Crooked River experiencing near record low levels

PRINEVILLE, Ore. – The Bureau of Reclamation says the public should expect lower than normal water levels in Crooked River this spring and summer.

Flows will be lowest near Prineville and Smith Rock State Park, and could potentially impact recreational activities.

Multiple years of drought conditions and low snowpack runoff into the reservoirs are contributing factors.

“Record dry conditions have caused increased irrigation demand from the reservoir much earlier than usual,” said Gregg Garnett, Bend Field Office manager.

Prineville Reservoir has not been this low since 1974, with inflows into the reservoir at only 37% of normal.

Reclamation, in consultation with federal, state, and local agencies, is implementing flow measures intended to balance the multiple needs on the Crooked River using the available stored water supply in Prineville Reservoir.

A limited amount of storage will be held in Prineville Reservoir and released this winter to support fish and wildlife needs as described in the Deschutes River Basin Habitat Conservation Plan.

For current water storage information, please visit https://www.usbr.gov/pn/hydromet/destea.html.

Warm Springs Fire & Safety brush truck stolen

The Warm Springs Police Department is asking the public to keep an eye out for a stolen truck…a stolen fire truck.

The agency posted on Facebook Thursday someone took off with the Warm Springs Fire & Safety red, 2012 Ford F350 brush truck.

It has the department’s logos on it.

Warm Springs Fire & Safety said in its own Facebook post the theft “puts a struggle on the department’s logistical factors for not having the proper apparatus to respond to emergencies in the community.”

If you have any information, call 541-53-1171.

High Desert Museum closed Friday for prescribed burn on property

The High Desert Museum and Deschutes National Forest are coordinating to conduct a prescribed burn at the Museum Friday.

If weather conditions remain favorable, firefighters will ignite the burn in the morning and the Museum will be closed for the day. The Museum intends to reopen on Saturday at 9:00 am.

The burn will likely end at about 5:00 pm depending upon conditions.

Smoke may linger in the area for up to a week but will begin to dissipate after ignitions are complete.

Fire officials will burn roughly 40-50 acres of forested Museum property, north of the Museum footprint and in the parking lot area.

“We’re grateful for the collaboration with the Deschutes National Forest to help promote forest resilience on our 135 beautiful, wooded acres,” said High Desert Museum Executive Director Dana Whitelaw, Ph.D. “The prescribed burn will help create a more resilient forest, as well as a defensible space protecting the Museum and its art and artifacts. It will also provide an opportunity to help educate visitors about the critical role of fire in the High Desert ecosystem.”

Fire has long played a vital role in the region.

Low-intensity wildfires would historically burn through a ponderosa pine forest every five to 20 years.

These burns cleared out shrubs, saplings and other debris beneath the trees. The heat also opens ponderosa cones and enables them to release seeds, continuing the natural cycle.

“We are excited to work in partnership with the High Desert Museum and private landowners, not only to keep our important fire-dependent ecosystems healthy, but also to help reduce the

intensity of a wildfire and protect our firefighters should we get a fire in our Wildland Urban Interface,” said Holly Jewkes, forest supervisor of the Deschutes National Forest.

With suppression of wildfires over the last century in the West, land managers have steadily been working during low fire risk times of the year to conduct prescribed burns, mimicking the natural cycle.

This reduces the chance of unplanned, catastrophic wildfires that can threaten communities.

In May 2018, the U.S. Forest Service conducted a successful prescribed burn on the south end of the Museum property and on other adjacent public lands to the south.

The public can find an interactive map of prescribed burns as well as air quality information at centraloregonfire.org/wildfire-smoke-air-quality-maps-2.

If the public wants to sign up for text alerts about prescribed fires and wildfires, they should text COFIRE to 888-777.

The public is encouraged to close their windows at night and if smoke is on the roadway, turn on headlights and slow down while traveling through smoky areas.

The public’s health is important to the Forest Service. While significant preventive measures are taken, many factors influence a person’s susceptibility to smoke, including severity and duration of smoke exposure and a person’s health.

If individuals feel impacted by smoke, they should avoid outdoor physical exertion and remain indoors.

If people experience serious health impacts from the smoke, they should contact their doctor. For more information about smoke and health, visit the Oregon Health Authority recommendations at oregon.gov/oha/PH/Preparedness/Prepare/Pages/PrepareForWildfire.aspx#health

C.O. Cares Artist Spotlight: Joel Chadd

Central Oregon Daily News is proud to join the partnership supporting the C.O. Cares – Central Oregon Creative Artists Relief Effort.

Every Thursday morning you can watch a local artist on Good Morning Central Oregon on ABC and CBS around 6:40 a.m.

This week, we’re featuring singer/songwriter Joel Chadd.

You can read more about Wells in the GO magazine, a part of The Bulletin’s Thursday edition.

Scalehouse Collaborative for the Arts is serving as the non-profit entity for the partnership, collecting money to distribute as grants directly to local artists.

You can help through this GoFundMe page.

