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Envision Bend Planning Survey

BEND, OR -- A new 5 year Community Vision and Action Plan survey is underway. Envision Bend Executive director Laura Fritz explains the information gathering process, "What do you value most about the Bend area?' 'What do you think are our community’s greatest challenges?' 'What are some solutions that would have an impact on people’s lives?' We’re holding focus groups in tandem with the survey. Our consultants will analyze that data and evaluate it and help create the long-range vision that the community has shared.”

This is the first large-scale community visioning project for the greater Bend area since 2005-06.

The survey is open through October 31st. Then the information will be compiled for presentation.

“We will assemble volunteer action teams to take that vision and also the data that has been gathered through these various means, and build the first five-year action plan,” said Fritz.

People who have completed the survey and provide their contact information are eligible for prize drawings, including two grand prize awards that will be drawn in early November. Envision Bend will award a $2,000 cash prize to one survey participant, and a $1,000 cash prize to another survey participant, each of whom will choose a local nonprofit to receive the funds. The funds were provided by an anonymous donor for the specific purpose of encouraging community engagement in the survey.

The survey is available in both English and Spanish at https://envisionbend.org/

OSP Arrest And Heroin Seizure

MADRAS, OR -- On Sunday, October 2nd, an Oregon State Police Trooper stopped a vehicle for speeding on US 97 near milepost 84, about 13 miles north of Madras. During the course of the stop, reasonable suspicion was developed for drug trafficking. A search of the car revealed 11 bundles of narcotics in the trunk of the car, with a gross weight of nearly 14 pounds; a preliminary test showed the narcotics to be heroin. 

The 29-year-old driver from Vancouver, Washington was lodged in the Jefferson County Jail for various drug crimes. A 23-year-old female passenger was released.

Bend Council Approves Changes To Short Term Rentals

BEND, OR -- In a 6-0 unanimous vote, the Bend City Council approved code changes that increase the buffer between Short Term Rentals and provide flexibility for property owners.

Changes include increasing the buffer zone between permitted Short Term Rentals from 250 feet up to 500 feet in residential zones, as well as in portions of the Mixed Riverfront zone. The proposed changes would also allow Short Term Rental permit holders to rent out their properties as a long-term rental without losing their short-term rental license for up to three years.

These code changes were informed by results from a Short Term Rental property owner survey that was conducted earlier this year.

Wilderness Permit System Sees User Increase

BEND, OR -- The Central Cascades Wilderness permit system runs through next Saturday the 15th.

Forest Service Public Affairs Officer Jean Nelson-Dean says the program has worked well this season, “overall people are enjoying the fact that parking lots aren’t jampacked. That they can kind of have an experience, particularly in the overnight. Definitely saw an increase of use over our first year of the season due to some of our changes. For our overnight permit system, we issued 10,000 permits which allowed 37,0000 people to spend 35,000 nights. Somewhere between 2 and 4 people going in together to have an overnight experience.”

26,000 day-use permits were issued this summer along with another 20,000 people on day-use passes which were not part of the Wilderness Permit System.

During the autumn recreation season, the Forest Service reminds visitors that it’s extremely important to “Know Before You Go.” This means confirming that your destination is open for use, checking to see if routes of travel are open and reviewing predicted weather forecasts. Forest Service roads are not plowed or maintained during winter conditions.

BLPS School Board Informational Meeting

BEND, OR -- Bend-La Pine Schools’ Board of Directors invites interested community members to learn more about what it’s like to serve on the school board. An informational session is set to take place at the Hutchinson Room at Deschutes Public Library’s Downtown Bend branch on Thursday at 6 pm. 

Board Chair Melissa Barnes-Dholakia says they are looking for applicants within the Bend-La Pine School district, “We are now looking for interested community members to be appointed to serve for the remainder of the term which will run through June 30th 2023. This will be a chance for me to share a little bit about our district. As well as the joint goals that our board and district leadership has agreed to. So, the people will understand what the work is that the district and board is doing.”

She says the latest opening received a lot of applications, “I expect this to be back to the normal as in terms to an appointment cycle. Remember, this person is only appointed through the remainder of that term. So, if they sought to be a board member moving forward, they too would have to be elected in the May election.”

Applicants must reside within a Deschutes County voting precinct, have resided within a Deschutes County voting precinct for at least one year, reside within Bend-La Pine Schools’ attendance area and be registered to vote.

School Board member applications are being accepted until October 11th. 

Deschutes County Commissioner Forum

REDMOND,OR -- A candidate forum for Deschutes County Commissioner on Tuesday in Redmond featured Incumbent Patty Adair facing off with Challenger Morgan Schmidt.

Adair has a priority for allocating the County’s Budget, “I want to get some workforce housing. We just dropped a pilot project for over 300 single wide homes. People that work in Deschutes County. They need to be able to live in Deschutes County.”

Schmidt wants to look at how Deschutes County can benefit with its growth, “I understand that money that goes out has to match money that comes in. That’s pretty foundational. And we need to look at what it means to invest in our growing county. Not keep decreasing services.”

Schmidt gave her thoughts on working with county staff, “whether that’s health services or behavioral health we need to be listening to those professionals. Especially when that’s not what we might be experts in.”

Adair agreed listening to staff is key, “it’s very important to always think: both sides of the issue. What does the staff think, what are they saying they need?”

Affordable Housing, Land and Water Use, and Public Health were among other Issues discussed.

Voter Pamphlets and Ballots will arrive later this month.

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.

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