Towel behind stove starts fire that destroys mobile home

A towel behind an oven ignited and caused a fire that destroyed a mobile home in Romaine Village on Bend’s south end Wednesday morning, but a smoke alarm allowed the 89-year-old occupant to escape unharmed, investigators said.

The blaze occurred shortly after 10 a.m. in a 30-year-old mobile home at 60975 Mullin Drive, said Bend fire Inspector Mike Skeels. The first of more than a dozen firefighters to arrive and tackle the blaze found the home was fully ablaze and fire venting through the roof, but the woman and her dog had escaped without injuries.

Adele Preston was alerted by the smoke alarm and found the fire near the kitchen range, Skeels said. She tried to extinguish the fire and failed, then fled the home and called for help. Neighbors helped the woman to safety and called 911.

Skeels said the towel behind the oven ignited and smoldered, igniting the wall and contents. The fire destroyed the home, which was insured and had an estimated value of $43,000, and contents valued at $49,000. It also caused minor damage to a neighboring structure, Skeels added.

Achterman named High Lakes Elementary interim principal

Wednesday, January 31, 2001 For more information contact:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Laurie Gould, PIO
(541) 383-6004

Interim Principal Named for High Lakes

Tom Achterman, assistant principal at Mountain View High School, has been
appointed interim principal for High Lakes Elementary, announced
Superintendent Douglas Nelson today. Achterman will be at the helm of the
elementary school for the remainder of the school year.

Achterman was chosen because of his extensive experience as a principal at
both the elementary and middle school levels. “We were looking for someone
who would be a calming influence at the school and who would help the entire
school community heal following the death of Principal Dayle Whitworth,”
said Nelson. “Tom knows the community High Lakes serves since he was
principal at Cascade Middle School for a number of years. He can address the
day-to-day issues, and help the school prepare for next year.”

Achterman joined the district in 1977 as a middle school teacher. He was the
assistant principal as Cascade Middle School from 1991 through 1993,
becoming principal there for three years. In 1996 he became the principal at
Buckingham Elementary School. In 2000 he became an assistant principal at
Mountain View High School, and will be an assistant principal at Summit High
School when it opens in the fall of 2001.

“Tom will make a great administrative team with Janet Ackerman, assistant
principal at High Lakes, and will help us begin the search for a permanent
principal at the school,” Nelson said.

The district will begin the process of filling the principal position at
High Lakes this spring. “It will be a team approach, involving staff,
parents and other administrators, similar to the process used to hire the
principal for Mountain View High School last year,” he said. “Our goal will
be to find the best person we can for that position, but right now we needed
someone who could do a excellent job during the interim period. Tom will do
that for the district and the school.”

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Cell-tower builder faces towering pile of denials but won’t give up

No, no, a half-dozen times no – but American Tower Corp. (http://www.americantower.com) doesn’t give up easily. It plans to appeal the six denials (so far) of more than a dozen 150-foot cellular phone towers the nation’s largest tower builder wants to plant around Deschutes County.

“We are going to appeal all of them (the denials),” Don Larson, ATC’s Oregon project manager, said Wednesday in the wake of a stunning 0-for-6 rejection in recent days of proposed towers off Brosterhous and Butler Market roads in Bend (http://www.ci.bend.or.us), and four county (http://www.deschutes.org) sites: atop Laidlaw Butte in Tumalo, (where the county also rejected an existing 60-foot cell tower), on Plainview Road, at the Halligan Ranch on Highway 97 south of Redmond, and in Deschutes River Woods south of Bend.

City-county Hearings Officer Karen Green wrote four of the denials, having also rejected the Cellular One/Tumalo Irrigation District pole that is the subject of a Feb. 13 appeal hearing before county commissioners. Bend Hearings Officer Tia Lewis cited the same general reasons for rejecting the two proposals made within the city.

The county has been looking at tightening its cell tower rules, which likely wouldn’t give American Tower any greater odds of success in a hearing before county commissioners. The city appeals, meanwhile, could mark the first time the Bend City Council has heard a cellular tower case – unless the new “slow growth”-dominated council decides to let the hearings officers’ rejections stand as the city’s final decisions. That could prompt the company to take its appeal fight to Oregon’s Land Use Board of Appeals.

County Principal Planner Kevin Harrison noted Wednesday that the county has approved some cellular poles and towers recently – but they were ones proposed by cellular phone providers, not by an “absentee landlord” like American Tower, which leases sites and erects poles for cellular companies to rent space on. That’s a key reason why ATC is not doing well in the face of strong neighborhood opposition.

The company has provided letters of intent from cellular and wireless companies that intend to make use of the towers, but the hearings officers say the applicant itself must be a cell provider in order to pass muster.

