▶️ Trout Creek Fire north of Madras 1,550 acres, 25% contained

A wildfire that started north of Madras Sunday afternoon has been mapped at 1,550 acres as of Monday afternoon and is 25% contained.

The Trout Creek Fire started about 1:00 p;m. Sunday. It was burning in grass, brush, and juniper on private lands, but was threatening Prineville BLM administered lands.

The Forest Service did not announce the cause.

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USFS said firefighting resources will remain on the fire. Resources responding were the local Rangeland Protection Association, Jefferson County, BLM and USFS.

Drivers should be aware that there could be potential delays on Highway 97 north of Madras.


▶️ Hundreds of bikers deliver teddy bears to hospitals in Central Oregon

Abate of Oregon and Wildhorse Harley-Davidson held their 25th Annual Teddy Bear Run Saturday.

Hundreds of bikers gathered at Wildhorse Harley-Davidson in Bend with new teddy bears and stuffed animals strapped to them.

They will deliver thousands of stuffed toys to St. Charles Hospitals in Central Oregon to calm frightened children during their visits.

All the bikers were invited by the nurses at St. Charles to stop by for a BBQ at Smith Rock Ranch.

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RELATED: Bikers ride to benefit Deschutes County’s ‘Shop with a Cop’ program

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▶️ Little Did I Know: History of floating the Deschutes River isn’t a long one

Floating the river. Anyone living in Central Oregon knows what you mean when you say those words. It may seem like the popular summer activity is a long-standing tradition. It turns out, it’s not that long.

“Gen Z. That’s the first generation that can say they grew up floating the river,” said Kelly Cannon Miller with the Deschutes Historical Museum. “So people come through town and think, ‘This is great’ and ‘Did you grow up floating the river?’ And it’s like, ‘No, no, we didn’t.’ For most of the city’s history, the river was used to float logs, not humans.”

Back in August of 1915, the area where the Whitewater Park is today was seeing the installation of a new dam and trestle for the log mills. 

It wasn’t until the age of Nirvana — as in the Seattle grunge band —  that any of that really changed.

“Basically from 1915, that moment until 1994, that whole stretch of the river was an industrial use area,” Miller said.

“Because everything on this side and the other side was all either a Shevlin-Hixon land all the way to century drive on this side and all the way to say, what is the Healey Bridge now. And that was all Brook Scanlon,” said local historian Jim Crowell.

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“1994, when the mills are finally closed down for good and William Smith Properties purchases it to create the Old Mill District, over the next ten years you have all kinds of river restoration work going on in that stretch,” Miller said.

When I first moved here in 2012, the housing market was at its bottom and I was still impressed that the public passed a bond to use their hard earned money on something that seemed kind of pie in the sky.

“2016, what changes? Well, we’ve had the bond measure to support Parks and Rec for multiple projects around the city, but the biggest piece of that was the creation of the Whitewater Park,” Miller said. “But it wasn’t just creating the Whitewater park. It was taking out the dangerous elements of the Colorado Dam that created the log pond.”

And once the Whitewater Park was done, they unleashed the floodgates of a river of humans that flows down to today.

Miller said, according to Bend Park and Rec, 250,000 people float the river every year.

“The highest use day has seen 8,000 people, which is just mind boggling,” Miller said.

Now, before you go, getting frustrated and blaming big industry for robbing us of so much fun for so long, well, you’re going to have to register a complaint with Mother Nature as well. Those 80, 90 and 100-degree summer days we’ve become accustomed to weren’t a guarantee.

“In contrast to these days, you couldn’t rely on the 4th of July to be snow-free. And so those summers, Bend’s growing season and its summer season was pretty compressed,” Crowell said.

And on the bright side, the delay kept a lot of people from unwittingly swimming in, well, pee.

“And at that time there was a considerable rivalry between (Bend and Redmond), especially athletically. So some of us never failed to take advantage of the opportunity, maybe at night, to stand on the footbridge down there and relieve ourselves in Redmond’s water supply,” Crowell said.

