▶️ 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.

▶️ Deschutes Co. Jail program aims to stop revolving door of addicted inmates

For years, inmates booked at the Deschutes County Jail who are addicted to drugs or alcohol have been left to detox in their cells, only to be released back to the neighborhoods, friends and dealers that got them there in the first place. And the cycle continues.

Inmates could take advantage of voluntary counseling. But for most, the goal is finding the next hit.

Deschutes County Sheriff Shane Nelson and his staff are implementing a plan to treat the inmate’s addiction first. So, for the first time ever, they leave with a clear mind and a network of services to keep them from ever coming back. 

It’s paid for with funds from Oregon Measure 110, aimed at channeling hundreds of millions of dollars of marijuana tax revenues into drug treatment and harm reduction programs.

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Khristine Fodor is a 35-year old mother of two. She’s a methamphetamine and fentanyl addict. 

She is now also a felon.

“I stole a car and I got my first felony from it. And put on probation,” said Khristine.

She was released from jail 72 days after losing her kids, her job and her home. What she still has is a drug dealer and friends who are still using. The odds say Khristine will die of an overdose within a week or be right back in jail in a few days.  

Khristine Fodor
Khristine Fodor


The Deschutes County Jail is also a second home for Shawnda Jennings. She too is a recovering addict, spending decades chasing her next hit of meth or heroin.

“I’ve been where they’re sitting. I know everything that they’re feeling. The loneliness, them being scared,” said Shawnda.

Today, she spends her time guiding inmates like Khristine out of the nightmare of addiction as a peer outreach specialist for Ideal Option drug treatment center in Bend.

She is the partner Sheriff Nelson was looking for to turn previous inmate outreach on its head.

For decades, the drug assistance offered in places like this consisted of therapy and mental health counseling if you could find it. And then, if you didn’t die of an overdose first, medication to curb the need for your drug of choice. Most inmates just don’t have that kind of time. They need help kicking their addiction immediately.

Enter Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT), where killing their cravings is the first order of business, not the last.

“Once we can get them on an effective medication for them to be stabilized, start thinking about what they want to do, so that they’re not making decisions based on their cravings, their sickness, and all of those things that are not letting their brains process what a meaningful life can be, we’re gonna start that process,” said Deschutes County Sheriff’s Captain Michael Shults.

And that process has to start before they walk out the door.

“You have that small window. I mean, either they’re going to get help … they’re gonna go to their dope guy or they’re gonna get help.  So, being able to help that person within the first 24 hours is huge,” said Shawnda.

Shawnda Jennings
Shawnda Jennings


For addicts like Khristine, the new approach means new hope.

“If I didn’t have that, the chance of relapse would probably be a lot higher because my mentality on my body can’t fight that addiction on its own right now,” said Khristine.

She found that out a few months ago when she overdosed on fentanyl just days after serving a previous jail sentence.  A friend was carrying narcan. She would survive this time.  

“Probably 90% of the individuals that come into our jail have an addiction issue, a mental health issue or a medical issue or a combination of all of the above,” said Nelson.

The MAT program is where sheriff nelson feels his Measure 110 money is best spent. 

“To help them overcome their addiction challenge which is most likely leading them to a life of crime or driving the wedge between them and their family members and support structure,” said Nelson. “So, if they have access to medication assisted treatment and that helps them overcome their addiction, so that they’re not in the criminal justice system anymore, that’s a win.”

And not just a win for them. Every inmate at the jail eventually gets released and then becomes your neighbor, the clerk at your favorite store, filling your car with gas, the parent of a student in your child’s class. No one is isolated from this problem.

However, isolation from their past is key to the success of these addicts.  And that includes partnering with those who can provide job assistance and even temporary housing. Turning points and other groups are equal partners in this effort.

“The data shows that they are arrested at a significantly lower rate, they maintain their court appearances, they use the ER medical services less and they show up for court and they don’t come back,” said Shults.

