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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

After Abuses, City is Ready to Pull Plug on Parking Program

Posted By on Tue, Nov 16, 2010 at 11:48 PM

The city of Bend is preparing to pull the plug on its downtown parking validation program, again, because of persistent problems with downtown employees and business owners who abuse the system. City staff is proposing to kill the validation program at the end of the calendar year and has already met with the program’s chief proponent, the Downtown Bend Business Association (DBBA), to discuss the change. City staff and DBBA are already kicking around ideas to replace the validation program, but it’s not yet clear exactly what the successor program would look like. In the meantime, DBBA is generally supportive of ending the validation program at the end of the next month because of the problems that have been identified, said DBBA Executive Director Chuck Arnold. Of foremost concern is the sharp drop in parking revenue that the city has seen since reinstituting the validation program last year. It has lost about $37,000 in parking fine revenue since May of last year. The city and its parking contractor are spending a significant amount of time administering the validation program, which allows customers to have the $22 parking fine waived if they can prove that they were shopping at a downtown business. According to the city’s analysis, Diamond has spend about $35,000 in the past year and a half on enforcement and administration costs related to the program. As a result Diamond has reduced the amount of time that is spending on maintenance at the Centennial Parking Plaza.

While the parking validation program is seen as a downtown amenity, helping to level the playing field with other non-fee areas like the Old Mill District, the city has battled abuses for years by downtown merchants and employees. The problem isn’t getting any better under the current system. Since last year, the city has rejected more than 400 parking validation claims, mostly from employees and merchants who opt to hopscotch around downtown rather than purchase long-term parking permits. Of particular concern is the uptick in dubious validations. Between May and October the city saw a roughly 75 percent increase in rejected validations compared to the same period last year.

“What’s going on is not working,” Arnold said. “It’s creating more confusion than it is helping people.”


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Forest Service Wants Winter Leash Law Input

Posted By on Tue, Nov 16, 2010 at 1:29 AM

Forest Service Leash LawsBend dog owners who want more access to groomed ski trails will have a chance to share their perspective with the Forest Service and other winter trail users this week at an open house aimed at airing some of the access issues. While there are no official proposals on the table, off-leash proponents lead by Bend-based DogPAC have been pushing the Forest Service to ease restrictions north of the Cascade Lakes Highway in an area that has been off limit to dogs, unless by special permit, since the 1980s and is presently reserved for Nordic skiers.

While dogs are permitted off-leash in other areas of the Deschutes National Forest, including the trail systems around Wanoga and Edison Sno Parks, dog owners must share those trails with snowmobiles, creating the potential for conflict. DogPAC has argued that its members and other dog owners would be better suited to non-motorized trails.

They have proposed adding several new miles of groomed trail on the Nordeen plateau, which dog owners would access through trough the Swampy Lakes Sno Park. The Forest Service has not yet offered an official position on the working proposal. However, it's a sensitive issue with existing trail users because of the limited number of non-motorized trail miles in the winter trail networks closest to Bend. The Central Oregon Nordic Club, which currently maintains the Nordeen Loop as part of the un-groomed trail network, has already submitted a formal statement opposing the change. The Tumalo Langlauf Club, which maintains the groomed network under an agreement with the Forest Service, would be responsible for maintaining the Nordeen Loop should the Forest Service agree to the proposed change. The club, however, has not yet taken a formal position on DogPAC's initiative.

The open house could be the first step in resolving some of the issues, or solidifying the status quo. The Forest Service has said it is interested in hearing from all users at the open house and hopefully heading off some of the conflicts now, before the start of the winter season.

The open house is scheduled to begin 5 p.m. Thursday night at the Bend Metro Parks and Recreation building, 799 SW Columbia St.


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Saturday, November 13, 2010

Miller Landing Campaign Gets A Boost

Posted By on Sat, Nov 13, 2010 at 1:28 AM

 

The push to build a new riverfront park in Bend got a boost this week from the Oregon Community Foundation, which announced that it has pledged $50,000 toward the acquisition of the Miller Landing property. The news brings the Trust for Public Land, and the community at large, a step closer to realizing the vision of a new riverfront park just downstream of the Colorado spillway. If successful, the area would be developed as a public park and potentially a vital component of a proposed whitewater play area that could be constructed as part of a planned redesign of the Colorado Avenue dam.

