Crook County Schools Buys Vacant Lot Next to High School

The Crook County School District has finalized the purchase of a 1.36-acre lot adjacent to Crook County High School.

“We don’t have a specific use in mind, and it gives us many options,” CCSD Director of Business and Finance Anna Logan said in a statement. “It was considered an opportunity because it is a bare land parcel that is immediately adjacent to a school in an established neighborhood.”

The district bought the land for $300,000 using funds from the Capital Reserve. The transaction closed Thursday.

The former owner demolished the house that was on the property, which borders the east side of the CCHS campus.

“When the property on Lynn Boulevard came up for sale, the board and district employees thoughtfully deliberated and decided it was wise to make an offer,” said CCSD Superintendent Dr. Sara Johnson.

Board members approved the purchase during the Aug. 12 board meeting.

“It will give us an opportunity to expand there if we need to and have some additional capacity for the district,” said Board Vice Chair Patti Norris. “It gives us options for things that we may want to do in the future.”

Johnson noted that CCSD board members and the people of CCSD have been very thoughtful in their approach to managing and leading the district.

This past year, a committee studied the future capital needs and strategized about needs and direction of the district in the upcoming years, Johnson said. They discussed the topic of acquiring land close to the high school in the long-range planning process.

“You don’t get the opportunity to buy the piece of ground next door every day,” board member Doug Smith said.

Prineville Businesswoman Officially Sworn in as District 55 Rep.

Oregon’s newest lawmaker was sworn in during a ceremony in Salem Tuesday.

State Rep. Vikki Breese-Iverson, from Prineville, replaces Mike Mclane, who resigned his District 55 seat to become a circuit court judge.

Oregon Secretary of State Bev Clarno administered the oath of office in the House chamber.

Breese-Iverson and her husband own several small businesses in Prineville.

She has experience in Salem, having worked for two former lawmakers and several campaigns.

District 55 includes Crook County and parts of Deschutes, Klamath, Lake and Jackson counties.


Flash Flooding Closes Powell Butte Highway

Heavy rains early Thursday evening caused hazardous flash flooding near Alfalfa, closing part of Powell Butte Highway for about two hours as crews worked to clear debris.

A Crook County Sheriff’s deputy on the scene reported 18 inches of water running down SW Bussett Road near Shumway Road and Powell Butte Highway, with large “bowling ball size boulders” in the road around 6 p.m.

One deputy made it to SW Hahlen Road and found that a culvert had been washed out.

Flood waters had reached SW Powell Butte Highway between SW Cronin Road and SW Bussett Road with about 12 inches of flowing water across both lanes. The flood waters ended up eroding the shoulder/ditch at the Central Oregon Irrigation District (COID) canal bridge on the highway, prompting the road closure which lasted a couple hours.

There were reports of at least one house in the area heavily damaged by water and rocks. The resident there was stranded because her cars were stuck in a river of mud.

Crook County dispatch reported the highway was closed between SW Bussett Road and SW Weigand Road as road graders helped push debris off the road between. Deputies were there to help get local traffic through the area before the road reopened about 8:30.

Central Oregon Daily’s Allen Schauffler grabbed a couple of photos that showed a bocce ball court gone aquatic and a typically dry gully turned mud bog.

The rain was part of a strong thunderstorm system that moved through Central Oregon over the dinner hour, with abundant lightning, thunderclaps rattling buildings and hail disrupting some commutes home.

Meanwhile, Crook County and Oregon Department of Forestry fire crews responded to multiple fire starts near McKay Creek Road about six miles north of Prineville.

Prineville Roundabout To Get a Facelift

Just 14 months after it opened, the roundabout at Highway 126 and Tom McCall Road in Crook County, is getting a facelift.

Crews will remove the existing curbs and install angled curbs to better accommodate freight trucks.

Construction will last about a month and cost $185,000.

According to the Oregon Department of Transportation, the angled curbs were not widely used when the roundabout was first designed.

Photo courtesy ODOT


New Jail “Open for Business” in Crook County

The Crook County Sheriff’s Office opened its new jail Monday night, with deputies walking all 19 inmates across the street to their new digs.

Sheriff John Gautney called the transition a historical event for Crook County. The old, 16-bed, jail had been used since 1968. The new facility is equipped with technology to help corrections staff with safety and security of the facility and staff as well as the inmates.

The operating capacity of the new jail is 65 inmates, but total bed space can swell to 85 if necessary. Gautney said In the coming weeks, 26 Crook County inmates currently being held at the Jefferson County Jail will be transferred to Prineville.

Crook County voters approved a $10 million bond measure in November 2016 to pay for the facility.

“This has been long overdue for Crook County and the community should be proud of this new facility that you have provided for,” said Gautney.

Preliminary Results Look Positive for Measure 101

As of 10 a.m. Wednesday morning with 920 of 1335 precincts reporting, 61.54 percent have voted in favor of Measure 101 and 38.46 percent voted against.

Measure 101 approves a temporary assessment to fund health care for low income residents and families in Oregon and to stabilize health insurance premiums. The temporary assessments, which is basically a tax, will be applied to insurance companies, some hospitals and other insurance and health care providers.

Proponents of the measure, which include the Hospital Association, have said this measure will ensure that low income Oregonians are able to keep their healthcare.

Opponents have said it is basically a tax to cover for bad budgeting in the state government.

On Tuesday night the Hospital Association declared victory on Measure 101.

The Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems (OAHHS) issued the following statement celebrating the passage of Measure 101 on Tueaday night.
OAHHS, which represents all of Oregon’s 62 community hospitals, was a key supporter of the Yes for Healthcare coalition.

“On behalf of our patients and the communities we serve, Oregon’s hospitals are deeply gratified by the passage of Measure 101,” said Andy Davidson, president and CEO of the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems. “We are appreciative of the partnership of so many organizations and individuals from across the state who helped to make this outcome possible.”

“Tonight’s vote is critical affirmation of our collective belief that Oregon is better off with a robust Medicaid program that tends to the needs of patients before, during and after an illness or the birth of a child. It is a recognition that our vulnerable friends and neighbors need access to the lifesaving services that our entire health care system provides. We are proud to have been an integral partner in fighting for these patients and their families.”

Hospitals have been longtime advocates for the Oregon Health Plan, working alongside the legislature for the last 15 years to develop funding solutions for the program that ensure coverage for as many Oregonians as possible.

In coming months, hospitals will work cooperatively with legislative leadership, the Governor and other stakeholders to craft additional sustainable funding solutions for the years to come to ensure the stability and health of the Oregon Health Plan. Hospitals are committed to continuing their work on future budget solutions that maintain coverage for Oregon’s most vulnerable.

In Deschutes County 54 percent of voters voted in favor of Measure 101. In Crook County 62 percent voted against the measure and in Jefferson County 57 percent also voted against the measure.