▶️ Bend fire a reminder of dangers of vegetation near train tracks

Fire season is here in the High Desert as things are drying up everywhere. That includes vegetation lining local train tracks around Bend that’s becoming kindling as the summer progresses.

“Well, I was here on my couch and I heard sirens,” said Javier Arellan, a Bend resident.

Arellan walked outside Monday to see four fire trucks and smoke near his neighbors’ backyard.

The fire, started by sparks off a passing train, caused around $500 worth of damage.

“It was a small brush fire along the railroad tracks,” said Dan Derlaki, the Public Information Officer for Bend Fire and Rescue. “It was in the brush and the brush continued right up to the house.”

“I’m just glad my neighbors are OK,” Arellan said.

Those neighbors declined to comment.

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RELATED: Before fire season is the time to build defensible space around your home

This isn’t the first time a fire has started in this area. The reason: vegetation lining the tracks.

“This time of year especially it’s pretty concerning,” said Taylor Deman, another neighbor.

Deman says the vegetation is not on his property, but he tries to maintain it to prevent fires.

“I mean, even just a few months ago there was another fire on the other side of the train tracks next to the storage unit,” Deman said.

RELATED: Redmond firework stands struggling; Bend ban suspected

That fire, Deman says, was human caused, but got out of hand due to the brush. 

“You as a property owner or you as a resident of the property there is an ordinance that says you need to take care of the brush on your property,” Derlaki said.

And if the land is not your property?

“Call the city or call the fire department,” Derlaki said “We can help you find out who it is and help guide them to ensure they’re doing the same thing on their property.”

It could be owned by BNSF, the City of Bend or the Oregon Department of Transportation like the land next to Deman’s backyard.

“We’ve already got back correspondence,” Deman said “They said that they would be out here to evaluate and be here to clean some of the brush.”

In the meantime, neighbors are keeping a look out for more fires.

“We’re always watching,” Arellan said “We see some smoke and call it right away.”

“We take a few extra passes with the weed whacker and the mower to clear some of their stuff,” Deman said.

According to Bend Fire, homeowners should be proactive about their own land and create a 20-30 foot gap between them and the brush near the tracks.

▶️ Local law experts weigh in on Roe v. Wade over-turning

After the Supreme Court overturned Roe VS. Wade, lots of questions remain about what actually happened.

Across the country, lawyers and other legal minds are piecing together a future after this historic event.

“The United States Supreme Court determined by a 5-4 majority, 5 justices signed on, that Roe was ‘egregiously wrong when it was decided,’” said Terry J Price, the Executive Director and Graduate Instructor for the University of Washington Law.

The 14th Amendment says no state should violate privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States.

“Previously, the court held that the 14th Amendment guaranteed a right for women to choose to terminate a pregnancy before viability,” said Jim Oleske, a Professor of Law at Lewis and Clark University.

That means abortions before 23 weeks of pregnancy.

Now, it’s up to the states to decide.

“Oregon allows it, many states do not,” said John Hummel, the Deschutes County District Attorney.

Legally nothing will change in Oregon, but it will practically, with many women from out of state wanting abortions and traveling where the procedure is legal, like Central Oregon.

“I think it would be more difficult in Oregon for women to obtain an abortion because we can bet now that Oregon is the abortion provider for women in Oregon, but it will also be the abortion provider for women in Idaho,” Hummel said.

When the Supreme Court decision was made, the reasoning relied on historic beliefs, with justice Clarence Thomas suggesting other Supreme Court rulings be overturned based on the intentions of the constitution when it was written in 1787.

“How much do we rely on our law, our constitution, as a dead document?” Price said “As a document that doesn’t change.”

That would include decisions on providing contraceptives, legalizing same sex marriage, same sex intercourse, and interracial marriage.

“So maybe right now, there aren’t 5 votes to make that decision but the reasoning of the court taken to its logical conclusion would seem to indicate all those decisions were wrong,” Oleske said.

▶️ Crooked River Round-Up returns for 76th year in Prineville

The 76th Crooked River Round-Up kicked off Thursday night in the cowboy capital of Oregon: Prineville.

“If you don’t know what’s happening at the Crooked River Round-up then you need to get more in touch with Prineville. It is rodeo time here,” said JJ Harrison, the rodeo clown.

Rodeo time indeed, as you can see by the heaps of people that turned out Thursday night.

“Lots of excitement at the rodeo and you’re always going to have fun,” said Mitch Coleman.

