Bend transient woman arrested on arson, assault charges after homeless camp incident

A Bend transient woman was arrested early Monday morning after allegedly setting fire to a mobile home and beating someone with a baseball bat before bashing in the window of a business and attacking a parked car, according to Bend Police.

Drugs are believed to be a factor in the incident.

It started around 3 a.m. when someone called dispatch saying she had been assaulted by a woman who lit her motorhome on fire at a transient camp on Hunnell Road between Cooley and Loco roads.

Sgt. Tommy Russell said when officers arrived, they found an older Winnebago Chieftain motorhome engulfed with flames. Nobody was inside.

Officers then contacted the alleged victim, a 36-year-old Bend woman.

The victim told officers she let a neighboring transient, 32-year-old Elizabeth Butler, an acquaintance, to sleep in her motorhome for the night because it was going to be cold out and Butler sleeps in a tent.

The victim said she slept in the rear of the motorhome while Butler slept in the front.

Sometime around 3 a.m., the victim said she awoke to the smell of smoke.

She looked out to the main cabin of the motorhome and found there was a blanket on fire.

The woman grabbed the blanket and began dragging it out the side door when she was attacked from behind, Russell said.

Butler allegedly used a metal baseball bat to hit the woman in the back of the head, the back, and the left arm multiple times.  She had no idea as to why Butler was attacking her, Russell said.

The victim then fell out onto the sidewalk and dropped the burning blanket.

She then ran to a neighboring motorhome to get help where paramedics responded to treat her.

The victim was taken to St Charles in Bend where she is being treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

Another Bend Police Officer who was responding to the fire and assault saw a woman bashing out the window of a commercial cleaning business in the area of Empire and Jamison with a baseball bat.

As the officer turned around to go contact the woman, the officer saw her begin beating on the window and door of a parked Audi Q5 with the baseball bat.

The officer contacted the woman and gave her verbal commands to drop the bat.  Initially, the woman did not comply, Russell said.

She eventually dropped the bat and was taken into custody without incident.

Her clothing was singed by fire, at which time the officer realized the woman with the bat was the suspect from the fire and assault, Russell said.

Butler’s clothing and the bat were seized as evidence in the crimes.

She was taken to the Deschutes County Jail, where it was discovered she had superficial burn marks to the backs of her legs.

She was treated by staff at the jail and lodged on multiple charges including first-degree assault, first-degree arson, first-degree criminal mischief and unlawful use of a weapon.

Officers later learned that Butler had been given a ride by another neighboring transient to the area of 3rd and Empire.

Butler told this witness that someone had a gun and she needed help so they dropped her off near the sheriff’s office, Russell said.

A Bend Fire Arson Investigator responded to the scene. Their investigation is ongoing.

Law enforcement issues joint statement on mask violation questions

The Bend Police Department and the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office issued a joint statement Thursday after receiving questions about enforcing the governor’s new mask mandate.

Gov. Kate Brown issued a statewide order to require masks in all indoor public spaces beginning July 1 to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Along with the statement, the agencies issued a “care enough to cover” graphic urging folks to wear masks.

The statement is below:

“Central Oregon law enforcement agencies have received questions about what our roles are in enforcing the Governor’s Order to wear face coverings inside public buildings.

“It has always been our goal to help community members understand the health and safety guidelines that have been put into place across Oregon.

“Our philosophy of enforcing this and other Orders will continue to be education and to seek voluntary compliance. 

“As the Governor has stated, the expectation is that OSHA Oregon will take the lead in enforcing her face mask requirements.

“Law Enforcement will respond to and investigate all calls for service from business owners who report disputes or disturbances related to the face mask requirement, and then take the appropriate enforcement action if necessary. 

“Unless the call requires a law enforcement response, call OSHA at the toll-free number: 800-922-2689”

Luke Bryan reschedules Bend shows for fall 2021

Country fans take heart…Luke Bryan has rescheduled his Bend shows for September 30 and October 1, 2021.

The Les Schwab Amphitheater made the announcement Wednesday, saying Morgan Wallen and Runaway June are set to open both nights.

Bryan was initially scheduled to play LSA later this month.

He’s just the third artist to play multi-day shows at the Old Mill venue, joining Phish and Widespread Panic.

Bryan was only playing multiple nights at two stops on the tour, including Bend. The tour also includes shows at Madison Square Garden in New York City and Staples Center in Los Angeles.

