▶️ Bend Police Chief applauds peaceful protest; defends deferring situation to feds


It’s only Michael Krantz’s fourth day on the job and already Bend’s newest police chief has come face to face with protestors…some who have challenged his record confronting protests in Portland.

But Krantz says Bend PD’s presence at Wednesday’s protest was for safety reasons and they had no intention of assisting federal authorities.

“I asked a community member if I could use the bullhorn so I could address the crowd and address the community directly and tell them thank you for coming out and being peaceful,” Krantz said.

That peace lasted, Krantz said, throughout the evening, which is part of the reason no arrests were made.

“A peaceful crowd who was expressing their first amendment rights and doing it the way we expected to do it in Bend, is not really the place for an arrest,” Krantz said.

Despite claims local law enforcement was there ensure people remained safe, when federal agents arrived later in the evening, Bend Police left the immediate area.

That’s when protestors say they were shoved and pepper-sprayed by federal authorities.

“We pulled away for two reasons,” said Krantz. “We just went around the corner to give the federal agents room and to not be interfered with and not anyone else and to ensure that there was no confusion that we were a part of any actions they were taking. And there is also concern that if we step in and interfere that we would then be potentially liable for violating federal law for interfering with a federal investigation.”

Krantz added that he’s proud of the community as a whole for supporting each other and remaining non-violent.

“That’s really the message is that this was an example of how to provide the Bend community of what these events can look like,” Krantz said.

New Bend PD Chief issues statement addressing response to ICE protest

▶️ Feds say 2 men detained by ICE in Bend had violent criminal history; no details given


The Department of Homeland Security on Thursday said the two men arrested by ICE agents in Bend Wednesday, prompting a 12-hour protest that blocked their transport buses, had a history of “criminal violent behavior.”

“The law enforcement activity in Bend, Oregon is part of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s mission to arrest criminal aliens presenting a danger to public safety and take them off the street,” Homeland Security Investigations Spokeswoman Tanya Roman said. “The two individuals arrested each had a history of criminal violent behavior.”

Two men, identified by family and friends as Marco Zeferino and Josue Arturo Cruz Sanchez, were allegedly arrested by ICE agents around 7 a.m. on their way to work and placed in two unmarked white buses.

As word spread of their arrest, protesters started gathering around the buses in the parking lot of the Crane Shed Commons, near the Old Mill District.

By 3 p.m. more than 250 people had surrounded the buses and promised not to leave until the men were released or court action was taken.

Police responded to the protest only to monitor the activity and ensure everyone’s freedom of speech, Krantz said in a video news conference.

Around 10 p.m. Bend Police Chief Krantz arrived on the scene and told the crowd federal agents were on their way to help one of the bus drivers who was having a medical issue.

An hour later, federal agents in fatigues and riot gear arrived in the parking lot.

One of the agents barked orders to the group saying they wanted to attend to a bus driver having a medical issue and gave a final warning to disperse before non-lethal tactics would be used.

Soon after that, a group of agents made their way to the buses, pushing protesters aside and apparently using pepper spray before storming in and grabbing the two men and others on board.

“While ICE respects the rights of people to voice their opinion peacefully, that does not include illegally interfering with their federal law enforcement duties,” Roman said in her statement. “ICE will take all necessary measures to ensure the safety of its officers and detainees, and will vigorously pursue prosecution against anyone who puts them in harm’s way.”


Gov. Kate Brown issued a statement on Twitter Thursday.

“I am appalled by the callous actions of the Trump Administration yesterday in Bend to target immigrant communities and forcefully disperse a crowd of concerned community members and clergy who for hours held the line against injustice,” she wrote. “The actions by federal troops are all too familiar, designed for political headlines, meant to intimidate & strike fear into our communities instead of keeping us safe. To separate Oregon families is unacceptable & heartless. Especially during a pandemic.

“In Oregon, we welcome and include everyone who calls this state home. Those values are codified in our state laws, and they are a part of who we are. We welcome our neighbors, including Oregonian immigrants and refugees. We look out for one another.”

Krantz is expected to make a statement and answer questions from the media this afternoon.

We spoke with Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel this morning and are working to speak with Bend City Councilor Barb Campbell, who attended the protest, and Mayor Sally Russell.


