‘Ultimate’ sport? Bend’s friendly competitors say it lives up to label

The term “ultimate” has been Madison Avenue-washed and shrunk down to size over the decades to mean, in most quarters, far less than the blissful definition of extreme wonderfulness that it implies. (After all, if you can buy “ultimate” milkshakes or mattresses, it’s definitely gone ’round the bend.)

And the once-magic word surely can’t be used to label a bunch of about 100 … post-school athletes, their friends and family, who were gathered at Big Sky Park east of Bend Sunday for a sunny day of sweat, cheers (and don’t tell anyone, but a few beers), now, can it?

Of course it can, when you attach another somewhat-forbidden word – frisbee (some spell-checkers insist on capitalizing it, but the Wham-O toy didn’t like its trademark thrown about by the creators of this unique sport, so the round plastic discs used to play aren’t even from the firm – whose co-founder, Arthur “Spud” Mellin, died last Friday at age 77, by the way.)

As the AP reported it, building inspector Fred Morrison sold Wham-O the flying disc he’d developed after watching Yale University students toss pie tins. The disc first was sold as the Pluto Platter, then renamed the Frisbee.

“We didn’t want it used as a toy – we wanted it to be a sport,” Melin said, years later.

You got it, Spud. And, considering the type of competition, camaraderie and all-around good vibes this sport engenders, perhaps the “ultimate” moniker isn’t all that far off.

Ultimate’s rules fairly simple, but have their unique twists

A growing legion of thousands of folks around the world play Ultimate Frisbee (keep that second word to yourself), described at http://www.whatisultimate.com (one of a plentitude of Web sites about the sport) as “an exciting, non-contact team sport (that) mixes the best features of sports such as soccer, basketball, American football and Netball (huh?) into an elegantly simple, yet fascinating and demanding game.”

On Sunday, six co-ed teams of 10 to 12 members, each fielding four men and three women on the field at a time, squared off to decide who would capture the trophy to close out the Bend Ultimate Competitive League’s 2-month summer season. And in the end, the “Tucker 3″ team, sponsored by the Source, defeated “Fowl Disposition” 11-4 to capture the title, in the first such tourney held in three years.

The rules of ultimate are fairly simple, with twists all their own. Like football, there are end zones at the end of a field, called the pitch, which under regulation play is 70 yards long and 40 yards wide. Each point (games usually go to 13, but fewer or more if the organizers wish) begins with one team “pulling” to the other (similar to a kickoff). An incomplete pass is a turnover, whether its dropped, thrown out of bounds, or the other team intercepts or knocks down the disc.

A goal is scored when a team completes a pass to a player in the end zone. But players can’t run with the disc – instead, they must stop when they get it and throw it to another player, working their way up the pitch.

The person with the disc has 10 seconds to throw it, with the defender guarding him or her – the market – counting out what’s called the “stall count.” If a pass isn’t completed, for whatever reason – it goes out of bounds, is dropped, intercepted – there’s a turnover, and the two teams immediately reverse roles, offense becoming defense and vice versa.

But while it’s a non-contact sport – no picks or screens allowed, like basketball – there are no referees, other than the players themselves, who are responsible for their own foul and line calls and to resolve their own disputes.

’Spirit of the game’ is hallmark of Ultimate competition – but injuries do happen

That points to the rule that stands above all: The “spirit of the game,” which stresses sportsmanship and fair play. “Competitive play is encouraged, but never at the expense of respect between players, adherence to the rules and the basic joy of play,” states one summary of the basic rules, which notes that there are no real penalties.

That code of ethics speaks to team unity, and friendship between opposing teams. As Renee Davidson put it: “Bad calls often result in bad karma for that team.” (Shades of the `60s!)

You get a sense of the sense of the humor involved in the fans of the game from the introduction to “the basics of Ultimate” at http://www.ultimatehandbook.com: “Who catches a disc better than anyone? Dogs. And they don’t even have thumbs. It goes to show, a long history of taking part in team sports and being a jock isn’t necessary to be an Ultimate player.”

“It’s not a contact sport,” said attorney Steve Herron, a member of the team “Shaken Not Stirred,” who showed true sportsmanship when he didn’t have the best of days Sunday – he fell badly on one leap for the disc and suffered a broken collarbone. After a quick trip to the nearby St. Charles ER, he returned to the park, medicated and holding ice on his injury, back to cheer on his teammates, who captured third place despite his absence.

As he headed home with his father at the wheel, Herron asked that his self-inflicted injury not be stressed in the story: “This is a great sport. It needs all the attention it can get.”

Ryan Singleton said the social aspect of the sport is what attracts him, “for fun, for fitness … it’s a good atmosphere.”

Players put `a lot of energy, heart’ into the game – but remain friends

Rod Ketner, director of this year’s tournament, said he’s heard that the sport dates back 20 years or so.

“People put a lot of energy, a lot of heart” into the game, he said. “We’ve got 100 people out here today, and I’d speculate that at the end of the day, we’re all friends.”

The team T-shirts don’t have the team names, which also included “Kelp,” “Hazzard” (named due to the yellow T-shirts they were given, said Davidson) and “Aqua Velva.”

Bend Distillery and the Bend Brewing Co. are among other sponsors, along with about.com, Cup of Magic and the Source, but while there’s definitely libations in the Ultimate formula, there’s far more of a family party atmosphere, with lots of sideline cheers – not a rowdy boozefest, by any means.

“I love it!” said Tabitha Sturm, whose team (Kelp) “took fifth place” (out of six teams, and yet, she was grinning widely.)

“I’m 30, and it’s probably the best going sport to meet neat people,” Sturm said, a comment echoed by another participant who said he moved to Bend less than a month ago.

Sure, beer is part of the atmosphere – but camaraderie is key

At day’s end, things get a bit … looser, as the chants turn from backing your teammates to playing until the beer’s gone. There’s even a day’s end drinking-game version, called “Walking Beer Ultimate” (you can’t run at all, and every time you drop the disc you take a drink, etc.) But as the play ended and conversation lingered, there was no sign anyone had had too much – and Davidson said, “I’m sure they all have a designated driver.”

