▶️ ‘How dare you!’ SE Bend neighbors let city council hear it over gas station

The Bend City Council on Wednesday kicked an appeal for an approved development at Brosterhous and Murphy Roads to a state appeals board, but not before hearing some heated words from neighbors who are vocally and passionately against the project.

The development includes a brew pub, food truck court and market. But what has neighbors most upset is a gas station.

Dozens of people showed up to the council meeting, some leaving no doubt during the public comment time.

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“Who wants to hang out at food trucks positioned right next to a noisy, smelly gas station?” said one.

“Does that sound anything like neighborhood convenience? Does that sound anything like what the neighborhood wants?” said another.

“This is a defining moment for this council and the city. It may be the defining moment of the decade,” a third said.

Despite strong public opinion, the city council said it could not take anything said during the comment time into consideration before making its decision.

“We cannot consider any comments tonight. We cannot consider what is written on your signs,” said Bend Mayor Melanie Kebler. “We cannot consider a letter to the editor. We cannot consider emails that were written after the record was closed. We have to base our decision on what is in this case and that is what’s legally required.”

City staff gave a brief presentation before the council voted 5-2 to decline a review of the appeal. which now sends the matter to the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals.

After the decision, emotions were still running high. One woman stood up and made sure her voice was heard.

“We’re going to be stuck with a gas station polluting our neighborhood. Would any of you want that? Would you?” one woman yelled to the council. 

“How dare you! How dare you not represent the citizens who voted you in,” she continued.

After the vote, some councilors had a brief message to those hoping for a different outcome

“Disagreement is a healthy part of democracy,” said Bend City Councilor Ariel Mendez. “So, it is not always how we agree all the time, it is how we move forward and we justify our positions to each other and to the rest of the community.”

▶️ ‘Hundreds’ of homeless to be moved for Deschutes County land exchange

A land exchange deal from 2015 between the state of Oregon and Deschutes County has one more step: Clearing the homeless population off of 137 acres of land east of Redmond.

“They don’t have the means of moving their trailers,” said Cody Ledbetter, a man that lives off of East Antler Avenue in his trailer. “They’ll lose a lot.”

The deal was supposed to be closed in 2022, but the state raised concerns about the unhoused people living on the land it was receiving. 

Ledbetter has been unhoused for six months. He says there are hundreds of people living on the 137 acres of land.

“There’s dozens of communities out here,” said Ledbetter.

This communities have up to 20 to 30 people, according to Ledbetter. 

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Central Oregon Daily News did not see any of these communities during our brief visit Wednesday, but reporter Morgan Gwynn did not want to risk driving the news car through more rough terrain in the area.

The county says it’s figuring out a way to move everyone. 

“Internally, we’re working on a plan, like a project plan, that would include working with service providers and assessing the encampments and the individuals in those encampments and seeing what kind of services they can be connected with,” said Kristie Bollinger, the Deschutes County Property Manager. 

The other piece of land is south of the Deschutes County Fairgrounds. That 140 acres is owned by the state, but when the exchange is complete, the additional acreage will be used to expand the fairgrounds. 

As for the property east of Redmond?

“The property that DSL would acquire from the county, that would be large-lot industrial. So that would be eventually sold and proceeds from that would go to the common school fund,” said Bollinger.

First, all the homeless people have to go.

“I hope the county doesn’t kick everybody out of here,” said Ledbetter. “I mean, if they do, I hope they give us some place to go or an area to move to. At least, maybe a means of moving, helping us move our stuff.”

The county said it won’t move anyone until a plan is in place. Once everyone is cleared out of the East Antler property, the land exchange will go through. 

The county also said specific dates have not been decided. 

▶️ COCC celebrates Black History Month with free events open to the public

Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history.

To celebrate, Central Oregon Community College is hosting a series of events including a showing of “The Hate You Give” on Friday at 6:00 p.m. in Hitchcock Auditorium.

The movie, based on a book by the same name, is about a Black woman who attends a privileged white high school.

“The young lady who is in this story is similar to a lot of Black African American students here in Central Oregon,” said Marcus LeGrand, COCC Afrocentric Program Coordinator. “They go to predominantly white high schools and they have to deal with different issues and concerns, rather than some of the issues other kids don’t have to deal with.”

