Local farmers, ranchers eligible for up to $4K in grants from HDFFA

Farmers and ranchers in Central Oregon are now able to apply for an On-Farm Efficiency Grant, the newest program offered by the High Desert Food & Farm Alliance (HDFFA).

Farmers and ranchers may apply for up to $4,000 in grant funds to put towards infrastructure upgrades, equipment purchases, professional development, and/or technical assistance.

The goal of this new project is to invest in increasing the ability of Central Oregon producers to overcome shocks and strains on their operations by providing direct farm investments.

“After a really bumpy year for many of our partners still feeling the impact of covid disruptions compounded by severe drought and irrigation cuts, we are excited to be able to invest in projects that will build resilience for the producers growing our food and nourishing our communities,” says Annie Nichols, Agricultural Support Manager for HDFFA.

The High Desert Food & Farm Alliance will redistribute a total of $40,000 in funding from the USDA under the Community Food Project and Beginning Farmer/Rancher Development Program grants.

A majority of the funds were allocated to HDFFA as an extension of one of the grants through the American Rescue Plan Act passed earlier this year.

Applicants must be located in Crook, Deschutes, or Jefferson Counties or the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs.

They must be operational during 2021, primarily sell their products within Central Oregon, and be mindful of the environmental impact of their operation.

Grants will require a 50% match in funds which can be provided through cash, in-kind donations, and/or labor. Applicants have until December 20th, 2021 to apply.

Learn more and apply at hdffa.org/ofeg.

Pedestrian struck, killed by car while crossing Highway 97 near Redmond

A woman trying to cross Highway 97 near the Redmond airport exit Saturday night was struck and killed by a car, according to Oregon State Police.

OSP responded to the accident around 10 p.m. and learned a pedestrian, 44-year-old Kara Shepherd of Redmond, tried crossing four lanes of the highway when she was struck by a northbound Lexus.

Shepherd sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver of the car was not injured and remained on the scene and cooperated with the investigation, OSP said.

OSP was assisted by Redmond Police Department and ODOT.

Deschutes Co. SAR helps Redmond woman injured climbing at Smith Rock

Deschutes County Search and Rescue helped a 42-year-old Redmond woman who was injured Sunday while climbing at Smith Rock State Park.

Assistant SAR Coordinator Donny Patterson said one of his agency’s volunteers happened to be climbing in the area and came upon a woman who needed help down a trail.

One of the members in the injured climbers’ party slid down a climbing rope and hit her head as she was climbing up, Patterson said.

The accident happened around 11 a.m. on a climbing route known as “Darkness at Noon,” which is in the area of the Dihedrals at the park.

The SAR member who was climbing in the area, remained on the scene to provide assistance until further help could arrive.

Due to the location of the climber, a wheeled litter rescue was required.

A DCSO Special Services Deputy responded to the park, as additional Search and Rescue volunteers were called out to assist.

Ten DCSO Search and Rescue volunteers responded to assist.

When Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue teams arrived on the scene, the medical team members began providing patient care and preparing the injured climber for transport by wheeled litter.

Once the patient was ready, Search and Rescue members along with a State Park employee, began moving the climber down through some tough terrain, eventually reaching the canyon floor and footbridge.

The climber was then taken out of the canyon to an awaiting Redmond Fire/Paramedic ambulance.

This was a team effort and the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank Redmond Fire and the Oregon State Parks for their assistance in this rescue.

Wanted Terrebonne man arrested on multiple weapons charges

A wanted Terrebonne man was arrested Wednesday on multiple weapons charges, according to the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office.

Street crimes detectives and members of the Deschutes County SWAT team and Central Oregon Drug Enforcement team served a search warrant at the home in the 300 block of F Ave. in Terrebonne.

They were looking for 38-year-old Jimmy Herrera, who was wanted on several charges in Deschutes County, according to Sgt. Doug Sullivan.

Herrera was arrested without incident and during a search of the home, detectives found three guns, multiple sets of brass knuckles, two switch-blade knives and a user amount of meth.

He was jailed and charged with three counts of felon in possession of a firearm, three counts of felon in possession of a restricted weapon, possession of meth and other charges.

The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office street crimes unit focuses enforcement on street level drug cases and quality of life issues connected to property crimes throughout Deschutes County.

Redmond Rep. Jack Zika announces he won’t seek reelection

Redmond Rep. Jack Zika announced Thursday he will not seek reelection due to family illness and personal health reasons.

