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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Redmond Horse Business Wins Venture Capital Competition

Posted By on Thu, Oct 20, 2011 at 10:09 PM

This year's Bend Venture Capital Conference winner is more Butch Cassidy than Bill Gates.  A Redmond horse equipment manufacturer took home the top prize, a $250,000 cash investment, at the Bend Venture Conference, organizers announced on Thursday afternoon.

RES Equine reportedly wooed potential investors with its equine safety equipment that has high margins and global appeal, according to Economic Development of Central Oregon, which produced the event.

The annual entrepreneurial competition, which is held in downtown Bend at the Tower Theater, drew some 300 investors, entrepreneurs and business professionals. This year’s event also included a new concept competition funded by Bend Broadband. The competition awarded a Portland inventor $10,000 for a software program that helps decode hard to pronounce names.  

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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Bend City Council Votes to Continue Affordable Housing Fee

Bend city council members vote to continue affordable housing fee, albeit at a reduced rate.

Posted By on Thu, Jun 2, 2011 at 8:23 PM

It seems that Bend’s city councilors did the right thing Wednesday night — sort of — in regard to the affordable housing fee attached to new building permits.

Some background: Any builder seeking to do what they do, must get a building permit. Since 2006, a fee has been attached to the permit (one-third of 1 percent of permit valuation) that would benefit Bend’s affordable housing, a project that has raised about 2.7 million dollars. Currently, construction is ongoing in the “Shady Pines” neighborhood on Parrell Road (near China Hat Road and just east of Highway 97) where nine green-build houses are planned to provide for young, working families.

Last night, a compromise was reached between a divided council at the Bend city council meeting. At one point, there were four options on the table, but the basic decision to be made was do we A) continue the program as is B) continue the program but reduce the fee rate, meaning less money for affordable housing C) scrap the plan, which would only take one dissenting vote (a vote which Kathie Eckman seemed damn close to making).

After much bureaucratic backing-and-forthing, the members agreed to keep the fee but reduce it to one-fifth of one percent (option “B”). This means a $250,000 home would net affordable housing about $500, versus around $834 under the old fee structure.

Here’s one notable anecdote to be filed in the “these dudes are out of touch” folder: One councilor described those who “made less than $100,000 a year and those who make more like $30-40,000 a year,” as lower income. Huh? Yo: some of us make MUCH less than that.

Also discussed was implementing a cap on the fee so as to reduce the total amount paid by the builder (see The Boot May 25th issue, “Tearing Down the Affordable Housing Fee”). Pretty sure if you can afford a $100 million commercial project, a few extra thousand toward affordable housing isn’t going to be a deal-breaker. A cap would, as councilor Jim Clinton wisely noted, make the fee disproportional. Jodie Barram and Mark Capell both seemed on board with the fee structure as it was, with Clinton even joking about raising the fee.

Council member Tom Greene, a realtor, was pushing for suspending collection of the fee for a year and was generally not in favor of the program. “I feel like Robin Hood,” said a disgruntled Greene.

Um, we’re pretty sure Robin Hood was fairly popular with the people.

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Friday, May 13, 2011

Bend's Prowling Cougar is No More

The cougar spotted around Bend has been captured and killed.

Posted By on Fri, May 13, 2011 at 9:30 PM

Yesterday, a friend sent over this photo that he snapped while walking near Brookswood Blvd.

There was plenty of cause for alarm as a cougar -- likely one cougar -- had been seen throughout the southwest part of Bend and Deschutes River Woods.

But KTVZ is now reporting that a cougar (or the cougar) was captured in DRW after it killed a deer in someone's backyard. The deer's body was then put in a trap, which eventually captured the 120-pound male cougar, which was then euthanized by ODFW officials.

Check out the story, complete with video images.

Photo: Conor Holmberg.

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Thursday, May 12, 2011

Two State Senators Push to Raise Oregon's Speed Limit

An amendment to a state senate bill could increase Oregon's speed limit.

Posted By on Thu, May 12, 2011 at 11:11 PM

In a press release sent out today from the offices of Oregon state Senators Jason Atkinson (R-Central Point) and Bruce Starr (R-Hillsboro), the two lawmakers say they want to raise Oregon's speed limit.

They are looking to raise the speed limit on highways and interstates to as high as 75mph for passenger vehicles and 60 for commercial vehicles. The current speed limit on most highways is 55mph and 65mph on interstates, and these relatively low limits (when compared to other states), have long been a source of complaints from Oregonians and out-of-state drivers alike.

