▶️ Bend PD to start educating people on e-bike laws after flood of complaints

The Bend Police Department says it plans to start educating people about the rules of the road when it comes to e-bikes. It comes after the department says its been flooded with complaints about e-bike riders around town.

Bend Police Communications Manager Sheila Miller explains what the community has been worried about. 

“They’re concerned about some of the bike riders behaviors,” Miller said. “They’re concerned about the age of the riders that they’re not following the rules of the road.”

One rule some people may not know about — there is a minimum age requirement.

“E-bikes are illegal to ride if you’re under 16,” Miller said.

Another rule: You must ride on the road. E-bikes are not allowed on the sidewalk. And speeds must be kept to 20 mph and under.

>>> Have you checked out Central Oregon Daily News on YouTube? Click here to subscribe and share our videos.

RELATED: 2023 is final hurrah for Oregon Cycle Classic bike tour

RELATED: Bend ride share Bird Bikes are back for the summer

Educating people on the rules is the next step.

“Over the next ten days, we’re posting to social media. We’re going to try and do some other things to get people’s attention,” Miller said. “We’re going to highlight that age requirement. We’re going to highlight some of the expectations around following the rules of the road.”

We spoke with the co-owner of Bend Electric Bikes, Sterling McCord. He said he’s had a few parents come in looking for bikes for kids under 16 — even after he’s explained the age minimum.

“At that point, if they are going to go ahead and do it, there’s a bit of a wink and a nudge between the family there,” McCord said. “Junior leaves, adult finishes up with an extra small or whatever and then they go on their way.”

McCord also says advertisers for bike producers are purposely going after children.

“There’s been marketing directed at those groups and younger and the middle school age to high school age groups have definitely been the target,” McCord said.

Bend Police will start an enforcement detail soon to confront e-bike riders who are breaking the law.

“Just asking people to take some responsibility,” Miller said. “Know what the rules are.”

Both Bend PD and Bend Electric Bikes say riders should wear a helmet, stay off the sidewalks, stay on the roads and stay on bike paths.

▶️ Campers confused by Deschutes National Forest reservation cancellations

Campground reservation cancellations in the Deschutes National Forest is causing some confusion and safety concerns. Social media users are claiming they made reservations at Cultus Lake Campground, but that those reservations are canceled because it’s not officially open. 

The thing is — some people are apparently still showing up.

DNF said reservations were made last weekend and this week. Despite that, the Forest Service says campers were given advance notice that they had been dropped since some of the campsites are not open yet.

“Many campgrounds were impacted by heavy snowfall over the winter and so we are delayed in getting in there to conduct our preseason operations, and that includes both identifying hazard trees and then removing those hazard trees as well as conducting preseason maintenance work on those facilities,” said Jaimie Olle, public affairs specialist with DNF.

The hazardous tree maintenance made camping in the area unsafe.

“We can’t get folks in there to fell those trees if folks are camping under them,” Olle said. 

>>> Have you checked out Central Oregon Daily News on YouTube? Click here to subscribe and share our videos.

RELATED: Dead tree removal closes Gull Point Campground for 2023

RELATED: 6 campfires abandoned in Central Oregon during holiday weekend

Cultus Lake Campground is currently closed to see if anyone had pitched their tents there anyway.

The site was empty, except for the hosts Brenda Duwe and her husband Donald. They have already run into campers while the site has been closed.

“A guy just thinking he was going to stay overnight and since I’m brand new to the company, I let him stay overnight and if he was here in the morning, I was going to go say ‘Hey we’re bringing trees down here.’ So he would have to go,” Donald said. 

The Forest Service says this will not be an issue for much longer as Cultus Lake, Lava Lake, Spring Campground, Contorta Flat and Contorta Point Campgrounds will all open Friday.

Olle said that people who pitch their tents in closed campgrounds can delay work crews, and that pushes the opening date further out. 

