▶️ Homeless crisis top-of-mind at Deschutes Co. Commissioner candidate forum

The Redmond Senior Center hosted a forum for the two candidates running for Deschutes County Commissioner Position 3 Tuesday.

Patti Adair, incumbent Republican commissioner, and Morgan Schmidt, Democratic commissioner candidate, both attended.

One of the hot topics of this election season? Homelessness. 

“We have a lot of people that are homeless that are doing terrible things. They’re breaking in, they have substance abuse disorders, they’ve got incredible mental illness, but the people we’re talking about really need to get out of homelessness, especially families with kids,” said Adair.

“The more we can offer people stable locations to be, whether that’s camping, safe parking, or low — shelters or transitional housing. The more they can have contact with service providers and get the help that they need,” said Schmidt.

RELATED: Bend’s unhoused community gets a voice at camping code roundtable

RELATED: After backlash, Redmond Safe Parking program makes changes for new site

Safe parking — a program that allows those currently without a home to park their car or RV in a safe place — has been an ongoing discussion in Redmond. How about the county as a whole?

“These people that are a part of their program really need the help. I am supportive of it,” said Adair.

“I fully support the safe parking programs that are going on both in Bend and now in Redmond,” said Schmidt. 

The Bend City Council is currently considering a camping code on city property. 

“We are actually working on an ordinance currently on what we want to do, but one thing I would make a comment on the Bend code: We need to add storage for those people that are part of a camping situation,” said Adair.

RELATED: Oregon governor’s race a ‘toss-up’ by national forecasters. They explain why.

And Schmidt adding that we need more shelters and safe locations for the homeless.

“I do believe that we need to have more options in place for people before we can really legally enforce people to move or continue going from place to place to place,” said Schmidt.

As fire season comes to an end, wildfires potentially being started by campers was a concern felt by many Central Oregonians.

“I was able to negotiate with the Forest Service and they put a fire extinguisher in each of the campgrounds in China Hat and in Sisters,” said Adair.

“The sooner we can come up with housing options for folks, even if that’s just a safe place to camp that’s low barrier, that’s a place they can go that’s designated, the sooner we’ll be able to have a lot more safety out in our rural lands and out in our forests,” said Schmidt.

Both candidates acknowledged homelessness is becoming a larger issue in Deschutes County, and both are wanting to assist those who have been displaced. 

▶️ Central Oregon high school football highlights for Week 5

It’s time for more high school football.

Below is a look at the scores from the fifth week of action for 2022 in Central Oregon, provided by ScoreStream.

A reminder that Bend-La Pine Schools have switched to an online ticketing only system this year. Cash will not be accepted at the gate. To purchase tickets you can click this link.
 
You can also find the full 2022 football schedules for Central Oregon High Schools at these links

Bend | Caldera | Crook County | Culver | La Pine | Madras | Mountain ViewRedmond | Ridgeview | Sisters | Summit

 

▶️ Safe ways to walk and bike around town is focus of local advocacy group

Wouldn’t it be nice to walk or ride your bike to school, work or to go shopping? That’s one of the goals of the Deschutes County Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee, also known as BPAC.

The group held its annual summit on Thursday.

“There’s lots of data that shows students who walk or bike to school are able to focus better once they are in the classroom,” said Whitney Bennett from Commute Options.

Safe routes to schools were among many subjects discussed during the Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee’s first summit in two years.

Transportation experts promoted the benefits of getting students who live close to schools to participate in walking school buses. Those are adult-guided groups of students who learn safe ways to get to school. 

“We’ve been working with Deschutes County on their Transportation System Plan which is updated every 10 years. Our goal is to make bicycling and walking a much bigger part of that,” said David Tomson, BPAC Chair. “The county has been very good to work with and I think that’s going to happen.”

The Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee’s mission is to promote and encourage safe bicycling and walking as a significant means of transportation in Deschutes County. Its goals include:

  • Engaging in ongoing conversations about e-bike rules and use
  • Participating in planning of transportation infrastructure projects
  • Community outreach

After the meeting, some BPAC members took a walking tour of Redmond’s recently developed Homestead Canal Trail.

“This connects up to the medical district,” said Mike Caccavano, BPAC member. “It was interesting as I come to check on things to see people that I knew using it at lunch time. For the neighbors and the bike pump track is the other recent addition. Just to see the amount of kids using that, it’s really impressive.”

The Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee says there’s much more that needs to be done to make walking, bicycling, and using transit safe, comfortable, and accessible for everyone.

▶️ 25th Annual Sisters Folk Festival this weekend

The 25th Annual Sisters Folk Festival returns Friday with 31 bands performing at seven different venues around town.

New this year is a kid zone at Fir Street Park with live music and family-friendly activities.

Organizers expect 4,000 visitors to check out the event — nearly double the current population of Sisters.

