Bend Park and Rec website crashes as fall registration opens

People struggled to log on to the Bend Park and Recreation website Tuesday as registration opened for fall activities. Some noted that it was a repeat of their experience from previous years.

Registration opened at 6:00 a.m. for many activities that both children and adults look forward to. Registering for fall activities is also something many parents rely on as they plan activities during the school year and for school breaks.

But as early as 5:45 a.m., people said they were having difficulty logging on, as noted by their comments to BPRD on Facebook.

A visit to the BPRD website as late as 7:00 a.m. showed a spinning wheel and a “500 Internal Service Error” message. Others said they were able to log into their account only to get kicked back out.

By 7:30 a.m., people reported they had finally gotten through, but said that “everything is almost full.” 

RELATED: Bend Park and Rec fall program registration Tuesday

BPRD acknowledged the issue on Facebook.

“The registration website is bogged down and we’re working to resolve it,” BPRD said in a Facebook post. “Sorry for the inconvenience. This is an unfortunate result of thousands of users trying to access it simultaneously.”

Here are just some of the comments left to BPRD on Facebook:

“Just a thought… why don’t … they have sign ups for different activities at diferent times or days so it doesn’t crash?”

“… I need to get going to work. Been trying since 5:50. So frustrating.”

“… I was logged in and got kicked out and now it says I’ve got an active sesion each time but kicks me back to login… usually once logged in it’s just slow.”

“… should we just plan on taking the day off next time.”

“There has to be a better way!!!”

 

▶️ Bend firefighter dies in small plane crash

Bend Fire and Rescue announced Monday that one of its firefighters was killed in the crash of a small plane in Idaho.

Engineer Daniel Harro, 38, died in the crash Monday morning near Yellow Pine, Idaho, Bend Fire said. Harro was piloting the plane and was traveling with his twin brother, Mark, from a back-country camping trip near McCall, Idaho.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation, Bend Fire said.

“This is a devastating loss for our family.” said Bend Fire Chief Todd Riley in a statement. “Daniel was well-loved and well-respected by everyone who worked with him. We will miss his presence every day.” 

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Daniel Harro is survived buy his wife, Elisif.

Bend Fire and Rescue said Harro began working in Bend in 2014 and quickly became a leader. He was heavily involved in Bend Fire and Rescue’s specialty Rescue Team and served on Bend’s Professional Firefighter’s Local 227 Executive Board.

As a paramedic, Harro also worked with department administrators and physician advisors to assist in the updating of Emergency Medical Service protocols, Bend Fire said.

He previously worked for the Scappoose Fire Department.

 

 

▶️ ‘Slept with my cell phone’: Bend North coach says World Series spot denied

Bend North Little League Coach Brett Hartlaub was holding onto a smidgen of hope that his team will be added to the Little League World Series following last week’s controversial end to their season. 

“I slept last night with my cell phone on my nightstand, knowing that East Coast time was earlier,” Hartlaub said. “When I woke up (Monday) morning and there was no call, hope kind of went away at that point.”

Hartlaub admits that with the tournament starting on Wednesday, it would be a herculean effort to get his team to Williamsport, Pennsylvania in time should that phone ring.

Hartlaub said Monday that Little League Baseball has basically cut off communication despite his effort to have Bend North added as an 11th team to the World Series. He says he’s been told the tournament field will not be expanded.

RELATED: Bend North coach lobbies to have team added to LL World Series

“Little League is no longer responding to my phone calls or my emails at this point,” Hartlaub said. “They, I think, feel they have ruled on this issue.”

Hartlaub said the team pushed a social media campaign over the weekend to get Bend North added.

“The call to action was incredible and the amount of people who participated in that was surprisingly high and really fun to see,” he said.

Little League Baseball, in a text message, tells Central Oregon Daily News it has nothing more to say on the matter.

RELATED: Bend North Little League falls in regional final after controversial call

What happened?

The team from Bonney Lake and Sumner, Washington, defeated Bend North 3-2 in extra innings last Thursday in the Northwest Regional Final. The controversy came on a ball hit down line and hit the ground just past third base.

The third base umpire called it foul. The home plate umpire called it fair.

The Washington player who was on first at the time rounded the bases and scored the winning run.

Hartlaub, who says the foul call should have ended the play then and there, called for a replay. After the umpires conferred, they let the fair call by the home plate umpire stand.

Hartlaub: We’re supportive of Team Washington, umpires

Hartlaub remains complimentary of the Washington team. He says Bend North doesn’t want to take Washington’s place in the World Series.

