Lowest rate of first time home buyers in 30 years…

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Nov 032014

home for sale sign

Economists say that mountains of college debt, stagnant wages and rising prices are causing a nearly 30% reduction in first home buyers…even with mortgage rates falling to 4% and staying there for months on end. Unemployment is falling but many of the jobs that are being snatched up aren’t paying enough to qualify for a mortgage for young people that are carrying big debt – most of it from college loans. And so, the best spark plug for a recovering economy – home building – sits barely running on fumes at the curb.

Another real estate factor at work is that families are having to double up or take on room-renters just to make ends meet. Here’s a couple of stories in the Oregonian that describe these trends…some of which are in full bloom here in Bend.

Click here.

And click here.

Joy and relief felt ’round the state Sunday – It wasn’t Ebola!

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Nov 032014
Providence Hospital staff brief the public on the aftermath of the event.

Providence Hospital staff brief the public on the aftermath of the event.
Oregonian photo

There were a lot of happy folks at Providence Hospital in Milwaukee Sunday morning as they were able to announce to the world that a suspected Ebola patient did NOT have the disease. She did have a fever after getting off the plane from West Africa recently, but she did not have the Ebola viral infection. In fact, shortly after her being isolated at Providence, her fever subsided considerably and didn’t come back.

The protocols and procedures the hospital used in carrying for the woman were characterized as top notch – very effective.

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

Educational outreach at Tower Theater coming up

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Nov 032014
Tower Theater Downtown Bend

Tower Theater
Downtown Bend

Hello! My name is Mollie Tennant and I am the Education Coordinator for the Tower Theatre Foundation. We at the Tower Theatre are passionate about reaching out and serving Central Oregon by presenting educational matinees and in-school assemblies for students and making sure they are exposed to arts and culture at an affordable price.

We have a great educational outreach matinee coming up November 13 at 10am for just $5.00. It is a beautiful dance troupe from Portland called Body Vox. We ask for groups to be at least 6. We could create a nice large group from “Bend Oregon Family Homeschooling” and have you sit all together. If you would like more information, please feel free to contact me!


This is an opportunity that can not be missed! Thank you, Mollie Tennant


Isolated patient in Portland DOES NOT have Ebola…

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Nov 022014
Providence Milwaukee Hospital Isolated patient DOES NOT have Ebola...

Providence Milwaukee Hospital
Isolated patient DOES NOT have Ebola…

Update: Acute Ebola Ruled Out for Low-Risk Patient at Providence Milwaukie Hospital

November 02, 2014

This afternoon, federal, state and county health leaders and caregivers at Providence Health & Services announced that a patient under monitoring at Providence Milwaukie Hospital tested negative for Ebola.

“Based on test results and an evaluation of her clinical condition, I’m pleased to say there are no cases of Ebola in Oregon. The CDC has advised us that no further testing is required,” says Paul Lewis, M.D., Tri-County health officer. “We are satisfied that the system worked and continues to work well.”

For now, the patient will continue to require inpatient care and monitoring. She will remain in the separate unit where she is being treated at Providence Milwaukie. Physicians, nurses and other caregivers will continue to follow all infectious disease and safety protocols.

“This is good news for our patient, her family and her friends,” said Dave Underriner, chief executive for Providence in Oregon. “Throughout this process, our specially trained teams here at Providence have provided outstanding, compassionate care. We were ready, and it showed.”

“I want to thank all of our caregivers for their professionalism and commitment to delivering the best care with compassion,” added Underriner.

Out of respect for the patient’s privacy, no additional information on her condition or potential release is available.

COCC student accused of stabbing his roommate Friday evening

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Nov 022014
Eric Norgaard, 22 Attempted Murder of his roommate.

Eric Norgaard, 22
Attempted Murder of his roommate.
DCJ photo

A Central Oregon Community College student was stabbed shortly before midnight Friday outside his dorm room at Juniper Hall. Arriving Bend Police say they found the victim, James Briles 18 of Bend, lying on the floor of the dormitory hallway. He’d been stabbed multiple times. Paramedics quickly transported Briles to St. Charles Medical Center where he was being treated for life threatening wounds.

Police say the stabbing appeared to be unprovoked.

Police say there were witnesses to the stabbing and police soon found Eric Norgaard, 22, in the dorm room he shared with the victim.

Norgaard was transported to the Deschutes County Jail where he was booked for attempted murder, felony assault and unlawful use of a weapon – the knife. Norgaard is being held on $360,000 bail.

Lapine young man lucky he didn’t kill someone…

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Nov 012014
Tylor Bates, 22 La Pine

Tylor Bates, 22
La Pine

From Oregon State Police:

Oregon State Police (OSP) arrested a La Pine man Friday evening on multiple charges after he fled a traffic crash in his car with 3 of his younger siblings inside in the La Pine area.