▶️ Put them out! 6 campfires abandoned in Central Oregon during holiday weekend

Over two days, six abandoned campfires were discovered this past weekend in Central Oregon. Forest Service officials are using it as a reminder that fire season is here.

“One of them actually had actual flames coming off of it, and a couple others were just abandoned and then not cold enough to the touch to actually be leaving them,” said Kassidy Kern, a public affairs officer with the Ochoco National Forest.

She specified that three of the fires were found in the Deschutes National Forest, two in the Ochoco National Forest and one in the Bureau of Land Management Prineville District. 

Kern told us about two tools required to properly put out a fire: gallons of water and a shovel. 

The water should be used to drown out the fire multiple times. A person should be able to touch the previously burned wood with the back of their hand to determine if the fire pit is safe to leave. If heat is still felt coming off of the wood or it is too hot to touch at all, it is not safe to leave. 

>>> Have you checked out Central Oregon Daily News on YouTube? Click here to subscribe and share our videos.

RELATED: Prescribed burns blog: More burns near Sunriver, Sisters and Crescent Wednesday

RELATED: Campfire restrictions start Thursday on BLM rivers in Central Oregon

Kern also mentioned lightning strikes could hit hard this season, meaning fire crews will need to focus on those. 

“Where we have control, we need to take control,” Kern said. “Make sure that we’re eliminating those human-caused starts so that our firefighters can focus on the lightning starts when they happen but also, so that we can keep ourselves and our communities safe.”

We spoke with Ricky Donovan, a recreational camper at Tumalo State Park Campgrounds, and asked how he practiced campfire safety.

“Water. It puts out fires. Have it available,” Donovan said.

He claims to have never had a fire he was managing get out of control or left unattended.

“If we don’t have a spicket on-site, I will hook my hose up to my freshwater outdoor shower and have it readily available,” Donovan said. 

David Rose, the park host at Tumalo State Park Campgrounds, said campsite has a water spigot. And he offered another tool worth having.

“It’s always a good thing if you’re buying wood at a campground to have a hatchet because sometimes the wood is bigger than is convenient to start a fire,” Rose said. 

His point being that smaller wood will produce a smaller, more controlled fire. 

▶️ NW Newport Avenue is open after two years of construction

Early Friday morning, the North West Newport Avenue corridor was opened. Everyone Central Oregon Daily spoke with was happy about the opening, particularly the local businesses that have been in the middle of it for the last two years. 

Newport Avenue Market CEO Lauren Redman told us, she is glad the impacts of the construction were not worse.

“We’re just really happy that we didn’t have to lay anybody off,” Redman said.

Other businesses we spoke with, like Gather Hair Collective and Chow, were relieved. 

“Definitely thrilled to be open,” Janelle Derven, Manager of Gather Hair Collective said. “It was a little chaotic because things would be changing on a frequent basis.”

We asked Principle Engineer for the City of Bend, Brittany Barker, about the frequent changes.

“We started this project in April 2021 really in the midst of a lot of the impacts that we didn’t see coming with supply chain issues and staffing shortages,” Barker said.

Even with the unexpected bumps in the road, the project was always predicted to take two years.

“We had failing storm drains that we had to replace,” Barker said. “After looking through the corridor further we saw that the sewer line was over 50 years old and our water line was over 70 years old.”

Construction started and “the entire west side was basically shut down,” according to Chow’s Executive Chef Jesc Miller.

He added businesses had to adapt for survival. 

“We had to do what we had to do: to-go orders and stuff,” said Miller. “But the thing now that it’s open, is that people are still going to pass through us because everyone is used to it being closed.”

Other improvements to the area include new sidewalks, bike lanes and crosswalks. 

Businesses said they are happy about the new safety components but wish communication about the project had been better. 

“So many cooks in the kitchen or whatever you want to call it because it wasn’t just the City, it was Taylor Construction, it was this and that so there was still a lot things that we ended up being out of the loop on that were pretty frustrating,” Derven said.

The important thing is that Newport Avenue construction is officially over. 