But he says his team should be invited as well and that the tournament could be adjusted to include Bend North.

Hartlaub also wants to be very clear. He is supportive of the umpires. 

“Those players, those coaches, those umpires were under more pressure than any other game, I would assume, in their lives,” Hartlaub said. “One guy saw it one way. One guy saw it another way. The rulebook is clear.”

Hartlaub cites this line from page 34 of the Little League rulebook, which states “If a batted ball is inadvertently called ‘foul’, and it touches the ground in live ball territory it is irrevocably foul and the ball is dead.”

Little League Baseball released a statement Friday:

“In the final play of the 2022 Little League Baseball Northwest Region Championship Game, despite the on-field conclusion, the official call on the field was a far ball by the home plate umpire. Ultimately, upon video review, there was not clear and concise evidence to determine whether the ball was fair or foul, and the fair ball call was sustained. While we regret any confusion at the end of the game, we remain supportive of all the volunteers who were involved in this matter.”

Hartlaub says his issue is with the process. He expressed disappointment that the statement never addressed the foul call.

“It does not. That was our biggest frustration,” Hartlaub said. 

To make his point clear, Hartlaub refers to an analogy that he tells his players. Regardless of what they think something should be called — ball or strike, fair or foul — it’s ultimately whatever the umpire calls it. 

“The definition of a foul ball is whatever the umpire calls. And the umpire called that foul.” he said.

Little League Baseball has nothing to add

Central Oregon Daily News reached out to Little League Baseball Monday to ask if the organization was formally denying the request to add Bend North to the World Series and if it would address the rule that Hartlaub cites.

The response was “We have no further comment outside of our official statement. Thank you.”

Hartlaub thankful for the home support

Hartlaub also expressed his thanks to the Central Oregon community for its “overwhelming” support over the past few days.

“Thank you to this community for supporting these players and this team,” said Hartlaub. “Hundreds of text messages have come to me in support and in emails and instant messages and all that stuff. It’s been incredible. Bend loves baseball and Bend loves those kids so it’s really cool. I want a big thank you out there for that.”

Hartlaub also says that with the season ending, players are into transition mode.

“It’s time to go swimming. It’s time to hit the lakes. It’s time to get ready for football and soccer seasons,” Hartlaub said. “Most of those kids, obviously, there’s a propensity of athletes to play other sports. That transition’s beginning.”

▶️ Severe volleyball referee shortage a big issue with season almost here

High school volleyball on the High Desert is in trouble.

“There is a huge shortage of officials,” said Ridgeview High School Athletic Director Randi Viggiano. “Whether that’s people leaving the profession, whether that is people leaving the area, but I believe we have 10 in all of Central Oregon.”

Only 10 officials for 17 schools in Central Oregon. With two officials needed for each game.

“To be honest, I don’t know how it is going to happen,” said Central Oregon Volleyball Commissioner Kelly Havig. “I put all the schedules in and a week from Tuesday on the first play date for regular matches, it came up that I needed 28 officials to fill the day. I have six.”

RELATED: ‘Slept with my cell phone’: Bend North coach says World Series spot denied

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Havig has been in discussion with the Oregon School Activities Association about the shortage — even making suggestions that coaches might need to ref junior varsity games.

“Hopefully, we can figure out a plan,” Havig said. “As it stands right now, I don’t have certified officials for are the requirements that OSAA has.”
Volleyball isn’t the only sport with a referee shortage, it’s all upcoming fall sports.

Viggiano says canceling games because of the shortage is a last resort. Rescheduling games, however is not only expected, but already happening.

“You will see some Friday night football games being played on Thursdays and Saturdays,” said Vigganio. “You know, moving soccer games to different dates just to spread out the officials.”

With all of the Bend and Redmond High Schools in the same conference (Mountain Valley) this season, officials have no breaks because even away games will still be in Central Oregon.

“You know they just have to cover more games,” said Viggiano. “Madras and Crook County are in the same conference. So, yeah it definitely puts a bigger strain.”

Viggiano encourages anyone who wants to help or to become an official to reach out to their local athletic directors.

▶️ Will some Bend vacation rentals convert to worker housing if fewer allowed?

A proposal to reduce the density of short-term vacation rental units inside Bend City limits is raising eyebrows of supporters and opponents.

The Bend Planning Commission is considering changes to the Bend Development Code that regulates how and where short-term rentals can be permitted within city limits.

The proposed changes include increasing the buffer zone between permitted short-term rentals from 250 feet up to 500 feet in residential zones.

