▶️ Warm Springs celebrates new skate park opening

It was all smiles…with a few bumps and bruises…down at the brand new Warm Springs skate park on Wednesday. 

The opening ceremony was the result of years of efforts from the community, and a few supporting organizations. 

“It’s incredible to think that a year and a half ago, this was a concrete pad with a bunch of wooden ramps,” said Benjamin Bashein, the Executive Director of the Skatepark Project. 

A crowd of 500 came out to Warm Springs to see the transformation from the former wooden park to the state-of-the-art, concrete facility with new jumps and trick areas. 

“It feels good knowing there’s a lot of people putting their blood, sweat, and tears into this,” said skater Francisco Pedraza. 

“It was all wooden and it was really hard to skate,” skater Daquan Cassaway said. “It feels really good to have a new park now, way different from the old one.” 

The park is the more than $200,000 result of fundraising efforts by The Skatepark Project run by famous skater Tony Hawk, and Tactics Skate Shop. 

RELATED: Tony Hawk to donate photo proceeds to Tyre Nichols fund

RELATED: ▶️ New Warm Springs skate park expected to open spring break

The Skatepark Project has helped fund more than 60 skate parks across all 50 states, but the funding is normally only partial. This time, they helped fund the whole thing. 

Hawk’s brother and co-chair of The Skatepark Project, Steve Hawk, rarely makes an appearance at the park openings, but he made a special visit for Wednesday’s celebration. 

“Our big hopes of this is that it actually isn’t just a fun thing for kids to do, but that it will end up sort of uniting the community in a fashion. Because as you’ve seen here today, there’s a certain pride in that. They all came together to get it built. So now there’s a sense of local ownership over it,” Hawk said. 

He believes the skate park will become one of the ‘most used’ recreational facilities in the community. 

“On top of that, my brother and everyone involved in the skate park really strongly believes that skate parks in general, skateboarding in general, is just a great activity for a young person to get into because it’s active, it’s healthy and that regard,” Hawk said. “But it also requires a certain mindset, too, of perseverance and grit and a willingness to hurt yourself a little bit and get back up and try again. Clearly my brother is a living example of that.” 

Coletta Macy has pushed for the skatepark from the start, and the result has been greater than she dreamed. 

“There’s a lot of people that are from off the reservation that have come today, you know, they heard about it in Portland, they heard about it in Bend,” Macy said.  “You know, all of central Oregon heard about it. So it’s really cool that they came down here to to christen the spot.”

It’s a spot the community hopes will keep skaters rocking and rolling for years to come. 

The skate park will gain additional space with more trick sections in the coming year, and the remains of the old skate park will be used to make a new one up in Simnasho. 

Other organizations who supported the project include Ginew, Dehen, The Ford Family Foundation, The Marie Lamfrom Charitable Foundation, Roundhouse Foundation, PTM Foundation, Visit Central Oregon, Jefferson County Commissioners and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs.

▶️ Redmond PD finds 15 cats abandoned in totes with no food or water

Redmond Police Department officers found ten adult cats and five kittens abandoned in totes after responding to a call at 8 A.M. on Monday morning. 

The cats were at Paul Hathaway Park, 1021 NW Rockcrest Ct., near a canyon edge. They did not have access to food or water, and they smelled of urine and feces, Lt. Jesse Petersen with the Redmond Police Department said. 

There was a suitcase left nearby with cat food inside. 

RELATED: ▶️ Cat burglars: Video shows two thieves stealing a Prineville woman’s cat

Officers took the cats to Brightside Animal Shelter in Redmond for evaluations and vaccinations. 

“I’m shocked they were still in the crates when anyone arrived. Because most cats, if there’s an opened crate and it’s an outdoor area and they’re afraid, they are going to dart,” Assistant manager of Brightside Animal Shelter, Haley Halsey said.

Brightside told police all of the cats were in good condition. None of them were microchipped, preventing authorities from identifying the owner.
 
“Because they were in good condition, they were most likely not left over night. It was so cold that night, that if they had been left over night, there’s a potential that one of the kittens could have been hurt significantly,” said Lt. Petersen.
 
There will be some time before Brightside puts the cats up for adoption.
 
“We’re kind of waiting to see how this case turns out,” Halsey said. “We’re not sure at this point how long we have to hold these cats before we can spay and neuter them, and then adopt them out. The kittens are still too small to be adopted out so we’re going to send them out to foster for about two weeks.”

