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Monday, July 20, 2015

Are you our new editor?

Posted By on Mon, Jul 20, 2015 at 10:50 AM

When I graduated from college more than 20 years ago, I made a beeline from Vermont to San Francisco with a dream of becoming a writer. I was an English major, with a head full of Chaucer, Milton, and Shakespeare (chocolate milkshake, we called it), but very little sense about what working for a newspaper or writing on deadline was all about.

I quickly set up an internship at San Francisco Weekly (from an ad I found in the classifieds, as people actually did back then) and over eight months received a baptism by fire, with the coolest music editor ever (Ann Powers, who went on to the New York Times), Bill Goggins (who went on to help launch WIRED) and a semi-abusive, old-school news editor (whose name I will withhold).

I was hooked. I wrote a cover story about illegal shark fishing, got backstage passes to favorite bands, and interviewed authors and politicians. Every day was a ticket to see the machination of a city.

Since then, I have done my tour of duty through alt-weeklies, writing a series of cover stories for Eugene Weekly while a law student at the University of Oregon, and subsequently serving as the first Managing Editor for the Portland Mercury, watching the paper grow from an idea into an institution. Of all of those, the past two-and-half years as the Editor for the Source has been my favorite. But, that said, it is time for someone else to take the helm.

We are looking for a new Editor. It is a tough job, but immensely rewarding; a chance to watchdog City Hall and to champion local organizations (not to mention the beer tasting and reviewing restaurants). There may be a lot of talk about how newspapers are fading, but I have watched the opposite trend as weekly newspapers like the Source become increasingly important and necessary as reliable platforms for civic and entertainment information. Know someone (yourself?) who should be the new editor at the Source? Check out our complete job description below. 

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Are you smart enough to be a Fortune 500 CEO, but care more about community than profit margin? Are you calm enough to be an air traffic controller, but would rather spend your time figuring out what bands are coming to town? Do you know the difference between a film and a movie? Indie music and Americana? And declared, at least once, that print media is not dead?

We need you to be the Editor for the Source Weekly in Bend, Oregon. Entering its 20th year in publication, the Source has an established and important presence in Central Oregon, and a loyal readership.

Primary duties included:

• Oversee content for each issue, manage story assignments, edit and provide a smart, engaging voice for the paper;
• Write feature and news stories, as well as film, food and music reviews;
• Maintain an active and exciting annual editorial schedule, including guiding feature stories and special issues, such as annual “Best Of,” dining guides, adventure issues, film festival guide, etc.;
• Maintain editorial flow and brisk schedule of story deadlines;
• Manage bullpen of freelance writers;
• Work with Production Manager, arrange photography and art work to accompany stories;
• Manage monthly writers’ pay. Part organizational leader, part writer, the Editor position demands both left and right-brain skills. Our ideal candidate will have the following general skills and professional talents:
• Interest in and understanding about the formation of public policy (in particular, local ordinances, policies and programs);
• Proven track record as a team leader, and positive motivator and coach;
• Hands-on background in and interest in public-interest journalism;
• Strong writing skills and patient, but firm, abilities as an editor in a fast-paced environment;
• Writing. Talented and versatile, as able to cover City Hall as the annual Film Festival and write restaurant reviews.

The Source Weekly
is a small staff, and this position requires extensive reporting and writing, with a primary focus on filling the feature and news sections each issue. This is a writing, as well as, editing job, overseeing story assignments, maintaining deadlines and shepherding the editorial flow. Should have a minimum five years of writing and editing experience in alt-weeklies. This is a full-time job. Please submit a resume, a one-page cover letter, and whatever clips you believe best represent the breadth of your writing skills and style to Interviews will be scheduled on a rolling basis.
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Friday, July 17, 2015

OPINION: Bulletin editorial ignores the facts about transgender youth

Posted By on Fri, Jul 17, 2015 at 7:58 AM

  • Erin Rook
Editor's note: Earlier this week, the Bulletin published an editorial urging the Oregon Health Evidence Review Commission or the state legislature to change the age of medical consent for treatments related to gender transition. Jenn Burleton, executive director of Portland-based TransActive Gender Center (which provides advocacy and support for families with transgender and gender non-conforming children), says that the editorial ignores important facts of transgender youth. Below is her full response to the editorial. 