In October, Bryan’s 2013 “Crash My Party” album was named Album of the Decade by the Academy of Country Music.

He’s also a judge on ABC’s American Idol.

If you had tickets to the Thursday show in 2020, you’ve got tickets to the Thursday show in 2021. Likewise, if you had tickets to the Friday show in 2020, you’ve got tickets to the Friday show in 2021.

If you can’t make the new dates, you have until July 25 to request a refund.

If you paid cash and would like a refund for your tickets, please call the Ticket Mill at 541-318-5457 to arrange to collect your refund.

If you purchased tickets online through Etix, call them at 1-919-653-0443 or 1-800-514-3849 to arrange a refund.

Armed robbery reported at new Bend taco shop

Bend Police are investigating a reported armed robbery at a taco shop late Sunday night.

Sgt. Rob Emerson said officers were dispatched to Lucy’s Taco Shop, 916 NE 3rd Street just before 11 p.m. The employees reported the suspect, a woman wearing a mask, was armed with a gun, and demanded cash.

A search of the area came up empty.

If you have any information, please contact non-emergency dispatch at 541-693-6911.

Lucy’s opened in the old Baja Fresh building on June 22nd.

State, insurance companies reach telehealth deal through 2020

Salem – The State of Oregon has reached an agreement with several health insurance companies to continue providing expanded telehealth options through at least the end of the year.

“Throughout this pandemic, telehealth has provided Oregonians with essential access to health care services that otherwise might have been unavailable or required the risk of an in-person appointment,” said Gov. Kate Brown. “It has transformed how many people have accessed behavioral health services. I’d like to thank Oregon’s insurers for partnering with us in this agreement, which gives us the opportunity and the time to develop more permanent telehealth policies with appropriate flexibilities during the 2021 session.”

The agreement follows guidance issued by the Department of Consumer and Business Services and the Oregon Health Authority in late March requiring health insurance plans of all types to provide coverage for multiple telehealth platforms at the same rate as an in-person visit to limit in-person health care services.

This means health insurance companies will continue to provide coverage for expanded telehealth services for Oregonians and pay for these services at the rates they established during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our health insurance companies continue to step up. This agreement is an important one for our state,” said Andrew Stolfi, insurance commissioner and acting director of DCBS. “It means Oregonians can get the critical health care services they need, and providers will continue to get paid for providing this important care, while we all work together to minimize the spread of the coronavirus.”

The following insurance companies have agreed to provide expanded telehealth services through the end of the year:

Bridgespan PacificSource
Cigna Providence
Health Net Regence
Kaiser Permanente Samaritan
Moda United Healthcare

In addition to these companies, the Oregon Health Plan will continue to offer pay parity and other allowances for many telehealth services, offering the same rate as an in-person visit for physical health services, behavioral health services, and some dental and long-term care services.

It is important to note that this agreement does not apply to self-insured plans. The state encourages self-insured plans to cover expanded telehealth services for members. These are plans in which an employer assumes the financial risk of providing health care benefits to its employees. Oregonians who have a self-insured plan should check with their employer about their coverage options.

Oregonians are encouraged to contact their insurance company or health care provider if they have questions about using telehealth services.

Visit the Division of Financial Regulation’s COVID-19 telehealth page for frequently asked questions and additional information. For more information on insurance and financial topics, visit the COVID-19 consumer site.

For up-to-date information and resources on COVID-19, visit the Oregon Health Authority COVID-19 site.

If you have questions about an insurance company or agent or need to file a complaint, call the Division of Financial Regulation’s advocacy team at 888-877-4894 (toll-free) or email

▶️ Beaverton woman rescued on Broken Top; intoxicants ‘primary factor’

A Beaverton woman was rescued from Broken Top early Sunday morning after intoxicants keep her from being able to come down the mountain, according to the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office.

Deschutes County dispatch received the call around 7:10 p.m. Saturday night saying that a hiker, identified as 34-year-old Chantel Nelson, was “in trouble” while hiking near Broken Top.

Nelson’s hiking partners reported she was beginning to lose consciousness and could not continue on her own, according to Dep. Joshua Westfall, assistant search and rescue coordinator.

Two DSCO deputies and nine SAR volunteers responded.