On October 31, 2014 at approximately 6:50 p.m., an OSP senior trooper was outside of his patrol car assisting pedestrian traffic with crossing the road on Highway 97 at 1st Street in La Pine. An SUV had come to a stop when it was struck from behind by a 1998 Chrysler Sebring traveling approximately 25 mph.

After seeing the collision, the trooper reported hearing a girl inside the Chrysler yell through an open window to stop because she wanted out. The car’s driver, later identified as TYLOR BRENTON BATES, age 22, from La Pine, put the car in reverse, spinning the tires as it drove away from the crash scene at a high rate of speed.

The trooper got into his patrol car and attempted to overtake and stop the Chrysler. As the fleeing vehicle turned west onto 1st Street, a small boy was seen rolling across the roadway and several citizens ran to help him. The Chrysler then turned north on Huntington Road, running a red light recklessly at a high rate of speed.

The Chrysler turned east on Burgess Road, passing vehicles on both sides of the road a high speeds. As the Chrysler turned north onto Skidgel Road, BATES lost control and the car went off the road into a ditch, through a couple fences and then hit a tree where it came to rest.

BATES was taken into custody without further incident.

The trooper found the driver’s 11 year old sister holding a dog about 25 feet away from the vehicle among trees where she said she ran to get away from her older brother. Subsequent investigation also determined that the driver had punched her in the face while driving before the hit-and-run crash earlier.

The boy who was seen rolling across the road as the vehicle fled the first crash scene was identified as the driver’s 14-year old brother who had jumped out of the moving vehicle. Another brother, age 9, was also found uninjured after the trooper learned he also got out of the moving car as the driver fled the first crash.

TYLOR BATES was lodged in the Deschutes County jail on the following charges:

* Reckless Driving
* Felony Hit & Run
* Felony Attempt to Elude in a Vehicle
* Recklessly Endangering Another Person (5 counts)
* Assault in the Fourth Degree
* Criminal Mischief in the Second Degree

Oregon woman returning home from West Africa quarantined at Portland Hospital: Suspected Ebola.

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Oct 312014
Hospital and Oregon Health Officials inform the public on latest developments.

Hospital and Oregon Health Officials inform the public on latest developments.

Health officials briefed the news media late today on a report that an Oregon woman who recently returned after a trip to Liberia, West Africa, suddenly came down with a 102 degree temperature. Since she had been contacted earlier by medical officials to report to them if she developed a temperature, she notified the state immediately. She was quickly whisked away to a sealed hospital room designed to give the woman’s body time to reveal whether the fever is Ebola or just some flu or possibly even malaria.

The story is in the Oregonian. Click here.

Senator Merkley makes final campaign swing through Bend

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Oct 312014
Sen. Jeff Merkley D-Oregon Bend Democratic HQ

Sen. Jeff Merkley
Bend Democratic HQ

Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley continued to assail his GOP challenger Monica Wehby Friday night, praising Oregon voters for figuring out that Wehby was taking orders from the Koch Brothers for all her campaign points. Merkley, at Democratic Headquarters on NE 3rd in Bend, said that after the Koch Brothers watched their candidate recite their conservative agenda, and have it rejected in the polls, they decided to stop wasting money and left the state – but only for a while. “Now they’re back” said Merkley. “But their money is showing up under a new PAC banner.”

Merkley also claimed that Wehby has been inconsistent in her avowed support for a woman’s right to choose. Merkley remarked that Wehby stated on the campaign trail that her favorite Supreme Court Justice is Justice Antonin Scalia. Merkley said Justice Scalia has been loudly outspoken on the Court saying the case that gave women the right to choose, Roe v. Wade, should be overturned.

Merkley chided Wehby’s allegiance to the national GOP political agenda which opposes giving college students lower interest rates on their education loans. GOP senators, he says, used the filibuster to kill the bill that would have given students a lower interest rate. He said the GOP marches to the orders of the big banks, not the pleas from struggling American families and their college bound children who are graduating with such huge debt they can’t afford to buy a car or a home, which further puts a drag on the American economy.

merkley bend 10

Merkley said the filibuster has been used by republicans nearly 300 times in the senate, many of which have stalled efforts to pass bills that would give the American middle class a break. Instead the GOP favors sending American manufacturing jobs overseas while American workers fall farther and farther behind.

After speaking to Oregonians in 50 towns throughout the state, Senator Merkley will wrap up his “Jobs & Opportunity Tour” with an Election-eve rally at AFL-CIO headquarters in Portland. Merkley launched his statewide tour on October 24 to share his commitment to create more jobs and more opportunities for Oregon’s middle class families, and to urge Oregonians to cast their ballots. Merkley mentioned several times during his Bend visit that it’s critical that citizens cast their votes. “Don’t leave them on your kitchen counter,” he said, “get them to a ballot box!”