This editorial opinion demonstrates (yet again) that ignorance of facts combined with lack of empathy is the foundation upon which prejudice and oppression is constructed.

It opens provocatively with the statement that "Oregon law doesn't think much of parents" as a preamble to purported opposition to Oregon's medical consent laws. In reality, the editorial stands opposed only to a particular set of healthcare treatments... those associated with treatment of gender dysphoria.

Since 1971, Oregon law has permitted teens to give consent to their own healthcare without the approval of their parent or guardian beginning at age 15. When this law was enacted, Richard Nixon was in his first term as President, voting age was 21, Federal Express did not exist, Malibu Barbie cost $1.94, plus tax (in most places but Oregon) and Tom McCall was Oregon's Republican governor.

Obviously, Oregon's age of medical consent law is not part of some vast, liberal, "Obamacare" conspiracy to undermine parental rights. Though Fox News and others are trying hard to convince Oregonians and the nation otherwise.

Tell me where I can find the Bulletin's editorial opposition to necessary medical interventions such as kidney dialysis, blood transfusions, insulin injections or life-saving surgery for minors when their parents refuse to approve or consent to such care on 'faith-healing' religious grounds? Do the editors believe that parental consent for medical care is an absolute necessity for all physician approved, medically beneficial treatment...or is the need for parental approval specific only to medical care related to gender dysphoria?

Are you aware that more than 50 percent of transgender youth will have at least one suicide attempt prior to their 20th birthday? This stands in stark contrast to a 4.6 percent overall U.S. population suicide attempt rate and a 10-20 percent attempt rate for lesbian, gay and bisexual adult individuals.

As exemplified by the tragic death of 17-year old Ohio teen Leelah Alcorn, these suicide statistics are driven in large by lack of parental support for gender nonconformity and transgender identity, and parental denial of access to proven, effective and life-saving counseling and medical interventions, including pubertal delay.

Or do you simply discount these risk factors, despite all evidence to the contrary?

According to research and studies done by clinicians and academics on the effectiveness of early intervention and affirmation in treating transgender youth, transgender children and youth are not only as capable of certainty about their gender identity as their peers, they benefit almost without exception from early affirmation and proactive treatment options.

Oregon Revised Statute (ORS) 137.707 states that a 15-year old charged with murder, attempted murder or conspiracy to commite murder can be tried as an adult because they have the cognitive capacity to fully understand the consequences of their actions. This applies even to actions that are not premeditated, as in a 'heat of passion' crime.

Yet, incredulously, this Bend Bulletin editorial argues that transgender youth who have been struggling with gender dysphoria for years, have accessed the services of and referrals from a qualified mental health practitioner (sometimes two) and who have been additionally assessed by a physician are not capable of understanding the complexity and impact of transgender-related healthcare in the absence of parental consent?

It appears some Oregonians (conservative and progressive) support knowingly condemning 15-year old youth to death or life imprisonment, but believe delaying puberty, administering cross-sex hormones or, in RARE cases involving extreme parental rejection, allowing adolescents and teens access to ethical, evidence-based, medically approved LIFE SAVING surgical treatment is unthinkable because, as this editorial states, "adolescents are, by definition, still immature."

Literally, if a transgender 15-year old is charged with conspiracy to commit murder, we can lock them up for life, but if they seek medical care overwhelmingly proven to enhance their quality of life, we should prohibit that care without parental approval...even with the full knowledge that some parents will NEVER approve such care for their child due to ideological or political beliefs?