Feds retrieve 2 men detained by ICE in Bend after protesters block transport buses


Federal agents detained two men in Bend early Wednesday, but protesters were alerted to the situation and arrived to block the ICE buses from leaving the area, sparking an hours-long rally for immigrant rights.

The peaceful protest came to a head though just after 11 p.m. when armed U.S. Border Patrol agents in tactical gear arrived on the scene and stormed the buses to allegedly remove a driver with a medical issue.

Instead, pushing protesters out of the way, they went in and retrieved the two men and four others on the bus.

Several scuffles ensued between agents and protesters; a few were hit with pepper spray.

A raucous ending to a bizarre, but peaceful day.

After news about the arrests circulated on social media around 1 p.m., more than 250 people gathered around the buses outside a hotel near the Box Factory holding signs and chanting while Bend Police officers looked on from a distance.

A family friend told Central Oregon Daily News the two men were picked up on their way to work around 7 a.m. and couldn’t call their families until noon.

It remained unconfirmed Wednesday night who the men were or what they were detained for.

By 9:45 p.m., one of the protesters said it was transitioning from a rally to a vigil for the men and folks were settling in for what they expected to be a long night.

At 10 p.m. Bend Police Chief Mike Krantz arrived on the scene and spoke through a megaphone to tell the crowd more federal agents were on the way to ensure the safety of their employees.

He did not elaborate but said Bend Police had an obligation to stand back.

Mayor Sally Russell joined Krantz at the scene but did not speak. Both were peppered with insults as they walked away surrounded by officers.

Krantz’s warning did little to thin the crowd.

Word spread around 10:45 that federal agents were mobilizing at the National Guard Armory on Simpson Avenue as some of the protest organizers prepared the group for what was likely to happen.

As promised, the uniformed border patrol agents arrived, walking in formation dressed in riot gear as chants of “let them go” echoed off the buildings.

An agent shouted warnings to the crowd through a megaphone, asking them to disperse before non-lethal tactics would be used.

No one budged.

Several agents then made their way to the door of one of the buses to retrieve someone inside and an agent could be seen carrying someone on his shoulders away from the scene.

In all, it’s believed six people were rushed from inside the buses amid the commotion.

The chaotic scene quickly calmed down after the agents left the area.

By 11:30, the crowd started to disperse realizing the men were no longer on the bus.

Thursday morning, the Department of Homeland Security issued a statement.

“The law enforcement activity in Bend, Oregon is part of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s mission to arrest criminal aliens presenting a danger to public safety and take them off the street,” said Tanya Roman a spokeswoman with Homeland Security Investigations . “The two individuals arrested each had a history of criminal violent behavior.

“While ICE respects the rights of people to voice their opinion peacefully, that does not include illegally interfering with their federal law enforcement duties. ICE will take all necessary measures to ensure the safety of its officers and detainees, and will vigorously pursue prosecution against anyone who puts them in harm’s way.”

Earlier in the night, a protester was able to talk to at least one detainee through the walls of the bus.

“He will never forget your support because we are all the same and have the same rights,” he passed along to the crowd.

Erin Carter, a local immigration attorney on the scene told Central Oregon Daily the Portland-based nonprofit Innovation Law Lab has asked a federal court to keep ICE from taking the men out of Central Oregon.

She said the men have lived in Central Oregon for over a decade.

Deschutes County DA John Hummel speaks with police and a protester.

City of Bend Communications Director Anne Aurand confirmed Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents were at the scene.

Russell told Central Oregon Daily “I’ve been told the two men they’re trying to find are criminals and have warrants out for their arrests.”

Facebook posts were making the rounds earlier in the day urging Central Oregon’s Latino community to stay indoors because immigration was making the rounds.

“I’ve been told this is not a sweep,” Russell said, adding that Bend Police were only on the scene because the crowd was volatile.

“The city does not use funds or equipment to enforce federal immigration laws or to detain people on immigration status,” she said.

Krantz reiterated that point in a video press conference Wednesday evening.

He said Bend PD had been notified that ICE was in the city conducting an investigation, but were unaware of any details and police were not part of any operation.