Dave Caplan, who has lead the league for the past season, is “retiring to Palm Springs,” Ketner said at the close of competition as he presented a going-away gift: a lighter labeled “Punk Rock.”

“Bend Ultimate rocks – keep it rockin!” Caplan urged the crowd.

Switzer said the paper’s team, then called Pucker, won the last city tournament, held in Bend three years ago. (Now it’s named for a team member named Tucker.) A core group of Ultimate players from Bend will hit a tournament circuit later in the summer, as other participants take part in pickup games to hone their skills and bring along new players.

Switzer, who used to play in an Atlanta city league, said he was paid to go to Japan to teach Ultimate. But the newspaper editor said it’s the local leagues that are the essence of the sport.

“This is where Ultimate is at its best – people are easy on the rules, it’s a lot more fun,” Switzer said. And the sport “has never broken through to the big time – but it’s right there. They are trying to make it an Olympic sport.”

How do you do that, when the official rules have no referees and players calling their own fouls? Ah there’s the rub.

The “spirit of the sport” at the heart of Ultimate is what “holds it back,” Switzer said. “People pay thousands of dollars” to fly to far-off places and compete, only to make their own line calls: “’I think it was in!’ `Well I think it was out!’”

But whether or not Ultimate makes it to the world’s ultimate sporting venue, a whole lot of folks in Bend and around the world consider it a great (if not the ultimate) way to stay in shape, keep on competing and show the best side of athletics – not for money or ego, but the love of the game.

Court’s pledge ruling right to keep church, state at arm’s length

Last week, a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of appeals ruled, by a 2-1 vote, that the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional because it contains the phrase “under God.”

The ruling produced a great national hissy fit that swept from coast to coast and across the political spectrum. In Washington, Democrat and Republican politicians alike joined in denouncing the decision as “absurd,” “ridiculous,” “senseless” and “asinine.” It’s virtually certain to be overturned on appeal.

But the ruling was right.

The First Amendment to the Constitution stipulates that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

Religious conservatives like to say this just bars the federal government from creating an established church, like the Church of England.

But if the authors of the Bill of Rights had only wanted to prevent an established church, they could have written: “Congress shall make no law creating an established church.” They didn’t. The broader language they chose prohibits “an establishment of religion” – any kind of religion.

In other words, the government is supposed to keep religion at arm’s length – neither promoting it nor interfering with it.

And if making kids in taxpayer-funded schools recite a pledge containing the phrase “under God” isn’t promoting religion, I guess McDonald’s commercials don’t promote hamburgers.

A look at the history of the Pledge of Allegiance might help put things in perspective.

The Pledge was written in 1892 by Francis Bellamy, a Baptist minister who wanted to craft a short, simple statement that would encapsulate the basic ideals of America.

The original wording of Bellamy’s pledge was: “I pledge allegiance to my Flag and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” The Christian clergyman, certainly not an atheist or an enemy of religion, saw no reason to include any reference to God.

In 1924, the phrase “my Flag” was replaced by “the Flag of the United States of America.” For the next 30 years, the wording remained unchanged, until Congress and President Eisenhower inserted the phrase “under God” in 1954, after a lobbying campaign by the Knights of Columbus.

Here’s something to ponder: President G. Dubya Bush and Attorney General John Ashcroft, in the name of fighting the “war on terror,” have unilaterally conferred on themselves the power to declare any American citizen an “enemy combatant” and imprison him indefinitely without a charge and without evidence.

They also call for the creation of a new Department of Homeland Security, a national super-snooper agency that will have power to spy on American citizens with no oversight or accountability. And hardly anybody has batted an eye.

But when two judges in San Francisco say a two-word phrase in the Pledge of Allegiance should be removed, the American public reacts as if an invasion by an alien army from the planet Neptune was underway.

A threat to a symbol, I guess, is deemed more important than a very real threat to our hard-won liberties.

Here’s another question: If the phrase “under God” is so critical, how did America manage to muddle through for 62 years without it?

We achieved victory in two World Wars, survived the Great Depression and got through the Korean War without it.

You could make a pretty good case, in fact, that the United States did better before it proclaimed itself “under God” than it’s been doing since.

Think about it. Since 1954, we’ve had the assassinations of JFK, Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, the Vietnam War, the Watergate scandal, the Clinton impeachment, and the bloodiest terrorist attack ever staged on American soil – to name a few.

And I don’t think anybody would claim that our public schools have gotten better, or that our entertainment, our business leaders or our politicians have gotten more honest and moral during the last 48 years.

Could it just possibly be that God doesn’t LIKE the phrase “under God” in the Pledge? After all, if we’re to believe the Bible, He hates public exhibitions of false piety. And I’d bet that half the people who recite the Pledge don’t give God a thought more than once a week – if that often.

Maybe we should try an experiment. Take “under God” out of the Pledge for a limited period – say, five years – and see what happens. If famines, floods, pestilence, presidential impeachments and plagues of boils descend upon us, we could put “under God” back.

On the other hand, if things are pretty much normal, we can assume God doesn’t mind.

And I’m sure the schoolchildren of the nation won’t mind either.

Violent weekend in Prineville: Fight and stabbing, sexual assault

PRINEVILLE – Tranquility Trailer Park was anything but tranquil late Saturday night, as a fight landed one man in the hospital with several stab wounds and a suspect in jail – one of two violent incidents reported by Prineville police over the weekend.

In the other case, police were looking for the public’s help in finding a man who assaulted a woman at a Prineville home.

Police chased and arrested a fleeing 18-year-old Redmond man as a suspect in the stabbing of two men at the northwest Prineville trailer park, one of whom was in a Bend hospital, recovering from serious injuries, police said.

Around 11:20 p.m., officers responded to a report of a fight involving several people at Tranquility Trailer Park, 1130 NW Madras Highway, said Capt. Eric Bush.

