Traffic on Bend's Third Street will be slower going for the coming months, with the launch of the sidewalk improvement project on the south end of town. The City of Bend began work on Third Street between Wilson Avenue and Powers Road this week. Drivers can expect single-lane traffic between Wilson and Powers from 5 am to 2 pm from now until the arrival of winter. Crews will resume work on the area in March 2017, with a projected finish date of July 2017.
The project is part of an overall effort aimed at making Bend's sidewalks more accessible for wheelchairs and pedestrians. Currently, parts of that section of Third Street lack the curb ramps that make getting from one street to another safe for wheelchair users. In addition, a number of pedestrian signals are not up to date, lacking the "chirping" and voice signals that pedestrians might find at more updated intersections in the city.
The project will also involve replacing storm water catch basins in the bike lanes, which often interfere with cyclists riding safely. The new basins will be more flush with the existing roadway, allowing cyclists to roll over them instead of moving to avoid them.
One of the defendants accused in the beating and murder of Redmond woman Barbara Thomas in 2001 may be eligible for parole—eventually. According to the Deschutes County District Attorney's office, defendant Justin Link was re-sentenced on 19 charges—including Aggravated Murder—on September 22. He was one of five teens implicated in the crime, which happened when Link was just 17. The other four defendants, including Seth Koch—accused of firing the fatal shot against Thomas—Lucretia Karle, Ashley Summers, and the victim's son, Adam Thomas —the only adult defendant—all pleaded guilty to aggravated murder. Link did not take a plea deal and his case went to trial.
Link was convicted in 2003 and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Link has continued to appeal those convictions, and in 2009 the Oregon Supreme Court ruled to drop three of Link's murder convictions. Link was accused of being the "mastermind" behind the crime, but was reported to be standing outside when the shot was fired.
In 2014, his case was returned to the Deschutes County Circuit Court by the Oregon Court of Appeals. In a new written order, issued August 5, the court said Link would be eligible "to be considered for parole" after he's served 30 years in prison. That's roughly 15 years from now.