As enforcement looms, county finds own lights need fixing

Two months before the delayed enforcement of Deschutes County’s outdoor lighting ordinance, county officials have looked in their own backyard, so to speak, and found more than $8,000 worth of lighting changes to make.

One only needs to step outside the county courthouse or administration building in downtown Bend and look up to see the old-style, unshielded street lights that the ordinance targets. But most of the unshielded county lights wouldn’t technically violate the rules, adopted in 1994 in response to calls for an effort to reduce the impact of unshielded lights washing away the starry night skies. That’s because almost three-fourths of the affected county property is within Bend or other cities, and the cities have yet to adopt rules similar to those in the unincorporated areas of the county.

Still, the county plans to take care of its unshielded lighting, whether in the city or not. “We’d like to see this county lead by example,” said Rick Kelly, a county building inspector and plans examiner. Commissioner Tom DeWolf agreed, saying the county needs to be “pro-active” on the matter. A county warehouse at 1306 NW Hill St. will be used as a test bed to set up different lighting shields and new types of light fixtures. The idea is both to evaluate their cost and effectiveness, and provide a demonstration site for the public to view compliant lighting alternatives, officials said.

The county lighting ordinance has only affected new construction, up until now. An Aug. 31, 1999 deadline for existing outdoor lights to also comply was pushed back a year by commissioners while the county’s Community Development Department assembled a citizen committee to study the rules and ways to educate the public, cutting down on the need for code enforcement.

County Web site offers info on rules

The ordinance states that a light that produces more than 1,800 lumens – equal to a 120-watt incandescent light bulb – must be shielded or modified to prevent light from spilling onto neighboring properties. A typical mercury vapor light produces about 6,000 lumens and a high-pressure sodium yard light about 10,000 lumens. Brochures on the ordinance are available and information about the lighting ordinance can be found at the CDD Web site, at . People with questions also can call the agency at 388-6575.

‘Good lights make good neighbors’

County commissioners were briefed Wednesday by the citizen committee on their efforts. A display was shown of good and poor outdoor lights that was shown to the public during the spring home show at the county fairgrounds. “Good outdoor lighting makes good neighbors, preserves rural values and provides for security and safety,” their brochure states.

Terrebonne resident and panel member Jan Drum said she got involved because of problems with her neighbors’ lights shining onto her property and into her windows. Her task was to contact local retailers about carrying the various shields and conforming lights. “There were positive results,” she said.

Commissioner Dennis Luke pointed to the added cost savings of proper shielding of security lights: “If you have a shield, you don’t need a light that bright.” The effects of poor lighting include glare light trespass and wasted energy, as well as the glow that washes away the stars in the skies over large cities.

B.J. Johnson, county code enforcement director, said complaints won’t be officially verified under the voluntary, initial level of enforcement for the new lighting rules. Instead, the named property owner will be mailed information about the ordinance, including material about how to retrofit older lights with shields for as little as $40. Both the property owner and the neighbor will be sent information about how to communicate successfully about lighting issues.

Citation would be like traffic ticket

If the problem persists and other complaints are lodged, the sheriff’s code enforcement team will first verify the violation, then send a notice of violation that gives the property owner 30 days to make the correction. If the property owner provides evidence of fixing the problem, the issue is over. If not, the case will be referred to the sheriff for noncompliance. A citation, similar to that for a traffic violation, will be issued, either immediately or giving the property owner 15 days before a citation is issued, depending on the circumstances.

As committee member Jim Kelso noted, one solution in some cases is even cheaper: “A can of black spray paint” used on the unshielded light globe. Fellow panel member and civil engineer David Knitowski said the extra year before enforcement has made a difference. “We wanted to get the word out,” he said, not just to citizens but to lighting distributors and sellers. Knitowski also said he would “really like to see” Bend and Redmond adopt similar rules, once they see how it works in the county.

The International Dark-Sky Association in Tucson, Ariz. ( has played a key role in lobbying for outdoor lighting regulations around the world. The group recently put a detailed “Lighting Code Handbook” on its Web site. According to the introduction, “Careful and considered use of lighting at night, using light only when it is really needed, where it is needed, and as much as is needed and no more, would unblanket the stars in all but the largest cities.”

Bend toddler’s screams scare off would-be kidnapper

A search by officers and three police dogs failed to find a man who apparently tried to abduct a 3-year-old girl from the back of a parked vehicle late Thursday morning.

The child’s screams apparently scared away the man during the incident occurred around 11:40 a.m. in a driveway at the Pines Mobile Home Park on Brosterhous Road, said police Lt. Jerry Stone.

At the time of the kidnap attempt, the child was secured in a car seat that was seat-belted in the vehicle’s back seat, Stone said. The child began screaming, which alerted people inside the home, who ran out to check on the child. The toddler then advised that a man tried to take her out of the vehicle, Stone said.

A male friend of the family spotted a subject running in a northeasterly direction from behind the mobile home park, officers said. He chased the suspect for a while, then returned to call police, whose search did not turn up the suspect.

The suspect is described as a white male in a white T-shirt and dark pants. He may have long blond hair and may have been wearing some kind of mask at the time of the attempted abduction, Stone said. The Oregon State Police crime lab is assisting in the investigation.

Councilors spar over whether roads fuel growth

After more than an hour of sharply critical testimony, Bend city councilors gave a preview Wednesday night of their upcoming debate over whether more roads, roundabouts and a controversial bridge will solve the city’s traffic woes.

Following a hearing at Bend’s Public Works facility on a state-mandated Transportation System Plan (TSP), Council Benjie Gilchrist admitted to being “a little dumbfounded” by critics of more roads also attacking a plan to put a 5-year, $7 million levy on the November ballot that will pay for more sidewalks, trails, expanding Dial a Ride to the public and more street maintenance.

Some speakers said the levy is doomed to failure because the city is putting too much emphasis on more roads solving its problems. Two, in fact, suggested that the much-debated “southern crossing” be put up for a vote of the people instead. Others urged the city to have a “contingency plan” to fund alternate transportation projects, in case the levy fails.

