▶️ Missing woman from Chiloquin found; Boyfriend escapes capture

A Klamath County woman who disappeared Tuesday, days after her estranged boyfriend allegedly tried to abduct her by force, was found late Tuesday night. Her boyfriend escaped capture by deputies.

The Klamath County Sheriff’s Office posted on Facebook Wednesday morning that Molly May Swedenskey was found around 9:45 p.m. Tuesday by responding deputies at the Pilot Travel Center in Chemult.

The sheriff’s office said her boyfriend, Eric Patrick Koon, drove south on U.S. 97 at speeds over 100 mph. Deputies and Oregon State Police were able to stop the vehicle using spike strips near milepost 222.

KCSO says Koon took off on foot into the woods, armed with a handgun. After several hours of searching, law enforcement was unable to find him.

KCSO says anyone who sees Koon should not approach him. Call 911 instead.

Swedenskey was abducted by Koon on Sunday, KCSO said in its initial alert, but she was able to get free and call for help.

Then on Tuesday afternoon, her family reported her missing.  Two children, both under the age of two, were left behind at her home. 

Koon is 19 and has a felony warrant for a previous assault, KCSO says. He now is under probable cause for kidnapping and burglary, according to the sheriff’s office.

His mental state is unknown, KCSO says.

KCSO says Koon has turned off his cell phone and has cut off communication with his family.

Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff’s office tip line at 541-850-5380.

Koon Ford F250
(CREDIT: Klamath County Sheriff’s Office)

▶️ Bend woman killed after being hit by SUV on parkway

A Bend woman who was reportedly standing in the Bend Parkway early Wednesday morning was killed after being hit by an SUV.

Bend Police say the woman, 43-year-old Jennifer Lin Bell, was hit just after midnight in the northbound lanes of U.S. 97 south of the Empire Avenue exit.

She was hit by a 2017 black Mazda CX-5 driven by a Portland man. Police say the driver called police after the crash. He reportedly cooperated with the investigation and police determined that neither speed nor intoxication were factors in the crash.

Two other callers to police indicated the woman had been standing in the roadway before the collision.

RELATED: After fatal crash on Highway 97, what safety improvements is ODOT planning?

RELATED: Safe wildlife crossing No. 5 installed on Highway 97 near Vandevert Road

▶️ 2022 election nears, but Central Oregon clerks still get requests about 2020

The 2022 midterm election is seven weeks away. And while local elections offices are trying to get ready for that, they are seeing a trend.

Not about 2022. But about interest — still — in the aftermath of the 2020 election.

“The records requests have really increased since November 2020,” Deschutes County Clerk Steve Dennison. “They started in December 2020. We’ve had requests for voter files, voter records as well as information from our voting system.”

Secretary of State Shemia Fagan says these record requests, which have increased all over Oregon, are about “the big lie” — the false claim that the 2020 presidential election was stolen.

Dennison says the concern is that these requests will take the focus away from the election this November: “All I want to do, all we would like to do, is move forward.”

RELATED: Flood of record requests hamper Oregon election officials

The clerk says he is happy to answer public records requests, but also wants to bring the attention to this next election. 

As for that election, Tuesday was National Voter Registration Day. A few minutes of your time is all it takes to make sure you can fill out a ballot in November. 

“Today is a great day for voters to go online and verified that they are, in fact, registered to vote,” said Dennison.  

You can check your voter status by visiting Oregonvotes.gov, and you can register by filling out a registration card. These cards can be found at the county clerk’s office. 

Everyone Central Oregon Daily spoke with in Downtown Bend said they were registered and up-to-date with their information. 

“We are registered to vote and all of our information is up to date,” said Martin Luber. 

“I actually went online yesterday to make sure I was registered to vote and to see if it was up to date, and it was so I am registered,” said Carrie Woolard. 

“I am registered to vote and all my information is current,” said Rick Burton. 

The last day to register is October 18. 

Hiker who fell ill near Broken Top airlifted to hospital

Deschutes County search and rescue and an AirLink helicopter teamed up Tuesday to rescue a hiker who had become ill while hiking near Three Creek Lake.

The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office said the hiker was on the Tam McArthur Rim trail near Broken Hand, east of Broken Top.

Someone called 911 Monday afternoon to report the hiker was not feeling well. The hiking party of three decided to hold up for the night near the trail and see if the person felt better in the morning. 

Not only did the person not get better, DCSO said their condition got worse and couldn’t even stand up.

DCSO said the person was also still recovering from a vehicle collision he was in about eight months ago.

