Jailed Bend woman awaits summer trial in husband’s slaying

La GRANDE – A Bend-area woman remains jailed in the Union County Jail, pending a July trial on a charge she murdered her husband last October.

Liysa Ann Northon, 38 at the time of her arrest, has been held without bail since turning herself in to Milton-Freewater police on Oct. 9 of last year. The couple lived part-time in both Bend and on the island of Oahu, Hawaii; the husband, Christopher James Northon, 44, was a pilot for Hawaiian Airlines.

Wallowa County sheriff’s officers were called to a campground on the Lostine River, following a report of possible domestic violence the night before. The victim’s body was found with a fatal gunshot wound to the head.

Portland attorney Patrick Birmingham, who represents Liysa Northon, has indicated the shooting was in self-defense. In denying bail, Circuit Judge Philip A. Mendiguren said the evidence overwhelmingly indicated that Northon murdered her husband.

According to the Wallowa County Chieftain, Birmingham said Northon shot her husband after the two had an altercation in which Liysa Northon was thrown into the water and had her head held under. Birmingham also claimed Christopher Northon threatened to kill his wife at the Wallowa County campground if she left with their child. The Northons have two sons ages 3 and 8; the 3-year-old reportedly was on the camping trip with his parents.

An emergency care physician in Bend treated Liysa for injuries in February 1999 and reported the injuries to police. The Deschutes County District Attorney’s Office filed assault charges against Christopher Northon at that time, but was unable to locate Ms. Northon as a witness and the charges were dropped.Wasserspiele

Wallowa County District Attorney Dan Ousley is prosecuting the case, assisted by Oregon Assistant Attorney General Stephen Briggs. Wallowa County does not maintain a jail and contracts to Union County for inmate beds. The trial is scheduled to begin July 16 at the Wallowa County Courthouse in Enterprise.

Walden tells panel: High-speed Net access key for rural Oregon

April 26, 2001

Walden to Committee: High-Speed Internet Access Crucial for Rural Oregon

WASHINGTON, DC-Congressman Greg Walden today took part in a hearing in the House Energy and Commerce Committee examining regulatory issues related to providing high-speed Internet connections to more Americans. Walden, who represents the most rural congressional district on the committee, stressed the importance of better Internet access to the economy of rural Oregon.

The following are excerpts from Walden’s statement to the committee:

\”The issue of high-speed Internet access is an important one to my constituents in central, eastern and southern Oregon. Our congressional district is geographically larger than 33 states. In the extremely rural parts of the district, unemployment is as high as 19 percent, property values are low and many young folks leave as soon as they can for jobs in Portland, Seattle or Boise.

\”It costs a great deal of money to string wires between households located miles apart in rural areas. And, not surprisingly, high-speed Internet has not found its way into many parts of rural Oregon. The resulting situation is troubling: those Americans who could most benefit from the distance-eliminating effects of the Internet, i.e. those who live in rural areas, are perhaps least likely to have reliable, high-speed access.

\”While the federal government cannot completely eliminate this problem – the laws of economics will always apply, after all – Congress must make certain that everything is being done to give rural Americans the best chance possible to receive high-speed Internet access. If there are regulations that stand in the way, we should change them. If there are tax incentives that would spur real investment in rural telecommunications, we should consider enacting them. And if rural loan programs through the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other agencies need additional funding, we should look at that too.

\”We simply cannot stand by while the Internet passes by rural Americans.\”

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

# # #

Kitzhaber boots Eachus in PUC appointment flap

NEWS RELEASEFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Bob Applegate
April 30, 2001 (503)
378-6496
Jon
Coney

(503) 378-6169

Susan Fletcher

(503) 378-6307

GOVERNOR CHANGES PUBLIC UTILITY
COMMISSION APPOINTMENTS

Governor John Kitzhaber announced today that he has altered his
recent appointments to the Public Utility Commission.

Roy Hemingway, originally nominated to fill the post currently held
by Roger Hamilton, will instead replace Commission Chair Ron Eachus
immediately upon confirmation by the Oregon Senate.