The Bulletin editorial suggests that it would have been appropriate for the Health Evidence Review Commission to set a different age of consent for gender dysphoria treatment under OHP than for ANY OTHER approved coverage. It suggested the rather arbitrary age of 18, even though others supposedly outraged by HERC's actions have argued that 'full maturity isn't reached until age 25' or some variant of thereof.

The Bulletin cites the Canadian Psychological Association regarding persistence of "cross-gender behavior" in childhood, yet chooses to ignore position statements about affirming transgender identity in children from the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the National Association of Social Workers, the National Association of School Counselors and many, many more professional organizations.

Indeed, even the most conservative positions on the persistence of transgender identity in adolescents concede that 'some' children will remain transgender throughout adolescence and into adulthood. What are we to do with these teens? Ignore their medical needs and suffering simply because they are a minority?

No, it is clear from this editorial, and similar manufactured outrage stories by Fox News, WorldNetDaily, OneNewsNow and others that opposition to THIS particular aspect of healthcare is not based on evidence, concern for children or protection of parental autonomy, but rather is based almost entirely on the outdated and ignorance-driven belief that transgender identity is non-authentic. That gender diversity is an undesirable form of expression rather than a natural variation in human development and that facts related to the effectiveness of proactive, affirming psychological and medical healthcare are to be discarded in favor of fear, intolerance, political manipulation and ideological extremism.

This Bulletin editorial would have been right at home in a 19th century discussion about the right of parents to keep what we now know of as a Down's Syndrome child locked away in the attic, or a mid-20th century conversation about the right of families to send their mentally disturbed members away to state hospitals, never to be seen again.

You will not be proud of this editorial in 20 years.

Jenn Burleton
Executive Director
TransActive Gender Center

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Thursday, July 2, 2015

Interview: Bend Police Chief Jim Porter on the expansion of the civil exclusion zone

Posted By on Thu, Jul 2, 2015 at 11:43 AM

The Bend City Council recently approved an ordinance expanding the civil exclusion zone to cover downtown. We talked to Bend Police Chief Jim Porter to get the inside scoop on how the ordinance came about and how police plan to execute it.

Source Weekly: Where and how did the conversation about expanding the civil exclusion zone begin? Was it initiated by downtown business owners, City Council, or police concerns?

Jim Porter: The Civil Exclusion idea came out of one of the very first meetings we had with the downtown stakeholders group. The example of the exclusion area in the parks was mentioned and the police department moved forward with the concept.

SW: Why is the existing criminal justice process insufficient to address concerns about crime downtown?

JP: We are faced with two challenges with our current justice system: First, the time it takes to adjudicate a crime. For those who commit crimes it often takes up to a year or more before they are held accountable/sentenced. This is no one’s specific fault, the Deschutes County Circuit Court has been asking the state to provide Deschutes County with an additional magistrate for years. Without accountability there is seldom a change in an individual’s misconduct. The ordinance is written in such a manner as to bring accountability in a more reasonable time frame, after clear due process and protection of the individual’s rights.

Secondly, our municipal court is not a court of record, so it does not issue arrest warrants for those who do not appear in court once they’ve been cited. What this means is when we issue a citation, for example: drinking in public or a dog nuisance violation, the person being cited can just ignore the citation. The courts only option at that point is to turn them over to a collection agency.

SW: Who determined which crimes and civil violations should be included in the list of infractions that can result in exclusion?

JP: We used the crimes in the existing exclusion ordinance and added the ordinance addressing drinking on an unlicensed premises and dog nuisances. We have a large volume of complaints in reference to people’s dogs attacking other dogs and people.

SW: How do police determine whether or not to issue an exclusion? Is it automatic for certain violations, or do police have their own bar for when it is warranted?

JP: Like everything we do as the police, we take enforcement action based upon the totality of the circumstances at each incident. We leave the officer with the ability to exercise discretion and good judgement. While this may sound like it gives the officer the authority to play favorites, what it does is avoids the “zero tolerance” mind-set.