RELATED: Smith Rock hiker rescued after falling nearly 50 ft.

RELATED: ‘Bridge between life and death’: Bend Fire and Rescue holds free CPR classes

A DCSO Search and Rescue team was called in and a request was made of AirLink to possibly fly the person out if weather conditions allowed it.

The patient was picked up by helicopter just before 11:00 a.m. and taken to St. Charles Hospital in Bend. A wheeled litter was also brought in just in case the helicopter couldn’t land.

The search and rescue team escorted the other members of the hiking party down to the trailhead, DCSO said.

Half-million Oregonians could benefit from student loan relief: White House

The White House says nearly a half-million Oregonians could benefit from the recently announced cancellation of $10,000 of student loan debt. And more than 300,000 could benefit from the planned $20,000 in relief to Pell Grant recipients.

The White House released the state-by-state data from the Department of Education Tuesday morning.

The Education Department says 499,000 Oregonians would benefit from the basic student loan relief. About 332,100 would get Pell Grant forgiveness.

Not surprisingly, California and Texas — the two states with the highest populations have the highest numbers of potential student loan debt recipients: 3.5 million and 3.3 million, respectively. Each state also has more than 2 million potential Pell Grant relief beneficiaries.

RELATED: Scam alert: Crooks already targeting people expecting student loan forgiveness

RELATED: Entirely new world’: Local students react to Biden’s loan forgiveness plan

Around the Pacific Northwest, the White House says Washington could have 697,600 regular student loan borrowers and 423,800 Pell borrowers see relief.

In Idaho, 201,400 loan borrowers and 144,900 Pell borrowers could benefit.

The Department of Education says an online form will be available in October to apply for relief. The deadline to apply will be Dec. 31, 2023.

Those whose annual federal income was below $125,000 (individual or married, filing separately) or $250,000 (married, filing jointly or head of household) in 2021 or 2020 will be eligible.

More information can be found at the Department of Education website.


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▶️ Rescued baby river otter makes High Desert Museum public debut Wednesday

The yet-to-be-named otter pup was found on a golf course near Sunriver in May. 

“Then believed to be about 8 weeks old, he was emaciated and severely dehydrated, and after multiple wildlife professionals attempted to locate his mother over nearly a week, the state determined he should remain at the Museum,” High Desert Museum said in a statement. The otter weighed 2.4 pounds at the time.

“Without his parents he wouldn’t have survived in the wild,” Museum Curator of Wildlife Jon Nelson said in a statement. “This was a unique situation where this otter pup does appear to have been legitimately orphaned.”

RELATED: High Desert Museum adopts orphaned river otter found on Sunriver golf course

RELATED: The Great Outdoors: Don’t ‘rescue’ baby animals you see alone in the wild

The otter is now approximately 5 1/2 months old and weighs about 15 pounds.

“North American river otters are so playful and engaging, and they have so much to teach us about riparian ecosystems,” said Museum Executive Director Dana Whitelaw in a statement. “We’re excited for the public to share the excitement of welcoming this new addition to the Museum.

Baby Otter High Desert Museum
(CREDIT: High Desert Museum)

Wednesday is also Senior Day at the Museum. Those age 65 and older get free admission.

The opportunity to name the new otter was auctioned off in August at the High Desert Rendezvous fundraiser. The museum says the winning bidder has yet to determine the name.

▶️ Gathering Monday night on 1-year anniversary of Barry Washington Jr’s death

Community members gathered Monday night at the corner where Barry Washington Jr. was killed one year ago. 

About 50 people attended the memorial. His memorial was cleaned and several people paid respects by laying flowers and candles down.

A few people talked about Washington and his upcoming trial to the crowd.

“This is literally talking about a life that was snuffed out,” said memorial speaker Kenny Adams. “A candle that was blown out before it had a change to really shine. Shine brighter than it already had and we need to do more. But tonight we remember Barry.”

Ian Cranston, 27, is accused of shooting Washington, 22, after an argument.

Cranston has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder, first-degree manslaughter, second-degree manslaughter, first-degree assault, and two counts of unlawful use of a weapon.

Cranston is set to go to trial Nov. 1. The trial is expected to last for around two weeks. 

RELATED: Judge denies bail for accused killer Ian Cranston

RELATED: Man shot and killed in downtown Bend, suspect arrested

A Deschutes County Circuit Court judge ruled recently to allow video evidence from the defense in the trial after the prosecution claimed videos told an incomplete story. 

