DCSO investigating shooting near Alfalfa; victim expected to survive

The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a shooting Saturday near Alfalfa.

Deputies were called to the 25000 block of Alfalfa Market Road arond 3:30 p.m. for a report of a person with a gunshot wound.

Sgt. Jayson Janes said deputies arrived and discovered a 55-year-old woman with a gunshot wound.

A 70-year-old man was also at the scene.

The woman was taken to St. Charles in Bend via air ambulance. She is expected to recover, Janes said.

Deputies and detectives are still actively investigating this incident, so no further details can be released at this time, he said.

There is no perceived threat to the public.


▶️ Crook Co. restaurant employees eager to return, welcome back customers


The Horseshoe Tavern laid off eight employees when it closed during the second COVID lockdown in November.

“It was drastic,” Cassey, a bartender there said. “It was awful. It was scary.”

Some good news though on Tuesday as Gov. Kate Brown announced Crook County would move to the “High Risk” category on Friday.

The upgrade means restaurants and bars there can reopen with limited capacity.

“It’s exciting, but still scary trying to get things back up and still the unknown, you know,” Cassey said.

“What’s going to happen later,” co-worker and bartender Summer said. “(Will it happen) Again?”

Horseshoe Tavern Manager Shelley Nelson says reopening with so little notice is not easy.

“Absolutely, there is an extra level of stress,” Nelson added. “I tossed and turned a lot last night thinking, ‘oh my gosh I’ve got to do this and that’.”

Owner of Club Pioneer and Dillon’s Grill Jim Roths is overjoyed with the news.

“Yes,” Roths screamed in joy. “We are opening for indoor dining! I am so excited!”

“It’s the difference between closing and succeeding,” he added.

Club Pioneer, Dillon’s Grill and the Horseshoe Tavern all plan to open Friday.

“Just to be able to work again you know,” Cassey said.

“I love it here,” Summer said.

Deschutes County remains at high risk, Jefferson County extreme.

The next update to county risk levels will be announced March 9.

Crook Co. moves to ‘High Risk’ Friday; COVID restrictions relaxed

Declining COVID cases in Crook County will relax some restrictions on indoor dining, gym use, and more beginning Friday.

The county is moving from ‘Extreme Risk” to ‘High Risk’ for COVID transmissions, according to a release from Crook County Health.

“Crook County is moving in the right direction and the change in risk level for Crook County indicates that everyone has worked hard to protect themselves and others from exposure to COVID-19 and this has kept our case count lower than it has been for some time,” said Vicky Ryan, public information officer for the county.

The framework uses four different risk levels for counties based on COVID-19 spread—Extreme Risk, High Risk, Moderate Risk, and Lower Risk—and assigns health and safety measures for each level.

Crook County reported 46 total cases over the last two weeks, allowing for the move out of the Extreme Risk category.

Indoor dining is allowed at 25% capacity or 50 people max; gyms are able to open at 25% capacity or 50 people max and other indoor recreation venues like movie theaters and museums are able to open with limited capacity.

You can see more info on the restrictions below:

It’s welcome news for a smaller Oregon community that has long thought the restrictions were too severe.

Several restaurants in town put up signs outside reading #YoureKillingMeBrown, a message to Gov. Kate Brown.

▶️ Crook County restaurants frustrated by not meeting high risk metrics


Prineville woman cited for DUII, child uninjured after rollover crash

A Prineville woman was cited for drunk driving Thursday night after a rollover crash on the Ochoco Highway, according to the Crook County Sheriff’s Office.

It was a Good Samaritan who helped rescue her and her son.

Sgt. Mitch Madden said deputies were dispatched to the crash near NE Northshore Trail around 5:30 p.m.

Initial reports said two people were trapped inside a red Saturn that had gone down an embankment, rolled, and collided with a tree.

Joe Reed was driving by, noticed the fresh tracks in the snow, and knew something was wrong.

“So, I pulled off the road up ahead, and I ran back here and I looked down and there was this vehicle down there,” he said. “A semi truck pulled up and I told him to call 911, that we have a vehicle down the embankment … I was able to get down in there and get the boy out through that window there. And I got him and we worked our way across the cut here, I figured I could – it was bad; it was steep, it was snowy, it was snowing, it was dark.”

