Deschutes County receives more public housing choice vouchers

The Central Oregon Regional Housing Authority will be receiving 10 additional public housing choice vouchers for families in Deschutes County, Oregon’s two U.S. senators announced Thursday. 

Statewide, 21 public housing authorities are receiving 251 vouchers worth more than $2.5 million through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The vouchers allow low-income families to choose and lease privately-owned rental housing, Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden said in a statement.

The vouchers given out to the Central Oregon Regional Housing Authority are worth $101,499.

Thursday’s announcement is in addition to 44,500 vouchers already in use in Oregon, the senators said.

RELATED: 2,000 Central Oregon kids in need are getting school shopping spree

RELATED: ‘No child sleeps on the floor’: Free beds available to Central Oregon kids

2,000 Central Oregon kids in need are getting school shopping spree

Some 2,000 Central Oregon K-12 students in need will get a back-to-school clothes shopping spree courtesy of the Assistance League of Bend.

Under its Operation School Bell program, the Deschutes County nonprofit is holding the event on various days between September 27 and October 22 at the Bend and Redmond Walmart stores.

High school and middle school students will get $125 vouchers and elementary students receive $100 vouchers.

RELATED: Oregon math, english, science proficiency scores plummet during COVID-19

RELATED: Culver student section dresses as Adam Sandler during volleyball match

The vouchers are distributed by Family Access Network advocates at each school.

“In addition to meeting essential clothing needs, Assistance League of Bend has found that new clothes elevate a child’s self-esteem, help them feel more accepted by their peers, and empower them to learn,” the group said in a statement. “Children with better self-esteem are more likely to complete their education, breaking the cycle of poverty.”


▶️ Central Oregon school districts see slight increase in student enrollment

At least three Central Oregon school districts are reporting a slight increase in enrollment from the last school year.

The Redmond School District reports a 1% increase in enrolled students from last year.

The total: 7,129 students. Up 62 students from 2021-22.

The loosening of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions seem to be a major factor in bringing students back into the buildings.

“Now that we have loosened an amount of those, I think people are making choices based on what they really want for their students,” Redmond School District Superintendent Dr. Charan Cline said.

RELATED: Applications open for vacant Bend-La Pine School Board seat

RELATED: Coaches, players react to shot clock coming to Oregon high school basketball

Crook County School District is reporting an even higher increase of 2.6%.

Current total enrollment for Crook County stands at 3,313 students, adding 83 more students from last year.

Bend-La Pine Schools also reported a slight increase at a board meeting last week. 

“In our schools, the actual enrollment is above projections by about 40 students,” Chief Operations and Financial Officer for the district Brad Henry said.

Bend-La Pine says that these numbers are subject to change through October 1 when it officially submits its student numbers to the state.


▶️ New team, same goal: Summit boys soccer makes statement in league opener

Tuesday was a big evening in boys soccer in Central Oregon as Summit and Ridgeview came into a match-up as the top two 5A high school teams in the state.

“We know what we can do, we know what we are capable of, and we are ready to take on anyone in the state,” said Summit senior Bowen Teuber.

With a championship mentality, Summit boys soccer knows how it feels to win. Last year, the program won the 6A state title. But this is not last year’s team. This is a whole new group.

RELATED: Underdogs or top dogs? Caldera girls soccer remains unbeaten; Ranked No. 1

“With the group last year, it was just an incredible group. An anomaly is what we’ve been calling it,” said Summit head coach Joe LoCascio. “To think that it is something to replicate, something to follow up with, that was probably the last thing on our mind and the first thing in our minds to get over.”

The phenom of unique athletes may not be there. What is there is a talented group of collective, motivated players.

“We might not have the individual athletes like last year, but we are a whole team. We are all here to win. That’s all we want,” said Summit senior Aidan MacLennan. “We put all our effort into training, all our effort into games. It’s a family.”

Now in 5A, the Storm is in a lower classification and a new league.

The other teams, the league,” said Locascio. “It’s nothing compared to … can we do our absolute best this year as a Summit squad.”

In their league game, Summit defeated Ridgeview 6-0.

“Our goal is set as high as we did last year,” said Teuber. “Conference title. I think that we want to get back to that state title, even though it’s 5A we’re ready, we want that.”

▶️ After fatal crash on Highway 97, what safety improvements is ODOT planning?

A 16-year-old Redmond girl was killed last Friday after crossing onto oncoming traffic south of Redmond. The crash, which involved four vehicles and a total of seven people, once again has people in the area wondering what can be done to make Highway 97 safer.

The crash happened near Tomahawk Ave. five miles south of Redmond.

In addition to the teen who was killed, four of the people involved in the crash were treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

After this tragedy, many took to social media to question the safety of the stretch of US 97 between Redmond and Bend. 

RELATED: Redmond teen girl killed, multiple others injured in Hwy 97 crash

Central Oregon Daily News reached out to the Oregon Department of Transportation to see what it has done and what it plans to do to improve safety for those traveling that portion of the highway.

Following a 2015 study, the safety improvements implemented include:

  • Deceleration lanes at Quarry Avenue and 61st Street from US97 southbound
  • Acceleration lane from 61st Street to US97 southbound to provide greater merge distance
  • Rock outcropping removal near the edge of the roadway for improved visibility
  • Median barrier installation south of the Tumalo​ Road Interchange, and a turn around from US97 southbound to northbound
  • Reflective pavement markers added for improved lane separation ​

The accident occurred north of Tumalo Road, where the median is not present. 

