BEND, OR -- The Bend City Council will decide this week whether to put a local gas tax on the November ballot. The group Bend 2030 has advocated Councilors wait to allow for more public input. Erin Foote Marlowe with Bend 2030 tells KBND Monday afternoon's meeting at city hall. "If the minimum thing we come away with is a really good understanding of different options, I think it's valuable information as you consider whether to put the gas tax on the ballot."
Bend City Councilors are considering a local gas tax to help fund deferred street improvements. Victor Martinez, Board Chair of Bend 2030 has warned against "rushing" forward with the issue. "We are concerned there is going to be strong opposition to this, and if we partner up with the opposition to work on a comprehensive plan - we won't have a strong effort without engaging the opposition to work closely with them."
The Council is expected to make a final decision on August 5, whether to put the issue on the November ballot.
BEND, OR -- Deschutes County Commissioners approved an extension the contract of a private developer that hopes to produce energy from gasses emitted by the Knott Landfill.
Director of Solid Waste Timm Schimke says California-based Waste To Energy Group has suffered numerous delays in securing funding, but finally appears ready to proceed. "They have given us documentation showing us they have secured financing for the project, and they have given us a fairly detailed milestones schedule; and they have given us some draft documents of both Community Development and DEQ permit applications. So, the county feels comfortable that progress is being made."
The original contract was signed last year, and was set to expire Monday, August 3 because commercial operations are not yet up and running. Schimke tells KBND, "We gave them 18 months from when they signed the contract and that anticipated they would get their funding very quickly after signing the contract; and that didn't turn out to be the case for any number of reasons. I guess I'm learning quite a bit that these projects are not very easy to fund at all. They've had several close calls from different funding sources and those appeared to fall through. Now, apparently they've been successful."
Schimke says the contract extension will require Waste To Energy to meet timing and achievement milestones or risk losing the contract. If the project is successful, the county could net at least a quarter of a million dollars a year in royalties.
Read more about the project HERE
BEND, OR -- The Deschutes County District Attorney has decided not to pursue criminal charges against a Bend man who shot and killed his landlord a little more than a week ago. D.A. John Hummel's office released the following statement regarding the case against Daniel Norquist:
Today, Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel filed a motion with the Circuit Court requesting the dismissal of the case charging Daniel Norquist with the murder of Andrew Cordes.
In the early morning hours of July 25, 2015, in Norquist’s house, Norquist shot Cordes four times, causing his death. Cordes was Norquist’s landlord and long-time friend. Norquist claimed he shot Cordes because he was scared of Cordes. Both were intoxicated. Bend Police Department detectives conducted an extensive investigation, and in the afternoon of July 25th, arrested Norquist.
On July 28th Deschutes County Deputy District Attorneys Drew Moore and Matt Nelson began presenting evidence to a grand jury. Prior to the completion of the presentation to the grand jury, Moore, Nelson, and District Attorney John Hummel’s view of this case changed. Additional evidence pointed to Norquist’s innocence. Norquist was then asked to submit to a polygraph test and he agreed. The results of this test supported Norquist’s claim of self-defense and was consistent with the other evidence analyzed by the State. Consequently, Hummel withdrew the case from the grand jury and filed a motion to dismiss the case.
“It is never too late to ensure justice is served” said Hummel. Hummel went on to say: “Based on the facts that were known on the day of the shooting, the arrest of Mr. Norquist was appropriate. And at the time we began presenting the case to the grand jury, I believed a crime was committed. As new facts were uncovered, Mr. Norquist’s claim that he acted in self-defense was bolstered.”
Hummel praised the work of Bend Police detectives: “Starting shortly after midnight on July 25th up until today, Bend Police detectives worked tirelessly to gather evidence to determine the truth. Myself and deputy district attorneys in the District Attorney’s office worked with them every step of the way. I was impressed with the professionalism, dedication and competence of every officer who worked on this case. Bend residents are well served by their police department.”
“This case is an example of the system working” said Hummel. “Police investigate and arrest based on a lower legal standard than is required for a criminal conviction. When I became convinced the evidence was insufficient to overcome Mr. Norquist’s claim of self-defense, I did not hesitate to dismiss this case. And I did not consider ‘passing the buck’ by having the grand jury vote on whether to charge Mr. Norquist. I only ask grand juries to charge someone with a crime when I believe the evidence is sufficient to support a charge. In this case, it was not.”
Hummel concluded by extending sympathies to the family of Andrew Cordes: “Everyone involved in this investigation extends our sympathies to the family of Andrew Cordes. Andrew was 30 years old, with hopes and dreams for a wonderful life. He was loved and will be missed.”
BEND, OR -- Bend Fire crews responded to three separate brush fires within a three-hour period, Saturday evening. Officials say each caused minimal damage but are suspicious.
They occurred between 7:15 p.m. and 10:20 p.m. near NE Jones and Watson Drive, NW Buck Drive near Johnson Road, and NE 11th Place.
Fire investigators are asking for the public’s help. Anyone with information on the fires is asked to call Deschutes County non-emergency dispatch at 541-693-6911.
BEND, OR -- An 18-year-old Eugene man was arrested early Sunday morning, accused of breaking into the Bend Bi-Mart store on NE Second Street.
Bend Police found Andrew Ward on the roof of the business at about 12:30 a.m., and say he tried to get into the building through the HVac system, resulting in damage to the system.
Ward was taken into custody without incident.
LA PINE, OR -- Three local motorcyclists were hurt when they failed to negotiate a curve on Huntington Road in La Pine, Sunday morning. According to the Sheriff’s Office, the three were traveling together when they entered a section of curves just south of Velvet Court and were thrown from their respective motorcycles.
One rider, 56-year-old Kenneth Gipson of Culver, was flown to St. Charles Bend. He was listed in serious condition, as of Monday morning. The other two men, one from Redmond and one from Terrebonne, were transported by ground ambulance.
Speed is believed to be a factor.
REDMOND, OR -- The head of the Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs heard many concerns from local vets during a stop at the Redmond VFW on Friday. Fred Beebee, a Vietnam War Veteran, traveled from Madras to tell Director Cameron Smith that he's concerned about losing a counselor who served his PTSD group. "We did lose our counselor two to three months ago when he was transferred to Portland. We want to get someone else in there because they did a lot of good for a lot of veterans." Beebee says the group continues to meet every Thursday to offer support to each other until another counselor can be brought in.
Fellow Vietnam Veteran Joe Russo of Crooked River Ranch brought up concerns about living east of the Cascades and how challenging it is to travel to the V.A. Hospital in Portland. "Whey they make cuts in funding, do they take into consideration this side of the mountain? They turn around and it's nice they give us travel money, but for a few dollars more, we wouldn't have to do all that traveling." The new V.A. Choice Program was supposed to offer vets an opportunity to see a local doctor if they live too far from a V.A. health center. However, Director Smith admitted too many are still forced to travel over the mountain because they are closer than 40 miles to a veterans clinic, even if the clinic doesn't offer the services they need.
Tom Weiss is the Veterans Services officer for Jefferson County. For 10 years he has helped vets navigate the system and get services. "I think here in the state we'll make progress. I think we have a good leader in Director Smith; he's young and has a lot of good ideas. As far as the federal system? I don't know." He adds, "This problem has been around for a very long time, and I know it's money driven. I think the state will work through them, we always have. It's just things are changing so fast and the problems are new every day."
Director Smith told the group the challenge is to better coordinate the federal V.A. system with state and county veterans services.
TERREBONNE, OR -- A California woman was rescued following a fall at Smith Rock State Park in Terrebonne, Sunday afternoon. The woman was reportedly trying to climb a near vertical section of rock with her friend when she lost her hold and fell eight to 10 feet, then tumbled another 20 to 30 feet.
Neither woman had appropriate equipment, according to the Sheriff's Office, and it was their first time at Smith Rock.
Search and Rescue volunteers were able to safely get her back to the trail and used a wheeled litter to get her to awaiting medics. She was taken to St. Charles Bend with what is described as serious but not life threatening injuries.
BEND, OR -- Bend Police say a Corvallis man failed to stop at a stop sign, leading to a crash that tied up traffic on Neff Road during much of Friday's morning commute.
Emergency crews responded to Neff Road, near Pilot Butte Middle School just after 7 a.m. They found two cars heavily damaged and 59-year-old Kerry Schoning hurt. Investigators believe Schoning was southbound on Shepard Road, when he he turned onto Neff without stopping. He collided with an SUV driven by a 35-year old Bend man.
Schoning was taking to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Neither alcohol nor speed are believed to be factors in the crash.
SISTERS, OR -- The Sisters City Council is undergoing some changes, with three Councilors stepping down within the last four months. Amy Burgstahler was selected to replace Bill Hall, who resigned after just one month on the council due to the hostile political climate.
Burgstahler tells KBND she's looking forward to the new challenge, despite the recent upheaval. "I'd like to be a part of helping Sisters remain competitive and rich in opportunity, but also maintain that balance with exceptional levels of safety and overall livability. We do have a great level of that in Sisters."