Redmond PD is still looking for the person responsible for the abandonment. If you have any information, you can call the non-emergency number at 541-693-6911. Reference RPD case #23-8507.   

In a press release Tuesday, Redmond PD said it is against the law to abandon a domestic animal or equine at a location without providing minimum care. It is also against the law, ORS 167.325 Animal Neglect, to fail to provide minimum care for an animal in a person’s custody/control. Penalties range from fines to jail time.

Redmond Airport experiencing ‘very limited’ parking availability

The Redmond Municipal Airport (RDM) told us it has recently been experiencing “very limited” parking availability and periods of zero availability.

The airport encourages passengers to plan for alternatives to parking at the airport before headed to the terminal.   

The airport’s website is being updated every 30 minutes with parking availability, located on the message scroll at the top of the page. 

If limited spaces show available, RDM is asking travelers to consider using alternate travel ride-share options.

Passengers are advised to arrive two hours prior to flight departure to check luggage and clear security, especially for flights departing between the hours of 5:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m.

The airport terminal is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Boarding lounge amenities include a children’s play area, Nursing Room, a free book exchange, a coffee/gift shop, a family-friendly restaurant, and a full-service bar (located post-security) that opens daily at 10:00 a.m. 

State Forester Mukumoto proclaims April as Oregon Arbor Month

State Forester Calvin Mukumoto has proclaimed all of April as Oregon Arbor Month, allowing lots of time for commemorative plantings and other tree-related activities. 

“Trees play an essential role in the lives of Oregonians,” said State Forester Mukumoto. “Living through the extreme heat of 2021 and the isolation of the COVID pandemic has brought home to all of us the importance of urban trees to provide shade and cooling, as well as contact with nature right in our own neighborhoods. This proclamation highlights those and the many other benefits that both rural and urban forests provide to the people of Oregon.”

Read the full text of the proclamation here.

Scott Altenhoff, manager of the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Urban and Community Forestry Program said, “Arbor Month is the perfect time to reflect on the contribution trees make to our physical, mental and emotional health, to the livability of our communities, to our safety, the quality and quantity of our air and water, and to our economy.” 

RELATED: ▶️ New Smith Rock master plan to be unveiled in April

RELATED: Overnight permit reservations for Central Cascades Wilderness open next week

Altenhoff said, “With extreme weather events becoming more common, more and more communities are recognizing trees for the role they play in moderating temperatures and slowing rainfall runoff and erosion.” 

At the same time, Altenhoff said urban trees face a wide range of threats. “Urban trees in Oregon are at risk from intensifying development, new pests and diseases, such as emerald ash borer, Mediterranean oak borer and sudden oak death and more extreme weather events,” he said.

The non-profit organization Oregon Community Trees supported the move from a week-long to a month-long recognition of trees back in 2020. OCT President Mike Oxendine said many towns and cities during the pandemic had to cancel in-person tree celebrations. 

“This year, people are getting creative and planning many tree-related activities throughout Arbor Month, including public dedications of Hiroshima peace trees that had to be postponed back in 2020,” he said.

Oxendine cited the April 29 dedication in Oregon City and the May 20 one in Klamath Falls as two examples of communities celebrating their peace trees, which were grown from the seeds of trees that survived the atom bombing of Hiroshima, Japan in August 1945. 

ODF’s Altenhoff said he’s encouraged that substantial new federal funding for urban forestry is expected by ODF over the next few years. “The additional funding from the Inflation Reduction Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill will boost our capacity to help communities better manage and improve their urban forests. Whether it’s conducting a local tree inventory using free software linked to a statewide tree database, or banding together to secure long-term contracts for the growing of diverse trees now in short supply, cities and towns will be able to really make a difference.”

Altenhoff said a large share of the funding will be directed at helping historically underserved and marginalized communities, which often have less tree canopy than more affluent areas. “We will be able to help cities and towns start to make up for years of underinvestment in those areas,” said Altenhoff. 

Altenhoff is also heartened by state legislation to earmark funding specifically for urban forestry for the first time. “If passed, Oregon will join other states which are investing in their urban forests so they continue to provide benefits to their people.”     

▶️ Redmond PD finds 15 cats abandoned in totes with no food or water

Redmond Police Department officers found ten adult cats and five kittens abandoned in totes after responding to a call at 8 A.M. on Monday morning. 