When officers arrived, the suspect, identified as Isidro Benitez-Benavides, fled on foot, but was caught after a brief chase by officers, Bush said.

One victim, identified as David Sanchez, 21, of Prineville, was stabbed several times on his back, arms and chest, one wound penetrating the chest cavity, the captain said. He was taken to St. Charles Medical Center in Bend, where he was listed in critical condition early Sunday, but had improved to fair condition by Sunday afternoon, a nursing supervisor said. A second victim, Javier Lopez, 25, also of Prineville, received cuts to his hand.

Benitez-Benavides was taken to the Crook County Jail, facing charges of attempted murder, first-degree assault and fourth-degree assault. Bail initially was set at $105,000.

Assault victim describes intruder, wearing baseball cap backwards

In the other incident, police responded shortly after 1:30 a.m. to a report of a sexual assault at a home in Prineville. The victim, a 22-year-old woman, said she was asleep when she was assaulted by an unknown intruder, who fled before police were called and has not been found, Bush said.

The suspect is described as a white male in his early 20s, about 5-foot-8 inches tall and weighing about 150 pounds, with light brown hair and thin facial features. The suspect did not have any facial hair, the victim told police, and was wearing a baseball cap backwards, a T-shirt and tennis shoes.

Anyone with information regarding any unusual activity in the area of the North Ridge subdivision early Sunday is asked to contact Prineville police at 447-4168.

Glaring issue?: Bend considers lighting rules to save night sky

Convincing folks that the goal is to be better neighbors – and save money, to boot – not just to improve stargazing could be the biggest hurdle facing the city of Bend’s volunteer Lighting Committee as it works on voluntary ways to curb light pollution through education – but also considers drafting outdoor lighting regulations, perhaps similar to Deschutes County’s existing rules.

There’s been a movement around the world for many years, led by the International Dark Sky Association (http://www.darksky.org), to point out the benefits of better, more efficient and targeted lighting – which, contrary to seeming logic, doesn’t always (or even usually) mean more or brighter lights.

At two recent City Hall meetings, dozens of “stakeholders,” ranging from lighting salespeople to sign firms, car dealers, business leaders, developers and utility officials, heard what the six-member city panel was up to, and engaged in dialogue about the pros and cons of anything beyond a voluntary effort to better shield and point outdoor lights toward the ground, not casting a brighter glow in the night sky.

Dave Leslie, a 13-year county planner and chairman of the committee, began by handing out a satellite photo (http://www.scn.org/darksky/nw_pollution_map.html) of the Northwest, enhanced to show light pollution as a percentage of natural sky brightness, and asking folks to see if they could pick out Bend.

It wasn’t very difficult; while the Seattle area showed as a large blob of red, orange, yellow and green, and Portland a bit less so, a spot of orange could be seen on the High Desert – smaller than Eugene and Medford, to be sure, but no doubt brighter than what one would have seen 10 or 20 years ago.

Other panel members include Rachel Baker, Mark Connor, Mike Lovely, Patty Rosen and Bill Ross. City Councilor Bruce Abernethy, the council’s liaison, also attended the session and explained that the city didn’t consider just adopting the county rules. “We realize this is a much more urban setting,” he said.”

County’s lighting ordinance sparked debate, but things seem quiet now

There was quite a bit of debate in the mid-90s before county commissioners adopted a lighting ordinance, requiring shielded lights on new construction but giving existing homes and businesses several years to make the changeover. Even now, it’s a complaint-driven, code enforcement kind of issue, and the fact commissioners haven’t been pulled into such debates would indicate that Community Development Director George Read is correct when he says, “I believe it’s working quite well.”

“We probably have 90 percent compliance right now,” Read said. And while many residents might not be aware, the county has moved from providing $50 rebates for fixture switchovers to providing standard, shielded mercury-vapor light fixtures to those who request them, using $5,000 in lottery funds.

The county originally provided a 5-year changeover period for existing lighting, but added a year when it heard from enough folks that they were unaware of the need to change out the lights.

“It’s not easy, and it’s a lot of education,” the county planning chief said, adding that its own citizen committee disseminated information, including booths at a number of fairs.

“I think most people realize it is a good neighbor thing to do,” Read said.

As for the issue of saving the night sky for stargazing, he said, “We didn’t sell it like that, but about the external benefit – light pollution is like noise pollution, and there’s a safety factor to it, the light in your eyes.” And then there’s the issue that too bright a security light can generate shadows that boost, don’t cut your chances of crime, since they create deep shadows for bad guys or gals to hang out in.

Unshielded lighting `takes away beauty of Central Oregon night sky’

Those issues, familiar in the county discussion, are outlined in the Bend Lighting Committee’s initial brochure, which asks on the cover the question: “Seen any bright stars lately?” and urges residents to “Light the Subject, Hide the Source” – in other words, to keep the light bulb or globe of a street or parking lot fixture, for example, within the overhead shield, so the light is focused downward.

Indeed, the literature states that a bright, unshielded light creates glare, light trespass onto neighboring properties and “takes away the beauty of the Central Oregon night sky.”

But along with the issues of astronomy and criminals, the committee’s brochure notes widely used figures that indicate unshielded lights waste 35 to 70 percent of the light, as it “simply goes up into space.” (Then there’s the kind of debate-starters we’re likely to hear more about: that “excessive light has harmful health impact on people and animals.”)

The committee doesn’t dance around the issue with its goals, the first of which is to “preserve the night sky,” as well as “build neighbor relations, improve traffic safety, reduce energy consumption, provide information on low-cost solutions” and – the one that might be the most argued – “work with the community to develop citywide outdoor lighting standards.”

Needless to say, a growing, fairly densely populated city is a harder place to make such changes happen than the decidedly more rural county areas.

“We don’t think much about where resources come from, when we flip a light switch,” said Leslie, who hopes the panel can educate the community about the benefits of reducing wasteful lighting.

