Executive Director Kelly Cannon-Miller testified at Wednesday's public hearing that two people applied for a seat but were never contacted, "I think it’s unfair to say that interest isn’t there. I think this is a moment for you to look at how citizen participation is greeted by the Development Department." She went on to say, "There’s plenty of work to be done. You have the Commissioners. You would be cutting off your nose to spite your face, if you did this patch amendment." 

Community Development Director Peter Gutowsky told County Commissioners he was aware of the two applicants, but was waiting for more, "We did not have a robust pool. Typically, when you do a recruitment process, you have more than two to fill three positions."

The proposed amendment would have allowed the county to form a new HLC if a historic property applies for a permit or new historic listing. But Canon-Miller worries county staff don't have the necessary expertise to do the work, "The process you're proposing will hinder the landowners who do believe in historic preservation." She said that includes upcoming renovations planned for the Petersen Rock Garden, "We know they have years’ worth of deferred maintenance coming towards the new owners. They’ve already had sessions with your staff. So we know that permits are coming from them in the future. It’s only a matter of time. Why do you think it will be so easy to come up with a landmarks commission on the fly when a permit comes in, versus right now." She added, "One of the glorious things about the preservation process is that it is largely driven by the owners who believe in it and value it, and want to protect it. It’s not the government coming and telling you what to do with your property."

After hearing testimony broadly opposed to the idea, County Commissioners agreed to try again to recruit new volunteers to fill the three open seats.

For more information on the Historic Landmarks Commission and to apply for a seat on the board, click HERE. Applications are due December 1, 2023.


Redmond Man Arrested During CERT Operation

REDMOND, OR -- A Redmond man was arrested on multiple Domestic Violence-related charges Wednesday morning, with help from the Central Oregon Emergency Response Team.

Investigators believe the 35-year-old is responsible for an assault and robbery, among other crimes. On Monday, police tried to convince him over the phone to turn himself in, but they say he threatened more violence against the victim and law enforcement.

Wednesday morning, he was found in the area of Southwest 21st and Quartz and police converged on the area at around 7 a.m.. Shortly after they began negotiating, he agreed to surrender and was taken into custody. 

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Bend To Host Climate Friendly Area Open House

BEND, OR -- Bend officials are considering where to encourage development for people to live, work and play without requiring the use of a car. They’re looking for public input on possible locations for these so-called Climate Friendly Areas.

The city will host a Climate Friendly Areas Community Open House next Tuesday, November 7, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Environmental Center (16 NW Kansas Ave.). You can also attend virtually at this website

Climate Friendly Areas are part of the Climate Friendly and Equitable Communities rules required by the state that aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by changing land use patterns. The end result will involve designating walkable, connected areas that provide a mix of businesses, housing and amenities such as parks and schools through code and policy amendments.


Redmond Youth Center Grand Opening Friday

REDMOND, OR -- A new youth center opens in Redmond this month.

Agency and Church Liaison Jana Hill says the KC Center will provide a solid foundation for families in crisis whether due to job loss, illness, or homelessness, “We have been in isolation and things like social media, keep us in isolation and we know that community is the best thing for all of us.”

The KC Center will be open on weekdays with staff and volunteers able to be a resource to children of all ages, and their parents.

Volunteers and staff will be available to help kids with homework at our really great computer stations. Be available to play a board game or sit and watch a sporting event on our TV. Have snacks with kids,” says Hill.

“Our hope is that we can help kids be seen and known and their age doesn't matter. We'll be very careful with appropriateness and safety, with mixing of ages. But we want to be a place that people can come and know that they feel welcome,” she says, adding parents are welcome to drop in and chat with volunteers also.

She looks forward to getting kids in the building later this month, starting with the celebration event, “On Friday ribbon cutting is at 5:15, although it's a bit of an open house. So, 4:30 to 6, we will be there. And our hope is that folks will come in and experience what it might be like if they came on any given weekday.”

The KC Center is in a renovated building at 767 Northwest Canal, across from the pump track.

Kindred Connections is a program of J Bar J Youth Services.

File Photo


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