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Other local Black History events this month include a Black Excellence Talent Show Saturday, Feb. 11 at 6:00 p.m. at COCC’s Pinckney Center. Bend’s first Creative Laureate Mosley Wotta will be among the performers.

On Feb. 21, the college will host a remote discussion with Kim Johnson, author of the best-selling book “This is My America.” 

The Black Excellence Art Showcase is open through February 24 in The Gallery at Pinckney Center

LeGrand says Black History is American History that many people simply don’t know.

“I asked you who created the blood transfusion and you go, ‘I don’t know.’ And I asked who created the refrigerated truck and you don’t know. But they help you get food and they help you get blood if you need it. Here’s the thing: They are two Black men.”

Frederick McKinley Jones invented the first portable air cooling unit in 1938. He got a patent for it in 1940. His company was a multi-million dollar interest by 1949.

It was Charles Drew who discovered that by separating plasma, the liquid part of blood from the whole blood and refrigerating them separately, made blood last longer. That invention alone saved the lives of thousands of soldiers in WWII.

Just two examples of things worth learning during Black History Month.

▶️ Redmond Super Bowl cornhole tournament to raise funds for cancer research

There will be a Super Bowl party and cornhole tournament all-in-one in Redmond this year and it will raise money for a firefighter’s mission to help fund research to fight leukemia and lymphoma.

But there’s another part to this story — and it’s about 300 miles north of here in Seattle.

“There’s pictures of people who have lost loved ones on every floor. So you’re climbing 69 floors and every time you get to a landing, you’ll see somebody’s loved one who has passed away from leukemia and lymphoma and it really hit me hard,” said Washington-based firefighter Anthony Slagle. 

He plans to partake in the firefighter stair climbing challenge in Seattle next month. Participants climb 69 floors of stairs while wearing full fire fighter gear weighing 75 pounds. 

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Slagle first took the stair climb as a physical event that would challenge him to stay healthy, workout throughout the year, and earn camaraderie among his fellow firefighters. It soon became just a part of his personal mission to raise awareness.

“My second year doing it, I lost my aunt to lymphoma. It became more of a dedication to her and other people who have the same disease,” Slagle said.

While Slagle prepares year-around for the challenge, he also raises fund through donations for his own fundraiser dedicated to cancer, leukemia and lymphoma awareness and research. He has a lofty goal of reaching $100,000 before he retires. This year, he’ll have some local help.

“This year it’s going to be Super Bowl and cornhole for a cause. That cause is going to be for the firefighter stair climb challenge,” Oregon State Trooper and Slagle’s soon to be brother-in-law Travis Ring said.

He, along with the Central Oregon Cornhole Club, are hosting a cornhole tournament on Super Bowl Sunday at the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Redmond. All proceeds will go to leukemia research.

“It’s a $10 buy-in for the tournament. There is an entry fee donation that is greatly appreciated. All the proceeds of that entry fee will be going to my brother-in-law Anthony Slagle and all that money will go to his fundraising for leukemia,” Ring said.

Slagle has raised $20,000 out of his $100,000 goal. He says any donations help in his mission. You can donate here.


▶️ Thornburgh resort appeals heard by Deschutes County commissioners

Resort developers and opponents were back in front of the Deschutes County Board of Commissioners Wednesday over the proposed Thornburgh Resort.

The board heard appeals from both sides about the property outside of Redmond. That’s where a golf course and some housing and lodging units are already approved.

Developers say they have a solid, updated plan for using water that will protect fish and wildlife.

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Opponents disagree and want to see an entire new master plan laid out for the 1,900-acre property.

Both groups appealed portions of a recent county ruling on those water plans. 

Written testimony will be accepted for the next three weeks and commissioners should have a decision by the end of March.

Developers first submitted plans for the Thornburgh Resort in 2005.

▶️ Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream opens Bend location

In recent months, Bend has welcomed cookies, bundt cakes and now a new ice cream option.

Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream is now open and they’re celebrating with a grand opening party on Feb. 10.

Bend Chamber of Commerce will be out front for a ribbon cutting at 11:00 a.m. that day — and it will be Buy One, Get One Free until 2:00 p.m.

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The next day, the first 100 guests through the door will get free ice cream for a year and a face painter and balloon artist will be around for the kids. 

The store is located in the same parking lot as Walmart on the south side of Bend. It’s in a new building that replaced the old Sonic Drive-In there.