Based on Nelson’s location and the amount of intermittent snowpack on the forest service roads in the area, reaching her location proved challenging, Westfall said.

And due to weather and the circumstances of the call, air transport was not an option at that time.

SAR resources drove up Bearwallow Rd in trucks towing two offroad SAR vehicles–DCSO SAR’s Ranger and Argo. The Deputy and volunteers then deployed up forest service road 370 to 380 Rd in the Ranger and Argo. Due to the amount of snow, these roads were later determined to be impassable for one of the offroad vehicles, resulting in some SAR volunteers having to hike in on foot, Westfall said.

SAR volunteers first reached Nelson around 12:40 a.m. and began tending to her.

After tending to her, Nelson was able to walk down the mountain with the help of the volunteers. Nelson walked to the Broken Top Trailhead where DCSO SAR vehicle Argo was waiting.

Nelson was then taken to the SAR trucks in the Argo and then provided transport into Bend at her request. Nelson declined further medical assistance at that time. DCSO resources returned to quarters at approximately 7:00 am the following morning, Westfall said.

Nelson was heavily intoxicated but not physically injured, and she is unlikely to see a bill.

“The general consensus behind that is, you know, when people get into trouble for any reason in the backcountry we want them to call as soon as possible,” said Lt. Bryan Husband, special services coordinator for the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office. “If they prolong it because they’re going to get billed they’re going to get themselves into a worse situation.”

Volunteers train frequently for search and rescue missions, but there is always risk involved, and often, many resources need to be utilized.

COVID has also complicated recent missions.

“Thankfully when you’re outdoors and you’re traveling to a location, we have the benefit of spreading back out on the trail,” Husband said. “We do try to do that as much as possible so our volunteers are able to get that mask off their face and be able to breathe.”

Husband says this weekend’s rescue serves as a warning for people to recreate safely, this summer.

“I would strongly encourage those folks who are going to go out and enjoy our backdoors, don’t make it more complicated by consuming intoxicants,” Husband said. “And be safe.”

▶️ Metered signal plan on hold for busy Bend roundabout


Try going through the Bond/Reed Market/Brookswood roundabout at any point in the day, and you’ll find plenty of traffic.

The testing of traffic signals at the roundabout at the beginning of March showed mixed results.

“We found that it was beneficial during what we consider the morning rush hour, but that it wasn’t very beneficial in the PM,” said Ryan Oster, Engineering Director with the City of Bend.

The testing proved successful enough that they planned to recommend buying the $600,000 testing meters at the roundabout instead of spending $4 million to $5 million to add additional lanes to the area.

But now, three months after completing the $30,000 test, Oster says COVID and budget cuts within the city of Bend have placed that recommendation on hold.

“Really, we don’t know what the traffic patterns are going to be six months or a year from now and there’s lot of interesting developments in society right now with telecommuting, and we also have a big high school that’s planning on opening in the fall of 2021,” said Oster. “There’s just a lot of variables that it wasn’t a good choice today to go and spend money on that.”

Oster says that though their current plans have been put on hold, they’re looking to also make future recommendations for other busy roundabouts in the city.

“This intersection along with a handful of others in town, we’re just getting to the point where it’s hard to expand them any bigger than they already are,” said Oster. “We want to try and accommodate it in the existing footprint as best we can.”

Oster says they’ll do another bout of testing in about a year and present recommendations to the city then.

Bend establishes Environment and Climate Committee; members sought

The Bend City Council on Wednesday voted to establish an Environmental and Climate Committee charged with guiding the city on stewardship and overseeing the Community Climate Action Plan.

The application process for community members to apply to be on the committee is now open.

This permanent committee will have expertise and focus on natural resources and can help fulfill current and future council goals and projects related to the environment, and provide a resource to council when relevant community issues arise.

The Environment and Climate Committee will:

·       Develop recommendations for and oversee implementation of the Community Climate Action Plan;

·       Provide input and participate in the City’s review and development of plans, ordinances, actions and policies related to the City’s role as a steward of natural resources;

·       Provide advisory input to the City Council during Council goal setting and budgeting processes; and

·       Provide input on adopted Council goals are they relate to natural resources and the environment.

The City is looking for interested community members to fill nine appointments on the Environment and Climate Committee. The initial terms will be either two years or four years, with subsequent terms being four years.

The Advisory Committee application is available at Applications will be accepted until 5 p.m. on Friday, July 31, 2020.