Tower firm faces delays: `We just have to play it out’

“Essentially, we feel that letters of intent from carriers are just exactly what they say they are,” Larson said. But he added that ATC “cannot change the rules” in place at the time the applications are filed. “We have to play by the rules,” he said.

The denials and subsequent appeals cost not just money but time and are delaying American Tower’s efforts to build in Central Oregon, Larson acknowledged.

“We’re going to appeal and state our cases in each one” of the rejections, Larson said. “We just have to play it out.”

The decision to appeal was no surprise to Damian Syrnyk, a county associate planner who has been working on the cellular issue for several years. “I would have been surprised if they hadn’t” appealed, he said.

At their weekly meeting next Wednesday, commissioners will review the planning commission’s proposed changes in the wireless communications ordinance as planners seek direction on what revisions to consider, Syrnyk said.

In advance of that meeting, Syrnyk has been compiling a list of cellular pole and tower approvals by county planners over the past year, and there’s been quite a few, he said.

County planners have been approving smaller poles; La Pine request hits similar snag

Examples include US Cellular’s 50-foot lattice tower on a butte west of Black Butte Ranch and a 30-foot wooden pole erected by Washington-Oregon Wireless (WOW), a Sprint PCS affiliate, on Highway 97 south of Redmond (near the rejected Halligan Ranch site). “They were also very small (towers), compared to what American Tower is looking at,” in terms of height, Syrnyk said.

A hearing was held last week in Bend on an application by Americom, working as a local agent for WOW, for a 125-foot tower proposed at La Pine’s sewage treatment facility on Reed Road. That hearing “started out well but didn’t end well,” Syrnyk said, because Americom could not guarantee that WOW would use the tower, so “it could run into the same problems American Tower has,” Syrnyk said. On the plus side for the proponents, only tower foes Tom and Michelle Grimm and Linda Moskowitz turned out for the hearing – the only La Pine residents on hand were sewer district representatives, the planner said.

In fairly identical denials, Lewis said American Tower failed to show its proposals met the county definition of a “wireless telecommunications facility” – and that even if it did, the firm failed to prove the towers needed to be sited in a surface-mining zone, in the case of the Deschutes River Woods proposal, or the exclusive farm use zone, for the Halligan Ranch site.

“At a minimum, the applicant must submit evidence describing the alternative site analyses performed, identify each alternative site and explain why each alternative site was rejected in favor of the subject site,” Lewis wrote in both cases.

In a similar ruling denying the city requests, Green said the letters of intent to use the poles are not sufficient evidence to demonstrate the applicant’s proposal is a “utility,” as the city regulations define it. The rules establish siting standards that require an evaluation of whether the proposed utility is located so as “to best serve the immediate area” and “to minimize (its) effect on scenic values,” Green noted. Without such information, Green wrote, “there is no sufficient evidence from which I can make findings that these siting standards have been met.” She said the submitted drawings and photo simulations showed “at least three different designs and is purely speculative.”

In her county rulings, Green said the county requires that applicants have Federal Communications Commission licenses, and went on to say that neither ATC nor US Wireless is a licensed provider. She noted in the Laidlaw Butte ruling that ATC had cited two cases from other jurisdictions to indicate a “common practice in the telecommunications industry” of companies building towers for lease to providers. But Green wrote, “The issue here is not whether it is common practice for the applicant to do what it is proposing to do. The issue is whether that practice is permitted under the language of the county’s zoning ordinance. I have found that it is not.”

In the Plainview Road decision, Green said American Tower failed to include specifics about the number, size, location, appearance or operating characteristics of the antennas that would be installed on the proposed steel monopole. She also cited a lack of evidence about coverage areas and gaps, to show the tower is needed. Green also knocked down ATC’s claim that coverage areas were proprietary information, noting that wireless providers US Cellular in Bend and VoiceStream Wireless in Redmond had provided that information when they applied for their own poles.

Tom and Michelle Grimm and Linda and Ralph Moskowitz mailed letters and self-addressed stamped post cards to all 613 members of the Tumalo Irrigation District on Wednesday, urging them to speak out against the 60-foot tower that Cellular One and the district erected last year, prompting a code enforcement complaint by the county.

Tom Grimm said they were dismayed at an irrigation district (http://www.tumalo.org) meeting earlier this month when district officials refused to discuss possible alternatives to the tower and instead chose to press on with their appeal to county commissioners.

But Grimm also said he’s “absolutely” pleased by the half-dozen new denials — seven, if you count Green’s rejection of the 60-foot Laidlaw Butte tower.