Mitch Coleman is a direct part of that fun, working as a pick-up man during events.

“The pick-up man is the guy on horseback out during the rust stock events and my job is to go in there and get the guy off safely and get the flank strap off,” Coleman said.

It’s a thankless job but for Coleman but doing what he loves at his favorite rodeo makes it all worth it.

“To do this job you kind of have to be a cowboy to do this job,” Coleman said “It kind of goes with the cowboy lifestyle I guess.”

The cowboy lifestyle I tried out myself, riding a beautiful horse named Chrome.

But for how hard it is to ride a horse, it’s even harder for Coleman and the cow-folk inside the arena, competing for the NFR playoff series and Pro Rodeo Cowboys Association, with more than $100,000 in purses up for grabs.

“Basically, you’re going to have all of the rodeo events,” Harrison said “You’re going to have bull-riding, which is the frosting on our cupcake, bear back riding, bronc riding, but you’re also got all of the true cowboy events that work on ranches even today in the Prineville area.”

There’s also vendors, food, and some great times with great people.

“I go to 10-12 rodeos a year throughout the northwest and this is by far one of my favorites to go to,” Coleman said.

“This is the cowboy capital of Oregon so if you are a cowboy in the country, this is the place you want to be,” Harrison said.

The rodeo lasts till Saturday, the 25th.

▶️ Fines and incentives coming to Bird Bike rentals

Go anywhere in Bend, and you’ll see bikes galore.

Some of those bikes, coated in bright blue, are the rentable Bird Bikes.

Now in the company’s third week of a two year trial in Bend, the program is seeing a steady increase of users.

“I think we had a new record like yesterday for the first time where every bike was used almost twice in a day which is really good actually,” said Tobias Marx, the Parking Services Division Manager for the City of Bend.

“So I’ve ridden them a few times in Seattle,” said visitor Adam Lassman.

“Not yet but I have seen them around,” said Bre Senter, who’s visiting from Salt Lake City.

“We’ve just seen them around in a few different places and clustering here and there and people riding them,” said Chris and Amy Alt, also visitors.

“There’s about 200 – 250 bikes in Bend and we have 150 of them, actually 152 of them in rotation and operating in the system at this time,” Marx said.

But those bikes are ending up in some pretty curious places.

“You’ve seen them strewn around the sidewalks and seeing them in the water is tough,” Lassman said.

“I’ve seen them actually parked out of stores so I think the person who’s riding them is inside the store,” Senter said.

Which is why Bird Bikes is now introducing incentives this week for returned bikes and fees for bikes that may not be in the places they should.

“The Incentive will be like a dollar credit on your account that you can use next time you’re riding the bike,” Marx said.

The fee is a little less clear.

“I don’t know exactly what the fee will be yet,” Marx said “We’re working on that this week. As soon as I know I’ll update you.”

For riders, the fee will be given after the second time a bike is left in an area it shouldn’t be.

“Actually, what’s also important to know is that we’re working to expand the bike parking areas as well,” Marx said.

By gathering information from Bird Bike trips, the city will determine which areas need more Bird Bike parking.

For now, they say the fee and the report system through the Bird app is the best way to handle the situation.

“You download the app, you click on report a bike, you enter the bikes number and that bike will be picked up and relocated in about two hours,” Marx said.

“I can see the benefit, but there’s also a downside as well being strewn about the streets,” Lassman said.

▶️ Cascade Swim Center introduces new accountability system for child guests

School is out and so is the sun, which means more and more pools are opening to the public.

Entry to swim in Redmond won’t be so simple though, as anyone under the age of 16 will need parental permission.

The Cascades Swim Center in Redmond is implementing a program called Safe Swim Kids Redmond.

It’s a new way to keep track of guests after an uptick in vandalism and bullying at the pool.

“So we’ve had profanity painted on our walls,” said Jessica Rowan, the Aquatic Director for the Cascades Swim Center “We’ve had some of our mechanical equipment damaged.”

“There’s a lot of people who come through and somehow they find a way to peel the paint off the walls, especially in the locker rooms,” said Ed Payne a lifeguard at the Swim Center.

“I think there are a lot more children right now that may be utilizing services like this as childcare instead of as an adventure for the day,” Rowan said.

The influx of unsupervised children lead to a rise in bad behavior like graffiti, damaged equipment, bullying, fights, lifeguard harassment, and even soap dispensers emptied into the hot tub; which supervisors say costs nearly $500 to repair.