SW: How long has the smaller exclusion zone existed? How many people have been excluded in that time? How many

JP: Since 2012. I will attach our stats on the exclusions, crime, and re-offending numbers.

SW: Can you provide a chart of the number of exclusions by type of offense? Do you have a sense of how often a certain violation resulted in an exclusion?

JP: I will include the stats.

SW: How many of those previously excluded have appealed? Have any appeals been successful?

JP: We have had not appeals, and the stats show the number of re-offenders.

SW: Do you have data showing a correlation between the institution of the previous exclusion zone and a decrease in crime?

JP: No, our goal is to remove criminal offenders, those drinking on the streets, and unruly dogs. We want to make the downtown area a safe place at all hours.

SW: What steps have you taken to avoid the kind of legal challenges other cities have faced?

JP: We specifically built in pre-exclusion constitutional protections. Giving those cited due process before they are excluded, by not implementing any exclusion if they chose to appeal. And again, exclusions are only for 90 days. We codified the protection of those who need to be in the downtown area for legitimate reasons: to visit family, business meetings, meet with a lawyer, visit their church, etc.

SW: What kind of data do you plan to collect regarding the exclusion zone moving forward?

JP: Data on all arrests where the exclusion ordinance was used, arrests where it could have been used, and race and sex of those cited.

SW: Can you think of cities where civil exclusion zones have been heralded as a success? What other cities in Oregon (or other places similar to Bend) have them?

JP: What we looked at was the success of the present exclusion area in protecting those visiting our parks. The point I have most heard on this issue is “Bend is Bend.” We have a unique lifestyle and we don’t want to model our downtown after the downtown of Eugene or Portland.

SW: What other approaches has the police department considered or tried?

JP: We intensified patrols in the downtown area and pushed down person crimes and calls for service significantly in 2014, but at a cost of $62,000. We are a department which is operating with minimal staff, with competing important areas of call for service that require officers to respond, and cannot sustain the shift of personnel.

I have been approached by citizens who are convinced this expansion of the exclusion area is directed at those who are forced to panhandle for a living, or hang out, or just sit around; that is not factual. We need to reduce criminal conduct in our downtown. The men and women of the Bend Police Department have an exceptional record of how they treat those most at risk in our community.

Before next summer I will return to the City Council with the results of expansion of the exclusion area and a decision will be made at that time to assess its effectiveness.

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Friday, June 26, 2015

Bend-La Pine Schools accepts $1.9 million offer on Troy Field

Posted By on Fri, Jun 26, 2015 at 2:57 PM

The Bend-La Pine School Board has accepted a $1.9 million offer on its Troy Field property in downtown Bend. The 0.8 acre patch of grass on NW Bond's sale to Portland-based Brownstone Development is contingent on the removal of the public facilities designation, according to Brian Fratzke of Fratzke Commercial, who brokered the sale. 

The school board received a total of five offers, primarily from developers but also including a rejected offer from the City, Fratzke says. The Brownstone offer was initially received in April, he notes, but the board held onto it to give public entities an opportunity to make offers of their own.

"There was no interest at the price we needed to get the deal done," Fratzke explains.

Though the development company is based in Portland, he says they have expressed a desire to use local engineers, architects, and contractors.

School board co-chair Nori Juba says the development project is expected to create about 50 jobs. Both Juba and Fratzke say they believe the development will be residential in nature, but are not sure on the specifics. 

The future of Troy Field has been a point of contention, with some community members (and a majority of Source readers polled) arguing that the field should remain green space. 

"From the school board perspective, one thing we’d loike the community to know is that we heard the community, and we respect everybody's expressed interest in different intended use for the property," Juba says, "but we have a pretty pressing need to raise money for new schools."