Portland Hospital closely monitoring suspected Ebola patient

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Oct 312014
Ebola Virus Wiki Commons photo

Ebola Virus
Wiki Commons photo

Word got out pretty quickly today that a Portland hospital is watching and monitoring a possible Ebola patient. Governor Kitzhaber issued this statement on the situation this afternoon.

“State and local public health officials are monitoring the situation and keeping me informed. Local health departments, hospitals, health care providers and first responders have been working together to ensure the state is prepared. Earlier this week, health officials and I outlined protocols for just this type of situation. The protocols are intended to both protect the health and safety of Oregonians and to get people the care they need. I appreciate the commitment from the health care community to get this individual appropriate care. We will keep Oregonians informed as we know more.”

Late this afternoon medical officials said the patient is isolated and poses no danger to the public.

When Cascadia Subduction Zone Earthquake hits the coast, what will it mean to Bend?

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Oct 312014
When the "big one" hits the coast:  Coast 9, Valley 7, Bend 5 on Richter

When the “big one” hits the coast: Coast 9, Valley 7, Bend 5 on Richter

A presentation was given this week at Bend’s Tower Theater where geologists, emergency preparedness officials and the Red Cross convened to talk with a packed audience about the eminent earthquake the Cascadia Subduction Zone off the Oregon Coast will create – WHEN it happens. One panelist characterized the situation as an earthquake that is 9 months pregnant.

When the Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake hits the Oregon Coast it will trigger a catastrophic earthquake (9+ Richter) inland for about twenty miles, a strong earthquake (7+ Richter) throughout the Willamette Valley and a moderate earthquake (5 Richter) in the Bend region.

There will be total devastation on the coast – bridges gone, roads impassable, older buildings flattened, even new ones horribly damaged including hospitals, police and fire stations, homes and businesses. Add a huge tsunami on top of that and you’ll have to add many, many deaths.

In the Willamette Valley, the quake will cause severe to moderate damage. Ground liquifaction will be widespread, causing cinderblock construction to fall flat. Wood frame structures will be moderately damaged and least damaged will be steel fabricated buildings.

Here in Bend, there will be minor to moderate damage. But a 5 Richter can still cause some nasty problems like fires from natural gas breaks and damage to buildings erected prior to 1980. And there is a lot of them.

As far as recovery goes, the coast will take literally years to rebuild itself. Electricity will take three weeks to six months to restore. Police and fire stations, two months to three years. Hospitals 18 months to 3 years. Water and sewer systems 1-3 years. And their coast line is likely to fall up to 9 feet. Areas of Newport, Waldport, Seaside and others will be permanently lost to the ocean.

In the Willamette Valley, Electricity will take one to three months to restore, police and fire facilities two to four months, top highways up to a year, hospitals up to a year and a half and water and sewer facilities a month to a full year..

Here in the Bend area, it’ll take six months to a year to restore major highways to 60% capacity. Some bridges may have been weakened and will need re-inforcing. Major highways should be back to 90% capacity in a year to three years. Electricity should be back up within three days to three weeks. Sewer and water should be restored within 24 hours. The Redmond Airport should be back to 60% capacity in one to three days, to 90% within a year to three years.

As for Highway 97, it will become THE primary north-south highway in Oregon. I-5 will be a mess. Only short stretches are expected to be driveable. The airport at Redmond will become THE Oregon airport since Portland PDX will be in shambles. That will make the Redmond Airport as a major airlift command area for rescue and air transport to points west.

Presenters told the Tower Theater audience that Bend will be a very busy place and that many refugees from the coast and the valley may wind up here. Handling that service load will be quite difficult but the effort will have to be made.

They said Oregon will be embarking on a multi-billion dollar road, port, airport, bridge and major building re-enforcement campaign along the coast and in the valley over the next ten years and beyond. Where all that funding will come from isn’t known but we’re told “they’re working on it.”

Since there will be devastation along the coast, and major damage to the Portland area, tens of thousands trauma patients from the hardest hit areas will be transferred to St. Charles Medical Center in Bend and to trauma centers around the Pacific Northwest, if not into California, Nevada and Idaho.

Goods and services will arrive in Bend and work their way into the valley and along the coast. The National Guard and U.S. Military are expected to devote considerable resources to the disaster – certainly in the reconstruction of vital roads, highways, bridges and medical facilities. And FEMA will be orchestrating much of it, strategically based at the Redmond Airport.

Bend area residents must overcome the challenge of losing power for a few days, fuel shortages, delayed deliveries of groceries to local stores and prescription drugs to pharmacies. The officials suggested that you have have a gallon of water a day for each person in your family. And you might stock up with some of your neighbors in mind if they haven’t done so for themselves.

Officials say there are three critical elements required to successfully cope with the earthquake here in Bend. Be informed. Make a plan. Build a survival kit. Ingredients in a survival kit will vary by household but there are basic elements. The kits should last a family for at least two weeks. The Red Cross has information on all of that by checking their website by clicking here.