▶️ Bend VA clinic renamed after local hero Robert Maxwell

By HANNAH SIEVERT
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY

On Monday, Bend’s Veterans Affairs clinic was officially renamed after local veteran Robert Maxwell, on what would have been Maxwell’s 100th birthday.

“It’s a nice coming together of his life, his work, his commitment to others,” Representative Greg Walden said.

Community leaders and family members gathered Monday outside of the clinic and shared stories about Maxwell’s life and legacy.

When Maxwell died last year at the age of 98, he was on the oldest Medal of Honor recipient in the country.

“He cared so much about his fellow service members, about their wellbeing,” Walden said. “That was his life.”

Senator Jeff Merkley and Senator Ron Wyden introduced a bill in the senate to rename the clinic, while Walden introduced the legislation in the house. The legislation was approved in September.

Walden says the new name is a way for Bend to remember the hero’s legacy.

And friends who knew him are thankful to see his memory honored.

“His legacy lives on,” Dick Tobiason, chairman of the Bend Heroes Foundation, said. “His body doesn’t but his spirit is with us.”

▶️ Women claim toxic workplace at DCSO; event organized by sheriff’s challenger

By MEGHAN GLOVA
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS

Several local women on Monday shared what they say they and others experienced while working at the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office.

They claim it was a hostile and toxic workplace due to gender discrimination.

During a news conference downtown, Bend City Councilor Gena Goodman-Campbell told the experience of a woman named Denise.

“I watched no less than eight women leave their posts due to a combination of bullying, oppression, demotions, false accusations, and ultimately fear,” Goodman-Campbell said.

Former sheriff’s office employee, Julie, said similar things happened to her in 2006 before Shane Nelson was even sheriff.

“I could feel that I was to be washed out immediately simply because of my gender,” Julie said. “And given no opportunity to prove what a valuable deputy I could have been.”

Julie confirmed the event was organized by We Win Strategy Group, a political consulting group that told Central Oregon Daily they were hired by the campaign to elect Bend Police Officer Scott Schaier as sheriff.

Nelson responded to the event in a press release Monday, saying many of the accusations were inaccurate.

“The timing is interesting, as this announcement appears to be election and debate related. I find this not to be coincidental,” Nelson said. “People not in line with the Sheriff’s Office mission and values will not work here, that is not what our taxpayers deserve.”

He also addressed the fact two city leaders attended the event.

“I am disappointed that Mayor Russell and Gena-Goodman Campbell did not reach out to me to discuss their concerns and learn Sheriff’s Office procedure on taking complaints before taking a stance on an issue.”

Mayor Sally Russell attended and spoke at Monday’s event but declined to comment on Nelson.

We Win CEO, Caroline Fitchett, as well as the Schaier campaign, did not respond to our request for comment.

“I’m sorry that a lot of people have already voted,” said Susan Cooper, who attended Monday’s news conference. “But when we have people who come forward, the timing is just what it is.”

You can read Nelson’s full statement below.

DESCHUTES WOMEN PRESS CONF

Deschutes NF delays seasonal closure of forest service road to Broken Top trailhead

Deschutes National Forest officials have postponed the closure of Forest Service Road (FSR) 370 from the Todd Lake Trailhead to the junction with FSR 4601 due to warmer than predicted conditions.

The road will now close for the season on Tuesday, November 3. FSR 370 provides access to Broken Top Trailhead and other popular high elevation destinations.

Winter conditions can be unpredictable.

If you are traveling in the National Forest, remember that not all roads will be gated and those that are blocked by snow or water should be considered impassable for public safety as well as the protection of natural resources.

Be prepared for a variety of conditions whether you are taking a short or long journey into the forest.

Conservation groups launch fundraising effort for Warm Springs water restoration

A coalition of eight conservation organizations have joined with the Warm Springs Indian Reservation, MRG Foundation, and Warm Springs Action Team to mobilize immediate and long-term action to remediate the growing water emergency.

The Chúush: Water for Warm Springs Campaign accepts contributions that will directly assist the tribes in restoring access to and infrastructure for clean water.

The communities of Warm Springs are now in the second year of a devastating water emergency due to a series of pressure breaks in key community water lines.

Over 60% of Warm Springs residents do not have regular, consistent access to clean water for personal or domestic use.

The crumbling water infrastructure is a public health crisis, exacerbated by climate change and the ongoing global health crisis—both disproportionately affecting Native communities.