The Source will continue to follow this story. 
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Thursday, June 18, 2015

OSU-Cascades plans to break ground on 10-acre campus by month's end

Posted By on Thu, Jun 18, 2015 at 4:00 PM

OSU-Cascades announced today that it plans to begin construction on the contested 10-acre westside campus once it receives the necessary permits from the City. Officials say they anticipate getting permits for construction activities such as excavation and tree removal during the last week of June.

Though citizen-led opposition group Truth in Site has indicated it plans to appeal the recent decision by the Land Use Board of Appeals affirming the approval of OSU's site plan, university officials say they are confident the Court of Appeals will uphold the past three approvals of their plan. 

“OSU carefully reviewed the June 8 decision by LUBA affirming OSU-Cascades' site plan approval for a 10.44-acre campus in Bend,” OSU Vice President Becky Johnson said in a release. “The LUBA decision fully and strongly affirmed the city of Bend's approval of this site plan.”

And the university is within its rights to move forward with construction even when an appeal is pending.

“Under local code and state law, development is allowed to continue while an appeal is pending," Johnson said. “Oregon State is confident that significant construction progress can be made while a potential appeal is being considered and still allow the university to adjust to changes that could result from an unlikely remand or reversal by the Court of Appeals.”

First on the list: a 43,650-square-foot academic building and a 113,000-square-foot residence hall and dining center complex, along with the related infrastructure—streets, pathways and parking.

The hope is that by starting construction this summer, OSU-Cascades will be able to open the fully-fledged four-year campus in fall of 2016.

In the meantime, Truth in Site is soliciting donations from supporters to raise $27,000 before June 29 to fund the next appeal.

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Friday, June 12, 2015

A new water feature at Pine Nursery Park—or overactive sprinklers?

Posted By on Fri, Jun 12, 2015 at 2:20 PM

  • Michael Rich
Today, we received an email from a reader concerned about the use of water at Pine Nursery Park. Michael Rich, an employee of the U.S. Forest Services (whose local office neighbors the park), took a short video that appears to show sprinklers watering large swaths of pavement and creating ponds in landscaped areas.

"I feel that if residents are expected to curtail water usage, our City should also be expected to cut back 10% and be a leader and example of water conservation," he wrote. "The watering of parking lots does not demonstrate this to me as a citizen."

He reached out to the Bend Park and Recreation District and was advised that while the park is trying to establish some new plantings,  watering the parking lot "should not be part of the program."

Read Rich's email to BPRD and the response from Michelle Healey, the district's director of strategic planning and design.

From Michael Rich:

I am an employee at the US Forest Service office and today on my bike ride through the park I observed over watering at the north parking lot of Pine Nursery park. Please see attached video link.

In a recent local newspaper article concerning water usage, it stated:
"Governor Kate Brown recently declared a drought emergency in Deschutes County. Following that declaration, the City of Bend issued a Stage 1 Water Curtailment Alert, encouraging residents—and large water users in particular—to reduce their water usage by 10 percent."

I feel that if residents are expected to curtail water usage, our City should also be expected to cut back 10% and be a leader and example of water conservation. The watering of parking lots does not demonstrate this to me as a citizen.

I believe either replacement of the watering heads or adjusments to their watering application can easily remedy the situation. My preference would be low flow or water conserving heads of some type. On a bigger picture, I would like to see the City's parks (and not just Pine Nursery but all of them) install more xeriscape vegetation and less of the grasses, flowers, shrubs that demand more water. I know that was done with intention directly around Pine Nursery, but such as the parking island example in the video, I find it unfortunate that tax money was spent to install the watering system components for the parking islands, the planted vegetatation and the water consumed by the City, when a xeriscape island model would have zero water consumption cost and less installation cost in the first place.

I have been a huge supporter of the Pine Nursery park since inception and since becoming a "neighbor" at the Forest Service. I enjoy the park often, and have seen the tremendous efforts and changes that do in fact over shadow this complaint. Keep up the great work.

To summarize, as a homeowner and taxpayer within BPRD tax district I would like to see this issue addressed and notified when it has been rectified.