A former reporter for the Sacramento Bee, Burgstahler moved to Sisters about a year ago. She says she's not intimidated by the controversy. "I'm not really that concerned. I'm just going to do the best job I can do. We've got a lot of really fine people serving, and a good team. I'm just excited about moving forward and helping to keep the community positive. There are a few people who tend to want to be negative, but overall, the community is just tremendous and there's a lot of positivity."
Second term Sisters Councilor Wendy Holzman resigned last week, citing the need to care for her daughter who was in a serious bicycle accident; but she also admitted the climate on the council can be challenging. Her replacement has not yet been selected.
REDMOND, OR -- The head of Oregon's Department of Veterans Affairs will visit with local vets Friday in Redmond, to hear about issues they face.
Redmond VFW Commander Judith Burger expects Director Cameron Smith will hear a lot about healthcare. "I think we're going to be talking about the Veterans Care Initiative, the card that has come out that's supposed to allow us get medical care outside of the VA under certain conditions, and how that's working or not working."
Burger also told KBND she'd like to discuss the recent appointment of an LGBT coordinator for the VA. She doesn't think the position is necessary. "I should be able to walk into any Veterans Service office and know that my unique needs are going to be represented by whoever it is that helps me. I shouldn't have to go to 'this person does women veterans only.' Every veteran of every generation has unique needs."
Before he was appointed to the post by Governor John Kitzhaber in 2013, Smith served as a Marine in three tours of duty in Iraq.
Friday's meeting in Redmond is from 10 a.m. until noon, at the VFW on Veterans Way.
BEND, OR -- Bend Police arrested a 47-year-old Bend transient in connection with Thursday's early morning fire that caused $265,000 in damage to an office building on Shevlin Hixon Drive. Investigators say Eric Noell broke into the building and started the fire from the inside.
Battalion Chief Dave Howe tells KBND this has been a week. "It is pretty unusual to have this many fires. Basically it was four fires in a little over three days. In a hot summer, we may have that many brush fires, but structure fires are a different story. But, we have a history of having long times in between structure fires, and therefore, the probability of having multiple ones – even if they’re unrelated, and these four have been completely unrelated – the probability is there."
Battalion Chief Howe says the high number of fires can be tough on firefighters. "It can be pretty taxing, but these guys are in pretty good shape. They work 48 hours in a row, they do get to sleep unless they get woken up by a call, and then they’re off for four days. The last two days, they’ve had three fires and that was one shift. So, those guys, they deserve to go home and get some rest."
All four of this week's structure fires were preventable, and Howe says, "People need to just not be complacent when it comes to fire and understand that, when it’s hot and dry outside, it also means that the flammable and combustible materials that we live in – in other words, houses – are also a source of fuel and they are, perhaps a little more susceptible to burning, because of the hot and dry conditions."
ROSEBURG, OR -- Wildfire crews are battling two large fires in Douglas County. The Stouts Creek Fire, located 11 miles east of Canyonville, was reported yesterday afternoon, and grew from several hundred acres to about 6-thousand acres in a matter of hours. A Red Cross shelter has been established for residents of several neighborhoods that have been evacuated near the blaze.
Governor Kate Brown invoked the Emergency Conflagration Act Thursday night, in response to the Stouts Fire, saying the fire threatens about 50 homes and another 300 are at risk. In a statement released Friday morning, the Governor said, "As temperatures rise across Oregon this week, the Stouts Creek Fire has explosively grown amid record setting fuel conditions and extreme drought. This declaration allows us to quickly dedicate more resources to the fire in the effort to save lives and property." The declaration authorizes the State Fire Marshal to mobilize structural firefighters and equipment to assist local resources battling the fire.
Not far from the Stouts Creek Fire, the Cable Crossing Fire continues to burn northeast of Roseburg. It was spotted Tuesday afternoon and Officials say it is now 15% contained at about 830 acres.
REDMOND, OR -- City officials revealed plans for the historic building that will become Redmond’s next City Hall, Wednesday night. Neighbors got their first glimpse at an open house, and had a chance to ask questions and provide feedback to the city and architects.
Troy Ainsworth, with FFA Architecture, says working with the former Evergreen Elementary building has been an adventure. "For the original 1922 building, we didn’t have any drawings for the building, so we needed to carefully measure the building. But, we also really needed to look at things. We were looking under floors and taking down ceilings; it was a voyage of discovery. The first thing is, ‘what are we actually working with.’"
The renderings reveal a building exterior that won’t look too different, although the site will include nearly 70 new parking spaces. The current City Hall has about 30. For the interior, Ainsworth says he wants to restore it to its previous grandeur. "Fortunately, with this building, most of the original pieces were in place still; most everything was there, it had just been messed up or covered up. So, some of this is just uncovering, and some of it is putting back what was there in the first place." The second story will also feature a large space available for public use, and potential commercial lease space. Council Chambers will be on the first floor, with direct access to the new parking lot.
Some neighbors were concerned with the impact construction and future traffic will have on the area. But, overall, most were pleased with plans to maintain the historic feel of the building while updating infrastructure. "People seemed, either through their lack of questions or the good things they said, people seem pleased with the design of the building – the things we’ve chosen to save, the look and feel of the interior, the values that are coming through. It seems as though there are concerns with the site, particularly the site edges – how does the site respond to the neighbors, the bigger plans the city has for creating throughways and bike lanes, that sort of thing," Ainsworth tells KBND. He says the feedback will be used to make adjustments before the design is finalized in the next couple of months.
Ainsworth expects construction to begin in October, and will take about a year.
BEND, OR -- The American Red Cross hopes to capitalize on recent nationwide attention given to the risk of a large-scale earthquake in Oregon, with a special campout event, offering Oregonians a chance to test their own personal emergency readiness.
Lisa Stroup, Executive Director of our local Red Cross, tells KBND she hears two main excuses why Central Oregonians don’t come up with a disaster plan. "One, I’ll hear complacency – ‘I live in beautiful Central Oregon, this isn’t gonna happen, I don’t have to worry about it.’ Or, I hear ‘by golly, I know how to hunt, how to fish, I’ve got an RV, I’m prepared.’ And so, we’re just saying, that’s great! Let’s try it out. Put yourself to the test and let’s see if you actually are prepared."
The Red Cross urges everyone to participate in the second annual “Camp! Prepare!” tomorrow, by practicing what your family would do in a disaster – even camping out in the backyard, if you can. Stroup says trying to mimic disaster conditions is a great way to test your readiness. "Everybody knows the obvious: water, food, clothes. What they forget is the unobvious items. So, you get out there and you had a great stock of canned food, but you didn’t have a can opener. Do some ‘what ifs’ while you’re out there. We’re going to be stressed when using this kit – not during Camp Prepare!, but if we actually have to use it we’re going to be stressed. What are some things that we should’ve had in here. Think about your kids and your pets." Stroup adds, "Obviously water, a gallon per person per day. I know it’s the obvious one, but it’s the thing that will trip you up, and you’re going to be cooking and cleaning and taking care of family and probably some visitors. Some unobvious things: tools, gloves, a mask, a bucket, a whistle, hygiene items."
If you aren’t able to camp out tomorrow, she suggests picking a different day this summer to put your family to the test. For more details, visit the Red Cross Camp Prepare webpage
. Central Oregonians are not required to register; however, the local chapter will conduct contests for participants on its Facebook Page
LA PINE, OR -- A Tigard man is in the Deschutes County Jail for allegedly eluding several state troopers multiple times throughout the state, Wednesday. According to Oregon State Police, the first trooper attempted to stop 27-year-old Tyler Harp on Highway 31 in Lake County, but he and a passenger took off on his motorcycle, speeding at 120 then 149 miles per hour.
Two other officers tried to stop Harp, but were unsuccessful. Harp was finally stopped along Highway 97 near La Pine. He initially pulled off to the shoulder but then accelerated back onto the highway and hit an SUV.
Harp and his passenger received non-life threatening injuries in the crash. He faces a number of charges in Deschutes County; additional charges are pending in Lake and Klamath counties as well.
BEND, OR -- Central Oregon’s only wildlife rescue facility is bursting at the seams, this summer. Dr. Jeff Cooney, full-time volunteer veterinarian and President of High Desert Wildlife Rescue tells KBND they're taking in five to 10 new animals each day, right now. "With all the nesting birds and all the mammals are having their litters. It’s a beautiful time of year, people are outdoors and we see a lot of people encountering wildlife. Many times there are babies out there that need to be rescued, but there are other times those babies are better off with their parents." Dr. Cooney says it's better to contact them before touching an animal if you're not sure whether it actually needs rescuing.
Dr. Cooney says, despite the rise in patients, they try not to turn any away. "If there’s a way for us to make space, we do. Sometimes, the kitchen floor where we do food prep might have an osprey in a playpen, then a great blue heron in another one, and a porcupine in a third one. It looks a little crazy in there sometimes, but that’s actually a good way to keep an animal safe and quiet and protected while it’s healing."