Reed said another passing driver took the boy in to get warm.

He then went back to the car to help the driver, 42-year-old Kristi Teasdale up the hill.

Deputies arrived and used a rescue rope to help her up the hill.

Crook County Fire & Rescue arrived and took Teasdale to St. Charles in Prineville with non-life-threatening injuries.

Madden said deputies determined alcohol and medication were factors in the crash.

Teasdale was cited in lieu of custody for driving under the influence of intoxicants. The crash is still under investigation and more charges are pending, Madden said.


▶️ Prineville mother frustrated with limited curriculum on Black History Month


What did you learn today?

That’s a question Prineville resident Amber Vandenack asks her 6th grade daughter every day after school.

But it’s what the 11-year-old Crook County Middle School student, who is black, wasn’t mentioning that stood out to Vandenack.

“Well, did you learn anything about Black History? Because it was February 1st the first day I asked,” Vandenack said. “She was like no, and I put it off a little bit. I said okay it’s only the first day, let’s give it a week and see how it goes.”

A week went by, Vandenack’s daughter still reported back nothing.

Vandenack then called the school and the superintendent, she was told that Black History Month is not part of the school’s curriculum and it’s up to teachers whether to discuss it.

“I was mad,” Vandenack said. “I cussed a few times.”

According to Jason Carr with the Crook County School District, students do learn about Black History.

“It is something that is covered,” Carr said. “It is something that we believe is important.”

However, there is not a single month of the curriculum devoted to Black History Month.

Assistant principal Marques Hase says this is because Crook County Middle School takes a “holistic” approach to Black history, incorporating it into lessons throughout the entire school year.

“We focus on Black History throughout the content throughout the year,” Marques Hase, assistant principal said. “Not specifically just Black History Month, just throughout the year.”

Vandenack says what frustrates her the most is that slavery and segregation is the bulk of the black history her daughter is learning.

“It breaks my heart that my daughter only hears the bad,” Vandenack said. “Doesn’t hear about the good things that African American and black people do.”

Since our conversation with Vandenack, she spoke with school district curriculum director Stacy Smith.

Smith is hoping the school district can find unique ways to celebrate Black History Month with more positive content.

“The school district is happy to partner with the family and weave in additional lessons that meet the request,” Carr said. “We value the opportunity to have an open conversation with our parents to ensure our schools are a welcoming and positive place for all of our students of color.”

▶️ Crook County restaurants frustrated by not meeting high risk metrics


Restaurants in Prineville can’t believe their county won’t be opening for indoor dining on Friday.

“It’s a real head scratcher,” said Cody Suing, owner of Horseshoe Tavern.

“It just doesn’t make sense,” said Jesse Toomey, owner Crooked Roots Brewing.

“This Metric system is wrong,” said Jim Roths, owner of Dillon’s Grill and Club Pioneer. “It does not fit a county like Crook County.”

Governor Kate brown announced Tuesday, Deschutes County and several other counties were moving to “high risk”, which eases restrictions for restaurants, gyms, and other recreation facilities.

Crook County needed to have 59 COVID cases in a two-week period to move out of “extreme risk” and into “high risk”.

The number of cases they had: 60.

“We just want to be open,” Roths said

Roths says the metrics can’t be a one size fits all system.

“If a community like Prineville, a small rural community is not as safe as going to a larger community, it is kind of a slap in the face,” he said

He’s not the only one who is frustrated.

Owner of Crooked Roots Brewing, Jesse Toomey feels the same way.

“The extreme risk category is a little too extreme,” Toomey said.

“If she thinks that, Kate Brown, thinks that a few days’ notice to open up or close is OK for a restaurant, it’s not,” he added.

Several restaurants have put up signs that say “#You’reKillingMeBrown”.

Cody and Chris Suing, owners of Horseshoe tavern, are one them.

“We feel that if all of us use a voice, all of us restaurants use a voice, that maybe something will be heard,” said Chris Suing.

Crook County Judge Seth Crawford was on the phone with Governor Brown Wednesday morning.

“I asked if we could get a little bit of variance on this and she said they were unable to do that,” Crawford said.

He says business owners just want an opportunity.

“They don’t want handouts from the government,” Crawford said. “They want to do their jobs and serve the people that come into their restaurants.” 