It was also ruled that evidence about an encounter in which Washington cursed and gave a profane hand gesture police officers earlier that evening would be excluded from the trial.

Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel was unwilling to comment on the case Monday, so close to the trial date. 

Attempts to reach the attorneys for Cranston and for Washington’s mother were not returned.

▶️ Cedar Creek Fire now 113,000 acres; See the new fire progression map

More than 2,500 people are fighting the Cedar Creek Fire Monday morning, which has grown to more than 113,000 acres. It is now 11% contained, according to fire manages.

The size of the fire grew significantly Saturday morning — from about 93,000 to 110,000 acres in 24 hours — but that was by design. 

“The increased acreage is due to firing operations that have been implemented along the primary containment line on the west side of the fire over the past few days. As fuel moisture and weather permit, more aerial ignition will occur to slowly bring the main fire toward the completed burnout,” managers said on the InciWeb website.

The fire is 113,322 acres as of 5:30 a.m. Monday. That includes 12 helicopters, two scoopers and three air attack platforms.

In the video above, you can see the updated map of the fire progression from Aug. 4 – Sept. 19.

The Cedar Creek Fire started Aug. 1, caused by lightning.

RELATED: Cedar Creek Fire tops 110,000 acres; remains 0% contained

RELATED: Cedar Creek Fire grows to 93,000 acres

Here is the latest on the fire as of Monday morning via InciWeb:

Status: Higher humidity and precipitation minimized fire growth on Sunday. The fire is now 11% contained. The containment line includes the west side of the fire between FS 24 and Fifth Creek, the stretch from Charlton Lake west to the shore of Waldo Lake, and the north and west shores of Waldo Lake.  

The West Zone of the fire is currently burning with low intensity creeping, and smoldering. Fire spread is occurring in areas with deep, dry litter and heavy fuels. The East Zone is experiencing fire behavior including creeping, smoldering, and single-tree torching. Fire growth is minimal. Sheltered heat may reemerge after the rain if fuels continue to be dry enough. 

East Zone Operations: Hotshot crews have contained the area from Charlton Lake west to Waldo Lake and are securing the east side of Charlton Lake to the Cascade Lakes Highway. On the east side of Waldo Lake, crews have completed 6 miles of fuel break, 75 feet deep, along FS 5896 and FS 5897 from Charlton Lake to Highway 58. More than 170 structures have been assessed and 90% of the protection work has been completed. In addition, most of the protection work has been completed in campgrounds; those completed include: North Waldo, Islet, Cultus Lake, Little Cultus Lake, Davis Lake, Reservoir, Osprey Point, North Davis, North Lava Flow, Quinn, Rock Creek, Trapper Cove, Gold Lake, and Lucky Lake Campground is in progress. 

Crews continue to work FS 4668 and FS 4660 to create a break between Odell Lake, Davis Lake, and the Cascade Lakes Highway. Between Little Cultus Lake and Deer Lake, crews are brushing, chipping, and removing snags along FS 640 to protect Cultus Mountain from future fire advancement. Final clean up is happening on the FS 700 fuel break connecting Little Cultus Lake and the Cascade Lakes Highway. Work continues along the west side of the Cascade Lakes Highway to create a shaded fuel break, working in sections and extending further north to Lava Lake.


West Zone Operations: Moderated conditions allowed firefighters to secure the fireline in the area previously burned during burn-out operations. Crews secured the containment line by cutting snags (dead or fire weakened trees) that pose a threat to the fireline and to the safety of firefighters. Firefighters are extinguishing hot spots along the western edge where burning operations occurred the past few days. On northern edge of the fire near FS 19, firefighters used both mechanized equipment and hand crews to continue vegetation thinning and chipping in preparation of the fire backing down to the road.   

Protecting the communities of Oakridge, Westfir, and High Prairie remains the top objective for firefighters. Along the south and southwest areas of the fire, crews will take advantage of opportunities to complete firing operations when conditions allow. Using a combination of hand lighting along the fireline and aerial ignitions near Kwiskwis Butte, firefighters will continue to bring the main fire toward the control line to reduce ground vegetation and improve the effectiveness of the control line. Crews will remain flexible through the day to move firefighters as needed to efficiently take advantage of weather windows when burning operations may be feasible.   

Weather: Showers and some thunderstorms crossed the fire area with rain amounts ranging from 0.3 to 0.5 inches at the start of Sunday. Inversions also led to dense smoke and fog through areas of the West Zone of the fire. Monday may bring some additional showers, but overall, the day is forecasted to be a little bit warmer with lower humidity and ridgetop winds. In the East Zone, today is expected to be mostly clear with a chance of scattered afternoon showers. Rain is more likely on Tuesday and into Wednesday with a warming trend later in the week.  

