YAPOAH LAKE, OR -- Deschutes County Search and Rescue teams responded to Yapoah Lake, near North Sister, to rescue an injured hiker, Thursday afternoon.
Deschutes County dispatchers received a call from International Emergency Response Center asking for assistance for one of their clients. Daniel Ravencraft sent a text message that she had fallen while hiking with her service dog. She indicated she was injured and non-ambulatory.
SAR responded with a horse team and reached the 43-year-old Eugene woman at about 1 p.m. Medics evaluated her and prepared for extraction by a Black Hawk Helicopter from the Oregon National Guard.
KBND will continue to follow this developing story and will provide more information when it becomes available.
BEND, OR -- It will be pushing 100-degrees when thousands of pets march with their people through downtown Bend for the 4th of July Pet Parade. If you plan to take Fido to the parade, you’re going to want to take some sensible precautions.
Lynne Ouchida, with the Humane Society of Central Oregon, tells KBND News the parade isn't right for everyone. “If you are a person who has a senior, obese, short-muzzled dog, or northern breed dog, and you have thoughts of going down to the 4th of July Pet Parade, we strongly discourage you from doing that. Those types of animals, particularly dogs, are going to be susceptible to the extreme heat that is expected on the 4th of July.”
With highs expected in the upper 90s, asphalt temperatures could be around 140-degrees. Ouchida says dogs cannot cool off like we can. “Dogs have very poor cooling systems and so they cool off by panting. But when they’re that close to the asphalt and it’s 140-degrees, say, they are breathing in 140-degree temperatures and they’re not able to cool themselves down efficiently. Dogs only sweat through their paws, and they’re sweating on to that high temperature asphalt as well”. She suggests using winter snow booties to protect their pads.
Excessive panting, drooling, and agitation can indicate heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Dogs cool off through the mouth, so make sure you have ice-cold water on hand. If your pet shows signs of heat exhaustion, step out of the parade. A veterinarian and water will be on hand at the parade staging area. Staging begins at 9 a.m., Saturday's parade begins at 10 a.m.
LA PINE, OR -- Deschutes County Sheriff's investigators say four people are responsible for a fire that damaged La Pine Middle School. Fire crews responded to the school just after 5 a.m. Wednesday, after a school district employee spotted smoke and flames coming from the roof.
The fire was quickly extinguished but damaged the roof, with limited damage inside the gym.
Investigators say the fire was intentionally set, and identified two 16-year-old boys, a 17-year-old, and 18-year-old Joshua Frontel as suspects. The Sheriff's office says the four are cooperating and believe this was an isolated incident.
TERREBONNE, OR -- Talking up the state’s recreation economy, U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) sat down with a group of local outdoor recreation professionals in Terrebonne, Wednesday afternoon.
In the shadow of one of Oregon’s Seven wonders, Smith Rock State Park, Wyden addressed an invited group of travel and outdoor recreation professionals. “I hope to get ideas and suggestions like streamlining some of the hassles people have with permitting. I’ve been told on several occasions there are water issues. A Lot of interest in public-private partnerships, land and water conservation I think is sure to come up. So I think the idea is just to listen and get ideas,” Sen. Wyden tells KBND. Another listening session was scheduled for the Painted Hills Unit Area, Thursday morning.
Sen. Wyden also discussed his feelings on Oregon's new legalization of recreational marijuana. He says the federal government needs to catch up with the times when it comes to Oregon’s new relaxed marijuana law.
Legal retail pot businesses in Oregon cannot currently use our banking system. The Oregon Democrat says that is wrong, and so is declining other perks for the legal businesses. "When you’re engaged again in lawful conduct, which has been deemed lawful by the voters of Oregon, if you run a business in central Oregon now, in the past you’ve been able to get a tax break for hiring a veteran. It seems to be that one of these businesses became lawful today also ought to be able to get a tax break and I’ve introduced legislation to do that.”
BEND, OR -- It is not an argument against solar power; rather, where a proposed solar farm plants its roots. Both sides of a proposed solar farm in east Bend laid out concerns before a Deschutes County Hearings officer last night in Bend.
Cypress Creek Renewables wants to create two solar farms on the east edge of Bend, adjacent to Big Sky Park and several residences. The land is zoned Exclusive Farm Use, but state law allows solar farms with a conditional use permit. Jason Carr, with Cypress Creek Renewables, tells KBND, “A hearings officer might approve the applications with conditions; because neighbors don’t think it’s the right location there may be additional conditions requiring the company to further buffer and screen the project from the sight of nearby neighbors."
Cypress Creek presented plans to screen the solar farm with vegetation. But for Cathy Jensen, who lives next to the 118-acre parcel, that’s not enough. “Almost everyone in there agreed that solar is a good thing - well placed. We feel like their plan for screening the fence with trees is inadequate. There’s no water and the trees were schedule to be placed ten feet apart and for an upright Juniper that doesn’t cover the fence in any way.” She tells KBND, “I would prefer it is not there but I can tolerate it if it is set away from all the property lines. And I think that would be a minimum, a minimum setback of a 100-feet from their fence."
A decision is expected by the end of the month. If the solar farms are approved by the hearings officer, opponents say they plan to appeal to County Commissioners.
MADRAS, OR -- The Madras Army Airfield north hangar is now among the state's latest entries in the National Register of Historic Places. The hangar was built to boost the nation's efforts during WWII.
In 1943, the U.S. Army transformed the area into a fully functioning air field to train B-17 bombardment squadrons. The location met the army's requirements for a secure site with your-round clear weather to train crews.
This surviving hangar is one of the few remaining base buildings. Read more about the city's request for a historic designation, HERE.
DAYVILLE, OR -- A temporary closure is now in place in portions of the Ochoco National Forest, due to the Corner Creek Fire. Mud Springs Campground and South Prong Trailhead Recreational Sites are included in the closure. The Corner Creek Fire now covers about 6,000 acres 11 miles south of Dayville.
Crews continue to dig in containment lines in the Sugarloaf Fire, eight miles north of Dayville. It's at about 5,000 acres and is now 40% contained.
BEND, OR -- A lot of development is expected in the coming years on Bend's west side, and city officials are asking for public feedback on how it proceeds. They have created a website to solicit comment on some of the projects.
Senior Planner Karen Swirsky tells KBND the survey takes only about 10 minutes to complete. "Because there is so much going on over there, obviously the OSU campus is part of it, but it was also identified as an opportunity area in the Urban Growth Boundary work. And Park and Rec obviously has two great big new facilities going in in the area. There's the possibility of the Deschutes County Landfill being partly redeveloped; it seemed like it was a good time to take a look at the area."
Click HERE to access the survey.
The online tool allows participants to identify priorities, provide feedback and develop transportation needs. Swirsky says, "We've used information that OSU has for the ten-acre parcel and also for the other 47-acre parcel, and built into the model are how many units of residency, how many jobs, how many square foot of buildings go into the Envision Tomorrow model." Data will be collected through August 7.
SALEM, OR -- Health insurance rates will go up for many Oregonians next year. The Oregon Insurance Division just approved new rates for 2016. Most Oregonianas are covered by employers, Medicare or Medicaid, but those buying insurance on the individual or small group marketplace will see increases from seven to 37%.
Oregon Insurance Commissioner Laura Cali told a House Health Committee, the prcocess is not an exact science. "Our primary responsibility is making sure the rates aren't too high to gouge customers, or not too low so they won't cover costs."
Records show Oregon insurers paid out $830 million on individual plans, while premiums covered $703 million. Reserves were tapped to pay the difference. The companies say the rate hikes are necessary to cover those losses.
BEND, OR -- Deschutes County released the following statement after Shane Nelson was sworn in as the county's ninth Sheriff, Wednesday morning:
Sheriff Nelson took the oath of office from Judge Michael Sullivan. Sheriff Nelson replaces retiring Sheriff Larry Blanton who served as Sheriff since 2007.
Sheriff Nelson will serve the remaining term of office for retiring Sheriff Larry Blanton, whose term expires January 2017. The four-year term of Deschutes County Sheriff opens for re-election in 2016.