“Governor open us up, give us a chance to survive,” said Roths when asked if he wanted to add anything else.

The next risk level announcement is February 23.

Winter storm expected to bring plenty of snow to High Desert

Central Oregon is in the crosshairs of a winter storm that could dump more than a half-foot of snow on some parts of the region.

The crest of the Cascades could see as much as two feet of snow during a storm that currently runs from Thursday at noon through 10 p.m. Friday.

Central Oregon Daily News Chief Meteorologist Dorrell Wenninger said accumulating snow is expected for most of the region and travel will be difficult to impossible at times.

“At this point, it doesn’t look like it’s going to be another snowpocalypse, but some people will have difficulty traveling,” Wenninger said.  “And it’s setting up to be a back to back winter snow system scenario that by the end of the weekend we could have some extreme totals.”

He said it’s too soon to predict what those totals might be, but the new system is expected to sweep through the region beginning Saturday.

Snowfall will vary, he said, with Bend, Redmond and Madras expected to get more than 6 inches.

Sisters could get more than a foot, while Warm Springs is expected to get about 10 inches.

For updated forecasts, travel cams and more, visit the Central Oregon Daily News weather page.

The City asks for the community’s help in advance of the winter storm by having all vehicles, trailers, garbage cans, etc., off of the street to help with snow plowing efforts. It is also helpful when shoveling sidewalks to place the snow on the house side of the sidewalk, not back into the street.

The City’s plan addresses how to deal with certain problematic streets where on-street parking during particularly heavy snowfall has contributed to increasingly narrow and sometimes impassable roads. These are called “emergency snow zones.” During declared snow emergencies, the City will ask that “emergency snow zone” marked streets be cleared of parked cars, to help us plow from curb to curb. Emergency snow zones are:

  • Wall Street (Portland Avenue to Colorado Avenue)
  • Bond Street (Wall Street to Colorado Avenue)
  • Chandler Avenue (Mt. Washington Drive to Century Drive)
  • NE Courtney Drive (27th Street to Conners Avenue)
  • NE Conners Avenue (27th Street to Courtney Drive)
  • NW Broadway Street (Franklin Avenue / Riverside Boulevard to Colorado Avenue)
  • NW Tumalo Avenue (Riverside Boulevard to Broadway Street)
  • 17th Street & Troon Avenue (Galveston Avenue to Mt. Washington Drive)

Learn more here about where the locations are, how to find out if an emergency is declared and what to do if your car is towed.

“If you don’t need to travel this weekend, it is recommended to stay off of the roads in this upcoming storm,” said David Abbas, Bend’s Transportation & Mobility Director. “Thanks for your help and readiness to get through this upcoming winter storm together as a community. Don’t forget to help your neighbors who could use a hand, too.”

New owners announced for Woodgrain Mill site in Prineville

The former Woodgrain Mill site in Prineville has new owners – an industrial development group that focuses on rehabilitating properties.

The new ownership believes in grass-roots developments and has named the new venture “Prineville Campus, LLC.”

The developer specifically bought the property to leverage the previous Mill’s extensive infrastructure for a large industrial re-development campus to benefit the community in bringing back local manufacturing, stimulating economic revitalization, and supporting the Prineville local employment market and Crook County rural region.

To provide some historical background, the Prineville community suffered a considerable blow when Woodgrain, the former owners, started moving operations away from the area.

Then a portion of the old mill roof collapsed in January 2017, with the resulting closing and loss of hundreds of local jobs.

The old sawmill was one of the last remaining in Crook County with nearly continuous use as a wood-products manufacturing facility since around 1938 when it became operational as the Alexander-Yawkey (A-Y) Mill.

The A-Y mill reportedly burned in 1940 but was subsequently rebuilt and expanded in size over the 50 years to approximately 500,000 square feet of industrial space on a 56-acre parcel.

Following the collapse, the complex was reduced to the current size of 230,000 building square feet but retained all the previous building pads for future manufacturing development space.

Market forces are shaping the Prineville area. Current conditions from the COVID-19 pandemic have now caused manufacturers to rethink their location and driven some people back to rural areas.

High-tech jobs with Apple and Facebook in the new large hyper-scale data center industry have been in Prineville for a decade. With the shift in desired location and lifestyle across the state, the mill building’s new owner aspires to provide industrial space for the community to grow.