The National Institutes of Health confirms that in states from Washington to Rhode Island, up to 70% of the inmates on the MAT program broke their addictions and never returned to jail.

Khristine is starting over: Looking for acceptance, hoping others can understand the struggle, forgive the deeds and open their minds. 

“I’m engaging in the community. I’m doing what I need to do. I’m seeing a psychologist. I’m taking steps toward my sobriety and my mental health and again, that’s all stuff that I got through jail,” said Khristine. “You can’t judge a book by its cover. And, if you believe in second chances, we are living proof of second chances.”

Every single inmate fighting addiction is now offered a shot at the MAT program and at a normal life before they leave.

“Does it mean they’re gonna take it when they walk out those doors? But at least we can be there to offer it to them,” said Shawnda.

Khristine took that offer and is now working on a job, permanent housing and proving she can be a good mother to her 4-month old and 2-year-old children.

MAT is funded by the taxes raised through cannabis sales, and while Sheriff Nelson disagrees with much of what Measure 110 allows, the fact that it pays for the mat program is an important consolation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

▶️ 386 belt buckles adorn Bend barber shop’s wall, and each has a story

Debbie Bennett owns the L & K Barber Shop in downtown Bend. And there’s a question she gets from her customers a lot.

“So what’s the story? How did it start? The belt buckles?”

And no wonder. Across from the row of barber’s chairs is an entire wall of belt buckles, carefully framed and put under glass.

Bennett says there are 386 of them. I counted. She’s right: 386.

And how did the belt buckle wall get started? It started with a guy named Lou who had a friend named John.

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Lou Bankston owned the barbershop and was the “L” in L & K. John, is John Turner, a longtime L & K customer who lives in Sisters with his wife Barbara and, for many years, owned a gift shop there.

In 1983, John commissioned and helped design a belt buckle featuring the Sisters Rodeo. He brought one in to Lou as a gift and just kept bringing them in every year for the next 27 years. They all went up on the wall.

And soon they started having company.

Kathy Bankston is the “K” in L & K — Lou’s wife and a career barber herself.  She laughs about the response from other customers.

“It made for great conversation and that of course brought in more belt buckles,” Kathy says.

Lots more belt buckles. There are buckles from other rodeos, buckles from the military and law enforcement, buckles advertising whiskey and beer and cigarettes.

Debbie, who bought the shop in the 1990s, says the buckles are still coming in.
“People send them to us in the mail,” Debbie says. “They come here on vacation and say “‘Oh, I got a belt buckle i’ll send it to ya.’ They go ‘Oh, my father, my grandfather had this one. You guys might as well have it because i don’t know what to do with it.’

And many come with personal stories. Debbie says her favorites were brought in by a customer whose hair she has been cutting since he was in first grade.

“I cut his hair until he got out of high school. He went in to the Navy and on Christmas break he came home and he’s brought me two Navy belt buckles with his ship names. So those two have to be my favorite,” Debbie says.

There’s a Portland Trail Blazers 1977 NBA Championship buckle, an OSU Benny the Beaver buckle, smokejumper and logger buckles.

There’s one from a customer who worked on the cleanup crew in Alaska when the Exxon Valdez ran aground and dumped 10 million gallons of crude oil into Prince William sound.  

Debbie says there is still room on the wall for more.

“We could take all those pictures down make a big old long case going right there in front of the window,” Debbie says.

Why go to all that trouble to keep the buckle tradition alive? Kathy has a pretty good reason.

“You meet a lot of people in the barber shop, very interesting people and you kind of treasure all of them,” she says.

▶️ Spoken Moto building move keeps its history, opens door to expansion

It’s just a metal-skin pole barn, the kind you see on plenty of Central Oregon farms and rural properties. But it’s a building that means a lot to a lot of people.

Spoken Moto, the vintage motorcycle shop turned coffee-house and outdoor food and beverage joint has been a popular gathering spot in Bend’s Box Factory area for the last seven years. 

