Governor Kate Brown Declares Drought Emergencies in Crook, Harney, and Klamath Counties

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Apr 062015
 
Gov. Kate Brown Declares drought emergency in Central and Eastern Oregon

Gov. Kate Brown
Declares drought emergency in Central and Eastern Oregon

(Salem, OR) — Governor Kate Brown today declared drought emergencies in Crook, Harney, and Klamath counties due to low water levels and record low snowpack.

The drought continues to have significant impact on agriculture, livestock, and natural resources in each of the jurisdictions. The counties requested the state to take action, and the Oregon Drought Council considered the counties’ requests by weighing current water conditions, future climatic forecasts, and agricultural impacts.

“Oregon’s unusually warm and dry winter has potentially dire consequences,” Governor Brown said. “By enlisting the support of our state and federal partners, we will be best able to ensure the safety of the residents of Crook, Harney, and Klamath counties, as well as their livelihoods and property.”

The Oregon Drought Council, chaired by the Oregon Office of Emergency Management, meets as necessary to assess water conditions around the state. Governor Brown declared a drought emergency in Malheur and Lake counties on March 17, 2015.

The Governor’s drought declaration allows increased flexibility in how water is managed to ensure that limited supplies are used as efficiently as possible. In addition, the Governor is working with Oregon’s federal delegation, state agencies, local governments, and other partners to coordinate efforts and mobilize actions to address drought-related issues.

Many of these authorities expedite water management tools to which users would not otherwise have access.

Oil Tanker Trains: What do our first responders need to know about them?

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Apr 062015
 
Typical oil tanker cars The Oregonian photo

Typical oil tanker cars
The Oregonian photo

WHAT local first responders need to know and WHEN they need to know it

ODOT is accepting public comments on the proposed changes to the rules governing the transportation of hazardous materials by railroads. Several public hearings are scheduled around the state, and anyone can review the materials online and submit comments. Click here to review that information.

The proposed rules and the public hearings do not address whether crude oil or other commodities should be transported across Oregon – instead, they address required communications around the transport of the material – letting first responders know where and when oil tankers are moving through an area and the nature of the cargo they’re transporting. So if something happens, firefighters will know what tools or devices to use in dealing with an emergency.

To update the rules, ODOT’s Rail Division worked with a rulemaking advisory committee made up of representatives from local jurisdictions, the environmental community, railroads, state and federal agencies, tribal organizations and other stakeholder groups. This rulemaking modernizes existing rules, establishes the roles and responsibilities for communications and notifications of hazardous materials transport by rail, and aligns Oregon’s rules with federal regulations.

Public comments are due May 12, and the final proposed rules are set to go before the Oregon Transportation Commission at its June 18 meeting.

ODOT PUBLIC HEARING DATES, TIMES AND LOCATIONS (In Central and Eastern Oregon)

Blue Mountain Community College, Room ST200
2411 NW Carden Avenue, Pendleton OR
Tuesday, May 5, 2015
3:00 p.m. or 6:00 p.m.
————————————————————-
Deschutes Public Library, Brooks Room
601 Wall Street, Bend OR
Wednesday, May 6, 2015
3:00 p.m. or 6:00 p.m.
—————————————————————
Klamath Community College, Room H138
7390 S Sixth Street, Klamath Falls OR
Thursday, May 7, 2015
3:00 p.m. or 6:00 p.m.

Bend: Traffic crash – Highway 97 @ 61st

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Apr 062015
 

12:10am- Traffic crash on Highway 97 and 61st. Watch for emergency vehicles.

12:13am- Single male trapped inside SUV. Rolled several times. Driver says he’s injured. Vehicle is off the highway.

Bend woman trapped and raped in her home for a month

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Apr 042015
 
Brett Vanscoy, 31 Held ex-girlfriend hostage in her own home, making her a sexual prisoner.

Brett Vanscoy, 31
Held ex-girlfriend hostage in her own home, making her a sexual prisoner.

Bend Police say a 35 year old Bend woman was held captive by a former boyfriend in her northeast Bend home for five weeks where he beat, raped and strangled her while armed with a gun.

Police say Brett Vanscoy, 31, kept his victim trapped in her home from late February until Friday of this week when she showed up at the Bend Police Department front-counter to tell officers what had been happening to her.

The woman told investigators she had applied to have a court no-contact order served on Vanscoy however, for whatever reason, it had not been served.

Vanscoy was arrested today, Saturday, and was booked into the Deschutes County Jail on charges of Rape, Strangulation, Assault, Harrassment, Menacing, Kidnapping, Felon in Possession of a Firearm, as well as other sexual offenses.

Options to fix Bend’s streets and ways to fund sewer/water improvements

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Apr 042015
 
Bend City Council, staff and advisory committee members.

Bend City Council, staff and advisory committee members.

On Friday, Bend City Councilors, completely encircled by city staff and advisory committee members, began plotting strategies to begin tackling major street maintenance and upgrade challenges, along sewer, water and stormdrain expansions.

Street maintenance and other transportation improvements/expansions.

It’s estimated that Bend is $80 million behind in road and street maintenance. City officials promise that if maintenance falls even farther behind, that number could skyrocket because once a streets deteriorate to a certain point, they have to be completely rebuilt from the dirt up.

One strategy offered by staff includes a 5-cent per gallon city gas tax, just like 23 other cities have approved around the state. Any gas tax increase would have to be approved by the voters. Other options include a minor increase in city and water utility bills or the city resorting to floating a bond – or any combination of the above. It was agreed that the only way the voters would agree to a gas tax increase would be if they knew the money was going for specific street maintenance and improvement projects. Specific stretches of streets. Also, pedestrian and bikeway improvements must be part of the mix.

Sewer/Water/Stormdrain upgrades

Next on the list – sewer, water and stormwater handling. Bend is growing and so must it’s sewer, water and stormwater system. Looking at the expansion of those systems it was tentatively agreed by the council that water rates would rise 3% a year and sewer rates would rise 4% a year. The first water rate increase may not happen until October 1st because the council suffered considerable heartburn raising water rates July 1st, which is right in the middle of the summer watering season.

Discussions about rates for what’s called “extra strength” effluent, especially from beer breweries, polarized discussions for a time among councilors but finally settled out with the council generally agreeing that although residential customers verifiably are subsidizing the breweries’ sewer bills, that gap will narrow considerably in the very near future.

And to the extent that System Development Charges (SDCs) are once again flowing into city hall, due to increased construction activity throughout Bend, they will have a positive cash flow effect on this part of the city budget perhaps offering other street maintenance and utility enhancement opportunities.

Next step on the way to a city budget that takes effect July 1

City staff will report back to the council during their regular meeting May 6th at which point staff will present funding options reflecting city council preferences for infrastructure upgrades and maintenance programs – including how to fund them. The council will have a chance to re-hash those options as a final step toward approving these very important components to the overall city budget for next fiscal year which takes effect July 1st.

Bend: Man falls off roof on NW Saginaw – badly injured

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Apr 042015
 

1:33pm- Bend Fire-Rescue and Bend Police are enroute to a home in the 1600 block of Northwest Saginaw on a report that a man, who may have been drinking, fell at least eight feet off a roof and landed very hard, badly injuring him. Serious shoulder and facial injuries.