The transportation plan and levy will be discussed at the council’s July 5th meeting at City Hall. A deadline looms in late July, should the council want to put the measure before voters.

Councilors debate: Do roads fuel growth?

Councilor Oran Teater said he worked on two school levy campaigns – the first failed and the second succeeded – and there were no contingency plans, just a regrouping to try again. Teater said he’s seen the studies of big cities where new road lanes quickly fill up, but he’d like to see whether that also is true of rural communities of 50,000. “We need to have connectivity in the (street) grid system,” he said.

City Manager Larry Patterson said the addition of Colorado Avenue a decade ago did bring lower traffic volumes on Newport Avenue, for several years. He also said a fallback funding plan could undermine the levy: “If I were a citizen, why would I vote to fund it if there’s another source of money?”

“There’s only so many resources to address the issues before the city today,” Patterson added. “If it fails, we’ll go back to the drawing board to see how to address the issues.”

But Councilor John Schubert, a strong proponent of transportation options, noted that in 1940, Tucson and Phoenix were cities of 40,000 or 50,000 and that the “planning models used since the 1950s” have been shown not to prevent sprawl. “People aren’t making this stuff up,” he told his colleagues.

But Counclor Kathie Eckman said she was born in Tucson and has “a hard time believing” the area’s rapid growth in recent decades occurred “because they built roads. I think other things are drawing (newcomers) in.” Eckman added that “the demand for better options for traveling around town” is there and that she has shifted from Colorado to Galveston Avenue because of recent traffic buildups.

Mayor Jim Young sided with Eckman on the issue: “I think the people in Phoenix and Tucson would be amazed to hear that roads are why people moved there, instead of the sun.” He accused critics of the city’s transportation plans of using suspect studies and “clouded theories” to advance their cause.

Teen, lawyer square off over southern crossing

The first testimony came from 13-year-old Palmer Nicklas, who first addressed the council in opposition to the “southern crossing” when he was 12, after a sixth-grade study project. The teen said an “incredible river park” planned on a former log deck in the Deschutes River Canyon would be destroyed by a bridge carrying an estimated 16,000 cars a day. (At present, a consortium of Westside developers plans to put up funding for the $2.8 million bridge, as well as numerous traffic circles.)

“Please make the long-term decision by putting the crossing on hold,” Nicklas said. “It can’t hurt.”

The opposing view was offered by lawyer Bob Lovlien, a Bend Transportation Advisory Committee member and incoming Bend Chamber of Commerce president. BTAC made the Reed Market Road westward extension and southern crossing their top road priority in a 5-year capital improvement plan.

“Without the southern river crossing, some of our downtown bridges and road corridors will be destroyed,” Lovlien said. He also urged that the transportation levy be sent to voters as a single package, not split between transit and other modes, as Patterson has suggested.

Friends of Bend members Michele McKay and Ann Wheeler led the charge of those claiming the city had failed to live up to the directive of the state’s transportation planning rule, which calls on communities to actively pursue methods to reduce reliance on automobiles and move toward a more “balanced” system. McKay said the study of pedestrian needs was lacking and that the plan was “overwhelmingly reliant on private automobile use.” Wheeler said the state requires a 20-year project plan but the city only compiled one for five years that relies heavily on the fall levy vote.

Nils Eddy, a long-time bike and trails advocate, made the same points, in blunter fashion: “The plan half-heartedly jumps through the hoops and misses half of them,” showing “a fundamental lack of imagination” in terms of innovative transportation solutions.

Critics attack levy dependence

Another critic, Bob Bates, said, “The irony is, we may have a (plan) that won’t fly before LCDC (the state Land Conservation and Development Commission) and a levy that may lose at the polls.” Cort Vaughan called it “a roadbuilding plan,” not one for multi-modal transportation, and echoed Bates’s concern: “You can’t rely on the voters to pass a levy. That just may not happen.” He said the proposal would “cause more growth, more sprawl. I hope that the city council has a vision for Bend that isn’t gridlock.”

Al Tozer said the city’s capital improvement plan devotes about 15 percent of the funds, or $9.3 million out of $62 million, to alternative transportation – “not bad.” But he said that would fall to 6 percent if the levy fails – and 1.6 percent, if you exclude the existing Dial-a-Ride program. “That’s not going to pull us away from the auto-reliant society we have now,” he said. “I would suggest to put the bridge on on a bond levy, Think of the corporate funding that campaign would get.”

Schubert later expressed hope that the review of the transportation plan wouldn’t have to be rushed to make deadlines for a fall levy measure. But City Attorney Ron Marceau warned, “We might very well be ahead of ourselves,” in terms of a legal foundation, if the levy precedes plan adoption. “It doesn’t mean it can’t be done,” he added.

County leaders deny ‘deer enemies’ charge, hold to rule change

Deschutes County commissioners stayed the course Wednesday on plans to add a new forest lands policy that could allow dozens more homes in rural areas. But they insisted adequate wildlife protections are in place and they are not “enemies of deer,” as some critics have claimed.

Criticism arose at a recent hearing on the rules amendment, which would allow up to 76 tax lots to seek a change from forest to farm zoning and thus be eligible for new homesites. The change is restricted to lots bought between 1985 and 1993 that are 40 acres or less in size and could not otherwise qualify for a dwelling.

Commissioners unanimously approved a first reading of the amendment and are likely to adopt it after a second reading on July 26th. Damian Syrnyk, county associate planer, noted that any proposed zone change would not remove the requirements of the “wildlife area combining zone,” if such designation already exists on the land.

The board members have acknowledged that a threat of legal action by Oregonians in Action, a private property right group, on behalf of Tumalo landowner James Watts prompted a look at the issue. But they denied being intimidated into the rule change. On Wednesday they also rejected claims in a Source article, entitled “Deschutes County Commission No Friend of Deer.” It said the proposal would harm wildlife and “plow up the Tumalo Winter Deer Range” and accused commissioners of “sniping” and “raking the forces of preservation over the teeth of looming bulldozers.”