“So just creating this larger community of people that come from all over the place is super fun. Come together to just celebrate music, all things music, music, dance. Meet new friends. It’s great,” said Sisters Folk Festival Executive Direct Crista Munroe.

RELATED: Bend Roots Festival returns with 120+ local musicians, nine stages

RELATED: High Desert Chamber Music Announces Auditions for Spotlight Chamber Players

Tickets for Friday and Saturday are sold out, but there are some available for Sunday.

Friday’s first performance is at 6:00 p.m.

▶️ 2 new roundabouts coming to Highway 20 in Tumalo

Highway 20 in Tumalo is receiving two new roundabouts, bringing a common Central Oregon feature to areas where turning onto the highway can often be treacherous.

One will be constructed at 8th Street, the other located two miles southeast at Highway 20 and Old Bend-Redmond Highway. 

The construction could potentially impact accessibility to businesses established along the highway. But one business owner thinks the inconvenience is worth it.

“I’ve been in this location for 12 years,” Edwin Huson, manager of Yolie’s Burgers said. “I hear the noise. The tires screeching. I look to see if there’s a crash, and I’ve seen quite a few.”

>>> Have you checked out Central Oregon Daily News on YouTube? Click here to subscribe and share our videos.

The Oregon Department of Transportation hopes this will decrease traffic accidents at the intersections that will be replaced by the roundabouts. 

“Roundabouts are really great safety features, when you’re talking about intersections,” Kacey Davey with ODOT said. “It can have a 90% reduction in serious fatal crashes.” 

Construction for the two roundabouts is scheduled to begin in October.

RELATED: Answering the question: Who pays for Bend roundabout art?

RELATED: Here’s a history of Bend’s RABs relationship

Sisters planning, parks and budget committees in need of new members

Here’s a way to make a positive impact in Sisters.

The city has a number of openings available for its advisory boards such as the planning commission, city parks board and budget committee.

Each board provides input and information to the city council.

The positions are unpaid and each has a term that can last from one to three years.

The application process starts October 1 and ends on November 13.

 

▶️ Central Oregon high school football scores for Week 4

It’s time for more high school football.

Below is a look at the scores from the fourth week of action for 2022 in Central Oregon, provided by ScoreStream.

A reminder that Bend-La Pine Schools have switched to an online ticketing only system this year. Cash will not be accepted at the gate. To purchase tickets you can click this link.
 
You can also find the full 2022 football schedules for Central Oregon High Schools at these links

Bend | Caldera | Crook County | Culver | La Pine | Madras | Mountain ViewRedmond | Ridgeview | Sisters | Summit

 

▶️ Deschutes County discusses rural ADUs to fight housing crisis

As Deschutes County searches for ways to help with the housing crisis, one idea was discussed in a Public Hearing Thursday night. Senate Bill 391, passed in 2021, allows counties to have rural accessory dwelling units (ADUs).

“This is Deschutes County’s attempt to craft that state program into a local program,” said Deschutes County Associate Planner Kyle Collins.

Senate Bill 391 established baseline requirements including things like:

  • The lot must be two (2) acres or larger
  • One single-family dwelling must be sited on the lot
  • The ADU is limited to 900 square feet of usable floor space

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

“The senate ultimately left those up individual jurisdictions on how they want to implement those, so that’s a portion of the public hearing process, for decision-makers, in this case, the planning commission to vet those and decide what they think the appropriate interpretations are,” said Collins.

Another portion of the hearing listened to public comments, both for and against.

“They increase sprawl, usually. They are far away from public services and amenities,” said Central Oregon Landwatch attorney Rory Ibell. “They tend to burden their inhabitants with long transportation costs and long car commutes that increase greenhouse gas emissions.”

“They don’t have the money, don’t have a place to leave, and it becomes very difficult and this is something that can help them as well,” said another public commenter.

Rural ADUs can only happen once a state wildfire risk map is complete and released. It was announced Thursday that a new draft of that map will be relased March 1, 2023 and a final version won’t come out until late 2023.

RELATED: New Oregon wildfire risk map is coming

Until then, the rural ADU timeline gets pushed back.

“No one would actually be able to apply and begin constructing an ADU until that map is finalized,” said Collins. “So, we are probably looking at late 2023 based on that timeline that has been presented by the Department of Forestry.”

The planning commissions allowed the continuation of written public comment until September 29 and will hold deliberations on October 13.

After deliberations, the planning commission will recommend proposed amendments for rural ADU’s to county commissioners.

For more information contact

Kyle Collins, Associate Planner

Kyle.Collins@deschutes.org

(541) 383-4427

▶️ Oregon math, reading scores drop during COVID; Local schools find positives

English, science and math proficiency scores in Oregon dropped dramatically since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s according to numbers released by the Oregon Department of Education Thursday morning looking at state assessment results.

School districts in Deschutes, Jefferson and Crook counties did not buck the trend. Some were able to note achievements in specific categories and even, in some cases, finishing above state averages.

