Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Oregon's unemployment rate drops to 4 percent

Oregon's jobless rate the lowest it's been since comparable records were kept

Posted By on Tue, Mar 21, 2017 at 10:25 AM

  • Image courtesy Mike Licht
New figures from the Oregon Employment Department signal a different story than the one you may be hearing nationally: That people are out of work and that the economy is suffering. Here in Oregon, it appears to be the opposite.

According to data released today, Oregon's unemployment rate dropped to 4.0 percent for the month of February 2017—down from 4.3 percent in January. That marks the lowest unemployment rate since "comparable records" began being kept in 1976, according to the employment department.

Oregon's growth rate continues to increase at about three percent—far faster than the U.S. growth rate of 1.6 percent.

According to the Employment Department, just three industries cut jobs over the past year: Mining and logging, wholesale trade and manufacturing. At the same time, the jobs growth has been largest in government, health care and social assistance, manufacturing and construction since January.
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Monday, March 20, 2017

Scenes from Sen. Merkley's Redmond town hall

Posted By on Mon, Mar 20, 2017 at 9:42 AM

Senator Jeff Merkley's staffers say he holds a town hall in every county in Oregon every year—and that included one in Deschutes County on Saturday March 18.

Attendees filled the gym at Redmond's Ridgeview High School to ask questions and hear Merkley speak.


Ridgeview student Jordan Schmidt asked the first question, asking Merkley about his views on teachers stating partisan views in the classroom.

"I've never been asked that," Merkley said, answering that a discussion of both sides of political arguments would be a healthy way to talk about politics in the classroom. 

Other questions from the audience included concerns about the defunding of the Environmental Protection Agency, the funding of Medicare and Social Security, the sale of public lands and support for undocumented people in the U.S. 

Senator Merkley also opened the town hall by introducing Alison Perry from the Central Oregon Veterans Ranch. 
click image Senator Jeff Merkeley introduces Alison Perry, a licensed professional counselor who opened the Central Oregon Veterans Ranch.
  • Senator Jeff Merkeley introduces Alison Perry, a licensed professional counselor who opened the Central Oregon Veterans Ranch.

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Friday, March 17, 2017

Sign of Spring: Bend's Whitewater Park opening again

Channel opens March 18

Posted By on Fri, Mar 17, 2017 at 3:06 PM

  • Erik Ellingsen
It's a sure sign of warm weather in Bend: The sight of floaters, kayakers and other boaters passing through Bend Park and Recreation's Whitewater Park. 

According to the Park district, the Whitewater Park is back open as of March 18, after a winter of work intended to improve performance in the channels.

“The winter modifications were completed with only minimal disruptions due to the winter weather conditions,” said Brian Hudspeth, development manager for the District in a Friday statement. “The feedback about the wave features and the passageway channel is favorable and we look forward to the upcoming river recreation season.”

“The work completed this winter accomplished the goals we intended, including a refinement of some features in the passageway channel that were enjoyed by more than 100,000 river users last summer,” said Director of Planning and Park Services Michelle Healy. “Even with the work done, river users need to recognize the dynamic conditions in a natural river and should prepare for the experience.”
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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Greg Walden Makes It Into Stephen Colbert's Monologue... For the Wrong Reasons

Posted By on Wed, Mar 15, 2017 at 3:15 PM


Last night's Late Show with Stephen Colbert featured Colbert reading a passage from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson or, should we say, Wayne Tracker's "secret" journal.

Before he dived in however, Colbert touched on the Congressional Budget Office's report on the new Republican healthcare bill, unveiled by none other than Congressmen Greg Walden last week. "24 million people would lose coverage,"the report estimated, "but it would save $337 billion."

Colbert poked fun of none other than Congressmen Greg Walden's attempts at refuting the criticisms of the CBO. "The CBO's score was incomplete because it does not include parts of the GOP plan not included in the current repeal bill," Walden had said.

"Yeah, that's not fair!" Colbert exclaimed in a sarcastic tone. "When they analyze the bill they didn't consider stuff that wasn't in there. Could be anything, health savings account, uh, nougat, a unicorn that gives prostate exams...."

What do you think of Greg Walden making into Colbert?

Full Monologue below

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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Anti-Walden, pro-Walden and pro-Trump rallies in Bend this week

Posted By on Wed, Mar 8, 2017 at 4:31 PM

It's been a week of numerous demonstrations in Bend and Redmond.

