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Slow Building Permit Process in Deschutes County

BEND,OR --Deschutes County is the fastest growing county in Oregon. Brian Fratzke with Fratzke Commercial says time slows down when it comes to getting a permit, “So we had a client that applied for permit, so he submitted his permits on July 22nd, on September 14th he was contacted by the entity that said the first review we will get to on your permits will be April of 2023. Nine months before they get back to him on his permits”.  

Fratzke says taking a year or a year and a half for a permit will change the economy differently than inflation or interest rates, “The highest the ten-year treasury ever hit was 15.81% in September of 1981. The lowest it has hit this year was 1.69% in March so when people say, ‘Hey it is really rough’, it can get a lot worse. “
Average long-term U-S mortgage rates have been climbing. The traditional thirty-year home loan is at about six or six and half percent, according to Fratzke. 

OSP Fentanyl Bust In Jefferson County

MADRAS, OR -- An Oregon State Police Trooper stopped a vehicle for a traffic violation in Madras on Wednesday, September 28th. During the course of the stop, reasonable suspicion was developed for drug trafficking. The drug dog alerted to the presence of narcotics. A search of the vehicle revealed 6 bundles concealed within the vehicle, with a gross weight of approximately 14.48 pounds. A preliminary test of the narcotics showed it was fentanyl powder.

The driver and a passenger, both from Arizona, were lodged in the Jefferson County Jail for various drug crimes.

This is an ongoing investigation.


Get There Challenge Kicks Off

BEND, OR -- For the next two weeks, The Get There Challenge and Oregon Department of Transportation are asking you to drive less and use transportation options more.

The aim is to reduce traffic and emissions across the state, making Oregon a better place to live, work. and play. Kim Curley, Community Engagement Coordinator for Commute Options, says there a variety of ways to participate, “Any trip you make by walk, bike, carpool, ride your horse, throw your kayak in the river, get in your electric car with somebody, not by yourself, anything that takes you out of a single occupancy trip - any trip - any of those trips will count.”

Participants can log their trips at GetThereOregon.org. The Get There Challenge is offering different transportation achievements and awards for weekly winners and a grand prize drawing. 

Get There Oregon, launched by the Oregon Department of Transportation and local partners across the state, helps commuters and employers shift commute habits and work practices one trip at a time.


Bend Police Investigate Saturday Shooting

BEND, OR -- Bend Police responded to a call of a gunshot wound at a residence in the 1900 block of NE Otelah Place on Saturday night, October 1st.  Upon arrival, officers found two men with gunshot wounds related to a dispute. The two men, a 27-year-old Bend resident and a 53-year-old Bend resident, were transported to St. Charles Medical Center where they are both in stable condition. This remains an active investigation and no charges have yet been filed. 


Fatal Crash North Of Redmond

REDMOND, OR -- Oregon State Police Troopers and emergency personnel from Redmond Fire and Rescue, Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office, and ODOT responded to a two-vehicle crash on Hwy 97 near milepost 117, north of Redmond Thursday night.

Preliminary investigation revealed a southbound gray Honda Accord, operated by 23 year-old Micah Borden of Madras, crossed into the northbound lane and collided head-on with a red Ford F150, operated by 37 year-old Jon Moore of Redmond. 

Borden sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased. Moore was injured and transported to an area hospital. 

 


Cedar Creek Fire Update

OAKRIDGE, OR -- There is progress on the lightning-caused Cedar Creek Fire. The blaze has burned 120,546 acres.

Wildfire official Eric Hendrickson says the hard work by Firefighters over the past week has strengthened fire lines, “we have increased containment percentage up to 27%. That’s due to a lot of the work that we have performed over the last few days with favorable conditions.”

