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Monday, August 31, 2015

News Quirks writer had a fascination for human folly

Posted By on Mon, Aug 31, 2015 at 10:33 AM

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We are so very sorry to report the passing of Roland S. Sweet, the writer and curator for New Quirks.

A week shy of his 70th birthday, Roland died on July 24. We are so very grateful for his steady contributions to the newspaper—and to 15 other weekly newspapers North America to which he contributed New Quirks.

We know that New Quirks was a favorite column of our readers, but New Quirks was merely the tip of the iceberg for a wonderfully friendly man, who led a wonderfully generous and interesting life. (Some of the information that follows was submitted by Roland’s wife, Theodora T. Tilton.)

Born in Panama City, Florida, on August 2, 1945, he was the son of Col. Harold L. Sweet and Mary Sue Sweet. He graduated from Suitland High School (Class of 1963), and from 1965 to 1971, served in the U.S. Air Force as an Air Traffic Controller, including a tour of duty in Thailand. Returning stateside, he attended University of Maryland and graduated with honors and a B.A. in 1972. He later earned an M.S. in Public Communication from Syracuse University (1984), earning the Newhouse School’s Wolseley Award for outstanding academic merit.

Most recently, in addition to writing his weekly column, Roland was the editor-in-chief of Log Home Living magazine, which he helped launch in 1989. Over the years, he was also editor of Log Homes Illustrated, Timber Homes Illustrated and Distinctive Wood Homes magazines. Yes, there is a theme here! He also authored Log Home Secrets of Success (2010) and 100 Best Log Home Floor Plans (2007). He developed and presented log home seminars all over the country.

He began his career as an editor The Syracuse New Times, a weekly newspaper, and wrote for a number of newspapers and special interest publications. He was also the co-author, with Chuck Shepherd and John J. Kohut, of several volumes of the popular “News of the Weird” series, which served as a springboard for his weekly syndicated column. He had an eye and fascination for human folly. With headlines like “Curses, Foiled Again” he profiled police stories about crimes gone stupidly wrong. In the spirit of classic newsrooms and tickertape reports, he collected these quippy stories and shared them each week with his fans.

He won three Ozzie Awards for Publishing Excellence, the Syracuse Press Club’s Lifetime Achievement award, and, perhaps most proudly, the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia’s Outstanding Tutor/Teacher Award for tutoring a Guatemalan immigrant in spoken and written English.

At the age of 52, Roland earned his Private Pilot’s license, and was qualified to fly single-engine light, complex, and tailwheel aircraft.

Roland was a fan of the Washington Nationals, DC’s baseball team who are enjoying a decent season. He had a succession of grateful rescue dogs, most recently, Pippa, and four foster elephants—Kibo, Shukuru, Ashaka, and Mbegu—that he helped sponsor. He loved spending time with his wife at their getaway in the Shenandoah Mountains and laughter shared with his legion of friends.

Roland is survived by his wife, Theodora T. Tilton; brother Samuel D. Sweet (Anne Corbett), and many nieces and nephews; and, by his readers throughout North America and in this very newspaper. 
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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Crossword Puzzle Answers 8/26/15

Posted By on Wed, Aug 26, 2015 at 1:00 PM

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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Rep. Knute Buehler says he won't run for Governor

Posted By on Tue, Aug 25, 2015 at 10:53 AM

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Rep. Knute Buehler (R-Bend) says that he won't run for Governor in 2016, as he previously suggested he might, and will instead run for re-election to the Oregon House. But he did leave the door open to a gubernatorial run further in the future.

"This was a highly personal rather than a political decision," Buehler wrote in a email to supporters. "In the end, I realized I’m not ready—just yet—to leave my medical practice, patients, nonprofit boards and business in order to commit 100% of my time that running an energetic campaign for Governor requires and deserves. Serving another term in the Oregon House will allow me to continue serving the community and the state I love while also engaging in a profession that is both fulfilling and allows my patients to lead better lives."

The email goes on to solicit financial support, calling out partisan differences and "special interests." 