On Saturday, around 30 people gathered at the Riverhouse on the Deschutes in support of the 45th president and his policies.

One of the supporters was Ginger, who introduced herself as the president of Central Oregon Federated Republican Women.

Ginger, seen in the black cowboy hat. - MAGDALENA BOKOWA
  • Magdalena Bokowa
  • Ginger, seen in the black cowboy hat.

“Well Trump is doing a lot in seven weeks. He surpassed every president in the time he has had," Ginger said. "He’s not so much political but a man of action. He doesn’t get dragged down by bureaucracy or politics as much as getting things done. Because he’s a business man and he knows what’s good for our country, and I voted for him because all politicians I am disappointed in, they sit on their hands, they talk more than they get things done and I always felt he was a business man and a business man has to get things done for their share holders.

I think for this reason I was always for him and I felt despite what some people might think our reputation around the world has diminished, I always said we need a bully in the White House, I’ve been overseas... I know how leaders in other countries view leaders and they say 'if I feel that person is weak I know that person is weak and I can take advantage of them.' With a strong leader like Trump I think the rest of the world will respect us more and then we will become again leaders of the free world.”
Demonstrators in front of Rep. Greg Walden's Bend office Tuesday. Ongoing demonstrations are scheduled for Tuesdays at 11:30 am. - NICOLE VULCAN
  • Nicole Vulcan
  • Demonstrators in front of Rep. Greg Walden's Bend office Tuesday. Ongoing demonstrations are scheduled for Tuesdays at 11:30 am.

Meanwhile, dozens of people gathered in front of Rep. Greg Walden's office Tuesday, both in support of the Oregon Congressman, and against. Tuesdays have become demonstration day at Walden's Bend office, where some constituents continue to press Walden to hold a town hall in Bend. 
  • Nicole Vulcan

“I would say I am very disappointed he refused to have a town hall here in Bend," said local activist Melissa Adams, who attended Tuesday's rally."He cherry-picks his constituency and I’m very disappointed in the guidance of the (replacement of the) Affordable Care Act. As a mental health therapist I know that many of my clients are heavily affected by this... either their mental heath coverage or physical health coverage. A lot of clients that I see have debilitating chronic illnesses and losing their health care will make their mental and emotional health worse.

I love this country and I love the values were founded on, and I’m worried these values are being eroded by the current admininstration. Values of separation of church and state and freedom of religion, and representation by the people for the people... and right now we have a profit president who won't release his tax returns. I see this as a real conflict for our patriotic values,” Adams said. 

Meanwhile, Patty Adair, who says she was Trump's eastern Oregon director for the campaign, said the current health care debate really comes down to one thing: "People really need jobs. One in five workers are part time now. We just had our house appraised. Our assistant was working three jobs. I used to work three jobs, you never know where you’re going, you’re always just going to a job.” When we asked her how to solve this problem locally, Adair said: "“We need to take care of the forest, they’re a mess. They burn up and release all the carbon dioxide. We need to get rural Oregon back to work again."

Patty Adair, at left of the large sign, campaigned for Trump during the 2016 election season. - NICOLE VULCAN
  • Nicole Vulcan
  • Patty Adair, at left of the large sign, campaigned for Trump during the 2016 election season.
Alexandra Sweet, who works with homeless people in Central Oregon, had this to say at Tuesday's rally: “Well I believe the health are systems now are going to hurt the elderly with the tax credits, the poor people will be hurt more and the CEOs are making more money off that $500 million tax credit to the CEOs on health care. We all lost, the rich people won.” When we asked Sweet what she would like to say to Greg Walden, were he at the rally, she said: “To support everyone, the majority support ACA so he can’t look away. He has to address the majority.”

The Source Weekly spoke with Walden's deputy chief of staff Andrew Malcolm Tuesday regarding the Congressman's town hall schedule. As we've reported in the past, Malcolm said Walden plans to hold at least one town hall in Bend this year.
  • Nicole Vulcan

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Thursday, March 2, 2017

Show Preview: Louie Anderson 4/1

Posted By on Thu, Mar 2, 2017 at 2:09 PM

For more then 30 years and counting, Louie Anderson's unique sense of humor has earned him not only the title of a two-time Emmy award winner, but a best selling author, desired actor and "One of the 100 Greatest Stand-Up-Comedians of All Time," by Comedy Central.

