▶️ Bend firefighter dies in small plane crash

Bend Fire and Rescue announced Monday that one of its firefighters was killed in the crash of a small plane in Idaho.

Engineer Daniel Harro, 38, died in the crash Monday morning near Yellow Pine, Idaho, Bend Fire said. Harro was piloting the plane and was traveling with his twin brother, Mark, from a back-country camping trip near McCall, Idaho.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation, Bend Fire said.

“This is a devastating loss for our family.” said Bend Fire Chief Todd Riley in a statement. “Daniel was well-loved and well-respected by everyone who worked with him. We will miss his presence every day.” 

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Daniel Harro is survived buy his wife, Elisif.

Bend Fire and Rescue said Harro began working in Bend in 2014 and quickly became a leader. He was heavily involved in Bend Fire and Rescue’s specialty Rescue Team and served on Bend’s Professional Firefighter’s Local 227 Executive Board.

As a paramedic, Harro also worked with department administrators and physician advisors to assist in the updating of Emergency Medical Service protocols, Bend Fire said.

He previously worked for the Scappoose Fire Department.



▶️ ‘Slept with my cell phone’: Bend North coach says World Series spot denied

Bend North Little League Coach Brett Hartlaub was holding onto a smidgen of hope that his team will be added to the Little League World Series following last week’s controversial end to their season. 

“I slept last night with my cell phone on my nightstand, knowing that East Coast time was earlier,” Hartlaub said. “When I woke up (Monday) morning and there was no call, hope kind of went away at that point.”

Hartlaub admits that with the tournament starting on Wednesday, it would be a herculean effort to get his team to Williamsport, Pennsylvania in time should that phone ring.

Hartlaub said Monday that Little League Baseball has basically cut off communication despite his effort to have Bend North added as an 11th team to the World Series. He says he’s been told the tournament field will not be expanded.

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“Little League is no longer responding to my phone calls or my emails at this point,” Hartlaub said. “They, I think, feel they have ruled on this issue.”

Hartlaub said the team pushed a social media campaign over the weekend to get Bend North added.

“The call to action was incredible and the amount of people who participated in that was surprisingly high and really fun to see,” he said.

Little League Baseball, in a text message, tells Central Oregon Daily News it has nothing more to say on the matter.

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What happened?

The team from Bonney Lake and Sumner, Washington, defeated Bend North 3-2 in extra innings last Thursday in the Northwest Regional Final. The controversy came on a ball hit down line and hit the ground just past third base.

The third base umpire called it foul. The home plate umpire called it fair.

The Washington player who was on first at the time rounded the bases and scored the winning run.

Hartlaub, who says the foul call should have ended the play then and there, called for a replay. After the umpires conferred, they let the fair call by the home plate umpire stand.

Hartlaub: We’re supportive of Team Washington, umpires

Hartlaub remains complimentary of the Washington team. He says Bend North doesn’t want to take Washington’s place in the World Series.

But he says his team should be invited as well and that the tournament could be adjusted to include Bend North.

Hartlaub also wants to be very clear. He is supportive of the umpires. 

“Those players, those coaches, those umpires were under more pressure than any other game, I would assume, in their lives,” Hartlaub said. “One guy saw it one way. One guy saw it another way. The rulebook is clear.”

Hartlaub cites this line from page 34 of the Little League rulebook, which states “If a batted ball is inadvertently called ‘foul’, and it touches the ground in live ball territory it is irrevocably foul and the ball is dead.”

Little League Baseball released a statement Friday:

“In the final play of the 2022 Little League Baseball Northwest Region Championship Game, despite the on-field conclusion, the official call on the field was a far ball by the home plate umpire. Ultimately, upon video review, there was not clear and concise evidence to determine whether the ball was fair or foul, and the fair ball call was sustained. While we regret any confusion at the end of the game, we remain supportive of all the volunteers who were involved in this matter.”

Hartlaub says his issue is with the process. He expressed disappointment that the statement never addressed the foul call.

“It does not. That was our biggest frustration,” Hartlaub said. 

To make his point clear, Hartlaub refers to an analogy that he tells his players. Regardless of what they think something should be called — ball or strike, fair or foul — it’s ultimately whatever the umpire calls it. 

“The definition of a foul ball is whatever the umpire calls. And the umpire called that foul.” he said.

Little League Baseball has nothing to add

Central Oregon Daily News reached out to Little League Baseball Monday to ask if the organization was formally denying the request to add Bend North to the World Series and if it would address the rule that Hartlaub cites.

The response was “We have no further comment outside of our official statement. Thank you.”

Hartlaub thankful for the home support

Hartlaub also expressed his thanks to the Central Oregon community for its “overwhelming” support over the past few days.

“Thank you to this community for supporting these players and this team,” said Hartlaub. “Hundreds of text messages have come to me in support and in emails and instant messages and all that stuff. It’s been incredible. Bend loves baseball and Bend loves those kids so it’s really cool. I want a big thank you out there for that.”