Crooked River Roundup gets OK to return in June with limited online ticket sales

The Crooked River Roundup will return to Prineville in June after taking a year off due to COVID concerns.

The Roundup is scheduled June 24-26.

Last year marked the first time since the inaugural Crooked River Roundup in 1945 the rodeo was canceled.

“We are excited to celebrate a milestone anniversary and ‘Reride 75’,” said Crooked River Roundup president Jason Snider. “Our rodeo committee has spent the last year planning precautionary measures to ensure the safety of rodeo participants and attendees.”

Rodeo officials have received approval from the Crook County Commissioners and the Crook County Health Department to hold the event.

“On behalf of the Crook County Health Department and the Crook County Environmental Health Department, we fully support the actions and precautions of Covid safety that the Crooked River Roundup is taking to keep the public safe during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Crook County Health Department Public Information Officer, Vicky Ryan.

The plan includes limited online ticket sales and special zones with services that meet safety guidelines in accordance with COVID-19 regulations.

Following Oregon State Health requirements, parking, seating, and services have been established to create an excellent rodeo experience, all while keeping fans safe.

Snider said the economic impact of the rodeo and its ability to help the community recover from the year-long pandemic was a significant factor in the decision to host this year’s event.

Over the last five years, the Roundup has raised and donated more than $75,000 to 35 local organizations.

“The Crooked River Roundup supports our community significantly by providing opportunities for local groups to participate, raise money, and give back,” said Ray Austin, president of Kiwanis Club of Prineville. “We appreciate the many ways the Roundup committee makes a difference in Crook County.”

Unique to the Crooked River Roundup is the cattle drive and “Street Party” that takes place in downtown to kick off the event annually on Wednesday evening June 23. Prineville continues to pay homage to the Roundup’s history as ranchers drive cattle through downtown to signify the start of the festivities.

Non-rodeo events keep rolling with a parade Saturday morning featuring marching bands, tractors, and dozens of intricate floats.

Queen Emily McDaniel Lauman and Grand Marshals Mike and Donna Mohan will make history, reigning two consecutive years after the Roundup was canceled last year. “Re-ride 75 represents the very best of Crook County and our resilience,” said Queen Emily McDaniel Lauman. “Thanks to our generous sponsors and community members, we are going to have a wonderful celebration!”

The three-day rodeo will start on Thursday, June 24, and run through Saturday, June 26, 2021. For more information on the Roundup and to purchase tickets. click here.

The Crooked River Roundup is supported by a grant from the Crook County Cultural Coalition with funds from the Oregon Cultural Trust to support Oregon’s arts, heritage, and the humanities.

New NWX development ‘The Grove’ announces opening date, dining tenants

The Grove, a new commercial development in Bend’s Northwest Crossing, announced Thursday it will officially open on May 28th, anchored by Waypoint, a new “drinking establishment” from Bend Brewing Company.

Thump Coffee plans its fourth location there while Elly’s Ice Cream completes the trio as the first tenants of the 14,000 Market Hall, according to a release from the developers.

Sunny’s Carello, an Italian-inspired eatery, will set up a food truck adjacent to the location as it preps to open a permanent location there later this fall.

“We’re thrilled to officially welcome our new tenants and the broader community to The Grove,” said Chris Jones, development manager, for Portland-based project^. “We’ve had tremendous commercial interest in The Grove, in large part due to our sound ecological practices, our ability to accommodate evolving social and business requirements, as well as the building’s design-conscious aesthetic which seamlessly connects The Grove to the Central Oregon environment.”

The location is just west of NW Mount Washington Drive between Compass Park and Summit High School.

A second wave of tenants will arrive in Market Hall in July including Left Coast Burger Company, ThAiPAS, and Green Leaf Juice.

Along with Sunny’s Carello, Sebastian’s Seafood & Specialty Market will open this fall.

Also featured within the commercial building is anchor restaurant tenant, Rancher Butcher Chef presenting a modern take on the classic butcher shop and steak house.

Market Hall and retail plaza at The Grove feature a mix of indoor and outdoor community and dining spaces.

“The past year has reminded us of the need to bring joy to what surrounds us,” said Elly Sisney, owner of Elly’s Ice Cream. “As local residents of Northwest Crossing, we are delighted to bring a vibrant, fun, and delicious offering to the local community and we believe The Grove is the perfect destination for Elly’s Ice Cream where people can return time and again with family and friends.”

Features in the outdoor dining plaza include built-in counters, a bar area with covered patio, and an outdoor fireplace and fire pit.

Some of the eateries will have walk-up windows and there are dedicated parking spots for to-go orders.

“We’re delighted to bring the upscale yet “Bend casual” Waypoint taproom to The Grove this Spring,” said Packy Deenihan, President of Bend Brewing Company. “The Grove’s ambience provides the ideal mountain-modern interior for us and the large sliding doors and gas fire pits on the surrounding patio lends our new space the perfect indoor-outdoor vibe.”

The Grove also offers Assembly, an executive office space for lease that includes 15 suites from 95 to 200 square feet.