Commissioners say they love deer

“I share tulips in my garden with the deer every year,” said Commissioner Dennis Luke. Colleague Linda Swearingen said she shares her property with “two nice bucks” and would kick her son out of the house if he followed through on idle talk of shooting them. The third commissioner, Tom DeWolf, said his west Bend neighborhood had a deer walk down the street at 2 a.m. recently.

DeWolf said he made a visit to the Watts parcels and surrounding area Tuesday and also reviewed a map Syrnyk provided of parcels that could be affected by the rule change, which he said are spread around the county west of Bend and not concentrated in any one area.

“Here’s folks who bought property with the right to build a house, then had that taken away from them,” DeWolf said. In the area of Watts’ three parcels, only those lots would qualify under the new rule, he said – and two nearby homes would have needed the same thing, had they not been built before the state land use rules changed. He also noted that homes proposed in wildlife areas still would face fencing and building restrictions.

“I can’t, in my mind, justify not doing this,” DeWolf added.

Planner: New rule has adequate limits

At a late June hearing, Syrnyk said the county’s planning commission made changes to the proposal last spring that reduce the number of parcels that could apply for a change from forest to exclusive farm use zoning.

OIA’s director of legal affairs, David Hinnicutt, testified in support of the proposed change, saying it would give property owners whose land was “improperly zoned for forest use to have that land rezoned toe xcusive farm use.” He said the change won’t eliminate or affect so-called “wildlife overlay zones” that already are in place.

But two officials with the Alliance for Responsible Land Use in Deschutes County (ARLUDeCo) argued against the change, saying a threatened lawsuit by Watt and OIA should not result in a change that allows more “rural sprawl” in areas of wildlife habitat and winter deer range.

“Yielding to intimidation sets a bad precedent, and the proposal simply accelerates rural sprawl,” said William Boyer of Sisters.

Commissioner Linda Swearingen told Boyer, “I’m not intimidated by the court threat. I firmly believe that what’s being proposed here makes sense. My decision, yes or no, will not be based on intimidation.”

Suit threats don’t matter, commissioners say

ARLUDeCo member Howard Paine repeated Boyer’s claim that the proposal would set a bad precedent. Swearingen took issue with their viewpoint, saying, “What a novel idea – helping people do something with their property.”

When Paine also claimed the county was being intimidated into action, Commissioner Dennis Luke forcefully denied the allegation. Back when he was a state representative, Luke said, “I kicked Bill Sizemore out of my office because he tried this kind of crap.” Colleague Tom DeWolf said he, too, doesn’t respond to lawsuit threats any more: “I’ve been sued so many times over the past six years” as county commissioner and city councilor, he explained with a sigh. Luke also disputed Boyer’s claim that the county routinely approves non-farm dwellings.

William Kuhn, who lives across the road from the Watts property, said the land is in winter deer range and deserves to be protected, even if it technically isn’t farm or forest land. He said the neighbors will fight and appeal the text amendment to the state Land Use Board of Appeals, if it is approved.

Kuhn, like other critics, noted that Deschutes County is considered the worst in the state for rural sprawl. But Luke told Kuhn, “It’s a good thing (added restrictions) weren’t there when you built your house, or you wouldn’t be living there.”

She just can’t say no: Bend profiler back at it, aiding in boy’s abduction case

Jeanne Boylan, who thought she could say no to the pleas for help, said yes again this week, and is feeling the emotional pain for doing so.

The nationally known criminal profiler, whose sketches of the Unabomber and numerous other crime suspects have drawn acclaim, has told everyone, both in her new book and face to face, that she is leaving that business behind.

Then a 10-year-old Dallas, Ore., boy had his throat slit by a man who picked him up with an offer to do yard work, then dumped the struggling child out of his car in a rural area. An initial sketch of a possible suspect as seen by a witness didn’t bring many leads or much hope, so a call went out to Boylan, who plans to move from Bend but keep a phone number here.

She met with the recovering boy in a hotel room and brought some Play-Doh along. She gleaned enough information for a markedly different sketch of the suspect.

“This case really wiped me out today,” Boylan told by e-mail. “Reminded me of why I HAVE to get out (of this line of work). No kidding — it just floored me — I simply cannot keep going through these dramas.”

This time, she considers her sketch a “longshot,” even though she believes the attacker was an area resident. “The level of trauma to the boy was so severe that I have low confidence in what we produced,” she said, urging the media “to use it in a very general sense at best.”

“Ugh — pressure, stress and heartbreak!!!” Boylan wrote. “I just fell in love with this little boy — I cannot even breathe a normal breath tonight, so heavy is my heart.”

Boylan tours promoting book on cases

A few weeks earlier, Boylan was sitting in the hot southern Arizona sun, a long way from her Bend home, doing her nails and getting ready for the next stop on her book tour while talking about how she came to write a fascinatng book about a life she never intended to live, yet up to now has been unable to turn away from.

“I never intended to write a ‘true crime book,” she said. “I never would pick up a ‘true crime’ book, watch a cop show.” She also didn’t want to see her face on the cover of her book, but there she is, almost glamorous: the blond woman in black T-shirt and blue jeans, a quick hotel lobby shot when she was fighting the flu, several years ago. Her face, staring out from bookstore shelves across the nation. You can see how she won the crown of homecoming queen back in Colorado, when she dreamed of nothing but escaping over the Rockies and seeing the world – perhaps even becoming a globetrotting reporter.

But fittingly, Boylan is not alone on the cover of her book, “Portraits of Guilt,” which recently rose to No. 3 on the U.S. “reading circles” list at and was bouncing as high as the top 200 of the Web site’s sales overall. She shares the cover with the photos and the sketches of three killers, including the Unabomber and the man who kidnapped and murdered 12-year-old Polly Klaas, surely the most heartbreaking of the cases recounted in the book.

The subtitle says it all: “The Woman Who Profiles the Faces of America’s Deadliest Criminals.” Call her a “facial identification specialist,” but for heaven’s sake DON’T call her a “police sketch artist.” She’s not and never will be one: “It’s not the point of this work to make something artistically or aesthetically fabulous, but to make something accurate.”

