Fatal rear-ender 12 miles south of Bend on 97

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Mar 262015
 

osp patch

Update from OSP:

On March 26, 2015 at 12:00am OSP Troopers responded to a two vehicle crash on US HYW 97 12 miles south of Bend. The investigation revealed a Ford F350, driven by Mr. Zeke Hacker, 76 from Clayton, Washington, was traveling southbound when it struck the southbound vehicle. The second vehicle was a Ford expedition driven by Mr. James Harris, 52, from Bend. After the impact, both vehicles left the west shoulder rolling several times and hitting trees. Mr. Hacker was pronounced deceased at the scene.

Mr. Harris had one passenger in the vehicle Mr. Scott Bilbrook, 45, who was transported to Saint Charles Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Air bags deployed in both vehicles and all occupants were using seatbelts. Speed is being investigated as a contributing factor for the crash.

Have state government pay your property taxes…IF…

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Mar 262015
 
Over 62, lower income, disabled?  Your property taxes can be paid by state or federal government until you move, sell your home or "pass on."

Over 62, lower income, disabled? Your property taxes can be paid by state government until you move, sell your home or “pass on.”

New applicants and those who need to recertify their eligibility for the disabled or senior citizen property tax deferral programs have three weeks left to file their paperwork.

If applicants don’t get their forms in by the deadline, they’ll be responsible for paying their property taxes this year.

The deferral program allows eligible senior citizens and people with disabilities to have the state pay property taxes on their behalf until they move, sell their home, or die. A lien is placed on their home, and all taxes, interest, and fees must be repaid before the lien is removed. Oregon’s deferral programs have approximately 6,300 active participants.

Program participants must meet all of the following criteria:

* Be either at least 62 years old or a disabled citizen receiving or eligible to receive federal Social Security disability benefits.
* Own or be in the process of buying the property, have a recorded deed or sales contract in their name, or have a revocable trust, and have lived on the property for at least five years.
* May not have a life estate interest, which enables a person to reside on the property, but automatically transfers ownership upon death.
* Carry homeowners insurance.
* Have a household income of less than $43,000. This includes all taxable and non-taxable income for the applicant(s) and spouse(s).
* Have a net worth of $500,000 or less, not including the value of the home in the program or personal property.
* Either have no reverse mortgage, or, if they have a reverse mortgage, they need to have been in the deferral program prior to 2011.

For their taxes to be paid in November, taxpayers need to meet the April 15 deadline, explained Bronson Rueda, deferral program manager at the Department of Revenue. This applies to participants who received recertification forms by mail in February and new applicants for deferral.

Recertification forms need to be returned to the department. New applications should be sent to the assessor’s office for the county in which the property is located. Applications are available at www.oregon.gov/dor/deferral.

Questions about deferrals can be emailed to deferral.unit@oregon.gov. Taxpayers can also call 503-945-8348 for more information.

Visit www.oregon.gov/dor to get tax information, check the status of your refund, or make payments. You can also email questions.dor@oregon.gov or call 503-378-4988 or 800-356-4222 (toll-free). The department receives a lot of phone calls during tax season so you may experience long wait times.

Neighbors lose on major first step in canal piping issue before Deschutes County Commission

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Mar 252015
 
Deschutes County Commission COID Open Canal Issue

Deschutes County Commission
COID Open Canal Issue

Deschutes County Commissioners Wednesday went with the advice they got from county planning and legal staff and declared that the Central Oregon Irrigation District owns the canal easement that carries irrigation water past a mile-long stretch of homes off North Highway 97. And with that ownership, the district can put their water in a pipe so they don’t lose so much water to evaporation and percolation into the ground. And they can do it despite efforts by the neighbors to have the canal declared an historic resource and stop it from being put in that pipe.

The neighbors, of course, enjoy the irrigation district’s open canal as visually pleasant – and was certainly part of the reason they bought the property they bought. The sticky issue was whether the property owners, who actually own the land underneath the canal, could dictate what could be done with the water – to pipe or not to pipe – by filing a formal request that the canal be designated a “hands off” historical resource. The canal is over 100 years old and so the neighbors want it to stay an open waterway. They also contended that piping the canal would eliminate their “water feature” and thereby reduce their property values.

County staff advised the commission that the neighbors don’t have that right. They say the irrigation district owns an easement, deeded to them legally, to be used to transport irrigation water from the Deschutes River to ranchers and farmers downstream of the canal. And it would also imply that all the neighbors bought their property knowing they had a canal easement across part of their property. Staff went on to say that claiming the canal to be an historic resource came too late because the application for the historical designation came after the irrigation district filed for a permit to put the water in a pipe. The timing is critical because, under state law, the first permit application must be honored first. So the neighbors came up a day late and a dollar short. It could also be observed that the neighbors’ reason for their sudden application was solely to stop the piping of the water, which the commission ruled, would interfere with the lawful operation and maintenance of the canal as well as an action that would undermine the legal easement the COID holds over the property.

Throughout the process that spans a year or so, neighbors have indicated that if they didn’t get the ruling they wanted they would appeal to the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals. And if they got no satisfaction there, they could then decide whether to appeal to the State Court of Appeals – and from there to the State Supreme Court if it came to that.