A residential and retail development will take over the property soon, so Spoken Moto has to go. And it’s going all the way across town to a new site at NE 2nd and Hawthorne Avenue, across from the Oregon BottleDrop.

RELATED: Spoken Moto holding weekend party before moving entire building

The old mechanic’s shed and warehouse will form the core of a new food truck lot, performance space and farmers market. The move is largely made possible because of a $450,000 grant from Visit Bend, supported by the city’s transient room taxes.

“It is a lot of money” says Serena Bishop Gordon of Visit Bend, “The Bend Sustainability fund is all about re-investing into our community and when this project was presented to us we looked at it as a fundamental necessity to the expansion, improvement and development of the Bend Central District.”

Architect Stacey Stemach, who designed the original Spoken Moto in what was known as “The Pine Shed,” is the architect for the new version of Spoken Moto and is the architect for the new site as well. She says it’s important to honor and preserve the city’s past and re-using the building is a way to do that.

“There are a lot of features with a building like Spoken Moto that you just can’t build today easily,” Stemach says. “There are things about the structure, about the skin, about the interior that you just can’t recreate with a new building whether it’s a building code issue or just the history, the patina that’s in the building, you know everything it has been in prior incarnations.”

For Moto manager Breezie Deese, it’s a chance to keep the good times rolling and maybe even make some improvements.

“We’re going to be able to improve on some stuff. We’re going to double our bathrooms. We’re going to have an event space, continue to build the music culture which is something we really leaned into this last year,” Deese says.

She’s hoping to be back in business by mid-June.

For developer Kurt Alexander with Petrich Properties, adding the old Spoken Moto building to plans for a new food truck lot, performance space and farmers market has been challenging. But he says the multi-partner collaboration and cooperation has made it possible.

Partners like Serena with Visit Bend agree.

“I think everyone has a common vision and a common goal and we’re in alignment,” says Gordon.

The overnight building move is currently scheduled for March 18.

▶️ Wayfinder is here: Meet the Deschutes Library system dumping Dewey Decimal

The Deschutes Public Library is in the middle of an ambitious project to rearrange their entire collection. It’s a project Central Oregon Daily News first told you about last fall — plans to shelve the Dewey Decimal System in favor of a new organizational method called Wayfinder.

We first met librarian Emily O’Neal in the 660s, looking for books on home brewing.

“Before home brewing was a bit of a craft and so it wasn’t necessarily with all the beverage materials,” Emily said.

That’s all changed with Wayfinder.

“The full purpose of a library is to provide information, but we kept a system that only librarians knew,” Emily said.

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Dewey Decimal was created by Melvil Dewey back in the 1870s. 

“And so you either had to memorize what the numbers meant or you had to get help. And so for us, we wanted to break that down and we wanted to make it usable,” Emily said.           


Sorting material more like a Barnes and Noble or Blockbuster. Everything is getting rearranged.

“Our collection is about 300,000 items,” Emily said.

But before the collection is re-shelved, Matt Roveto from the company Backstage Library works orchestrates a crew who relabel, scan and roll out the newly re-classified materials.

“It’s coming together a little more at first it was intimidating,” Matt said.

A job made trickier because this is a floating collection, shared among the library branches.

Sonja Brandjes is the operations supervisor in Redmond, where the books have a temporary home during construction of a new library.

“We like to upheave everything at the same time,” Sonja said.

And the first to go full Wayfinder.

“Our goal was to improve the discovery and entice people to look in other directions,” Sonja said.

The passage of a $195 million bond in 2020 funded the construction projects, opening a perfect window for the changeover.

“The intention is that we fulfill the original information need and also hopefully so much more,” Emily said.

A change years in the making to enriching the experience for library patrons. But if you still need help finding your way around wayfinder, you know who to ask.

“We are librarians,” Emily said.

The change to Wayfinder will be completed later this spring. The new Redmond branch is set to open in fall of 2024.