Sheriff Nelson has been in law enforcement in Oregon for more than 20 years. Most recently, he served as the Corrections Division Commander. He was born and raised in Bend and graduated from Mountain View High School in 1988. After graduating from Oregon State University in 1993 he moved back to Bend.
“I am proud to serve the citizens of our great county alongside the admirable women and men of the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office. Your Sheriff’s Office has proudly served our community for nearly 100 years. We will continue to provide the quality public safety and service our citizens expect and deserve,” said Sheriff Nelson.
JEFFERSON COUNTY, OR -- The Oregon Health Authority has lifted a health advisory for Lake Billy Chinook, issued June 25. Water monitoring a the popular Jefferson County reservoir confirm the level of blue-green algae toxins are now well below dangerous levels for humans. However, the OHA recommends people continue to be cautious with pets, since levels are still above the very low exposure levels established for dogs. Jonathan Modie with the Oregon Public Health Division tells KBND, "Dogs have a particularly low threshold for getting sick. In other words, dogs are particularly vulnerable to getting sick or even dying if they have contact with the water. One reason is dogs, when they go in the water, they’re very active, they have a tendency to ingest the water, to drink it. Their bodies are less tolerant to the toxins."
Modie says our drought conditions could bring more warnings to Central Oregon. "[Blue-green algae] can be fed by just the sun, warm conditions, warm conditions of the water. So, I would say this summer, we are expecting to see a lot of algae blooms and thus, a lot of advisories. That said every year is a bad algae bloom year, and every year we see a number of these advisories being issued and encourage people to avoid contact with the water in those areas." He adds, "As water levels drop, water temperature can increase. When the temperature is warmer, algae blooms have a tendency to kind of stick around longer until conditions are such that the bloom may break up. That could be overnight, very sudden cold temperatures; if there’s rain, sometimes that can drop the temperatures enough to cause the algae bloom to die."
Officials advise visitors be alert to signs of algae blooms on bodies of water in Oregon, because only a fraction of the state's many lakes are monitored for blue-green algae. The OHA says humans and pets should avoid contact with water that is foamy, scummy, thick like paint, pea-green, blue-green or brownish-red, or if a thick mat of blue-green algae is visible.
For health information, to report human or pet illnesses due to blooms, or to ask questions, contact the Oregon Health Authority at 971-673-0400. Information also can be found at the OHA website.
REDMOND, OR -- Continued hot temperatures expected through the weekend have led one organization to pull out of Redmond’s annual Fourth of July Parade. Troy Meeder, co-founder and CEO of Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch, tells KBND its not the first time, but it wasn’t an easy decision. "We’ve got a lot of young kids and mature adults; the horses are ok – it’s tough on them, but the heat is just tough on those kids. Sometimes they can be out there waiting on that float for two or three hours in the sun, and then they’ve also decorated. We just felt like this year, much to our chagrin, that for the health of the kids and some of our older kids who want to be on the floats and the horses, we just felt like we should probably just step aside."
He adds, "We made the mistake a couple of times – at least I think so – of going ahead and doing it, and then having some kids really struggle through the heat and we went ahead and did it anyway. And, we just look back and thought, it’s just tough on them. Again, we could do it, but we were just trying to be wise for everyone involved."
Meeder says they have every intention of returning to the parade next year, and parents have been very supportive of the decision. "Without exception, everyone was just ‘oh my gosh, I totally understand, we’ll see you guys next year.’ So, our parents were thrilled. I’m sure some of the kids were disappointed because they love to be in the parade, love to be on the horses." Crystal Peaks pairs rescued horses with disadvantaged and special needs kids for riding and ranch experience.
Karen Sande with the Redmond Chamber of Commerce says adjustments are being made to the order of parade entries, so that young children and animals are earlier in the parade. She says one other group has pulled out. An antique car club will not be participating due to the heat, since their cars do not have air conditioning, and most participants are senior citizens.
The downtown Redmond Fourth of July Parade
begins at 10 a.m., Saturday. Check-in begins at 8:30, judging is at 9:00. Saturday's highs are predicted to be in the upper 90s.
BEND, OR -- Oregon’s average price for a gallon of unleaded gas continues to climb, albeit slightly, this week. Marie Dodds with AAA-Oregon tells KBND the national average dropped 2-cents to $2.77, while the statewide average rose a half a penny to $3.15. "These prices sound high compared to where gas prices were a few months ago. But, if you compare them to last year’s prices, they look pretty good. And in Bend, a year ago, we were paying $4.03 a gallon, compared to $3.18, now."
Dodds says it's possible Central Oregon prices could go up even more as we head toward the weekend. "Often times, when we combine a holiday weekend with a popular area, we see gas prices go up in that area; certainly we see that in Central Oregon, we see that in some communities along the Oregon Coast. And, our advice is always Shop Around!" AAA reports this year's Fourth of July holiday will still see the lowest prices since 2010.
Dodds says this weekend is the busiest travel holiday of the summer, with a 1% increase in travel in Oregon and, "Nationwide, AAA is projecting that 42-million Americans, or 13% of the population will travel 50 miles or more from home. Our numbers in this part of the country are very similar to the national numbers. We are also looking at an increase of about 1%, with about 6.5 million of us going somewhere for the holiday. The Fourth of July is the busiest travel holiday of the summer. Expect lots of company."
LA PINE, OR -- La Pine Fire officials say an alert school district employee first spotted flames on the roof of La Pine Middle School at 5:10 Wednesday morning. The worker called 911, triggering an immediate response from two engine companies, ten firefighters and deputies with the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office.
The flames were knocked down within 15 minutes, while deputies secured the scene and closed the access road to the school. The building was unoccupied and there were no injuries. Significant damage was discovered on the roof of the gymnasium, however there was only limited damage to the interior.
Preliminary investigation determined the fire originated on the roof, and officials are calling it a malicious arson event. Fire investigators, along with the Sheriff's Office, are working the case and school district officials are evaluating the scene.
BURNS, OR -- Oregon State Police arrested a Harney County burglary suspect, Tuesday afternoon, following brief chase. An OSP trooper located the suspect vehicle traveling north on Highway 395, just south of John Day, shortly after 4 p.m.
The trooper stopped the vehicle, but while he approached the minivan, the driver sped off. After a short pursuit, the driver suddenly stopped the vehicle and took off on foot. With the help of John Day Police and the Grant County Sheriff's Office, the suspect was located and arrested without incident.
Charles Platt, age 25 and of Burns, has been charged with Attempt to Elude, Reckless Driving and DUII.
BEND, OR -- The Bend Parks and Recreation Board of Directors has voted to not cut some Systsem Development Charges (SDCs) to help encourage more affordable housing development in the area. The city of Bend already decided to cut some SDCs for some devlopers and had asked the parks district to follow suit.
The board's vote was 3-2; Nathan Hovekamp voted with the majority. "We just felt the constituency that we're responsible to, the people who use the parks and trails did not send us a message they have interest in lowering the level of service in order to subsidize the development of that housing," he tells KBND.
This was the last Parks and Rec board meeting for Chairman Dan Fishkin who lost his reelection bid, partly on his stance against lowering SDCs. Brady Fuller won Fishkin's seat, and was very vocal about supporting a decrease to help encourage more affordable housing development in Bend. Fuller tells KBND he's disappointed in the vote and hopes to revisit the issue once he takes his seat on the board, after July seventh.
CENTRAL OREGON -- Firefighters continue to battle the Sugarloaf fire, burning near Dayville.
At over 5,000 acres, it's Central Oregon's largest wildfire, right now, and is still 20% contained. A small blaze near the Sugarloaf Fire, one mile south of Dayville, grew to 65 acres on Tuesday.
The Corner Creek Fire, near the Black Canyon Wilderness, 11 miles south of Dayville is now estimated at 2,500 acres with no containment. Several tankers and helicopters are working to protect cabins and outbuildings along Wind Creek.
Crews were able to quickly extinguish another lightning start Tuesday morning on the east end of the Maury Mountains, east of Prineville. It was held at only a quarter of an acre and officials believe it was a holdover from storms that tracked through the region earlier this week.
Fire officials say holdover fires can ignite up to two weeks after initial lightning strikes.
SALEM, OR -- Recreational marijuana is now legal in Oregon. But, before you light up, Tom Towslee of the Oregon Liquor Control Commission says you should educate yourself. "Know what the law is, know what's permissible and not permissible."