“It has been my honor to serve as your State Representative,” the Republican said in a statement. “And we have accomplished so much for Central Oregon in the last three years.”

During the 81st Legislative Session, he served on the Rules Committee, Housing Committee, Ways and Means Subcommittee on Transportation and Economic Development, and is the Vice-chair of the Early Childhood Committee.

Zika also serves on the Governors Racial Justice Council, Racial Disparities in Housing, Early Childhood Caucus, and Joint Task Force on Student Success for Underrepresented Students in Higher Education.

In his statement, Zika said he made strides in affordable housing as he passed legislation to develop more affordable housing in Redmond.

He helped create the Department of Early Learning and Care, which will consolidate programs, expand employment daycare programs, and provide one-stop resources for parents and childcare providers alike.

His office said Zika has also worked on legislation to help Central Oregon’s veterans; stewarded a ladder fuel reduction bill through the legislature that will direct resources from the Oregon Department of Forestry to fire risk reduction efforts; secured $13 million in funds for OSU Cascades; funding for infrastructure and other development within the district; funds for the Food Bank; and helped anchor $250 million for the Landlord Compensation Fund.

“This was a hard decision,” Zika said, “but I’m proud of all the work we have done together to bring much-needed resources for Central Oregon,” he said. “I will forever cherish these memories and relationships, and I hope that anyone who runs for this position loves and appreciates this amazing community as much as I do. I want to thank each and every one of you for all your support, and I will truly miss being your State Representative.”

Zika was first elected in 2018 and reelected last year.

State Parks commission OKs funding for Smith Rock parking improvements

A new visitor center and parking upgrades are on tap at Smith Rock according to an initial list of capital improvement projects approved this week by the Oregon State Parks and Recreation Commission.

The 2021 Oregon Legislature passed SB 5506 that approved the issuance of $50 million in general obligation bonds to fund the state park facility improvements.

According to the commission $4-6 million has been approved for a new visitor center and restroom and parking/traffic improvements.

“The legislature’s incredibly generous act allows us to make significant and much needed upgrades to facilities and infrastructure, as well as modernize and expand some campgrounds,” said Lisa Sumption, director of the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD). “This support for the park system’s future is especially meaningful as we commemorate our centennial in 2022 and our commitment to provide world-class park experiences.”

The agency will receive two disbursements of $25 million each, with the first occurring May 2022 and the second in March 2023.

These funds must be spent within three years of payout.

A summary of the project list shown below is broken into the two different project groups based on when they’re slated to start general bond funding.

Cost estimates are provided as ranges as the agency continues to refine project work.

Construction for the May 2022 projects are expected to begin in fall 2022.

Initial Park Capital Improvement Project List

May 2022

  • Beverly Beach Parkwide Rehabilitation: Upgrade outdated electrical systems throughout the campground, as well as upgrade campsites. Current general obligation bond estimate $3-5 million.
  • Champoeg State Heritage Area Camping Expansion: Add a new camping loop, riverside cabins, and restroom/shower building, as well as possible upgrades to the current drain field or develop an additional drain field and possible electrical and water systems upgrades.  Current general obligation bond estimate $3-5 million.
  • Fort Stevens State Park Guard House Rehabilitation: Add a new roof and roof structure, repoint the bricks and replace windows and doors, as well as complete exterior access improvements, utilities and landscape improvements to stop water leaks in the basement, and upgrade water, sewer and electrical connections. Current general obligation bond estimate $1-3 million.
  • Fort Stevens State Park Utilities: Upgrade the utility services to four campground loops, including improving electrical, water, and wastewater utilities and wastewater lift stations. Replace a 1955 shower/restroom, upgrade other restrooms and replace the restroom at the Peter Iredale day-use area. Current general obligation bond estimate $6-8 million.
  • Kam Wah Chung State Heritage Site Interpretive Center and Collections Building: Expand the park by acquiring city park property and construct new facilities to house a visitor/interpretive center and collections materials. Current general obligation bond estimate $3-5 million.
  • Portland Women’s Forum State Scenic Viewpoint Restroom and Parking Expansion: Construct a restroom building and expand parking at the Portland Women’s Forum. Initial design work is complete for both a restroom and 100-space parking lot that meets National Scenic Area requirements. Current general obligation bond estimate $2-4 million.
  • Silver Falls State Park Camping Expansion & North Falls Complex: Begin the north gateway development that includes a campground with restroom/shower facilities, a North Gateway Visitor Center, and a new North Canyon trailhead and parking lot. Infrastructure improvements such as water, electrical, and sewer systems included, as well as relocation of the current RV dump station. Current general obligation bond estimate $8-10 million.
  • Smith Rock State Park Visitor Center & Congestion: Build a new visitor center and restroom, as well as complete electrical upgrades, and make parking/traffic improvements to meet current and future visitor needs. Work to include some trail improvements. Current general obligation bond estimate $4-6 million.