▶️ Meet the 18-year-old Redmond boxing phenom who’s taking on the Golden Gloves

He’s been in the gym since he was six years old, and he’s won pretty much everything you can as a young boxer. State titles, regional titles, and even a Silver Gloves National title at the age of 13.

But now the boxing phenom from Redmond, Kevin Ochoa-Limbeck, is 18, and there are new challenges ahead.

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Last month, he entered his first Golden Gloves tournament in Eugene, competing for an Oregon state title.

“To get into the Golden Gloves, you have to be 18 years old. It’s 18 to 40. So, he got in. And the tournament was on his 18th birthday. He was by far the youngest in the tournament,” said his coach and trainer, Richard Miller.

Kevin won both fights, punching a ticket to the Western Regionals in Las Vegas, and was named the most outstanding boxer for the tournament.

For Miller, it’s hard to believe that the tiny kid who walked into his gym 12 years ago isn’t so little anymore.

A GoFundMe has been created to help get Kevin to the national Golden Gloves. You can donate at this link.

▶️ Meet ‘Jim the Coffee Man,’ bringing java and joy to Hunnell Road residents

Every few days the darkness of Hunnell road is brightened up by “Jim the Coffee Man.”

Hunnell is a long-time homeless encampment on the north end of Bend, a couple hundred yards of tents, trashed vehicles, campsites and human misery.  Jim shows up in his hybrid Prius, fires up a generator, hooks up his espresso machine and serves coffee drinks to whoever wants one.

The Coffee Man is Jim Howard Tudor, a retired real-estate manager who came to Central Oregon ten years ago. “Retirement didn’t suit me” he says. One of the ways he stays busy is meeting, greeting and serving coffee to the people of Hunnell Road.

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“He comes Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays.” says Michelle Hester, who has lived here for a year, “it’s awesome, because if it wasn’t for him caring we probably wouldn’t have anybody that cares. There’s not a lot of people out here who stop and take time to get to know us because we’re all different. We’re not all addicts out here, but Jim is awesome. We love our coffee, and we also love Jim.”

For Jim, the coffee is just an icebreaker. The personal connections and the conversations are what really count.

“You know what these homeless people want? More than anything they want acceptance; they want a relationship. And that’s what they get. I don’t care if you’re strung out on fentanyl or you’re not, I don’t care. You’re OK by me.”

Matthew Ebert smiles as he sips a caramel mocha. He doesn’t live on Hunnell anymore but drops by sometimes on coffee days. “It’s a relief because I have someone to talk to. Have that man-to-man conversation. He’s very genuine and you don’t get a lot of that out here. I let it all go, with him. It’s nice.”

The coffee man smiles too, he does that a lot. “I’m a little nutty, so I can relate to these folks. And I do. So, yeah, pretty cool, it’s pretty cool.”

Hunnell Road is going to be cleared out by mid-March according to the city. He worries about the next steps for people who have made this stretch of city street their homes. “And where are you going to go? Oxford hotel? I don’t think so. If you’re on third street you’re just going to go to 2nd street, and that game of whack-a-mole has been going on for 20 years.”

He says he’ll do this as long as he can.

“I get so much more out of this than I put into this, you would never imagine that. I feel accepted by them, they feel accepted by me and that’s tough to figure out in today’s world you know?”

First Coffee Then The World, Inc. Jim Tudor Head Barista

Tax I.D. 92-0548031. Firstcoffee11@gmail.com
“Many of you know that I arrive at the unhoused camp on Hunnel Road for a hour and a half session of providing folks in that community with free espresso drinks and morning goodies. I go Monday, Wednesday and Friday. No one gets paid and there are no salaries. I fund this myself but have started a nonprofit for those who want to support the effort. Extra monies support clothing and this year a Thanksgiving dinner or any real need. Many of you have expressed an interest to support this effort….if so feel free in any way you desire including joining us on Hunnel anytime. Thanks.”
Venmo. @COFFEE1234. Check to: First Coffee then the World
3485 NW Braid, Bend OR. 97703
Send your email address to FirstCoffee11.com so I can send you thanks and a donation confirmation.