“We’re thankful for our customers that sustained us through the really tough times, and now, hey lets party. It’s summer in Bend,” Redman said. 

Crews will still be around throughout the month of June working on irrigation and landscaping, and the road will remain open. 

▶️ YouTuber ‘Mr. Humanity’ to host $100K contest at Blockbuster: What we know

You might have seen it online: claims of a massive party and a chance to win $100,000 in front of Bend’s famous last Blockbuster Video store. 

Is it real?

Here’s the claim from Mr. Humanity, Anthony Mattera. He’s a YouTuber with 21,000 followers: “We are giving away a lot of money to people.”

Mattera records videos giving away money to people. Next week, he will be doing the same thing in Central Oregon, hosting a block party on June 2 from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. in the parking lot at Blockbuster

“The events are backed by an insurance company, and when someone wins the event, they get paid out,” said Mattera.

>>> Central Oregon Daily News is on YouTube. Click here to subscribe and share our videos.

RELATED: WATCH: Bend Blockbuster debuts apocalyptic ‘Til The Bitter End’ Super Bowl ad

RELATED: Thanks, Steve: Bend Blockbuster booming in merch sales after cockroach ad

Fundraisers like hole-in-one contests that give away a car are often backed by insurance policies covering the cost of the car on the off chance someone hits that hole-in-one. 

So what’s the contest Mr. Humanity is hosting? He told us “no comment,” when initially asked about the financial side of it.

Mattera would not tell us any real details about the $100,000 on the line, but Blockbuster’s General Manger Sandi Harding weighed in. 

“It’s a game of chance,” said Harding. “So they just have to come in and pick six random numbers, and if they’re the lucky ones, they’re going to win. We have four other games as well that we’re playing. Ones a dice roll and they get to win some money as well as some movie trivia kind of games.”

Three nonprofits were invited to this event as well: Saving Grace, the Humane Society of Central Oregon and Emma’s Project. 

The two we got a hold of seemed confused about the event. We asked Mr. Humanity to clarify. 

“The nonprofits are going to benefit from this event just strictly from the brand awareness and the foot traffic and the monetary donations that the people give on that day,” Mattera said. 

The event hosts claim no one will be asked to pay for a chance at the $100,000 prize. But some sponsors, according to Mr. Humanity, already paid for a chance at the 50,000 and 25,000 contests happening at the same event. 

▶️ Wyden in Bend to applaud affordable housing complex for seniors

U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore., stopped by Bend Tuesday morning to talk about the low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) being used to create affordable housing in Central Oregon. The Legacy Landing Apartments, built with LIHTC money, has been operating for about a year near St. Charles Hospital. 

“Wonderful projects like this were a natural for older people because they could stay where they wanted most: in their home,” Wyden said. 

He added that this was not just an ethical move, but a good financial one as well. 

“It was such a cost effective idea to ensure that older people could be in the community getting good care rather than getting sick and having the alternative which so often we know was long term care,” Wyden said.

>>> Central Oregon Daily News is on YouTube. Click here to subscribe and share our videos.

RELATED: Old Rainbow Motel in Bend opens as a homeless shelter — again

RELATED: Coordinated Houseless Response Office goals being met? Depends who you ask.

Bend Mayor Melanie Kebler explained what is possible when this kind of housing exists in Central Oregon. 

“[The Legacy Landing Apartments] provides 47 apartments for low-income seniors who are making or receiving 50% of the area median income or less with six apartments reserved for Mosaic Medical for patients with chronic medical conditions and four available for houseless veterans,” Kebler said. 

Deborah “Snow” Jones, a 66-year-old resident of the apartments, was the first person living in the property.

“Being here is the best thing I’ve ever done in my life,” Jones said.

She has benefitted a lot since moving in. Jones says she has experienced homelessness and was in a severe car accident two years ago, which left her injured and without options. This opportunity has given her a second chance at life.