Reviews have been overwhelmingly positive about the book, in which Boylan, aided in the writing by fellow Bend resident Barbara Findlay Schenck, weaves the stories of the major crimes she was called in to help untangle with a sadly familiar homefront tale of how such demanding work eventually took a fatal toll on her marriage.

Boylan holds Bend book-signing

Boylan was back in Bend for a few days, holding a Barnes & Noble book-signing. But she’s making major changes in her life.

“I am trying to get out of this work,” she tells anyone who will listen. But her own written words, closing out the book’s prologue, show just how tough that has been in the past: “Each time the call comes, I go. You see, I can’t say no.” Indeed, the book title has twin meanings: not just the legal definition of guilt, but the kind left in the wreckage of many a failed marriage and what led to it.

The book-jacket bio says Boylan “has assisted on thousands of cases for the FBI, television news divisions, and investigative agencies from Beijing to Moscow. Her pioneering method of interviewing eyewitnesses is based on years of research and study of the psychological effects of trauma on perception and memory.”

It’s not rocket science, to Boylan: Emotion affects memory, and the police artists’ fat books of facial features – she calls it the “pick a nose” system – and the thousands of faces witnesses are given to pore over “entomb the actual image that created the trauma,” in her opinion. That process doesn’t produce, but actually aids in destroying evidence, as if a camera with a vital image inside has its shutter repeatedly pressed – while the film fails to advance.

Boylan talks lovingly of Bend in passages throughout the book, written while closeted with her computer in a 100-year-old, windowless adobe near the Mexican border, starting each day at 9 a.m., forcing herself to turn off the PC and go to bed at 3 a.m.

Sketch warms cold trail to Unabomber

In the first scene, as an FBI agent snags her while changing planes in San Francisco, she longs for Bend’s “welcomed aroma of the hot, dry air, a mixture of juniper and pine, tinged even in the high-desert summer with the faint scent of pine-fueled stoves.” Soon, she is helping a secret witness – the only living person to have seen the Unabomber – undo the damage done by a contaminated sketch that had led to seven years of fruitless searching around the globe for a man who didn’t exist. Through a careful, deliberate interview process that allows the old image to emerge from the mind’s protected recesses, she gets the details she needs to draw a true likeness of the man who eventually would be arrested in the case.

Boylan is learning on her travels that her book is a best-seller; a stop at Powell’s “City of Books” Sunday finds that it’s sold out, for example. And many readers are coming up to her and telling touching stories of their own tangles with crime and its aftermath. But more than selling books, she hopes to reach the hearts and minds of a legal system that has proven stubbornly reluctant to change its ways. “There is a missing chip in my brain that thinks about commerce,” she said. “I care, however, about change.”

Her message to police and prosecutors: Stop treating witnesses like suspected criminals and start treating them – and their valuable memories – as key evidence that needs careful treatment and protection in order to see the light of day and bring perpetrators to justice. She is the common link between all these cases, from the Oklahoma City bombings to Susan Smith’s killing of her two young children in South Carolina. She’s usually called in to fix mistakes and turn things aright. Sometimes she does so in time, such as the momentous Christmas when she learned the kidnappers of a Bay Area jeweler’s wife set her free in fear after their sketches were splashed across the newspapers’ front pages. Sometimes, sadly, it’s not in time, such as the Polly Klaas case.

Even on a sunny Sunday afternoon in Arizona, on a promotional book tour, the crime headlines of the day have her good and mad. She is furious over the case of Gary Graham, whose execution in Texas cast a pall in many people’s eyes over Texas Gov. and presidential candidate George W. Bush. To Boylan, it’s another prime example of the mistakes prosecutors often make in the realm of witness memories.

Late plea in Graham case falls on deaf ears

Given a last-minute chance by MSNBC, Boylan made a live six-minute plea to Bush by satellite, a half-hour before the execution deadline, urging him to delay the killing 30 days so that the evidence could be reviewed. Whether he heard her remarks or not, the plea fell on deaf ears.

Boylan was not calling Graham a saint, by any means: “He’s done a lot of other things, but I don’t believe he killed this man.” She explained how the key witness to the Texas slaying 19 years ago was “contaminated” when she was shown hundreds of photographs in a “skewed photo laydown” with only one person “even close to the one she described.” The witness pointed to Graham in a physical lineup, then told the police officer driving her home that she had recognized the man she fingered from the photo she was shown earlier – and not from the crime scene itself.

“No way this ID should stand up,” Boylan said. “They killed the wrong man, but Bush did not care. Politics – what a case to close out a career on. It makes me leave the so-called ‘justice system’ with absolutely no regrets.”

And leave it she shall, according to Boylan, who revealed that she already has bought a home in another state, using a less-familiar family name. On a Portland radio show, she joked about her next life, working as a “cart girl on a golf course.”

“Nobody believes me,” she said of her decision to move on. “I really am of the belief that, despite everyone saying I have this unique ‘gift,’ that this is something anybody can do. I think it’s just a matter of having some patience and compassion. … The primary thing is to teach them what not to do. I think it does take a certain personality, but I think those people exist.”

Boylan plans to sell her Bend home, but she will keep her business ties in the town she still loves. “Bend has provided a good niche for me,” she said. “It’s a place that can recharge me, nurtures me. I have to have that in between these cases.”

Views on Jon Benet’ Ramsay case offered

There’s another big case – one of America’s biggest in recent memory, in fact – that doesn’t make Boylan’s book: the Jon Benet’ Ramsey murder. She is reluctant to say if she’s played a role in the still-unsolved slaying. But does she believe the parents were involved? “Oh my God,” she said. “In my estimation – and my opinion is of no more value than anyone else’s – I see the Ramseys doing everything an innocent person would do,” such as writing their own book and “getting nothing but crucified by the media.” Not like O.J. Simpson, “who says he’ll make it his life’s work to find his wife’s killer, but then spends all of his time on the golf course.”

