Prineville man arrested on child luring, drug charges after soliciting sex online

A Prineville man was arrested in Bend Monday after believing he was meeting up with a 14-year-old girl for sex, according to the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office.

Detectives with the Central Oregon Drug Enforcement Team concluded a weeklong child luring investigation with the arrest of 35-year-old Patrick James Adams.

Sgt. Kent Vander Kamp said a CODE Detective was randomly contacted by Adams via social media earlier this month while conducting an unrelated investigation.

CODE Detectives identified Adams as a Registered Sex Offender and is prohibited from contacting minors.

During the last week, Adams pursued the detective believing he was a 14-year-old girl and began sending sexualized photographs and messages via social media, Vander Kamp said.

While detectives tried to confirm Adams’ whereabouts, he continued to solicit the online detective, asking to meet for sex, and offered “her” methamphetamine.

CODE Detectives accepted and arranged to meet Adams in Bend on Friday.

Around 12:15 p.m., CODE detectives, with the assistance of Bend Police officers and detectives, contacted Adams in downtown Bend at the corner of Wall St and Franklin Ave.

He was taken into custody without incident, Vander Kamp said.

Adams was found to be in possession of methamphetamine and other relevant evidence in this case.

CODE detectives believe Adams may have been in contact with other juveniles in the central Oregon area via social media platforms.

Vander Kamp urged parents and young people to report any contact with Adams on social media to your local law enforcement agency, school resource officer, or online with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at http://www.cybertip.org

Adams was taken to the Deschutes County Jail and charged with first-degree online corruption of a child, attempted delivery of a controlled substance to a minor and attempted unlawful contact with a child among other charges.

With the help of the US Department of Homeland Security Investigations, this case will be referred to the United States Attorney’s Office in Eugene for charging consideration.

▶️ ‘Same patterns reemerging over time’ as Deschutes Co. COVID cases remain high

COVID cases were down 13% across the country over the last week.

“We are seeing progress in terms of decreased cases, hospitalizations and deaths,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky.

In Oregon, health officials say the state is past its fourth wave.

“This latest wave of COVID-19 cases seem to be cresting and today 15 counties will be moving out of our extreme risk category,” said Gov. Kate Brown.

But in Deschutes County, it’s a much different story.

“People keep asking why is this different and really from our standpoint and our case investigators we are seeing those same patterns reemerging over time,” said Emily Freeland COVID Operation Section Chief for Deschutes County Public Health.

Freeland says those patterns include social gatherings, going out while sick, not wearing masks and not social distancing.

A spike in cases has been seen in people aged 15-to-30.

“So, when you think about when everyone was able to get their first dose of the vaccination for the general population, that didn’t happen too long ago,” said Freeland. “So we haven’t had time for all of those people to get fully vaccinated and we have certainly seen more spread in those younger populations.”

More of that group is getting vaccinated, as hundreds of local high school students got their shots recently at clinics on campus.

Even though Deschutes County has the 5th highest vaccination rate in the state, more COVID cases (547) were reported last week than any week during the pandemic.

This week the county is on track to reach around 500 COVID cases.

Oregon Public Health’s State Epidemiologist Dr. Dean Sidelinger says vaccinations and COVID precautions are helping the state’s case numbers.

“Daily cases and COVID-related hospitalizations have fallen slightly from the peak we experienced in mid-April,” said Sidelinger. “Our most recent weekly report showed a 3% decline in cases after five weeks of twenty plus percentage gains. Hospitalizations have also dropped 3% this last week.”

3 FS roads in Phil’s Trail complex temporarily closed to all users

Due to significant public safety concerns, three Forest Service Roads in the Phil’s Trail area in west Bend will be temporarily closed to all uses, including biking, due to logging and road reconstruction activity occurring in the area.

Forest Service Roads (FSR) 4610, 4601-300 and 4601-310 already had been temporarily closed to motorized vehicles, however these roads will now be closed to all uses due to frequent encounters between bike riders and construction and logging equipment.

The closures started Friday and will be in place seven days a week.