Such a restriction might limit the number of short-term rentals to one per street or neighborhood, depending on density of the area.

“A majority of supportive comments are in favor of increasing the concentration limits from 250 to 500 feet in neighborhoods. There is support for incentivizing them to be long-term rentals,” said Pauline Hardie, a senior planner for the City of Bend.

RELATED: A guide to developing ADUs –Accessory Dwelling Units–available online

One of the Bend City Council’s goals is to “take meaningful action to make this statement a reality: People who live and work in Bend can afford housing in Bend.”

The thinking appears to be one of converting some short-term vacation rentals to long term rentals that workers can afford.

“That’s the other part of the proposed amendments, allowing a short-term rental permit holder to convert their rental into a long-term rental which is 12 months or greater and not lose their short-term rental permit if they chose to use that later in the future,” Hardie said.

Based on survey results, property owners were supportive of incentives to rent long-term, including waiving the proof of use requirements to keep the short-term rental operating license. Currently, the Bend Development Code doesn’t allow a property owner to keep their short-term rental license if the property isn’t rented out as a short-term rental for more than 12 months.

The Bend Planning Commission will have a hybrid work session on the changes at 5:30 p.m. on August 22. The meeting will be in person in Council Chambers at 710 NW Wall Street,  or virtually.

A public hearing on the proposal will be held Sept. 12.

Bend City Council may consider the proposed short-term rental code changes in October.

▶️ COVID-19: Central Oregon looks much different than 1 year ago

Compared to the past two years, this summer has looked pretty normal.  Mask mandates and vaccine requirements are scarce and Central Oregon is about to begin the first full school year without masks since the pandemic began.

But the region still faces lingering effects. 

This week last year, Central Oregon and the rest of the state faced some major shakeups when it came to COVID. 

Locally, St. Charles broke the then-record for COVID-19 hospitalizations with 62 patients. The Redmond School Board began to consider the option of putting forth a resolution that would push back against the mask mandate in schools. 

On a state level, Gov. Kate Brown issued another statewide indoor mask mandate as Oregon dealt with the contagious delta variant. 

She also ordered that K-12 teachers be fully vaccinated by Oct. 18, and deployed the Oregon National Guard to assist in the state’s hospitals, including St. Charles

“That wasn’t a happy place,” said Dr. Cynthia Maree, an Infectious Disease Expert with St. Charles. “It was a hard time. I think it’s about the time we started to get called into emergency meetings to stand up an emergency care center to deal with the capacity issues in our emergency department.”

This year, it’s a lighter load in some ways. 

“On average, we’ve had about 20 COVID patients in a bed on any given day,” said Senior Data Scientist Dr. Mike Johnson from St. Charles. “That is coming down, thankfully, from what it has been in the recent past.”

RELATED: CDC drops quarantine, screening recommendations for COVID-19

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“We’re doing much better this year than we were last year, and a lot of it’s not because of our own doing,” he added. “It’s because of the natural course of the virus.” 

Maree added that the lower hospital numbers and lesser restrictions mean elective surgeries are far more available now. 

But COVID still casts a sobering shadow. More people are dying of COVID now than they were two months ago. 

“We’re on track to have about as many patients as we had in May, but we’re on track to have three times as many deaths as we had in May,” Johnson said. “So even though the numbers are small, we’re on track to have 10 people die in the hospital from COVID this month. So it’s not going away. This new variant is being very crafty and evading immunizations, and it kind of does what it wants.” 

Across Deschutes County, there are actually more positive COVID cases recorded this year than last year.

There were 357 new cases between July 31 and August 6 2021 versus 517 new cases from July 30 to August 5 of this year.

Deschutes County COVID-19 program manager Emily Horton said the nature of the latest variant is the main culprit for the higher numbers. 

“The BA.5 variant that we’re seeing now is incredibly contagious, so we know it moves through the population relatively quickly,” she said. “I would also say our numbers are higher than are even reported, because many people are taking at-home tests and they don’t report those to the county.”

In schools this year, teachers are still required to have proof of vaccination. But now, masks are a thing of the past, as well as distancing and quarantine protocols. 

Despite any COVID number fluctuations, the largest change has been resources. 

“I feel like there is a bit of a sigh of relief that we know what’s going on with COVID, we have been dealing with our processes for two years now, we have vaccines that are effective, we have treatments that are effective,” Maree said. 

The hospital expects a BA.5-specific vaccine to be approved sometime this fall.

Deschutes County plans to continue hosting free vaccine clinics across the county indefinitely. 