Being one of 11 children, Louie used and channeled his experiences into creating hilarious routines that left his audience rolling. Starting as a children's counselor, his hilarious, prize-winning personality won him first place at the 1981 Midwest Comedy Competition, where he was hired as a writer and gained enough experience to soon tour with his own show.
  • Tower Theatre

In 1995, Louie was also one of only three people to receive the Humanitas Prize for his animation series based off his childhood. Now over 20 years later, Louie is still touring the country charming audiences.

Most commonly, Louie is recognized from his time hosting Family Feud, a popular game show. This led to him to guest starring in many sitcoms and landing a role in the classic film, "Ferris Bueller's Day Off." Louie also starred in ABC's series "Splash" and his individual stand up show "Big Baby Boomer" aired on CMT.

Louie will be performing at the Tower Theatre on Saturday April 1st. Don't miss this incredible opportunity to laugh at the hands of a life long comedian genius.

Louie Anderson
Saturday, April 1, 7pm
Tower Theater
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Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Show Preview: Marco Benevento Brings Pop to New Heights, 4/11

Posted By on Wed, Mar 1, 2017 at 12:01 PM

For nearly 20 years, Marco Benevento has been a key figure in the shaping of the New York music scene. His diligence has let him amass an arsenal of fantastic music that can only come from self-made artists.

Last year, Benevento released the concept album "The Story of Fred Short" under his own label. His work was chosen to be featured in the Woodstock Sessions, a series of live recordings by standout artists. In front of a sold-out crowd, Benevento performed and recorded the entire Fred Short suite in one take. Recently, he has also been performing various Bowie covers.

  • Calabro Music Media

Stylistically, Marco’s music is eclectic and distinct. His tracks don’t clearly fit into the confines of any established genre, but he clearly takes inspiration from psychedelic, rock, and pop tunes. He has a tendency to electronically alter the raw sounds of his instruments, resulting in a sound that is hard to believe comes from a three-man band. The Story of Fred Short is easy to listen to without feeling ordinary, a combo that makes for some great live performances.

You can listen to one of his 2016 tracks, “In The Afternoon Tomorrow" here.

Marco and company will be at The Capitol on Tuesday, April 11. The show will consist of tracks from the recent Woodstock album and several other of Benevento’s best songs. He will be accompanied by Andy Borger on drums and Karina Rykman on bass. Borger has worked alongside Benevento since 2012.

Benevento’s reputation as a top-notch live performer makes this one of spring’s most exciting shows.

Marco Benevento
Tuesday, Apr 11, 9pm
The Capitol, 190 NW Oregon Ave., Bend

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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Bend Weighs in on Homelessness

Posted By and on Wed, Feb 22, 2017 at 1:00 PM

How would you solve the homeless crisis?

Samantha Mooney


“Most of Bend right now does not have a lot of money, so there’s really nothing we can do ourselves. I think we need to approach the government. We can say, ‘Here’s what’s happening in Bend, Oregon’. Depending on the person, if you can mentally have a job and maintain it, then I think you should go for it. But, with that, try and give them a chance and give them a job at some little fast food place and give them some money.”

Timothy Conlon

“I’ve had some experience as a volunteer so I need to know, where’s our baseline right now? Every homeless person is different. They are not homogeneous. I was a reporter in San Francisco years ago during the dot-com boom. If you want to talk about serious homelessness, look at San Francisco. They’ve been working on that problem for thirty years, at a huge expense, at a huge transactional cost. I don’t think it’s any closer to a solution than it was twenty years ago, and there’s a reason for that."

Luke Wayne


“I’m not really sure. I’m in high school right now, just going through, I’m not really sure how to solve it right now. I feel like affordable housing would be nice so that everybody can have a home and not be living on the streets.”

Ragnar Sigurdsson


“Well, I mean, offer them more jobs. Offer them more opportunities in the job market.”

Marcia Gilmore

“Now that is a question that’s humungous. Gosh. There’s so many facets to it. Part of homelessness is that people won’t go into the facilities because there are restrictions, so I don’t know how to solve it. I think we need to work on it. That’s a huge one.”


“I would develop more affordable housing. I think everything has a shot. More money, more affordable housing, more health issues. Not just mental health, they’ve got physical issues I’m sure. But mental health would certainly be it, particularly for the PTSD guys out there.”

Randy Cook


“I’d say put some money towards vocational training. Have them start building out homes and furniture and stuff for themselves and have them build their way up and have the community’s and private funding for it. And send them on their way with some skills and it wouldn’t cost as much liability.”