When the new owner purchased the property in 2020 and looked at redeveloping the property, the Crook County building department demanded a thorough safety assessment with a report documenting its findings before giving their consent to reopen the site to the public.

To evaluate the property’s fire and life safety, the owner turned to Code Unlimited, a 40-person code consulting firm with experience on similar projects across the Pacific Northwest.

Code Unlimited, with assistance from local engineering firms Colebreit Engineering and Eclipse Engineering, evaluated the life safety systems, structural systems, and MEP systems for compliance with the applicable codes. This evaluation’s scope and framework were confirmed with Crook County building and fire officials, who had declared all standing portions of the site as dangerous and closed the site back in 2017.

Previous steps had been taken, such as removing the damaged portions of the collapsed complex before entering the rest of the buildings to validate that the snowstorm did not damage the current standing structures.

The building envelope, structural framing, and critical mechanical/electrical systems were inspected for required repairs and general maintenance from past use and years when the building was idle.

The fire suppression systems, including the fire pumps and supply lines, were upgraded and tested to accommodate future industrial uses. The minor building systems, such as tenant sprinklers, minor electrical, and HVAC systems, will undergo additional improvements as new tenants come on board.

The final report submitted to the county included the life safety analysis by Code Unlimited, testing and analysis of building mechanical and electrical equipment by Colebreit engineers, and structural analysis by a professional structural engineering firm Eclipse Engineering. The owners also provided a rigorous operational / maintenance plan to assure the industrial complex and future users’ longevity and safe operation.

“Crook County Fire and Rescue appreciated working with Prineville Campus, LLC, its partners, and the Crook County Building Department on this project to ensure a safe and appropriate revitalization of the mill campus. The mill campus is a significant asset to the community of Prineville and Crook County, and the district is excited to see what future businesses decide to locate there.” – Russell Deboodt, Division Chief – Fire and Life Safety.

The new owner plans to maintain the same industrial types of use for the site.

Though not classified as a historic structure, the owner intends to keep the facility’s unique character and cultural value.

The building is ideal for large-scale industrial use, including indoor as well as outdoor.

New tenants will benefit from the high bay structures, high capacity water supply and power, and rail spur with access to Burlington Northern Santa Fe and the Union Pacific Railroads.

Current and future generations will now have the opportunity to lease/develop their businesses on the same lots where previous generations whirred saws and rolled lumber to bring prosperity to their families and the old mill town community.

“The Prineville Campus has appreciated working with all stakeholders of both Crook County and City of Prineville on a go-forward plan to revitalize a much-needed community asset. We look to the re-development of Campus to benefit the community in bringing back local manufacturing, stimulating economic revitalization, and supporting the Prineville local employment market and Crook County rural region.”- Charles Bauman, COO

▶️ With indoor hoops on hold, new courts let CCHS take the game outside

Indoor basketball remains on the list of activities not allowed by the Oregon Health Authority’s COVID restrictions.

So Crook County High School moved its basketball court outside – sort of.

A new sports court purchased from Utah Valley University last month is now fully operational.

Central Oregon Daily’s Eric Lindstrom has more on the unique way Prineville teenagers are getting to do what they love.


Trump gives permit to Eastern Oregon ranchers whose case led to occupation

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The U.S. Bureau of Land Management in the final days of the Trump administration issued a grazing permit to Oregon ranchers whose imprisonment sparked the 2016 armed takeover of a federal wildlife refuge by right-wing extremists.

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt’s restored Dwight and Steven Hammond’s grazing permit earlier this week, which lasts for 10 years, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported.

The father and son had their permit revoked after a jury convicted them in 2012 of arson on public lands a decade earlier.

The men went to prison, served time and were released, but the U.S. Department of Justice later ordered them back to prison to finish the mandatory minimum five-year sentence.

That kicked off the 41-day armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, which is 300 miles (483 kilometers) southeast of Portland. The Oregon State Police fatally shot one occupier, saying he reached for a pistol at a roadblock.

The leaders of the takeover, Ammon and Ryan Bundy, and five others were later acquitted of conspiring to impede federal workers from their jobs at the refuge.

In 2018, Then-President Donald Trump pardoned the Hammonds, allowing them to be freed from federal prison.