David House, a spokesperson for ODOT, says that while medians do not prevent serious crashes, it can lessen them. 

“What a median does is it gives further separation to oncoming traffic, so a little more space and essentially that leaves a little room for error if you veer off and have a lane departure situation, then a head on collision is less likely,” said House. “Now, it doesn’t prevent all collisions. It doesn’t prevent all crashes, but it helps improve the odds.”

The next phase of safety improvements will begin in the next funding cycle during 2024-2027, according to ODOT.

A median for the upper portion of the Redmond-Bend corridor of US 97 will be included in the next phase. 

Smith Rock hiker rescued after falling nearly 50 ft.

A hiker was rescued from Smith Rock on Saturday morning after falling nearly 50 feet from a rock, according to Deschutes County Search and Rescue. 

Deschutes County 911 received a call about an injured hiker who had fallen on an unimproved route southwest of Asterick’s Pass at around 10 a.m., Deputy Aaron Myers said. 

The 21-year-old Seattle man fell as he was climbing some rocks to set up a slack line. He was too injured to make it back to the river trail without help. 

Myers said the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Mountain Rescue Team was conducting a training at Smith Rock with other teams from around the state at that time, including the Hood River Crag Rats, Corvallis Mountain Rescue, and Eugene Mountain Rescue. 

The team was notified about the injured hiker, and nine DCSO SAR volunteers were able to make it out to him at 10:45. 

The volunteers worked with the other teams from the training to lower the hiker 650 down to the river trail in a litter. 

The hiker was safely transferred to an ambulance at 3:30 p.m. and was taken to St. Charles for further treatment. 

The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the Hood River Crag Rats, Eugene Mountain Rescue, Corvallis Mountain Rescue and Redmond Fire for their assistance on this call. 

▶️ R’Oktoberfest returns to Wild Ride Brewing for 14th year

Oktoberfest with a twist…for the 14th year in a row. 

Redmond Kiwanis club’s R’Oktober fest hit the grounds at Wild Ride Brewing on Saturday. 

The event featured five food trucks, 26 types of beers and ciders, live music, and bouncy houses and corn hole for families. 

There was also a silent auction with items worth up to a collective $10,000 to raise money for local youth programs, including the Energy Youth Basketball Program. 

“If you want to go to an event with your family and hang out, and enjoy good music, catch some football games inside Wild Ride, get some food outside, get the craziest different selection of beers, soft drinks and everything else…there’s nothing else like it in Redmond,” said Noah Von Borstel, the R’Oktoberfest chair.  

He said there is a shortage of support for local youth programs, and Kiwanis seeks to fill those gaps. 

Around 1,000 people were expected to attend, a number a little less than previous years due to the evening rain. 

Redmond teen girl killed, multiple others injured in Hwy 97 crash

A Friday morning crash on Hwy 97 south of Redmond resulted in one death and multiple injuries, according to Oregon State Police. 

OSP and other emergency responders arrived at a four-vehicle crash at around 8:15 a.m. just south of SW Tomahawk Ave. 

After an investigation, they said they found that a silver 2003 Jeep Liberty had been driving south on the highway when the 16-year-old driver, a girl from Redmond, changed lanes and lost control of the car for unknown reasons. 

The car swerved into northbound lanes and hit a black 2018 Jeep Renegade, which was then pushed off the road and rolled multiple times. 

The Jeep Liberty then hit a white 2012 GMC Yukon and a grey 2017 Toyota Camry that had been traveling south behind the Jeep Liberty. 

The 16-year-old driver of the Jeep Liberty passed away from her injuries. 

21-year-old Araceli Rodriguez Giles drove the Jeep Renegade, and passengers 23-year-old Brayan Olvera, 53-year-old Victorina Giles, and a 16-year-old boy were all from Bend. Giles and the 16-year-old were taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. 

43-year-old Bradly Pearce of Bend who drove the GMC Yukon was uninjured. 

The 2017 Toyota Camry was driven by Amie Gassner, 39, of Central Point. Her passengers, Jamie Richmond, 39, and a 12-year-old girl were taken to the hospital and treated for non-life-threatening injuries. 

The Oregon State Police were assisted at the scene by the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office, Deschutes County Medical Examiner’s office, ODOT, Redmond Fire and Rescue, Department of Human Services and the Deschutes County Chaplain’s service.

A portion of the highway where the crash happened was closed for much of the afternoon, and traffic was diverted around the site. 

▶️ Hundreds attend memorial for fallen Deschutes Co. Sheriff’s Lt. Ernie Brown

A public memorial service was held Wednesday for a Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office lieutenant who passed away after an off-duty motorcycle crash.

Members of the sheriffs office and the community gathered at the county fairgrounds to honor Lt. Ernie Brown.

Hundreds were in attendance to hear about the U.S. Marine veteran’s dedication to community, law enforcement and family.

“We rode together and for 10 years we worked together. Known Ernie for some time and wanted to come honor him today,” said Roger Dosier, Brown;s neighbor.

Brown served 24 years with the sheriff’s office. He’s survived by his wife and three adult children.

RELATED: ‘We won’t forget’: Procession honors fallen sheriff’s lieutenant, Marine vet

RELATED: Deschutes Co. Sheriff’s lieutenant dies in off-duty crash