Officers were on scene to ensure public safety and allow the group to peacefully protest, he said.

“We hope for a completely peaceful resolution and to allow for our community to have their First Amendment rights safely expressed,” he said.

He also acknowledged the optics of some Bend SWAT team members arriving early on the scene dressed in fatigues.

Krantz said the officers were in training at the time and responded to the scene because patrol officers weren’t available. Once they assessed the situation, those officers were replaced.

“That could have caused some fear and response from community members and it was very important for us to replace those officers with regular patrol officers,” he said.

The crowd continued to grow throughout the day and included some faith leaders, including Morgan Schmidt from Bend’s First Presbyterian Church, members of the Central Oregon Peacekeepers group, and others.

They ate pizza as folks passed around water while the protest moved past the dinner hour. Sandwiches and water were shared with drivers of the buses as well.

Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel arrived and was stopped multiple times by protesters asking questions, but he had few answers related to the incident.

In a Facebook post, the mayor asked everyone to “please leave peacefully.”

Krantz said the property owners had asked the protestors to leave the area, but police are not ready to take any action to remove anyone.

“There may be a low-level criminal action occurring but at some point, we have to balance that appropriately and balance towards the rights of our community,” he said.

The presence of Bend Police officers dwindled as the event grew larger with just a few officers seen in the area around 5:30.


▶️ Crowdsourcing Conservation: Website helps preserve the High Desert, 1 acre at a time


It’s a new conservation concept, the first of its kind.

It involves hiking boots and high tech, the long, dusty trail and carefully programmed drone photography.

It’s a way you can put your name on a specific piece of the High Desert and preserve it.

And if you want to sit tight, you can do it without ever getting up from your keyboard.

Or you can hike into the boondocks as I did with Brent Fenty of the Oregon Desert Land Trust.

“If we can fill in a little bit of the holes it’s good for the rancher here who wants to continue ranching, for people who want to come in to fish or to hike or hunt.
By filling in those holes we can benefit a lot of the users in the region.”
– Brent Fenty, Oregon Desert Land Trust

We drove until the road ran out, somewhere near Summer Lake about a hundred miles southeast of Bend and then set off at a brisk pace (that’s really the only pace Fenty knows) for the 880-acre plot of land his organization has purchased and is now offering, acre by acre, to land conservation enthusiasts.

“This was all a big massive lake until 14,000 years ago. You’re looking across at Winter Rim,” Fenty said. “You’re looking behind you at Diablo Mountain. Those sit 15,200 feet above us.”

This vast, flat, alkali space between desert mountain rims is unforgiving land, the true high desert that stretches south and east from Bend all the way to California, Nevada, Idaho.

Fenty loves every baking-hot square foot.

“For me its the wide-open spaces. If you really stop, slow down and take a look, it’s just such a rich system,” he said. “There is so much going on out here. It’s a neat little spot even on a really hot day.”

As we hike in he points out Meadow Larks, Redwing Blackbirds, Coyotes, Jack Rabbits, huge ant-hills, and more.

For the Oregon Desert land trust this is all worth saving, preserving.

Your name’s on it, forever.
Just don’t drive to it, build anything on it, or set it on fire.

And with a high-tech philanthropic partner equally dedicated to conserving wild spaces, he’s working on a new concept for involving the public and filling in holes in the map, buying up the scattered plots of land not owned by the Federal Government, to fill in the blanks spaces that are still vulnerable to development.

“If we can fill in a little bit of the holes it’s good for the rancher here who wants to continue ranching, for people who want to come in to fish or to hike or hunt,” he said. “By filling in those holes we can benefit a lot of the users in the region.”

The Desert Land Trust partners with an all-volunteer group called “conserve.dot org”.

Together they’re pioneering a new way of linking individual donors with the land. You could call it call it “crowd-sourcing conservation.”

Haley Mellin is the co-founder.

“With conserve.org you see the acre. You get the latitude and longitude of the location so you can hike there, like you did. It’s real and it’s permanent.”

Here’s how it works. Go to the Conserve.org website. If you’re interested in the area where we’re hiking you would click “Mt. Diablo”.

Pick an acre and you can spin the camera for a 360-degree view. And if you like what you see, just point, click, pay and conserve.