The less well-known cases have their own lessons to tell. In one chapter, Boylan writes of how she helped the mother of a young Bay Area man, slain in what became known as the “Good Samaritan murder,” scour the seediest parts of the Haight-Ashbury district. They eventually found the key witness — who supposedly was blind, but as it turns out, wasn’t blind at all. We later learn that police all but dropped their investigation, not for a lack of leads, but because of a City Hall political squabble that cut off investigators’ overtime pay. She, and the reader, are incredulous when a police inspector tells a crowd of reporters, “Those witnesses were only available weekends – and we don’t work weekends.”

Whether a long-discussed movie or TV series come to fruition, it’s likely that the golf course “cart girl” job will have to wait. Instead, Boylan may use the book as a springboard to more training of police around the world in how to do a better job of coaxing memories from witnesses and creating more useful sketches. “In this country, we have a know-it-all attitude,” she said. “You can’t believe the resistance I get. I make these little pockets of influence. Artists get involved in this work to showcase their art. This is not about art or an artist’s ego, but accurate information.”

Boyland finds ‘catharsis’ in sketches of own attackers

Boylan said she fought and almost backed out of the book deal over the publisher’s insistence that she include two very personal sketches from an unsolved crime-ones drawn from her own memory, this time. They are the faces of the two men who abducted her on a country road when she was a 21-year-old on her way to her car after a night college class in rural Missouri. But now, she said, including those sketches has proven to be a catharsis that will let her move on to the next stage of her life, whatever that may be.

Near the close of the book, Boylan tells an audience how she has never stopped searching faces for her attackers everywhere she goes. But she also tells how she has found healing through helping other crime victims and witnesses cope with their trauma, and most importantly by listening to them with compassion. “Because on that night, when I had a story to tell, there was no one willing to listen to me.”

Troopers enlist truckers to report road problems

Oregon State Police and highway officials are teaming up with the state’s trucking industry in a new way to boost public safety on the road, by training and equipping truckers with the ability to quickly report accidents and other hazards.

The OSP (, Oregon Trucking Associations, 911 dispatchers and the state Department of Transportation launched the “Highway Watch” program Monday at the Woodburn Port of Entry on Interstate 5 south of Portland. OSP and emergency dispatchers have trained about 20 of Oregon’s safest truck drivers to spot problems on the state’s highways and report them to 911 or a special Highway Watch number. All of the initial group is from the I-5 corridor, but OSP Lt. Gregg Hastings said it’s likely Central Oregon truckers will be part of a follow-up group of 50 drivers expected to be trained this fall.

The Highway Watch drivers got special training on identifying and reporting traffic accidents, medical emergencies, “road rage,” impaired driving, roadway debris, stranded motorists, severe weather conditions and other things they could encounter on the road.

Hastings noted that truckers and other motorists always have been a special addition to the eyes and ears of OSP troopers, stretched thin in recent years by budget limitations. “This way, you have (cellular) phones provided to them and a specific number to call into,” he said. “They are given an ID number, so you don’t have to spend time taking down that information.”

Truckers try to boost image

And will the truckers report wayward truck drivers as well? “They may,” Hastings said. “But I think the trucking industry really wants to improve their image. They have struggled over the years with an image problem.”

One of the Highway Watch drivers, Troy Atkins, said, “I work on Oregon’s highways every day and want them to be safe for my family and for others.” He called the program “a great opportunity for me to use my professional driving knowledge and skills to further this goal.”

Oregon is the sixth state to join the Highway Watch program, supported on a national level by the American Trucking Associations and funded by the local trucking industry and a grant from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The gal is to make it a nationwide program.

While no Central Oregon-based truck drivers are part of the program yet, Hastings said it’s likely many of those trained so far make frequent trips over the mountain passes to the fast-growing areas east of the Cascades. He also said the program’s 1-800 number for the OSP is in Bend, since that dispatch center has the lowest call volume of the agency’s three facilities around the state.

Cell phones have pluses, minuses

The use of cellular phones while driving – especially the hands-on variety — has brought its own share of controversy in recent years. Hastings said it’s very helpful if motorists who encounter trouble can notify 911 or OSP while on the road, rather than have to pull over and find a phone. But some studies also have shown that engaging in a phone conversation while driving can impair a driver’s abilities and concentration.

“They are very valuable,” Hastings said of cell phones. “People just have to use them responsibly. If they are distracted, people need to look at pulling over to the side of the road.”

Bend man dies in plunge over Tumalo Falls

A 23-year-old Bend man on an outing with friends died when he plunged over Tumalo Falls Saturday afternoon, Deschutes County sheriff’s deputies reported.

The victim was identified as Aaron Matthew Graham, of 6932 S.E. Centennial Blvd., who had just moved to Bend a few weeks ago from Ridge Crest, Calif., officials said. His immediate family lives in Lancaster, Calif.

Witnesses told investigators that Graham stepped over a barrier fence placed for the protection of visitors to the falls. He stepped onto a rock and apparently lost his footing, falling into the water below, said sheriff’s spokesman Rick Meyers.

The county’s 911 emergency dispatchers got a call for assistance around 3:30 p.m. Deputy Kyle Joye and Sgt. David Dobler were first on the scene. Dobler alled for the sheriff’s search and rescue swift water rescue team to conduct a search while Bend Fire Department crews arrived to aid in recovery of the body.

Sheriff’s deputies and Forest Service law enforcement officers are investigating events leading up to Graham’s apparent decision to cross over the safety barrier, Meyers said.

New wildfires threaten Prineville viewpoint, close lower Deschutes near tanker derailment

A very busy early start to the Central Oregon wildfire season continued Tuesday as a new blaze forced closure of the lower Deschutes River near a hazardous train derailment and another fire broke out around the evening rush hour on Prineville’s west side.

