▶️ Bend Christmas Parade and Redmond Festival of Trees Saturday

The Bend Christmas Parade hits the streets of downtown Saturday.

This year’s theme is “A High Desert Christmas” and the grand marshal is Bend resident James Lussier.

The parade kicks off at noon with about 100 entrants this year. It should go about an hour.

Redmond Festival of Trees

The 39th Annual Festival of Trees, put on by the Hospice of Redmond, will be at the Deschutes County Fairgrounds in the Middle Sister Building Saturday.

There’s a family fun tree preview from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

The gala and tree auction starts at 5:00 p.m.

Tickets are available online for $75 per person. Funds raised go to provide services to the terminally ill and their families not covered by Medicare or private insurance.

Celebrate winter in the forest

The Ochoco National Forest and Discover Your Forest is hosting a family-friendly event Saturday at the Ochoco Ranger Station Pavilion east of Prineville.

It features a scavenger hunt, snow shoeing and a visit from Smokey Bear himself. 

Christmas tree permits will also be available for purchase at the event for $5.

The event kicks goes from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.

The guided snowshoe tour starts at 2:00 p.m. at the gated entrance to Walton Lake. A limited number of snowshoes are available for on-site use but the public is encouraged to bring their own if they have a pair.

To get to the ranger station, take Highway 26 north for 16 miles. Turn right on Ochoco Ranger Station Road and go nine miles to the Ranger Station, then turn left, proceed across the small bridge and take a right into the Forest Camp fee station. Continue on to the pavilion group site.

 

▶️ Latino Community Association fundraiser raises money for new Redmond office

A local nonprofit holds a fundraiser to raise money for its cause. Almost 200 people showed up to the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Thursday for the Latino Community Association‘s Empowering Families Luncheon.

The lunch was part of a fundraiser to raise money for a new office location in Redmond starting in January.

“The Latino Community Association is moving from the Becky Johnson Center to a bigger building where it will be able to host classes indoor, just the number of clients and families we serve keeps growing. So that’s how we’ve got to keep expanding,” said Leslie Cano, LCA Advocacy Coordinator.

People can still contribute to the cause and LCA is also offering internships in their organization for local students or recent graduates. You can learn more about it at this link

RELATED: Latino Community Association receives $95,000 for Workforce Program

RELATED: Latino Fest returns, in person, to Central Oregon

▶️ 40 states, 18 months: Redmond mosaic artist finally pieces us all together

We’ve been following the trail of Redmond mosaic artist Kate Kerrigan since June 2021 — a trail that has taken her all over the country. Now, her 1 1/2 year project called “Piecing Us Together” is finished.

When we first introduced you to Kate, she was sticking pins in a map, plotting a cross country route, through her past.

“Friends and family that I know from all walks of life. People from yoga, climbing, writing, all the places i’ve worked, all the places I’ve lived.”

And so off she went, asking everybody along the way to participate in an art project, to contribute a small mosaic piece as part of a much bigger picture.

Through 40 states, 151 days on the road, more than 25,000 highway miles. Offering a break from pandemic isolation and “Piecing Us Together.”

JUNE 17, 2021: Traveling Tapestry: Redmond woman embarks on cross-country art project

DECEMBER 14, 2021: ‘Piecing Us Together’: Local woman returns from 131-day artistic adventure

 

“That was like the best thing. The smiles on people’s faces. Being able to create this little piece of mosaic and know that they’re part of something bigger is really big.” 

Really big indeed; More than 30-square feet of mosaic made up of hundreds of little bits. 

“There were 551 separate pieces.”

Kate says collecting them was just the beginning.

“That was the easy part actually, traveling around the country and talking to friends and family and making art.”

The real work started this past summer in the same backyard studio where she first stuck pins in a map. Every separate mosaic strip was collected and meticulously documented, names, dates and memories all carefully cross-referenced. 

“Literally every piece I pick up, I write down the name and it conjures up the whole story of me going to visit and I remember what we ate what we talked about, where we were.”

 

At every step, Kate she has told us she had only the vaguest vision of a finished product, even when she had all those little pieces in front of her.

“I laid out, probably two different designs before this one, trying to get it to all fit together like a big jigsaw puzzle.

“And then it was go time and putting in the first piece was so nerve-wracking because I’m like ‘Oh, God. I hope I’m doing this right’ and don’t mess this up.”

Finally, four months after that first piece went down and a 1 1/2 years after the first glint of an idea and all that work, the time came to wrap it up.

“It’s like push, push, push. Good days, bad days, lots of cuss words, blood, sweat, literally in all of it. But yeah, it has finally come to the last name going in. The last person. My former neighbor, Karla.”