Your donation, tripled by matching funds from other organizations, will be $46. Maybe the cost of lunch for two; Hold the dessert and designer cocktails..

Mellin says it’s important to make the land on the screen tangible, the online connection a “real” experience.

“It’s real and it’s permanent.” – Haley Mellin, conserve.org

“It’s easy. It’s fun. It’s simple. It’s direct,” she said. “It’s exceptionally transparent and that was very important to me, that what you see is what you get.”

What you “get” is a place you can hike to and visit, even camp on if you want some peace and quiet in the greasewood scrub somewhere north of Paisley. Your name’s on it, forever. Just don’t drive to it, build anything on it, or set it on fire.

New drone technology makes the process work.

Earlier efforts required volunteers to walk every acre in a parcel and shoot selfie-stick pictures at every stop.

Now, Fenty can launch a drone that is pre-programmed to fly to the center of an acre, shoot high-resolution, 360 degree pictures, then automatically move on to the next acre in the grid. Repeat, repeat, repeat and pretty soon you have images of every one of the 880 acres viewable on the screen. Without all that walking.

The programming was developed by a Colorado company, Red Mountain Scientific.

They donated their time and expertise because they liked the project.

The whole concept is still very much in the “Beta” testing phase. Fenty, Mellin, and all those involved hope the process can be simplified, scaled up and used to conserve other areas in Oregon and beyond. Conserve.org is already “selling” the naming rights to bits of land in a Guatemalan cloud forest.

So far the point-and-click method is working.

Most of the 880-acres in the Diablo Mountain tract we hiked have been conserved by individuals, many of them purchased as gifts for friends and loved ones.

At $46 an acre, a pretty good bargain for those who love the wide-open spaces of the Oregon Desert like Brent Fenty does.

“Often our bias is towards the wet, forested side of the state,” he said. “But this, these kinds of landscapes represent over half of our state and they’re some of the largest roadless intact areas that we have.”

Rad! Bend Blockbuster to become an Airbnb for 3 nights in September

Bend’s Blockbuster Video – AKA, the Last Blockbuster on Earth – is offering Bend residents a unique (and super cheap) chance to live out a 90s dream.

You can spend the night in the famous video store for an all-night movie marathon.

The kicker? It’s just $4.

Beginning August 17th at 1 p.m. you can book the Bend Blockbuster store for a one-night end-of-the-summer sleepover on September 18th, 19th or 20th.

A movie rental will cost you $3.99, but for a penny more you can book one of the stays (plus taxes and fees.)

Sandi Harding, the store manager, will be your host and she’ll stock the shelves with all the movies your heart desires before handing over the keys.

“Whether you want to stay up until sunrise or pass out on the couch, we’ve created the perfect space complete with a pull-out couch, bean bags and pillows for you to cozy up with “new releases” from the ‘90s,” the Airbnb post says. “Crack open a two-liter of Pepsi before locking into a video game, charting your future in a game of MASH, or watching movie after movie.”

But, before dusting off those Blockbuster membership cards and jumping into the minivan for this end of summer stay, all guests who book should adhere to COVID-19 safety guidelines around wearing masks and social distancing in a public space.

Interested guests should also note host rules that are those who request to book must be Bend residents and come from the same household to minimize risk.

This private sleepover has been planned with safety in mind, and guests can rest assured knowing that the store will be cleaned and prepared in accordance with CDC guidelines and consistent with the Airbnbenhanced cleaning protocol, Harding said in a release.

“And remember, the store is all yours for the night! So let loose, blast the boombox and wear your favorite ‘90s denim so that you feel right at home in another era.”

After the final guests check out, Blockbuster customers can check out the living room space during store hours for a limited time.

To celebrate the last Blockbuster in the world and its community, Airbnb will make a donation to the Humane Society of Central Oregon, a longtime partner of the store close to Sandi’s heart.

The booking period opens on August 17 at 1 p.m. at airbnb.com/BLOCKBUSTER.

Pac-12, Big Ten pull plug on fall football amid COVID-19 concerns


The Big Ten and Pac-12 won’t play football this fall because of concerns about COVID-19, taking two of college football’s five power conferences out of a crumbling season amid the pandemic.