Conservation groups’ efforts to leverage widespread community support for the Chúush Fund is an extension of the land and water stewardship that the Warm Springs Tribe has modeled since existence.

Chúush: Water for Warm Spring Campaign – Participating Organizations

●      Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs

●      MRG Foundation

●      Warm Springs Community Action Team

●      Blue Mountain Land Trust 

●      Coalition of Oregon Land Trusts 

●      Columbia Land Trust 

●      Columbia Riverkeeper 

●      Deschutes Land Trust 

●      Friends of the Columbia Gorge 

●      The Nature Conservancy of Oregon 

●      Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility

“In a first-of- its-kind partnership of its kind between a foundation and a Tribal Nation, MRG is honored to be the steward of the funds raised from generous folks across the country to help repair and restore the water infrastructure at the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Indian Reservation of Oregon,” said MRG Foundation Executive Director Se-ah-dom Edmo, Shoshone-Bannock, Nez Perce, and Yakama.

In July 2019, the Oregon legislature earmarked $7.8 million in Oregon Lottery funds for water infrastructure repairs on the reservation.

But due to a sharp decline in gambling revenues resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, state officials reduced support.

In July, 2020, Oregon’s emergency board unanimously approved $3.58 million from state reserves to start addressing the water crisis. The fund must be spent by the end of 2020, offering just a fraction of repairs needed, estimated near $200 million.

“The water crisis prompts not only health concerns among Warm Springs community members, but creates a deep-seated anxiety about the viability of building a life on the reservation. Would you buy or construct a new home in a place where you had to boil your water before you drank it? Would you start a business in a place without a safe, reliable water system?” asked Chris Watson, executive director for the Warm Springs Community Action Team—a non-profit community development organization located on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation.

“Warm Springs community members have to think about these kinds of things when deciding on their futures. Until this problem is solved, they’ll continue to live with these concerns, and to feel uncertain and anxious about the future of their community. And Oregonians must do all they can to help restore access and infrastructure for reliable, clean water,” Watson added.

“While most of us in Central Oregon take our water supply for granted, the Warm Springs community currently cannot,” said Brad Chalfant founding director of Deschutes Land Trust. “That’s why we have joined together with some of the Northwest’s leading conservation groups to partner with the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, Tribal community activists, and leaders at the state and federal level to help return reliable and safe water access to the people of Warm Springs.”

Launched this October after a series of early fall partner conversations, the Chúush: Water for Warm Spring Campaign’s goals are two-fold: strengthen available financial resources to meet immediate, emergency health needs and advocate for policy solutions needed to help the people of Warm Springs restore their access and infrastructure for clean water.

To date, The Chúush Fund has raised roughly $500,000 in response to ongoing community water needs.

The fund was approved by the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Tribal Council by resolution and a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Tribe and MRG Foundation.

The MRG Foundation transfers the total amount in the fund to the Tribe each month.

▶️ Tire changeover season looms, but some places already booked into late Nov.

By BROOKE SNAVELY
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS

Snow over the weekend prompted the seasonal rush on tire shops as drivers begin switching to winter tires.

Tire stores that accept reservations are already booked out days and, in some instances, weeks in advance.

“You can see the phones start ringing when the snow starts flying,” said Travis Cook, owner of Goodyear Auto Care on South Highway 97 in Bend. “Once it starts flying, you know it’s going to get busy especially those first few nights when it freezes and it’s slippery out on the roads. Makes it crazy.”

Tire shops are slammed right now and will be busier after November 1st when studded tires are legal for use.

“Call in advance, schedule an appointment. Make sure you give us enough notice. It can be a day or two. It can be a week out, depending on time of year and the weather,” Cook said. “Call in over the phone. We schedule appointments. We book it for a certain time. We usually tell people a half hour to 45 minutes to get it done.”

Les Schwab Tires encourages online reservations for its winter tire changeover services, but don’t expect it to be too soon.

Attempts to book online with Les Schwab showed the earliest possible dates of:

S. HWY 97: Nov. 20 (one appt.)
Hunnell Road: Nov. 25
Franklin Ave.: Nov. 23
Redmond: Nov. 23
Sisters: Nov. 10th (one appt.)
Prineville: Nov. 4 (some appts are available ahead of the changeover date of Nov. 1)

Due to the coronavirus, Discount Tire has a drive-up check-in station and limits the number of customers in its showroom.

That leaves many customers waiting in the parking lot, which is where we encountered Mike Setzer.