Using the slogan “Educate Before You Recreate,” Towslee says the OLCC's new website is part of a larger campaign that launched two weeks ago, and includes a social media campaign; radio, newspaper and digital ads.
Towslee acknowledges the legalization of recreational pot comes as the OLCC and the legislature continue to develop rules regarding the new law. He says the rulemaking process is moving along. "I think on the scale of 1-10, we're about a three on getting the rules ready; but they'll be done in the early fall and the Commission will get a chance to see them by then."
Recreational marijuana is only legal in Oregon for adults 21 and over. Measure 91 was approved by Oregon voters in November. Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) says all eyes are on Oregon, today. "Our state has long been on the forefront of efforts to modernize and reform, starting with being the first state to decriminalize marijuana, one of the first with medical marijuana, and we think passing the best initiative of anywhere in the country."
On the federal level, Blumenauer says, "we've seen over a dozen pieces of bipartisan legislation to further modernize marijuana laws." U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) is expected to discuss his efforts on the federal level, as well, during a stop in Central Oregon, Tuesday afternoon.
BEND, OR -- Tuesday is Larry Blanton's last day as Deschutes County Sheriff, after eight years in the top job and nearly 40 years in law enforcement.
Sheriff Blanton tells KBND, "I’ve already got a job, but I can’t really say much about it – I should say, I’ve had a couple of offers I’m considering. I hope I don’t get too committed or strung out. After 35 years of essentially being on call 24/7, it makes you a little bit weird. I don’t know what I’d be very good at sitting around."
Captain Shane Nelson will take over as Sheriff on Wednesday, July first. He will be sworn in at 8:30 a.m. at the Deschutes County Services building.
PORTLAND, OR -- As the State Legislature moves into the home stretch, lawmakers are running out of time to find more money to fund public schools.
Hanna Vaandering, President of the Oregon Education Association, tells KBND the just over $7 billion approved for K-12 schools is still not enough to help increase the state's troubling graduation rates. "The next biennium of funding is close to no-cut, but it does not add in those things that really make a difference in the lives of our students, which is making sure they have access to art, P.E., music, career and technical opportunities, having libraries open with trained librarians. Those things that really inspire learning and really get them ready to be successful."
She hopes to start a conversation this fall, to find what she calls real economic solutions to education funding. "I think we need to continue to look for any and all opportunities to make sure we have the funding for our public education, higher education system and other vital services in Oregon. As we move into the next biennium, we'd ask our legislators to look carefully at the tax loopholes and opportunities that we have to make sure all Oregonians and all corporations are paying their fair share, so that our students and seniors have those programs and services that help them."
BEND, OR -- When the Governor declared Deschutes County's drought emergency last month, water restrictions began locally. No watering your lawn between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., and Even house numbers water on even days; Odd number on odd days.
Mike Buettner is the Water Conservation Program Manager for the city of Bend. He tells KBND higher on the city’s radar is over-spraying. “They should be on high alert. The real opportunity for us is the water waste. You know, we see a lot of sprinklers, we see a lot of water on the street right now, and quite frankly we don’t have to. Those are code violations.”
So, make sure your sprinkler is hitting only your grass, Or you might find a door hanger reminding you of the code violation; Or possibly a phone call from the city.
This is a Stage-1 Water Curtailment Alert, and it’s still early in the summer. Buettner will likely be a busy man this summer, educating residents on water conservation, and enforcing the city’s water code.
CENTRAL OREGON -- Central Oregon fire crews continue to battle wildfires across the region. The lightning caused Sugarloaf Fire has now burned more than 46-hundred acres near Dayville. Officials say it is 20% contained and has now absorbed a new small fire just north of the John Day fossil beds.
Firefighters are also battling a new blaze on the southeast corner of the Black Canyon Wilderness. It's estimated at 100 acres with no containment.
BEND,OR -- Should the city of Bend approve a gas tax? The Bend City Council is considering asking the public that question this November. Monday, councilors heard the results of a recent phone survey that showed a majority of respondents would support such a tax.
But Bend City Councilor Victor Chudowsky is skeptical. He agrees road work is needed and additional funds must be found, but he's not sure a gas tax is the answer. "My own personal feeling is the city's position is not a strong one. The reason is its difficult to convince voters to approve a tax when the city's revenue is going up."
The city survey conducted by DHM Research found that 63 percent of those polled would support a gas tax. Chudowsky thinks the funds for road improvements could come from increased tax revenues and savings in the current budget.
A Portland firm did its own survey recently on public opinion on a local gas tax -- and came up with a very different result. It found a majority of respondents oppose a gas tax.
Local attorney Jeff Eager, represents the group of businesses in the fuel industry. "What happened is I saw the questions the city was going to ask and I could tell that their survey was going to overstate voters approval for a gas tax. My clients agreed to pay money for our own poll and we were more direct in how we asked the big questions."
Eager says they believe there is enough funds in the existing city budget with projected tax revenue increases to fund the deferred road projects.
BEND, OR -- Some solar power companies are looking to put in a couple solar farms in eastern Bend and a public hearings officer will hear arguments Tuesday for it.
Cypress Creek Renewables out of California is looking at getting a conditional land use permit to allow the farms north and south of Neff Roads near Big Sky Park.
Jason Carr, the company's Communications Director, tells KBND, "Quite frankly, the one theme we've heard the most is what are the aesthetics. What is it going to look like? Is it going to be ugly from my property? And what we've been doing is reaching out to neighbors and then the company can respond to that."
A public hearings officer will review the land use application during a public hearing Tuesday night.
The officer will eventually rule on whether the solar farms will be allowed and any decision can be appealed to the Deschutes County Board of Commissioners.
BEND,OR -- A former administrator at St Charles will now be the new Chief Financial Officer for Mosaic Medical.
Kirk Schueler wil be joining the nonprofit community health center system.
Schueler brings decades of business experience to his new role. He worked at Brooks Rseources for seventeen years as Controller, Chief Financial Officer and then President. He served as Chief Administrative Officer at St. Charles.
He has also served on the Mosaic Medical Board of Directors.
Mosaic Medical has primary care clinics in Prineville, Bend, Madras and Redmond, as well as four school based health centers.
BEND, OR -- The number of senior citizens in Oregon is growing, and Deschutes County is leading the way. Newly released census bureau statistics found those 65 and older grew by 18% in the state, between July 2010 and July 2014. Nationally, that number was up 14%
Deschutes County had the biggest increase of 31%, followed by Clackamas and Washington counties. Although Bend is a retirement destination, officials say most of the growth comes from people who already live here.
REDMOND, OR -- Redmond City Councilors are expected to accept a deal Tuesday, allowing Leading Edge Aviation to expand to Roberts Field. City Manager Keith Witcosky says the five-year deal would create more options for current airport users, and attract new ones. "Basically what it does, is it brings another fixed base operator onto the airfield, so customers and consumers have choices now about where they’re going to be getting their fuel from, or where they’re going to have their planes maintained. It just brings another choice to the airfield."
Airport Manager Jeff Tripp says if the deal is approved, Leading Edge would compete with the current fixed-base operator, Butler Aircraft. "We have a diverse range of customers. We have our business and corporate aviation clients, we have the airlines, we have the USFS and we also have the recreational pilot community, so we have a large number of different customers that have different needs. Hopefully, providing the additional services will draw additional customers to the airport, whether they’re recreational customers or aviation businesses that wish to start operations here."
Leading Edge CEO, Keith Watson, says expanding to Redmond was a logical step. "We see it as a great opportunity to expand. It’s the only, in our mind, legitimate commercial airport in Central Oregon. Its infrastructure suits our vision for expansion, completely, so that impacted our decision to come here."
If approved, the new contract will take effect Wednesday, although Watson says it will take about a month to get equipment in place and operations up and running. Leading Edge expects to eventually offer fueling, aircraft storage, maintenance and on-demand charters from the north side of the airfield.