The non-profit opened its facility east of Bend two years ago, and saw about 200 animals that first year. "Last year we saw 900. This year, we’re not even through the year, and we’re already at 900. We’re probably going to get up to 1,500 animals this year, maybe 2,000. We really can’t predict. I think the more people know about us, the more people call, the more animals we get and the more help we need," Says Dr. Cooney.
He and his volunteers respond to wildlife calls 24/7, and work with local law enforcement, Fish and Wildlife and Oregon State Police, along with the general public. Animals are treated for injuries or illness and returned to the wild, when possible.
"Iggy" is a flying squirrel who lost his paws in a wildfire and wasn't able to be returned to his natural habitat.
He has become the mascot for High Desert Wildlife Rescue.
TERREBONNE, OR -- Redmond firefighters say oil-soaked rags are likely to blame for a Terrebonne vehicle fire, and they say the result could’ve been much worse. A work van filled with wood stains and tools was parked next to the owner’s Fifth Street home.
Investigators say the oily rags spontaneously ignited inside the van just before midnight, Wednesday night, while the owner slept. Crews stopped the fire before it spread to the house.
BEND, OR -- Bend Fire officials continue to investigate the cause of an early morning fire that severely damaged an office building in southwest Bend.
Firefighters responded to SW Shevlin Hixon Dr. near Colorado, just before 1 a.m. and found flames coming from under the first floor balcony. The blaze quickly spread to the second floor.
Within 15 minutes, They were able to stop it from progressing, but not before the fire cause significant damage to the front of the building.
UPDATE: Bend Police questioned and eventually arrested a 47-year-old transient, found nearby. They believe Eric Noell broke into the building and started the fire from inside. He was transported to the hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.
REDMOND, OR -- With a year and a half left in her term, Ginny McPherson has resigned from the Redmond City Council. McPherson has served on the Council since 2013, and recently accepted a temporary position with Redmond’s Community Development Department.
In a written statement, McPherson said, "What I have enjoyed most about serving on City Council is the involvement I have had in shaping Redmond. My new position affords me the opportunity to increase that involvement in a very hands-on manner."
According to the city’s charter, the Mayor may appoint a replacement, with the majority vote of the rest of the council. Mayor George Endicott said in a statement, "With all the projects underway in Redmond, such as Sam Johnson Park and the Evergreen Revitalization Project, we need someone who can hit the ground running. It's important that candidates for appointment understand the role of city government; demonstrate the ability to communicate and collaborate effectively; and have a desire to assume the responsibilities and accountability inherent in the work of a councilmemeber."
Over the next few weeks, Mayor Endicott will consider a process to fill the remainder of McPherson's term, expiring at the end of 2016.
REDMOND, OR -- When the Deschutes County Fair opens Wednesday morning, only a handful of Redmond businesses are likely to benefit from the increase in traffic. Straw Hat Pizza, located just off Highway 97 on the way to the fairgrounds, expects it'll be the busiest week of the year.
However, those in the downtown core tell a different story. Nick Dacus, owner of Soup 2 Nuts
, tells KBND he was surprised last year’s sales were so low. "It was just dead, I mean, at least half as much if not worse than what we normally do. And we do everything from scratch where we’re at, so it really affects us because we end up throwing away a lot of food. We’re thinking, if it’s slow again this year, we’re just going to take a vacation next year!"
Mona Sorensen, owner of Green Plow Coffee Roasters
, is trying to come up with ways to keep her regulars coming in this week. "There was just a slight decrease in sales [last year]; more so because everyone’s going out to the fair, which is exciting, and we push that. It’s normally our regulars that conduct business at Green Plow, so right now outside we have buy one get one half off on drinks. I just want to keep it steady for our staff."
The Deschutes County Fair
is open Wednesday and Thursday, from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. until 11 p.m.; and 10 a.m. through 5 p.m., Sunday.
BEND, OR -- 12:30 p.m.: The Bend Fire Department is on scene of a house fire in southeast Bend.
The blaze was originally reported as a garage fire just before 12:30 p.m. on Grand Targhee Drive, near Wasatch Mountain Lane. The fire quickly extended into the attic and nearby brush and trees.
The U.S. Forest Service and the Oregon Department of Forestry are assisting with the fire.
Fire officials ask people not to come into the area, as it is an active and ongoing operation.
UPDATE: Bend firefighters managed to keep the fire confined to the garage and attic. The fire broke out just after noon, near the Bend Golf and Country Club. Crews stopped the blaze before it spread to the living quarters, but it destroyed the roof.
Investigators believe the fire started with lithium batteries plugged in to charge in the garage. Damage is estimated at $200,000.
BEND, OR -- The Murphy Road project on the south end of Bend is about halfway done. The $27 million project is designed to make travel from the west side of Bend to the east side easier, and improve access to Third Street.
Two bridges over South Third Street are finished. The next phase has Brookswood blocked to through traffic as crews construct a new roundabout. Peter Murphy, with the Oregon Department of Transportation, tells KBND, “Our game plan is to have it finished before Labor Day, or before the day after Labor Day when kids go back to school. In fact I think we’re a little bit ahead of that schedule. So we’re doing what we can to get into the roundabout, get it done and get out. And after that we’ll start finishing up the actual Murphy Road connection back to the bridge.”
And, there is good news for those struggling with area detours. “It looks like we’re a little ahead of schedule right now in terms of just the roundabout at Brookswood. We’re encouraging the contractor to do what he can. We’re doing what we can because we want to make sure it gets open, certainly before school starts. I mean, that’s almost a hard and fast deadline,” Murphy says.
When the entire Murphy Road project is finished in October, there will be a new look to the east-west connection to third street in Bend.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- Officials confirm the Crook and Jefferson County Sheriffs Offices received suspicious letters sent to Sheriffs Departments across Oregon. Oregon State Police and Hazardous Material teams began responding to reports of suspicious packages, Monday. In one case, the Grant County Sheriff was reportedly rushed to the hospital with a rash.
The FBI confirms field testing showed no toxic substances on any of the more than 20 letters or envelopes, nor was there evidence of any powder found. OSP, FBI and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service continue to investigate the letters' origin.
OSP warns those who receive suspicious mail to be cautious, especially if it contains excessive postage or tape, no return address, or anything else unusual.
Deschutes County Sheriff Shane Nelson says his office has not received anything suspicious, yet.
Photo Courtesy, Tillamook County Pioneer
BEND, OR -- The owner of Deschutes Brewery participated in a video conference Monday, with U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI). The two have co-sponsored legislation that could provide tax relief for craft brewers, cider makers, vintners and distillers.
Gary Fish, founder of Bend-based Deschutes Brewery, says excise taxes are an added burden to the industry. "We get to pay excise taxes simply based on our production. One of the features of this legislation is that it relieves a percentage of that tax burden, freeing up capital for these small entrepreneurial businesses to continue to grow."
Fish added, "Craft beer is healthy across the country and in Oregon. That's something we're very proud of. This isn't a reward for that health, this is an incentive to continue to drive this industry to greater heights; to get these businesses to invest more money back into their businesses. Really, this is something that the cost is nominal, the benefit is substantial."
Senators Wyden and Baldwin took to Google and YouTube for a “Happy Hour Hangout” to discuss the economic benefits of their “Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act.” Senator Wyden said, "In Oregon alone, craft beverage makers contribute $6 billion and 40,000 jobs to Oregon's economy. That is not exactly small potatoes." And, Fish says, the industry is growing. "Oregon has the honor of leading the nation in terms of craft beer production. I think a total of 20% of the beer consumed in Oregon is now produced by Oregon craft breweries."
To watch the full discussion, click HERE
LA PINE, OR -- It's still unclear whether a majority of south county residents support moving forward with the formation of a sewer district. The Deschutes County Planning Commission held a meeting to gauge public opinion, last week. But, Planning Manager Peter Gutowsky tells KBND public opinion remains split. "There's been a long history of Deschutes County and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality addressing groundwater quality in the La Pine sub-basin. I think the real challenge comes to this isn't an imminent public health hazard, it's a slow moving situation."
Supporters say a sewer district would help reduce the risk of groundwater contamination from septic systems used in the area. Gutowsky says, "I think Deschutes County, the DEQ and Land Conservation and Development are trying to provide flexibility so that if the vulnerability persists, property owners have the ability to rely on different wastewater treatments than just septic systems."
The Planing Commission will meet again August 13 to discuss whether to ask for an exception from the state, which would allow for the creation of a sewer district. The commission ultimately will offer a recommendation to the full Deschutes County Board of Commissioners.
Many in La Pine remain concerned about the potential cost of the project.
BEND, OR -- The Oregon Department of Transportation reports a dramatic jump in traffic fatalities this year, compared to 2014. According to statistics obtained by KBND, the state has seen a 44% increase in fatal crashes, so far this year.