“Yeah, it does have a cost to it,” he said. “Some are more expensive than others,” but newer, energy-efficient alternatives mean the payoff can happen a lot faster, turning from cost to savings in reduced power bills.

Current city zoning rules don’t deal with residential lighting

Among the documents distributed at the meetings was a home lighting guide in April’s Sky and Telescope magazine and a brochure from GE about its “Glarefighters” line of area and security lighting, as well as more detailed fact sheets from the International Dark Sky Association.

The magazine piece concluded by noting that while energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs are gaining wider acceptance, “these bulbs don’t handle rough weather or cold temperatures well.” But new low-glare fixtures for homes are due out this year, the article stated.

There are some rules about lighting in existing city codes, but only in the general industrial and new “neighborhood commercial” zones (for example, in the latter, parking lot lights must be turned off by 10:30 p.m.)

Bend Development Board member Doug Knight expressed a concern from the point of view of downtown property owners, urging that the business district not face the same level of rules as whatever is proposed for residential areas.

“I’m all for efficient lighting,” Knight said, but he pointed to the issue of traditionally styled street fixtures that might not meet the rules, if they’re too stringent.

And as you might expect, much of the discussion focused not on the committee’s intentions, but what it said it is not talking about.

“We’re not talking about darkness,” Rosen said. “We’re talking not lighting upward” into the sky … lighting that protects the sky and protects the property.”

Chamber official asks: `How big a problem are we trying to fix?’

Leslie noted that the new, yet traditionally styled Drake Park lights have a little top shield on them. “There’s a way to have ambience, modify it slightly,” he said.

Gary Peters, president and CEO of the Bend Chamber of Commerce, had some fairly predictable concerns: “How big is the problem we’re trying to fix?” he said. “Will we be able to see measurable results?”

Leslie, who had stressed that input to guide the committee was what the meetings were all about, said that was a good point.

The committee chairman had indicated weeks earlier that they would look primarily at education and voluntary efforts, but said, “At the last committee, there was interest in moving a little quicker to drafting provisions for standards of some sort.{

“Everybody would like to have this done on the basis of dark sky and safety, without government … standards,” Leslie said. But as a “city of 50,000 people, we’ve grown too big for that.”

“Personally, my goal is to bring back the Milky Way,” Leslie said, so residents “can look up and see more than Vega,” the brightest staration in the sky at this point in the year. “We do need to look at ways to measure the cost-benefit relationship. It wouldn’t be adopted if the costs would be huge – that’s not our goal.”

But dark-sky and lighting regulations have been adopted, to varying degrees, in 70 countries around the world, the planner said: “We are not creating a new wheel here. “

Lighting committee chairman seeks challenges: `We need to support what we say’

Sparing his lunchtime audience a 36-minute video on good and bad lighting, Leslie said, “We’re going to try to back up what we say,” for example “about the impacts to animals’ 24-hour clocks. Challenge us on the facts. We need to support what we say, particularly with costs and safety.”

As introductions were done of panel and audience members, Baker explained that she’s lived in Bend for 62 years and, “I love the dark sky. People used to visit us to see the sky. They don’t any more.”

The lighting committee, which meets again July 11, is looking for interested parties to conduct demonstration projects, showing the benefits of better lighting, and hopes to do a newspaper insert providing the information as well, Leslie said. He noted that the parkway’s street lights have what’s called “full-cutoff lights, so they shine downward.”

Rosen, active in all sorts of local issues, said she bought a shielded porch light and “was able to reduce the wattage to a refrigerator bulb. It’s the considerate thing to do, to keep light from trespassing – like loud music.” And she said that in some cases, it simply involves changing the glass on an existing fixture, or replacing a clear bulb with a white one, to cut down on glare.

Carlson Sign Co. President Peter Carlson said working with Pacific Power has enabled him to replace sign lighting and cut his power bills by half. “Power companies have been pretty aggressive about getting ways to replace old fixtures,” he said. But he also said the city’s new sign code causes problems for national companies whose logos don’t necessarily meet the criteria of a dark background.

Carlson said he feels some elements of the sign code are “somewhat constitutionally questionable,” and pointed out that Tucson made its dark-sky improvements without sign code restrictions.

“Make it something we can work proactively (on) in the future, rather than” strict rules, Carlson told the panel, and its efforts are “going to be much more successful.”

Builder/motel owner urges voluntary, not mandatory steps

Brad Evert, local developer and motel owner, also asked if the group had specific goal, in terms of reduction in light pollution, and whether that “may be achievable through voluntary actions,” rather than a new layer of city rules.

“I’ve never had a visitor come to Bend to look at the night sky,” Evert claimed, pointing instead to well-known recreational opportunities. “They want to go out and feel safe,” he added.

“We want the same things you want,” Rosen told Evert. “We want it done through education.” But Evert persisted, suggesting that if you ask “any Joe Blow” for a list of top priorities in the community, “form my experience, this is a low priority.”

“I don’t think this is a glaring issue for a lot of people,” Evert added, making the best kind of pun – an unintended one.

Newport Avenue Market owner Rudy Dory said, “I think what we want to do is commendable,” but asked what the cost will be for merchants to move to compliance. While the literature points to long-term savings, Dory said, “saving money sometimes takes a financial commitment. If don’t have those dollars, then those savings are not worthwhile.”

“In order for this to be more palatable (to businesses), what’s it going to cost me to comply with this?” he asked. “I’m not fighting it, don’t get me wrong – I agree with what they are trying to do.”

City councilor promises sensitivity to cost issues in lighting standards

Again, as before, Leslie promised to address those issues, as did Abernethy: “Are there low-cost, maybe no-cost ways – grants, for example,” to fund such lighting changes,” the councilor said, adding, “We’re very sensitive to those types of concerns.”

Like many in the audience, Eoff Electric manager Lennie Hiatt didn’t speak up during the meeting. But asked his opinion as he headed back to work, Hiatt said, “I think they are on the right track.”