Kate calls the moment surreal and celebrates with a laugh and a sigh of relief.

“Thats it, haha. Whooooo! She’s done! Oh my goodness.”

But the “Piecing Us Together” piece has been built in three sections. The artist hadn’t even seen the finished product yet.

Central Oregon Daily’s Allen Schauffler helped her maneuver the sections together for her first look at what she and so many others have been working towards.

It’s 12 feet wide, 2 1/2 feet high. And in the pieces, as they finally fit together, she sees the country she has traveled.

“You see mountains and urban centers, desert and dry areas, lush green areas, water.”

And she sees unity, inclusion. 551 human beings — all of us, really.

“This is what we can all do when we come together. Make something beautiful. All of our differences aside. This is something special.”

So the art is done, but not the engineering and the planning. Kate has to figure out how to hang it and transport it.

She’s hoping to have it displayed in art galleries or museums around the country so everybody, especially the people who helped create it, can see the finished work.

So far, she has interest from ten different locations and the Albuquerque Ballet Company wants to do an original dance piece based on the project.

▶️ Deschutes County Commissioners prepare decision on psilocybin land-use

Psilocybin manufacturing and service centers were voted down in all of Central Oregon except unincorporated Deschutes County.

“Voters of Deschutes County overwhelmingly said that they believe in the promise of these therapies for a range of mental health and behavioral health challenges,” said Deschutes County Commissioner Phil Chang.

With more than 100,000 votes on the measure, it passed by receiving 56% of the votes.

RELATED: Most of Central Oregon rejecting magic mushrooms, but one place saying yes

RELATED: A Central Oregon county-by-county breakdown of psilocybin on ballot

Before the November 8 decision, the planning commission held public hearing meetings to help provide commissioners with a land-use recommendation.

“So that is what they have to send the board of commissioners now is a slightly broader range of opportunities and options for where and when psilocybin treatment could be available,” said Chang.

The board of commissioners held two public hearing meetings on the land-use of psilocybin, the second of which happened Wednesday.

The board of commissioners is hoping to have the first reading on December 14 and have time, place and manner regulations implemented before applications start coming in at the start of the new year, “(or) any applications for a service center or psilocybin production facility would essentially come into our land use system and be compared to similar uses.”

Bend-Redmond Habitat for Humanity project wins sustainability awards

A Central Oregon nonprofit receives awards for their housing project focused on sustainability.

Bend-Redmond Habitat for Humanity won Earth Advantage Awards for Most Net Zero Homes and Project of the Year in the Affordable Single Family category for its Northwest Cottages community.

Earth Advantage Awards are given to builders in the state that exceed requirements for energy efficiency and indoor air quality.

RELATED: Bend-Redmond Habitat for Humanity receives $150,000 donation

RELATED: Habitat for Humanity among 3 local non-profits receiving huge grants

The Bend-Redmond Habitat has a commitment to affordable homeownership by making their homes energy efficient.

“So the families are only paying the base utility rate and that is huge for them because lower income households are more likely to spend more on utilities because they’re more likely to live in older, energy inefficient homes,” said Grace Weger, Director of Land Acquisition and Development for Bend-Redmond Habitat for Humanity. “And in times like these, when the economy is really difficult and gas prices are super high, groceries are high, this just adds stability and security for our families.”

Habitat for Humanity has 30 similar home projects completed or in development and there are future plans to build more homes with these standards.

BLM seeks public comment on proposed Redmond wastewater facility

The Bureau of Land Management wants to hear from the public about a proposed wastewater facility in Redmond.

The City of Redmond is requesting to lease about 620 acres of BLM lands at the north end of Dry Canyon. The project would include a waster treatment facility and a wetland complex.

BLM has opened its 30-day public input period for people to give feedback on the project. People have until 4:30 p.m. on December 30 to submit their comments to be considered.

Written comments will be accepted at the address below or can be emailed to blm_or_pr_lands@blm.gov. Please refer to Redmond Wetlands Complex Project.  

Deschutes Field Office
Deschutes Field Manager
3050 NE 3rd Street 491
Prineville, OR 97754  

Entire comments, including personal identifying information, may be made publicly available. People can ask to withhold personal identifying information from public review; however, it cannot be guaranteed.    

For additional information about the expansion request, wastewater treatment facility, or associated wetland complex, visit the City of Redmond’s website at https://redmondwetlandscomplex.com/#toggle-id-6-closed. For additional information regarding BLM analysis, contact Ferris Couture, BLM Planning and Environmental Coordinator at (541) 416-6711.  