"Last year, my opponents spent more than $400,000 to defeat me in a district with more Democrats than Republicans and that President Obama carried by double digits," Buehler wrote. "I expect the same army of special interests to come after me again."

Do you think Buehler made the right decision?
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Friday, August 21, 2015

Save Pilot Butte supporter urges City to appeal land use decision

Posted By on Fri, Aug 21, 2015 at 1:11 PM

Bill Smith shares concerns about the planned apartment complex at the base of Pilot Butte during the Aug. 5 City Council meeting. - ERIN ROOK
  • Erin Rook
  • Bill Smith shares concerns about the planned apartment complex at the base of Pilot Butte during the Aug. 5 City Council meeting.
Supporters of Pilot Butte State Park have found themselves entangled in a land use process after learning about plans for a new apartment complex at the foot of the Butte. Because their concerns emerged after the public comment period for the development, members of the Save Pilot Butte group sought to appeal the development's approval, launching a fundraising campaign to cover appeal fees. However, City planning staff told the group that because they didn't file comments during the comment period, they don't have standing to appeal. The group is challenging that notion, while also asking the City to make its own appeal. 

Earlier today, the group's de facto spokesperson Bill Smith, a former Oregon State Parks host at Pilot Butte (and husband to the well known Butte Lady, Carol Smith), sent a lengthy email to City Council. In it, he expressed the following concerns.

Signage about new development lacks important information

"[City Planning Manager] Colin [Stephens] pointed out the nature of the problem in getting a date on the sign. There is obviously a way to get the date on the sign (several ways in fact). When he gave me his explanation, I called him on it and he admitted there were ways. I was surprised to see him presenting this argument to council and most people shaking their heads in agreement. The argument doesn't hold water. That's obvious. If you want a date on a sign, you can do it. I can't imagine any citizen buying the argument that it can't happen.

But the date is only a start. The signs need some indication of people's rights more than anything and while dates associated with that would be nice, more important would be a few lines of small but readable text explaining concisely why the signs are there including the importance of the 14 day period. I've been talking with reporters a lot. I always bring up the signs and they always agree they are inadequate. The other day a reporter asked why there isn't a QR Code? The QR code could take people with a scanning app right to all of the relevant information on the web including the site plan. Ten to 14 days is a short time for people to get a sense of what is going on. I'm on record with many complaints about the type of answers I got from two different city planners. Getting people to the information they need quickly would seem both an easy and worthy goal that costs next to nothing. A QR code would be one possible mechanism."

Renters are left out of the loop 

"You need to build into code things about unique circumstances that might be encountered. Sure that might complicate things a bit but it was pointed out that these developers are sophisticated and I think they can handle a system that is slightly more complicated. Here's an example not yet mentioned. The people notified directly are property owners. Renters are not notified. Most of the people located around this development are renters. It could even be that they all are. Maybe in a situation like that you should alert renters. It's inexpensive and easy through the post office. It costs no more than alerting property owners in a more traditional neighborhood. So, say if 50 percent or more of people living in the target area are renters, maybe that triggers notification directly to all renters. Since it doesn't cost more, maybe you just always include renters."

One nearby property owner has a significant conflict of interest

"Here's something else unique, the main landlord notified was the developer because they now own the large Pilot Butte Commons Apartments. I would think that in a situation like that it would make sense to expand the target area. Some landlords might actively seek input from their tenants to decide if they should respond. With the obvious conflict that Evergreen Development had, that is much less likely to happen.

FWIW, I seriously question the statement made by Colin that once the signs go up, the phone usually starts ringing off the hook. But I don't work in his office and so I really don't know. What I do know is if you take the issues you are already aware of with the signs themselves, these signs in particular (see below), renters not being notified in an area where most people rent, and a large portion of the target area for notification being owned by Evergreen Development, it makes sense that it took a while for people to get on board. I think the proof in this case is how fast and strong they got on board as soon as they knew."