▶️ Thornburgh Resort near finish line after 17-year fight?

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The first formal designs for the Thornburgh Resort near Redmond went into the planning pipeline in 2005. The opposition and the legal challenges started almost immediately and have never stopped.

Developer Kameron Delashmutt, whose family has owned the land since the 1950s, is blunt about the challenges of the last 17 years. During a recent extensive tour of the property, he put it this way.

We never would have embarked on this if we knew the hassle we’d go through.” 

The Thornburgh site is a spectacular piece of the High Desert: 1,900 acres of sagebrush and juniper draped over the slopes of the 20 million-year-old Cline Buttes.

RELATED: Thornburgh resort appeals heard by Deschutes County commissioners

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It’s an ancient landscape and a modern battleground.

“It’s the most litigious land use project that I’m aware of in Central Oregon and one of the most litigious in the state’s history,” said Deschutes County Community Development Director Peter Gutowski.

It is basically a two-person war — with various other parties lining up on both sides — over land and water.

A war between developer Delashmutt and a neighbor to the south of the Thornburgh property named Annunziata “Nunzie” Gould. She owns about 50 acres of land south of the development and has led this fight from the beginning.

“The issue has been about protecting fish and wildlife as a result of this mega-resort ” Gould said during testimony at a recent county hearing.


The non-profit Central Oregon Landwatch has backed Gould’s efforts. Thornburgh opponents turn out by the hundreds to comment and submit testimony at every every opportunity.

Most current objections focus on Thornburgh’s water rights and a proposal by the resort to cut water use to mitigate impacts on fish and wildlife. Opponents call it a substantial change that should force developers to start over at the beginning with a new master plan.

The two sides agree on little.

Delashmutt says he plans to build the most environmentally sensitive resort in the West.

“Our water mitigation plan here we think it benefits fishery habitat we think it benefits the rivers” he said. “And our goal is to blend everything back into what it looked originally as much as we can as fast as we can.”

Gould and her supporters just don’t buy it, commenting on the new water plans.

“It’s a strategy that the applicant has used with the notion of ‘Trust us. Trust us we’ll do it. Trust us the next process we’ll do it, trust us, blah blah blah,'” she said.

Gutowski notes the many hearings, rulings, appeals and reviews at the county level? They just get the legal process started.

“Then through the land use board of appeals, then the court of appeals and in a few cases the Oregon Supreme Court, it’s been appealed over 50 times,” said Gutowski.


And he points out that Thornburgh is currently taking shape.

“The developer has received local land use approval for a tentative subdivision platte, overnight lodging units, recreational amenities and infrastructure for its first phase. And those decisions, most if not all, have been acknowledged by the courts, they’re no longer subject to further appeal,” he said.

On a property tour, Delashmutt looks ahead and says likes what he sees: Roads being built, utility infrastructure going in, an 1,800-foot-long lake dug and nearly ready for filling — the first golf course shaped, graded and prepped for planting.

He also reports the website getting 95,000 hits in just a few months at the end of last year and hundreds of people showing serious interest in buying property.

“We’re in it now. We got a string of victories behind us and we’re close to coming across the finish line,” Delashmutt said.

Delashmutt says at this point, despite the constant public opposition and the certainty of future court challenges there is “not a chance” he will stop building.

“If I was going to do that, I would have done it in 2010,” he said.

His neighbor and protagonist, Nunzie Gould declined to comment directly on whether there was anything that would convince her to back off in her campaign against the development. She tells Central Oregon Daily news this isn’t about her, we’re all in this together. She doesn’t believe county code is being adhered to and she is exercising her right to comment publicly and participate in Oregon’s land-use approval process, and will continue to do that.

