▶️ ‘Take What You Need’: Bend woman begins clothing drive right outside her home

Take something or leave something.

A Bend woman has started a winter clothes drive right outside her home.

It started with Ama Haynes clearing out some of her old clothes and putting them on a rack outside with a sign saying “Take What You Need.”

It was a success.

Some people took some extra layers, while others leaving older coats.

Hanyes said she is inspired by the generosity of the community.

“Thank you, everyone, for stopping by and dropping off your jackets because I know I can’t do a whole lot as one person,” Hanyes said. “But if everyone donates and helps out then we can all make a difference.”

If you want to help out, the donation location is on Shoshone Road in Bend.

Perceived tracing issues hold up Deschutes Co. move to Phase 2; Crook Co. OK’d

By TED TAYLOR
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS

Perceived tracing issues are holding up Deschutes County’s plan to move into Phase 2 of the state’s reopening plan, according to health officials.

Deschutes and Jefferson counties were not on Gov. Kate Brown’s initial list of counties approved Thursday to relax some of the stay-home order restrictions handed down in March.

According to a statement from Brown, “Deschutes, Jefferson, and Umatilla, applied for Phase 2 but remain under further review. State health officials are in active communication with local public health officials in these counties.”

Morgan Emerson, program and communications coordinator for Deschutes County Health, tells Central Oregon Daily News the county was denied because there was a high percentage of new cases that couldn’t be traced.

“We aren’t meeting the metric of the percent of cases traced to a known source, which could be an indicator of increased community spread,” she said. “However, we did a deeper dive into that data and we found that some of those cases have travel associated, which means they might not be acquired in Deschutes County. So, we shared that information with the state and we expect to hear back soon.”

Emerson added the county has historically been meeting that metric and had only nine cases that week.

“So, even one or two cases in a different category could significantly increase the percentage,” she said. ” It’s important to remember we’re just looking at 9 cases.”

Deschutes County on Thursday reported five new COVID cases to bring its total to 133. Of those, 111 patients have recovered.

Brown approved 26 counties, including Crook County, to move to Phase 2 of reopening on June 5, 6, and 8.

County officials submitted letters to the Governor’s Office requesting entry into Phase 2, and confirming their counties met Oregon’s safety and preparedness prerequisites for Phase 2.

“Today, most of us live in communities where people are venturing out a bit. We do so cautiously, looking out for friends, family and neighbors,” Brown said in a statement. “I want to say thank you to each and every Oregonian who has made tremendous sacrifices to protect the health and safety of our communities.”

Deschutes County health officials were confident in their application, telling county commissioners earlier this week it met the state’s seven guidelines for advancement, including training more contact tracers.

“We’re meeting this at 100%,” Emerson said at the time. “And we have 12 DCHS staff members that are trained to be able to do contact tracing as well as the three additional hires.”

According to the state:

“The Oregon Health Authority analyzed the metrics holistically for each county and determined when seemingly significant percentage increases were actually the result of a county having a very small number of cases.

“For example, several counties did not technically meet the metric that at least 70% of new cases must be tracked to an existing, known case.

“However, in all of these counties, the number of untracked cases was so small (fewer than 5) that OHA deemed them not significant. In addition, one county––Lane––technically did not meet the metric of having no increase in testing positivity in the last 7 days.

“The previous seven days had a positivity rating of 0%, and the last 7 days had a positivity of 2%, which is still low compared to the national average, which is over 10%. OHA deemed this change insignificant as well.”

Jefferson County’s case count jumped one Thursday to 46 – but most of the cases have been tied to the Warm Springs reservation and isolated to family gatherings, according to health officials there.

The reservation on Thursday announced plans to open its casino next week.

Crook County has reported 7 cases of COVID-19. It will be allowed to enter Phase 2 on Saturday.

The following counties have been approved to enter Phase 2 on the following dates:

June 5 

  • Benton
  • Curry
  • Douglas
  • Grant
  • Jackson
  • Klamath
  • Lake
  • Lane
  • Linn
  • Morrow
  • Union
  • Wallowa
  • Wasco
  • Wheeler

June 6

  • Baker
  • Clatsop
  • Columbia
  • Coos
  • Crook
  • Gilliam
  • Harney
  • Josephine
  • Malheur
  • Sherman
  • Yamhill

June 8  

  • Tillamook

This is a developing story.

 

Brown finalizes Phase 2 plans; expect those restrictions in place through summer

By TED TAYLOR
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS

Beginning Friday, some Oregonians will be able to see a movie, go for a swim and attend church services in person if their county is approved to move into Phase 2 of the governor’s plan to reopen the state.

And later this month, Oregon’s collegiate athletes can return to training in anticipation of a fall sports season.

Gov. Kate Brown on Wednesday finalized plans for a move to Phase 2 during a news conference with Oregon Health Authority Director Patrick Allen and Dr. Dean Sidelinger.

It relaxes even more restrictions imposed by the her stay-home order handed down in May, but Sidelinger said Oregonians shouldn’t get too excited about a full return to normal anytime soon.