Hartlaub also says that with the season ending, players are into transition mode.

“It’s time to go swimming. It’s time to hit the lakes. It’s time to get ready for football and soccer seasons,” Hartlaub said. “Most of those kids, obviously, there’s a propensity of athletes to play other sports. That transition’s beginning.”

▶️ Will some Bend vacation rentals convert to worker housing if fewer allowed?

A proposal to reduce the density of short-term vacation rental units inside Bend City limits is raising eyebrows of supporters and opponents.

The Bend Planning Commission is considering changes to the Bend Development Code that regulates how and where short-term rentals can be permitted within city limits.

The proposed changes include increasing the buffer zone between permitted short-term rentals from 250 feet up to 500 feet in residential zones.

Such a restriction might limit the number of short-term rentals to one per street or neighborhood, depending on density of the area.

“A majority of supportive comments are in favor of increasing the concentration limits from 250 to 500 feet in neighborhoods. There is support for incentivizing them to be long-term rentals,” said Pauline Hardie, a senior planner for the City of Bend.

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One of the Bend City Council’s goals is to “take meaningful action to make this statement a reality: People who live and work in Bend can afford housing in Bend.”

The thinking appears to be one of converting some short-term vacation rentals to long term rentals that workers can afford.

“That’s the other part of the proposed amendments, allowing a short-term rental permit holder to convert their rental into a long-term rental which is 12 months or greater and not lose their short-term rental permit if they chose to use that later in the future,” Hardie said.

Based on survey results, property owners were supportive of incentives to rent long-term, including waiving the proof of use requirements to keep the short-term rental operating license. Currently, the Bend Development Code doesn’t allow a property owner to keep their short-term rental license if the property isn’t rented out as a short-term rental for more than 12 months.

The Bend Planning Commission will have a hybrid work session on the changes at 5:30 p.m. on August 22. The meeting will be in person in Council Chambers at 710 NW Wall Street,  or virtually.

A public hearing on the proposal will be held Sept. 12.

Bend City Council may consider the proposed short-term rental code changes in October.

▶️ COVID-19: Central Oregon looks much different than 1 year ago

Compared to the past two years, this summer has looked pretty normal.  Mask mandates and vaccine requirements are scarce and Central Oregon is about to begin the first full school year without masks since the pandemic began.

But the region still faces lingering effects. 

This week last year, Central Oregon and the rest of the state faced some major shakeups when it came to COVID. 

Locally, St. Charles broke the then-record for COVID-19 hospitalizations with 62 patients. The Redmond School Board began to consider the option of putting forth a resolution that would push back against the mask mandate in schools. 

On a state level, Gov. Kate Brown issued another statewide indoor mask mandate as Oregon dealt with the contagious delta variant. 

She also ordered that K-12 teachers be fully vaccinated by Oct. 18, and deployed the Oregon National Guard to assist in the state’s hospitals, including St. Charles

“That wasn’t a happy place,” said Dr. Cynthia Maree, an Infectious Disease Expert with St. Charles. “It was a hard time. I think it’s about the time we started to get called into emergency meetings to stand up an emergency care center to deal with the capacity issues in our emergency department.”

This year, it’s a lighter load in some ways. 

“On average, we’ve had about 20 COVID patients in a bed on any given day,” said Senior Data Scientist Dr. Mike Johnson from St. Charles. “That is coming down, thankfully, from what it has been in the recent past.”

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“We’re doing much better this year than we were last year, and a lot of it’s not because of our own doing,” he added. “It’s because of the natural course of the virus.” 

Maree added that the lower hospital numbers and lesser restrictions mean elective surgeries are far more available now. 

But COVID still casts a sobering shadow. More people are dying of COVID now than they were two months ago. 

“We’re on track to have about as many patients as we had in May, but we’re on track to have three times as many deaths as we had in May,” Johnson said. “So even though the numbers are small, we’re on track to have 10 people die in the hospital from COVID this month. So it’s not going away. This new variant is being very crafty and evading immunizations, and it kind of does what it wants.” 

Across Deschutes County, there are actually more positive COVID cases recorded this year than last year.

There were 357 new cases between July 31 and August 6 2021 versus 517 new cases from July 30 to August 5 of this year.

Deschutes County COVID-19 program manager Emily Horton said the nature of the latest variant is the main culprit for the higher numbers. 

“The BA.5 variant that we’re seeing now is incredibly contagious, so we know it moves through the population relatively quickly,” she said. “I would also say our numbers are higher than are even reported, because many people are taking at-home tests and they don’t report those to the county.”

In schools this year, teachers are still required to have proof of vaccination. But now, masks are a thing of the past, as well as distancing and quarantine protocols. 

Despite any COVID number fluctuations, the largest change has been resources. 

“I feel like there is a bit of a sigh of relief that we know what’s going on with COVID, we have been dealing with our processes for two years now, we have vaccines that are effective, we have treatments that are effective,” Maree said. 

The hospital expects a BA.5-specific vaccine to be approved sometime this fall.