One thing both parties do seem to agree on: They will see each other in court.



▶️ Central Oregon author heads to Hollywood for movie, TV series pitch

It’s every author’s dream: Write a novel, have it published and then have Hollywood come knocking to turn it into a blockbuster movie or television series.

For local author Tina Palecki, the first two dreams have been realized. Now she’s been invited to Los Angeles to pitch her book to Hollywood insiders.

“I feel fantastic that that, you know, that they think I should even go down there and do this,” said Tina. 

“It is a two minute pitch and in the packet it says they adhere to that very strictly. So my pitch is exactly one minute and 47 seconds long.”

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Two minutes to convince producers, directors and Hollywood execs that they should turn her book, “The Night Child,” into the next blockbuster movie or hit Netflix series.

“When you get down there, you walk into your pitch not knowing who’s in front of you. So it could be a screenwriter. It could be a producer,. It could be somebody from Lionsgate or Paramount. It could be Netflix. It could be Amazon.”

It could be any of the big boys. But she won’t know until she shakes their hands. And then that two minute clock starts ticking. 


Tina isn’t used to doing things fast. She writes her novels the old school way — with pen and paper in hand and ink close by.

“I write with a calligraphy pen and try and really dig into that and feel that time period.”

The time period is medieval, and the genre is what Tina describes as medieval magical realism. 

“There’s a little bit of magic that doesn’t go as far as like dragons and fairies and those kind of things but there’s magical elements and the realism is that the rest of the story is very based in fact.”

“The Night Child” was published a year ago. But it wasn’t until a couple of weeks ago that Tina received a call from her publisher that they wanted her to head to the moviemaking capital of the world and pitch her novel to Hollywood decision makers. 

“They think that the genre is doing really well right now on TV, so they wanted to send me down there.”

Since that time, the pitch has seen more than a couple revisions.

“I think I’m on draft like 110 right now. But we’re getting there.”

And the excitement has been building. 

“I keep telling people I am so excited and extremely terrified all at the same time.”

But Tina continues to do what she’s done for years. Teach at High Desert Middle School. Run the drama program at Three Rivers and continue to write and do book signings in her free time.

“I’ve got a lot of stories in me and I’m hoping that there’ll be a lot of Palecki books in the ‘P’ section soon.”

Last Saturday, she was at another book signing and sendoff of sorts at Barnes and Noble in Bend. She chatted with fans, worked on perfecting her pitch and signed a bunch of books.

“All of them are asking me now if they can be in the movie. I’m like, ‘You guys don’t understand how this works.'”

And who knows? The next thing she signs could very well be a Hollywood movie deal. A fitting Hollywood ending to this Hollywood tale.

“I think the realness of my book is is going to be is going to be a good thing because it it would be beautiful filmed on site, you know, on the islands off Scotland, Land’s End area.”

It could be a few weeks before Tina knows if she’ll get that perfect Hollywood ending.

▶️ 2 Bend Nordic skiers compete for Team USA in Finland


Saturday was big day for the young nordic skiers racing on the world stage.

Bend’s Neve Gerard was 9th in the 5K Free. MBSEF teammate Delaney Jackson was 25th.

The duo are competing in the U18 Nordic Nations Championships in Jyvaskyla, Finland.

In Friday’s Classic Sprint race Gerard was the top American coming in 25th. Jackson finished 35th.



Two Bend Nordic skiers are in Europe right now getting ready for the biggest races of their young career. Neve Gerard and Delaney Jackson train with the Mt. Bachelor Sports Education Foundation and recently qualified for the trip to this weekend’s Under 18 Nordic Nations Championships in Finland.

The pair raced in Michigan earlier this year. Neve ranked sixth. Delaney was eighth — the second alternate.

This week they’ve traded the Cascades for the Finnish town of Jyvaskyla — 167 miles north of Helsinki.

Steve Kaufmann met the up-and-coming pair who train in Central Oregon.



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