Hendrickson says favorable weather conditions allowed firefighters an opportunity to reduce risk to firefighters and get the area open to the public sooner, “we’ve got a lot of the hazards and fire line strengthened. This would actually help increase that percentage. That’s just a reflection of the hard work that’s been going on the past 3 to 4 days,” adding they are keeping an eye on the long-range weather forecast, “we’re always looking at that and taking it into consideration. That is why you will see a lot of these numbers increase slowly and not too quickly and overconfident for the potential that some of these weather systems can bring in.”

Warm, dry, breezy weather is expected through the weekend with the potentially most challenging combination of wind and low humidity occurring Saturday.  

Closures: The Deschutes National Forest and Willamette National Forest both have closures and fire restrictions in effect. Some of these closures will remain in effect until areas that have been heavily impacted by the fire are surveyed for safety hazards. Please visit Willamette National Forest and Deschutes National Forest for the most recent closure orders and maps.


Bend Holds Camping Code Roundtable

BEND, OR -- Bend city councilors received feedback this week on a draft of a code to regulate homeless individuals camping on public rights of way and city-owned property.

Questions ranged from enforcing the code to where homeless individuals can get services like access to bathroom facilities.  

“I feel like we need to establish where those safe places are. How do we build that infrastructure where people can have that dignity. It’s not like you all have to go one place. We all have to get to make some choices in our life. And houselessness shouldn’t take that choice away from you,” said Mayor Gena Goodman-Campbell who also addressed the question about individuals who do not have the funds to pay for a citation, “If somebody gets to that point of having a citation that could include some sort of program to help people access that service and support their need. It's challenging because obviously we want those services to continue to be voluntary. We’re really open to unique ideas from others how we could look at alternatives to a citation”.

Participants included public agencies, business groups, nonprofits, community members, and people experiencing houselessness.
The information from these roundtables will be used to address current code structure. 


National Forest Usage Survey Starts Saturday

BEND, OR -- Expect to see Visitor Survey sites when using the forests starting this weekend. Jaimie Olle with the Forest Service explained this national study, “beginning October 1st the Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests and Crooked River National Grassland will be conducting our National Visitor Use Monitoring survey that happens every five years on National Forests across the nation,” Olle added, “the number of people recreating, satisfaction levels with activities, and local economic contributions are part of the Usage Survey.”

Interviewers will be on site throughout the fall and winter, and continue into next summer’s recreation season ending September 30th, 2023.


Camp Fire Central Oregon Seeks Pro Photographers

BEND, OR -- Camp Fire Central Oregon is looking for help with their Fall Fundraiser. Beth Getsinger, the Special Projects Coordinator, says the fundraiser is being revitalized this year, “it’s a Photo Day Fundraiser so we get local professional photographers to volunteer their time and talent in order to take donation-based portraits for families in our network.”

The Photo Day Fundraiser helps the non-profit with scholarship funds.  “We do a wide variety of things to help kids and teens get connected with community, nature, and with themselves. That’s after school programs, summer camps, we have a robotics team, we’ve really expanded our reach over the last few years especially,” Getsinger says.

The event takes place on October 22nd but the recruiting of volunteer professional photographers is happening now. The deadline is October 4th. More information is at the Campfire Central Oregon website


Gubernatorial Candidates Debate In Bend

BEND, OR -- Oregon State University-Cascades hosted a debate Tuesday featuring the three leading candidates for Oregon governor. Topics included affordable housing, gun laws, and environmental rights.

During the opening remarks, Democrat Tina Kotek referenced issues facing Central Oregon. “It’s inspiring to be here and to watch local leaders take on statewide problems from child care issues to water to housing. Here in central Oregon, you’re building more affordable housing. Yes, there needs to be more but you’re working on it. You have a new navigation center in Bend. You have the veteran’s village that is helping veterans in tiny homes and into permanency,” said Kotetk

Republican Christine Drazan commented on gun laws, saying “what happened in Bend was absolute tragedy. Someone facing extreme mental health challenges was intent on hurting others and was effectively able to do so. It is a tragedy whenever it happens but more gun laws will not prevent it from happening”. Kotek was the only candidate who was for Measure 114. This would require a permit and other requirements from local enforcement to own a firearm.  