About an hour after the Big Ten’s announcement, the Pac-12 called a news conference to say its season would be postponed until the spring.

The Big Ten’s announcement comes six days after the conference that includes historic programs such as Ohio State, Michigan, Nebraska and Penn State had released a revised conference-only football schedule that it hoped would help it navigate a fall season with potential COVID-19 disruptions.

Instead, all fall sports in the Big Ten have been called off and a spring season will be explored.

The decision was monumental but not a surprise. Speculation has run rampant for several days that the Big Ten was moving toward this decision. On Monday, coaches throughout the conference tried to push back the tide, publicly pleading for more time and threatening to look elsewhere for games this fall.

“The mental and physical health and welfare of our student-athletes has been at the center of every decision we have made regarding the ability to proceed forward,” Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren said in a statement. “As time progressed and after hours of discussion with our Big Ten Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Big Ten Sports Medicine Committee, it became abundantly clear that there was too much uncertainty regarding potential medical risks to allow our student-athletes to compete this fall.”

Over the last month, conferences have been reworking schedules in the hopes of being able to buy some time and play a season.

The Big Ten was the first to go to conference-only play, doing it in early July.

The Pac-12 followed two days later and eventually all the Power Five conferences switched to either all conference play or mostly.

▶️ BLP board co-chair calls for limited return to class; says no one is stepping up


In a guest column for The Oregonian, Bend-La Pine Schools Board Co-Chair Carrie McPherson Douglass outlined what she calls “a better plan” for opening schools in the fall, based on her conversations with teachers, parents and doctors.

“Neither the state department of education or local districts are stepping up to innovate or get creative and help solve the problem,” McPherson Douglass said.

Most schools will go back to online learning in the fall unless they can meet strict COVID metrics set by Gov. Kate Brown.

But McPherson Douglass said schools need to work to bring the most vulnerable students back into the classroom first. That includes students who are food insecure or students with disabilities who won’t get the help they need at home.

“We should be able to open classrooms to groups of 10 with all the proper social distancing and masking,” McPherson Douglass said. “That would bring all of our most vulnerable kids back into the classroom sooner.”

She also said a statewide online learning curriculum should be created, so each school district doesn’t have to create their own and teachers don’t have to spend time creating online courses.

“There is K-12 curriculum that already exists,” McPherson Douglass said. “It seems to me we should be using teachers for things an online curriculum can’t do, like providing feedback and providing social-emotional support, and really focusing on teachers on kids and families rather than creating online curriculum.”

McPherson Douglass said not all feedback has been positive from the op-ed, but she does think new ideas need to be proposed to create a productive school year this fall.

“I think in general people appreciate when leaders are willing to propose new ideas and call out when we’re not doing good enough,” McPherson Douglass said. “I’m not naive enough to think an op-ed will change the world, but I do think we need to get ideas out there and challenge thinking.”

Bend man arrested after stabbing outside downtown bar

A 42-year-old Bend man was arrested Sunday after allegedly stabbing another man outside a bar a day earlier, according to police.

Sgt. Tommy Russell said the incident started around 4:15 Saturday when officers responded to a reported stabbing near the M&J Tavern on Greenwood Ave.

The bartender at the M&J Tavern reported a patron had entered the bar saying he had just been stabbed by another unknown man about an hour earlier.

The bartender told the man she was going to call 911 but the victim said he did not want the police called.

Officers who responded reviewed surveillance video provided by the M&J Tavern and learned that the suspect arrived alone in a black 2019 Nissan Armada with no license plates displayed.

The two men had both been in the M&J Tavern, in the video poker area, minutes prior to the stabbing, Russell said.

The two men did not converse or interact with one another so it is unknown what prompted the attack.

The two men walked out of the bar nd the suspect stabbed the victim on a sidewalk nearby, Russell said.

Officers reviewed other surveillance video and learned the victim was stabbed at least one time in the upper left arm.

The suspect tossed the knife near the crime scene and it was recovered by the police, Russell said.

The suspect left the area in the black 2019 Nissan Armada and the victim left on foot.

On Sunday around 11:12 a.m. an employee at the Bend Factory Outlet Stores called Deschutes County dispatch to report seeing the suspect’s vehicle parked nearby.