The traffic study is flawed

"I'm not saying how it happened (incompetence or intentional), but I'm convinced that the traffic study needed to be redone. Whose responsibility is it to determine that? If it is the city's responsibility, why was this missed. If it is the developer's responsibility, what are the consequences for submitting a report so seriously flawed? I have no intent to investigate further, but I think you should because I have been told these are not minor matters. They directly involve public safety. Is there any way when something like this is learned late in the game to fix the problem or are taxpayers expected to pay the bill for the improvements that will be needed?"

The City should be taking the lead

"Here's the request. Contrary to what you were told, I believe the City Council does have the ability to take up this matter on appeal on your own motion. In other words, while standing was denied to us, the council must have standing in some shape or form. It's not just my opinion, it came from competent practicing land use attorneys. I did my homework. While we were never able to get one of these attorneys to work for us for free, we were able to get a few questions answered. You may have been sued by the developer, but would the developer win? If you have standing, then you have a right to exercise it and actually represent the citizens who elected you. You also have insurance in case you are sued. That's what I'm told. But for something like that to happen there would have to be a meeting of the minds and it would have made more sense to accomplish something like that during the working session or some special session that followed."

Smith and the Save Pilot Butte group have stressed that they are aware of Bend's housing shortage and are not opposed to having a new apartment complex in the area, but they are worried that, without input from Oregon Parks and neighbors, the project as proposed will cause safety issues. They are also concerned that an approved variance will allow the apartment buildings to be tall enough to obscure the views Pilot Butte is so well known for.

The window to file an appeal closes at 4 pm Monday. 
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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Fire damages Broken Top duplex

Posted By on Wed, Aug 19, 2015 at 4:49 PM

PHOTO BY A BROKEN TOP SECURITY GUARD, SUBMITTED BY BEND FIRE
  • Photo by a Broken Top security guard, submitted by Bend Fire
Bend firefighters responded to a fire in the Broken Top neighborhood this afternoon. The blaze, which was climbing up the side of the duplex at  61701 Bridge Creek Rd., damaged the exterior of the unit, according to Battalion  Chief David Howe. The exact cause of the fire is still under investigation

"The Bend Fire Department reminds the community that we are under Extreme Fire conditions, and everyone is advised to exercise the greatest caution and care with any source of ignition," Howe said in a release. "It is likely that we will remain in Extreme for the foreseeable future."

The department recently asked residents to voluntarily stop burning non-essential fires.

"Due to the extreme fire danger, we are asking the community to voluntarily stop having any recreational/warming/campfires until conditions approve," Deputy Fire Marshal Cindy Ketterling said in a release. "Again, this is not a 'ban,' as our burning regulations do permit recreational fires year-round (provided the burn regulations are followed), but we are asking for voluntary compliance because of the continued hot, dry, and windy conditions."
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Crossword Puzzle Answers 8/19/2015

Posted By on Wed, Aug 19, 2015 at 9:00 AM

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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Bend 2030 and COBA ask City Council to broaden gas tax discussion

Posted By on Tue, Aug 18, 2015 at 1:55 PM

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In a joint letter sent to Bend City Council earlier today, community visioning group Bend 2030 and the Central Oregon Builders' Association ask Council to consider street funding options beyond a gas tax.

At the August 5 Council meeting, four City Councilors voted in support of putting a gas tax on the March ballot and took the statement a step further by removing the requirement for the funding committee to consider a tax-free funding package.

Following those actions, which were decried by the three dissenting councilors (Doug Knight, Casey Roats, and Victor Chudowsky), some groups that had been slated to participate in the process either pulled out or are re-evaluating their participation.

Below is the letter in full. Bend 2030 Executive Director Erin Foote-Marlowe says the letter is not an ultimatum, and that the organization plans to participate whether or not Council honors the request.

Dear Mayor Jim Clinton and the Bend City Council,

Thank you so much for your generous invitation to our organizations to participate in the City of Bend’s Street Funding Committee. We value the opportunity to provide community feedback on the options available to us for dealing with this critical infrastructure issue.

On behalf of the boards of directors of Bend 2030 and Central Oregon Builders Association we would like to express our strong interest in offering a representative to participate in this committee. Together with other community organizations we believe we can assist the City in finding the best solutions to our transportation funding issues.