Popular art show returns to Sunriver

From paintings to jewelry, the Village at Sunriver was transformed into an outdoor art gallery on Saturday.

The Sunriver Art Fair returned for its 14th outing with 73 artists displaying their work.

The juried show is popular with both artists and patrons.

“We’ve had a number them report to us that Friday, our opening day, was their biggest day ever at an art fair,” said Kathleen Meyer of the Sunriver Women’s Club.

The club hosts the annual event which funds their philanthropic work with agencies and non-profits in Southern Deschutes County.

At JB’s Wood Turning booth, fair regular Joe Glassford was showing off his custom turned woodworks of art.

“Been very rewarding, met a lot of people because I live here in the neighborhood. I meet a lot of friends and a lot of people come in, and are repeat customers because I’ve been her for so long.”

Glassford, of Sunriver, was there at the beginning of it all and hasn’t missed a show.

Down the row of tents, Tim Giraudier of Westfir had his landscape photography on display.

“You’ve got people here on vacation, you’ve got people who live here, I sold a piece to a family from Florida so it can be anybody.”

Giraudier’s photo from Waldo Lake graces the Fair’s poster this year.

“I think that the connection has to do with love of the place,” the photographer added, “you’re connecting through subject matter.”

The fair continues Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

▶️ Car fire in northeast Bend lights up the night, no injuries reported

A vehicle caught fire in Northeast Bend late Friday night, fortunately there were no injuries.

Bend Fire and Rescue responded to the call just off Boyd Acres Road around midnight Friday.

The fire started when gasoline vapor ignited as someone was filling a generator next to the car, according to Deputy Fire Marshal Cindy Kettering.

In cell phone video you can see small explosion that sends sparks flying as a firefighter walks toward the burning car.

You can also see an RV that was moved away from the flames.

Kettering said there are several people living in vehicles parked in the area.

The Cadillac was a complete loss.

Fire northeast of Cultus Lake caught fast, kept small

Fire crews responded to a new start about a mile west of Lucky Lake, and about 4.5 mi northeast of Cultus Lake on Saturday morning.

The blaze was caught fast and kept small according to a Tweet from Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch.

 

The fire is was initially sized up at 1.5 acres, but that number was later reduced to a half acre.

The blaze was reported to be in timber and brush on the Deschutes National Forest west of the Cascade Lakes Highway.

Air resources, including single engine air tankers were dispatched, but later released.

Due to the location, engine crews had to hike into the fire.

 

A fire official with Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch told Central Oregon Daily News there were no evacuations of campgrounds or resorts in the area at this time.

Firefighters have been busy after multiple rounds of lightning storms moved through the state earlier in the week.

Overnight Tuesday, the Oregon Department of Forestry’s multi-mission aircraft used to detect fires spotted 21 new starts.

▶️ Red-eye: Oregon fire detection plane looks for new starts in dead of night

Fire officials say currently no large fires are burning in Central Oregon.

 

▶️ St. Charles says it overpaid workers $2 million, wants the money back

The Oregon Nurses Association (ONA) has sent a cease and desist letter to St. Charles Health System on Friday after it was reported the hospital seeks to receive back payment from its employees. It all stems from the hacking of a payroll management provider that affected companies nationwide.

The letter alleges the demands by St. Charles for repayment by employees is illegal.

The workforce management company Kronos was hacked late last year. It forced the hospital to conduct its payroll method by hand.

Errors were made in the process, leading to underpaid and overpaid workers. St. Charles says the overpayment totals reach about $2 million. 

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St. Charles nurse Megan Bovi says she was handed a sticky note, without warning, detailing an amount of $2,900 that she owed. Bovi says there is no proof she was overpaid or how the amount was calculated.

“I’m not just going to take their word for it,” Bovi said. “I need evidence and why has this been rolled out so unprofessionally and disrespectfully and without tact?”

In a statement sent to Central Oregon Daily News, St. Charles spokesperson Lisa Goodman says the hospital believes employee time card entries show fewer hours than what employees are claiming to have worked.

ONA claims the Oregon Bureau of Labor Institute is clear on the issue.

“Paycheck deductions going to the employer to pay for an alleged ‘overpayment’ or loan are not for the employee’s benefit and are therefore unlawful,” the cease and desist letter reads.

Goodman responded to the letter on Friday.

“We strongly believe that we’ve complied with the law and with our contractual obligations in every respect as we’ve paid our employees and as we now look at how to make payroll corrections that are needed because of the ransomware attack on UKG,” Goodman said in an email.