“I’ve done this for about 13 years and I feel like there has been a sharp increase over the past few years,” Rowan said about the bad behavior.

“Over the past 10 years, from what I’ve seen, it’s gone up,” Payne said.

Though the Swim Center says 10 to 15 kids are to blame for the damages, they’re now requiring parent-completed contact forms and behavior agreements for all pool-goers under the age of 16.

“It’s just a one-time form, so they don’t have to do it every time,” Rowan said.

“We can hold people accountable for anything that they do,” Payne said “Not saying we don’t already, but it kind of adds a level to that.”

Personal responsibility; something that has been harder to manage for a dwindling lifeguard staff.

“This is the youngest staff I’ve encountered,” Rowan said ‘We have a lot of 14-year-old applicants and they can’t guard because you have to be at least 15 to take the class.”

The hope is to keep staff less occupied with patrolling locker rooms and more time fostering fun and safety.

“It’s an environment where our primary function is to watch that water and keep people safe,” Rowan said.

You can fill out the form at the facility or online.

▶️ COVID vaccines for kids under 6-years-old will be available in a few days

In a couple days, Central Oregon parents will have the opportunity to get the COVID-19 vaccine for their kids under six years of age.

“We want to prevent her from getting COVID. She hasn’t gotten it so far,” said Kristina Bennettcheney, a Bend mom.

Bennettcheney is choosing to vaccinate her two year old daughter, who recently started preschool.

“She’s already getting some viruses and stuff as, you know, that’s normal when you start preschool but if we can avoid any serious illness we want to so we’re excited about it,” Bennettcheney said.

“Kids under six are a huge reservoir of COVID illness and a lot of parents are feeling a little nervous and unprotected so I think we’re very excited to see it,” said Dr. John Peoples, a pediatrician at COPA.

Both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine will be available for kids under six, with Moderna administering two large dose shots and Pfizer offering three smaller dose shots.

“We saw similar side effects that we saw in the older group of children and adults meaning fever, irritability, headaches, fatigue,” Peoples said “Those side effects are a little bit higher in the Moderna immunization and that’s not super because the dose is higher 25 micrograms for Moderna and three micrograms for Pfizer.”

In trials for the younger age group, severe side effects were not found but could still be possible when administered on a large scale.

Manuela Price, another Bend mom, got her eight-year-old son vaccinated as soon as he turned seven and wished the vaccine was available earlier for her child.

“I come from a country, Argentina, where when we were little we were really, you know, we got a lot of illnesses like scarlet fever and we were just sick a lot and without the vaccines provided to us we weren’t going to live a full life,” Price said.

“Of the kids 0-5 that ended up in the hospital, 1 in 4 ended up in the ICU during the Omicron surge,” Peoples said.

However, Some parents I spoke to voiced concerns about getting the vaccines for their little ones.

Those parents declined to be on camera.

“To each its own, if the side effects outweigh the risk of getting COVID then don’t do the vaccine,” Price said.

“We only think about, ‘what’s the risk of the vaccine?’ Remember, there is a risk to not vaccinating,” Peoples said “The risk of not vaccinating is much higher than vaccinating.”

If you’d like to get your child under 6 years of age vaccinated against COVID, doses are available at local pediatric facilities through appointment and vaccination clinics.

 

▶️ Father-daughter triathletes among Pacific Crest Endurance racers in Bend

At Sunnyside Sports in Bend, Rebekah Goad and her dad wait at the service counter with biking shoes in hand.

“When I tell them that we’re doing a father-daughter triathlon, they love it and can’t believe he’s in that good of shape to do that,” said Rebekah.

Rebekah and Richard are celebrating Father’s Day on the run. They’ll also swim and bike.

“The secret goal was to beat her,” Richard said.

Regardless of who beats who, the duo from Seattle and from Temple, Texas are just ready to compete.

“So this is our third triathlon together as a father daughter duo and we’re doing it on Father’s Day this Sunday the Deschutes Dash,” Rebekah said.

RELATED: Pilot Butte Challenge Friday marks start of Pacific Crest Endurance Festival

The Deschutes Dash, now the Pacific Crest Endurance Sports Festival, moved to Riverbend Park from Sunriver after 25 years.

“The event had grown and the footprint of Sunriver had not grown so we were taking up space where we thought maybe we’d look up a space that’s bigger to do the actual event in,” said Karissa Schoene, the owner of WHY Racing Events which organizes the Pacific Crest Endurance.

On Sunday from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., multiple roads will be closed for the event.