Sen. Lee Beyer, originally nominated to fill the post currently held
by Eachus, will instead replace Hamilton effective October 1, 2001.
Hamilton will then join the staff of the Governor\’s Natural Resource Office.

The attached letter provides the context for the governor\’s
decision.

-30-

April 26, 2001

Ron Eachus, Chairman
Oregon Public Utility Commission
550 Capitol Street NE STE 215
Salem, OR 97301-2551

Dear Ron:

I was obviously disappointed to read your comments of last week attempting
to characterize my reasons for not re-appointing you to the Public Utility
Commission (PUC). Your characterizations are without foundation and require
me to respond.

You raised the issue of your re-appointment on April 2nd in a meeting with
Bill Wyatt, my Chief of Staff, and indicated that while you had heard rumors
to the effect that you would not be re-appointed, you wanted to be sure that
if that were the case you could have an opportunity to influence the point
of transition. Specifically, you indicated that you did not want to leave
immediately after the August – September rate cases, because you did not
want significant rate increases to be your last remembered action as a PUC
Commissioner. Further, you hoped to stay through the end of the year so
that you could conclude the implementation of SB 1149, the passage of which
represented a milestone of which you are justly proud.

At my request you met with me on April 9th. At that meeting I told you that
I would not be re-appointing you to the PUC. I congratulated you on 14
years of service to Oregon and its utility ratepayers on whose behalf you
have been a champion. I told you that we would accommodate your desire to
stay to the end of the year. You thanked me and left my office. The next
day Bill Wyatt notified you that we would be appointing Senator Lee Beyer to
the Public Utility Commission in the vacancy created by the conclusion of
your term. Senator Beyer\’s term as a PUC Commissioner was to begin on
January 1, 2002.

Ron, you have been a bright, thoughtful and impassioned consumer advocate on
the PUC. Oregonians are in your debt, whether they know it or not. In the
aftermath of the AT&T breakup, you and the Commission did an excellent job
of bringing pressure to bear on U.S. West to improve what had been a rapidly
declining level of service. You played a significant role in the
development of SB 1149 from last session and helped us avoid the pitfalls of
California in the process.

In many respects you have been the Commission\’s greatest asset; but, it must
also be said, you have been its greatest liability as well. You are gone a
significant amount, you have a tendency to personalize controversial matters
that come before the Commission, and your relations with fellow
Commissioners and the Legislature are often unnecessarily tense and
difficult. Your comments in the paper only serve to underscore an unhealthy
sense that the Public Utility Commission is about you – it isn\’t.

I have concluded that, under the circumstances, a quick transition would be
in everyone\’s interest and have therefore directed that Roy Hemmingway is
nominated for the vacancy created by the conclusion of your term and that he
will begin immediately upon confirmation.

Sincerely,
John A. Kitzhaber, M.D.

Cool, wet April helps, but region still facing drought concerns

A chilly, typically wet April blew out of Central Oregon with winds gusting above 60 mph, and May is starting out nippy as well. But no one is saying that the past month erased the threat of a tight period for water and power supplies this summer.

Bend officially recorded .67 of an inch of precipitation in April, a smidge above the 73-year average of .65 of an inch. That included an inch of snow on April 11, also close to the monthly average of 1.3 inches for the city.

There were two glorious days on April 26-27 when the high temperature climbed to 79 degrees, and two on either side of those days when we reeached the 70s. But there also were three days where the temperature never got out of the 30s and a dozen with highs in the nippy 40s, when the average April high is better than 58 degrees. Nearly half of the month saw overnight lows drop below Bend’s April average of almost 30 degrees, including five nights in the teens (three plunging to 17 degrees), along with 11 nights down into the 20s.

Bend recorded 2.38 inches of precipitation in the first quarter of 2001, but that’s well below half the average of 5.37 inches for the first four months of the year.