ODOT’s Peter Murphy tells KBND he’s most concerned by the 15% rise in motorcycle fatalities. "It may be due to, just overall volume of motorcycles is up. We’re enjoying this great weather so people are getting outside and getting into it. But, we haven’t been able to pin down exactly why it is. What we’re trying to do is say ‘hey, anybody on, near or by a motorcycle, just use a little extra caution.’"
There have been nine motorcycle fatalities so far this month, alone, compared to five during the same timeframe last year. Murphy says it's unclear why this month has spiked. "We don’t know why you left the road, we just know you did. There’s some physics involved, and speed is one of the elements of the physics. So, let’s try to keep our heads on and take it easier as we try to get around. It’s a beautiful place to go out – Highway 206, Highway 31 - There are so many places to go on a bike around here. Let’s just ratchet it down a little bit, be a little bit more careful heading into those turns and let’s see what we can do." He adds, "And, it’s so easy. It seems like you’re out there all alone on the road, and you are in many of our places, and you just hit that turn a little bit too hard, too fast and there’s no margin at that point. You don’t have two more wheels to bring it back onto the pavement."
ODOT reports a total of 237 traffic-related deaths since the beginning of the year.
BEND, OR -- Consumer groups are warning used car shoppers to be aware of scam artists trying to unload cars damaged in floods that ravaged the south earlier this summer. Sophie Dichter, with the Oregon Better Business Bureau, tells KBND it’s not unusual for criminals to take advantage of natural disasters in another part of the country. "Usually when you hear about flooding in Texas, you don’t think it’s going to effect us here in the Northwest, even in Bend. But, that’s exactly what scammers do. They take damaged cars and do 'Title Washing.' They re-title it from different states, like from Texas to Oregon, and it makes the car appear clean."
She suggests checking a car’s interior. "Look at the carpet, and you might be thinking, ‘of course I’ll look at the carpet. If it looks stained or wet or smells, I’ll know it’s flood damaged.’ But, actually, we tell people if the carpet looks new but the car is used, it’s a red flag because it could be a sign the scammers reupholstered the car to cover up the damage from the flooding. If you find new carpet in a used car, it could be a sign it’s been reupholstered to cover damage." Also, check wires under the dashboard. Dichter says they’re often missed by someone trying to clean up rust.
And, she recommends having a mechanic check over the vehicle before you buy. "This is very common, actually. Every time there’s a natural disaster, we hear these nightmare stories of a car that appeared fine, it looked beautiful, the title appeared clean. But, eventually, when a car has been in a flood, it’s just a sponge for rust and corrosion. It’s just a slow process where your car is just kind of breaking apart."
BEND, OR -- Bend Fire crews responded to two destructive structure fires, Monday morning. The first was spotted by a passerby just before 5:30 a.m. at a commercial building near Ninth and Wilson. Investigators say the blaze started when an extension cord was pinched by equipment inside the Eagle Mountain Fellowship church.
The second occurred just after 10 a.m. northeast of Bend. Battalion Chief Dave Howe says when firefighters arrived on Pioneer Loop, it was too late to save the shed. "So, their biggest concern was the wildland component around the shed – there’s trees, brush, grass and it was on fire. So, they immediately called for some help from the Oregon Department of Forestry and Deschutes National Forest. Those guys showed up with two brush crews and contained the fire to 2/10 of an acre; which is pretty darn good, considering the weather and fuel condition."
Howe tells KBND this is a busy time of year for the department. "In a city our size, it’s not unusual to have more than one working fire in a day – maybe we have three or four in the summertime, because of the fuel conditions."
The Eagle Mountain Fellowship fire caused about $150,000 in damage. The Pioneer Loop shed was a total loss, estimated at $40,000; that fire started when combustibles caught fire due to heat from a nearby woodstove.
BEND, OR -- Despite Public Use Restrictions, Forest Service officials report a troubling increase in the number of human-caused fires in Central Oregon.
Kassidy Kern, with the Deschutes National Forest, tells KBND they take the extreme fire conditions very seriously. "We were at 10% of our normal snow pack heading into the fire season, then we had a very dry spring – with the exception of a few thunderstorms that came through in May. So, our brush is about one to two months ahead of their normal moisture levels, and our sagebrush in particular is currently at its lowest moisture level in 7 years. So, we look at those fuel moisture contents and we realize those forest fuels are really receptive to fire right now."
Due to the rise in human-caused fires, they’re increasing law enforcement patrols in the Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests and Crooked River National Grasslands. "Just the Deschutes National Forest alone is 1.6 million acres, but obviously we’re not as concerned in areas were people don’t tend to camp. We have seen a lot of abandoned or escaped campfires, that’s one of the major fire responses we’ve been having recently. So, we’re going to where we know people are going to be."
Of the 208 wildfires reported in Central Oregon so far this year, Kern says more than half were human-caused. "When we have those escaped campfires, or abandoned campfires, unfortunately, if they’re in an area where that brush can catch, it will. And, that puts a lot of unneeded pressure on our firefighters to go out and take care of these human-caused starts, when we really do want them patrolling, but also looking for, in some cases, holdovers from lightning." While most of the human-caused fires appear accidental, she says several are being investigated as suspicious.
BEND, OR -- Job growth remains strong in Deschutes County, especially in the tourism industry. Regional Economist Damon Runberg says it's one of the region's dominant fields. He tells KBND the three fastest growing sectors were Leisure/Hospitality, Accommodations/Food Services and Retail Trade. "We are at all time records of employment in Deschutes County for those kind of tourism jobs. Pretty much every summer over the last three, we've broken the record for summer employment in those tourism-related industries. It continues to be really strong."
But, Runberg says, "I think we're starting to see this plateau a bit, or approaching a plateau, because the growth over the last year is a little bit slower than it has been in years prior. So, I think we're starting to see a point where we're starting to hit capacity with some of those in tourism jobs, perhaps."
In June, the three primary tourism-related sectors accounted for more than 31,000 jobs in Deschutes County.
BEND, OR -- Three local artists were selected by Bend's Arts and Beautification Commission to adorn four storm drains with messages addressing the connection with the Deschutes River.
Artist and river guide David Kinker began work Friday on two storm drains next to Harmon Park. “The river is what we’re really talking about and what we put into it. And keep an awareness that you can’t just throw your oil out in the street or anything like that and expect to have a river full of fish. Because it’s a metaphor for life.”
Kinker has 25-years experience as a river guide and artist. “Really what I want to convey is something very happy and we want to keep it that way. SO I’m going to use a lot of festival signage techniques using highlights and reflective lights, bright colors and lots of sloping shapes. I’m trying use symbols and dragonflies and butterflies and things of the river and fish.”
He tells KBND he wants to remind everyone to be aware that what we dump in the street will eventually make it’s way to the river.
BEND, OR -- A Bend man is accused of driving under the influence, in connection with an early Saturday morning hit and run near Southwest 15th and Galveston.
According to the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office, 33-year-old Stan Glover hit a power pole. While dragging the power pole with his car, he continued for three blocks where he collided with a car, which then hit another vehicle.
When deputies arrived, they say he Glover was walking away from the scene. He was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. He faces a number of charges.
BEND, OR -- A Canadian bicyclist had to be rescued after crashing in the Phil's Trailhead area west of Bend. Another bicyclist in the area called 9-1-1 to report that Catherine Laurendeau was injured near Kents Trail.
A Deschutes County Sheriff's deputy and Forest Service officer were nearby and hiked in about 1.5 miles and confirmed Laurendau was not able to walk out under her own power.
Two Search and Rescue volunteers and one SAR deputy responded with ATVs and assisted Bend Fire in transporting her to the trailhead, where she was loaded into an ambulance and taken to St. Charles Bend with non-life threatening injuries.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- A Washington couple suffered serious injuries when their motorcycle struck a deer in Crook County, Saturday night. According to the Sheriff's Office, 66-year-old Michael Freeman was driving westbound on the Ochoco Highway when a deer ran into the side of the bike, causing them to crash.
Freeman's wife, 65-year-old Patricia was a passenger, and the pair was pulling a trailer at the time of the crash. Michael Freeman was transported to St. Charles Bend by LifeFlight, his wife was taken to St. Charles Prineville by ground ambulance.
BEND, OR -- A Bend man was arrested early Saturday morning after his landlord was found dead. Bend Police responded to the duplex on NE Nova Loop, near 18th and Empire, just after midnight. Officers discovered 30-year-old Andrew Cordes deceased by gunshot wounds inside the home of Daniel Norquist.
Investigators say the two were neighbors, and the 34-year-old Norquist rented the neighboring unit from Cordes. Cordes was reportedly in the duplex with Norquist for over two hours prior to the shooting.
Norquist was detained at the scene and subsequently arrested for murder. One neighbor tells KBND News the two may have been arguing because the victim was trying to evict the suspect.
The investigation is ongoing.
SISTERS, OR -- A Lane County man was killed in a rollover crash outside of Sisters, early Friday morning. According to Oregon State Police, 35-year-old Troy Crabb was eastbound on Highway 20 when his 1996 Honda left the road and struck a tree just west of Sisters.