Unaffiliated candidate Betsy Johnson on the houseless issue said, “we need to build about 580,000 units in the next twenty years compared to the paltry number that we are building now. We’re better at pitching tents than pulling permits. We need to expand developable land for housing as well for industry and commerce. As governor I would take a very serious look at doing that.”

Tuesday’s gubernatorial debate is the only one set to take place in Central Oregon.


Redmond Mayoral Candidates Forum

REDMOND,OR -- The four candidates for Redmond mayor faced off in a forum Tuesday. Current councilors Ed Fitch, and Jay Patrick, along with challengers Ben Schimmoller, and Charles Baer gave their thoughts for leading the city council.

Councilor Ed Fitch believes the goal process needs improvement. “Start establishing what’s important to the council as a whole. Taking input from all the people that are going to be on the council,” while councilor Jay Patrick says there is a lot to learn, “we need to communicate and understand in what we want to achieve in the city”. 

Shimmoler wants to use resources to help city officials, “mayors and councilors can together talk about the issues facing their cities. How they have approached those issues to really use that knowledgeable growth.”

Baer is happy with how Redmond is being run, saying “Redmond, Oregon city government is doing a fantastic job and so I can’t really think of anything I would want to change.”

The mayoral candidates fielded questions on affordable housing, child care, parking and transportation, and new legislative redistricting boundaries.

Voter pamphlets are out next month.


Police Seek Public's Help To Identify Human Remains

BEND, OR -- The Bend Police Department is asking for the public’s help in identifying human remains found last month in the Deschutes River north of Archie Briggs Road. 

On Saturday, August 27th, Bend Police officers responded and learned that a juvenile had been swimming in the river when she found what appeared to be human bones underwater. Officers recovered the remains, then contacted Bend Police detectives and the state medical examiner’s office, which confirmed the remains were human. 

On Sunday, August 28th, the Deschutes County Search & Rescue dive team searched the area of the Deschutes River and located additional human bones. The remains are believed to be from one individual, likely an adult. They are believed to have been in the water for more than a year.  

The skeletal remains have been taken to the state medical examiner’s office for possible DNA identification, but no identification has yet been made. 

If you have information about a missing person, you are asked to call the nonemergency dispatch line at 541-693-6911. 


Authorities Investigate Shooting Death Near Redmond

REDMOND, OR -- On Sunday morning, the Oregon State Police and Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office responded to 5677 SW Young Avenue in Redmond and located an adult male, identified as 45-year-old Trevit C. Law of Redmond, who had been shot. Responding officers provided immediate first aid but Law was pronounced deceased. 

During the subsequent investigation, Skyler R. Myers, of Redmond was developed as the suspect in the shooting. A multi-agency effort tracked Myers approximately 7 hours, eventually locating him near Gift Road and the Deschutes Canal. Myers sustained a self-inflicted gunshot wound and was transported to St. Charles Medical Center where he later was pronounced deceased. 

Oregon State Police was assisted in the ground search by Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office, Bend Police Department, and Redmond Police Department. The investigation is active and no further information will be released at this time.


Cedar Creek Fire Update

BEND, OR -- The Cedar Creek fire, east of Oakridge, has burned 114,104 acres and is 20% contained.

Operators and firefighters continue working on the shaded fuel breaks along Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway/ Highway 46, Forest Service Road 4630, Forest Service Road 4636, and Charlton Lake Road. To keep the public and our firefighters safe, please continue to observe the Forest Closure. The large machines used to help create the shaded fuel break can throw large chunks of wood, quickly and with great force, which can damage anything they hit.

Advantageous weather conditions continue to enable firefighting crews to make steady progress cleaning up fire breaks and creating defensible spaces. Fire crews have begun to remove firefighting equipment from the Twin and Davis Lake areas, and sprinklers, hoses, pumps, and pumpkin tanks from the Odell Lake area. Any fire spread is expected to be limited in scope with no perimeter growth expected.