The franchise has 90 stores across 11 states.

▶️ West Bend affordable employee housing being offered through Kor partnership

Bend businesses can now apply for their employees to get a better shot at affordable housing.

If a business partners with Kor Community Land Trust, their employees will have preference in a public lottery for the Poplar Community in West Bend. 

Employers must have an office in Bend, achieve certain employee demographics and they need to be willing to cover $2,500 in closing costs for an employee. 

The community has homes available for households earning less than 80% of the area median income. 

The application process will remain open until 5:00 PM on March 3. Selected employers will be notified on March 10 by 5:00 PM. 

The homes should be finished by early 2024. 

You can find full details on the opportunity from the Bend Chamber of Commerce below the video player.

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Bend, OR—Today, the Bend Chamber and Kôr Community Land Trust announce the opening of the employer application process for the employer-supported Poplar Community on Bend’s west side. Employers can apply to become employer partners of the project, which enables their employees to have preference in the upcoming general public lottery for selecting homebuyers in the Poplar Community.
To be eligible, Kôr requires employers to have an office located in Bend, are willing to cover $2,500 in closing costs for the employee, have employee demographics that are equal to or more diverse than 91.3% non-Hispanic, white and 8.7% non-white, and have employees who have been employed full time with the company for at least a year.
“By partnering with employers, Kôr is able to build affordable homeownership opportunities for those who contribute the local economy,” said Jackie Keogh, Kôr Community Land Trust Executive Director. “Together, we can ensure those who are essential to the success of the city of Bend can afford to live here as long-term residents.”
The project includes seven 3-bedroom, 2-bath homes designed to net-zero energy standards for households earning equal or less than 80% of Area Median Income. These homes, designed by Ten Over Studio and constructed by Hiatus Homes, are estimated to be completed by winter 2024. The homes are located on Kôr land that retains a deed restriction requiring the owner to be employed in Bend, extending this benefit to the Bend workforce in perpetuity.
The Bend Chamber is sponsoring four of seven new homes in Kôr Community Land Trust’s new Poplar development, thanks to financial support from Providence Health Plan and specific Bend Chamber members. The sponsorship helps support the difference between the cost to build these homes and what income-qualified home buyers can afford.
“We are excited to demonstrate an option for employers who are losing talent due to lack of attainable housing,” said Katy Brooks, Bend Chamber CEO. “Home ownership provides stability and longevity to the workforce we need to support Bend businesses.”
According to a recent employer survey contracted by the Chamber, 81% of local employers cited the cost of housing has a high impact on their ability to fill job vacancies and more than two-thirds of those employers are seeing their revenue decline as a result. Additionally, 43% of regional employers have considered direct housing interventions to ease the cost of housing for their employees.
Interested employers should visit the Kôr Community Land Trust web site at https://korlandtrust.org/homebuyers/workforce-housing-program.
Employers can directly access the application here. The application process will remain open until 5:00 PM PST on March 3, 2023. Selected employers will be notified on March 10, 2023, by 5:00 PM PST. 

▶️ Sunriver Resort kicks off 1st Food and Wine Festival

Fancy bites with a glass of wine perfectly paired on the side.

Sunriver Resort kicked off its inaugural, monthlong food and wine festival Wednesday. The event is free and open to the public.

The festival helps showcase Central Oregon and the Pacific Northwest through tasting events, cooking classes, live music and more.

“And there is so much good food and wine right here in our own state that we really want to be able to show that off to the community and have them come enjoy it and then tell all their friends so that they all come,” said Lindsay Borkowski, Sunriver Resort Director of Sales and Marketing.

You can find the full festival calendar at this link.

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▶️ Saint Francis students raise money, give back for Catholic Schools Week

It’s National Catholic Schools Week — or their Spirit Week, you could say. 

Students from Saint Francis Catholic School in Bend joined with the Knights of Columbus to help clean up bottles and cans on the side of Old Bend Redmond Highway Wednesday. 

It’s all to help give back and to raise money for the school. 

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The week includes spirit events in schools like Crazy Hat Day and Crazy Socks Day. 

“All these gifts and rewards for us throughout the week really give us motivation and spirit to do other give back activities to help our community,” said eighth grader Danielle.

Over the years, fundraising events during catholic schools week have produced nearly $14,000 for the school.