The Viewpoint Fire began just after 6 p.m. on the north side of state Highway 126, for a time threatening the viewpoint at Ochoco State Wayside park. Fire crews, aided by Prineville and state police, managed to keep traffic flowing as the fire jumped out and around the viewpoint before firefighters got a handle on the flames, estimated at 10 to 15 acres. Homes and structures were not threatened by the blaze, fought by six Prineville fire units, two Ochoco National Forest engines and three engines from Oregon’s Department of Forestry.

A tanker car derailment near the lower Deschutes River delayed initial response to the Blue Pool Fire, estimated to have blackened 70 acres by Tuesday night. It was reported around 8:30 a.m. 1 ½ miles north of Maupin, according to the Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center ( The river was temporarily closed so two helicopters from John Day and Prineville could use river water to help douse the flames. The fire was burning on Bureau of Land Management lands in grass and sagebrush, moving away from the river and uphill toward farmland, officials said. The cause of the fire was under investigation, and fire crews expect to have it contained by 6 p.m. Wednesday.

A Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railway tanker car derailed 1.3 miles downstream from the fire, stopping train traffic along the river. The car carried sulfuric acid of an unknown industrial strength, so the initial fire attack was delayed for health and safety reasons, until deemed safe. A state hazardous material investigation team was en route to secure the derailed car, aided by Oregon State Police.

Extreme fire conditions were reported in the area Tuesday, with winds to 10 mph and low relative humidity of 10 to 20 percent. High pressure over the region is forecast to produce drier conditions through Thursday.

Resources on the fire include three engines from the Mount Hood National Forest, one engine from the state Department of Forestry in Prineville, one engine from the ODF’s The Dalles office, one engine from the Big Summit Ranger District on the Ochoco National Forest and two engines from the Juniper Flat Rural Fire Department.

Another fire was reported around 1:45 p.m. in the Two Rivers subdivision, 7 miles southwest of Crescent. Officials said there were structures upwind of the fire, but they were not threatened. The blaze was quickly extinguished at less than a 10th of an acre. Four engines from the Walker Range Protection Association and a six-person crew and engine from the Crescent Ranger District of the Deschutes National Forest quickly responded to the incident.

Meanwhile, crews late Tuesday contained the 1,000-acre Baker Can Fire, 10 miles northeast of Madras. The fire was spotted Monday afternoon just across the Trout Creek Canyon from the 3,400-acre Seattle Flat Fire, which erupted last Friday. The cause of that fire, like the others, is under investigation.

Two small fires, each held to 1/10th of an acre, were doused Monday night near Sisters and southwest of Henkle Butte. The Prineville Hotshots, meanwhile, left Redmond Air Center Tuesday, joining three other Northwest Hotshot crews on the fire lines in Alaska.

Southeast Bend blaze threatens homes

A wind-fanned brushfire that began at an apparent children’s camp in a wooded area of southeast Bend raced across 3 acres late Monday afternoon, sending up a smoke plume visible for miles as fire crews battled to stop the flames within 20 yards of some homes.

The Bronzewood Fire was just one of several new blazes reported around the region late Monday. But it was one of the most dangerous within Bend’s city limits in recent years.

“It could have been a lot worse – we could have lost some homes,” Bend Fire Marshal Gary Marshall said of the fire, reported around 4:30 p.m. and contained almost an hour later. Fifteenth Street, a major north-south thoroughfare in southeast Bend, was closed well into the evening between Wilson Avenue and Reed Market Road as fire crews remained on the scene, pouring water onto hotspots. Some of the 30 firefighters who were called out will remain through the night, Marshall said.

“This thing moved really quick,” Marshall said. “The first call we got was just two trees on fire.” By the time crews arrived, strong northerly winds were pushing the flames quickly toward the south and spot fires were starting up to 250 feet in front of the main fire line. “Firefighters did an extremely good job of keeping structures protected,” he said. “They train and train for this.”

The heavily forested area of ponderosa pine, bitterbrush and juniper trees has been a hotbed of fire activity in the past, Marshall said, as many kids in the area build forts. The exact cause of the blaze was under investigation, but Marshall said it appears to be human-caused and noted that the city’s fireworks stands opened just last Friday.

Nervous residents were preparing to flee

“Our hoses wouldn’t stretch all the way into the fire,” he said. “It got right up to Bronzewood” Avenue, where one home lost a fence to the flames. No other structures were damaged, Marshall said, and while there were no evacuations, “there were a lot of people concerned and getting ready” to flee.

Residents said many campfires have been set by youths in the dense wooded area in the past. A woman who was among the first to spot the flames said she would like to see a ban on fireworks in Bend due to high fire danger. “The ones up there are okay,” she said, pointing to Pilot Butte, site of the city’s annual fireworks show. “But not down here.”

While Northwest fire danger has yet to reach its peak, unlike areas to the south and east, Marshall warned that the area is several weeks ahead of its normal late-June fire danger, “just because things are so dry. People need to be really careful, especially around the Fourth of July. Keep track of the kids. People need to remember they will be responsible for any damage” caused by their children, he added.

Due to the threat to homes, Bend firefighters were quickly assisted on the fire lines by crews and engines from La Pine and Sunriver, the U.S. Forest Service and the Oregon Department of Forestry. A mutual aid call also brought Redmond fire crews to staff empty substations in the event of more problems. “We throw as much manpower on it as we can,” Marshall said.

The fire marshal reminded residents that forested areas within the city already are very dry, with weeds, bitterbrush and juniper trees that burn explosively due to the pitch and resin. He said the best and fastest way to defend one’s home this summer is to clear weeds and brush at least 30 feet from all structures.

Update: Owner of slain llama wants young shooter ‘flogged in town square’

REDMOND – John Benham raises ostriches for a living, but he’s not about to stick his head in the sand when it comes to a young gun-wielding vandal who drove up and gunned down his prized llama in broad daylight this week.

“Some kid has murdered an animal, just to see it fall,” the South African-born Benham said Friday evening, vowing to press charges to the maximum extent possible. “I want his rifle, I want his truck, then I want him flogged in the town square in Redmond – Singapore-style justice. The reason we have so much ‘trash’ here is we don’t punish people.”