Deschutes County plans to continue hosting free vaccine clinics across the county indefinitely. 

▶️ China Hat Road paving work this week; expect delays

Road work will be happening all week on Forest Service Road 18 in southeast Bend, also known as China Hat Road.

Crews with the Deschutes National Forest are working on patching potholes and repairing the edge of the roadway.

Work starts from Highway 97 to Milepost 9 on the paved section of the road.

DNF says drivers can expect delays of up to 30 minutes.

The unpaved portion of the road beyond Milepost 9 is not impacted and is accessible through Highway 20 and other side roads.

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▶️ Merkley urges Senate to pass same sex marriage equality act

Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., took to Twitter Monday to call for passage of the “Respect for Marriage Act.”

The act is an effort in Congress to protect the rights of same sex marriage after Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas issued a concurring opinion in the decision that overturned Roe v. Wade in June. Thomas said the court should look at potentially overturning other rulings, such as same sex marriage.

Merkley said he believes politicians shouldn’t have any role in dictating who someone loves or marries, but he is urging the passing of the act to respond to what he calls an extremist majority Supreme Court that “has laid down a philosophy that attacks the principle of marriage equality.”

The Respect for Marriage Act passed in the house in July and needs 60 votes in the Senate in order to reach President Joe Biden’s desk.

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▶️ Wyden in Bend to promote bill to tax big oil

Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore., stopped by Bend Monday morning to talk about his new bill targeting oil companies

The senator held a press conference near the Towne Pump to discuss the “Taxing Big Oil Profiteers Act.”

The bill would double the tax rate of oil companies excess profits, impose a tax on stock buybacks and get rid of tax loopholes and so-called accounting tricks.

“Certainly a bill like this which ensures that they’re going to be subject to more accountability, more oversight,” Wyden said. “And that they understand if in fact they are taking those steps to help Central oregon. They’re more efficient. They’re buying new equipment. They’re promoting carbon capture or something like that.”

Wyden adds this bill sends a message to oil companies that they will finally pay their fair share of taxes.

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▶️ 1st Battle of the Badges at K1 Speed pits Bend PD vs. Deschutes deputies

Want to watch cops chasing cops to raise money for a good cause? Head to K1 Speed in Bend Tuesday.

The Bend Police Department and Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office are holding the first-ever “Battle of the Badges.”

They’re racing go carts to raise money for the nonprofit group Neighbor Impact.

Races start at 5:00 p.m. and the public is invited to attend. 

Community members can donate online and choose Team Police or Team Sheriff by going to battleofthebadges.org.


▶️ PHOTOS: Great Basin Rattlesnake discovered in Deschutes County

A lucky photographer made quite the find out in the Deschutes county wilderness over the weekend.

The Bureau Of Land Management says Riley Frasier snapped photos of the Great Basin Rattlesnake on public lands in Deschutes County. BLM said Frasier had been trying for years to confirm the presence of the species in the county.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife warns you that if you see a rattlesnake, the first step is to move away. If a snake feels trapped, it will coil itself, warn you with its rattle and — if it has to — strike.

Here are other tips from BLM:

  • Stick to well-used, open trails.
  • Avoid walking through thick brush. If you can’t, use a walking stick to alert snakes of your approach.
  • Do not step or put your hands where you cannot see
  • Wear over-the-ankle boots and loose-fitting long pants.
  • Watch rattlesnakes from a distance and be aware of defense behaviors that mean you’re too close!

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Great Basin Rattlesnake
(CREDIT: Riley Frasier via Oregon Bureau of Land Management)
Great Basin Rattlesnake
(CREDIT: Riley Frasier via Oregon Bureau of Land Management)


Oregon in AP Top 25 preseason college football poll

Alabama is No. 1 in the preseason AP Top 25 for the second straight season. That is also the ninth time overall, second most in poll history.

The Oregon Ducks enter the season at No. 11, one of three Pac-12 teams in the poll. The others are Utah at No. 7 and USC at No. 14.

The Crimson Tide received 54 of 63 first-place votes.

Ohio State is No. 2 with six first-place votes.

Defending national champion Georgia is third with three first-place votes.

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Clemson is No. 4 and Notre Dame rounds out the top five.

The Tide’s preseason No. 1 ranking is the seventh in 15 years.

Since the preseason rankings started in 1950, only Oklahoma has been No. 1 in the initial poll more than Alabama.

Here is the full Top 25:

  1. Alabama
  2. Ohio State
  3. Georgia
  4. Clemson
  5. Notre Dame
  6. Texas A&M
  7. Utah
  8. Michigan
  9. Oklahoma
  10. Baylor
  11. Oregon
  12. Oklahoma State
  13. North Carolina State
  14. USC
  15. Michigan State
  16. Miami (FL)
  17. Pittsburgh
  18. Wisconsin
  19. Arkansas
  20. Kentucky
  21. Ole Miss
  22. Wake Forest
  23. Cincinnati
  24. Houston
  25. BYU

Travis Pittman contributed to this report.