So despite big lumber, our climate changing and some kids relieving themselves of the burdens of the day, the not so time honored tradition of floating the river was born.

▶️ New book chronicles 1,000 Oregonians’ trip to support NYC after 9/11

Left and right. Conservative and liberal. In the days that followed the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, those labels were left behind when 1,000 Oregonians of all political stripes boarded planes and headed for the Big Apple in a show of support.

Now 22 years later, a book on the Flight For Freedom chronicles the trip.

“I was shocked,” said freelance writer Sally Bourrie. “And it took awhile, like most people, to realize that this was an attack. This wasn’t just an accident.”

>>> Have you checked out Central Oregon Daily News on YouTube? Click here to subscribe and share our videos.

RELATED: Bi-coastal group hug; Oregonians remember ‘Flight for Freedom’ after 9/11

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For Sally, the tragic events of that day would lead her to pen an inspiring story.

“On September 26, they had a press conference and I thought ‘Oh my gosh, this is an amazing idea. I want to do this,” Sally said.

Three weeks after the attacks, a group of Oregonians boarded planes for New York City. Billed as the Flight for Freedom, 1,000 people from around the state joined a quickly organized excursion to support a city upended by an act of terrorism.

“For these people to say we’re going to get on a plane was amazing, and then for them to be the compassionate people that they were in a New York was a beautiful, beautiful thing,” Sally said.

RELATED: Headlines give glimpse of life in Central Oregon before 9/11

Sally was there to chronicle the trip for newspapers in Chicago and Boston.

“It was $379 round trip from Oregon and two nights at the Waldorf Astoria,” Sally said.

“When you got off the plane, and especially for the people who had been to New York before and understood what they were seeing, it was empty.”

In the days and weeks after the attacks, the world stopped coming to New York. But on October 6, 2001, people from the other side of the country showed up.

“I want Oregonians to know what their state did,” Sally said.

The story of this unlikely tourist trip is documented in “Oregon Loves New York: A Story of American Unity After 9/11.”

Sally said everyone wore t-shirts and buttons that read “Oregon Loves New York,” with a heart referencing the word “Love.”

“You think of New Yorkers as busy and gruff, but they would just come up to you and Thank you for coming,” Sally said. “They would often just start telling you their 9/11 stories and cry. I mean that was very common. The Oregonians every single time something like that happen they stepped into it. They were present.”

The kindness of strangers from 3,000 miles away.

“Here they got a thousand people and they thought ‘We gotta do something,'” Sally said.

That something included standing outside in the street for a “Good Morning America” broadcast, going shopping, going to Wall Street and
even walking in the Columbus Day Parade down 5th Avenue.

“Not being afraid, having a good time, I mean the Oregonians had a good time,” Sally said.

Details and experiences of the trip are laid out across the pages. But it’s the acts of people of all stripes banning together for a greater cause that Sally hopes to convey.

“Data had shown that Oregon was the most politically polarized state in the county. It had the most conservative conservatives and the most progressive progressives. They came together and they did that,” Sally said.

A message she hopes resonates today.

“It’s possible for our country to be like this. We can do this again. And this is a real example of the best of humanity,” Sally said. “Our commonalities are far more pervasive than our differences.”

And for three days and two nights in the Big Apple, Oregonians proved just that.

Sally will be discussing her book along with some Oregonians who were on the Flight for Freedom Monday night at Paulina Springs Books in Sisters starting at 6:30 p.m. And she’ll be at Roundabout Books in Bend on Tuesday, also starting at 6:30. Tickets are $5 for the Bend event.

▶️ The Great Drake Park Duck Race brings in over $96,000 for local non-profits

The 34th annual Great Drake Park Duck Race took place Sunday afternoon.

The race started at 1:30 and thousands of rubber ducks were dumped from the Galveston Bridge into the Deschutes River as they made their way to the foot Bridge in Drake Park.

There were also food booths, bounce houses, activities and a kids race earlier in the afternoon.

This year’s race brought in over $96,000 for local non-profits.

The winning duck was pink, and the names of winners will be up on theduckrace.com.