The Trust for Public Land identified the Miller Landing property as one of its highest priority acquisitions during a recent survey of community open space assets. Since that time it has been working with property owners, which include the Miller Family (of Miller Lumber fame) and Brooks Resources to purchase the property. Bend Metro Parks and Rec District has already pledged $750,000 toward the acquisition. Both the Trust for Public Land and Oregon State Parks have committed $250,000 toward the roughly $1.7 million asking price. The pledge from OCF brings, Trust for Public Land within $185,000 of its goal, which it must raise before the end of the year according to the terms of the sale agreement with the Miller Family and Brooks Resources. TPL believes that it can reach that mark, but only with the help of local residents whom it is turning to down the fundraising stretch. To donate, go online to tpl.org. To contact the local office, call or email Kristin Kovalik at 382-2092, or email Kristin.Kovalik@tpl.org

 


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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Ramsay and Arnold Headed for Recount

Posted By on Thu, Nov 4, 2010 at 4:52 AM

It's late and my pain meds are just starting to kick in (sprained ankle) so I'll keep this short. But after speaking with newly re-elected Deschutes County Clerk Nancy Blankenship, I've got this to report about the too-close to call city Council race between Chuck Arnold and Scott Ramsay .

The un-official margin of victory for Ramsay is eight votes out of the more than 10,000 cast in the race. The election won't be certified for three weeks, however. In the meantime, the county needs to sort through roughly 300 contested ballots and about 300 provisional ballots -- an unknown number of which will be verified before the certification. The clerk's office has not separated those ballots to determine which ones apply to the Arnold-Ramsay race, maybe all of them--maybe none. Regardless, if the margin of victory for either candidate remains within about 40 votes there is a state-mandated hand recount. That count will likely begin around Nov. 30, around the same time the county begins a state required election audit, which will allow the county to use the same canvassing board for both tasks, according to Blankenship. Until then, we won't be sure just who will join the council in January. But if you happen to see either of the candidates in the meantime, congratulate him on surviving one of the toughest election seasons that I remember witnessing.


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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Quick Local Election Round-up

Posted By on Wed, Nov 3, 2010 at 4:43 AM

(Update: Final numbers, or at least what appeared to be final this a.m. showed that voter turnout was much better than earlier  numbers indicated. Roughly 72 percent of registered voters turned out for the election in Deschutes County. However, late arriving ballots did little to change the overall results. Perhaps save the Bend City Council race which tightened to a razor thin margin overnight with Scott Ramsay, clinging to an 8, yes 8, vote lead over Chuck Arnold.)

The Deschutes County Clerk's office seemed particularly expedient this year, putting out election results in a matter of about an hour after polls closed. Perhaps that's a function of the dismal turnout, roughly 44 percent locally according the county clerk. The results were not good for anyone a D next to their name, meanwhile republicans and just about anyone who hung their hat on the Tea Party talking points fared quite well.

The big story of the night was the apparent defeat of Judy Stiegler, the junior state representative from Bend, who trailed Republican challenger Jason Conger by almost  more than 3,ooo votes with Conger grabbing an outright majority (52 percent) of the 31,000 votes cast. While some observers expected independent candidate Mike Kozak to siphon some votes from Conger, Kozak appeared to be a minimal factor in the race, grabbing just over 2,000 total votes,or less than six percent. A former city councilor and one-time Republican, Kozak ran on a platform of fiscal conservativism and limited government and by some accounts outperformed Conger in the debates. However, Kozak had limited resources for his campaign, which was limited to personal appearances, lawn signs and a few advertisements. By way of contrast, the Conger campaign raised a quarter million dollars for his run and spent it liberally, attacking Stieglers record on the economy in a series of dubious adds that portrayed Stiegler as a tax happy, liberal who trashed Oregon's economy. Stiegler made a late fundraising push and went after Conger's conservative credentials including his anti-abortion views and support of school vouchers. But  it appears to have been too little too late for Stiegler, who if nothing else was caught up in an overwhelming wave of anti-incumbency fever, here and everywhere.

The exception, locally was incumbent city council Mark Capell, who defeated conservative challenger Mark Moseley,  a former Freightliner executive, who campaigned on platform of fee and tax reductions (aka job growth) and limited government. With all precincts reporting, Capell led 54 to Moseley's 39 percent, just before 10 p.m. 

The more interesting story might be the other Bend city council seat where Downtown Bend Business Association ED Chuck Arnold squared off against local business owner Scott Ramsay. At 10 p.m. with all precincts reporting, Ramsay led by just over 300 votes out of more than 12,000 cast with more than 4,000 under votes reported. Could we be looking at a local recount?

In other Deschutes County news,

Republican Tony DeBone appeared to have easily defeated Dallas Brown in the race for the lone opening on the Deschutes County Commission. The 25-year-old Brown ran a spirited campaign, however. And don't be surprised to see his name pop up again in upcoming elections.