“Phase 2 will be where we live for the next several months,” Sidelinger said, adding later that there is still no concrete plan for school children returning to the classroom this fall.

For now, Oregon businesses will reap the benefits of a move to Phase 2, thanks to a decline in positive cases and hospitalizations across the state. Meanwhile, counties are increasing their ability to contact trace cases should they arise.

As of Wednesday, the OHA has reported 159 deaths and nearly 4,300 in the state have tested positive for the disease.

Brown said 31 Oregon counties were allowed to submit Phase 2 applications this week.

Commissioners from Deschutes, Crook and Jefferson are among 20 counties that have already submitted letters to the governor and they could learn the answer as soon as Thursday.

Phase 2 allows for gatherings of up to 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors; a limited return to work, the limited opening of movie theaters, bowling alleys and swimming pools. Zoos, museums and public outdoor gardens also have new guidelines released Wednesday, which paves the way for their reopening assuming they meet the criteria.

“We are preparing to reopen in the next several weeks but haven’t yet fixed upon a firm date,” said High Desert Museum Executive Director Dana Whitelaw. “We want to make sure we have the time to review the parameters Gov. Brown and the Oregon Health Authority revealed today and to check in with the Deschutes County Health Department to make sure we’re meeting them.”

Churches would also be allowed to reopen if they’re able to meet the Phase 2 social distancing and group-size restrictions.

Restaurants would be allowed to extend curfews to midnight and increase their footprints for table space with approved outdoor space.

Face coverings are required for all employees at restaurants, pubs and breweries, grocery stores, pharmacies, salons, and more. Those businesses are also strongly recommended to require face maks for all customers.

Those recommendations will remain part of Phase 2.

“Any reopening comes with risk. That’s just a fact of life right now. So we need to reduce the risk that comes with reopening,” Brown said. “So, fellow Oregonians, you have another chance to shine. A chance to show that you are looking out for your friends, family, and neighbors.”

As of Wednesday, Deschutes County had reported just 19 active cases of COVID-19. Of the 128 total cases in the county, 109 have recovered.

Crook County reported six total cases and Jefferson County reported 45 – but most of those cases are from the Warm Springs Indian Reservation.

Earlier this week, Deschutes County Public Health Spokeswoman Morgan Emerson told commissioners the county meets the state’s guidelines for advancement, including training up more contact tracers and tracking new cases quickly.

“We’re meeting this at 100%,” Emerson said. “And we have 12 DCHS staff members that are trained to be able to do contact tracing as well as the three additional hires.”

OHA Director Allen said the data is showing Oregonians answered the call to flatten the curve of the virus.

He said the state has the fourth-lowest infection rate in the country right now, adding that hospitalizations have gone down from 161 two weeks ago to 102 this morning – all while testing has increased across the state.

Health officials will look to see the cases continue to decline as they prepare a plan to return the state’s education system back to normal this fall.

Sidelinger said they are working closely with the Oregon Department of Education on those plans, which could call for staggered schedules, the need for additional classroom spaces on campuses and increased sanitation measures.

Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission is also working on guidelines for the state’s colleges and universities.

This is a developing story. 

 

 

Federal Charges Filed Against Two Suspects in Bomb Threat Hoax

U.S. Attorney Billy Williams has filed federal charges against two of the three men arrested for making a hoax bomb threat at the Deschutes County Courthouse late last month.

Deschutes County DA John Hummel dismissed state charges against 23-year-old Jonathan Allen and 31-year-old Kellie Cameron. The two are accused of federal conspiracy to make a threat regarding explosive materials, false information and hoaxes. They were arrested during a traffic stop on August 3rd.

A third suspect, 40-year-old William Swanson, was arrested Thursday afternoon and still faces state charges of possessing a hoax device, disorderly conduct and criminal conspiracy.

“I appreciate the strong working relationship local law enforcement has always had with the FBI and United States Attorney Williams,” Hummel said in a statement.  “We always work collaborative on cases with a Federal nexus and decide after a thorough investigation which jurisdiction should ultimately handle the matter. We all agreed that the alleged actions of these suspects warranted resolution in Federal court and this is why I dismissed the local charges.”

This case is being investigated by the FBI and the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office and is being prosecuted by Nathan J. Lichvarcik, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

The hoax on July 29th caused a multi-agency response that closed several downtown Bend streets, forced the cancelation of all courthouse activities and prompted a call to the Oregon State Police Explosives Unit from Salem.

Someone called 9-1-1 around 7 a.m. to report two bombs – one at the courthouse steps and the other in a separate, undisclosed location nearby. The courthouse was evacuated and streets in the area blocked off shortly after that, according to Deschutes County Sheriff’s Sgt. William Bailey.

The Oregon State Police Explosives Unit arrived from Eugene at about 11 a.m. While the team assessed the device, the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office tweeted out they were seeking a person of interest and released a short security video of what appears to be a man wearing a cowboy hat, grey hooded sweatshirt, sunglasses and jeans carrying a box under one arm.