Oregon Department of Education officials say 2022 testing shows students who were already behind before the pandemic had the most learning loss but all children overall lost ground when compared to 2019 test scores.

Statewide, English Language arts proficiency dropped from 53.4% in the 2018-19 school year to 43.6% in 2021-22. Math fell from 39.4% to 30.4% and science dropped from 36.9% to 29.5%.

RELATED: Crook County’s Sara Johnson named Oregon Superintendent of the Year

RELATED: Central Oregon school districts see slight increase in student enrollment

Across grades three through eight, just 39% of students scored as proficient at reading and writing last spring, down from the previous low of 51%, and just 28% scored proficient in math, far below the previous low point of 40%.

In addition to the overall numbers, the report breaks the levels down by multiple demographic groups including grades, gender, race, students with disabilities and more.

Here is the breakdown of districts in Central Oregon. These numbers are for total population in all grades combined. If you want to see a school-by-school breakdown, we have a list of links at the bottom of this story.

Bend-La Pine

English Language Arts

  • 2018-19: 60.7%
  • 2021-22: 56.0% 

Math

  • 2018-19: 49.4%
  • 2021-22 44.9%

Science

  • 2018-19: 43.0%
  • 2021-22: 33.4%

Redmond

English Language Arts

  • 2018-19: 52.8%
  • 2021-22: 45.5%

Math

  • 2018-19: 42.2%
  • 2021-22: 32.8%

Science

  • 2018-19: 34.5%
  • 2021-22: 30.9%

Crook County

English Language Arts

  • 2018-19: 54.4%
  • 2021-22: 48.8%

Math

  • 2018-19: 38.0%
  • 2021-22: 32.6%

Science

  • 2018-19: 34.9%
  • 2021-22: 29.0%

Sisters

English Language Arts

  • 2018-19: 63.7%
  • 2021-22: 55.4%

Math

  • 2018-19: 42.5%
  • 2021-22: 34.4%

Science

  • 2018-19: 53.8%
  • 2021-22: 41.4%

Jefferson County 509J

English Language Arts

  • 2018-19: 41.2%
  • 2021-22: 30.1%

Math

  • 2018-19: 26.4%
  • 2021-22: 20.8%

Science

  • 2018-19: 16.4%
  • 2021-22: 15.2%

“The results were generally not surprising. They are also consistent with what we are seeing across the country,” Oregon Department of Education spokesman Marc Siegel told Central Oregon Daily News said in a statement.

“We do not know how the results break on socio-economic lines due to changes in program eligibility for free/reduced price lunch, which we have used as our ‘economically disadvantaged’ indicators,” Siegel added, “but we do know that students who were behind before the pandemic fell further behind and those who were advanced did not lose much ground.”

Bend-La Pine responds

The Bend-La Pine School District released this statement from Director of School Improvement Dave VanLoo.

“These statewide assessment results are one of many ways that our schools assess students academically and are fairly in line with what we anticipated. While we avoided steep declines seen in some districts across the nation, we did experience an overall dip. Likely these results are connected to the disrupted learning that students experienced during the pandemic, which included a variety of increased stressors both in and outside of school for families. Our teachers and schools are doing great work now to support learning for all students and move forward in a positive direction.”

Redmond responds

Redmond released a statement saying its results fall in line with state averages. It said the impacts of the pandemic — including remote learning and inconsistent attendance due to quarantines and illness — need to be taken into account.

It also said that the information has been unreliable for some groups due to lack of participation.

A 95 percent participation rate is ideal for getting accurate and usable data and an 80 percent participation rate is recommended as a minimum by Oregon Department of Education’s Technical Advisory Committee. Redmond School District ranged from a high of 91 percent participation in 3rd to 5th grade language arts to a low of 6.1 percent participation in 11th grade science,” the district said.

Redmond said it performed at or above the state average in 3-5 and 7-8 grade language arts and math and all grades tested in science.

Crook County responds

Crook County said the results show its students are above the state average in 14 of 20 categories.

“We’re now above the state average in a number of categories, particularly in English Language Arts. We still have a ton of work to do. We’re not satisfied with where our math’s at. Until every student is achieving on grade level, we’re not going to be satisfied,” said Dr. Joel Hoff, Assistant Superintendent of the Crook County School District.

Crook said much of its gains happened at the elementary school level and were most significant in English Language Arts and Math. it noted that 4th and 7th graders were 10% above the state average in English and 4th graders were 9% above in math.

Even with that, Superintendent Dr. Sara Johnson said more needed to be done.

“We’re better now at tracking students, knowing where the gaps exist and understanding the strengths and weaknesses of each student. Our next big step is to give more individualized attention to students who need interventions. It’s our responsibility to find those barriers and respond to the uniqueness of each child,” Johnson said in a statement.

Links to results

English Language Arts

Math

Science