OHA reports 11 more COVID deaths; 302 new cases statewide

COVID-19 has claimed 11 more lives in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 368, the Oregon Health Authority reported Tuesday.

The OHA reported 302 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19, bringing the state total to 21,774.

The new cases are in the following counties: Benton (3), Clackamas (23), Clatsop (4), Columbia (5), Crook (1), Curry (2), Deschutes (5), Douglas (5), Hood River (8), Jackson (12), Jefferson (6), Josephine (9), Klamath (3), Lane (6), Lincoln (2), Linn (12), Malheur (19), Marion (42), Morrow (6), Multnomah (60), Polk (5), Umatilla (16), Union (1), Wasco (2), Washington (41), and Yamhill (4).

Deschutes County’s new cases bring its total to 616; 10 people have died.

As of Monday, the latest data available, 398 patients in Deschutes County have recovered.

Crook County reports 50 total cases and one death while Jefferson County has reported 377 total cases and four deaths.

St. Charles reported Tuesday it had eight COVID patients; two were in the ICU and on ventilators.

Note: OHA receives death certificate information from the Office of Vital Statistics. Epidemiologists review death certificate information for Oregonians that have COVID-19 listed as a main cause of death or a contributing cause of death. When a death is reported to a county, the county may not always have the cause of death, and this death would not be counted as a COVID-19 related death.

During data reconciliation by OHA, additional COVID-19 related deaths may be found and reported. The deaths reported today include eight deaths that were identified during this review process.

Late Monday the OHA released its Weekly Testing Summary which showed that the week of Aug. 2 – Aug. 8, 25,744 tests were reported.

Of those tests, 1,380 or 5.4 percent were positive, down from the 6.3 percent rate a week earlier.

This week, OHA has begun using specimen collection date as our denominator for COVID-19 test results, including percentage positivity, across all of OHA’s reported testing data.

This change means testing data will be reported based on the date/week in which specimens were collected. These products include the Tableau data dashboards summarizing percent positivity by county, the overall percent positivity in Oregon, the data for metrics relating to schools reopening, as well as this Weekly Testing Summary and the Weekly Report.

The data in these various products will not shift significantly as a result of this change.

Outbreak surpasses 20 cases

An outbreak of 25 cases of COVID-19 has been reported at Smith Foods in Umatilla County. The case count includes all persons linked to the outbreak, which may include household members and other close contacts to an employee.

The outbreak investigation started on July 24, but the initial case count was below the threshold for public disclosure. State and county public health officials are working with the company to address the outbreak and protect the health of the workers.

New Bend PD chief sworn in; Krantz vows to start tenure by meeting with groups

Bend’s new police chief was sworn in Monday.

Michael Krantz took the oath of office in a small private ceremony at the Bend Municipal Court inside the police station.

He comes from Portland where he served as an assistant chief.

Krantz said it’s a difficult time to take over a police agency because the pandemic makes it challenging to get to know the community.

“We’re also in a time where the killing of George Floyd has really brought a lot of emotion, anger and frustrations with really many people in the country,” he said. “And, that has brought challenges to law enforcement around making sure that we’re able to listen and engage with people.”

His hiring hasn’t come without some controversy from some who link Krantz to the Portland Police Bureau’s use of tear gas on protesters in recent weeks and years.

Even Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel questioned the hire.

▶️ Amid protests, some concerned with new Bend police chief’s Portland background

And on Monday, a group of local faith leaders issued a statement concerned about his work in Portland.

The group, called “Re-Imagine Oregon” wants assurances that Bend Police won’t use tear gas on peaceful protestors, among other things.

Krantz said he plans to spend his first month as chief meeting with a variety of people and groups, especially those who are frustrated.



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.

Authorities seek help finding missing Texas man last seen camping near Sisters

The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office is seeking information on a missing Texas man, who was last known to be camping in the Sisters area.

Don Wayne Yates of Burleson was reported missing after not responding to attempts to call him by a family member since July 27th, 2020.

Yates was believed to be camping on U.S. Forest Service land north of Sisters, but has not been in contact with his family since that time.

Yates is described as a 63-year-old white male, 5’7” tall, weighing about 155 pounds.  It is unknown what clothing he was wearing.  Yates is reported to be traveling through the western states and his future destinations are unknown.

Yates is reported to be driving a gray 2013 Honda Pilot with a Texas plate of LKL9291.

The vehicle has a cargo box mounted on the roof.

Deputies have searched the areas north of Sisters and have not been able to locate him.

For the purpose of a welfare check on Mr. Yates, anyone with information or knows of his current whereabouts is asked to call non-emergency dispatch at 541-693-6911, reference 20-36591.



Woman falls ill on hike near Paulina Peak; Search and Rescue crew helps her back to lodge

Deschutes County Search and Rescue helped a Grand Ronde woman get back to Paulina Lake Lodge Monday night after she became ill on a hike.

Dispatch received a call just before 8 p.m. that 52-year-old Donnette Spaulding, was feeling ill and unable to make it back to the lodge, said Search and Rescue Coordinator Lt. Bryan Husband.