▶️ Bend won’t apply for local speed limit control under new Oregon law

A new Oregon law allows all 241 cities in the state, as well as Multnomah and Clackamas Counties, to apply for the authority to decide speed limits within their jurisdictions. 

Cities in Central Oregon are tapping the brakes on making that decision. 

“Local governments wanted the authority to change their speed limits. There were delays of as long as a year to try to get changes in just local speed limits, and this is going to help ease those delays,” ODOT Spokesman Don Hamilton told Central Oregon Daily News on Tuesday. 

Normally, it falls to five ODOT investigators to handle speed limit changes across the five regions in the state. This has created a case backlog extending from six months to up to a year. 

Although the law was passed last year, the new system has just recently been open to applications from cities. 

If the state approves a city’s application, a certified traffic engineer will need to be enlisted to approve or deny all speed limit changes after a thorough analysis. 

“It can be for a three-block speed limit change. It can be for the whole course of the city area. It can be whatever course that they want to do,” Hamilton said. 

RELATED: New 20 mph speed limit beacons activated at 14 Bend schools

RELATED: New digital variable speed limit signs on US 97 between Bend and La Pine

In Bend, the city isn’t hitting the accelerator on pursuing that option. 

“They have specialized expertise to do the studies, so there is little advantage to the city to take that on ourselves,” said Assistant City Engineer, Janet Hruby. “It actually might be slower instead of faster because we don’t have dedicated staff to do the studies.” 

 

She said ODOT has taken up to a year to implement speed limit changes in the Bend region, but it still wouldn’t be feasible to have the city shoulder the load. 

“There’s sort of a middle ground, that if we were in a position where we’re trying to do something quicker and the schedule with them didn’t work out and we had funding and staffing, we do have the option to go ahead and do the data part of the study to speed it up and submit that,” Hruby said. 

A representative from the City of Redmond told Central Oregon Daily News on Tuesday that they have yet to discuss whether to apply for local authority, but they plan to do so soon. 

The future could still hold changes. 

“The conversation, I would say, still could be open,” Hruby said. “It might look different in the future.”

“The advantage of this is that we hope that each community will be able to get their needs addressed better,” Hamilton said. “And we can get to local control more for them. What do they need? That’s what we need this to be about.” 

▶️ Redmond man, Ukrainian wife headed back to war-torn country to help

A man from Redmond who was in Ukraine when Russia attacked earlier this year is going back to help, along with his Ukrainian wife.

Connor and Ira Steeves are going back to check on Ira’s family, help distribute food and help students who are trying to escape the war-torn country.

Connor was in Ukraine teaching English at a university when Russia attacked. He escaped to a part of the country that wasn’t under immediate threat and starting work with a nonprofit organization to provide food and supplies to besieged towns.

That’s where he met Ira.

“We were very busy all the time but eventually I knew I wanted to ask her out on a date. I didn’t care that everything was crazy. We were going all over the place, helping people at the border, people at refugee homes,” Connor says.

“I thought he was very brave. At that moment, all men were trying to leave country and they were paying lots of money to leave country. It’s not really legal to leave country you are a man 18-60 years old,” Ira says.

RELATED: ‘Historic moment’: Iranian woman living in Bend reflects on unrest overseas

RELATED: Ukrainian St. Charles employees seek U.S. citizenship, asylum for daughter

Connor and Ira came back to the U.S. where they got married and have lived for the past eight months. But knowing how bad conditions are in Ukraine, they’ve decided to go back in January, check on Ira’s family and help any way they can.

“Missiles are striking all over the place,” Connor says. “Infrastructure is being destroyed. Russia is trying to deteriorate Ukraine, destroy their morale.”

“If look on Ukrainian news, can see scary lots of scary pictures. Citizens are dying. Not only military but kids and women,” Ira says.

The Steeves have started a GoFundMe account to help raise funds to buy food and supplies they intend to distribute in Ukraine. 

Connor plans to continue teaching English to Ukrainians who are thinking about leaving the country. Connor says English is an international language and being somewhat fluent will help Ukrainian refugees wherever they seek shelter.

▶️ Redmond Holiday Village Market is back

The Redmond Holiday Village Market opened for the season Friday. But don’t worry if you missed it. There are more chances coming.

The event is held in Centennial Park with food, crafts, toys and more.

The vendors will be back out on Saturday, 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. 

The market will also be open the next two Saturday, Dec. 3 and Dec. 10.

RELATED: Black Friday shoppers’ plans: shop local, World Cup, skiing

RELATED: Holiday events take over Central Oregon for Thanksgiving weekend