Emergency crews responded at about 6 a.m. and discovered the Blue River man deceased at the scene.
OSP troopers believe fatigue may have been a contributing factor, although the investigation is ongoing.
BEND, OR -- Bend-La Pine Schools hope to renew funding to continue two popular lunch programs. Terry Cashman, Director of Child Nutrition for the district says a grant is set to expire this year, which pays for the two-year-old programs. One, he calls Pork to Fork: "We had the kids from Mt. View who were actually raising pigs for the program. Then, once the pigs were ready to be – I guess you would call it ‘harvested’ – we’d have the kids at both Bend High culinary and Mt. View culinary butcher them for us; then we would utilize the products in our program."
Another new program. called Boat to School, provides Oregon seafood for Bend-La Pine student lunches. "We actually had sushi grade tuna we’re providing the kids through this grant, it’s just a phenomenal product and a really tasty treat, once you get to try these things. If you think about where we are in Bend, we have a pretty amazing food culture. So, kids are exposed to a wide variety of foods that they may not be in some other areas."
Both are off-shoots of the district’s successful “Farm to School” program, which has provided local fruits and vegetables for lunches for 12 years. "You want to expose kids to as many different choices so, as their pallet develops, then they’re going to be more accepting of different foods. We found that the kids, obviously at first, aren’t super excited about some of these items. But, when they sample them out and they try them, you can convert several of them. And the adults obviously love these kinds of choices," Cashman tells KBND. To hear our full conversation with Terry Cashman, visit our Podcast Page
The district is also looking for lunchroom workers for new schools slated to open in the fall.
REDMOND, OR -- A quarter of a million people are expected to attend the 95-year-old Deschutes County Fair, next week. That's about 8,000 cars filling parking lots. But, there is a way to avoid fighting traffic.
For the past 10 years the Deschutes County Fair has offered free transportation from Bend to the fair. Fair Director Dan Despotopulos tells KBND, “We do have traffic and parking issues because we have so many people coming on a single lane road. It’s very difficult to get everybody flowing as fast as we would like to. We’ve worked on it for years now. So by offering the free bus rides, that eliminates some of the traffic.”
Despotopulos says this year, the fair is adding shuttles from Sisters and Redmond, as well. “We would hope that people would be able to take the bus because they don’t have to spend money and it drops them off right at the front gate. They don’t have to worry about parking.”
The fair begins Wednesday. Click HERE
for a downloadable fair guide. Shuttles will pick up in Bend at Mt. View High School, Sisters Elementary and Redmond High School. Click HERE
for the Fair Bus schedule.
For those who have been caught in post concert traffic from the Expo Center, letting someone else do the driving might just be the ticket.
BEND, OR -- Police body cameras have been in the spotlight, lately, whether it’s catching officers behaving badly elsewhere in the country, or local agencies dropping camera programs in light of a new state law. But, Deschutes County Sheriff Shane Nelson says it’s technology his department won’t be using anytime soon. "We had looked into body cameras because you always want to be aware of the options that are out there. But, the body cam issue in the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office came down to: we try to be as transparent as we can be and we have an excellent working relationship with the citizens we serve. We do hold ourselves accountable and we very much know the citizens who pay their tax dollars hold us accountable. I felt that sometimes body cameras don’t necessarily tell the whole story."
Sheriff Nelson tells KBND it also came down to the cost. "I think there’s a little more research that can be done as far as fiscal responsibility. In looking at deploying body cameras, there’s a cost associated with that. The new law wants certain people’s faces blurred out, wants certain things redacted. If we’re mandated we will; however, I don’t believe we need them right now. And, that’s because of the relationship we have with the people we serve."
As head of Central Oregon's largest law enforcement agency, he says he could change his mind. But for now, "It wasn’t a mandate. We didn’t feel it was a benefit for the cost right now. Now, being in the public eye, you will always get complaints that come into the office. However, right now we have a process in place for vetting those complaints out. We take a look at every single complaint we get. We’ve never run into an issue trying to resolve a complaint we get."
BEND, OR -- In the past couple of days, the Central Oregon Drug Enforcement (CODE) Team has arrested more than half a dozen people suspected of selling drugs in the region. Wednesday afternoon, officers arrested a Bend man in the Deschutes County Health Services parking lot on NE Courtney. He's accused of illegally selling prescription drugs.
The arrest of 41-year-old Scot Kreidenweis (right) follows a long investigation by CODE detectives. They later searched his home and found additional evidence of possession and distribution of controlled substances.
Also Wednesday, CODE detectives arrested three people suspected of trafficking narcotics. Corey Wellman of Bend, Michelle Winter and Andrea Brown of Redmond were all taken into custody during a traffic stop on Northeast Purcell in Bend. Police are looking for 35-year-old Richard Enquist of La Pine, who took off during that stop.
Then on Thursday afternoon, three more people were arrested on multiple drug-related charges, following an investigation into suspicious activity at a Bend parking lot. 47-year-old Ryan Crossley of Redmond, and 23-year-old Christian Killelea of Bend were taken into custody after detectives observed what they believed to be a drug transaction between the two.
Investigators believe Crossley purchased meth from 34-year-old Erminio Pena of Redmond, intending to sell it to Killelea. Pena was later arrested, as well. In 2011, Crossley was arrested by CODE detectives for suspicion of trafficking heroin in the area.
Corey Wellman Michelle Winter Andrea Brown
Ryan Crossley Christian Killelea Erminio Pena
BEND, OR -- Oregon's Fish Passage Task Force meets in Bend today. The group gathers together quarterly to advise on fish passage policies and issues, to help fish better connect with habitats where they can thrive.
Greg Apke, with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, tells KBND they'll also examine local dams. "The sites we're going to be visiting near Bend include the North Unit Dam, Mirror Pond Dam and the Colorado Street Fish Passage Project. And, on Saturday, we'll be visiting Opal Springs Dam as well as the Pelton Round Butte Dam facility." He says obstructions can sometimes prohibit fish from getting to important waterways. "For example, the Oregon Department of Transportation who owns thousands of culverts that are impeding fish passage. The cost associated with fixing a magnitude that large is millions, if not billions of dollars."
They'll also get a progress report. "As an overview, I think we're doing great. We've got a long way to go. We have made marked improvements throughout the state in addressing fish passage barriers, but one of our primary limitations is funding, as is always the case. While we've done great things to date, we have a lot of things yet to do," Apke says.
The public is welcome to attend the meeting at the Holiday Inn Express from 8-2 p.m. Friday. A question and answer session will begin at 1 p.m.
LA PINE, OR -- A La Pine woman was seriously injured in a crash Thursday night in Northern Klamath County. The head-on crash occurred after Oregon State police received a report of a pickup driving erratically in the southbound shoulder.
Troopers were trying to catch up to the vehicle speeding at close to 100 mph when it crashed into a northbound car, just before 10 p.m. The driver of the pick-up, a 72-year-old Florida man, was pronounced dead at the scene.
OSP says 30-year-old Chamreun Newton was driving the northbound car. She was flown to St. Charles Bend where she was listed in critical condition, as of Friday morning.
Highway 97 was closed in both directions for more than five hours during the investigation.
BEND, OR -- When a truck slammed into a power pole in northeast Bend early Monday morning, many Bend Broadband customers questioned why the impact was so widespread.
Cindy Tomlinson, with Bend Broadband’s parent company TDS Telecom, says size of the outage was due to where the crash occurred. "We have some primary fiber lines that are adjacent to our central operations that were cut. Where that cut occurred was at a critical point. Because of the close proximity to our main office, it caused the outage to be widespread."
More than 20,000 customers lost phone service for much of the day, 17,000 of them also lost cable and Internet service, which led to headaches for businesses and individuals across Central Oregon.
Tomlinson says the company is investigating how to better protect the pole at Empire and Nels Anderson, and the fiber line. "We just can’t prepare for what might happen, but we can and are continuing to look at what we can do to add more protections around where that pole is located. Our teams will continue to assess the situation and to identify how we might add greater protections to that area."
BEND, OR -- Continued hot and dry conditions mean the region remains under extreme fire danger. That means if people are careless, fires can start very easily.
Deputy Fire Marshal Dan Derlacki tells KBND everyone needs to know what is and isn't allowed during these conditions. "Burning, especially debris burning is closed throughout Central Oregon and also in Bend. That includes burn barrels, trash, yard debris or burning of grass. It's not allowed this time of year due to the serious nature of how dry it is and how quickly that fire can get out of control."
Derlacki recommends spark-generating work be done by mid-morning to reduce the threat of fire. "We actually had two lawn mowers, people mowing grass fields and the blades hit rocks and it started grass on fire. And, a contractor was working on doing some demolition and using a saw to cut through metal. Those sparks landed on combustibles and caused a fire there."
And, he hopes parents will use this time to talk to kids about how dangerous fire is. "We had several kids on the north end of town misusing fire and caught multiple bits of brush on fire and it spread. They ended up with citations for reckless burning."