“It’s a basis for future applicants to see that the county’s regulations require things that tower builders cannot provide — they have to be (wireless) providers. With the ordinances, they are not letting them willy-nilly put anything up that doesn’t have a use.”

Still, Grimm wants to see the county adopt even tougher rules that would, among other things, require annual checks on the towers. He also noted that new-generation wireless now being developed won’t need such tall towers, as they use smaller “repeaters” that can be hidden in buildings and the like, while providing better service.

DEQ seeks public comments on Van Osten property cleanup plan

Oregon Dept. of Environmental Quality
Public Affairs
2146 NE Fourth, Suite 104
Bend, OR 97701
Phone: (541) 388-6146 ext. 224
Toll free in OR (800) 452-4011
Fax: (541) 388-8283

Visit the News Media web page at: http://www.deq.state.or.us

News Release

For release: Jan. 31, 2001

Contacts:
Scott Fairley, Public Affairs, Eastern Region, La Grande, (541) 975-1129
Cliff Walkey, Cleanup Program, Eastern Region, Bend, (541) 388-6146, ext. 224

DEQ Accepting Comments Through March 2
On Cleanup Plan for Van Osten Property

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is taking public comments through the month of February on a plan to clean up dioxin contamination at the former Van Osten Post and Pole facility east of Bend on U.S. Highway 20.

The plan can be reviewed by contacting the DEQ office in Bend at (541) 388-6146. All comments must be received by 5 p.m. Friday, March 2, 2001 and should be sent to DEQ, attention Cliff Walkey, Van Osten Project Manager, at 2146 NE 4th St., Suite 104, Bend, OR 97701.

Under DEQ’s cleanup proposal, dioxin-contaminated soil will be removed from portions of the former Van Osten Post and Pole property and from adjacent residential properties. Contaminated soils in nearby Providence Road, currently a gravel road, will be capped in place using pavement.

DEQ will consider all submitted comments before issuing a final cleanup proposal.

Van Osten Post and Pole operated as a wood treatment business from the mid-1960s to 1984. In April 1999 the site entered DEQ’s Orphan Cleanup Program for contaminated properties whose owners are unknown or unable to pay for cleanup projects considered necessary to protect human health and the environment. DEQ officials say the presence of dioxin is related to the site’s former wood treatment operations.

Dioxin is a suspected carcinogen that bonds with soil molecules. The most likely form of human exposure comes from inhaling or ingesting dust containing dioxin residue.

###

La Pine HS teen admits sparking fire, says he was ‘just playing’

La PINE – A 15-year-old La Pine High School student has admitted to igniting a gasoline-filled plastic bottle next to the school as a prank, burning a small patch of asphalt, authorities said Wednesday.

Earlier, the La Pine Rural Fire Protection District had been seeking the public’s help in connection with the resulting fire that occurred Monday afternoon. Charges are pending against the youth, who told investigators that he and his friends “did not intend for any damage to occur to the school … that they were just playing around,” said Fire Marshal Jim Gustafson.

Gustafson said the boy apparently had put gasoline in a plastic bottle, then put some grass or twigs in the top as a fuse “and lit it to see what would happen.”

The device didn’t damage the school building before it burned out, but it did burn and damage about 8 square feet of asphalt against the school’s north exterior wall, Gustafson said. The incident occurred around 2 p.m., while school was in session.

Oregon State Police arson investigators and the State Fire Marshal’s Office aided La Pine fire officials in their investigation of the apparent arson attempt, Gustafson said.

Deschutes County news: Luke testifies in Salem on 2-year budgets; DeWolf talks jails in N.M.

For Immediate Release –
Contact: Jenny Scanlon, 330-4640

Bend, Oregon, January 30, 2001-

Deschutes County Commissioner Luke Testifies on Bill 2022

On Thursday, January 25, 2001, Deschutes County Commissioner Dennis Luke testified before a legislative committee in Salem regarding bill 2022 which allows cities, counties, schools and special districts to budget on a two year cycle. The Association of Oregon Counties (AOC), school districts, special districts and the Department of Revenue all support the change and testified in favor of the bill.

Commissioner Luke has performed extensive research over the past year and a half regarding this issue and has found significant monetary benefits and time savings in the budgeting process without sacrificing accuracy. There was no opposition to the bill.

“The bill was well received by the committee. Amendments are being drafted for suggested changes by the Department of Revenue. We hope the bill will move to the house for a positive vote,” stated Commissioner Dennis Luke regarding his recent trip to Salem.