For questions on serving on the Environment and Climate Committee, please contact Cassie Lacy at 541-323-8587 or

Information about the committee is available at

Bike found following discovery of Portland man’s body

The bike belonging to a Portland man who was found dead east of Bend on Sunday has been recovered, but an additional search for evidence Wednesday came up empty.

Lt. Chad Davis with the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office said a citizen had found the bike belonging to 36-year-old John Sims near Trail 20 east of the Millican OHV play area.

ATV riders came upon Sims’ body about one mile north of Highway 20 near milepost 28 around 12:30 p.m. on Sunday.

His bike, which sustained some damage from an apparent crash, was found less than a mile from where Sims was found, Davis said.

Davis said the investigation determined Sims had come to the area to visit the observatory, driving to an area above the Pine Mountain US Forets Service Campground where he parked his 2008 Subaru Forester.

It’s believed Sims left his car and went for a mountain bike ride and at some point became separated from his bike. Davis said Sims appeared to have walked several miles before he collapsed at the location where he was found by the ATV riders.

“Based on the condition of Sims’ body, it appeared he died due to exposure to the elements,” Davis said. “It was also determined his body had been at the location for several days.”

Davis said there was no indication a crime was committed.

On Wednesday, 21 members of the Deschutes County Search and Rescue Unit and a couple of deputies responded to the scene to continue looking for evidence.

Davis said the search grid consisted of an area between where the bike was found and Sims’ body was discovered.

No additional evidence was found, Davis said.



Deschutes Public Library to begin next phase of reopening June 22

The Deschutes Public Library will open branches beginning next week with modified hours and some new rules for checking out materials.

In recent weeks, the library started its phased-in reopening by letting folks return overdue books and pick up books that were on hold.

On June 22nd, Phase 2 begins for the system and folks will be able to access the buildings to pick up and check out materials at self-serve kiosks.

Meeting and tutor rooms, public computers, and children’s early learning spaces will remain closed.

Programs, classes, and events (story times, computer labs, lectures, etc.), as well as the processing of library cards, will continue online only during this time.

“We are happy to provide a gradual reintroduction to the library as we enter Chapter 2 of our reopening plan,” said Library Operations Manager Holly McKinley.

Staff will wear maks and they will limit the number of people allowed in the buildings at any one time to facilitate safe social distancing.

Modified hours will remain in place. In Chapter 2 the hours are as follows:

· Downtown Bend Library, East Bend Library, Redmond Library

Monday–Saturday, 9:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m. (special hours for ages 60+ and immunocompromised individuals, from 9:00 a.m.-10:00 a.m.); closed Sundays

· La Pine Library, Sisters Library, Sunriver Library

Tuesday–Saturday, 10:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.; closed Sundays, Mondays

McKinley said the next phase in the Library’s steps to reopening is Chapter 3, which will include increased access to buildings, resources and services.

Chapter 2, she said, is a transition stage that will help staff and customers become accustomed to new procedures as the library works toward the next chapter.

The date for Chapter 3 will be determined by the Library Director and Board in consultation with government and public health officials.

“As we take these incremental steps to reopening our buildings, our foremost goal is to keep staff and customers safe when working in and browsing the library,” said Library Director Todd Dunkelberg. “We are all eager to get back to some semblance of ‘normal,’ but our priority is to minimize risk at every step.”

Minimizing risk includes the following practices:

· Face Coverings. All Deschutes Public Library staff members are required to wear facemasks. Customers are encouraged but not required to wear facemasks as a courtesy to staff and other members of the public.

· Increased Cleanings. The Library’s janitorial service is working additional hours and paying particular attention to common surfaces such as handrails, doors, and handles. The Library also provides cleaning supplies for all workspaces and public service desk areas.

· Hand Washing. While public restrooms are closed during the initial phases of re-opening, outdoor hand-washing stations and hand sanitizer are available for Library customers. Staff have regular access to soap and warm water for hand washing. Gloves will be provided to staff for use during cleaning and disinfecting materials and workspaces.

· Physical Distancing. Customers will be guided to maintain a six-foot distance between staff and other customers. Physical distancing areas will be clearly marked in spaces where the public tends to gather (e.g., service desks, check-out kiosks).

Library customers with questions about the phases or their accounts can call or text their question to (541) 617-0776.