March 2023

  • Cape Lookout State Park: Relocate A & B loops to higher ground, which includes new roads, new infrastructure and restroom/shower facilities. Remove facilities that are being lost to ocean erosion. Current general obligation bond estimate $8-10 million.
  • Milo McIver State Park: Add a second loop with restroom/shower facilities to the campground. Upgrade the park sewer and water systems. The current water system provides water to both the park and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife fish hatchery within the park. Current general obligation bond estimate $3-5 million.
  • Nehalem Bay State Park Parkwide Upgrade and Yurt Loop: Upgrade existing utilities in three loops. Add a new cabin loop, tent sites, and new campground restrooms within the campground. Add seasonal staff housing, upgrades to several day-use facilities. Current general obligation bond estimate $5-8 million.

Materials provided to the Commission on Nov. 17 are available on the agency website: https://www.oregon.gov/oprd/CAC/Pages/CAC-oprc.aspx

Redmond Police investigations lieutenant named new department captain

The Redmond Police Department has announced Lt. Aaron Wells as the next police captain.

Wells has been a member of RPD since 2007, and for the past two years has served as the department’s investigations lieutenant.

He will begin as Captain January 1, 2022 following the promotion of current Capt. Devin Lewis to Chief of Police.

“We are very pleased to promote Lt. Wells to Captain,” states Devin Lewis, incoming Chief of Police. “For the past 9 years, he has served in a broad range of supervisory capacities within the department, providing consistent and measured leadership along the way. Aaron embodies our core values of Teamwork, Excellence, and Professionalism and the commitment required of the position.”

During his tenure with the department, Wells served as a Certified Drug Recognition Expert from 2009-2017, a member of the Central Oregon Emergency Response Team from 2012-2019, and the Officer Training Program Coordinator/Advisor from 2016-2021.

He also received several accolades including the 2009 RPD Life Saving Award and Chief’s Commendation Awards in 2012 and 2019.

An Oregon State University graduate, former OSU Football Captain and male student-athlete of the year, Wells continues to share his love for sports and leadership off the field as a volunteer coach for several local youth programs.

“It is an honor to continue to serve the citizens of Redmond and the dedicated men and women of the department,” Wells said. “I look forward to having an integral role in the development of creative, relationship-based solutions to the challenges facing policing in our growing community.”

Duplex unit considered ‘total loss’ in Redmond fire Tuesday afternoon

A Redmond duplex was a “total loss” after a fire Tuesday afternoon, but nobody was injured.

Crews arrived around 2:40 p.m. to find the fire in a small multi-family duplex on the 3100 block of Southwest Volcano Avenue.

After ensuring everyone was out of the structure and there were no immediate rescue needs, firefighters made entry into the garage to knock the main body of the fire down.

Secondary crews searched the inside looking for potential victims in both the unit where the fire was located and the adjacent duplex.

Additional firefighters accessed the attic from the outside and stopped the fire from causing further damage.

The duplex is considered a total loss of around $75,000 with fire, smoke and water damage, while the second side of the duplex was relatively unscathed.

More than a dozen firefighters responded along with one volunteer student.

Mutual aid was provided by the Redmond Police Department, Bend Fire & Rescue, the American Red Cross, Central Electric Co-Op, and Cascade Natural Gas.

SAR helps woman injured hiking along river trail near Eagle Crest

Deschutes County Search and Rescue helped an injured hiker to safety Sunday afternoon near Eagle Crest.

Dispatch received a call around 1:40 from a 79-year-old Redmond woman who had injured herself hiking along the Deschutes River.

The woman was unable to walk and needed help, said Dep. Shane Zook, the assistant search and rescue coordinator.

Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office deputies and members of the Redmond Fire Department first responded to the scene before 12 SAR volunteers responded to carry the woman out on a wheeled litter.

The hiker was carried a few hundred yards to an awaiting Redmond Fire side by side ATV, which carried the hiker back to an awaiting ambulance, Zook said.

The woman was taken to St. Charles in Bend for further medical treatment.