Regulations vary between jurisdictions. Derlacki says if you aren't sure what is allowed in your area, you can call your local, state or federal fire agency with questions.
REDMOND, OR -- The state Housing Council has approved funds for 13 affordable housing projects around the state. In Central Oregon, Housing Works will use those funds to oversee two new developments for seniors in the Redmond area.
Tom Kemper, Housing Works Executive Director, tells KBND there is a big need. "It's creating 48 new homes and 8 newly rehabbed homes for residents here in Redmond, which is a big deal. Some of them are probably in single-family homes that they've been in forever. Presumably, that will create an opportunity for young families to buy into a house or rent a house."
The bigger project will be a four-story building adjacent to the Lowe's parking lot off of Veteran's Way. The rehabbed property is about a block away, and is an eight-unit development built in 1977.
Kemper says now that the funding is available, it's full steam ahead. "Hopefully we'll start construction by the end of the year or the beginning of 2016, with the idea that we can have the property built by the end of the year, 2016." He adds, "It's going to be a very nice property. Our rents will vary between $428 to $557; they will be very attractive from a renter's standpoint." To be eligible, applicants must earn less than $30,000 a year.
BEND, OR -- Nurses at St. Charles Medical Center in Bend have been working with an expired union contract since the end of June. Now both sides have agreed to bring in a federal mediator to help find common ground.
Staffing for adequate patient care is the main issue for the 720 nurses represented by the Oregon Nurses Association. John Nangle is an RN and the ONA Bend Facility Bargaining Unit Chair. “We have proposed several solutions to these problems to St. Charles and they’ve largely been rejected. The better the nurse staffing, the safer the patients and the better the outcome,” he tells KBND. “Nurse staffing in many units is inadequate. The nurses are routinely working short-handed. Nurses are routinely not being provided meal and rest breaks because there’s not a nurse to give them the breaks.” Nangle says the union also wants written into a new contract that nurses should be able to speak up about inadequate staffing without fear of retaliation.
St. Charles officials declined to be interviewed on the topic, but issued a statement saying in part, “St. Charles remains focused on reaching an agreement on a contract that is competitive across the industry and provides a work environment that is consistent with our vision, mission and values.”
A mediator has not yet been appointed. The existing labor agreement will be in effect throughout the negotiations. The contract issue addresses only nurses at the Bend hospital.
BEND, OR -- In the past month, the Bend Fire Department has responded to eight gas leaks, seven of those just in the past week. While it may seem like a sudden spike, Mark Hanson with Cascade Natural Gas tells KBND the total number of accidents is similar to this time last year. "The number of line hits is kind of in the same neighborhood, but there have been a lot more line locates this year, so it’s definitely a busier construction time, or people doing activities that require line locates. There were about 160 more line locates from April to June this year, than last year, and that resulted in one additional line strike than we had last year."
Hanson says it’s not uncommon to have more incidents during the summer construction season, but most contractors follow the law. "To call 8-1-1, the 'Call Before You Dig' line, to have all underground utilities located prior to digging, so you know where to and where not to dig. And, that’s the biggest way to have lines protected." He adds, "Anytime you’re digging around those types of buried lines, you should take every precaution and take it very seriously for safety. It’s for the safety of the person digging and everyone around. A line strike can result in, not only damage and an outage, where you can knock out the natural gas service or electrical to your neighbor or an entire neighborhood, but striking those lines, you can also be injured or, in some cases, it can lead to a fatality."
He says the overall number of construction-related gas leaks has trended downward in recent years, due to increased usage of the hotline; however, more than a third of the gas leaks in Bend in the past four months involved someone failing to call. And there are consequences aside from the danger. "If we have a repeat offender and they don’t call in for locates, they are billed for the damage.
Bend Fire officials say crews respond to every reported gas leak to help locate the source, evacuate the area if needed, and protect utility workers until the gas can be shut off. Battalion Chief Dave Howe says if you suspect a leak, you should get outside and call 9-1-1 immediately.
BEND, OR -- Bend Police are investigating a late night crash that critically injured a Colorado man. Emergency crews responded to SE 3rd Street and Cleveland at about 10:40 p.m. Wednesday, where 22-year-old John Weiss was struck by a car.
Investigators say Weiss was crossing SE 3rd where there was no crosswalk and was hit by a car driven by 53-year-old Russ Pennavaria of Bend. Weiss was taken to St. Charles with life threatening injuries.
Anyone who may have witnessed the crash is asked to call Bend Police through non-emergency dispatch at 541-693-6911
BEND, OR -- A Deschutes County Sheriff’s deputy has been honored with a prestigious award from the state police academy. Sheriff Shane Nelson says Shadoe Majetich is not the first in his family to receive this award. "He won the Victor G. Atiyeh award. It’s a tremendous award for the most outstanding student at the academy. I went over, along with Captain Utter, to watch the graduation. It was a wonderful surprise to hear his name read when he won that award. Ironically, his father won the very same award when he went through the academy."
The award is named for former Governor Vic Atiyeh. "The faculty, as well as his co-students at the academy, decide who wins that award based on attitude, leadership, survival skills, academics and physical fitness. It’s a tremendous award. The Victor G. Atiyeh award went to the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office and we’re very proud of that," Sheriff Nelson tells KBND.
Deputy Majetich Majetich was the only Deschutes County deputy in his class of more than 30 students. He continues his training, out on patrol.
Photo courtesy of Deschutes County Sheriff's Office
r-l: Sheriff Nelson, Dep. Majetich, Capt. Utter
MAUPIN, OR -- A Clackamas County man was killed in a motorcycle crash west of Maupin, Tuesday night. According to Oregon State Police, 48-year-old Guy Medgin was westbound on Highway 216 when he failed to negotiate a curve.
A witness told investigators Medgin was traveling at a high rate of speed prior to the 8 p.m. crash. The Mulino man was ejected from his motorcycle and was pronounced dead by emergency crews at the scene.
The investigation continues, with the assistance of the Wasco County District Attorney's Office and the Wasco County Sheriff's Department.
BEND, OR -- Several surveys have already been conducted on the new Westside location for OSU-Cascades. And now, the opposition group is conducting its own study. Truth in Site is asking nine questions, soliciting public input on the location.
Previous community surveys have shown a majority support the site off Chandler Ave. and Mt. Washington Drive. But, Marie Matthews with Truth in Site doesn't believe those surveys are an accurate reflection of public opinion. "There are an awful lot of people in Bend who are concerned about the site. There are at least three other viable locations that are located closer to Highway 97, that offer more land- economically buildable land. Since there are alternative sites, we wanted to give Central Oregonians an opportunity to weigh-in on what they would like to see for a brand new university campus," Matthews tells KBND.
She says they're asking, "If they feel the campus is in a good location for Central Oregon, or would it be more accessible if it was located closer to Highway 97? Were they were given adequate opportunity to participate in the site selection process for this new university campus? Then, we're asking them if they would like for OSU Cascades to actually cease development of the 10-acre proposed campus and work with the community to select a campus location that would be optimal for Central Oregonians and the university?"
Truth in Site will offer the survey on its website until August 7, after which time they plan to release the results to the public.
METOLIUS, OR -- A Jefferson County rancher suffered thousands of dollars in losses when water was shut off to his cattle, last week. According to Jefferson County deputies, someone turned off the water that feeds a number of cattle troughs near Alma Lane and Elbe Drive, west of Metolius.
The vandalism wasn't discovered by Bar CK Cattle Company for three days, and during that time, one cow died of dehydration and several others lost unborn calves.
The Sheriff's Office is investigating the incident as trespassing and criminal mischief, although there are no leads.
McMINNVILLE, OR -- Howard Hughes’ famous H-4 Hercules flying boat - most commonly known as the "Spruce Goose" - has called McMinnville’s Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum home since 1993.
The museum’s Melissa Grace announced Tuesday, an agreement with the Aero Club of Southern California to keep the giant wooden plane in Oregon. She says the museum will take title of the historic plane in a matter of weeks. "The museum actually bought the aircraft in 1992 under a long-term payment. The Aero Club uses the payments to fund a scholarship program, and it's annual presentation of the Howard Hughes Memorial Award to outstanding aviation and aerospace pioneers."
Grace said terms of the agreement aren’t being disclosed. There was a dispute over the aero club receiving a percentage of revenue generated by the plane.
The plane was completed in 1947 and only flew once. It’s actually made of laminated birch, not spruce. It's 79-feet high, 218-feet long and has a wingspan of 320-feet.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- A new state law requiring certain mandates for law enforcement agencies that use body cams could bring one such local program to an end.
Prineville police have been using body cams for several years, and Interim chief Les Stiles is a big fan. But the new law requires the blurring of faces on video released to the public, and Chief stiles tells KBND the requirement could place a big financial burden on the department. “Everything that I’ve been able to find out so far is that for every hour of video we’re going to release it could take three to potentially four hours to blur out any faces for privacy concern. That’s the problem. Because if it comes down to having a cop on the street or a technician that’s being paid almost compatible wages I’m going to go for the cop every day in Prineville.”