Starr and Atkinson plan to achieve the higher limit by amending a bill currently in front of the senate's Business, Transportation and Economic Development committee.

“Oregon is the odd one out when it comes to the nation’s speed limits,” said Starr. “By modernizing our speed limit we can increase the flow of traffic, lower commute times and fast track commerce through the state.”

It will be interesting to see if drivers welcome the higher limits -- should this pass -- given that rolling down at highway at around 80, which would be where plenty of drivers would set their own limit, would make that $4-gallon gas disappear at an even higher rate.

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Body of Bend Tsunami Victim Identified

Posted By on Tue, Apr 12, 2011 at 4:12 PM

A body that washed up earlier this month near the mouth of the Columbia River is that of a Bend native who disappeared after being washed out to sea last month by the Japanese tsunami.

The state forensic examiner has identified the body found April 2 in Fort Stevens Park as that of Dustin Douglas Weber, 25. Weber grew up in Bend and had recently moved to Northern California to be closer to his mother’s native Yurok tribal lands. He is the lone U.S. victim of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan in March.

According the Oregon State Police, a hiker spotted Weber’s remains on the beach near South Jetty in the state park. A subsequent forensic dental analysis identified the body as that of Weber who went missing from the mouth of Klamath River near Del Norte after being swept out to sea by a large wave.

Weber is the first tsunami victim in the United States since 1964 when 11 people were killed near Crescent City, Calif. following an earthquake in Alaska.

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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

D.A. Patrick Flaherty Wants Documents Back From the Bulletin

In a press conference this morning, D.A. Patrick Flaherty announced a grand jury investigation into improper information released to the Bulletin.

Posted By on Wed, Mar 2, 2011 at 11:14 PM

When the District Attorney calls a morning press conference but the announcement says nothing about the purpose of the gathering, we tend to think there’s something big to be announced.

Could it be an arrest in the fatal hit and run on Third Street? Or maybe something about the Redmond police lieutenant that allegedly sold guns out of the back of the armory?

Nope. None of those things. It turns out that this morning's conference had to do with a story that broke in today's Bulletin about documents pertaining to new hires in the district attorney’s office. That story also stated that a Bulletin reporter, Hillary Borrud, had been subpoenaed to appear before a grand jury on Friday.

In the press conference this morning, DA Patrick Flaherty read from a prepared statement that had been handed out to the assembled media (which included both television stations, OPB, local news radio, the Source and The Bulletin), saying that the hiring information provided to our daily paper featured personal information, including phone numbers, addresses and driver’s license numbers.

Flaherty’s office asked that the documents be returned so that the personal information be redacted, then given back to the newspaper.

But Flaherty says the newspaper has not returned the documents.

“It is unclear as to why The Bulletin is refusing to return the documents for the purpose of redacting private information their own legal counsel acknowledges was received in error,” Flaherty said.

What’s perhaps more interesting than the flap with The Bulletin is when Flaherty said: “We do not know if the release of this confidential information was simply a mistake or intentional. That is the focus of the Grady Jury investigation.”

So it sounds like Flaherty’s office wants to know who sent out these documents with all this information, and also, why they did it.

After he finished reading the statement, Flaherty stood up, unclipped the microphone a television station had given him, and left the room, not answering the questions fired off by Bulletin reporter Scott Hammers, who had written that morning’s article.

…Just when you thought the D.A.’s office was starting to get boring.

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Friday, February 11, 2011

USFS Accepts Mt. Bachelor's Master Development Plan

Mt. Bachelor, US. Forest Service, Expansion, Zip line.

Posted By on Fri, Feb 11, 2011 at 5:51 PM

While the dearth of snowfall over the past six weeks has been maddening, skiers and snowboarders did get some good news this week as the path for expansion and improvements at Mt. Bachelor took a step forward as the U.S. Forest Service approved the ski resort's Master Development Plan.

Included in the agreement are plans for a new ski lift -- and trails -- east of the Rainbow Chair, a new parking lot and base lodge, a relocation of the tubing hill, and a new learning area near the Sunrise lodge, among other changes.

There were also some interesting summer additions, including more downhill mountain bike access and hiking trails, as well as a zip line tour.

The plan is just that -- a plan -- as of now, and no projects have been authorized by the USFS at this time. All projects will undergo an environmental assessment before implementation.