I’ve only waited for maybe 20 minutes. They are going to get it in there soon,” Setzer said. “The volume that they are doing here is amazing. I got told this morning they had 100 appointments.”

Other tire stores are first-come-first-serve.

You leave your car and pick it up when it’s ready, sometimes hours later.

“I’ve been doing this for 28 years,” Cook said. “From what it was back then, we used to have people just walk in, no problem. Now it’s like, schedule it out as best you can. We have limited parking too, so that makes it difficult.”

Folks who don’t have appointments and try walking in during the winter tire changeover season could get lucky and be taken care of in as little as 40 minutes.

But the average wait time is four hours.

OHA reports 339 new COVID cases, 2 deaths

COVID-19 has claimed two more lives in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 655, the Oregon Health Authority reported Monday.

The OHA reported 339 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19, bringing the state total to 42,436.

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported Monday are in the following counties: Benton (1), Clackamas (41), Clatsop (1), Columbia (7), Coos (8), Crook (2), Deschutes (10), Douglas (1), Jackson (15), Josephine (1), Klamath (1), Lake (2), Lane (37), Linn (7), Malheur (2), Marion (40), Multnomah (90), Polk (4), Sherman (1), Umatilla (5), Union (1), Washington (56), and Yamhill (6).

Statewide, the test positivity rate last week was 6.2%, up from 5.7% the week before.

Crook County has reported 109 cases and two deaths.

Deschutes County has reported 1,132 cases and 13 deaths; 947 patients have recovered as of Friday, the latest data available.

Jefferson County has reported 604 cases and nine deaths.

St. Charles reported Thursday it has seven COVID patients; one is in the ICU and on a ventilator.

SCHOOL METRIC WATCH:

Each day we will be posting the Sunday-Saturday running tally of COVID cases in Deschutes County* as they relate to the weekly metrics many are watching for kids to return to school.

Counties need to have 30 or fewer cases per 100,000 people to bring kids back in grades K-3. With about 200,000 residents, Deschutes County’s target number is 60 or fewer total cases.

So far this week, Deschutes County has reported 23 confirmed and presumptive cases since Sunday.

* The final weekly tally reported by the OHA may differ based on a variety of factors.

Deschutes National Forest plans prescribed burns east of Bend and La Pine

If conditions remain favorable, Bend-Fort Rock Ranger District fuels specialists plan to implement a series of prescribed burns east of Bend over the next couple of weeks.

Prescribed burns are critical tools used to reduce the potential for large wildfires, remove excess vegetation, and improve overall forest health.

 Depending on the weather, fuels specialists may start ignitions as early as today, on Maintenance Rx Units 2A and 2B located six miles northwest of the Fort Rock community and approximately 24 miles southeast of La Pine near Hole in the Ground.

The units combined total 1,057 acres and ignitions could last up to two days.

Smoke will be visible from Fort Rock and Highway 31. Visibility along Highway 31 and National Forest roads in the area may be temporarily degraded.

Residents near Fort Rock and Hole in the Ground may see some smoke impacts.

If conditions continue to remain favorable, fuels specialists may start conducting 1,400-acre prescribed burn five miles west of Pine Mountain and 20 miles southeast of Bend.

This understory burn encompasses Opine Rx Units 3A, 3C, 1B and 1C and may take up to four days to complete ignitions. Prescribed burning will continue as conditions allow. Smoke will be visible from Bend and Redmond and along Highway 20 between Horse Ridge and Pine Mountain. Visibility along Highway 20, National Forest roads and OHV trails in the area may be impacted.

Temporary OHV trail closures may need to be implemented during operations on the Opine Rx Units.

Impacted trails may include OHV trails north of the 25 Staging Area and OHV Trails 12, 13 and 18. Forest staff will sign alternative routes of travel. Hunters, OHV trail users and recreationists traveling in vicinity of both prescribed burns should use caution and adhere to all closures to provide for firefighter and public safety.

Fire management officials work with Oregon Department of Forestry smoke specialists to analyze weather conditions and anticipated smoke dispersion to determine burn dates.

When smoke is present, motorists should reduce speed and turn on headlights. All efforts will be made to limit smoke impacts to area neighborhoods and communities.

The possibility exists for smoke to settle in low-lying areas due to cool night-time temperatures.

Residents in areas near burn operations are encouraged to close windows at night to avoid possible smoke impacts. Individuals with respiratory conditions can request to be placed on an advanced contact list by calling the Bend-Fort Rock Ranger District at (541) 383-5300.

