Body found over 20 miles east of Bend – They think it’s the remains of Sara Gomez, missing since late January.

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May 262018

Sara Gomez, 24
Went missing nearly four months ago…
BPD photo

Today Deschutes County 911 received a call from a hiker who reported finding what he believed to be a human body wrapped up in a tarp. He found it while hiking Friday afternoon about 21 miles east of Bend. A sheriff’s office sergeant responded to the area and confirmed the contents of the tarp were human remains. Detectives from the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office and Bend Police Department responded and began a joint investigation with the assistance of the Deschutes County Medical Examiner, Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office, Oregon State Police Forensic Laboratory and Deschutes County District Attorney’s Office.

During the investigation, a drone, piloted by a Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue (SAR) volunteer was used to help document the scene. Based on the investigation, it is believed the remains are likely that of Sara Gomez but investigators are awaiting confirmation of the deceased’s identity from the Oregon State Medical Examiner’s office, which may take several weeks.

Gomez’s suspected killer, Bryan Penner dies from effects of self-asphyxiation while in custody of the Deschutes County Jail.

Sheriff Nelson expressed, “Bend Police Chief Jim Porter, D.A. John Hummel and I believe that this is the body of Sara Gomez, but it will take the conclusion of the Medical Examiner’s investigation to confirm the identity of the human remains. Our thoughts and prayers have been with Ms. Gomez’s family since her disappearance and if the remains are determined to be her, our hope is it will bring her family some closure.”

This investigation is continuing and more information will be released as it becomes available.

How NOT to burn down your house and the neighbors’ too…

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May 252018

Debris Burn too close to other combustibles. And it’s unattended.

Escaped debris burns are the leading human-caused fire type in Oregon. In recent weeks, fire agencies in Central Oregon have responded to numerous fires caused by rekindled and escaped debris burns. Recent precipitation and cooler temperatures may give a false sense of reduced risk associated with burning yard debris, however this weather pattern will soon be replaced by warmer and drier weather with increased potential for rekindled fires and increased rate of spread from burning material.
“Even leaving your fire unattended for a moment can lead to fire spreading to adjacent fuels and can quickly get out of control,” explains Prineville Unit Forester Gordon Foster.

With wildfire season just around the corner fire agencies have seen an increase in preventable wildfires burdening the agencies’ workforce. It is unlawful to leave your burn unattended at any time, before leaving your burn ensure that it is cold to the touch. Property owners are encouraged to take advantage of local landfill recycling programs including Fire Free events and use alternate methods such as chipping to eliminate the material. When burning follow the practices below to reduce the potential for escaped fire. Immediately call 911 if your burn gets out of control.

Safe practices to follow when burning backyard debris:
· Call before you burn. Check with your local fire department or Department of Forestry to determine if you need a permit and if burning is allowed.

· Don’t burn on windy days.

· Keep the fire small, less than 4’ in diameter. Add material as the fire burns down.

· Clear the area around the fire to mineral soil for at least 10’. Including above your burn area, make sure there are no branches or powerlines above.

· Have tools on site, including a shovel and water.

· Monitor your fire at all times.

· Do not use accelerants to start your fire.

· Burn only yard debris—organic material.

· Make sure your fire is completely out and cool to the touch. Revisit the burn area in the following days and weeks to verify the burn has not rekindled as the weather warms and winds blow.

For information for reducing wildfire impacts in Deschutes County visit, and for more tips on wildfire prevention visit Keep Oregon Green at

Broken-off high speed chase deputies still get their suspect

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May 252018

UPDATE on the chase

On Friday, May 25, 2018, at approximately 4:27 pm, the Crook County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to the report of an Elude from Jefferson County. Members of the Crook County Sheriff’s Office learned that Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and Oregon State Police had been involved in a pursuit of a red Ford F150 pickup in Jefferson County, on Highway 26 near mile post 13 that was traveling towards Crook County. The Crook County Sheriff’s Office also learned that the pursuit had been terminated.

Deputies from the Crook County Sheriff’s responded to the area and located the abandoned vehicle on NW Gerke Road near NW Ryegrass Road, which is a remote farming area of Crook County about eight miles northwest of Prineville.

A short time later, members from the Oregon State Police, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Prineville Police Department, and the Crook County Sheriff’s Office began searching for the subject that fled on foot from the vehicle. The male driver, who was later identified as Jose Gonzalez, a 22 year old resident of Madras, Oregon, was located south of the vehicle on the side of the hill. With the assistance from a volunteer aircraft from Jefferson County, Jose attempted to hide in tree cover when members of the search team located and arrested him.