——
For Immediate Release –
Contact: Jenny Scanlon, 330-4640

Bend, Oregon, January 30, 2001-

DeWolf Attends Santa Fe Symposium Addressing Crisis in American Jails

Deschutes County Commissioner Tom DeWolf joined county officials from across the country in Santa Fe, New Mexico for a national symposium, “Forging a National Coalition Strategy to Prevent Jail and Prison Overcrowding.”

DeWolf is a member of the National Association of Counties (NACo) Justice and Public Safety Steering Committee, who met January 24-27 to establish national legislative priorities for the coming year. Those priorities include legislation to divert non-violent, mentally ill inmates into restorative community programs; provide incentives for comprehensive community strategies to prevent jail overcrowding; and restructuring existing programs into local criminal justice block grant that covers all functions of the local justice system.

“Fighting crime is a state and local responsibility,” said NACo President Jane Hague. “Ninety-five percent of the criminal justice workload is performed at the state and local level. It is vital for states and counties to work together in order to remedy our nation’s correctional crisis.”

Counties spend more than $40 billion annually on the administration of justice. Counties also spend more than $50 billion annually to provide health and mental health services at the local level. Consequently, counties are in a unique position to design comprehensive strategies for treatment and prevention efforts.

“Nationwide, there is a lack of effective programs for the mentally ill and as a result, they wind up in jail. The same is true for alcoholics, drug abusers, the homeless and others. So many of these people are non-violent offenders who cycle through jails repeatedly, contributing to serious overcrowding,” Commissioner DeWolf stated.

Foremost on the symposium’s agenda was the idea of systematic reform. This included effective strategies to alleviate the adverse conditions affecting local jails, preventing crime with a focus on childhood development at age 1-3, and diversion of non-violent offenders into community-based programs in order to assist them in straightening out their lives.

County officials and Sheriffs throughout America are learning that during a period of limited financial resources, jails are too expensive to be considered the only place to provide both punishment and community protection. They have learned that communities cannot simply continue to build jails and believe it will solve all of society’s crime problems.

“I was most impressed with the quality of presenters, facilitators and the discussions that took place among the various county commissioners and sheriffs from across the country in Santa Fe. I am personally re-energized in my own commitment to working with our Sheriff’s Department, Mental Health, Community Juvenile Justice and District Attorney in overcoming the difficulties we face,” commented Commissioner DeWolf about his overall conference experience.

end

OLCC allocates Dec. revenue to C. Oregon cities, counties

OLCC allocates $271,480 in December revenue to C. Oregon

Crook, Deschutes, Gilliam, Hood River, Jefferson, Klamath, Sherman, Wasco and Wheeler counties and their 30 cities received $271,480 from the Oregon Liquor Control Commission\’s December 2000 statewide revenue disbursement.
The OLCC distributed a total of $14.79 million for last month, $7.99 million to the state general fund, $1.42 million to Oregon\’s 36 counties, and $2.85 million to its 240 cities. The city revenue sharing account, administered by the state Department of Administrative Services, received $1.99 million.
Half the taxes collected on wine and malt beverages, $519,520, went to alcohol and drug- use prevention, intervention and treatment activities, funded by the state Office of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Programs. And, the Wine Advisory Board received $18,279 from a special tax of 2 cents a gallon on all wines made or imported into the state.
OLCC revenue is generated by sales of distilled spirits, taxes on beer and wine, license fees, and fines for liquor law violations. Revenue varies from month to month and year to year, based on liquor sales, buying or reducing inventory and other budgetary factors.
In a distribution based on population, treasurers in nine central Oregon counties received the following: Crook, population 18,150, $7,687; Deschutes, 109,600, $46,423; Gilliam, 2,050, $868; Hood River, 20,400, $8,640; Jefferson, 18,600, $7,878; Klamath, 62,800, $26,600; Sherman, 1,900, $804; Wasco, 22,750, $9,636; and Wheeler, 1,600, $677. Cities are below

Oregon AG investigating electricity supply, rate issues

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 30, 2001

Attorney General Hardy Myers today announced that he is investigating whether current conditions in the supply and pricing of electricity on the Pacific Coast have resulted in any violations of state or federal consumer protection and antitrust laws affecting Oregon.
\”Electric power is a fundamental daily need,\” Myers said, \”and Oregonians are facing dramatic increases in the costs of that power for both residential and business uses. Although Oregon has limited resources to devote to such an investigation, we will do everything our resources permit to ensure that current and future market conditions are solely the outgrowth of lawful factors.\”
In making his announcement, Myers noted that Securities and Exchange Commission filings by some power generators show their quarterly profits were 15 to 20 times greater than for the same period a year ago. \”Profit increases of this magnitude in a short period sharpen the need to ensure the market is operating lawfully,\” Myers said.
California Attorney General Bill Lockyer recently launched an investigation into allegations of collusion, price manipulation, unfair business practices and other possible violations of antitrust law. Attorney General Christine Gregoire of Washington today also announced her intention to investigate electricity pricing and supply in Washington. Myers confirmed he will be cooperating with California and Washington.