The cats were at Paul Hathaway Park, 1021 NW Rockcrest Ct., near a canyon edge. They did not have access to food or water, and they smelled of urine and feces, Lt. Jesse Petersen with the Redmond Police Department said. 

There was a suitcase left nearby with cat food inside. 

RELATED: ▶️ Cat burglars: Video shows two thieves stealing a Prineville woman’s cat

Officers took the cats to Brightside Animal Shelter in Redmond for evaluations and vaccinations. 

“I’m shocked they were still in the crates when anyone arrived. Because most cats, if there’s an opened crate and it’s an outdoor area and they’re afraid, they are going to dart,” Assistant manager of Brightside Animal Shelter, Haley Halsey said.

Brightside told police all cats were in good condition. None of the cats were microchipped, preventing authorities from identifying the owner.
 
“Because they were in good condition, they were most likely not left over night. It was so cold that night, that if they had been left over night, there’s a potential that one of the kittens could have been hurt significantly,” said Lt. Petersen.
 
There will be some time before Brightside puts the cats up for adoption.
 
“We’re kind of waiting to see how this case turns out,” Halsey said. “We’re not sure at this point how long we have to hold these cats before we can spay and neuter them, and then adopt them out. The kittens are still too small to be adopted out so we’re going to send them out to foster for about two weeks.”

Redmond PD is still looking for the person responsible for the abandonment. If you have any information, you can call the non-emergency number at 541-693-6911. Reference RPD case #23-8507.   

In a press release Tuesday, Redmond PD said it is against the law to abandon a domestic animal or equine at a location without providing minimum care. It is also against the law, ORS 167.325 Animal Neglect, to fail to provide minimum care for an animal in a person’s custody/control. Penalties range from fines to jail time.

▶️ Group works to attract beavers, water to parched section of Crooked River

After years of work a river restoration project in Crook County is showing signs of success thanks to a conservation group and their team of volunteers.

Since 2015, the Oregon Nature Desert Association has worked with a landowner to restore a section of the South Fork of the Crooked River outside of Paulina.

“We’re trying to establish a ‘beaver-hood’ where beavers can live and manage the landscape,” says ONDA’s Jefferson Jacobs.

The hope is that if beavers move in, they’ll bring more water.

This is where volunteers come in- first, harvesting the willow and cottonwood shoots at nursery in Clarno, then planting them along the waterway 65 miles to the southeast.

“We’re just giving a little boost, for nature to take it’s course,” says ONDA stewardship coordinator Beth Macinko.

The restoration work is attracting attention from neighbors including the BLM.

“Now we have this great formal collaborative with the Prineville BLM. Writing up everything we’ve learned here, helping with workshops, we’re helping implement similar projects,” says Jacobs.

A success story in the making as volunteer work to bring beavers, and water to a parched corner of the high desert.

“Harder than I thought it was. But maybe we’re setting a good example that others might follow and I think that’s happening,” says landowner Otto Keller.

If you’d like to get your hands dirty restoring this critical habitat, you can visit the Oregon Natural Desert Association’s website to sign up to plant the willow and cottonwood in April.

▶️ Public hears from four Sisters City Manager finalists

Four finalists for Sisters City Manager introduced themselves and met with several members of the public during a meeting Monday night.

People were separated into four groups at different tables, and candidates had 15 minutes to answer any questions before moving to the next group.

Lynne Casey presently serves as Business Operations Manager for the Portland Bureau of Environmental Services.

“A top priority for me, starting out, would be to get to know the community here, do a lot of getting out, meeting people, listening to their concerns, hearing their concerns, getting to know the council,” she said.

Nathan George is working as the City Manager in Tillamook.

“I believe that I am a systems thinker,” George said. “I believe in process, and I believe in planning and having someone to be able to listen to people. I believe I am a good candidate because I listen and I work together, and I like to make sure of things planned out.”

Dave Nelson previously held the positions of City Administrator, Chief of Police, and Police Lieutenant over in Troutdale.

“Priorities I was hearing tonight are concerns about development, affordable housing development code issues regarding gas station potential applications,” said Nelson. “Those seem to be the priorities we face right now.”

Jordan Wheeler is the City Manager in Sandy.

“I think bringing some consistency of leadership to the city manager position is another priority that I would come in with,” said Wheeler.

“I feel I have a good background to be able to handle these challenges and help the Council and be successful.”

The candidates will meet the Sisters City Council Wednesday, and the council will decide who the next City Manager is Thursday Morning.

Central Oregon Daily News asked two questions to each candidate. What they think a top priority is and why they are the best person for the job.