>>> Have you checked out Central Oregon Daily News on YouTube? Click here to subscribe and share our videos.

RELATED: Great Drake Park Duck Race Sunday in Bend

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▶️ Tribute to Fallen Soldiers Memorial Torch Motorcycle Ride rolls into Redmond

The Tribute to Fallen Soldiers motorcycle riders and the memorial flame made their way to Redmond Saturday afternoon.

Before heading to American Legion Post 44, the Wall of Honor at the Hospice in Redmond was the first stop as the riders embark on their 21-day trip through six states.

The ceremony started with the color guard led by the Band of Brothers and the playing of “Taps”.

After the ceremony the riders were given goodie bags from the hospice center and veterans discharged with honors received a special pin from the Band of Brothers.

Visit Tribute to Fallen Soldiers Northwest on Facebook to follow along on their journey.

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RELATED: Redmond prepares for Tribute to Fallen Soldiers Ride this weekend

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▶️ Bend Fire gives award to dispatcher, woman who helped saved husband’s life

There was a life saver award ceremony on Saturday at the Bend Fire and Rescue’s Pilot Butte Station.

Deschutes County 911 Dispatcher Alice Baer and Debra Walker received the Bend Fire & Rescue “Life Saver Award” for their part in the successful resuscitation of Bend resident Scott Walker.

Back in May, Scott Walker was in his bedroom when he went into cardiac arrest.  Scott’s wife, Debra, called 911 and with guidance from the dispatcher, Alice Baer, administered CPR until Bend Police and Bend Fire medics arrived on scene to take over.

After the ceremony friends and family had a chance to celebrate with the Walkers and offer thanks to the others who helped save his life.

>>> Central Oregon Daily News is on YouTube. Click here to subscribe and share our videos.

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▶️ Fans line up for Terrebonne horse riding champion’s book signing

Barnes and Noble was busy Saturday afternoon for Sanoma Blakeley’s book signing. She’s the young woman from Terrebonne Central Oregon Daily News featured this week after becoming the youngest female to win the world’s most-prestigious endurance horse race.

Eager people waited in a line that wrapped all around the store to meet Sanoma and get their copy of “Chasing Dreams: The True Story of the youngest female Tevis Cup Champion,” signed by the author.

That is, if those visitors were lucky to get one. The event started at 2 p.m. and all the books in the store were sold out within 30 minutes.

Blakeley won the Tevis Cup in 2019 on her horse, Goober, that she got years ago for free on Craigslist. You can watch our story on Sanoma and Goober here.

“Chasing Dreams” was picked up by a publisher and released in July and is available at local bookstores and on Amazon.

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RELATED: Sanoma and Goober: Terrebonne teen pens book about historic horse race win

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▶️ The fall season arrived at The Back Porch and Company in Redmond

The Back Porch and Company held their annual fall open house in Redmond Saturday afternoon.

Specialty items including antiques, furniture, home décor, candles, jewelry, clothing and flowers can be found from several vendors that make up the collaborative.

Customers came to enjoy the fall inspiration all around the store and even enjoy some treats.

The Back Porch and Company is open Monday – Saturday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday noon – 4 p.m. It is located at 2127 S. Hwy 97 in Redmond.

The next big event is their Christmas open house on November 10th at 4pm.

>>> Have you checked out Central Oregon Daily News on YouTube? Click here to subscribe and share our videos.

RELATED: Brides show up in their gowns for Bella Brides pub crawl

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▶️ Little Did I Know: Completing the Big Butte Challenge

One of the summertime activities available to those who love the outdoors is called the Big Butte Challenge. The goal of the challenge is to hike eight specific buttes between Memorial Day and Labor Day. For each one you summit, you get a token for a free beer.

Central Oregon Daily’s Scott Elnes shows you the final chapter of a summer spent getting high on life.


Little Did I Know: Taking on the Big Butte Challenge

Little Did I Know: G.P. Putnam

Little Did I Know: Birth of the Central Oregon mountain biking scene

Little Did I Know: History of Central Oregon mountain biking

Little Did I Know: Mt. Bachelor vs. Broken Top tale of the tape