Small brush fire in SE Bend quickly put out by crews

A small brush fire was reported around 5:50 p.m. Wednesday on 15th Street and SE Lostine Circle.

Bend Fire & Rescue said the small, half-acre fire was quickly extinguished.

Three homes were put on alert, but none of the homes were evacuated.

15th St. was briefly closed while crews put out the fire.

After investigation it was determined the fire was human-caused, but it is unknown if it was intentional or unintentional.

The investigation will continue.

Bend Fire & Rescue would like to remind the community that the fuels are already dry and fires will grow quickly in these conditions.

DC health director: County vax goal ‘a very low bar’ that could send wrong message

The Oregon Health Authority says Deschutes County is on track to meet its 65% vaccination rate goal by next Friday.

Hitting that mark would send the county to the Lower Risk category and loosen up COVID restrictions on restaurant and other business capacities among other things.

But Deschutes County’s health director told county commissioners Wednesday that reaching the goal could lead to a leveling off of vaccination rates moving forward.

“I believe it’s a very low bar and one that we can achieve immediately,” said Nahad Sadr-Azodi. “And it might send the wrong message to our community members that the job is done.”

The current vaccination rate in Deschutes County is 61%

Sadr-Azodi also pointed out the benchmark is 65% of the total eligible adult population, which could lead to equity gaps.

Commissioner Phil Chang said he thought the goal was a step in the right direction and could provide the incentive some need to get the shot.

“Just to know that your community can start to function more normally if we can hit these thresholds, I hope is going to motivate those remaining thousands of people who haven’t gotten vaccinated yet to come in,” he said.

Commissioners are now drafting a plan to close the vaccine equity gaps and make sure everyone who wants one can get one.

That’s the other piece required along with the 65% goal for counties to move back to the lower risk level.

 

 

▶️ Farm-to-table businesses see bump in sales during COVID as more people eat in

The pandemic has positively affected at least one industry: local farms and farm-to-table businesses.

Farm to Friends in Redmond is one of those businesses. They deliver fresh fruits, vegetables and other items from west-coast farms straight to customers’ homes.

“It’s really nice to know that the produce comes to the field to our distributor or who we buy it from, straight to us and then to the door,” Brinda True, owner of Farm to Friends, said. “There’s no handling. It’s handled very little and it’s fresh.”

While restaurants have suffered through the pandemic, Farm to Friends has seen a major bump in customer growth. They’ve gone from delivering around 150 boxes a week to around 300 in the past year.

“People got used to eating at home,” True said. “Before the pandemic, we were all really busy, we were eating lunch out, we were doing all this stuff. Now we’re all eating at home.”

Many sellers at the Bend Farmers Market, which opened last Wednesday, agree that business is good for those who work in selling locally-grown produce.

Kristi Keller, manager of Brandywine Fisheries out of Springfield, says she’s seen a bump in business similar to Farm to Friends.

“Most people who are homebound don’t want to go to grocery stores, that sort of thing,” Keller said. “Especially with supermarket ocean products. They find us to be refreshingly new and much better for them.”

The owner of Rainshadow Organics, operated north of Sisters, agrees that local produce is doing well.

“Business has been good in COVID,” SarahLee Lawrence, owner of Rainshadow Organics, said. “I would say people have been interested in their food system and getting more local food.”

If you want to get your own fresh produce or look for other local items, Bend Farmers Market is open from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. every Wednesday.

▶️ Madras, Prineville mayors say their communities can reach vaccination goal

Jefferson and Crook Counties are among the counties needing big boosts in vaccination rates before they can move to the lower risk category.

But leaders in their two biggest towns  – despite some skepticism of the vaccine – say the governor’s goal of 65% is within reach.

“I am just happy that governor Brown is finally reaching out to people and is giving us hope and giving us a chance to heal,” said Madras Mayor Richard Ladeby.

Ladeby says businesses are now seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

“I know our citizens and business are waiting to be ready to open up,” Ladeby added.

While Deschutes County is expected to reach the 65%goal by next week, Jefferson and Crook County have a ways to go.

Jefferson County’s vaccination rate is just 46%.

“I think we got some outlying people that are concerned and I think we need to address those concerns instead of ignoring or pushing them,” said Ladeby.

Crook County’s rate is even lower at 42%.

▶️ ‘I think it’s a joke:’ Prineville residents voice hesitations about COVID vaccine

“A lot of people are against getting the vaccine it seems in our county,” said Prineville Mayor Jason Beebe.

Both Ladeby and Beebe say a 65% vaccination rate is attainable.

“I can’t tell business or people what to do personally,” said Beebe. “They have to choose that on their own and I support that because that is our freedom to do that.”

Beebe plans to discuss with City Council and Crook County Commissioners about how to proceed.

“We agree on things as a council and I will support whatever outcome comes of that,” Beebe added.

Ladeby and Beebe say their county’s public health departments do a good job getting the word out about getting the vaccine.

“If people want to get it then I encourage them to get it,” said Ladeby.

Ladeby was not comfortable saying whether he is vaccinated, while Beebe says he’s waiting for more research to decide whether he will get the shot.