Weather similar to yesterday is forecast through today and Tuesday, with warm temperatures and low humidity recovery overnight. A dry cold front is expected Wednesday bringing with it stronger winds and marine moisture.

Closures: The Deschutes National Forest and Willamette National Forest both have closures and fire restrictions in effect. A Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) is in place. The use of drones is prohibited in the fire area, please make it safe for our firefighters to use aircraft on the fire.


Bend Prepares For Camping Code Roundtables

BEND, OR -- Bend City Council hosts its first ever roundtable meetings this week. The meetings - on Tuesday and Thursday - focus on the proposed unsanctioned camping code. Councilor Megan Perkins tells KBND News, "It’s a real chance for us to talk with community stakeholders, as it relates to houselssness." She says that’s something not allowed at regular Council meetings. 

The conversations will be specifically focused on the initial draft code, "We’re trying to achieve a sort of agreed-upon regulations about camping on our public rights of way. That’s what this camping code is. This camping code is not there to solve houselessness. It is not there to punish people for existing. It is to work together to really provide this set of rules for our community."

Tuesday, from 5:30-7:30 p.m., they’ll talk with representatives from a host of city commissions and committees. Then Thursday, from 10 a.m. to noon, the group includes people experiencing houselessness, service providers, business owners and public agencies, "This is a community thing that we all need to tackle together, not just the city of Bend. And it’s all intertwined," says Perkins, "So, we’ll have representatives from the Forest Service, and from the county, and from the school district and the parks department, and ODOT." 

Councilor Megan Perkins says public comment will not be taken but both meetings will be livestreamed, "The public is invited to listen and watch. But, the only people who will be speaking are the people that have been specifically invited to the roundtable. When we do get to the point we have a public hearing, that’s one of the opportunities for the public to sort of have their say on the code."

To register to watch either meeting, visit the city's camping code webpage.


Search For Wanted Man Prompts SE Bend Emergency Alert

BEND, OR -- A Medford man was arrested early Friday morning in Bend, after police say he ran from officers. Bend Police responded to a report of a stolen car on SE Sixth Street, just after 2 a.m. When law enforcement arrived, the vehicle had already been returned, but investigators learned Jacob Randall Granger, a 32-year-old Medford resident with a felony conviction, had left the area in a vehicle that contained firearms. 

When officers tried to pull over the vehicle, Granger took off. Officers did not pursue, but soon after located Granger’s vehicle, a silver pickup truck, in the area of Jaycee Park on SE Railroad Street, where it had crashed into a fence. 

Bend Police and Deschutes County 911 sent out an emergency alert to neighbors in the area. Officers executed a search warrant on the vehicle. While collecting evidence in the vehicle, they say Granger ran from a nearby residence. He was arrested without incident on the following charges:  Felon in Possession of a Firearm, Fleeing or Attempting to Elude a Police Officer, Hit and Run Accident with Property Damage, Criminal Trespass I, Criminal Trespass II (2 counts), Burglary I, Theft II (2 counts)


Senator Wyden Prioritizes Head Start Program

BEND, OR- U.S. Senator Ron Wyden attended a rally for the National Head Start Association Wednesday in Washington, DC. Wyden told the gathered crowd he would prioritize the early-education program in the Senate Finance Committee. 

Patrick Carey, Deputy Executive Director for Neighbor Impact in Central Oregon says Head Start is always struggling for funding but especially in the current economy, “with inflation ranging on various things what you were able to do last year you can’t do this year. And in addition, the labor market has changed so drastically that I don’t think there is a Head Start program that isn’t struggling to hire and retain quality staff.”