Just after 1 p.m. the OSP Explosives Unit used a water cannon to neutralize the device. Further investigation revealed it did not contain any explosive materials.

North Star Elementary – Bend’s Newest – Opens Monday

Bend’s newest school, North Star Elementary, officially opens on Monday with teachers moving in to begin setting up classrooms and prepping for the new year.

“This new school is designed with the educational needs of students in mind and I’m excited for teachers to begin to settle into their new classrooms as we look forward to welcoming new students,” said North Star Principal Kevin Gehrig.

The two-story school is situated in north-central Bend off of O.B. Riley Road. It will relieve overcrowding at elementary schools in northwest and northeast Bend.

North Star includes 24 classrooms, a gym, commons area and media center, and is based on the designs for Silver Rail Elementary School.

Construction of North Star is one of more than 150 projects that are part of the $268 million construction bond passed by voters in 2017. Hundreds of people have been employed to make the completion of this new school a reality. Thanks to construction of new schools and classrooms, more than 400 additional jobs are sustained in Deschutes County each year, according to IMPLAN economic data.

Community members are encouraged to save the date to join in a celebratory ribbon cutting and barbecue at the new school Aug. 28, starting at 4:30 p.m.

Neighbors Concerned About Future of Platypus Pub Site

The Platypus Pub has been a part of the Bend community for years.

But it soon will be torn down – and residents are concerned about what is being put in its place.

Neighbors have heard that a building with a drive thru will be replacing the Platypus Pub, and they are far from pleased.

Bill Caram from the Orchard District Neighborhood Association says the concern is not about the building coming down…but how a drive thru could be holding back Bend.

“The Orchard District has really bought in on the vision of the Bend Central District, and that’s a vibrant mixed use community with better bike and pedestrian connectivity,” Caram said. “The city adopted a code to bring that vision to life and we believe that by making an exception to that code, by allowing a drive thru, sets a terrible precedent for this area that has so much potential.”

The vision of the Bend Central District is to encourage walkability and make the area surrounding the pub more of a destination, rather than a pass through. And a drive thru may not fit that mold.

According to Donna Burklo of the Bend Central District, “This is one of the last spots we have, if not the last spot, for us to expand the downtown look and feel of Bend. It’s an opportunity that with each of these choices we really need to consider that.”

Other residents are troubled by the historical loss of the Platypus Pub building, which used to be a church and a popular Italian restaurant.

Although it is not on the registry of historic places…many have a strong emotional attachment to the property.

“It is about emotion, it is about your connection to the community,” said Kelly Cannon-Miller from the Deschutes Historical Museum. “You know a building of this kind of character pulls that emotion out of a community and they don’t want to lose that.”

What is being put in place of the Platypus Pub has yet to be confirmed.

Supper Club: Mayor-Elect Sally Russell’s Plans for Bend

Central Oregon Daily’s Curtis Vogel sits down with Mayor-Elect Sally Russell to talk about current issues for Bend residents, including wage inequality, city growth and tourism, and the conversion for some from septic to the city’s sewer system.

A special thanks to our Supper Club sponsor, Selco Community Credit Union, for giving us the time and resources to talk about the issues that impact our region with a new edition of Supper Club every Tuesday night on Central Oregon Daily.

Deschutes Sheriff Reaches Settlement with Lieutenant Leak

A lieutenant with the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office has reached a settlement and will retire after nearly two years of paid administrative leave.

Lt. Tim Leak was placed on paid administrative leave due to unspecified conduct violations. Deschutes County Sheriff L. Shane Nelson said that the allegations that placed Leak on leave were not criminal but did not comment specifically on the nature of the violations.

Since he was placed on leave in May of 2016, Leak has been paid roughly $238,000 and Sheriff Nelson called the settlement and separation agreement a “business decision,” meant to save the department and the tax payers money in the long run.

 

Republican Tax Bill Passes

Updated Wed., Dec. 20, 3:30 p.m.

President Donald Trump is expected to sign the Republican tax bill before Christmas after Congress passed the bill with a nearly party line vote on Wednesday.

The tax bill passed the House for the second time on Wednesday with a vote of 224 for and 201 against, with 11 republicans siding with democrats and voting no.

The Senate changed and voted on the bill again early Wednesday morning, after passing it Tuesday. It passed Wednesday with another party line vote: 51 republicans in favor of the tax bill and 46 democrats and two independents voting against.

Senator John McCaine (R-AZ) was not present for the Wednesday morning vote since he is in Arizona receiving medical care.

 

The House of Representatives passed the tax bill on Tuesday, despite a handful of republicans and all the House’s democrats voting against it. The bill was stalled for a day and sent back to the Senate after Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) found part of the bill violated Senate rules.

The bill is expected to move forward despite push back from democrats and the hundreds of protestors who interrupted votes on both Tuesday and Wednesday.

Tune in to Central Oregon Daily at 6 p.m. to hear the latest on the bill and how it could affect residents of Central Oregon.