SALEM, OR -- In his first time in elected office, State Representative Knute Buehler has been a visible figure in Salem. The Bend Republican is pleased with the progress he’s made during his first legislative session, most notably the passage of his bill expanding women’s access to birth control. "Well, it’s been a real learning process for me. I’ve enjoyed it, I’ve met a lot of great people, I fell my knowledge about the people and the issues of the state of Oregon is quite a bit better. And, along the way, I think we’ve done really good work for the people of Bend and of Oregon," he tells KBND.
But, with just a couple weeks left in the session, he says it’s not time to slow down, yet. "We still have good legislation that’s alive, and all legislation right now is hanging by a thread. But, we hope to get some money for training of young physicians so we increase access to primary care. We still have that 'Right to Try' bill, which would give people with terminal illness access to experimental medication. So, we still have some really good things that are still in play, right now."
According to the state constitution, the legislative session must adjourn by July 11. .
DAYVILLE, OR -- Central Oregon fire crews responded to nearly two-dozen fires over the weekend. The largest has burned over 4,000 acres, eight miles north of Dayville. Crews are working to construct a fire line around the "Sugarloaf" fire, and officials estimate it's about 20% contained.
Officials say a few rain showers Monday morning have helped slow the fire's growth in the grass, juniper and pine trees. A red flad warning remains in effect today.
Officials believe Most of the weekend's fires were started by lightning that moved through Friday and Saturday night; However, investigators say a small blaze on Round Butte, southwest of Madras, was started by kids playing with fireworks.
MADRAS, OR -- A Madras man allegedly led Jefferson County deputies on a high speed chase, late Saturday night. According to the Sheriff's office, Forest Ortiz took off in his pickup after a deputy tried to pull him over for a traffic violation in Madras.
A search and rescue pilot was able to track the suspect from the air, and saw him crash near Crestview and South Adams. The 24-year-old then took off on foot, but the pilot was able to direct deputies and OSP Troopers to his location.
Ortiz was tased for allegedly resisting arrest, and was eventually taken into custody on a number of charges, including being a felon in possession of a firearm and a probation violation.
BEND, OR -- Bend Fire crews responded to a brush fire near Third Street and Revere Ave., just before 4:30 Saturday morning. The first firefighters on scene reported juniper, bark and brush was burning behind the Chevron gas station. A single power pole was also involved, and the power line was hanging in a tree.
Crews were able to confine the blaze to the immediate area, as Pacific Power responded to the scene. Investigators say the exact cause can't be determined, but that it was human caused. They believe the power line failed as a result of the heat from below.
The Bend Fire Department issued warnings, following the blaze, urging everyone to properly dispose of smoldering materials in non-combustible containers.
PORTLAND, OR -- Oregon's Cascade Policy Institute is disappointed in the Supreme Court's Thursday decision upholding federal subsidies for the Affordable Care Act. Steve Buckstein tells KBND the majority of the Justices let politics rule in this case. "It's almost unbelievable, like Justice Scalia wrote, rules don't apply when the goal of the court is in question. And, the goal of the court is that the Affordable Care Act must be seaved, and they basically did verbal linguistics to figure out how to save the law. The plaintiffs didn't want to get rid of the Affordable Care Act, they just wanted them to follow the letter of the law."
Buckstein says this ruling postpones efforts to move toward a more individual, patient-centered healthcare and health insurance world. He thinks this is the last time the High Court will weigh in. "There have been two challenges and Justice Roberts has sided on the wrong side in both cases. I don't think they're going to rule any differently. I think it's a done deal, in terms of the court."
BEND, OR -- Deschutes County officials credit the quick actions of a Corrections Deputy for saving the life of an inmate. Jail Commander Captain Shane Nelson says Deputy Kevin Carkhuff heard the woman coughing, Wednesday afternoon, and discovered she was choking. He performed the Heimlich Maneuver and dislodged a piece of food.
"We are proud of Deputy Karkhuff and his quick response. He is very attentive in his duties and acted immediately in this situation, saving her life," Capt. Nelson tells KBND.
He says the inmate was wearing a new monitoring device, currently being tested in the Medical/Mental Health Unit. He says it alarmed as the deputy responded, confirming the woman was in distress. "This is the first time it’s come into play in a medical or mental health incident in our facility."
The AliveLock RiskWatch monitors pulse rate and oxygen levels, and has been in a test phase at the Deschutes County Jail for about 2 weeks. Capt. Nelson says, "The AliveLock RiskWatch has just proven to be a valuable tool for our office. It provides a valuable extra layer of protection as a tool for monitoring of medical issues."
BEND, OR -- Bend police have arrested a man they say assaulted his girlfriend Thursday morning in southeast Bend.
Detectives tracked 32-year-old Carl Gavic to the Highway 97 rest stop near Shaniko and took him into custody Thursday evening without incident. Police call him a “continuous traveler” and say he attacked his girlfriend with a switchblade causing several non life threatening injuries. The dispute was reportedly over property, and investigators say he threatened to harm the women and her dog again, before he left the scene.
At the time of his arrest, Gavic was driving a car reported stolen from California. He’s charged with Assault II, Robbery I and Unlawful Use of a Motor Vehicle. Additional charges could be added as the investigation continues.
JEFFERSON COUNTY, OR -- The Oregon Health Authority has issued a health advisory for Lake Billy Chinook, southwest of Madras. Water monitoring confirmed the presence of blue-green algae and the toxins they produce, which can be harmful to humans and pets.
Those who draw in-home water from the Lake Billy Chinook Reservoir are encouraged to use an alternate source until the advisory is lifted. Boating is safe as long as speeds do not create excessive spray, which could lead to inhalation risk.
Officials say, with proper precautions to avoid water contact, other activities at Lake Billy Chinook are safe and encouraged.
BEND, OR -- Two men were injured when they were attacked by a beaver near Lava Island Falls, Thursday evening. Deschutes County Sheriff's deputies were dispatched to a water rescue on the Deschutes River, just before 7 p.m.
Clayton Mitchell of Bend reported that his 31-year-old friend was trapped in submerged logs. John Bailey, of Redmond, was able to free himself and climb out of the water, just as first responders arrived.
Investigators say the two men were exploring the river near Lava Island Falls when they climbed into a beaver dam and were attacked by the animal protecting its home. Mitchell and Bailey were evaluated by medics and taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) issued a statement reacting to this morning's Supreme Court decision upholding subsidies for the Affordable Care Act. He applauded the Court's 6-3 decision:
“Today, the Supreme Court has reached the same conclusion that has been so clear, to so many, for so long – Congress intended tax credits for all who qualified, no matter their zip code. I applaud the Court for reading the law correctly. This ruling should once and for all put to rest challenges to the Affordable Care Act."
Wyden adds, “The ACA’s core purpose – which has been clear from the outset – is to help as many people as possible get affordable, high-quality health insurance. Tax credits are key to making that work. And today the Court has affirmed Congress and the majority opinion of Americans.”
Wyden highlighted the majority opinion of Chief Justice John Roberts, who wrote: “Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not destroy them.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) says he's pleased with this morning's Supreme Court Decision upholding subsidies for the Affordable Care Act. The Oregon Democrat released a statement saying he's "relieved that millions of Americans will continue to have access to quality, affordable health insurance. This case never should have gone this far, but the Court made the right decision today."
He adds, “Now that this desperate attempt to upend the law at the expense of Americans’ well-being has failed, Democrats and Republicans should work together to make the health care system work efficiently and effectively for all Americans.”
SALEM, OR -- State Senators have approved a bill that would allow pharmacists to dispense birth control without a prescription. Representative Dr. Knute Beuhler (R-Bend) introduced the legislation in an effort to expand access to contraception.
Senator Dr. Elizabeth Steine-Hayward was pleased with safeguards included in the bill. "The risk assessment will be thorough – it’s a 27-question questionnaire that includes family history of risks, whether someone smokes, and blood pressure will be screened as part of this," she testified before the vote. "I will be following the rulemaking on this very closely, personally, because I understand the concerns raised by others. I want to be sure it’s safe, that we don’t risk women’s well being by doing it this way. But, they will be counseling on different types of oral contraceptives and the risks and benefits of each of them." The bill applies to women over the age of 18 purchasing oral contraceptives or a hormonal patch, and requires them to see their doctor every three years. Those under 18 would initially need to have a doctor's prescription.