The welcome late snow has continued into May. Mount Bachelor reported two inches of new snow at mid-mountain Tuesday with a base of 70 to 80 inches. There were three inches of roadside snow at Santiam Pass and five inches at Willamette Pass, while a half-foot of new snow fell overnight at Bennett Pass and four inches at Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood. The snowpack in the Deschutes/Crooked River Basin remains 40 percent below average for this time of year, although that’s 4 percent better than a month ago, and the snow-water content of that snow has risen to 57 percent of average, compared to 51 percent as April began.

On Monday afternoon, a 61 mph wind gust was recorded by an automated weather site on Lava Butte, at an elevation of 4,550 feet. Other areas also had gusts close to 60 mph, while the Redmond Airport reported sustained 40 mph winds early Monday afternoon.

Another warm-up is on the horizon, but not before two more nights of lows in the 20s in Central Oregon, with a frost warning out in the Rogue Basin and a forecast of sleet or snow in Northeast Oregon. Highs in the 50s over the High Desert should climb to about 70 degrees under increasing clouds Thursday before another cooldown to the 50s and 60s over the weekend. Forecasters say temperatures could return to the mid 70s early next week.

Wayward kite touches lines, blows fuses, knocks out downtown Bend power

Lunch in downtown Bend became a hit-or-miss, hot-or-cold affair Monday when a colorful kite blew into power lines – and blew some fuses with a thunderous boom – shortly before noon as a windstorm raked Central Oregon with gusts to 60 mph.

“It felt like it shook the whole building,” Janice Grady, city of Bend human resources manager, said from a semi-darkened City Hall shortly after the power went out around 11:50 a.m. The police department, which shares the building with other city offices, had some emergency generator power.

Bend.com developer Jesse Thompson, three blocks to the north, was among thousands of downtown workers and visitors who heard the transformer pop as a portion of the Penney Galleria office building lost power (along with the equipment for bend.com and BendNet).

Bend police were called out to help control traffic on Bond Street, where the traffic signals went out, but they were just fine on Wall Street, officers said. And while the D&D Bar and Grill on Bond Street could serve customers only cold sandwiches, it was a regular, hot-lunch Monday at the Pine Tavern on Oregon Avenue.

Pacific Power spokeswoman Becky Gade said the 60 affected downtown customers, on a feeder line with more than 600 customers, all had their power restored by 1:30 p.m.

Gate said utility crews originally thought the problem was in an underground line, and callers said they thought a transformer blew. But she later learned from repair crews that a kite had “caused a couple primary lines to hit together and blew some fuses” near the corner of Louisiana Avenue and Bond Street.

She reminded everybody to be extremely careful when flying kites and to “never do it near power lines.”

The state Drought Council has recommended state and federal drought declaration for Wasco, Klamath and Jefferson counties, and the Klamath declaration has been made. Crooked County commissioners have sought a similar declaration, but the state council requested more information before reaching a decision. Other parts of the state also could suffer, as is very evident for cross-Cascades travelers passing Detroit Lake, at its lowest level in years, with many boat docks sitting on the reservoir’s bed rather than water.

Trail Blazers to play Kings at Redmond fairgrounds Oct. 12

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

Bend, Oregon, April 27, 2001-

TWO TOP NBA TEAMS TO PLAY AT THE DESCHUTES COUNTY FAIR AND EXPO CENTER ON OCTOBER 12, 2001
Portland Trailblazers vs. Sacramento Kings
_____________________________

The Sacramento Kings and the Portland Trail Blazers have been officially scheduled to play at the Deschutes County Fairgrounds and Expo Center. The pre-season game will be played on Friday, October 12, 2001 in the events center, which holds approximately 7,000 people. The time of the game and further details will be announced at a later date.

C & D Event Management has contracted with the Deschutes County fairgrounds to promote the event. Dan Despotopulos, director of the Deschutes County Fairgrounds, sees this event as a great opportunity for Central Oregon. He stated, “Obviously, the game will be a boost to the Fair and Expo Center as we hope to show future groups that our facility is capable of holding major events and that it will occur more frequently in the future.”