Statewide, the governor's race remained too close to call, with Dudley hanging onto a slim lead but several thousand votes remain to be counted in Multnomah County. Dudley fared much better in Deschutes County where he nabbed almost 60 percent of the vote. Results of State Senator  Chris Telfler's bid for treasurer, however, were more clear. Telfer trailed incumbent Ted Wheeler by a wide margin and the race was called early for Wheeler.

In statewide Measure's news, Oregonian's appeared to overwhelmingly support the latest get-tough on crime measure from Kevin Mannix and the Oregon Ant-crime Alliance that would require mandatory minimums for some sex crimes and repeat DUI offenders. However, they rejected a proposal to create a statewide dispensary system for medical marijuana patients. California votes rejected a more sweeping measure that would legalized possession of up to an ounce in that state.

Complete local results:

http://www.deschutes.org/electionresults/


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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Obama Loves Phil's Trail

Posted By on Thu, Oct 28, 2010 at 11:28 PM

Tea Partiers and other members of the Obama-Care/B.Hussein nation, stop reading here. The following sequence of letters strung together in words and sentences does not pertain to you.

All others may proceed...

Word over the Internets this afternoon is that the Deschutes Forest is in line for another round of federal highway funding and that's good news for mountain bikers (see I told you it didn't apply - now go put on your civil war re-enactment garb on and continue reading the Bill of Rights on your porch, Tea Party guy.) According to a press release hot in off the interwebs, the Deschutes forest has been awarded $250,000 to repave the road into Phil's trailhead from Skyliners. What's more, the forest will also be expanding parking in the always-overcrowded lot to accommodate 50 vehicles. Lastly, the Forest Service is adding an information kiosk with fun historical tidbits. If all that makes you so pumped that you want to crap your pants, well you're in luck. The grant also covers the construction/addition of what the FS is calling a new "double CXT toilet." We may have to look up the significance of the last item, but we're pretty sure it's made by Halliburton.


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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Fly Fishing is Spooooky!

Posted By on Wed, Oct 27, 2010 at 8:46 PM

You need to use a flashplayer enabled browser in order to view this video

 

The fledgling Bend Casting Club, which is seeking to take advantage of the underutilitzed Orvis casting course, has upped the novelty factor for this evening's monthly meeting/competition. In honor of this weekend's Halloween festivities, the club is encouraging fly anglers to come out to this evenings' gathering in Halloween costumes. The club will adding glow in the dark liquid to the end of competitors' fly lines (including yarn and some donated flies), allowing them to shoot holes in the dark. It may not be Burning Man, but it should be a good show.  The festivities get started at 6p.m. with prizes for winners. There is also games and treats for kids and the casting club encourages competitors to bring along the family tonight. Hey, it's the next best thing to actually fishing.


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Friday, October 15, 2010

Bend Council Candidates No-Show For 1,000 Friends Forum

Posted By on Fri, Oct 15, 2010 at 12:42 AM

It doesn't matter if you're running for U.S. Congress or your local park board, election season is a grind. First there's the pre-campaign work of lining up supporters and the gathering of signatures that are required to get your name on the ballot. Then there's the fundraising work, organization, financial reporting and the neighborhood canvassing. Don't forget the litany of endorsement interviews with media outlets and special interest groups, including the local chamber of commerce and public employee unions. Lastly, there's the public appearances: The all-important debates and candidate forums that allow voters to see the candidates stand shoulder to shoulder, answering policy questions and occasionally sparring over issues.

These candidate debates were once a staple of American politics and the primary way that voters could hear from politicians before the advent of radio and television advertising.

Sadly though these forums appear to be an endangered political species whose place has usurped in the modern election cycle by packaged sound bytes and carefully selected buzzwords.

Forget Dudley and Kitzhaber. Look no further than the 1,000 Friends/Central Oregon Environmental Center city council candidate forum that took place on Wednesday night for evidence of how the toe-to-toe political debate is fading from relevancy. Although two-thirds of the Bend City Council Candidates showed up for the forum, one of those candidates, Jodie Barram, is running unopposed. Another Ron Boozel is a likeable fringe candidate who has been battling revelations that he has a criminal record and faced an outstanding warrant just a few weeks before the election (Boozel has since appeared in court to address the allegations that he violated his parole). Missing entirely were Scott Ramsay and Mark Moseley, candidates who have earned endorsements from both the Bend Bulletin, Bend Business PAC (the political arm of the Bend Chamber). Their absence left candidates Chuck Arnold, who is in a competitive race with Ramsay, and incumbent Mark Capell, who faces a challenge from Moseley, with a televised platform to discuss their ideas on transportation and land use during Wednesday night's forum. What they didn't have was an opportunity to challenge their opponents on these important issues. That's too bad because Bend voters deserve more than just sound bytes given the significant challenge that the city faces.