Jose was transported to the Jefferson County Jail on the following charges:

Attempt to Elude
Reckless Drive
Reckless Endangering
Violation of the Basic Rule

There is no booking photo attached to this press release because Jose was transported to Jefferson County.

The capture of Jose was successful because of the outstanding teamwork from all agencies involved.


A sheriff’s deputy who tried to pull a pickup driver over on Highway 26 for a traffic violation soon found himself in a highway pursuit.

The pickup took off down Highway 26 and several side roads at a high rate of speed. Traffic conditions prompted the deputy to end his pursuit and radioed to other units in Crook and Jefferson Counties the description of the pickup and the driver.

After a while, the pick up was spotted near Gerke and Highway 26 parked behind a barn. The driver wasn’t around. So deputies fanned out across the area, including one deputy climbing up a rim rock. The deputy soon spotted the suspect hiding in the brush. Other law enforcement arrived on scene and within a few minutes had the suspect in handcuffs.

It wasn’t immediately known why the male tried to flee. But it’s usually “warrant-ed.”

Ryegrass and Gerke area of Crook County – Heads up

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May 252018

Local police are looking for a Native American male last seen fleeing police from an attempted traffic stop well up Highway 26. The fugitive driver parked his pickup behind a barn near Ryegrass and Gerke and they think he may still be in the area.


It’s definitely construction season…

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May 252018


Week of Monday, May 28 thru June 1, 2018

Street Maintenance Projects:
Tuesday, May 29 – Starting at 8:30 a.m. Deschutes County road crew will be stripping recent over lay roads, this will cause traffic disruptions and slow-moving vehicles on the following streets:
* SW 27th St from SW Highland Ave to SW Obsidian Ave complete lane striping.
* East Antler Ave from Hwy 97 east to NE 11th St complete lane striping.
* NW Larch Ave from Bus 97 to Hwy 97 center lane stripe with occasional bike lane.

Wednesday, May 30 – SW Wickiup Ave will have a lane closure west bound from SW 31st St to SW 32nd St for guard rail installation on the north side alongside walk this work will be starting @ 7:30 AM.

Thursday, May 31 – SW Wickiup Ave will have a lane closure west bound from SW 31st St to SW 32nd St for guard rail installation on the north side alongside walk this work will be starting @ 7:30 AM.

Throughout the week legends will be installed in various locations (stop bars, crosswalks, school zones, bike symbols) with traffic interruptions in the intersections and along the road ways.

Special Event Closures:

Ongoing Closures:
*Residential Road Construction by Shamrock NW Construction –
Thursday, May 31 thru June 27- Starting at 8:00 a.m. NW 10th St to be closed from NW Negus Pl to NW Oak will be closed while Shamrock Northwest crews remove roadway, install utilities, curb, base rock, and asphalt paving.

*NW Canyon Dr. will also be closed at NW 10th St. Use NW Maple Ave from Business 97 to access streets south of closure and NW Quince Ave from Business 97 to access streets north of closure.

Historic Redmond Hotel Renovation Project –
Monday, May 7 thru August 31 – from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Righthand lane of SW 6th St. to be partially closed from midblock between SW Deschutes Ave. and SW Forest Ave. to midblock between SW Evergreen Ave. and SW Forest Ave. The 6th St. sidewalk from SW Evergreen Ave. south to midblock will also be closed during the lane closure.

Monday, May 7 thru August 31 – from 6:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Alley behind the Historic Redmond Hotel between SW 6th St. and SW 7th St. and between SW Evergreen Ave. and SW Forest Ave.

All businesses will remain open during this closure. Activities resulting in noise will not begin until 7:00 a.m.

South Canal Improvement Project – South Canal Blvd is closed between Wickiup Ave. and the Yew Avenue roundabout for the next few weeks. Local access is permitted. The intersection of South Canal Blvd and Wickiup Ave. will remain closed to traffic.

Scheduled Activities for the week of 5/21/2018 – 5/25/2018:
• Excavation/construct subgrade of road footprint.
• 8-inch storm system (8-inch storm pipe, drywells, & sedimentation manholes).
• Water line tie-in @ SW Canal Blvd & SW Wickiup Ave. planned for 5/21/2018.
o Eight water services and connections.
• Water line tie-in @ SW Canal Blvd & SW 27th St/Yew Ave. (roundabout) planned for 5/22/2018
o Ten water services and connections.
• Removal of existing 6-inch water line along SW Canal Blvd from SW Wickiup Ave. to roundabout.
• The intersection of South Canal Blvd and Wickiup Ave. will remain closed to traffic. Expect to see crews working between Wickiup Ave. and the roundabout on South Canal Blvd through July 2018.