The caller said she saw a man sitting in the vehicle.  Officers arrived a short time later, but the vehicle was unoccupied.

At 11:26 a.m. a man identified as 42-year old Bend Brian Blanton of Bend approached the officers and asked why they were around his vehicle, Russell said.

The original investigating officer immediately recognized Blanton as the suspect in the stabbing, based upon his review of the surveillance video.

Blanton was still wearing the same clothing as he was in the video of the stabbing, Russell said.

Blanton was arrested and taken to the Deschutes County Jail on the charges of second-degree assault and unlawful use of a weapon.

Also Sunday officers with the Bend Police Department identified the victim of the stabbing as a 35-year old Bend man.  He was contacted, interviewed and he cooperated with investigators.

He refused medical treatment despite the injury likely needing sutures.

During the interview, officers learned that the victim left the M&J Tavern to return to his vehicle that was parked along the sidewalk on NE Greenwood Avenue.

As he approached his vehicle he saw the suspect, Brian Blanton, slashing one of the tires on his vehicle.  He verbally confronted Blanton who in turn ran at him, kicking him in the chest and cutting his upper left arm one time with a folding “pocket” knife.

The victim recognized Blanton, whom he has known for many years.

Blanton walked away and the victim returned to the M&J Tavern to get some paper towels to stop the bleeding on his arm.

The victim had no explanation as to why Blanton would vandalize one of the tires on his vehicle.

In addition to the previously listed charges, Blanton was also charged with second-degree criminal mischief for the damage he did to the victim’s vehicle tire, Russell said.

Climber injured after fall at Smith Rock State Park

A 22-year-old climber was injured Saturday in a fall at Smith Rock State Park, according to Redmond Fire and Rescue.

Battalion Chief Garrick Terry said the climber fell about 90 feet while rappelling Monkey Face, then tumbled another 150 feet down a steep grade coming to rest near the trail system.

Redmond firefighters and paramedics and Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office deputies used Redmond Fire’s raft to cross the river to tend to the climber.

The climber was then brought back across the river to an awaiting Airlink helicopter that flew him to St. Charles in Bend.

The accident happened about 2:22 and the rescue took about an hour, Terry said.

▶️ Locals excited for famed Sturgis motorcycle rally despite COVID risks


Sturgis is the world’s largest motorcycle rally.

Once a year, riders from around the country gather in the small South Dakota town for a big celebration.

Redmond resident Donn Hougham, his wife Marni, and their close-knit group of Harley fanatics are traveling over 1300 miles to experience the bucket list-worthy rally.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We live life to the fullest, I’m not scared,” Hougham said.

For its 80th anniversary, as many as 250,000 people are expected to attend Sturgis this year.

And believe it or not, that’s a small number compared to previous anniversary years – more than 730,000 attended in 2015.

Donn says he’s not concerned over the number of people that will likely show up, and that COVID aside, he and his friends are not the types to worry about what they can’t control.

“We pretty much live life. We’re just not afraid, we’re cautious, but we’re not afraid,” Hougham said. “We’re trying to live without all the chaos. We did do the lockdown like everyone else did. We wondered this isn’t much of a life so once riding season came we were riding.”
Donn’s wife Marni says they’ve already missed out on enough since the start of the pandemic.

“All of our runs, all of our rides were canceled, and we ride all summer long. Sturgis is still open, it’s still happening, it’s still going. This is a big deal for us because we haven’t had any of those big runs and fun trips.”

But are they concerned with getting sick and bringing it back to Central Oregon?

Not necessarily.

The group says they’ll be taking the precautions they feel comfortable with.

“The flu virus is out there every year. People have died from that,” Hougham said. “Yes be careful, if you’re worried and you want to wear a mask, then wear a mask. If you’re worried about social distancing too close, then don’t stay next to your buddy. Or if you go shopping, stay away from people. That’s your personal choice and your personal fears. We as a group don’t have those like others do, so we’re going.”

In the end, it’s an experience they’re not willing to miss out on and big crowds are just a part of the deal.

“We live life to the fullest, and so if that means wear a mask, then I guess we’ll wear a mask. But if not, then we just live.”