Dylan Jones


“Let them hunt the geese. Let ‘em eat the geese, they’re all over the place. Two birds one stone. Seriously, though we need more social programs. More grassroots stuff.”

Christian Hopkins


"I guess more areas to put homeless people and job related issues. You have to get on your feet before you get a home.”

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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Constituents pack Sen. Wyden's local town halls

The Oregon Senator is holding at least three public events in Central Oregon this week

Posted By on Tue, Feb 21, 2017 at 2:33 PM

As he walked onto the stage at Sisters High School Monday to introduce Oregon Senator Ron Wyden (D), Sisters Mayor Chuck Ryan said the high school's auditorium was the largest space they could obtain for the event.  
City of Sisters Mayor Chuck Ryan introduces Senator Ron Wyden at a town hall in Sisters Monday evening. - NICOLE VULCAN
  • Nicole Vulcan
  • City of Sisters Mayor Chuck Ryan introduces Senator Ron Wyden at a town hall in Sisters Monday evening.

With a large turnout, it was clear that bigger spaces were necessary. Around 700 people attended Monday's event, according to Wyden's staff.

When the Senator asked how many people in the room were attending a town hall meeting for the first time, a large majority raised their hands. With the electorate heavily involved in the political process in the months since the election, the turnout is no surprise. According to Roll Call, at least 27 Democrats and 21 Republicans from the U.S. Congress are holding town halls during this President's Day recess. Since 2010, less than a dozen Democrats have chosen to do so during the same time period, according to Roll Call data.

At Sen. Wyden's Sisters event, the first question from audience members was about Pres. Trump's alleged ties to Russia, and what Sen. Wyden was doing to address it. The Senator replied that he would continue to press the 45th president to release his tax returns, to ensure that the president's financial ties were not "more important than protecting your interests." 
The town hall event in Sisters is one of three in Central Oregon this week. - NICOLE VULCAN
  • Nicole Vulcan
  • The town hall event in Sisters is one of three in Central Oregon this week.

Audience members followed up with questions about immigration and the visa waiver program, campaign finance reform, the Violence Against Women Act, and the future of the Democratic Party. In addition, the question of how constituents can be more engaged and have their voices heard came up numerous times.

As Katie Cavanaugh of Sisters said before the event, "I'd really like to ask the question, what can we really do that is the most effective means in which we can make our voices be known and send a clear message." 
Organizers set up an overflow area for the 700+ who packed Sen. Ron Wyden's town hall in Sisters Monday evening. - NICOLE VULCAN
  • Nicole Vulcan
  • Organizers set up an overflow area for the 700+ who packed Sen. Ron Wyden's town hall in Sisters Monday evening.

In addition to attending town halls, voting and writing letters to their own members of Congress, Sen. Wyden encouraged people to talk to people they know in other states, to ask them to call or write their members of Congress to push for the changes they want to see.

Senator Wyden's local appearances include another town hall held this morning at the Crook County High School in Prineville, and another scheduled for 10 am Wednesday at the Madras Performing Arts Center.
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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Where's Walden? Hundreds picket Rep. Walden's Bend office

Sen. Wyden plans three Central Oregon town halls in February

Posted By on Tue, Feb 14, 2017 at 4:07 PM

In the wake of the presidential election, many have been motivated to be more politically active than they have in the recent past. In Bend, that's translated into a renewed interest into the activities of Oregon politicians including Representative Greg Walden (R), who represents the 2nd District covering the eastern two-thirds of the state. While that's a giant district—the seventh-largest in the nation, in fact—local constituents say they're unhappy with Rep. Walden's lack of presence in the area. 
click image Demonstrators picketed in front of Rep. Greg Walden's Bend office Feb. 14, calling for Rep. Walden to hold an in-person town hall in Bend. - BONNIE WALKER, DEMOCRACY HAPPENS
  • Bonnie Walker, Democracy Happens
  • Demonstrators picketed in front of Rep. Greg Walden's Bend office Feb. 14, calling for Rep. Walden to hold an in-person town hall in Bend.

In coordination with MoveOn.org, organizers say about 200 people gathered at Rep. Walden's Bend office today, specifically requesting that Rep. Walden host a town hall in Bend during the upcoming legislative recess.

"We deserve the chance to meet publicly, in Bend, with Representative Walden to discuss vital issues for our democracy," said Bonnie Walker of Democracy Happens in a Tuesday release.