COCC news: Women\’s apprenticeship; Student center vote falls short

April 27, 2001

MEETING SET FOR WOMEN’S APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAM
An information meeting about apprenticeship programs for women interested
in careers in plumbing, inside electricity, sheet metal and limited
energy will be held from 4:30 to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, May 2, in Room 154
of the Boyle Education Center on Central Oregon Community College\’s Bend
campus.
The apprenticeship programs is sponsored by the COCC Training Center, the
Apprenticeship Program, the Changing Directions program, the Gender Equity
Team and the Carl Perkins Grant.
An 11-week pre-apprenticeship program will begin June 18. Classes will be
held Monday and Wednesday evenings and Saturdays. The program is limited
to 20 students.
For information, call 383-7410.
-30-

April 27, 2001

COCC STUDENT CENTER VOTE FALLS SHORT
Central Oregon Community College students recently voted to support a
new student center but did not approve increasing student fees to fund the
center in the largest student voter turnout in recent election history.
In elections held April 24 and 25, COCC students voted 409 to 103 to
revise the constitution to allow the Associated Student of Central Oregon
Community College to rent or lease a COCC facility for student services.
Students also voted 300 to 218 to raise student fees from $1.50 to $3.50
per credit to fund the proposal. However, a two-thirds majority is
necessary to revise the ASCOCC constitution.
\”ASCOCC should be congratulated for its effort to get out the student
vote,\” said Mike Smith, COCC director of student life. \”This may be the
largest COCC student vote ever recorded.\”
In addition, students voted Rachaell Casale, Justin Calhoun, Aaron Stark
and Michael Payne to the 2001-01 ASCOCC Executive Council.
-30-

April 27, 2001

COCC CONVOCATION TO HONOR FACULTY
Central Oregon Community College and its Faculty Forum are jointly
sponsoring a Faculty Convocation from 5:15 to 8 p.m. on Friday, May 11, at
The Riverhouse. The event will honor the role of faculty in the college\’s
quest for excellence.
E. Robert Powell, professor emeritus of physical science and chemistry,
will present the keynote address. Powell taught at COCC from 1967 to 1999
and won the Faculty Achievement Award in 1995.
The convocation will feature awards of recognition to faculty members,
including COCC\’s 16th annual Faculty Achievement Award. In addition,
faculty tenure and promotions awarded earlier this year will be recognized.

-30-

April 27, 2001

COCC NURSING PROGRAM OFFERS ADVISING
Central Oregon Community College’s nursing department is offering two
pre-nursing advising sessions in the Boyle Education Center on the COCC
Bend campus. The sessions are scheduled for 2 to 4 p.m. on Wednesday, May
9, and from 10 a.m. to noon on Monday, May 14.
The purpose of the meetings is to review the selection process for
students interested in applying to COCC’s Associate of Applied Science in
Nursing program. After this orientation, students can meet with an adviser
to review transcripts and update files. Reservations for the session are
not necessary.
For information, call 383-7546 or 383-7244.
-30-

Deputies crucial not just to public, but other rescuers as well

Sirens are screaming throughout Deschutes County, 24 hours a day. Paramedics, ambulances, and fire engines are dispatched from more than a dozen locations. Responding to our calls for help, facing every situation imaginable. Rescue it says on their trucks; and in our most helpless times, grasping at life, they rescue.

Calls to 911 are rarely happy events; as one paramedic told bend.com, “People don’t call us because they’re having a good time.” Delivering babies is about the only time emergency medical services (EMS) teams are greeted with smiles. Increasingly, these medical calls are secondary to violence, ranging from domestic disputes to what EMS people lovingly call “The Knife and Gun Club.”

Paramedics are dispatched into dangerous situations every day. That’s part of the job.

Safety for EMS workers is provided by the sheriff’s office across about 80 percent of the County — everywhere except within the cities of Bend and Redmond. In reality, however, both city’s fire departments provide service to a much larger area than the city limits, and both rely on the sheriff’s office – an agency that is counting on voters to approve a new 3-year levy and avoid massive layoffs and cutbacks on July 1.