“It’s not just another way for my company to sell stuff,” Hiatt said, but about lighting changes that will save folks money: “It’s always about cost.”

Attorney Sharon Smith, representing the Bend-La Pine School District, noted that the field lights at the new Summit High School take advantage of new technology, to cut down on glare and light trespass. But rules that require retrofitting of existing lights would be a spendy item for the district, involving hundreds of thousands of existing lights.

“I would urge this group to look at, where do we all agree?” and move ahead on those elements first, Smith said. Otherwise, she warned, “We could spend the next two years battling over (the rules) and lose two years of going forward.”

Leslie said he doesn’t believe the committee will get too technical in its goals – lumens per acre, as some countries have done. But as the business members noted, some measurable specifics will be needed.

“We’ve looked at many different ordinances, from a few paragraphs to 20 or 30 pages,” he said. “We’re leaning toward a few paragraphs – simple.”

Evert fears lighting `zealots’ will push too hard

But public perception can be a difficult issue, as Teresa Getty Adam of Creative Lighting noted: While compact fluorescent lights can save 75 percent of power costs, “nine times out of 10, people think more light is better light.”

As the crux of the issue focuses on how to deal with existing lights, Leslie promises that the committee will “see if we can agree much more than we disagree” about how to proceed.

But as the meeting ended, Evert said he sees “a bunch of zealots” on the panel, and engaged in a spirited discussion (alright, an argument) with Rosen about the need for lighting regulations.

Whether the broader debate will shed more heat than light in coming months is hard to predict, considering how a few other controversial city ordinances have sparked intense concern (and some have gone back to the drawing boards for more work at the stakeholder/citizen committee level).

The outdoor lighting issue just might be a more … enlightening discussion, and there’s surely plenty of research on the subject for all to review. So you could say it’s not about the fear of change, but the fear of changeout – and the costs involved. On that subject, the committee has its work cut out.

To arrange for a presentation on the subject, contact Patty Rosen at 389-7280.

‘The sky is not falling’: State CYIP audit finds mixed bag of tradeoffs

Once the document in question arrived, a bit late and practically hot off the press, the room got as quiet as eighth-grade study hall for a while Friday morning, while several dozen Deschutes County workers, youth advocates and a judge and district attorney read a long-awaited state performance audit of the county’s financially and politically embattled program for troubled youth.

And then, the explanations, promises and the like resumed, focusing on the audit by the Oregon secretary of state’s office of the “Deschutes County Delinquent Youth Demonstration Project” – or what the county calls the Community Youth Investment Program (CYIP) (a summary of the audit and the full document can be viewed online at http://www.sos.state.or.us/audits/audreports/2002_year.html).

With future funding of the effort anything but assured, amid all the hubbub in Salem, the review of the 5-year-old program, requested by state lawmakers, found things for both supporters and critics of the CYIP to latch onto, right from the introduction, which said that despite “significant differences between the demonstration project and the state’s juvenile system … neither approach is clearly superior.”

The county’s program – aimed at showing that keeping troubled youth back in their local communities better prepares them for a better future than does Oregon Youth Authority incarceration in Salem – “features shorter, less expensive detention periods, with more emphasis on community service, restitution and victim support,” the audit stated. In fact, a comparison of offenders with similar criminal backgrounds “found that county offenders served about half the time” of state offenders, and “less than one-third as much time in aftercare,” the follow-up period.

“Consequently, the state system offers more direct public protection because juvenile offenders are incarcerated for longer periods of time,” the audit said. “However, longer periods of incarceration also impact the cost of the state system, which is higher than the county’s on a per-case basis.”

“Finally, our audit found that neither system has demonstrated a clear advantage over the other in terms of preventing a youth’s return to criminal behavior,” the summary continued. “For the sample of cases that we reviewed, more than half of those released from both county and state facilities had been returned to custody in a juvenile or adult facility within one year.”

Second study, by U of O team, due in July

Still, as Commissioner Tom DeWolf and District Attorney Mike Dugan noted, any success with youths at risk of a life of adult crime is worth it, in their view, because as they get older, the recidivism numbers turn far more bleak. DeWolf said federal studies find that 97 percent of adult prison inmates are back behind bars within three years.

“Our goal is to get kids out of that cycle,” DeWolf said.

Another evaluation of the CYIP, by a University of Oregon team, is due for release July 12.

The Legislature authorized the 6-year demonstration project in 1997 for certain adjudicated youth, to reduce the county’s reliance on the state’s close-custody system. But juveniles convicted in adult court of certain violent offenses couldn’t take part, as the legislation excluded youth convicted of any of 23 violent crimes under which Measure 11 sets mandatory sentences.

The auditors looked at records for all 46 juvenile offenders released from the program’s incarceration phase in 1999 and 2000, tracking them for a year after release, then compared those findings with a random sample of 64 young offenders released during the same period from OYA facilities. The state sample was chosen from among offenders with similar severity of previous offenses.

Looking at the money end of things – no doubt of key interest – the Deschutes program was found to cost more per day for incarceration ($202 per youth, compared to $166 at OYA) but, since the average length of stay was just over half that at state facilities (4.4 months vs. 8.3 months), the cost was less in the CYIP program. Add in the aftercare/parole costs, and the total average cost per year for the county’s program was $48,396, compared to $65,866 for the OYA offenders, the audit found.

Audit finds tradeoffs galore in state-county comparison

For every pro, there seemed to be a con in the audit – or vice versa. The auditors found that the cost per day, per offender for aftercare in CYIP was more than three times higher ($62 a day vs. $20) than for the state offender. But the county also achieved a net 25 percent reduction in bed usage (incarceration) of delinquent youth.

While the average cost per case was less in the county, the total costs exceeded state payments, so “county funds were necessary to bridge the gap,” the auditors said. For the 1999-2001 biennium, the project cost almost $2 million, but the state provided only about $1.5 million in support – and the county used almost one-third of that for early intervention programs for at-risk youth.