Stiles says more data storage will be required under the new law, as well. Stiles says his force already complies with 95% of the new law, which took effect last month.
MADRAS, OR -- A project to provide Madras with more affordable housing gets underway Tuesday, by Housing Works and NeighborImpact. The plan is to construct six new homes for agricultural workers.
Kelly Fisher with Housing Works tells KBND, "Some of the studies we looked at by the American Community Survey show that 42% of households in the city of Madras are rent burdened, which means they're paying more than 30% of their income on their housing. So, we think this will be a really great opportunity to get a family in; and, while they are leasing a home, they're actually getting equity in the property before they even buy it."
Those who get the new houses will pay $650 a month in rent for 10 years. After that, they can buy the house for around $125,000.
Heart of Oregon Corp's Youth Build Program will supply the labor. Youth Build participants are 16-24 year old high school dropouts who earn a high school diploma and gain construction experience in the program. Fisher says, "It's unique partnerships like this with different organizations, public and private, coming together to create affordable home ownership opportunities. We're really excited that our partners are all working together to make this happen and we look forward to doing more."
Partner groups, government officials and local youth will come together to raise the walls on a new affordable home Tuesday at 11:30 a.m. at Third and H Streets in Madras.
BEND, OR -- The Boys and Girls Clubs of Bend has doubled in size, this summer. The nonprofit is able to accommodate the increase in kids by renting more space from St. Francis on NE 27th Street.
In the past, the Bend club could only handle about 250 kids during the summer, with a long wait list. Derek Beauvais, Executive Director of the Bend club, tells KBND, "Between the two clubs, we've been able to service everyone, so we don't have a wait list right now. We have over 580 kids registered for the summer program. We're averaging over 200 at the downtown facility; and 170-200 at the St. Francis site, each day." They have doubled staffing to accommodate the growth.
Beauvais says they couldn't do it without the help of St. Francis. "Our facility use is a large ask from any organization. We needed 10 to 11 weeks of programming, 55 hours a week for up to 250 kids. There aren't a lot of facilities that have that capacity in Bend. So it did take us a full year to find a space that was a good home."
Between the two sites, he says the Boys and Girls Club of Bend is on track to serve more than a thousand children, this year.
BEND, OR -- When a semi hit a power pole in northeast Bend yesterday morning (Mon), it knocked out TV, phone and internet service to thousands of Bend Broadband customers in Redmond, Terrebonne, Sisters, Black Butte and Prineville.
A number of telephone customers in Bend and Sunriver were also impacted, including at Sun Country tours. Owner Dennis Oliphant tells KBND News, "There’s not much we can do. Our hope was that we could get calls forwarded – we have 25 cell phones – we wanted to get it forwarded on, but that didn’t happen. Sometimes stuff happens."
Oliphant says, "Mondays are, by far, our busiest day of the week, call volume wise: 40-50 calls an hour. But the phones aren’t ringing today. We’ve had folks check in and say ‘we were lost and tried to call you, and your phones aren’t working!’ Yeah, I have five full-time reservationist who are doing a lot of cleaning around the office and organizing, waiting for the phone service to go back on."
DMV offices across Central Oregon shut down at noon due to the outage. Service was restored by early afternoon, more than eight hours after the crash.
Bend Broadband officials tell KBND they are investigating how one broken power pole could impact 6 communities.
BEND, OR -- Bend-based Saving Grace is praising the state Legislature’s passage of a bill last month designed to protect the privacy of sex abuse victims. The so-called “Advocate Privilege Bill” provides confidentiality protections to domestic violence and assault victim programs.
Lauren DuBose says Saving Grace
already has strict confidentiality policies, but they weren’t protected by law, until now. "So if we did have an advocate called to testify, or someone is really prying for information, they can refer to this House Bill. So, it just really cements the fact that confidentiality is in place, and they can be sure of that."
DuBose says the law extends confidentiality similar to what is available for doctors, lawyers and clergy. Thanks to HB 3476, domestic violence, sexual abuse and stalking victim service groups cannot be compelled to disclose information without the approval of the person seeking help. She says without that privacy guarantee, some victims are not willing to come forward and seek help.
REDMOND, OR -- Redmond will soon increase its affordable housing options by two. Deschutes County Commissioners approved the projects Monday, donating two foreclosed upon properties to Housing Works and Redmond Habitat for Humanity.
James Lewis, with the Deschutes County Property and Facilities Department, told Commissioners one home needs to be renovated, while the other is an open lot. "This is a vacant property located in an existing neighborhood. It would need a new house built on it. Working with Housing Works, addressing the ownership issue, they retain ownership of the property but they're able to sell the home. The homeowner would gain equity in the home but would not be able to sell the property in its entirety. It would be retained by Housing Works so it can remain in the affordable housing stock."
The foreclosed house is located on SW Black Butte Avenue; the vacant lot is on SW Valleyview Drive. County Commissioner Tammy Baney says it's a great outcome from a bad situation. "Obviously, someone was in dire straits when those properties came back to the county. And, to be able to take those two opportunities and build those back to the county and to our residents as a way to get them back into the community, I think is the right path to take."
Housing Works and Redmond Habitat for Humanity hope to have a family in the existing house within the next couple of months. To qualify, potential homeowners must earn between $15,000 and $30,000 a year.
BEND, OR -- Last week saw the dedication of Bend’s newest park, Discovery Park, in NorthWest Crossing. And the Bend Park and Recreation District is working on a handful of other new parks, slated to open soon.
Work will soon begin on Rockridge Park in northeast Bend, adjacent to Sky View Middle School and Lava Ridge Elementary School. Pat Erwert is the Bend Park and Recreation District’s director of park services. “It’s a unique site with a lot of topography with a little picnic shelter and playground and some green space and then we’re projecting lots of trails for biking and the addition of a skate park up there as well to kind of mirror what we put in down at Ponderosa Park.” Rockridge Park has a price tag of $1.3 million.
Canal Row Park is also planned for northeast Bend. Erwert tells KBND it'll be situated on the corner of Butler Market Road and Brinson Avenue, “It’s going to be a nice little neighborhood park with neighborhood park features. It sits right on the North Unit Irrigation canal." He adds, "And then, a renovation of an existing park that’s in need of upgrade. It’s called Hillside Park on the side of Awbrey Butte.”
All three park projects should be completed by Fall 2016.
KLAMATH COUNTY, OR -- A cement truck driver was injured in a rollover crash near the Lake and Klamath County lines, Monday morning. La Pine Fire responded to Highway 31, along with the Outback Fire District of Klamath County and a Sunriver Fire ambulance, at about 5:15 a.m.
La Pine Fire helped extricate the driver, who was injured and trapped in the Redi-Mix truck. He was flown by Air Link to St. Charles Bend.
Highway 31 was closed for about an hour and a half while emergency crews responded. Oregon State Police continue to investigate.
BEND, OR -- A semi crash led to widespread phone and internet outages, Monday morning. At about 6 a.m. a semi truck hit a power pole at Empire Avenue and Nels Anderson. The accident tangled power, phone and fiber lines.
Cindy Tomlinson with Bend Broadband tells KBND phone, TV and internet service has been cut to Redmond, Terrebonne, Sisters, Black Butte Ranch and Prineville. Some phone customers in Bend and Sunriver are also impacted.
Repair crews are on scene, but Tomlinson says there is no estimated time for service to be restored.
KBND will continue to update this information as it becomes available.
1:00 p.m. UPDATE:
Bend Broadband says fiber lines are being spliced, but there is still no ETA for completed repairs. Some customers in Sisters and Redmond report restored service.
The outage has forced the closure of DMV offices in Bend, Madras, Prineville and Redmond. According to ODOT, the DMV is not able to service customers without power or computer connections. Officials are hopeful they will reopen on Tuesday.
BEND, OR -- The Bend City Council plans to meet with other stakeholders in the coming weeks to discuss a transportation package that could include a local gas tax. Councilors must decide by early August whether to put the issue on the November ballot.
Bend 2030 recommends building a more comprehensive transportation package with public support before moving forward. But, Bend resident Bob Brell says the time to move forward is now "I don't see this as a political issue, I'm baffled. If we want tourists to come into this community and get bounced around, they're going to think twice before coming back. And, tourists are what are funding our businesses."
Brell tells KBND, "I'm a proponent of moving forward and moving forward aggressively. I've recommended to the council in writing that we go with a 10 cent a gallon fuel charge. The financial impact is absolutely minimal on an individual and our businesses who are benefiting from good roads in our community."
The Council is considering a five cents per gallon gas tax to help fund $80 million in deferred street maintenance. Groups like the Deschutes Republicans have already come out against the idea, saying additional funds could be found through cost savings and increased revenue.
SILVERTON, OR -- The second in command of the U.S. Department of Agriculture was in Oregon last week to talk to female farmers and ranchers. USDA Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden has traveled the country to learn about the opportunities and challenges women face in agriculture.