  • Century Drive between Skyline Ranch Road and SW Colorado Avenue
  • SW Colorado Avenue between SW Century Drive and SW Columbia Street
  • SW Columbia Street between SW Colorado Avenue and SW Shevlin Hixon Drive

As for the events?

“This year we are not going to have our full marathon or our 25k or 50k trail run or our cycle tour that we typically have,” Schoene said.

However, all those events will be returning next year, along with eligibility for the Boston Marathon.

“We’re anticipating 1,500 people this year,” Schoene said “Typically the event is around 3-4,000 people.”

Schoene added that the estimated revenue for the Bend area based on the race’s tourism is near $3 million.

It’s also rebuilding a historic athletic event that draws people from all over, like the Goads.

“Let me put it this way. It was 103 degrees in Temple yesterday. I am ecstatic to be here,” Richard said.

“The community, the beer, the coffee, the food. It’s just the best,” Rebekah said.

Adding the Pacific Crest Endurance makes for a Father’s Day weekend the Goads won’t forget.

“We’re just excited to be here. We can’t wait,” Rebekah said.

“Just excited to do this with my daughter and all of my family,” Richard said.

If you’re interested in competing, the link to sign up is here.

▶️ Labor desert: Central Oregon businesses still looking for summer help

Oregon added over 6,000 jobs last month. The unemployment rate for Deschutes County is at 3.5% and isn’t too far away from the pre-pandemic low of 3.3%.

And yet, industries across Central Oregon are struggling to find employees as the summer tourism months arrive shortly.

“It’s a little overwhelming,” said Lori Weber, the Assistant Shelter Manager for the Humane Society of Central Oregon.

Down 2 1/2, the Humane Society is now closing their walk-ins on certain days and taking appointment only.

“It’s hard,” Weber said. “A lot of stress. We take care of animals that we love and it’s always on our hearts and our minds to make that a priority.”

“But I think that’s kind of becoming the norm and I think it will be the norm of not knowing what hours of any business is going to be right now,” said Lynne Ouchida, the Communications Manager for the Humane Society.

RELATED: Oregon adds 6,200 jobs in May; unemployment rate nears record low

RELATED: Where should a Bend mobility hub go? CET wants your input.

Cascades East Transit cut down their Route 31 to Sunriver and halted their expansion to Saturday bus hours due to a lack of drivers.

“It’s especially challenging in our environment to really plan new services and then even try to retain our core services,” said Derek Hofbauer, the Outreach and Engagement Administrator at the Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council.

Cascades East Transit CET bus
Cascades East Transit bus

CET says the length of training needed to certify drivers for commercial licenses has been a roadblock.

“Have more non CDL driver positions and smaller fleets,” Hofbauer said.

CET’s other routes will remain in place, but they hope these future changes will allow more flexibility for employees.

“With the competition from the trucking industry and the school districts, it’s really hard to compete on that level,” Hofbauer said.

One industry facing labor shortage struggles on a national level, but not a local level, is lifeguarding.

“But so far we have been very successful and we’re doing great actually in the number of lifeguards we’ve hired,” said James Lewis, the General Manager for the Sunriver Owners Association “We’re ahead of where we have been in previous years before the lifeguard shortage.”

Bend Park and Recreation said they’re also ahead of scheduling when it comes to hiring lifeguards.

Both pools admitted they raised their wages to accommodate the shortage. SHARC now pays $21 an hour for new lifeguard hires.

“It’s just a fun place to work but again we did raise the wages because we have to be competitive,” Lewis said.

 

▶️ Bend clean, zero-waste makeup company gains national attention

Makeup: A ritual for many, highlighting the start of one’s day.

Clung to some compacts and brushes are arrays of worries like sustainability and animal testing.

A Bend makeup company is pioneering the clean beauty industry by making no waste products that are getting national attention.

“And I actually launched Axiology in my AirBNB when I moved here,” said Ericka Rodriguez, the Founder of Axiology Beauty.

Lipsticks handmade originally in a Bend kitchen six years ago are now being sold at Ulta, appearing in countless articles and has become one of Oprah’s favorite Clean Things

“And we’re most well known for our balmies which are zero waste,” Rodriguez said “They’re actually the world’s first zero waste multi use makeup crayon.”

Axiology makeup

Rodriguez and four employees fulfill hundreds of orders a day as Bend’s only makeup brand and recently announced an initiative to go plastic free.