Rebuilding the street will take 13 months, with project completion set for April 2019. Sections of South Canal Blvd will be closed temporarily during construction, but local access to area homes and businesses will remain open. Weekly project updates can be found online at
Residents may call the Construction Hotline for more information or to report a concern at 541-579-2233.

ALL work schedules are subject to change, dependent on weather conditions and other factors

Redmond: Two street closures coming up for Redmond Hotel work

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May 252018

Old Redmond Hotel
Undergoing renovation
Downtown Redmond

As part of the Historic Redmond Hotel renovation, SunWest Builders is planning a lane closure on Tuesday, May 25th from 7am to 10am to lift materials to the roof for the redevelopment of the property.

Also, as a preliminary heads-up, SunWest has submitted a request to close both lanes of 6th Street Monday, June 11th from 7am to 11am to hoist elevator equipment to the roof of the building. SunWest will be performing door to door notifications for that closure. Again, any questions can be directed to Roger Wood at SunWest Builders. Roger can be reached at: (541) 699-8117.

The hotel renovation will continue over the next few months with the goal of opening a new rooftop bar later this summer. The renovation of the hotel rooms is expected to be completed next spring.

Senator Wyden invites everyone to attend his Town Hall Meeting in Prineville (#899)

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May 252018

Sen. Ron Wyden
Town Hall meeting at Crook Co. Library June 1st

Central Oregon citizens are invited to join Senator Wyden for his next Crook County town hall meeting next Friday, June 1st, at 1:00pm at the Crook County Library (Broughton Room) at 175 NW Meadow Lakes Drive, Prineville.

This event marks the 899th town hall Senator Wyden has held since pledging when first elected to hold annual town halls in each of Oregon’s 36 counties.

“We look forward to seeing you at this meeting,” Wyden said. “And we hope you will share this with friends and family who might be interested in attending.” RSVP NOT required.

Questions? Please call Senator Wyden’s Portland office at 503-326-7525.

Oregon AG issues ballot title to ban sale of assault weapons

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May 242018

Semi-automatic rifle

Oregon’s Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum has released a certified ballot title for an initiative to ban the sale of high-capacity magazines and a broad range of semiautomatic pistols, rifles and shotguns.

The initiative also would require most existing owners of these weapons to pass criminal background checks and register with the state in order to keep them. Failure to do so would be a Class B felony.

Those seeking the ban plan to have the issue on this year’s November ballot.

Here’s the story in The Oregonian. Click here.

ODOT rolling on making Hwy 97 between Redmond and Bend Safer…

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May 242018

What plagues Hwy 97 motorists – turning in to and out of driveways.

ODOT has launched a project that addresses safety on a nine-mile corridor on U.S. 97 between the cities of Redmond and Bend. More than 33,000 vehicles, including 3,500 freight vehicles, use this section of U.S. 97 each day.

The project will identify and prioritize safety improvements for the corridor and begin design and construction of those improvements within the current budget. The design phase is expected to be completed by the end of 2019, with construction anticipated to begin in 2020.

Between 2011 and 2015, a total of 130 crashes were reported on the U.S. 97 corridor between Redmond and Bend – ten of the crashes resulted in serious injuries or fatalities. Many of the reported crashes were lane departure crashes, sometimes resulting in high-speed head-on collisions.

The high number of driveways combined with increased traffic volumes result in fewer gaps in traffic making it difficult for motorists entering and exiting the highway.

To address these issues, ODOT commissioned a traffic safety corridor study in 2015. The study analyzed crash data and recommended short to long-range improvement implementation options.

This project will identify and prioritize safety improvements that can be constructed within the current budget and will recommend additional designs for safety improvements that may be constructed as additional funding becomes available.

Open House: ODOT wants your input on how to make U.S. 97 safer for travelers

The project is hosting an open house and you are invited to drop by to talk to the project team, learn more about this important safety project and provide your input. We look forward to seeing you.
Open House.
Monday, June 4th
5:00 – 7:00 p.m.
ODOT Region 4 Headquarters
Diamond/Crater Lake Conference Room
63055 N Hwy. 97, Bend, OR 97703

If you can’t make it in person visit, to participate in a virtual open house from June 4 – June 24, 2018.

Accessible Event Information: Accommodations will be provided to people with disabilities. To request an accommodation or if you have any questions, please call Abbey Driscoll at (541)388-6064 or at least 48 hours prior to the meeting.