Spaulding’s hiking partner was able to call for help, telling dispatch they were about four miles up the trail from the lodge.

One Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Deputy and 12 Search and Rescue volunteers responded to help.

DCSO SAR Teams began to arrive at the Paulina Lake Lodge at about 9:25 p.m. and started up the trail towards Spaulding with a wheeled litter.

The first DCSO SAR team reached Spaulding at about 10:30 p.m.

Spaulding was assessed by a DCSO SAR Medical Team member, stabilized as best as possible, and then loaded onto the wheeled litter for transport back down the trail, Husband said.

The La Pine Fire Department was requested to respond and meet DCSO SAR teams when they arrived back at the Paulina Lake Lodge.

DCSO SAR teams arrived back at the lodge with Spaulding around 12:25 a.m. and transferred her to the awaiting La Pine Fire Ambulance crew.  La Pine Fire then took Spaulding to St. Charles in Bend for further assessment.


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.

▶️ Residential drug treatment facility burglarized in Bend; computers, cash taken


An addiction residential treatment facility in Bend was burglarized over the weekend.

Adult & Teen Challenge near Bend High School reports losses and damages in excess of $10,000.

The break-in happened Sunday while the 24 residents and staff were out rafting on the Deschutes River.

When they returned, they found evidence of forced entry and discovered computers, cash, and prescription medications had been stolen.

“All of our office doors had been kicked in. Safes, filing cabinets had been pried open, looking for cash, prescription drugs. We aren’t entirely sure,” said Jason Koland, director of the Central Oregon Adult & Teen Challenge campus. “For us as non-profit, it hurts us pretty dramatically to have a theft like this happen.”

Koland says police are investigating.

The losses represent about 10 days of the center’s operating budget.

He says they will have to fundraise to pay for repairs until insurance reimburses the loss.

“It’s been an unfortunate event. We are in the business of helping people and, potentially, somebody we helped came back and did this.”

Koland says the timing of the burglary could not be worse.

All of Adult & Teen Challenges fundraising events, things like golf tournaments, have been canceled due to COVID 19 and cash flow is limited.

“The public can help by donating laptops. Watch for a needs-list to be posted on the Adult/Teen Challenge Facebook page, probably tomorrow (Tuesday) morning.”

Koland says the center has helped nearly 2,000 men recover from addictions in the ten years it’s been operating on Burnside Avenue in Bend.

“We are here to help, even after the burglary.”

Bend man arrested on drug trafficking charges; meth hidden in engine

A 59-year-old Bend man was arrested Friday on drug trafficking charges, according to the Central Oregon Drug Enforcement team.

Lt. Ken Mannix said CODE team detectives had been investigating Jimmie Ginn for allegedly illegally trafficking commercial quantities of meth throughout the region.

The investigation showed he would travel outside the area, buy large quantities of meth and return to Deschutes County to sell them.

On Friday, law enforcement surveillance teams monitored Ginn’s activities, which included him conducting drug sales, Mannix said.

Around 6 p.m. Ginn was contacted and arrested during a traffic stop at Highway 97 and Grandview Drive in Bend.

During a search of Ginn’s vehicle, detectives found about 1.2 pounds of methamphetamine, some of which was individually packaged for sale and concealed inside the vehicle.

The rest of the methamphetamine was hidden within the engine compartment, Mannix said.

Additional evidence of the sales and distribution of methamphetamine was found inside the vehicle, including a large sum of cash.

Ginn was taken to the Deschutes County Jail and charged with possession, manufacture, and delivery of a controlled substance (meth.)

▶️ 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.”

▶️ Mt. Bachelor lift op tests positive, but visitors happy with ski area’s openness


Like many Bend residents, Cole Cramer frequents Mt. Bachelor.

He says when he heard about the resort’s recent COVID-19 case, he was impressed by how much was shared.

“I think it’s good that they’re being transparent about it because some places aren’t saying anything,” Cramer said. “I’ve been up here, and it’s just good to know that I’ve been exposed, but I was keeping my distance and wearing a mask.”

According to Mt. Bachelor a lift operator tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday.

The individual worked at both the Little Pine and Pine Marten chairlifts between August 2nd and 8th.

Houston residents Cody Woolsey and Joan Stainton are visiting family in Bend. They were not aware of the recent case before arriving.

“I think it’s part of their duty to let everybody know what’s going on,” Woolsey said. “Just for everybody’s safety.”

“It’s better to have that information at hand,” Stainton added.

But does the situation have the guests thinking twice about a season pass this winter?

The answer was unanimous.

“If it’s open it’s open,”Cramer said. “And it’s worth it because we’re supporting the mountain.”

“There’s definitely a risk in buying a pass,” Stainton said. “But if you’re going to buy one I feel like you do that at your own risk. And you kind of know that this has been going on since February.”

“Even though COVID is going on and stuff, people are still getting outside, enjoying the weather,” Woolsey said. “I think it’s a great idea just to have something to do.”

As for guests who may have come in contact with the affected employee, Mt. Bachelor encourages them to “take any precautionary measures” they see fit.