Benham and other witnesses say a young man, accompanied by a younger companion, shot and fatally wounded Shaver, a 7-year-old retired grand champion llama, in his pasture off O’Neil Way north of Redmond this week, Deschutes County sheriff’s deputies reported.

The animal was shot at least three times Tuesday morning, said sheriff’s Cpl. Larry Garribay. A male driver, possibly 17 or 18, was firing a rifle cradled in his left arm. A younger passenger, probably a boy of 12 or 13, also was in the truck, according to one witness.

Authorities are looking for a dark blue Ford pickup truck with an extended cab, likely a 1980s model, which Benham and other residents of the O’Neil Junction area spotted driving along a North Unit Iirrigation District canal. The pickup’s license plate begins with the letters UEN, and the tailgate was vented in a way that indicated it possibly tows a fifth-wheel camper.

Benham, owner of the llama called Shaver, said the animal might have been worth $2,500, or even more if he had been showing it at fairs, as many breeders do. “They get 20 grand for a llama that’s nothing more spectacular” than Shaver was, he said.

Benham said he and wife Linda only had two llamas on their 40-acre property, which they moved to seven years ago: Shaver and a female now pregnant by him. “The llama business was not something I wanted to get into,” he said, “but we ended up with an animal that won all these awards at the Jefferson County Fair.” His llama was retired to stud after winning grand champion ranking in all categories in 1994.

Shooter ‘just driving along, linkin’

Benham said he was out working on repairs to his deck when he “heard these semiautomatic (rifle) shots going out. We kind of expect it in the summer, because everybody’s out crazy looking for (rock) chucks to shoot, sage rats.” Within a minute, he recalled, “rounds started ricocheting over my head. That makes me mad, because that’s kind of irresponsible, to shoot and not know where your shots are going.”

Garibay said the youth was “shooting behind Lake Park Estates, on the canal bank,” firing at least a dozen shots at various objects. (The llama) was along the pasture near the canal, about 50 feet from his fence. They were just driving along the road, plinkin.'”

Benham said he saw the pickup crossing O’Neil Highway and coming onto the road along the canal on his property, about 500 or 600 feet away. “He drives halfway down the field and starts pounding out rounds again,” Benham said. “The next minute, he puts the thing in reverse and takes off like crazy down O’Neil Highway and head off down Redmond.” Benham said he pointed his finger at the pair as they sped by his driveway. “I think (the shooter) may have had a Western hat on his head. Next to him was this little 10-, 11-, 12-year-old boy,” whom Benham surmised was his little brother.

The rancher said he quickly called the sheriff’s office but wasn’t aware one of his llamas had been felled for almost a day. When he went out that evening to change an irrigation pipe, he “noticed one llama standing up and the other sleeping.” On Wednesday morning, he saw the one llama had not moved – and was not asleep. “A llama’s fur is 4 to 5 inches thick, so ya don’t see much. The bullets had passed clean through his chest.”

Possible charges against the perpetrator could include three felony counts: theft, criminal trespass and criminal mischief, deputies said.

Shooting not seen as tied to others

Garibay said the shooting incident is not believed to be connected to other noteworthy animal shootings in recent months. “These are just malicious, random shootings,” he said. Anyone with information about the incident or who may have spotted the suspect vehicle is asked to call Garibay at 923-8270 or the Bend sheriff’s office at 388-6655.

Benham said it’s not the first animal he has lost to frequent random shooters. Two years ago, late on a Saturday night, someone else pumping rounds from a semiautomatic rifle killed one of his ostriches with a stray bullet. “That’s another $1,000 down the drain,” he said. “It’s just ridiculous. Unfortunately, within a mile of our place, we have lowlife trash. They don’t raise their kids. People make drugs out here. It’s in these areas where all the methamphetamines are made.”

Benham said the young gunman “must have seen the animal standing in the field, drove down the road, stopped where the llama was, executed the animal and backed out.” And it just reinforces Benham’s views about how weak Americans are on crime and punishment.

“The reason we have so much trash here is we don’t punish people,” he said. “In Africa, if you stole a car, you would be flogged. They didn’t want you to go to jail and learn from other criminals. … Three weeks later, the pain is gone, but the incident is burned in the memory. The trouble is, Americans are soft.”

Key debate under way: How should Bend grow?

A very important topic – how Bend should grow in the future and who should pay for that growth – was the subject of two lengthy hearings before city councilors Wednesday night, as the city seeks to tackle a growing list of transportation needs.

Since adopting street development fees six years ago, Bend has charged only 70 percent of its justified amount, a fee that has risen slowly to almost $900 for a single-family home and tens of thousands of dollars for commercial and industrial projects. The sliding scale for those projects is based on the average amount of car trips such uses generate – for example, a convenience store pays much more per square foot than a retail store or shopping center.

A citizens transportation advisory committee is backing a consultant’s recommendation that the fee rise to the 100 percent, fully authorized level – and that the fee be more than tripled, pegging the street fee on a new home at $3,250. With water, sewer and park development fees, the total would top $8,000, said Deborah McMahon, development services director. The increases are more dramatic on commercial uses – for example, a convenience store would pay more than $71,000 per 1,000 square feet of space, just for street fees.

It’s all an effort to make growth pay its own way. Current residents, meanwhile, are likely to be asked in November to pay another $7 million in property taxes over five years to expand the Dial a Ride transit program to the general public and to pay for street maintenance, sidewalk infill and trails.

The original street fees, known as SDCs, or “system development charges,” only covered the cost of streets from curb to curb, including drains. The new proposed fee methodology is much broader and also includes sidewalks, landscaping, medians and the cost of right of way purchases, as well as engineering and city administrative costs.

The SDCs would generate about $18 million over the next five years to fund two dozen road and intersection projects, including the most controversial of all: the Reed Market Road extension westward from the Bend Parkway across a former log deck and the Deschutes River, hooking up to Century Drive – the long-debated “southern crossing.”