EuroClosureRecMapPublisher_20210505

The Forest Service has established a detour for bike riders through FSR 4610-290 to connect Ben’s Trail and Phil’s trail.

The frequency of bike riders and other recreationists entering the closure area and using the roads was resulting in unsafe interactions with heavy equipment causing the operators to frequently halt work because of safety concerns.

In addition, parking along the road at its junction with Skyliner’s Road was preventing ingress and egress for logging and road reconstruction equipment.

The closure will be lifted when operations are completed in the area and the public will be notified. Please go to the Deschutes National Forest’s website (https://www.fs.usda.gov/main/deschutes/home ) for a map of the closure area (also attached).

▶️ MountainStar Family Relief Nursery leader leaves legacy of hope for victims

MountainStar Family Relief Nursery is celebrating 20 years of keeping young children safe, strengthening families, and helping parents be successful.

The Bend-based nonprofit has served 5,000 babies and toddlers and provided personal contact and support to 20,000 parents with the goal of preventing child abuse.

But this year it’s also observing the departure of the only executive director the organization has ever known.

Central Oregon Daily’s Brooke Snavely talked with Tim Rusk about the important work happening at the agency.

▶️ Little Did I Know: The history of Billy Chinook Pt. 2

Many of you may be familiar with “The Oregon Trail”, either from history or through the infamous video game.

But did you know that the leader of the expedition that mapped it was named John Fremont?

Even further, did you know he had a young native teenager with him on his expeditions named Billy Chinook?

Yep, Billy Chinook played a pivotal role in the history of Central Oregon.

In episode one we told you a little-known legend about Billy’s lineage and how a smallpox outbreak almost kept him from being born.

This week, Central Oregon Daily’s Scott Elnes tells us more about teenage Billy’s eagerness to join the expedition to map a path out west.

 

Bend-La Pine Schools asks state to relax ‘absurd’ rules for student quarantines

Bend-La Pine Schools is asking the state to reconsider the ‘absurd’ rules for quarantining students because they’re causing massive disruptions to learning and putting the district’s ability to maintain in-person instruction at risk.

In the letter, signed by all seven members of the school board, the district says it understands quarantining is an important part of public health.

But it believes Oregon has some of the strictest COVID-related quarantining rules in the country – and some of the rules make no sense.

“This far into the pandemic, we find it absurd that current quarantine guidelines don’t differentiate between possible exposure indoors vs outdoors, or whether masks were worn or not,” the letter said. “For example, possible exposure outdoors with masks should not lead to quarantine, while a possible exposure indoors without masks should.”

About 800 Bend-La Pine students are currently quarantined due to COVID exposure and tracing.

In some cases, entire elementary classes are in quarantine, which has forced a temporary return to online learning.

And earlier this week the district announced it was altering middle and high school schedules to allow teachers more time at the end of the day to work with students struggling due to the quarantine.

The district has reported 129 COVID cases in the last 28 days.

But of those quarantined for possible exposure, only a handful have then tested positive themselves, according to the district.

Board members said students shouldn’t be quarantined if they’ve been vaccinated, don’t have any symptoms, and haven’t had a recently confirmed case of COVID.

“Finally, “close contacts” should be reduced from 6’ to 3’ in order to match the updated guidance for physical distancing,” the letter said. “If students are approved to be within 3’ of each other, quarantining shouldn’t be required for contacts within 6’. We’re not epidemiologists, but we implore our public health authorities to not be overly aggressive with quarantining requirements.”

The board sent the letter to the Oregon Department of Education, Gov. Kate Brown and the Oregon Health Authority.

“Excessive quarantining is putting our ability to maintain full-time in-person learning at risk, and we must address it,” the letter said. “School is essential and safe and we should be able to remain open, with full academic instruction provided to our students.”

You can read the full letter below.

Letter to Brown and Gill

 

 

 

Summer concerts shaping up for LSA; Dierks Bentley added in Aug.

A year after COVID abruptly shut down a huge summer concert season for the Les Schwab Amphitheater, live music – and big-name acts – are poised to return to Bend’s largest outdoor music venue.