# # # #

CONTACT: Kristen Grainger or Kevin Neely, (503) 378-6002.

Walden seeks study of adding generators at John Day Dam

January 24, 2001
Walden Drafts Bill to Protect NW Energy Consumers from California Crisis; Requests Study of Additional Power Generation

Potential CA Utility Bankruptcies Could Drive Up Rates for NW Consumers

600 Megawatt Boost Could Be Had from Dam

WASHINGTON, DC-Congressman Greg Walden, a member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, today acted to protect Northwest energy consumers from further effects of the ongoing California energy crisis and to promote additional generating capacity to keep long-term rates lower.

Legislation to Ensure NW Ratepayers Don’t Pay for California Bankruptcies

Walden is working on draft legislation that would prevent the federal government from requiring utilities to send power to other regions unless those utilities receive assurances that they will be repaid in full. Yesterday, Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham renewed a Clinton Administration order requiring Northwest utilities, and those from other regions, to sell excess power to California’s financially unstable utilities to help ease shortages. The order does not, however, contain any assurance that Northwest utilities would be repaid should California recipient utilities go bankrupt.

\”This is a serious situation for everyone in the Pacific Northwest, and I appreciate Secretary Abraham’s efforts to address the energy crisis in the West,\” Walden said. \”If our utilities are forced to sell power to California with no assurances that they will be repaid, the utilities’ credit rating will be seriously damaged. Consumers in Oregon and throughout the region will end up footing a whopping bill for a federal order. That’s simply not fair, especially when the Northwest is facing its own energy shortages and high prices. This bill will act as an insurance policy, protecting northwesterners from instability in the energy market in California.\”

Walden will likely introduce the bill at the end of January, when the House of Representatives returns to session.

Northwest utilities have yet to send power to California under the federal order because there has not been a surplus in the region. Should such a surplus materialize, however, the federal government would mandate transmission of electricity to California.

Request for Additional Generating Capacity in the Short and Long Term

In an attempt to address possible long term energy shortages for the Northwest, Walden sent a letter to the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), requesting a study of the possibility of placing power generating equipment in four currently unused power bays at the John Day Dam near Rufus to generate as much as 600 Megawatts of additional electricity. This additional electricity would be enough to power half of the city of Portland. Should BPA and the Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps), which operates the dam, conclude that adding the generating capacity is feasible, it would likely take one to two years to start generating electricity.

\”As electricity prices rise sharply in the Pacific Northwest, it is crucial that we look to increase generating capacity in the near future,\” Walden said. \”Utilizing these existing power bays at the John Day dam is a relatively quick and environmentally sensitive way to add capacity to help avoid future price spikes.\”

Walden also requested that BPA conduct a thorough review of the entire hydroelectric generation and power transmission system in the Pacific Northwest in an attempt to identify additional sources of power for the region.

There are currently 16 power bays in use at the John Day Dam, which is operated by the Corps. Power from the dam, along with the other federal dams in the Columbia River system, supplies approximately three-quarters of the electrical power consumed in the Northwest.

\”We need to make sure we are getting the most out of the assets we have at hand. That means maximizing the benefit from every gallon of water that flows down the Columbia as well as improving transmission methods. This is a time to examine every opportunity for additional generation and efficiency,\” Walden said.

Congressman Walden represents the Second Congressional District of Oregon, which includes the 20 counties of southern, central and eastern Oregon. Rep. Walden is a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and The House Committee on Resources

# # #

COCC cancels board meeting, having said enough on branch campus proposals

Jan. 30, 2001

COCC CANCELS JAN. 31 BOARD MEETING
The Jan. 31 meeting of the Central Oregon Community College Board of
Directors has been canceled. The board members have studied the
comparative summary of the two branch campus proposals and have decided
that further comment is unnecessary at this time.
\”The board appreciates the work of Shirley Clark, vice chancellor for
academic affairs for the Oregon University System, in preparing the
side-by side analysis,\” said Tony Dorsch, board chair. \”It was easy to
read and understand.\”
COCC president Bob Barber commented, \”We are eagerly awaiting the
decision of the state Board of Higher Education as to our new partner so
that we may begin implementing the branch campus components.\”
The Central Oregon Regional Advisory Board will meet at 10 a.m. on
Wednesday, Jan. 31, in the Christiansen Board Room of the COCC Boyle
Education Center. The next meeting of the COCC Board of Directors will be
Wednesday, Feb. 14.