“I think it’s the perfect place,” Rodriguez said of Bend “I mean everyone here in Bend loves the outdoors, they love nature and so do I. That’s why we really have honed in our mission to keep the environment beautiful, keep the world beautiful, and keep plastic out of the beauty industry.”

“There’s an incredible amount of waste in the cosmetic industry,” said Mandy Butera, the owner of local clean beauty shop Wren and Wild.

SEE ALSO: Styrofoam-eating superworms could hold key to recycling it

SEE ALSO: Landfill 40-times larger than Knott may come to Lake County

120 billion units of packaging waste a year to be exact, with 70% of that trash ending in landfills.

Butera knows the practices all too well, having worked for a major makeup company until 2014.

“90% of the cosmetic industry, not just clean beauty, but the entire industry are housed in new consumer plastic, not just PCR plastic,’ Butera said.

Axiology makeup

It’s not just eliminating plastic, Axiology is also cruelty free, and only uses 10 ingredients max in their makeup.

According to the Australian Institute of Science, around 12,500 different chemical ingredients are approved for personal care products like makeup.

“It actually took me 200 formulations to come up with the lipstick that we first launched with,” Rodriguez said.

“When you’re looking to source ingredients that are clean and good for the environment, then yes, the Pacific Northwest is a great place to do that,” Butera said.

We toured the Axiology facility as two of the all-women employees assembled products.

“Amelia is actually in the process of making so she’s melting down some coco butter and she has some soy butter melting as well and then she’s mixing in our pigment,” Rodriguez said on the tour.

Axiology makeup

Formula that is as unique and environmentally conscious as the place it’s founded in.

“I think it’s inspirational for other people that there are other ways to make things that don’t have to be housed in things that are detrimental to our environment,” Butera said.

With the clean beauty industry expected to reach a valuation of $11.5 billion dollars by 2027, knowing a bit of that is coming from Bend’s backyard is a little more than pretty.

▶️ Native toxic mushrooms could attract dogs: How to protect your pet

With all the rain arriving in Central Oregon, mushrooms are starting to pop up. If you own a dog, you’ll need to know which fungi isn’t fun for your pet.

“For dog owners, you need to just know they’re out there and they’re out there in great numbers this year because of our weather,” said Julie Hamilton the president of the Central Oregon Mushroom Club.

Amanita Pantherina — a.k.a. the Panther Cap — and Amanita Aprica –a.k.a. the Sunshine mushroom — are two species of poisonous fungus sprouting around the High Desert.

“And both of them can be deadly to dogs,” Hamilton said.

“Essentially. there’s about four different ways mushrooms can be toxic to dogs,” said Dr. Byron Maas, a veterinarian at the Bend Veterinary Clinic.

Those ways are through the stomach, liver, kidneys, and brain.

Panther Cap mushroom
Amanita Pantherina — a.k.a. the Panther Cap mushroom

Panther Cap and the Sunshine mushroom can cause multiple problems.

“Vomiting, weakness, uncoordinated movements, diarrhea, lethargy, excessive drooling,” said Hamilton, reading the list of symptoms a dog may have after eating one of these mushrooms.

But there is a bright spot.

“So they’re very identifiable,” Hamilton said.

Look for either a yellow or orange cap with white dots or a chocolate cap with white dots.

SEE ALSO: Think Wild – COCC partnership helping students and wildlife

RELATED: Kennel Cough season affecting Central Oregon dogs. What to watch for.

There are also flyers around parks with images of the dangerous mushrooms dogs will find by smell.

“Some mushrooms actually attract flies because of the stench that they have from the compounds that they release which is attractive to dogs,” said Dr. Maas “It smells like sort of a dead animal and dogs love dead, decaying flesh.”

Sunshine Mushroom
Amanita Aprica –a.k.a. the Sunshine mushroom

 

If your pup takes a bite, save the mushroom in case they show symptoms.

“Because that’s the best way to identify if that might be a toxic mushroom or one that’s nothing to worry about,” said Dr. Maas.

Take your dog to the vet immediately if symptoms arise and avoid any fungus you can’t identify.

The posters about the mushrooms at dog parks include the Animal Emergency Center number (541-385-9110) as well as the Mushroom Club website for further information.

“For some reason, they’re more prevalent here in Central Oregon than they are in the valley and Portland area,” Hamilton said “They don’t have this problem over there so it’s kind of one of our things.”

Mushrooms tend to live in damp, dark places like backyards.

So if you see one, grab some gloves, pick it up and remove it so your furry friend doesn’t get a bite.