LaPine Fire Chief Jim Court explained it this way: “Let’s say we get called to a knife fight. We won’t even go into that scene until a deputy goes in first. That jeopardizes the safety of the victim; while we’re waiting.” The fact is, even with the deputies at full staffing, there are times when they are all busy, period.

Should the sheriff’s levy fail. it is very easy to imagine a scenario in which help may be delayed 45 minutes or longer. To survive major trauma, you must live through the “Golden Hour”, 60 minutes from the time of injury until you are in an operating room. Beyond 60 minutes, your chances of survival decrease dramatically. Delays will literally cost you your life.

Deputies control traffic at accident scenes, lead evacuations

Court faces this crucial ticking clock on a routine basis. “We have major highway accidents and sometimes, to land Air Life, we must close Highway 97,” he said. “Our people must provide extrication and medical care. We need the deputies to control traffic.”

Across the county, Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire Chief Don Rowe also depends a great deal on the sheriff’s office, which contracts to provide police services in the community as well.

“Evacuation in the forest interface is critical,” he said. People quickly forget big fires of the recent past, with smoke so thick daytime appeared as night. Sheriff’s deputies must quickly figure out evacuation routes for everyone involved, and make sure everyone gets out.

In Redmond, fire Division Chief Tim Moor said without hesitation, “The Sheriff’s office is a vital part of our operation”. He mentioned familiar scenarios such as domestic violence, gunshots and major vehicle accidents as routine events.

The same words were heard over and over again throughout the county: “vital, critical, essential” all coming from our lifesavers, the rescuers. They ask everyone to think about this: As you drive through Central Oregon, ask yourself, “Am I safe? Are the rescuers safe?”

Editor’s note: Hamon is a former fire department paramedic coordinator/field training
officer who also was assigned to Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT). He has served
on the Oregon State Board of Medical Examiners and the State Trauma Board, as well
as a consultant in the operations of emergency medical systems.

Cast your ballot today … for Bend’s ugliest building

It’s spring again in Bend – at least according to the calendar, although you can’t tell it by the weather – and every spring my thoughts just naturally turn to …

Ugly buildings.

When I first came to Bend about 16 years ago, I was immediately struck by the contrast between the dazzling natural beauty of the place and the dazzling man-made ugliness that encrusted it. I couldn’t remember ever having seen a town of any size with more ugly buildings per square mile.

Bend has grown and changed a lot since then, and I have to admit that architectural standards have improved. Sixteen years ago, the dominant style was the concrete-block box with a flat roof and an illuminated plastic box sign stuck on the front. Today there are quite a few buildings in town that one can look at without feeling nausea, and some that actually are attractive.

But Bend still has an abundant supply of ugly buildings, and in recognition of this I created, some years ago, a wholly fictitious organization called B.U.T.T., for “Bend Uglification Takes Talent.”

The sole function of B.U.T.T. is to present the B.U.T.T. Ugly Building Awards, which recognize and honor those buildings that best exemplify, carry on and advance Bend’s long tradition of ugly architecture.

The B.U.T.T. Ugly Building Awards are presented periodically, depending on the whim of the founder, president, chairman of the board and sole member of B.U.T.T. – namely, me. But the recipients are nominated and selected democratically, by a free vote of the people.

The first two times, the winner of the top B.U.T.T. Ugly Building Award was the Central Oregon Welcome Center on South Highway 97, also known as “The Great Culvert.”

This threatened to get monotonous, so the next time I set the Welcome Center aside in a class by itself and asked people to vote on the second-ugliest building in Bend.

The winner of that competition turned out to be the Hollywood Video store on North Highway 97, a conglomeration of outlandish forms, garish colors and neon that appeared to have been transplanted directly from the Las Vegas Strip.