Evacuations: An updated map of the evacuation areas is available at www.LaneCountyOR.gov/CedarCreek. Sign-up for emergency mobile alerts by going to oralert.gov. Please check with Lane County Sheriff’s Office at 541-682-4150 and Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office at 541-693-6911 for updates and changes. Lane County residents can use the Lane County Sheriff’s Office Flash Alert site for information to support insurance claims for reimbursement for lodging https://flashalert.net/id/LaneSheriff. 

Closures: Elijah Bristow State Park and Dexter Boat Launch are closed to the public since they are being used by firefighters. The Deschutes National Forest and Willamette National Forest both have closures in effect to protect the public and firefighters. Please visit Willamette National Forest and Deschutes National Forest for the most recent closure orders and maps. A Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) is in place. The use of drones is prohibited in the fire area, please make it safe for our firefighters to use aircraft on the fire. Pacific Crest Trail hikers should visit pcta.org for current information. See a map of the fire area with both forest closures here: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/map/8307/0/137083  

Restrictions: Fire restrictions are in place on the Willamette National Forest and Deschutes National Forest.   

Smoke: For current conditions, see Fire.airnow.govoakridgeair.org, and LRAPA – Today’s Current Air Quality. Smoke Forecast Outlooks are available at https://outlooks.wildlandfiresmoke.net/outlook.  

Onlinehttps://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/8307/ | https://www.facebook.com/CedarCreekFire2022/ |

Portland AMBER Alert: Girl found safe; Alert sent to Central Oregon phones

An AMBER Alert out of Portland for a stolen car with a 7-year-old girl inside Sunday resulted in an alert sent to people’s phones in Central Oregon late Sunday night. The car has since been recovered and the girl is safe.

The Portland Police Bureau said the black 2011 Honda Civic with no plates was taken round 6:50 p.m. The AMBER Alert went out to phones at 10:35 p.m. 

By 11:30, Portland police said the girl had been found safe inside the stolen vehicle and would be reunited with her family.

The incident remains under investigation and anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Heidi Helwig at missing@police.portlandoregon.gov and reference case #22-252068.

SEE ALSO: Malnourished horses, cattle found, Lamborghini seized in Oregon grow op bust

Although some people had their phones on mute and didn’t hear the alert, those that didn’t received loud, audible alarm.

“Our phone just scared the (expletive) out of us!” one person posted on the Central Oregon Rants and Raves Facebook page.

“Yea that made me jump! Talk about jarring,” said another.

“Gets your attention for sure!” said another.

Portland AMBER Alert Sept. 18

Redmond teen girl killed, multiple others injured in Hwy 97 crash

A Friday morning crash on Hwy 97 south of Redmond resulted in one death and multiple injuries, according to Oregon State Police. 

OSP and other emergency responders arrived at a four-vehicle crash at around 8:15 a.m. just south of SW Tomahawk Ave. 

After an investigation, they said they found that a silver 2003 Jeep Liberty had been driving south on the highway when the 16-year-old driver, a girl from Redmond, changed lanes and lost control of the car for unknown reasons. 

The car swerved into northbound lanes and hit a black 2018 Jeep Renegade, which was then pushed off the road and rolled multiple times. 

The Jeep Liberty then hit a white 2012 GMC Yukon and a grey 2017 Toyota Camry that had been traveling south behind the Jeep Liberty. 

The 16-year-old driver of the Jeep Liberty passed away from her injuries. 

21-year-old Araceli Rodriguez Giles drove the Jeep Renegade, and passengers 23-year-old Brayan Olvera, 53-year-old Victorina Giles, and a 16-year-old boy were all from Bend. Giles and the 16-year-old were taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. 

43-year-old Bradly Pearce of Bend who drove the GMC Yukon was uninjured. 

The 2017 Toyota Camry was driven by Amie Gassner, 39, of Central Point. Her passengers, Jamie Richmond, 39, and a 12-year-old girl were taken to the hospital and treated for non-life-threatening injuries. 

The Oregon State Police were assisted at the scene by the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office, Deschutes County Medical Examiner’s office, ODOT, Redmond Fire and Rescue, Department of Human Services and the Deschutes County Chaplain’s service.

A portion of the highway where the crash happened was closed for much of the afternoon, and traffic was diverted around the site.