Thank you for your time and attention in the matter.

Michelle Healey responded:

Good afternoon Mr. Rich,

Thank you for taking the time to record the video and send in your thoughts.

We currently have a contractor onsite at Pine Nursery trying to establish new plants as part of the recent construction out there. Plant establishment does require more water up front, but watering the parking lot should not be part of the program. The overall watering needs for those newly planted areas should go down as the plants become established. In the meantime, I’ll ask the Construction Manger to look into what can be done to address the over spraying that you documented.

I really appreciate your thoughts and feedback on xeriscaping too. 

To which Michael Rich replied:
Good afternoon Michelle, Don, et al
Thank you for your prompt replies, I appreciate your answers. I understand new plant establishment requires more water. However, as noted in the video, there is a large puddle forming in the basin of the island. What plant species are we trying to establish that requires +6 inches of standing water?

I understand this may be a one time or project phase oversight, and that this is not a widespread problem throughout the City's parks. However, this is not a first time occurrence I have witnessed in the last 12 years living here. And more importantly, I feel addressing the long term vision of the park's plant species selection for landscaping is an equal concern and that more emphasis towards xeriscape and drought tolerant species be selected.

Don, Michelle, Thank you for taking the time to hear my concerns and replying directly. I appreciate the actions you will take.

Thank you all for your time and consideration. 
We reached out to Bend Park and Recreation but have not yet received a reply.

What's your take? Have you noticed overwatering at other parks or public spaces?
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Shevlin Park fire contained, evacuation orders lifted

Posted By on Fri, Jun 12, 2015 at 10:12 AM

A fire that broke out Thursday afternoon in Shevlin Park is officially contained as of midnight. The blaze, which was first reporter by a hiker just before 1:30 pm, grew from less than one-tenth of an acre to about 10 acres in the first two hours. Bend Fire issued a Stage 1 Evacuation Order for the 3 Pines and Shevlin Commons subdivisions, which has since been lifted. 

At the height of the wildfire, 19 units from different agencies—including the Oregon Department of Forestry and Deschutes National Forest—were on the scene and wildland fire task force was activated. Fire Battalion Chief Dave Howe told reporters that the Shevlin Park fire crept into areas that burned in 1990's Awbrey Hall Fire.

"We're talking about 25 years worth of fuel," Howe said.

The Awbrey Hall fire burned more than 3,000 acres and destroyed 22 homes.

By late afternoon, firefighters were "cautiously optimistic" they could contain the blaze to 8-10 acres. Because the fire occurred just days after the official start of fire season, more resources were available to fight the fire than there might be later in the season.

Smoke from the fire could be seen and smelt across town. Below are a few shots from Mt. Washington Drive.
  • Erin Rook

  • Erin Rook
  • Erin Rook
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Thursday, June 11, 2015

Breaking: Firefighters responding to brush fire in Shevlin Park

Posted By on Thu, Jun 11, 2015 at 2:39 PM

Shevlin Park - LISA SEALES
  • Lisa Seales
  • Shevlin Park
The Bend Fire Department reports that they are responding to a brush fire in Shevlin Park. The public is being urged to stay away. Here's the latest from Battalion Chief Dave Howe:
There is a brush fire. ¼ acre in size and growing, burning just downstream from Aspen Hall in Shevlin Park. The fire is burning in the canyon of Tumalo Creek in moderate fuels. Oregon Department of Forestry, Deschutes National Forest personnel and the Bend Fire Department are currently on scene. They are applying water to the fire and using dozers to build fire line.

We are asking people to stay away from the area. Deschutes County Deputy Sheriffs are closing Shevlin Park Road at the 3 Pines subdivision so that crews can operate more effectively and safely.

Are you in the area? Let us know what you are seeing and hearing.

Updates to follow:

According to Bend Fire, the fire was first reported by a hiker at 1:27 pm. It grew from about one-tenth of an acre to more than 10 acres within two hours.