Senator Dr. Alan Bates was initially opposed to the idea, but says he changed his mind after doing his own research. "Our teenage pregnancy rate in this country is off the map, compared to Europe. One of the reasons is contraceptives are readily available in Europe but not in this country. As a result, I believe we have too many abortions. This will help prevent abortions, help prevent unwanted pregnancies, and as a physician, after carefully looking at the facts – which it took me some time to do; I admit that – I am fully in support of this bill. It’s the right thing to do."
Despite opposition from some who said the bill would put women at risk from side effects, HB 2879 passed the Senate, 24 to 4, and is headed back to the House for concurrence.
LA PINE, OR -- A La Pine woman faces a number of charges stemming from a car crash on Huntington Road, Wednesday night. Deschutes County deputies say 22-year-old Jessica Cathey was driving her pickup with two friends when she drifted into the shoulder, overcorrected and rolled into a ditch, just after 8:30 p.m.
Cathey and the middle passenger, 25-year-old Jason Gomez, were able to climb out. The third passenger, 21-year-old Jessica Lee, had to be pulled from the wreckage. She was taken to St. Charles with life-threatening injuries.
According to Investigators, none were wearing seatbelts and Cathey's blood alcohol level was .18. She is charged with DUII, reckless driving and assault and was lodged at the Deschutes County Jail on $70,000 bail.
UPDATE: The family of 71-year-old Steve Williams says he was feeling overwhelmed and mentally exhausted and, as a proud man, he couldn't find it within himself to ask for help. He biked to his family's travel trailer parked in storage and locked himself inside to sleep. They say they are happy and relieved Williams decided to come home, and he is remorseful and embarrassed by his behavior. The family thanked police and the public for helping during the two-day search.
SUNRIVER, OR -- A Sunriver man reported missing on Monday was located late Tuesday night. Very few details have been released, but The Sunriver Police chief says 71-year-old Steve Williams was found in good condition.
His family had last seen Williams Monday morning; they assumed he had gone on a bike ride but didn't return. Sunriver Police and Deschutes County Search and Rescue volunteers searched more than 30 miles of paved bike paths and mountain bike trails during the two-day effort.
KBND will continue to post updates as more information is released.
BEND, OR -- Gas prices are holding at or near year-to-date highs for 2015, across the country. Marie Dodds with AAA-Oregon, tells KBND the national average for regular unleaded dropped a penny in the last week, while the statewide average jumped 7-cents. "The national average is at $2.79, that’s a penny below its year-to-date high. The Oregon average is at its year-to-date high, at $3.14 a gallon. And, here in Bend, we’re also at our year-to-date high of $3.16 a gallon, and that’s up 8-cents in the past week."
Dodds says west coast refinery issues are contributing to the problem; but here in Central Oregon, tourist season is also a big factor. "One thing that we do tend to see along the Oregon Coast and also in popular areas like Bend, gasoline is a supply and demand product. If I own a gas station and I know that I’m going to have a lot of tourists flocking to my area, I might raise the prices a little bit. There are no laws or rules that say how much a station owner can charge for gasoline." She suggests drivers shop around to find the best price, and suggests finding a mobile app that will do the comparisons for you.
But, it's not all bad news. She says, as we head toward the long Fourth of July weekend, "I would say gas prices are going to be pretty close to what they are now. The good news is, gas prices are way below what we were paying a year ago. Even though we’ve seen gas prices move up over the last several weeks, we’re still paying quite a bit less. In fact, the national average is about .90 less than it was a year ago. And, overall in Oregon, we’re paying around .82 a gallon less than we were a year ago."
PRINEVILLE, OR -- Prineville tops a new statewide list, although it's likely not a ranking city officials will be bragging about. According to the website 24/7 Wall Street, Prineville is now the Poorest Town in Oregon.
The website looked at incorporated cities with 25,000 or fewer residents and found Prineville’s median household income of $29,959 is the lowest in the state. Like the poorest towns in many other states, Prineville had relatively low educational attainment rates. Less than 11%, of adults had at least a bachelor’s degree, far lower than the statewide average of nearly 30%.
At the other end of the spectrum, Happy Valley ranked as the richest in Oregon, with a median income of $92,773.
BEND, OR -- A high pressure dome of warm air is building over Central Oregon, and will bring record temperatures for the weekend. According to the National Weather Service, temperatures are 20-degrees above normal in Central Oregon this week, and it's shaping up to be the hottest June in 90 years.
NWS Meteorologist Dennis Hull tells KBND News, the record temps are about more than simply warm weather. "We haven't had any moisture at the Bend reporting station this month. We're not getting much in the way of evaporation, and that would normally help cool the air and provide a little bit of moisture to the air. A lot of those things combined are going to create very warm, hot conditions across the area for much of the next seven days, especially starting on Friday."
As the mercury rises, health concerns also increase. "We just want to make sure people are informed about it; take extra precautions, make sure you've got enough water, stay hydrated, things like that," Hull says. "If they know that heat adversely affects them, maybe they want to stay indoors a little bit more, plan their outdoor activities during the cooler times of the day; so there are a lot of things they can do to mitigate the affects of the heat."
Bend's record high for June is 100, set back on June 25, 1926. Saturday's high is predicted to be 101.
REDMOND, OR -- The city of Redmond will once again bail out its municipal golf course, after another year of declining revenue. Jason Neff, Deputy Director of Central Services for Redmond, says for the second consecutive year, Juniper Golf Course has has not made enough to cover operating costs and debt repayment.
Since 2009, the city has covered the cost of repaying debt incurred when the course was built in 2005. "We’ll be looking at this very closely with Council in July. Our management contract is up at the end of December with CourseCo. So, it’s a good time to look at the last couple of years. It’s obviously not where we want to be. The ideal situation is that the golf course contributes some to the debt service on an annual basis."
Updated projections show Juniper could be short up to $57,000 this year – that’s about 3% of its total operating costs. "We didn’t anticipate having to put more than debt service in. But, if you look at their projections versus their budget, a lot of it is on the revenue side," Neff says. "Public play, their memberships are a little bit down, those are the types of things that if they were going to make up the difference, that’s where they’d get it. They’ve been awesome on the expense side, managing expenses." City Councilors agreed to send an additional $134,000 from the general fund to cover losses and debt payments.
Neff tells KBND News the financial struggles highlight the region's competitive market. "We recognize that the golf course industry in Central Oregon is a situation where we have a lot of courses for not a ton of people. It’s definitely a challenging environment, but we feel like we can continue to make it a better asset out there. It’s already a great asset, but we think we can keep improving on that."
BEND, OR -- Former Bend City Councilor Jodie Barram is joining the Tower Theatre Foundation. She will be the Foundation's Director of Major Giving.
Barram is well known to the Central Oregon community. She grew up in Bend, has served as the city's Mayor Pro Tem and has been on the boards of Visit Bend and Bend 2030.
Barram's role at the Tower will be to expand the upper level contributions to the Foundation. She will solicit and procure donors giving one thousand dollars and up.
Barram says she's excited to help individuals and businesses invest in the Tower to help ensure the vibrancy of performing arts in our community.
BEND, OR -- Job growth remained strong in Central Oregon last month. May numbers were largely unchanged from the month before.
Regional Economist Damon Runberg tells KBND the usual suspects supplied more jobs. "Some pretty strong seasonal trends. A lot of leisure and hospitality jobs, retail jobs. There was an uptick in construction."
Unemployment in Deschutes County remains around 5.5%, Jefferson County's is 6.5% and Crook County's is just over 8%.
Jefferson County last month added 250 jobs, significantly more than the typical addition of 170 jobs.
BEND, OR -- Deschutes County is giving a $30,000 grant to help young people transition out of the foster care system. CASA of Central Oregon is expanding its pilot program "Fostering Futures" to help with this goal.
CASA stands for court appointed special advocates, and these volunteers are advocates for children going through the system.
Executive Director Jenna App tells KBND they've learned some valuable lessons over the years. "If children don't transition into a permanent home before aging out of the system, that transition from being in foster care and then aging out is a time filled with great risk for the young adult. Its really hard to complete an education and make the transition to be part of a productive work force."
CASA plans to use the grant to expand training for CASA volunteers to help these older foster children as they leave the Department of Human Services.