Since the county used other state funds as well, the state auditors estimated the cost to county residents at $331,000 a year – but county officials said that’s misleading, as many of those expenses would have been incurred anyway. Instead, county Treasurer/Finance Director Marty Wynne figured CYIP’s “incremental cost” to the county in 2000-01 at about $71,000, half of that in payments to Habitat for Humanity to supervise and train the youth, and $41,000 for half of the funding of a program development specialist position.

Most of the money included in the audit’s figures are “allocated costs, a percentage of staff salaries,” Wynne said. “For the most part, these were county-authorized positions before CYIP and would continue, with or without CYIP.”

DeWolf said that while there are “two ways of looking at” the cost to taxpayers, “both are accurate. But if CYIP goes away, we’re not going to save hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

County, state outcomes differ in types of repeat crimes

The auditors also said that the “program strengths will need to be weighed against public safety risks,” as a comparison of offenders “found that the initial results of (CYIP) have been mixed.”

“Neither program demonstrated a clear advantage over the other in terms of preventing a youth’s return to criminal behavior,” the audit stated. Because the county’s offenders are incarcerated for shorter periods and perform community service work, county residents “are at a somewhat greater risk of victimization,” they said.

The county’s criminal referral rate for person-to-person crimes, such as assault and robbery, was a bit lower than the states – 24 percent, compared to 27 percent. But it was quite a bit higher in the property offense category – 43 percent of the county offenders, compared to 28 percent for state offenders. The same split – lower on person-to-person crimes, higher on property crimes – was seen when comparing new criminal adjudications within a year of release.

But overall, in both programs, more than half (59 percent in the county, 53 percent at OYA) of the youths had new referrals – new trouble with the law – within a year of release. There also was relatively little difference between the programs in terms of the number of offenders returned to juvenile or adult facilities within a year.

While that gives the county lots to work on, no matter what the fate of CYIP state funding, there also were more upbeat things to present: “some early success in serving a broader set of needs than those traditionally considered by the juvenile justice system,” in the auditors’ words.

For example, the county program’s offenders did far more community service than did the OYA offenders – an average of 211 hours, compared to just four hours at state facilities. The CYIP offenders also paid a higher percent of restitution owed – 52 percent, compared to 28 percent at OYA. And more paid the restitution in full – again, 52 percent, to just 18 percent in the state program.

Some differences in results relate to differing programs, auditors say

In addition, almost two-thirds of the CYIP offenders enrolled in school over the year after their release, compared to only 17 percent for offenders from state facilities.

While significantly more state offenders got their diploma or GED (41 percent at the state facilities to 17 percent in CYIP), the auditors noted that’s likely because the Deschutes offenders were, on average, a year younger than those in the state facilities, and the state offenders were incarcerated for longer periods in state facilities, where school programs are mandatory. The juvenile offenders leaving both programs had similar employment rates, the auditors said.

A telephoned sample of victims of juvenile offenders from CYIP “found that they were generally satisfied with the services they had received,” the auditors said, and in comparison to the victims of offenders from state facilities, “the Deschutes victims were more satisfied with the services they received than were victims of offenders from state facilities. The most frequent complaint we heard concerned lack of restitution payments from juveniles in state facilities.”

DeWolf explained that the U of O report would come out in two weeks because those evaluators needed some information developed by the secretary of state’s office in its work.

Dugan provided a report on his own review of computer records of the 80 CYIP participants, only about 25 percent of which had no other arrests for criminal behavior. Of the 269 charges listed, 100 resulted in adjudication and sentencing; 55 were for theft, 24 criminal mischief, 21 for fourth-degree assault, and down the list, including 15 for burglary, nine for felony assault, six for car break-ins, and one for third-degree robbery, sex abuse, assault on an officer, driving while suspended and offensive littering, among others.

While The Bulletin’s report on problems with the CYIP program found an arrest for attempted murder, Dugan said that wasn’t the case. Instead, a juvenile was arrested for first-degree burglary and conspiracy to commit assault. The juvenile was with two other adults, one of whom was arrested for attempted murder. The juvenile was indicted as a co-defendant and pleaded guilty to the burglary and weapon charges.

DA Dugan asks for role in CYIP screening; new director says yes

The DA also asked that the CYIP assessment team include a member of his prosecution team; Jenny Scanlon, the county’s new Juvenile Community Justice Director, said she agrees and that efforts to revise that team are in the works.

In his report, Dugan noted, “We know that virtually every juvenile that is committed to a state training school will be released and will return to our community. By developing a program which gives the juvenile a commitment to our community, we begin to rehabilitate an offender.”

And the DA told the audience that youth facing a potential Measure 11 crime get a special round of review that he’s personally involved with, in ever case. “Sending a 15-year-old to prison for 7 ½ years is a huge, huge step,” Dugan said.

As for the high recidivism, Dugan noted, “the kids that go into CYIP are the highest-risk kids anyway.”

DeWolf said critics of the program were raising questions about the studies’ validity before they were completed, but added, “We didn’t order (the studies) – we just complied with them.” And he said the findings were “not based on computer files” turned over by the county, but on “source material, actual records” for the youths.

Some findings `not acceptable’ and `must be addressed,’ DeWolf says

The commissioner said the county can be proud of several elements of the program, from victim satisfaction to community service hours and the lower cost per case. The challenges, he said, are obvious: new property crime referrals 15 percent higher than the state program, for example.

“These results are not acceptable to us, and they must be addressed,” he said. And while longer lockup of the youth cuts the risk “in the short term,” DeWolf said, “what happens in the long term? Whether they are in the state program or in this program, they are coming home.”

“The sky is not falling here with CYIP,” the commissioner said. “People here are doing good work … (and) we’ll work to improve our successes.”

Scott Johnson, executive director of the county’s Commission on Children and Families, put it similarly: “We’re placed with these numbers, but not satisfied.”