"I was really disappointed because I really like Scott (Ramsay) and I have the hope that he wants to do this right and part of doing this is showing up. While there are a lot of forums and there can be conflicts, this [forum] was booked earlier than the rest and we had plenty of notification," said Ramsay's opponent Chuck Arnold.

Asked about the notable absence of Ramsay and Moseley, organizer Ben Gordon of 1,000 Friends of Oregon, was at a loss to explain.

Organizers had initially given the candidates two dates to choose from for the forum and all of the council hopefuls indicated that they would be available. Ramsay initially confirmed his attendance but backed out shortly before the forum, said Gordon, claiming that he had a meeting conflict. Moseley, a former Freightliner executive, waffled on his commitment and ultimately told Gordon that he had an unspecified conflict.

Not knowing the exact reasons why Moseley and Ramsay begged off, one has to at least question whether it was the fact that the forum was being produced by the statewide conservation group 1,000 Friends and the Environmental Center. If that's the case I'm a little bit frightened at the prospect of either of these candidates serving a constituency as broad as Bend's electorate and you ought to be, too.


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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Marz On The Move?

Posted By on Thu, Sep 9, 2010 at 10:51 PM

Bend's restaurant scene, particularly downtown, has seen more than its fair share of turnover in the past few years. Thankfully where restaurants have disappeared others have been quick to take their places - at least in most instances. That appears to the be the case, or something like it at least, with the latest spin of the culinary carousel, which reportedly has the owners of the well established Marz handing control of the restaurant to Gavin McMichael of The Blacksmith.

Read more at the Source Food Blog, Stuffed.


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Thursday, June 17, 2010

City to Hoteliers: Pay up!

Posted By on Thu, Jun 17, 2010 at 1:36 AM

The cash-strapped city of Bend is preparing to send a collective six figure bill for overdue room tax charges that the city believes it has been shorted by a number of local hotels, including the Riverhouse.

The city of Bend released the final figures from its recent audit of six Bend hotels showing that the properties owe together more than $330,000 to the city because they under reported room tax revenue between Jan.2007 and Jan 2010. According to the city the Riverhouse, a property that has a contentious history with the city including an unrelated lawsuit over a construction bill disputes, owes the most -- roughly a $129,000 as of Dec 31 last year. Bend Inn and Suites and the Best Western each own roughly $57,000, according to the city. Other debtors include Econolodge ($38K) Pine Ridge (19K) and Sleep Inn ($46K)

The news follows several months of wrangling and speculation by the city that a number of hotel properties had exploited a loophole in the city's room tax rules that allowed hotels to deduct a meal expense from their tax bill, but had failed to properly account for the funds. The city has since eliminated the meal tax loophole over the objections of several hotel owners, most notably Riverhouse owner Wayne Purcell who aggressively lobbied the council to retain the exemption.

Purcell, who could not be reached by phone Wednesday evening, told the Source earlier this year that he has followed the city's room tax rules and didn't expect an audit to reveal any discrepancies.

 


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Monday, May 31, 2010

Bring Band of Horses Back to Bend

Posted By on Mon, May 31, 2010 at 6:00 AM

Wow. Just wow. LSA (les schwab amphitheater) is back for 2010 in a big way with last night's Band of Horses show. That was some unapologetic, unbridaled rock and roll that managed to make half the audience swoon. And, oh yeah, there was a full-on Fourth of July fireworks dispaly over the river BEFORE the encore, which-btw-on Rd. 3 was Yo La Tengo.

Sorry did my face just melt off?

Long live wild horses.

REJ.


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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Source staff gets a nod from the Society of Professional Journos

Posted By on Thu, May 27, 2010 at 4:27 PM

We’re a pretty humble bunch around here, but we just had to let ya’ll know that your hometown alt weekly nabbed a couple of nods this past week from the Society of Professional Journalists for our writing and reporting in 2009. Competing against non-daily newspapers and magazines from across the state and in southwest Washington, the Source garnered awards for news, social, issues and business reporting. Most notably, Arts and Culture editor Mike Bookey took home a first place award for his news feature “Poet. Friend. Killer?” about Jason Centrone, the artist turned transient who killed two other men in a local homeless camp. Bookey’s story beat out features from no less than the Willamette Week to win the top honor. Other winners included Editor Eric Flowers who grabbed a second place in the social issues category for a piece on sustainable agriculture. Contributor Daniel Pearson took home a third place award for a feature piece on the struggles at KOHD. Without the support of readers and advertisers, we wouldn’t have a chance to tell these kinds of stories. So thanks for sticking with us. Here’s to more good scoops in 2010.

 


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