A Stage 1 evacuation notice (essentially a heads up) has been issued for the Three Pines and Shevlin Commons subdivisions. There are scattered homes in the area, but no structures are currently involved.

The fire is on both sides of Tumalo Creek, with sparks being carried by wind. A wild land task force has been activated for additional support. The affected area in near the water intake downstream from Aspen Hall.

The fire does not yet have an official name. For now, follow #ShevlinParkFire.

Update 4:54 pm:

The fire is currently holding at about 8-10 acres, firefighters "cautiously optimistic" they can contain current size. #ShevlinParkFire
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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Land Use Board upholds OSU-Cascades decisions, appeal likely

Posted By on Tue, Jun 9, 2015 at 2:37 PM

OSU-Cascades has cleared another legal hurdle, allowing the university to move forward with construction on its new 10-acre campus on Bend's west side. That is, unless and until the opposition group Truth in Site sets another one on the track.

The Land Use Board of Appeals ruled Monday to uphold the previous decisions of Bend City Council and a Deschutes County hearings officer approval the site plan for OSU-Cascades' 10-acre campus. 

“This represents a victory for higher education in Central Oregon and is particularly significant for our current and future students,” said Becky Johnson, OSU-Cascades vice president, in a release. “We will build a westside campus that integrates well within the community.”

But members of the Truth in Site Coalition don't see it that way. They are concerned about the impact of a westside campus on traffic, parking, and housing and feel that OSU-Cascades ought to be required to submit a master plan for a hypothetical second expansion involving property the university does not currently own.

Still, even with the delays and despite the continued absence of a new campus, OSU-Cascades will welcome its first freshman class in September. The so-far unsuccessful legal challenges have delayed groundbreaking by more than a year. 

Johnson says that the university will continue to engage with the community as it moves closer to realizing the new campus. 

“As we move to the next step, we will continue to invite and address the public’s thoughts and concerns,” she says. 

But it appears that members of the Truth in Site Coalition will continue to share their thoughts and concerns through the legal system.

Truth in Site Coalition attorney Jeff Kleinman tells the Source he recently received the decision and was just sitting down to read it.

"I would anticipate an appeal to the court of appeals," Kleinman says.

Truth in Site spokesman Scott Morgan has not yet responded to a request for comment.

Read the full decision here.
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Thursday, June 4, 2015

Poll Shows Majority Support for OSU-Cascades Expansion

Posted By on Thu, Jun 4, 2015 at 10:42 AM

A clear majority of Bend residents surveyed support OSU-Cascades' planned westside campus, according to a poll released today by community coalition "Now for Bend," which supports the expansion.

The poll, which surveyed 300 Bend residents in April, was conducted by GS Strategy Group with a 5 percent margin of error. It found that 59 percent of those polled favored the westside expansion, while 35 percent were opposed. It also asked questions targeted at more general attitudes, finding that 70 percent of respondents believe Central Oregon needs more higher education options, with 84 percent agreeing the region is overdue for a four-year university.

“Having a four-year university here is the missing piece when it comes to opportunities for educational and economic advancement. If we don’t establish a campus on the westside now, we will likely wait 10 to 20 more years. That leaves a generation without options,” said Janie Teater, Now for Bend’s co-coordinator, in a release.

The poll also tapped into attitudes about the ongoing delay caused by repeated appeals seeking to overturn approval of OSU-Cascades' site-plan for the 10-acre campus. More than 60 percent indicated they want to see that process move forward.

“A key ingredient for a stable economy is a thriving university,” said Amy Tykeson, co-coordinator for Now for Bend. “The healthy, sustainable communities known for livability, innovation and economic development all have a four-year college. Bend has all the elements of a great community, with one glaring exception. This campus turns us toward the future with opportunities for students to advance and businesses to succeed.”

The poll additionally broke down some of the demographics of those in support and opposition to the westside expansion. It finds that support is strongest among people 45 and younger (67 percent), those making less than $50,000 (64 percent), and people who live within a mile of the new campus site (59 percent).