That project was a key focus not only of the City Hall hearing on SDCs but a followup session on the Westside Traffic Consortium’s proposal for the $2.8 million bridge, eight traffic roundabouts and other Westside improvements totaling $7.7 million. It’s not a noble gesture; development on the west side has been halted for months due to lack of a needed road infrastructure. By state law, SDCs can only be used for major transportation projects, not for local streets that are still the developer’s responsibility. If they pay to build the big roads up front, the city reimburses the developer from later SDC payments.

Patterson said that since he arrived in 1986, the city has not had enough money to keep up with road needs. A 1992 local gas tax proposal was soundly thumped by Bend voters.

When the first SDCs were imposed in the mid-’90s, builders expressed alarm that the new fees could kill the booming economy. Nothing of the sort happened, so much of the testimony this time questioned whether the formula for setting the fees was fair and legal, especially in the cost balance between residential and commercial/industrial projects.

Chamber urges delay in some fee hikes

Bob Bates claimed the proposed fee hikes were “designed to fund the (Westside) consortium’s proposal and “a means to fuel massive growth on the west side.” He noted likely funding measures to be sought soon by the parks and school districts and said “taxpayers are subsidizing growth.”

Lawyer Bob Lovlien, who represented both the Bend Chamber of Commerce and the citizes panel he served on, said the committee focused its limited time and attention on the home fees and urged a delay in the commercial and industrial fee hikes. “We’re not sure (that) basic fairness is being proposed,” he said.

Developer Mike Tennant, part of the Westside consortium, urged moving to the full street fee as soon as possible, acknowledging that “growth hasn’t been paying it’s way for transportation for a long, long time.”

Chamber board member Pat Oliver said, “Development needs to pay its fair share. We acknowledge in the past we’ve made our mistakes and not funded it.” But he asked for a 90-day review of what he termed “prohibitive” costs for residential and commercial development, adding, “We want to work with you.” Oliver suggested the higher fee could be imposed retroactively, but Jim Forbes, assistant city attorney, called that “a minefield. I shutter to think about the legal precedents involved.” Oliver then suggested imposing the higher fees and reimbursing developers, should a review lead to any reductions. Patterson said he didn’t want to do that but agreed to meet with business leaders and explain the fee methodology while seeking “a way to address these issues.”

Builders claim new fee formula illegal

Shifting some fees to residential construction apparently will just make a different group angry, however. Homebuilder Vern Palmer agreed that transportation problems need to be fixed but bemoaned “trying to put all the costs of transportation on the back of housing,” forcing up costs and causing people to live elsewhere where fees are lower. “We have the most expensive housing in Central Oregon, and we’re going to continue to” be in that position, Palmer said.

Pam Watkins, executive vice president of the Central Oregon Builders Association, fired a direct assault, threatening legal action if the fees are imposed: “There is a real flaw in the methodology that doesn’t hold up legally.”

Paul Dewey of the Sisters Forest Planning Committee attacked a different element, saying that full reimbursement of costs to developers only fuels more growth on the city’s fringes.

Snowberry Village developer Norbert Volny had a different target, arguing against the much broader costs included in the street fee. The longtime foe of a planned 27th Street widening project called the city’s plans for medians “grandiose and not fitting for this area,” pointing to higher maintenance costs and what he called the “weedians” along the Bend Parkway.

Flat street fee for all new homes criticized

Paul Biskup asked a question likely to draw councilors’ attention: Why is the housing street fee a flat one, rather than varying based on the size of a house? Consultants have explained in the past that larger homes don’t necessarily house more people who make more trips on city roads, which is the basis for setting those fees – unlike sewer and water fees.

The city already plans to look at building trails and transit costs into street fees, but Ann Wheeler and Michele McKay of the group Friends of Bend said that should happen now, before the fees are increased, and not later. As trails supporter Sean Corrigan put it, “If we doing what we’ve been doing, we’re going to keep getting what we’re getting.”

Patterson bristled at and took issue with former planning commissioner Al Tozer’s claim that the proposed fees don’t reflect state planning goals because they focus solely on streets and not transportation options that would reduce the reliance on cars. The city manager noted that the citizens committee came up with a balanced plan that does take those needs into account.

Wayne Purcell, general manager of TheRiverhouse and a Bend resident since 1962, sparked a laugh with his suggestion: “I think the only fair way to do this is to kick everybody out who moved here since 1962 and charge them $3,000 to get back in.” Builder Dan Kiesow, said his concern is the balance of fees on homes and urged councilors, “Don’t rush into this.”

The discussion of the west Bend consortium proposal took similar tones. McMahon noted that the consortium’s plans takes care of existing traffic problems, not just the impacts of the planned projects, which could add up to 5,000 homes on the west side. The complex plan involves creating two local improvement districts, one for the overall Westside plan and the other for the bridge itself.

Mike Hollern, chairman of Brooks Resources, said he and others had their doubts at first but now believe the proposal – the first of its kind in Oregon — “has a shot” at working While trails and other amenities are part of the Northwest Crossing project, Hollern acknowledged to Councilor John Schubert that non-street projects are not part of the $7.7 million proposal itself.

Park board suggests moving bridge approach away from river

Eileen Woodward of the Bend Metro Park and Recreation District Board urged that joint planning for the new bridge begin as soon as possible. The parks board also urged the city to look at the idea of moving the road alignment south, away from the river, linking into an existing road in Wood River Village. She said it may be a more expensive option but a much better one in the long term.

Wheeler, of Friends of Bend, said the Westside consortium proposal is not contingent on the bridge and noted that the group’s consultant backs an alternative: widening Colorado Avenue at the existing bridge in five to seven years. “If in fact, Colorado may have to be widened … then why not do that first?” she said.

Bob Tucker opposed the consortium proposal, calling it a “quick fix” with roundabouts that won’t solve the overall traffic problem. “This plan serves no one but the developers,” he said.

The council faces another night of transportation talk next Wednesday, when it holds another double-barreled public hearing on the new transportation system plan and its 5-year capital improvements plan. That session will take place at 7 p.m. at the city’s Public Works building on Northeast Forbes Road.