Scanlon said that in a way, comparing the two programs is like “apples to oranges.” And the tradeoffs are evident, when the audit found more new problems with property crimes and fewer person-to-person crimes in the CYIP program than at state facilities.

“Is it better to be assaulted by a youth or have them break into your car?” she asked, then answered: “Well, neither is acceptable.”

One CYIP addition: Fenced area for some community service work

One change in coming weeks will be a fenced-in area of the secure juvenile facility, with a shop where youth at relatively higher risk can do some community work service. “I’m excited about this,” Scanlon said. And along with a county prosecutor, Scanlon wants to look at adding law enforcement, community and non-profit (J Bar J Boys Ranch) representatives to the initial screening panel for youth considered for the CYIP program.

The county also has tightened its security on youth who go out to do community service, dropping the ratio from one staff member for every five youth to a 1-to-3 ratio. New guidelines for intensive supervision are being drafted – an issue Scanlon said the county takes “very seriously.”

Scanlon, who moves officially from her county PR job to the juvenile post on Monday, laid out her “to-do list,” promising by the end of July to get a policy in place to make sure all in-custody incidents are reported to the DA’s office and the courts. By Aug. 31, a “blue-ribbon committee” of key community stakeholders will be formed to evaluate CYIP operations and planned improvements; a “report card” to the community will be out by the end of October, similar to what’s been done the past few years.

The new juvenile director also vowed to review assessment practices, to assure the most appropriate youth are recommended for the program. And, while she knew it was what folks expect to hear, she vowed, “My No. 1 priority is public safety. This will guide all future decisions regarding CYIP.”

But Scanlon also said that while she’s been asked why she wanted the job, and even offered sympathy by some, “I believe in the fundamental philosophy of the program (and) believe it makes sense for our community. … I think I’ve got the best job in the world.” Now, she said, the county needs to look at issues such as whether an average 4.4 months in the program is enough, or the 11 months in aftercare.

“The changes that need to happen will occur,” Scanlon promised. “Keeping the community involved gives us our best chance of success.”

Budget tussle in Salem holds fate of CYIP funding

The county juggled its budget and used reserves to keep CYIP and the related early intervention programs alive for the first three months of the new fiscal year that begins Monday, while the dust settles over the state budget crunch and its impacts in the county. But after that, DeWolf said, is “completely up in the air … The latest reports (from the Legislature) is that this particular funding is in place,” but that could change.

DeWolf said, “One thing I hope comes out of this is a closer relationship between the county and OYA … Maybe we can learn from each other.” Dugan also made it known that some youth have been placed in CYIP by a juvenile court referee or judge, despite a recommendation to the contrary by his office. But Faith McKee, a victims’ advocate in the DA’s office, said she recently became part of the program’s screening panel, and called that a good thing.

And Dugan said the idea of judging such a program on one, two or even five years is wrong, when the idea of early intervention makes it, in essence, an 18-year program.

“I hope, by the time I’m ready to retire, we have less crime in the community than we do today,” thanks to such programs, the DA said. “But I’m guessing that won’t happen until after I retire.” DeWolf said early intervention programs are a “whole other piece not dealt with in this audit,” and mentioned a letter from the parent of a kindergartener who said one such program had turned her child around from his previous problems.

Dugan said repeat offenses often occur – or are discovered — because juveniles who enter the system are observed so much closer from then on. But he mentioned a troubling figure, that finds Oregon No. 3 in the nation in property crimes per capita in 2000, and the DA said his office expects to prosecute more than 4,100 property crimes in 2002.

DeWolf asked that CYIP, which began before he took office, not be judged by its first two years, but by the next two years. And Dugan said he and DeWolf differ on some aspects of “how do you judge success? If you take two out of 10 (at-risk) kids” and turn them around, it’s a success for those two.

But DeWolf said one thing everyone agrees on, regarding CYIP: “a commitment to make it work.”

After all, as Dugan noted: “These kids are our future.”

Christina Welch named acting Ochoco Natl. Forest supervisor

PRINEVILLE, OR-Christina Welch was recently named the new Acting Forest Supervisor for the Ochoco National Forest, Pacific Northwest Region of the United States Forest Service.

Tina replaces Judy Levin, who has served in the position for the past four months. Ms. Levin has since returned to her permanent position in the Regional Office in Portland as the Deputy Director for Recreation, Lands and Mineral Resources.

Tina has worked for the Federal Government for 21 years. She has held staff positions in Recreation and Engineering on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, the Deschutes National Forest and was a Staff Engineer for the Ochoco National Forest. She most recently served as a Field Manager for the Prineville District of the Bureau of Land Management, a position she will return to after her 4-month detail as the Acting Supervisor for the Ochoco National Forest.

“Having previously worked for the Ochoco National Forest, I am familiar with the natural resources issues, the employees and the community of Prineville. I look forward to managing the forest as we prepare for a permanent Forest Supervisor,” said Welch.

Tina received her Bachelor’s Degree from San Diego State University and is a registered, professional civil engineer. She has held a variety of positions in land management and has served on regional and national working groups. She currently lives in Powell Butte with her husband and two teenage daughters.

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Reminder amid danger: Fireworks illegal on federal lands