WASHINGTON, DC -- The Senate has set the stage for final passage of President Obama's trade bill. By a vote of 60 to 37, the Senate approved a motion Tuesday that will allow lawmakers to vote on the legislation Wednesday.
Senator Wyden of Oregon made an impassioned plea to his fellow Senators to say yes. "If you believe that Americans should stop the race to the bottom on labor rights, environmental safety rights and human rights --this legislation is a chance to lift global standards up."
Thirteen Democrats backed the fast track legislation. This bill will allow the President to send trade deals to Congress for an up or down vote -- allowing for faster approval for trade agreements.
SISTERS, OR -- Plans for a paved path between Sisters and Black Butte Ranch are being revisited. Opposition forced the Forest Service to drop plans last year, but Deschutes County Commissioner Alan Unger has decided to try again.
Chuck Humphreys, with the Sisters Trails Alliance, applauds the effort "The Sisters Trails Alliance motto is 'trails for everyone,' and this is a quintessential trail that would be for everyone," Humphreys tells KBND News. "It would make the forest accessible to people who, today, can only get into it by driving. We think they ought to have the ability to walk on the trail or cycle on the trail, or push a baby stroller in the forest."
Sisters resident Susie Werts opposes the trail. "I think the process has been flawed, that there wasn't extensive community outreach to gauge of the temperament of the public. It's not going to be ADA - handicapped accessible - and it's been marketed as such, and we need to be truthful about that. It's using taxpayer money to pay for a trail between two private communities," she says. Werts also believes the location of the trail is too close to homes, "I'm not against the trail, I just think there might be greater usage on a different spot." Werts says the other side of the highway would be a better location.
Humphreys believes a majority in the area support the proposal. "When I talk to people, it's rare that I find people who are opposed to it. Most people welcome that kind of amenity. It's not a scientific survey and maybe I only talk with certain kinds of people, but I hear a tremendous amount of support."
Supporters plan to ask the Forest Service to conduct another environmental analysis on the trail by late August. If the plan is ultimately approved, the earliest construction could start would be 2020.
CROOK COUNTY, OR -- One person was killed in a crash in southern Crook County, late Saturday night. Sheriff's deputies were dispatched to Southeast Bear Creek Road, about 50 miles south of Prineville, just before midnight.
Investigators say two people were riding in the bed of an F-350 pickup when the driver lost control and rolled the truck. Both people were thrown from the bed; one was pronounced dead at the scene.
The sheriff's office says alcohol and speed are believed to be contributing factors in the crash.
UPDATE: Crook County officials released the identity Monday of the person killed in a crash in southern Crook County late Saturday night. Investigators say 30-year old Cayle Krebs of Ione, Oregon was riding with another person in the bed of an F-350 pickup when the driver lost control and rolled the truck. Krebs was pronounced dead at the scene.
The Sheriff's Office says alcohol and speed are believed to be factors in the crash. No charges have been filed and the investigation continues.
SISTERS, OR -- A bat found in Sisters has tested positive for Rabies, renewing calls from vets and public health officials to make sure pets are vaccinated. A dog captured the bat in its mouth, and was discovered by the dog's owner.
State Public Health Veterinarian Dr. Emilio DeBess tells KBND the scenario is the most common way humans come in contact with rabid bats, and serves as a reminder for people to stay safe. "You should always take precautions with dead or dying bats because of all the bats we test in Oregon, about 10% have rabies. It doesn’t say anything about nature; it’s just the ones that we test. So, we’re always concerned about exposing people and animals to rabies."
Dr. DeBess says, "For families, we usually remind people not to handle bats with their bare hands. Rather use coffee cans or other cans, without physically touching the animal. That would completely eliminate the exposure to Rabies."
He encourages everyone to watch for wildlife that may exhibit symptoms of Rabies. "With bats, for example, they tend to have difficulty flying, they’re not as fast as they used to be, they appear in the daylight when they’re usually active at night; so there’s a significant change in behavior. Some people have seen bats hissing at them or going around at times or in areas they’re usually not found." Dr. DeBess says about 10% of the bats tested in Oregon have rabies.
Dr. DeBess says the best way for people to stay safe, is to make sure pets are up-to-date on vaccinations. The Sisters dog is now under a 45-day quarantine. However, without proper vaccinations, Oregon law dictates a pet exposed to rabies be euthanized or placed under a strict 6-month quarantine.
This is the fourth bat to test positive in Oregon, so far this year. The last rabid bat in Deschutes County was in October 2014.
BEND, OR -- Deschutes County Commissioners agreed to declare a state of emergency and impose restrictions on county-managed lands, in an effort to protect from human-caused wildfire. County Forester Ed Keith told the Board the move is important, given the current dry and dangerous conditions. "This is something that was actually enacted last year for the first time, after the Two Bulls Fire and a really dry winter and spring. We’re in a similar situation, but probably actually more dry this year than we were last year."
Keith says the restrictions apply to areas not covered by a fire protection district, where the Sheriff’s office is the only available emergency response. "Enacting these regulations really helps the Sheriff try and get the word out as far as what are the appropriate things to do and not do on these lands during these dry summer months we have ahead of us. This applies to the unprotected lands and county owned lands, it mirrors Dept of Forestry regulations that they’ve enacted, and it mainly serves to give people a guide to what they should think about and how they should use things that may cause fire."
Commissioner Tammy Baney noted that last year, restrictions were lifted earlier than expected, following several periods of rainfall.
Monday's declaration imposes restrictions including limitations on mowing, cutting and chainsaw use, prohibiting fireworks and blasting, and requiring motor vehicles to use only improved roadways. The county has created interactive online map for land owners to see how regulations apply to their property. Click HERE
for more information.
BEND, OR -- Affordable housing is next to impossible to come by in Bend these days. But nearly 300 people are hoping Lady Luck will smile on them, as they vye for just a handful of newly available affordable housing apartments.
Lillian Zimmerman was one of 279 people who applied for 40 affordable rental units coming on line next month at The Parks at East Lake. “They sold the duplex I was in, kind of kicked me out on the street, so I couldn’t find anything in my price range," she tells KBND News. "I just heard about it and rushed down here to fill it out and I made it just in time."
A lottery will be held next week to randomly select the new residents of the units in east Bend. Income restrictions apply and rents will be below market rates. Affordable housing officials say the 40 new affordable units are helpful, but they will put a very small dent in the local need for affordable housing.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- A Prineville man has been arrested on multiple counts of encouraging child sexual abuse. Oregon State Police arrested 32-year-old Ryan Babcock after receiving a tip from the Oregon Dept. of Justice Internet Crimes Against Children Team.
Investigators say Babcock had pornographic images of children engaged in sexual activity with adults, then shared the pictures with others through a fictitious email account.
Babcock was lodged at the Crook County Jail, and is charged with encouraging child sexual abuse and possessing material depicting sexually explicit conduct of children.
SALEM, OR -- Drunk driving is blamed for a bad accident on Highway 20 near Santiam Junction, Thursday night. Oregon State Police say three people were taken to St Charles in Bend following the head-on crash just before 7 p.m.
OSP says a Subaru Outback traveling westbound on Highway 20 lost control and crossed the center line striking a Trialblazer head-on.
The driver of the Subaru, 24-year-old Cody Oxford was taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries. The people in the Trailblazer, 42-year-old Roy Wright and 40-year-old Lauren Wright of Springfield were transported with serious injuries.
Oregon State Police cited Oxford for drunk driving. Both directions of Highway 20 were closed for two hours during the investigation.
BEND, OR -- OSU Cascades has decided to begin construction on its new four year campus within two weeks. The college plans to move ahead with building the new campus on Bend's west side despite pending appeals.
OSU Cascades Vice President Becky Johnson says in the past they've waited while the legal process played out, but now they're running out of time to get the campus ready for students. "Certainly within every stage of the land use process, the appeals process, we've gotten additional information how our application was being interpreted. And LUBA's was particularly strong in affirming that our application complied with city code," Johnson tells KBND. "Based on that, we needed to get started on this project and make significant process even if an appeal was pending."
Truth in Site, the organized opposition to the west side campus, has until June 29 to appeal to the Oregon Court of Appeals.