On Friday, LSA announced country music superstar Dierks Bently will play on August 15 as part of his 2021 “Beers on Me” tour.

Christian rock band NEEDTOBREATHE will play Sept. 18.

Bentley, a multi-Platinum singer/songwriter, will be joined by guests Riley Green and Parker McCollum.

“I wrote a song a few months back with some friends called ‘Beers On Me’ that inspired this year’s tour name,” said Bentley. “It’s a pretty simple recipe for summer…get your friends together, have a round or two and dive into some great Country music. That’s exactly what Riley, Parker and I plan on doing out there on the road with our fans. Both these guys are road warriors and great performers that are going to help us get this summer fired up.”

Local online presale for the Dierks Bently show runs Thursday, May 13 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. at https://bit.ly/DierksBend2021.

Password = local

The general on-sale opens Friday, May 14 at 10 a.m. in person a the Ticket Mill in the Old Mill District and online at https://bit.ly/DierksBend2021.

NEEDTOBREATHE will play with Switchfoot and The New Respects on Sept. 18th.

Local ticket presale starts Wednesday, May 12 at noon at http://bit.ly/NEEDTOBREATHEinBend.
Password = SURVIVAL
General ticket on-sale starts Friday, May 14 at noon at the Ticket Mill in the Old Mill District and online at

Earlier this month the venue announced a co-headliner show of Mt. Joy and Trampled by Turtles on Aug. 13 and Lord Huron with Allison Ponthier scheduled for Sept. 26.

Additional shows include:

Aug. 12: Rebelution
Aug. 18: Primus
Sept. 9: Dave Matthews Band
Sept. 18: Needtobreathe
Sept. 30/Oct. 1: Luke Bryan

 

▶️ ‘Molon Labe’: Bend Police officer talks about his keychain controversy

It’s a picture that’s now been shared widely across Oregon and the country.

The picture shows a keychain attached to Bend Police Cpl. Josh Spano’s uniform.

On it, the words “Molon Labe” are inscribed in Greek lettering.

And it’s created a stir.

“This keychain was given to me by a friend in the early days of my career in law enforcement,” Spano told Central Oregon Daily’s Samantha O’Connor in his only televised interview.

The phrase has Greek origins dating back thousands of years and loosely means “come and take them.”

“Basically in my belief system, it’s good versus evil,” Spano said, “I’ve never had anyone explain it to me as far left or far right. It’s never been explained to me that way and I’ve never understood it that way.”

On May 1st, a vocal critic of Bend Police under arrest for criminal trespassing snapped a photo of the keychain on Spano’s vest.

The photo– and others– were shared widely on social media and, in Spano’s eyes, portrayed him as someone he’s not.

“Accusing me of being racist, a white nationalist. I don’t adhere to any of those things at all. I have no connections to any group,” he said. “I work, I go home, I take care of my family, I spend a lot of time fishing. I don’t have time for any of that. I don’t appreciate people doing any of those things.”

Spano, a former Army medic, is firm in his stance against racism and white supremacy but the phrase on his keychain has been adopted by various pro-gun and anti-government groups as a phrase of defiance.

The keychain was attached to his patrol car key and clearly visible while on duty.

Now, it’s under investigation by his superiors.

“The Bend Police Department has been made aware of allegations that have been posted on social media regarding one of our employees displaying an item that was inconsistent with our uniform last week and alleged to be an item in support of extremist ideologies,” Chief Michael Krantz said in a statement. “The Bend Police Department will be reviewing this information and conducting an inquiry into the alleged policy violations.

“The Bend Police Department stresses that there is no place in policing for extremism or violent ideologies, and if held, those beliefs would be incompatible with law enforcement. Fair, equitable and community-based policing are reflected in our policies and training and the expectations of our employees.”

Spano, a Bend Police officer since 2015, said he wouldn’t put up a fight if his bosses determine he violated department policy.

“Ultimately I work for a municipality that has city councilors and a city manager and an agency head,” he said. “If they decide that I can’t have it, then I won’t have it.”