Those opposed are more likely to be over 45 (42 percent), make more than $100,000 (42 percent), and identify as politically independent (50 percent).

Both self-identified Democrats and Republicans—as well as east and west side residents—support the campus at rates of about 60 percent. Overall, the greatest factor influencing whether or not someone supports the proposed campus is age, with a margin of about 42 percent separating the pros and the cons among those under 45.

Now for Bend has also launched a website boasting 55 coalition partners and including personal testimonials from community members explaining their support. Check it out here:

Note: Edited to more clearly reflect that the a majority of those polled favor the westside campus expansion.

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Friday, May 22, 2015

Gov. Kate Brown Declares Deschutes County Drought Emergency

Posted By on Fri, May 22, 2015 at 12:22 PM

Deschutes County joins a growing list of Oregon counties—now 15 deep—designated by Gov. Kate Brown as drought emergencies following today's announcement. With today's addition of eight counties, nearly half the state is experiencing an official drought emergency. In addition to Deschutes, Grant, Jackson, Josephine, Lane, Morrow, Umatilla, and Wasco counties have been added.

“The majority of our state is parched due to the warm winter and lack of snow,” Gov. Brown said in a release. “As we move into summer, many areas of the state are going to dry out very quickly, likely leading to a difficult fire season as well as water shortages. We need our state, local and federal partners to be prepared as our communities grapple with hot and dry conditions.”

In an effort to drive home the seriousness of these conditions, Gov. Brown is launching the #ORdrought campaign, which she kicked off with the video below. In it, she stresses that while the situation is dire, meaningful changes can still be made.

"It may look green now, but we are going to experience one the worst droughts in the history of our state," she says in the video.
"But the script hasn't been written yet. By working together, we can begin to make a difference right now."

The drought declaration directs agencies such as the Oregon Department of Agriculture, the Department of Water Resources, the Water Resources Commission, and the Office of Emergency Management to assist water users and the state in mitigating the impacts of the drought.

Follow #ORdrought on social media for more.

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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Solstice Brewing Embraces Roots with Name Change to Ochoco Brewing

Posted By on Tue, May 19, 2015 at 10:14 AM

  • Source file photo

The Prineville-based brewery now formerly known as Solstice has never been shy about its roots. When it released its first beer back in 2012, the brewery reclaimed a not-uncommon slur for the city, calling it Prinetucky Pale. So it's only fitting that the new name—Ochoco Brewing Company—honors the operation's Crook County origins.

The name also harkens back to the first known brewery in Central Oregon. No, not Deschutes. According to local beer historian Jon Abernathy, the short-lived Ochoco Brewery, founded in Prineville in 1882, holds the honor of being first.

“My wife and I grew up in rural Eastern Oregon and we’ve made Prineville our permanent home, and we believe a name like Ochoco Brewing will cement us in the DNA of Crook County," owner and brewmaster Joseph Barker explains in a release.

But the brewery hasn't just been hanging out Prineville. Rather, it's been reaching out into larger Central Oregon community with regular showings at events like Bend Brewfest, Fermentation Celebration, SMASH Fest, High Gravity Extravaganza, and Winter Ale Festival.

“We’ve been blown away by the growth and reception of our pub here in Prineville,” Barker says.
In its first year, Ochoco Brewing Company brewed 370 kegs of beer, most of which were sold at the pub. By 2014 that rose to 425 kegs, as well as distribution at other local restaurants and pubs. Ochoco's brews can currently be found at pubs and growler stations in Bend, Sisters, Madras, La Pine, and Sunriver.

"Given our current growth, we'll outgrow our current brewery in the next twelve months. I definitely see the potential for other changes in the future as we look to grow our production and distribute beer beyond Crook County,” Barker explains. 

Ochoco Brewing formally kicks off the rebranding at a launch party Friday, May 22.
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