For prescribed fire information, visit https://www.centraloregonfire.org/what-is-prescribed-fire/when-where-prescribed-fire-smoke/ or follow us on Twitter @CentralORfire.

Measure 110 aims to provide treatment programs instead of criminalizing drug-use

Measure 110 would decriminalize drug use and re-allocate tens of millions of marijuana tax dollars to treatment programs.

People caught with user-amounts of drugs would be slapped with a Class “E” violation and $100 fine, which would be waived by completing a health assessment.

That assessment could connect them to treatment, recovery and housing services instead of jail time.

“We need to give our law enforcement more tools to deal with the situation that they come in contact with,” says Paul Steigleder, a retired Sheriff’s Sergeant and M110 supporter. “When you come in contact with a person who’s struggling with addiction, give them treatment. Don’t incarcerate them.”

But Washington County District Attorney Kevin Barton, who opposes the measure, said it’s not enough.

“So, if you’re addicted to heroin and someone says ‘you can pay a $100 fee or you can enter into treatment to get it waived, there’s a significant chance you’re just going to do neither,” Barton said. “And there’s nothing that the system can do about it in that regard.”

The measure is supported by groups like Oregon Nurse’s Association and the ACLU, and the campaign has drawn millions in out-of-state donations.

Opponents include the Oregon Chief of Police Association and Oregon’s Council on Behavioral Health.

A state committee predicts shifting pot tax revenue will reduce the state school fund by $73 million, as well as decrease money sent to cities, counties, state police, mental health services and the OHA’s alcohol and drug abuse prevention fund.

▶️ A quiet race continues for Oregon’s U.S. Senate seat

By HEATHER ROBERTS
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS

It’s a four-way contest for U.S. Senate in Oregon, but the race has been relatively quiet.

Incumbent Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) says it could be the first time candidates for the seat haven’t bought any television airtime in a general election.

However, the two major-party candidates are active on social media.

According to campaign materials, Republican challenger Jo Rae Perkins is a retired insurance agent from Albany, with 14 grandchildren.

On Twitter, she posts frequently in support of President Trump and “Cue” — a common reference to QAnon — and is critical of what she calls “the mainstream media”. Perkins refused our request for an interview, citing her busy schedule.

Incumbent Senator Jeff Merkley says Perkins is not a serious challenger.

He tells Central Oregon Daily, “The Republican nominee hasn’t raised funds. I’m certainly not going to help give her publicity for QAnon, this bizarre conspiratorial thesis of cannibalistic group imprisoning children.”

Perkins has raised just over $90,000 since the start of her campaign, nearly $12,000 of her own money; much of the rest is from the conservative fundraising platform WinRed, according to Federal Election Commission filings.

She has about $35,000 in what’s considered “cash on hand,” compared to Merkley’s nearly $4 million.

He’s so confident of his position, he’s not focused on his own funding.

“I’m spending all my fundraising time, virtually all of it, on raising money, both for turnout in Oregon State — that’s called the Coordinated Campaign — and for raising money for folks who are running for senate seats across the country,” Merkley said.

According to Merkley’s FEC finance records, the only advertising money spent by his campaign is on social media and postal services.

Merkley has served in the Senate since 2009 and sits on the Appropriations, Environment, Foreign Relations and Budget Committees. A Libertarian Engineer and a self-employed member of the Green party are also running against Merkley.

▶️ City asks for public feedback on Southeast Area Plan

By MEGHAN GLOVA
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS

479 acres in Southeast Bend off Knott Road is outside of current city limits, but within the city’s urban growth boundary.

Senior planner Damian Syrnyk says the City of Bend’s Southeast Area Plan will provide land for additional jobs, schools, parks and more than 1,000 housing units.

“We’re trying to provide that housing everywhere so that people have options,” Syrnyk said. “Where they live, how they get around, and they just have more choices.”

The project is still in the planning process and the city is looking for feedback through an online open house.

“You know everything from the land use concept, to the code changes, transportation, appearance of buildings,” Syrnyk said. “All those things are things that we’re hoping to get some feedback on.”

Syrnyk says so far, responses have been minimal, even though public concern was expressed in the early phases of planning.

“Some concerns about moving from a more rural area to a more urban setting,” Syrnyk said. “And making sure we’ve got a good network of trails and streets that people can walk and ride their bike safely has been brought up.”

The city’s online open house continues through November 12th.

You can access it at www.bendoregon.gov/southeastareaplan.