This is the first full master plan update at the resort since 1981, and according to Mt. Bachelor President and G.M. Dave Rathbun, has been two and a half years in the making.

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Monday, January 10, 2011

New Driving Move: Sidewalks come into play on Portland Avenue

What's with everyone in Bend driving on the sidewalks on Portland Avenue?

Posted By on Mon, Jan 10, 2011 at 5:41 PM

I know getting to class at COCC on time in the morning and evening is important, but what’s with the latest Bend driving phenomena of sidewalk driving?

Here’s how it goes. Around 8 a.m. or 5 p.m., a car heading west on Portland Avenue stops to make a left hand turn onto a side street or into a driveway. The heavy college commute traffic immediately backs up behind the turning driver. But rather than wait for the person turning to get a break in eastbound traffic and make his or her turn, some in the westbound lane decide that by driving with two wheels up on the sidewalk and two in the street that they can get past. They do.

Sidewalk driving on Portland at rush hour isn’t a once in a while thing, it’s a regular occurrence.

Fortunately, no pedestrians have been on the sidewalks in question when the sidewalk driving happens and hopefully there never will be.

If you’re college bound, relax. The longest you might have to wait for someone to turn is, what 30 seconds?

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Snow Removal: The city of Bend sends a mixed message

It's tough to keep your sidewalks clear in Bend when snowplows keep covering them up.

Posted By on Wed, Nov 24, 2010 at 6:23 PM

OK, so we all know that the City of Bend has an obscure ordinance that says we citizens should clear our sidewalks within 24 hours of a major snow dump. Fine, I can live with that, and have for the past 33 winters, and I suspect that no one has ever been fined for not clearing his or her sidewalks in a timely fashion.

I have also wondered from years why and try to clear your sidewalks at all if you live on a busy arterial street. Because as soon as I clear my sidewalks along a busy arterial, along comes a city plow and any and all the loose snow from the street back onto the sidewalks.

Here’s how it goes: I wake at 5:30 a.m. on Tuesday the 23rd and by 7 a.m. have my sidewalks completely clear of snow. So far so good.

At 1:00, my wife and I walk downtown only to arrive back as two city plows scrape whatever snow they can off the streets and put it back on the sidewalks. That’s the sidewalks along the entire length (over a mile) of street. Sidewalks that were clear, and very walkable, hours before.

A decade ago we could park on the busy arterial and we my aging Ford pickup there all winter to discourage the maniacal plow drivers. It worked. We cleaned the sidewalks and they stayed clean.

Then parking was banned on the street and the walks get cleared and then refilled with snow courtesy of Public Works.

You can’t expect people to conform to an ordinance and then make it almost impossible to do so. It appears the city and Public Works think so.

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Monday, November 22, 2010

Getting Out: Updates on Horse Ridge, Skull Hollow

Biking at Horse Ridge and camping at Skull Hollow.

Posted By on Mon, Nov 22, 2010 at 6:19 PM

Horse Ridge

It’s that time of year when mountain bikers head to Horse Ridge to ride snow-free singletrack. What many of them don’t know is that the new parking area and trail access is open and should be used in favor of parking along the roadway.

In the words of the BLM’s Gavin Hoban: “Central to the development of the site were these motivations: 1) Address the safety of users, dogs, etc, loading and unloading in the state highway right-of-way in the face of gravel trucks traveling the road from the nearby quarry.

2) to mitigate the breakdown of the asphalt at the road's edge from

increased use at the roadside site

3) to decrease resource impacts to a non-hardened ad-hoc site

4) to provide a low-key, quality trailhead user experience in a safe off-street parking setting.”

So if you plan to ride the ridge, please help out and use the new parking area.


Skull Hollow

For many years the Forest Service campground at Skull Hollow has been popular particularly with climbers who wanted to get away from the crowds at the Smith Rock climbers camping area. Also key in their preference for Skull Hollow camping was that van camping was allowed there and you could have a campfire. The fact that the camping was free was a value added.

Then the USFS turned the campground over to a private concessionaire who immediately closed the campground for five months (November to April) each year and last year started charging for camping.

The reason behind the closure is simply that the concessionaire is responsible for any damage to the campground if it’s open and there’s a resident host on site. With the campground closed and no host on site, the liability issue goes away.

Members of the climbing community are trying to rally support to have the campground open year round as the USFS gets set to sign a new 5-year agreement with the private concessionaire.

If you want to know more about the situation or get involved, contact Ian Caldwell (iancaldwell@hotmail.com)

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