“I walk into my apartment, I look back and I go, ‘Wow, I have a bathroom. Wow, there’s a walk-in shower. I go into my living room back and forth- what can I do here?’ It’s like being in a candy store and it’s Christmas everyday,” she said.

▶️ Coordinated Houseless Response Office goals being met? Depends who you ask.

Deschutes County’s Coordinated Houseless Response Office (CHRO), funded by a $1 million grant, has requirements that need to be met.

Are those goals being met? Well, that depends on who within CHRO you ask.

Deschutes County Commissioner Patti Adair is the chair of the board that oversees CHRO. Cheyenne Purrington is the CHRO director.

Adair said “it’s debatable” when asked if Purrington was accomplishing what she has been asked to do by the board.

When we pressed Adair on what exactly the board has asked Purrington to do, she said, “Well we’ve had lots of questions. Originally I asked for a budget, so we did see a budget. We’ve asked for a lot of things.”

Aside from establishing a budget, holding a planning meeting and helping with a Central Oregon Villages project, Adair could not point to an accomplishment so far from the $1 million grant.

The CHRO has just one full-time staff member. That’s Purrington.

Chris Ogren is a part-time employee helping out. He’s working about 15 hours a week, according to Purrington. 

Purrington told us the office is on track with the grant requirements. She claims over half of the goals are completed, but more could be done if she had more help. She said she has requested two full-time staff members aside from herself. 

Adair, after being asked three times if she was aware of the staffing requests, gave this as her clearest answer:

“There is somebody else on her list, but I don’t believe anything has gone out for that position,” Adair said.

Bend City Councilor Megan Perkins, who is also the vice-chair of the CHRO board, says she thinks the process could be more developed by now.

“I do have a lot of frustration and worry that we are not farther along with both our strategic plan but also just in general with the coordinated office and our community,” said Perkins.

She’s clearly frustrated with a lack of progress.

“I don’t feel fully comfortable in that I understand what happens with the coordinated office every day,” Perkins said.

As for one thing that could make operations better, a requirement written into the grant that was supposed to be done in the first 90 days includes defining roles for each board member. Perkins said that goal not been met.

“We really need to, on a fundamental level, determine what the City of Bend does, what the City of Redmond does, what the county does, and then we can go from there,” Perkins said.

▶️ Bend ride share Bird Bikes are back for the summer

After being in storage for the winter, ride share Bird Bikes are back in Bend. 

“I think they are a great source of transportation. I don’t like that they are left all over town,” Meliah Rutherford of Bend said. 

This is the most consistent opinion Central Oregon Daily received about the electric bikes now that they are back.

“There seems to be a better way to communicate where they can be dropped off and picked up instead of abandoning them in people’s neighborhoods,” Rutherford said. 

>>> Central Oregon Daily News is on YouTube. Click here to subscribe and share our videos.

RELATED: Fines and incentives coming to Bird Bike rentals

RELATED: First weekend of Bend bike sharing service brings littering concerns

According to the City of Bend’s Parking Services Division Manager Tobias Marx, the Bird Bike app shows appropriate parking locations for the bikes once a person is done with their ride.

“I think the biggest obstacles are preventing people from leaving bikes where they shouldn’t be left,” Marx said. “We don’t want bikes to block ADA access. We don’t want bikes to block sidewalks.”

He also told us that the general rule is to at least park the bikes at a Bend public bike parking spot if, for some reason, someone cannot get it back to a designated space.

We spoke with one Bend man who bikes all the time and he loves to see people riding Bird Bikes. 

“I think it’s a great idea,” Russell Heinold said. “You get outside, it’s really cost efficient when you think about it and it’s really good on the roads too because of the traffic here in Bend is just becoming more like city traffic.”

Another woman has her mind on traffic, too. Marty Verlinich isn’t so sure about bikers and cars sharing the road.

“Well you have to obey all the traffic laws,” Verlinich said. “You can’t just ride through a light because you don’t want to stop.”

While some bikers might not follow the rules of the road, it doesn’t mean all of them don’t. 