OSU Cascades plans to start excavating the ten-acre site off of Chandler Avenue the week of June 29. The four-year campus is scheduled to open to students by the fall of 2016.
SALEM, OR -- Representative Knute Buehler's (R-Bend) legislation allowing women to purchase birth control without a doctor's visit has passed out of a Senate committee.
The legislation would allow birth control to be sold behind the counter at local pharmacies without a physician visit or a prescription.
The contraceptives would still be covered by insurance. Representative Buehler believes this bill will reduce unintended pregnancies and improve women's health.
The bill now goes to the Senate floor for a full vote.
BEND,OR -- The new pickleball courts at Pine Nursery are full this week as the Oregon Senior Games get underway. Hundreds of pickleball players are competing. There are more competing in that sport than any other.
Joan Sponberg of Bend has been playing for five years. "This is my third Senior Games. I played the first time in Yuma. I wasn't going to but they said I had such a smiling face and this woman needed a partner, so I said o.k.. This year I played again and I played last summer here in the Senior Games."
Ann Braydeen from Sacramento, California is here to compete. She's been playing pickleball for years. "Our group at home -- its just psychological for me. It's such a good time, we laugh all the time. I feel so much better after I leave, besides getting all the exercise which I love."
In the last year, Bend has doubled the number of pickleball courts at Pine Nursery -- thanks to a generous donation by a Bend resident. This year Senior Games participants will be playing on all 16 courts.
The pickleball tournament gets underway Friday and runs through Sunday.
BEND, OR -- The city of Bend has notified homeowners who suffered damages in last week's water main break, their insurance will cover limited things.
They will pay for the extraction of water and the interior drying of homes. But any damage to real property or replacement of items or landscaping will have to be covered by the homeowners.
Heidi Robles tells KBND her home saw $200,000 dollars in damage. "We had an excavator doing excavation of dirt out of our front yard for two days. My personal belongings were in the basement, my mother's antique armoire and other mementos. And replacing our hot water heater is not included."
The city says department crews were on scene within 12 minutes of the water main break and claims adjusters determined the break was not due to negligence on the city's part.
MADRAS, OR -- When St. Charles Madras had difficulty finding experienced Labor And Delivery nurses to fill a number of openings, management took their search global. Deloris Gooden-Martin is one of three nurses from Jamaica who began working in Madras in the spring. She says she took the job so she could expand her skills in an ever-changing field. "Professionals should evolve as the trends in nursing evolve. And then, I started feeling stagnant back home. So, in an effort to learn more and expand my knowledge, I enrolled with a recruiting company and it has brought me here. I was interviewed and accepted and decided to come."
She now lives in Madras with her husband and 7- and 9-year-old boys, and tells KBND there have been some cultural adjustments, "Getting to know the principles, the policies, the procedures and the whole culture of the hospital that I’m at, and the culture of the community that I’m in. But, the transition has been a great one. I was a bit tense coming here, not knowing what to expect – will I be accepted? But, I’m feeling like I belong here; I don’t feel like an outcast."
Gooden-Martin says there are a lot of differences between working in a Jamaican hospital and Madras, including learning new technology that she realizes is available for every patient. But, she says after delivering hundreds of babies in Jamaica, the overall care of expectant mothers is the same. "The most surprising thing to me is the relationship the managers have with lower level staff, that’s sort of different; you don’t have that close relationship with top management and lower level staff. It’s kind of surprising to see how everyone gets along as a family; it’s just like one big family."
The three nurses signed two-year contracts with St. Charles. Gooden-Martin says she would be interested in staying longer, if that were to be extended.
REDMOND, OR -- The city of Redmond is making plans to nearly double the size of Centennial Park. Mayor George Endicott says purchasing the block between the current park and the future site of city hall has been in the works for a while.
"We just last week signed the paperwork to acquire the Opportunity Foundation property, the several lots on that block that they own," Endicott tells KBND News. "We now own that. So, the long term plan – it’ll be several years from now – will be to tear that all down and extend Centennial Park." He says the property could eventually be a plaza for outdoor performances.
He hopes the city will eventually acquire the entire block between the park and Evergreen Elementary, which is currently being converted into a new City Hall. "If you think about it, we have the park proper there today, that was built for the Centennial; five years hence, we end up with a city hall; then a few years later we then extend the park to anchor all that together."
Right now, the Opportunity Foundation thrift store sits on the newly acquired lots. The non-profit plans to open a new store on the south end of town, July first.
Endicott says urban renewal funds and the anticipated sale of the current city hall will help pay for the property purchase.
to listen to our full conversation with Redmond Mayor George Endicott.
SISTERS, OR -- A hiker from the Portland area was rescued from the Green Lakes Trail near Sisters Wednesday, after suffering a medical emergency. The man’s hiking partner called 911 at about 3 p.m. to report he had become ill after two days of hiking.
Dispatchers determined their exact location via cell phone data. More than a dozen Deschutes County Search and Rescue volunteers hiked in nearly five miles from the Pole Creek Trail Head and provided some medical treatment.
He was later transported by Sisters medics to St. Charles Bend for additional treatment.
SALEM, OR -- The House Commitee on Rules held a public hearing Wednesday on a bill to raise the state's minimum wae to 13 dollars an hour.
House Speaker Tina Kotek is introducing the legislation to give workers a living wage.
"So why $13 for the state? At this rate, most workers would be above the federal poverty level and that was my goal. Because I believe if people work for a living, they should earn a living wage and that was a guiding value for me."
Opponents testifeid at the hearing, including Republican Representative Bill Kennemer.
"I suspect the solution is not in the minimum wage. We need better jobs. In my experience, back in the 1970's when I had five part time jobs, which was exhausting."
This new bill takes into consideration criticism of other similar bills introudced earlier in the session.
BEND, OR -- Increasingly dry conditions and hotter tempeatures have state officials tightening fire restrictions in central Oregon. Starting this Friday, new restrictions will be in force for state managed lands in twelve counties, including Deschutes, Jefferson and Crook Counties.
District Forester George Ponte says these rules hope to prevent human caused fires his summer. "In Central Oregon half of our fires are human caused. We need to reduce the number. Obviously there was the Two Bulls fire last summer and the Shevlin Park fire last week. We really need people to follow these restrictions so we don't have any human caused fires."
Starting Friday, open fires are prohibited except in designated areas. Chainsaw use is prohibited between the hours of 1 and 8 p.m. -- as is mowing dry grass between the hours of 10 a.m. and 8 p.m.
Also use of motor vehicles, motorcycles or all terrain vehicles is prohbiited except on improved roads.
BEND, OR -- Bend will be hosting for a second year the Oregon Senior Games. The games get underway Wednesday and go through Sunday. Six hundred athletes are expected to compete, up about a hundred from last year.
Hank Therien with Visit Bend wants to encourage others to participate. "We struggled with folks thinking senior athletes means over 62 and you have to be a really good athlete. The big take away I'd like to leave you with is these games are as much social engagement as athletic endeavor. Anyone over 50 who likes to stay active can compete. Keep us on your radar and look for us in the future."
Pickleball has the most participants --but other sports include golf, swimming, track and field, shuffleboard and table tennis to name a few.
SALEM, OR -- Starting on July 1, Oregonians can possess and use recreational marijuana with limits. But people may not be clear on what's allowed and what isn't. That's why the Oregon Liquor Control Commission has launched a new website to help people know what's legal.
Tom Towslee with the OLCC warns police will be on the lookout for intoxicated drivers as recreational pot becomes legal. "There's not a test to see if someone is intoxicated from marijuana. But driving impaired is illegal regardless of what is causing the impairment. I think police do a good job of catching impaired drivers and I anticipate as July 1st appraoches, they'll be more alert to that issue."
The new state website contains key information on what you need to know -- like you can possess up to eight ounces of marijuana in your home and up to one ounce outside the home. And you can grow up to four plants per residence, out of public view. But you can only use recreational marijuana if you are 21 or older.
BEND, OR -- Construction of the Bend whitewater park is on schedule, that means we're closer to being able to use the stretch of the Deschutes currently undergoing a major makeover. Shifting the entire flow of the deschutes river is no easy task, but Brian Hudspeth, Construction Manager of the Bend whitewater park project, tells KBND they have done just that. "The Colorado Safe Water Passage project will come to and end, it will be completed late this summer. With that will be the new footbridge and the three river channels. Tthe habitat channel, the whitewater channel in the center and the safe passage channel on river left, as well as the new beach at McKay Park, which is open today."