Rep. Walden held a telephone town hall for about 4,000 listeners Feb. 6, but many people reported being left out of the call, even after signing up—including Source reporter Brian Jennings.

Source reporters asked Rep. Walden's representatives about future town halls (stay tuned for "How to Rock a Town Hall" in the 2/16 issue). Rep. Walden's communications director Andrew Malcolm said the Congressman held 27 in-person town halls in the 20 counties he represents in 2016, and plans to hold at least one in Deschutes County this year.

Meanwhile, representatives from Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley's offices say the Senators hold at least one town hall in each county each year.

Sen. Wyden's upcoming town halls include:

Monday, Feb. 20:
· DESCHUTES COUNTY: 5:30 pm, Sisters High School auditorium, 1700 McKinney Butte Rd., Sisters

Tuesday, Feb. 21:
CROOK COUNTY: 12:30 pm, Crook County High School auditorium, 1100 SE Lynn Blvd, Prineville

Wednesday, Feb. 22
JEFFERSON COUNTY: 10 am, Madras Performing Arts Center, 412 SE Buff St., Madras

“I look forward to continuing the conversation in Deschutes, Crook and Jefferson counties about how to preserve and protect the Oregon way focusing on solutions,”said Sen. Wyden in a Feb. 14 release.

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Friday, February 3, 2017

Show Preview: Israel Vibrations

Posted By on Fri, Feb 3, 2017 at 4:57 PM

Israel Vibration
  • Israel Vibration

Reggae group Israel Vibration stands out as a vibrant success story in a time of hardship and disease. Its members, Lascelle "Wiss" Bulgin, Albert "Apple Gabriel" Craig and Cecil "Skelly" Spence, were victims of Jamaica’s polio outbreak during the 1950s. The trio first met in the hospital, but it would be a few more years before they came together to make music. After pursuing tailoring and wheelchair basketball, the friends got back together in 1970 to start signing on the streets.

When a member of the Twelve Tribes of Israel heard their music, the branch of Rastafari offered them a publishing deal. The success of their first tracks earned them performances alongside Bob Marley and Dennis Brown. Their music became known for its deep spiritual roots and personal touchstones, a combination that brought together a passionate and devoted fanbase. Israel Vibrations continued to perform for several years, but after moving to New York in 1983, they chose to split up. Their separation didn’t last long, though. Wiss, Apple, and Skelly relaunched Israel Vibrations in 1987.

In their five decades working together the group has released more than twenty albums, and Skelly and Wiss continue to tour the globe. Recently, they have performed alongside Roots Radics, a longstanding stage band. In 2015, the duo released their latest album, “Play it Real”.

Israel Vibrations and Roots Radics will be at The Capitol at 8pm on February 14 for an emotional show that classic reggae fans won’t want to miss.

The Capitol
Bend, OR, 97702
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Schools: Lessons Learned from the Winter Storms

School district releases a timeline following the massive snowfall and school roof collapse

Posted By on Fri, Feb 3, 2017 at 12:20 PM

"...Staff also learned the importance of monitoring snow levels regularly roofs when snow begins to accumulate and regular monitoring will become an established 
click image Crews demolished the Kenwood School gym building on Bend's west side the same day the collapse was discovered, Jan 12, 2017. This photo shows the progress on the demolition as of the week of Feb. 1. - KYLE LOW
  • Kyle Low
  • Crews demolished the Kenwood School gym building on Bend's west side the same day the collapse was discovered, Jan 12, 2017. This photo shows the progress on the demolition as of the week of Feb. 1.
practice." - Bend-La Pine Schools' "Lessons Learned, Summary," Feb. 2

That's just one of the lessons learned by the staff and administration at Bend-La Pine Schools following the massive snowfalls—and the collapse of the gym roof at Kenwood School—in January. Through multiple days of school closures and massive efforts to remove snow from school roofs, lots of people have asked whether the school district did enough to protect students, what the processes were to assess risk and damages, and what new protocols will be in place for snow removal moving forward.

On Feb. 2, Bend-La Pine Schools Superintendent Shay Mikalson issued a statement, saying: "It is my hope that our readiness, response and recovery may be used by  Bend-La Pine Schools and other school districts as model lessons for critical self-reflection on appropriate, proactive response to extreme weather events, like the 100-year snow storm our community has just endured."

Along with that statement, the district issued a snow event timeline that gives the community a sense of the efforts that took place during the storms and snow removal process. The district also has a 2017 Snow Storm page with photos and other information, including a FAQs page.
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