“People sometimes are people unfortunately and do stupid stuff,” Marx said.

The Bird Bikes are here to stay. More ride share locations are expected to expand into the east side of Bend over the summer.

▶️ Old Rainbow Motel in Bend opens as a homeless shelter — again

The Bend City Council approved new management Wednesday of the Franklin Shelter, or the old Rainbow Motel off of Franklin Avenue, under Shepherd’s House Ministries. NeighborImpact was running a shelter out of the motel temporarily. 

“NeighborImpact was going to be running that shelter for us while those renovations were happening,” Bend Mayor Melanie Kebler said. “They moved folks to the Rainbow Motel. And then when the renovations were done and the Stepping Stone Shelter was officially open, they moved those folks back and they’re now running the stepping stone shelter.”

Unlike other shelters in the area, the Franklin Shelter will not be a congregate shelter.

“It’ll be a transitional shelter,” Shepherd’s House Director of Navigation Services Evan Hendrix said. “Folks will either have a private room to themselves or two to three roommates at the most.”

>>> Central Oregon Daily News is on YouTube. Click here to subscribe and share our videos.

There are 60 rooms in total, meaning 60 to 80 people are expected to be housed there. 

Each room has a bathroom and is in walking distance from the Lighthouse Navigation Center — also operated by Shepherd’s House — which provides resources for the houseless.

With three shelters in the same area, we asked Kebler if she has seen any push back from the community.

“When the Rainbow was first being used for a shelter and we talked to the community about that, we established some really good agreements and understandings with the nearby business owners and neighbors,” Kebler said. “Throughout the time that was running as a shelter previously, we had some really good results being able to work with people about their concerns and being able to resolve those.”

RELATED: COIC picks 7 Central Oregon homeless projects for state money

RELATED: Homeless village for women, families begins building in SE Bend

It will be a low barrier shelter meaning the requirements to stay in the shelter are minimal, but there will be a background check process on residents. 

“This is going to be through the Coordinated Entry System,” Kebler said. “Shepherd’s House will be matching up people that are the right fit for this type of shelter and have the needs that this type of shelter can provide.”

The City of Bend is in contract with Shepherd’s House to run the shelter for the next 18 months. 

People are expected to be housed in the old motel as early as next week.

▶️ COIC picks 7 Central Oregon homeless projects for state money

The Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council (COIC) is sifting through applications of those looking to receive funding from the $200 million Governor Tina Kotek authorized to fight homelessness.

Central Oregon has been awarded nearly $14 million of that. Nonprofits and city governments are among those making requests.

“A project in Madras, a project in Redmond, a project in Bend. Really, a good group of projects that out of the gate will give a sharing of that funding across the region,” said COIC Executive Director Tammy Baney.

So many projects, in fact, that it would cost $21 million. That’s $7 million more than the governor is allocating for the High Desert.

COIC is picking seven projects to move forward with at this point.

“We know we need to serve veterans. We need to serve out medically fragile. We also need to serve LGBTQ+ youth,” said Baney.

>>> Central Oregon Daily News is on YouTube. Click here to subscribe and share our videos.

One of the biggest allocations of funds is going to the City of Madras.

“This will be a 29 bed facility. It’ll be a shelter that’ll have a congregate kitchen area facility as well. They intend to do some affordable housing in that area too,” said Baney.

RELATED: Homeless village for women, families begins building in SE Bend

RELATED: Construction begins on Redmond’s first low-barrier homeless shelter

Eleven other projects are in the works, but the council needs more information about their proposals.

“We will be working with those projects to get the questions answered and then we are coming up with a mechanism in which we might be able to fund them before we do another funding allocation,” said Baney.

She says Crook County has not filled out an application for any of the state money.

“We’re working closely with that community to make sure that they are represented and funded with the funding, too, to support their needs,” said Baney.

While the money does not have to be spent all at once, it does need to be committed to projects by January 2024.

MAC Meeting 8 Supporting Slides