Prineville, Ore.-Conditions that may have brought one of the worst fire seasons in 50 years have compelled local fire managers to remind the public this Independence Day it is illegal to possess fireworks on USDOI Bureau of Land Management and USDA Forest Service land.
“We want people to have fun and enjoy their holiday but it is imperative that everyone is extremely cautious while recreating outdoors in Central Oregon” said Assistant Fire Staff Officer Karen Curtiss. Curtiss added that there is something remarkable about this year’s fire season. “The two largest and most devastating fires currently burning in Arizona and Colorado were both human-caused, (as opposed to being started by lightning.) “The potential for large devastating fires to occur in Central Oregon is very real,” she added.
People in possession of fireworks on Central Oregon federal land, which includes the Prineville District BLM, the Ochoco and Deschutes National Forests, and the Crooked River National Grassland, can be issued a $1,000 fine, receive a one-year prison term, or be sentenced to both. They can also be billed for fire suppression costs.
Visitors to federal lands can get information about campfire restrictions by checking agency websites, following posted signs, asking campground hosts or contacting USDA Forest Service and USDOI Bureau of Land Management offices.
Fire restrictions on private land within the Central Oregon District of the Oregon Department of Forestry protection boundaries prohibit open burning without permits and campfires without landowner permission. Check with local fire agencies before igniting fireworks or campfires on private land.
Always have a shovel, axe and bucket or fire extinguisher available before building a campfire anywhere. In addition, ensure campfires are dead out and cold before leaving them.
To report wildland fires in Central Oregon call 1-800-314-2560. A recording of current fire restrictions in the area can be reached at 1-800-523-4737.
For more information, contact the Oregon Department of Forestry at 541/447-5658, the Prineville District BLM at 541/416-6700, the Ochoco National Forest at 541/416-6500, the Crooked River National Grassland at 541/475-9272 and the Deschutes National Forest at 541/383-5300.

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Bradbury claims GOP ‘serial mudslinging’ has hit new low

Portland, OR) – In yet another string of serial mudslinging incidents, the Oregon GOP attacks Bill Bradbury before they do their homework.

In a press release sent late yesterday afternoon, the Oregon GOP accused Bill Bradbury of being unpatriotic and not supporting The Pledge of Allegiance in a 1995 vote on the Oregon State Senate rules. However, what they lack in detail, they make up for in untruths and mile-long rhetoric. The Oregon GOP conveniently leaves out the real story — In reality, the votes they cite have nothing to do with Bradbury not supporting the Pledge of Allegiance.

Here’s The Real Deal: At the beginning of every legislative session, the legislature votes on a set of rules that govern them while they are in session. The rules package for the 1995 session was at least 9 pages long and covered many areas. Prior to enacting the session’s procedural rules, then Senate President Gordon Smith removed a provision that was designed to provide Senate employees with recourse when they allege sexual harassment. Bradbury voted against the rules package because Senator Smith had removed this important measure that would have protected legislative staff from sexual harassment.

“What we have here,” said Bradbury, “is a failure to communicate.” “The Oregon GOP is so bent on attacking me that they will stop at nothing, even if it means they leave out details critical to the story.”

Bradbury continued to say, “I one hundred percent disagree with the 9th Circuit’s ruling this week. I have said the Pledge of Allegiance my entire life and will continue to do so every time the opportunity presents itself. It is a small yet important act and one of the most patriotic things we can do as Americans. And each time that I recite its words, I am reminded of my love for Oregon and why I am proud to be an American.”

“The GOP’s questioning of my patriotism is, to say the least, disgusting and just another shoddy attempt at negative campaigning. I won’t stand for it and Oregonians won’t stand for it either.”

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Pacific Power warns: Film’s message could endanger kids

Kids and parents know that movies aren’t “real life.” However, some movie plots seem appealing and may inspire dangerous activity. 20th Century Fox’s new summer kids’ movie “Like Mike,” set to release early in July, shows a youth climbing a tree, grabbing shoes off a power line and being struck by lightning, giving him new-found NBA-quality super powers.

“This sort of behavior – in real life – is extremely dangerous, even fatal,” said Pacific Power Corporate Safety Director Gary LeMoine. He first learned of the upcoming movie after an employee’s child saw a promotional piece for it and indicated he, too, wanted to retrieve shoes off a power line so that he could be a child NBA star.

“We’re very concerned about the message this film could send to children. Contact with power lines is extremely dangerous,” LeMoine said. “We work very hard throughout the year to teach children to stay away from power lines, and to be aware of the potential for danger.

Included in Pacific Power’s efforts are special presentations to school children and the public and a safety curriculum in schools.

“All this work can be undermined in an instant if children think they’ll get `super strengths’ from contacting power lines,” LeMoine said. “We encourage parents to be aware of what their children are watching and to take the opportunity to reinforce safe habits through family discussions.”

Pacific Power recommends the following tips for staying safe near power equipment:
· Assume all lines are energized and carrying electricity.
· Never climb a power pole or other electrical equipment.
· Look up and stay aware of the location of overhead power lines to avoid making contact with them.
· Check trees for overhead wires running near or through limbs and branches before climbing. If lines are present, do not climb the tree for any reason.
· If you see others climbing or playing around power equipment, urge them to move away.
· Keep all kites and other objects away from overhead power lines. If a kite does become tangled in electrical wires, make no attempt to remove it!

Pacific Power posts its safety curriculum on its Web site so parents can know what their children are learning about electricity and power lines. Visit http://www.pacificpower.net and click on Safety to find the curriculum and other safety information.
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COCC offering free college preparatory sessions

Central Oregon Community College is offering placement testing and pre-advising sessions to help incoming students prepare for fall term. There is no charge for these services, but reservations are required.

Placement tests will be offered at 2 p.m. on Mondays, at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and at 10 a.m. on Wednesdays during July and August in the Ponderosa Annex on the Bend campus. The two-and-a half-hour ASSET placement test measures current skills in reading, writing and math and is used to determine the correct level of course work. It is required for students who intend to pursue a college degree or certificate, and for those planning to enroll in math, writing, or other courses requiring placement scores for registration. To reserve a seat, contact the COCC Counseling office at 383-7515. To register online, visit http://www.cocc.edu/admit/ptest.htm .

In addition, appointments for pre-advising workshops will be offered between 1 and 5 p.m. on Wednesdays during July and August. These two-hour workshops are required for students who are new, transferring or returning after a year’s absence and seeking a certificate or degree. For an appointment, visit http://www.cocc.edu/admit/start.htm or call 383-7515.

Anyone wishing to attend this event who has special needs resulting

from a physical disability should contact Gene Zinkgraf, ADA coordinator, at

least three days in advance of the event. He can be reached at 383-7775 or

through the college’s TTY number, 383-7708.

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