▶️ Juniper Ridge residents say their wells are drying up

Sarah Gettinger, a Juniper Ridge neighborhood resident, is concerned about her well water levels, just after having it filled a week ago.

She has rented the same house in the area for 12 years. She told us the issues started getting worse about five years ago. 

“It’s something to keep your eye on because you don’t want to be in the middle of taking a shower and have the water go off,” said Gettinger.

Now, the well water levels are lowering at an alarming rate, which means she will have to have water hauled in more frequently. 

“We just looked, it’s kind of low so I’ll probably have to have somebody check it,” said Gettinger.

She is not the only one experiencing this in the area. Two other neighbors told Central Oregon Daily News that their wells are completely dry. 

They have not had running water for three weeks. 

RELATED: Despite above average snow, Kotek declares drought emergency for Deschutes Co.

RELATED: Water contamination in Eastern Oregon could prompt EPA to step in

Andy High, owner of Thompson Pump and Irrigation, has worries about the wells in Juniper Ridge.

“There’s definitely some concern maybe some wells are going dry,” said High. “We see probably one out of every three or so that either need to be drilled or deepened and there’s even a tighter supply on drillers in the area, so a lot of people, what we’re seeing is from the drought is finally maybe catching up to some of these areas.”

High offered some solutions.

“If they need to deepen the well that there is some grant dollars out there helping that,” said High. “Often times the home owner has to front the money and the county reimburses it. I know some people are using equity loans, lines of credit, anything like that.”

Gettinger explained that saving water has been her top priority. 

“I’ve been very thrifty with the quick showers and the one load of laundry a week if I can get away with it,” said Gettinger.

She will continue to get water delivered to her well as needed. 

Since she rents her property, she does not have to pay for it, but her home-owner neighbors are not as lucky. 

REMINDER: Deadline to remove studded tires is this Friday, March 31

You have five days left to remove your studded tires, if you live in Oregon. 

Those who still have studded tires after this Friday, March 31 could receive citations for Class C traffic violations, and a fine of $165. 

“We encourage drivers to not wait until March 31 to remove their studded tires, especially if they aren’t driving in the mountain passes between now and then,” said Galen McGill, ODOT State Maintenance and Operations Engineer.

Studded tires are allowed in the state from Nov. 1 through March 31. 

RELATED: ▶️ Man stranded on remote snow-covered Oregon road uses drone to call for help

This comes as snow remains in the Central Oregon forecast through at least Sunday. For updates, visit the Central Oregon Daily News weather page

Drivers can continue to use traction tires and chains after the deadline. 

2014 study showed studded tires cause about $8.5 million in damage each year to state highways.

Bend PD arrests suspect after warning NE Bend residents to lock doors

UPDATE: Bend Police Department reveals identity of suspect who fired gun during domestic dispute. 

Police received a call just after 5 p.m. on Sunday about shots fired on NE Cobble Creek Ave. in Bend, with witnesses saying they heard screaming along with the shots, according to Bend PD Communications Director Sheila Miller. 

Before police arrived, the suspect, 41-year-old Micah Alan Reid, left the area and ran toward Jackson Ave. Police say they were able to communicate with him, but he wouldn’t share his location. 

Around two hours later, negotiators convinced him to turn himself in. Officers arrested Reid in the NE Purcell Blvd. and Lynda Lane area, Miller said. 

Police figured out that Reid had shot a 9-mm handgun into the floor, at another person’s house. Officers discovered the gun when they searched the house on NE Cobble Creek Ave. 

Reid was booked at the Deschutes County Jail on the following charges: 

  • Menacing
  • Harassment 
  • Reckless Endangerment 
  • Unlawful use of a weapon
  • Felon in possession of a firearm 

ORIGINAL ARTICLE:

The Bend Police Department sent an alert to many living in NE Bend Sunday evening, warning them to stay inside and lock their doors due to a potentially armed suspect in the area. 

The alert sent at 5:50 p.m. described the suspect as wearing a gray hoodie, blue jeans, and gray shoes. Police said he was thought to be armed “after a dispute.” 

Alerts sent via email referred to the area of Empire Ave. and NE 27th St. 

A second alert, sent out at 7:11 p.m., said that Bend PD had found the suspect and that he was in police custody. 

“You may resume normal activity in your area,” the alert read. 

Central Oregon Daily News has reached out to Bend PD for further information and will update this story as it becomes available.