In Oregon, she heard mostly of successes. "You are so lucky that you have the richness and tradition in this state that it's almost taken for granted. I think it's so rewarding."
"It's about valuing their contributions and the role that they have played - whether it's bookkeeping or marketing or buying insurance or doing the leasing or driving the combine or planting or buying the seed. Whatever it might be, it's a vital part of that operation," Harden said.
The tour has also been an opportunity for the women to network with each other and encourage the next generation to get involved in farming. "It's about having a venue, an opportunity for women to just spend some time together, talking about issues they care about. Sometimes they are life balance issues. It's about how to encourage their daughters and nieces and granddaughters to get involved in agriculture." Harden was impressed to learn that one out of five principal farm operators in Oregon are women compared to one in fifty in her home state of Georgia.
Last week's panel discussion was moderated by Katy Coba, the Oregon Department of Agriculture's first female director.
REDMOND, OR -- A motorcyclist was severely injured in a crash near the Jefferson and Crook County Line, over the weekend. A Crook County Sheriff's Sergeant found the 23-year-old Lincoln City man's bike 75 yards from the road, through a barb wire fence, just after 2:30 Saturday morning.
Based on witness accounts, investigators believe Tyler Funk was traveling at 95 to 100 miles per hour on Lone Pine Road when he failed to negotiate a curve.
He was taken to St. Charles Redmond for treatment and is cooperating in the ongoing investigation.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- A Prineville man died after he tried to flee from police early Saturday morning during a traffic stop.
Prineville Police attempted to stop 23-year-old Chaz Evans at 2:30 a.m. Saturday. Evans failed to stop at a stop sign and collided with another car. He lost control of his vehicle and hit several parked vehicles before being ejected from his pickup.
He was taken to St Charles in Bend and died while being treated for his injuries.
The driver of the other vehicle sustained non life threatening injuries and was treated at St Charles Hospital in Prineville.
This is an ongoing investigation.
BEND, OR -- Local firefighting officials say dry conditions are a couple months ahead of what's normal for this time of year -- and that concerns them.
John Allen with the Deschutes National Forest told Senator Wyden during their briefing this weekend, they're prepared for a challenging season. "Because of the low snow pack in the Cascades, obviously its a tough situation. But because off the low snow pack and the fuels drying out faster, what we will see is a longer fire season especially at the higher elevations. The season it'll go into October." Allen says usually the wildfire season is over by mid September, but he expects area agencies will be fighting wildfires into October.
So far this summer, firefighters in the region have battled more than 200 wildfires, more than half of them were human caused. Luckily 93% have been kept to less than 10 acres.
BEND, OR -- Senator Ron Wyden was briefed by local forestry officials over the weekend on how the fight against wildfires is going in the region.
Representatives from the Bureau of Land Management, the Deschutes National Forest and the Oregon Department of Forestry told the Senator the area has seen more than two hundred wildfires destroying more than 44-thousand acres. Luckily, most were kept to under ten acres.
Senator Wyden is nervous. "Oregon is less than a month into the summer and already we're looking at a terrible trifecta -- drought, high temperatures and fuel build up on the forest floor."
Senator Wyden says his legislation that would put more funds into prevention and help avoid these large infernos is gaining traction in congress -- as lawmakers realize our firefighting system is broken.
DAYVILLE, OR -- Firefighters plan to conduct burn out operations along the southern boundary of the Corner Creek Fire, which continues to burn 11 miles south of Dayville. Controlled burns will range between 400 and 600 acres in the Black Canyon Wilderness, just east of Mud Springs Campground.
Rain fell in the area over the past week, providing crews with much needed relief and moderating fire behavior. The fire remains 90% contained at 29,407 acres.
The fire was first spotted June 29, 2015 and is believed to have been started by lightning.
BEND, OR -- Central Oregon's population is expected to increase by 76% in the next 30 years. Dr. Arthur Nelson talked about the expected housing needs for the area with the Bend City Council and City Club of Central Oregon, this week.
The Professor of Planning and Real Estate Development at the University of Arizona told the groups, "A lot of people sense that Bend is a magnet for elderly retirees, and it is, certainly. But, what surprises me is the share of the population over the age of 65 is less than the national average, and slightly less than Oregon. Yes, you'll be adding more seniors moving in, but they're going to be a smaller share of the population change than the national average and the state as a whole."
"About a third of the household growth will be in the peak demand housing group - those who need homes. But that's half of what it's been in the last 20 years, so your demographic composition is changing," he told the audience. "They're favoring something less than the larger single-family detached homes. Maybe something more like smaller homes, smaller lots, apartments, condos and townhouses."
Dr. Nelson adds, "But if you're looking ahead from a planning perspective between now and 2020 to 2030, I would recommend you, at least for now, assume that maybe 45% of the net change in demand for housing would be single-family detached homes - many of them renters; ten percent attached - town houses, basically; and 45% multi-family attached - apartments and condos and so forth." He says demand for single-family homes will continue, but many will seek smaller homes on smaller lots, due to younger people moving to the area and older Central Oregonians looking to downsize.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- We’re used to seeing the big fire retardant air tankers in local skies during fire season, but nimble new Single Engine Air Tankers (also called "SEATS") are designed to keep forest fire outbreaks small until reinforcements show up.
Kristin Dodd, Protection Unit Forester for the Oregon Department of Forestry in Prineville, tells KBND News, “They’re able to drop this retardant product, over 700-gallons. You work them in tandem, that’s 1500 gallons. To be able to get aviation support to back up our crews on the ground allows us to box a fire in to keep it at the smallest acreage possible.”
These planes have a crew of one - just the pilot. They can be in the air 15 minutes after a fire is called in and can reload new non-toxic fire retardant in just five minutes. The day they arrived at the Prinevill airport they went out on a fire south of Dufur.
The Single Engine Air Tankers will respond to fires on BLM, Forest Service or State Forestry land; wherever they are needed.
PRINEVILLE, OR -- An Eastern Oregon man was seriously injured in a motorcycle crash east of Prineville.
Crook County deputies and medics responded to Highway 26 near the Ochoco Reservoir just before 6 p.m. Thursday, and found the 59-year-old Enterprise man lying on the ground a few feet from his bike.
He was transported by helicopter to St. Charles Bend. Deputies say Owen Holum was westbound when he drifted off the side of the highway for unknown reasons and was thrown from the motorcycle.
The investigation into the cause of the crash is ongoing.
BEND, OR -- A gas leak just south of Drake Park led to evacuations in the area, Thursday afternoon. KBND News spoke with Bend Fire Battalion Chief Dave Howe while he was at the scene on standby, as a precaution.
Howe said a company was drilling a new gas line under Riverfront Street using a technique that doesn’t require digging a trench. "They were drilling along and they hit a 2” gas line under pressure under these streets. In order to actually locate the leak, it took some time to dig around in the general area that they know it was and finally home in on it. At the same time, make sure the gas isn’t migrating into people’s basements, and also making sure people are actually evacuated out of the area."
29 homes were evacuated for about an hour while Cascade Natural Gas responded to shut down the line. "This is a potentially a very dangerous substance, and we want to take all the precautions that, not only that we need to take, but that we’re supposed to take to keep people safe. That’s our job," Howe said.
Riverfront Street was closed between Hixon and McCann all afternoon while crews repaired the break.
REDMOND, OR -- Smith Rock State Park in Terrebonne is a well-known rock-climbing Mecca, but climbing faces are mostly vertical. Ian Caldwell, sometimes called the "Mayor of Smith Rock," is an elite climber working to bring a horizontal climbing opportunity to Central Oregon.
Caldwell is developing a climbing wall on the underside of Redmond's Maple Avenue Bridge. "We are working on putting up the first routes. We have eight potential arches we want to put routes up, and right now we’re working on the first arch. It’s about 130’ long of rock climbing and about 70’ tall."
He says the 8-year-old span is ideal because it crosses a public park, not a river or railroad track like other bridges. "What’s unique is that it’s steep and overhung. Most of the climbing at Smith Rock is on vertical faces. We have some of the most difficult routes in America at Smith Rock, but nothing that’s really steep. These walls start at 45-degree overhung and they continue to be completely horizontal climbing," Caldwell says.
"In 2013, I took a trip to a place called Maple Canyon
in Utah. It has really steep overhanging walls, similar to this angle. When I came back I came and looked at these arches and I thought, ‘wow, that’s just like Maple Canyon.’ It was kind of ironic it was on the Maple Bridge. It got me thinking we don’t have any steep climbing at Smith Rock and we need some of it for training."
The project is funded by donations and recently received the full approval of Redmond City Councilors. The first routes could be done by this full.
Brookswood Blvd CLOSED >< Pinebrook and Lodgepole Dr. (5/14 - 9/4)
Bradbury Way closed through August 17th.
Milwaukee Avenue closed between N.W. 12th and 13th Streets.(7/13-8/7)
Sidewalk/Bike Lane closures various sections of Summit Drive through the end of August.