To that end, we would like to request that the Council encourage the Streets Funding Committee to evaluate all options available to our community. Our organizations wish to show the community the full range of solutions we may consider for addressing transportation needs, which could include no new road funding, budget re-appropriation for street preservation, or generating new revenue streams through a transportation utility fee or a fuel tax.

We believe it is imperative that the council task the committee with evaluating this full slate of options. Would the council please amend Resolution No. 3001 and require the committee to provide a minimum of two recommendations for addressing street funding: one package that includes a fuel tax and one that does not.

Thank you so much for your consideration and we look forward to participating in the committee’s work. 
Council meets next tomorrow night. There is not currently any discussion on street funding on the agenda. Edit: According to a revised agenda sent out on Wednesday morning, Council will discuss the street funding committee at tonight's meeting.
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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Crossword Puzzle Answers 8/12/15

Posted By on Wed, Aug 12, 2015 at 9:00 AM

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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Downtown Bend Business Association welcomes Albany's Rod Porsche as new director

Posted By on Tue, Aug 11, 2015 at 3:08 PM

Outgoing DBBA Executive Director Chuck Arnold will be replaced by former Albany Downtown Association Director Rod Porsche. - ERIN ROOK
  • Erin Rook
  • Outgoing DBBA Executive Director Chuck Arnold will be replaced by former Albany Downtown Association Director Rod Porsche.


Last May, we talked to Chuck Arnold about his tenure as executive director of the Downtown Bend Business Association and his plans for the future. Today, the DBBA has officially announced Arnold's replacement: former director of the Albany Downtown Association, Rod Porsche.

“I’m incredibly excited to be joining the Downtown Bend Business Association and look forward to working with the dynamic group of independent businesses in Downtown Bend," Porsche said in a release.

Before taking the helm at the ADA in early 2014, Porsche was in charge of group marketing for the Albany Visitor's Association. 

“We had 68 applicants from over half a dozen states and are pleased to find such a great fit with Rod," DBBA Board Member Jim Petersen said in the release. "We believe Rod has the qualities necessary to continue the positive momentum of the DBBA and Downtown Bend overall."

Heidi Junge, president of the ADA board, told the Albany Democrat-Herald when Porsche stepped down from his old post in May that he would be missed.

"We're really sad that Rod is leaving. He's done an excellent job as the executive director for the downtown association," Junge said. "He's wonderful. We're sad to lose him. He's got a lot of drive and passion for what he does."

As executive director for the DBBA, Porsche will oversees the downtown beautification, marketing, and events, as well as work with property and business owners to keep storefronts filled and businesses vibrant. Stay tuned for an interview Bend's new downtown guy.
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Thursday, August 6, 2015

"Save Troy Field" petition asks City to keep public facilities designation

Posted By on Thu, Aug 6, 2015 at 11:43 AM

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A petition is making the rounds online and in town asking the City of Bend to maintain Troy Field's public facilities designation. Bend-La Pine Schools recently accepted a $1.9 million offer on the surplus property from Portland-based Brownstone, LLC, which is representing an unnamed out-of-state hotel developer.

The sale is contingent on removal of the public facilities designation because the developer intends to build the planned high-end hotel condos.

The petition, which was created online at Change.org six days ago and has so far received 222 e-signatures, reads:

Hello City Planning Department,

The purpose of this letter is to voice opposition to the removal of the current public facilities designation at Troy Field, and therefore preserve one of the few public gathering spaces in downtown Bend. Parks and public spaces are vital to the development and preservation of a healthy community.

Please consider my opinion as you vote on this measure.

A public meeting to discuss the possibility of changing the zoning to a commercial use is scheduled for 5:30 pm, August 26, in the BLPS administrative building (room 314).

A recent Source reader poll found strong support for maintaining Troy Field as a public space or turning it into a mixed use building with shops and rental housing. 

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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Crossword Puzzle Answers 8/5/2015

Posted By on Wed, Aug 5, 2015 at 9:00 AM

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