In the fourth and most recent B.U.T.T. Ugly Building competition, Hollywood Video again put up a strong showing but was edged out by the Phoenix Inn downtown, a looming concrete structure decorated with enormous chrome bird silhouettes evocative of the Third Reich.

So now I’ve decided it’s time to hold another B.U.T.T. Ugly Building competition, and this is your chance to have your say.

Here are the rules:

1) You may nominate and vote for any commercial or government building (i.e., not a private home) in the city of Bend.

2) A “building” is defined as a structure designed for occupancy and use – in other words, things like highways, sculptures and the notorious driving range poles aren’t eligible. (B.U.T.T. will have to think up some kind of special recognition for the driving range.)

3) The building must already be in existence; ones that are still in the design stage aren’t eligible.

First-place, second-place and third-place awards will be presented to the top finishers, plus maybe a couple of dishonorable mentions for deserving buildings that finished out of the money.

Although only buildings in Bend are technically eligible for prizes, if you have an especially worthy candidate elsewhere in Central Oregon, you may nominate it for a special citation.

You can cast your vote as a reply to this column, or e-mail it directly to me at hbm@bendcable.com.

When you vote, remember that what we’re looking for isn’t mere run-of-the-mill ugliness, but true B.U.T.T.-ugliness – ugliness that is transcendent, resplendent, creative, innovative, and awesome in its repugnance.

In other words, the kind of ugliness that evokes an automatic response of: “Oh, my GOD!!”

So what will it be this year – one of the perennial contenders such as the Welcome Center, Hollywood Video or the Phoenix Inn, or a newcomer? I’ll announce the results of the balloting in one month.

At the same time, I’ll reveal my own personal favorite – a building that’s a bit off the beaten track and doesn’t get the recognition it deserves, but which in my opinion is not only the ugliest building in Bend but could be a contender for top honors in the Western Hemisphere.

Small explosive object found near Sisters bank’s ATM

SISTERS – A small but potentially dangerous homemade explosive device was found near the US Bank in Sisters Saturday morning, with a fuse that had been lit but gone out, officials said.

Around 9 a.m., Larry Duncan, a Forest Service law enforcement officer, noticed the suspicious object lying on the ground near the automatic teller machine enclosure at 123 W. Hood St. Upon closer examination, he saw what appeared to be a partially burned fuse protruding from a golf-ball sized object.

Duncan, who has training in explosives, was able to identify the object and disable it. Using electrical tape and black powder, the person or persons had made an object about the size of a golf ball and attached a fuse.

From the location where the device was found, Duncan surmised that it might have been thrown from a passing car towards the bank. The fuse was partially burned, but went out before reaching the powder.

Deschutes County sheriff’s Cpl. Wayne Morgan said he felt the bank was not a target, nor was the ATM. He did say he thinks it was large enough to cause injury to a person should it explode in their hand, similar to a large firecracker.

“This was small,” Morgan said, “but if they can make a small one, they could make a larger one.”

ATM machines routinely photograph the area in front of the machine; however, due to the position of the device, in relation to the camera, it would not have snapped any suspect pictures, authorities said.

Suspect arrested, accused of exposing self at Redmond Wal-Mart

REDMOND – A 42-year-old Redmond man who already was wanted on public indecency charges was arrested Friday on a new charge for allegedly exposing himself inside Redmond’s Wal-Mart store, police said.

Lt. Gary DeKorte said he was called to the store shortly before 2:30 p.m. Friday. A store security officer saw the suspect get into a red Ford pickup and reported the suspect’s description and vehicle license plate. DeKorte said he was able to view store security videotapes and determine the suspect’s identity.

DeKorte said he located the pickup about three hours later, parked near a local bar. The suspect, identified as Mark Jeffrey Wilson, was contacted inside the bar. DeKorte said he determined Wlson had two outstanding arrest warrants, one for a Class C felony of public indecency and another for a probation violation.

Wilson was lodged in the Deschutes County Jail, where he remained Saturday night on $60,000 bail. DeKorte said a second new count of public indecency, also at the Wal-Mart, is pending further investigation and could be added later.