Head Start and Early Head Start integrate high-quality early education with other critical services says Carey, “one of my favorite things about the Head Start program is it is not only pre-school but we also have a family services component. There is really no limit to what we can and will help a family with; whether that be housing, employment, you name it. So that they have a path out of poverty,” adding “when you look at generational data, it’s very clear that that program works. It also affords children in extreme poverty opportunities that without it just wouldn’t have the capacity to attend pre-school.”

NeighborImpact’s Head Start program operates in 12 sites (27 classrooms; 15 full day and 12 half-day) in Bend, La Pine, Prineville, and Redmond.


Crook County Superintendent Receives Major Honor

PRINEVILLE, OR --Crook County School District Superintendent has been named the best in the state. Dr. Sara Johnson was awarded Oregon Superintendent of the Year in a surprise ceremony at Crook County High School on Wednesday. 

In an emotional speech, Johnson said she doesn’t do it alone.  “Unbelievable. This team. It isn’t a surprise to me that we’re successful. It is a surprise that I’m a superintendent of such a successful district. These people have put an incredible amount of work into this district. Nothing is too great to ask of them; they do it. I’m probably the weakest link.”

Krista Parent, with the Coalition of Oregon School Administrators, says the district’s success tells only part of the story. “95.2% freshman on-track rate; a 98.2% four-year graduation rate; a 79% alternative school graduation rate. A special ed graduation rate that’s 20% higher than the state average. Now, you may just think that’s the norm because it probably is here. But these things don’t happen by chance.”

She says Johnson was also chosen because of her caring attitude and leadership ability. “Dr. Johnson has prioritized creating a safe and secure learning environment, where it is safe to take risks and where failure becomes an opportunity for growth. She does this, not just by hardening the exterior of our schools to make them safer, but by softening the hearts of those inside those schools.”

Dr. Johnson has been Crook County Superintendent since 2018. She’s now in the running for 2023 national superintendent of the year.


Redmond Airport Eyes Expansion Project

REDMOND, OR -- The Redmond Airport is preparing for a large expansion project that could cost upwards of $200 million. Airport Director Zach Bass says it’ll be paid for through various sources and won’t ask taxpayers for additional money. “Another revenue bond; when I say ‘bond,’ it’s just on the airport. It’s not a GO [general obligation] bond. And then, quite a bit of FAA money that we’ve been competing for and been successful at, will help us get to that at least initial phase one of $100 million.”

Bass promises Roberts Field won’t lose its small-town Central Oregon charm. “The loyalty we’ve seen from Central Oregon customers has been awesome. 88% of people that fly out of Central Oregon are using Redmond. Only 11% are going to Portland. Hopefully with this expansion, we can continue to offer those services and new services that you’re looking for; but also keep that small-town feel, right? We want views of the mountains. We want a lot of glass. We want a cozy, friendly, fast and clean feel,” he said, adding, “what this will do is bring us up to the next level. We’ll have what could be up to a $200 million project, but at least $100 million will be put into a large ‘hold room,’ jet bridges, more concessions, retail. And so, that’s what the customers will probably see even beginning as early as next fall.” 

Bass says travel volumes are back to pre-pandemic levels and people expect certain amenities. 


Redmond Man Arrested For Theft, Drugs

REDMOND, OR -- A Redmond man faces several charges after Detectives searched his home during a drug investigation. The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Street Crimes Unit conducted a short term investigation into 30-year-old Troy Schaffner for possession of fentanyl pills and possession of stolen property. 

During the investigation and search warrant execution, Wednesday afternoon, a commercial quantity of counterfeit oxycodone pills containing fentanyl was located. Detectives also located numerous pieces of stolen mail to include checks, credit/debit cards and stolen vehicle license plates.

Schaffner was taken into custody without incident. He was transported to the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Jail on charges of Possession of Fentanyl, Mail Theft and Theft III. 

Street Crimes Detectives were assisted by the Central Oregon Drug Enforcement Team. This is an ongoing investigation and additional charges may follow.

 


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