For the time being, floaters upstream from the Colorado Dam still need to exercise safety when approaching the project. "People that are floating the Deschutes River right now, that put in upstream, can still take out and portage around the project like they've always done. They can put back in there at the beach at McKay and continue downstream to Drake Park."
Crews have completed a safe passage channel and a natural channel. They are now finishing the white water channel, which will be available to kayakers late this summer. At that time, upstream floaters will be able to continue down the safe passage channel. Improvements to Mckay Park, including a new public restroom, will be completed next summer.
BEND, OR -- The Bend Police Department is once again warning against giving personal information to strangers who may call claiming to be government officials. Despite being long past tax filing season, scammers continue to contact Central Oregonians posing as IRS employees.
According to Bend Police, fraudsters threaten jail time or additional financial penalties if they don't turn over personal financial information.
The IRS continues to remind people they will not call demanding money. If you owe back taxes, the agency will typically contact you via U.S. mail.
SALEM, OR -- Oregon’s unemployment rate continues to hover just above record lows. State employment economist Nick Beleiciks says May’s statewide rate was just a tenth of a percent above the previous month. "The current rate of 5.3% is in the range that Oregon’s unemployment rate typically is during an expansion. The last time Oregon’s unemployment rate dropped lower than this was in 1995, when it dropped down to 4.7%."
Experts speculate the slight uptick in May could be a reaction to strong gains in recent months. Oregon’s mild and dry winter helped many seasonal workers stay on the job. For example, Construction employment stood at its highest May total in seven years.
Oregon lost about 1,400 jobs last month, mostly in the retail trade sector. But, it’s not necessarily bad news. Despite the one-month decline, Beleiciks says overall employment is up nearly 3% from this time last year. "With the unemployment rate being so low, a lot of people are waiting to see some real increase in average wages, and that is happening. That’s happening across the US and in Oregon. Over the last year, average hourly earnings increased 2.2% - that turns out to be real wage gains for the average worker in Oregon."
Beleiciks says that means employers weren’t hiring as many workers as they typically would this time of year. "Oregon’s labor force participation rate is at a historically low level. It’s at 60.5% right now. However, this was largely expected based on population dynamics as more baby boomers reach retirement age and leave the labor force, and that naturally brings down the labor force participation rate."
Central Oregon's regional unemployment numbers for May are due out next week.
REDMOND, OR -- More than a dozen residents were evacuated from a Redmond assisted living facility, early Tuesday morning, due to a fire. Redmond Fire crews responded to The Heights just before 1 a.m. and found a first floor hall filled with smoke.
The Fire Marshal credits working smoke detectors and a sprinkler system for containing the fire to a mechanical room. Investigators determined the cause to be combustible items stored too close to natural gas water heaters.
Seven first floor residents remain at a neighboring nursing home until repairs are made.
BURNS, OR -- Archeologists will start digging again next week in the Burns area for signs of life from more than 15,000 years ago. In past digs, scientists uncovered volcanic ash dating back to an eruption of Mt. St. Helens, about 15,800 years ago.
The find challenges previous belief that the Clovis people were the first human inhabitants of North America. Scott Thomas, Archeologist with the BLM office in Burns, tells KBND the discovery is controversial. "Now, the theory has changed dramatically, and there are these early sites that are pre-Clovis, which means before 13,500 years ago. And, those people we think probably came from the same general area, but they got here earlier, and actually Clovis is not first, anymore. And, that's pretty well accepted by many archeologists in North American, but some are still holding out."
Thomas adds, "We didn't go out to find one of the oldest sites in North America. We didn't expect to find ash that dated to 15,800 years ago. As a matter of fact, we were totally shocked when we found out about it. I think a lot of people that find these really old sites, aren't digging for old sites, they just stopped excavating when they run out of seeing cultural materials like flakes and charcoal or hit bedrock, and that's essentially what we did. We dug until we hit bedrock."
Twenty archeologists withe the Bureau of Land Management and the University of Oregon Archeological Field School will start digging again on Monday. In previous efforts, scientists at the site near Riley discovered tools with bison blood on it, and fine, black hair.
BEND, OR -- Bend's public transit system doesn't have a steady source of funding, but that could all soon change. Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council Executive Director Andrew Spreadborough will announce Friday how the organization plans to bolster financial stability for Cascades East Transit.
"What the challenge is, we're by far the largest transit system in Oregon without a dedicated funding source, without a tax base or some method of support," Spreadborough tells KBND News. "So, our resources for support are pretty limited."
An expansion of Bend's fixed-route bus system could give the new OSU-Cascades west side campus more transportation options. Spreadborough says, "I think we've long recognized that west side development is going to occur, including the OSU-Cascades campus. And, I do think transit could be a part of the solution, along with bikeable communities, walkable communities and other developments that are planned. We've worked very hard with OSU-Cascades and the city of Bend."
Spreadborough plans to continue that collaborative effort. A series of new partnerships between COIC and a number of large local employers could provide more stable funding for the CET bus system. Those partners include, the city of Bend, OSU-Cascades, COCC, St. Charles Health System and the Bend Chamber of Commerce.
BEND, OR -- With two weeks until recreational marijuana becomes legal in Oregon, local addiction facilities are preparing for an anticipated rise in the number of users seeking drug treatment.
Karen Tamminga is a clinical supervisor with Deschutes County Behavioral Health Outpatient Services. She tells KBND News, "The most people in Deschutes County who seek treatment are coming in for an alcohol problem. That’s probably about 40%. Second – a little bit surprising - is methamphetamine. We saw a big drop in meth abuse in the early 2000s when there were some restrictions on pseudoephedrine and not being able to get it over the counter. But, we’re still getting a lot of meth coming up from Mexico."
However, Tamminga says, "Marijuana is the #3 reason why adults seek treatment. There’s a not of belief out there that marijuana is not addicting that it doesn’t cause problems. But, those in the treatment field recognize that people are coming in and saying ‘hey, I’m having trouble, it’s become a problem for me.’ So, that is likely to become even a bigger issue as it becomes legalized July first." As marijuana becomes more socially acceptable and easily available, Tamminga says it’s likely to move into the number two spot.
Tamminga is concerned pot is becoming more addictive and harder to quit. "It may not be physically addicting, but there’s something about it. It’s probably the THC level, which has jumped from 7-10% in the 60s and 70s to well over 20%. Here in Oregon, we boast that we have pot that’s in the 30-percents." That high THC level increases pot's addictive properties.
BEND, OR -- The fire that broke out in Bend's Shevlin Park last week was likely human caused. A joint investigative team made up of the Oregon Department of Forestry, the Bend Fire Department, Oregon State Police and the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office came to that conclusion, although they're not sure if it was intentional or accidental.
Deschutes County Emergency Services Manager Sgt. Nathan Garibay tells KBND News Thursday's fire scorched about 7.5 acres. "If you live in the urban area interface or, for that matter, in urban areas adjacent to wildland fire-prone areas, you are subject to the effects of wildland fires. Due to the fact that this was so close to town, I think it really increased concern for a large number of people; they could see the smoke, they could see the activity."
Garibay says now is the time to create "Defensible Space" around your home. Clear gutters of pine needles, reduce shrubs that could ignite nearby trees and keep debris off your deck. It's only June and fire officials fear this could be a busy, dangerous fire season.
Anyone with information that could help investigators is asked to contact the Sheriff's Office.
Brookswood Blvd CLOSED >< Pinebrook and Lodgepole Dr. (5/14 - 9/4)
Skyline Ranch Road CLOSED behind Summit High School (4/22 - 7/22)
Brosterhous Road CLOSED from Parrell Road to Brentwood Avenue (7/3)
Lane Closure on Mt. Washington Drive between Archie Briggs Road (7/1)
Smoke Stack Lane CLOSED between N.E. Sierra and Comet Lane (7/1)
Road Closures in the area of Summit High School for a cycling event 3:45 p.m. - 7: 45 p.m. (July 1, 8, 16, 29)