▶️ Businesses ready, doctors worry ahead of relaxed COVID restrictions

After just one week in the Extreme Risk category, Deschutes and Crook counties move back to High Risk on Friday.

That means fewer restrictions on indoor dining and gatherings.

It has business owners celebrating and local health officials worried.

“Getting that news from the governor and building on that is really exciting,” said Pine Tavern General Manager Anthony Avraam.

With the increase in COVID hospitalizations dropping below 15%, 15 Oregon counties get to drop back down to the high risk category on Friday allowing the return of limited indoor dining at bars and restaurants. 

“It felt a little like restaurants were being singled out and it is hard plan when you have constant changes on what your business is going to look like,” said Avraam.

Things should be more consistent for Avraam as Gov. Kate Brown expects counties will not return to Extreme.

COVID restrictions to ease in Crook, Deschutes counties with return to ‘High Risk’

“That allows us to keep our staff and plan accordingly as far as what our menu is going to look like, what our restaurant is going to look like and even starting hiring from what we expect will be a busy summer,” Avraam added.

Oregon’s Restaurant and Lodging Association believes the state is heading in the right direction.

“Hopefully, worst-case scenario end of June Oregon’s economy is fully reopened,” said ORLA President Jason Brandt. “We’re in May, so right now is the time to start planning for more flexibility.”

With local COVID cases locally almost higher than they’ve ever been, doctors have concerns.

“The strain on us, the quality of care that our patients are getting and the fact that we are honestly just canceling appointments and shutting down clinics, it’s catching up to us and it’s taking its toll,” said Lead Physician at St. Charles Prineville, Dr. Natalie Good.

Good says hospital workers are stressed and overwhelmed.

“We’re really to the point where people come in with non-COVID things and it’s getting harder and harder to take care of them,” Good added.

Avraam says the Pine Tavern is taking all necessary health and safety precautions and is ready for Friday.

“We are certainly thankful we can get our feet down under us and get going in building Bend back together and getting the city back to normal as soon as possible,” Avraam said.

The governor and OHA reevaluate state metrics and risk levels weekly.

Deschutes Co., former deputy DA settle for ‘discomfort’ over offensive mug

A former Deschutes County Deputy District attorney received an $87,500 settlement Thursday over an offensive coffee mug and for “the discomfort she experienced during her brief employment,” according to the DA’s office.

Jasmyn Troncoso submitted her resignation letter in March last year and later filed a sex and race discrimination claim against the county, saying she was the victim of a toxic and hostile work environment while working for DA John Hummel.

In September 2020 an independent investigator dismissed the claims saying “almost all of the allegations were deemed not substantiated.”

In her initial claim, Troncoso said co-workers called her offensive names; that on one occasion a few of her co-workers advocated for one of their Spanish-speaking colleagues to record the office voicemail greeting in Spanish; and that one employee had in her cubicle a coffee mug with an offensive message.

▶️ Former Deschutes Co. prosecutor discusses ‘toxic work environment’

According to a statement from District Attorney John Hummel, the county was unable to substantiate the name-calling allegations and the parties disagree on the details of the voicemail recording situation.

“Because the mug was offensive, because Ms. Troncoso saw it when she worked in the office and was rightfully bothered by it, and because she experienced stress and discomfort as a result of observing the mug, the County chose to compensate her and take steps to ensure something like this never happens again,” Hummel said in a statement.

Hummel said he removed the mug from the office and disciplined the employee who owned it.

In his letter of discipline, Hummel said he would have fired the employee if he believed the mug was meant to express dislike or disrespect for people of color.

“I am convinced this is not the case,” he said. “However, this investigation brought to light that you had a blind spot for how your actions had the potential to hurt other people.

“You also had a blind spot for the reality that the mug posed a significant risk of conveying to our colleagues and the public that our office does not embrace diversity, and does not strive to treat all people equally when just the opposite is true.

Hummel said he was proud to have hired Troncoso and have her represent the county.

“I hope that the compensation we are providing her will help her heal and thrive as she moves forward in her personal and professional future,” he said. “I wish her well.”