The second issue surrounding the pipe was whether the irrigation district has maximum freedom to do work inside their easement without having to go through a lot of red tape – sort of like a phone or power company crew working on their wires or a city working on water or sewer lines. That designation was overlooked some years ago when easement clarifications were made on other canals in the area. So that glitch remains. Commissioner Tammy Baney wanted to maintain the red tape by requiring a conditional use permit for any work done on the canal which requires a lot of county staff work and requires a great deal of public input. Commission Chair Terry DeBone disagreed, asserting that COID should have the right to do whatever work is necessary for proper operations and maintenance of the canal. So he voted against Baney’s motion. And with that the motion died for the lack of an affirmative vote.

The reason that the issue came down to only two county commissioners instead of three is that Commissioner Alan Unger excused himself from the entire agenda item. Unger announced that it wasn’t because he couldn’t be fair and unbiased in arriving at a decision but that multiple members of the audience believed he couldn’t.

Back to the irrigation district – District Manager Craig Horrell told Bend News Today that they’ll eventually proceed with piping the 4,500′ of canal easement running behind the Juniper Ridge homes – assuming the county commissioners’ decision stands. Horrell said there are a number of other aspects to the project – more than just the pipe itself – that need to be worked out so the water flows smoothly. He said there is no specific construction time-line established.

Bill in state legislature standardizes use of police body cams – also image release policies

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Mar 252015
 
Officer body camera Courtesy photo

Officer body camera
Courtesy photo

Oregon police and sheriff’s deputies would have to adopt statewide standards if they equip officers with body cameras under legislation now pending in Salem. Police video footage would be exempt from public disclosure except under limited circumstances, under the bill.

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

Trucking, oil and energy companies file suit to stop low carbon fuels law enactment

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Mar 252015
 
Rep. Mike McLane  R-Powell Butte Arguing against the bill prior to its passing

Rep. Mike McLane
R-Powell Butte
Arguing against the bill prior to its passing

Trucking, oil and energy companies wasted little time filing suit against the state of Oregon, seeking to have the federal courts strike down the low carbon fuels law before it can take effect. The challengers say the cleaner fuel standards will damage the economy, pose substantial hardship on those who handle fuels and it’ll raise prices – 4 to 19 cents by 2025. Ten years from now.

A similar law challenged in California was upheld all the way up to the appellate level. But those suing to strike down the Oregon version say Oregon’s situation is different.

Here’s the story from the Oregonian. Click here.

Central Westside of Bend kickin’ on the high beams…

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Mar 242015
 
Bend Westside planning area within red broken line

Bend Westside planning area within red broken line

City seeks public opinion on the future of Bend’s central westside

Bend’s central westside is rapidly changing with new residential construction, schools, parks and an expanded Oregon State University-Cascades campus on the horizon. As a first step in developing a transportation and land use strategy for the area, the City of Bend is inviting citizens to provide ideas about different ways that transportation and land use might shape these neighborhoods.

Community Open House
5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, April 2, 2015 Riverbend Community Room
799 SW Columbia St., Bend

The City will also provide an opportunity to comment online from March 30 through April 13th by clicking here and here.

Over the next year, the City will work closely with residents to develop a land use and transportation strategies for Bend’s central westside and a set of transportation investments that support them. “If you want the opportunity to help guide the future of Bend’s central westside, now is the time,” said Councilor Doug Knight, a council liaison to the project’s Community Advisory Committee.

The Community Advisory Committee meets regularly to provide input on the planning process. These meetings are open to the public. The City of Bend is coordinating the Central Westside Plan with other planning efforts.

DA Hummel calls in outside investigator to probe county jail death

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Mar 242015
 

MEDIA CONTACT:
John Hummel, (541) 317-3134 john.hummel@dcda.us

John Hummel Deschutes County DA Courtesy photo

John Hummel
Deschutes County DA
Courtesy photo

From Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel

Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel has requested that the Oregon Department of Justice’s District Attorney Assist Unit assume responsibility for the investigation into the death of Edwin Burl Mays. The State Medical Examiner concluded that Mr. Mays, a pre-booking inmate at the Deschutes County Adult Jail, died from an overdose of Methamphetamine.

The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office, with assistance from the Bend Police Department, began its investigation immediately after Mr. Mays’ death last December 14th.
District Attorney Hummel said “It is best for all involved – the Mays family, the public, and the involved law enforcement agencies – if an outside agency such as the Department of Justice, conducts a comprehensive review of the incident.”

Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Captain Shane Nelson stated: “We will cooperate fully with the Department of Justice investigation as we cooperated fully with the initial review undertaken by the District Attorney.”

Man who was blown up in Highway 26 likely committed suicide

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Mar 242015
 
Authorities say it now looks like it was suicide rather than an accident...

Authorities say it now looks like it was suicide rather than an accident…

The young man who was blown up by a huge explosion just off Highway 26, six miles east of Welches last week, was probably suicidal at the time.

Investigators say he recently had some contact with law enforcement due to his revealing that he was contemplating taking his own life. He even spent some time in a mental crisis intervention program in Washington State.

Here’s more in the Oregonian. Click here.

Happier faces in Prineville…an Apple Outpost

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Mar 242015
 
Amazon Data Center near Boardman - more to come? Port of Morrow photo

Amazon Data Center near Boardman – more to come?
Port of Morrow photo

Tax issues that were blocking the road for more data centers and other high tech operations in north central Oregon appear to have been swept away by a legislature intending to get things moving again with Apple, Google and others.

The good news is in The Oregonian. Click here.