Citizens invited to aid state sheriffs’ association

Responding to an increasing number of people wanting to assist law enforcement officials and build a stronger partnership, Sheriff Les Stiles recently announced that Deschutes County citizens are being invited to become honorary members of the Oregon State Sheriffs’ Association (OSSA).

Membership appeals were recently mailed by OSSA. Individual membership is $25, business membership is $40, and contributions are tax deductible. The funding provides critically important technical resources, training, and legislative support on key criminal justice issues.

With government funding becoming increasingly difficult to secure, the membership drive has taken on greater importance than ever before. This funding is vital to help law enforcement agencies throughout the state of Oregon carry out the mission of making communities safer places to live, work and play.

Individuals who do not receive a membership appeal and would like more information can contact the Oregon State Sheriffs’ Association at: PO Box 2313, Salem Oregon 97308. Phone: (503) 364-4204.

Big bucks still pouring into Burley-Stiegler race

The race for Bend’s open seat in Oregon House District 54 has continued its record-setting fund-raising pace into the last weeks of the election, with more than $107,000 in added cash and in-kind donations to Republican Chuck Burley and Democrat Judy Stiegler, pushing the year’s total well past the $500,000 mark.

In their final two pre-election contribution reports, due by Oct. 25 and Oct. 29, Burley reported another $56,000 in cash raised and $5,000 in in-kind donations, while Stiegler recorded about $10,000 in cash donations and more than $36,000 in in-kind assistance.

For Burley, the late help included donations of $16,000 from the (House) Speakers PAC (political action committee) of Silverton, $10,000 each from the Eugene-based Oregon Victory Committee and the Oregon Beverage PAC, $5,000 from Majority 2004 of Salem, $2,500 each from D.R. Johnson Lumber Co. of Riddle and the Oregon Realtors’ PAC, and $2,000 from the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company.

Other contributions included $1,500 from the Oregon Credit Union Legislative Fund, $1,000 from the ABC (builders) PAC, and $500 each from the Bar Pilots of the Columbia River PAC, Oregonians in Action (a Tigard-based property-rights group), the Oregon Medical Association PAC and the Portland-based Health PAC.

He also received several contributions from other legislative election committees, including $4,000 from the Re-Elect Packwood Committee of former Sen. Bob Packwood, $3,000 from the Wayne Scott for State Representative Committee in Canby, $2,000 from the Gilman Campaign in Medford, $1,400 from Dennis Richardson’s election committee in Central Point, $2,000 from the Kitts for State Representative Committee in Hillsboro and $1,000 from the campaign committee of Sol Esquivel in Medford.

As for Stiegler, her recent cash contributions included $5,000 from the House Democrats’ Future PAC, $2,000 from the Salem-based Citizen Action by Public Employees group, and $1,500 each from Portland-based WIN-PAC and the Baney Corp. of Bend.

As for in-kind donations, Stiegler reported receiving $22,485.33 worth of literature and postage from Future PAC, $1,655 in literature and postage from the Planned Parenthood PAC of Oregon, a $1,500 in-kind pledge for mailing-piece production by the Friends of Greg MacPherson in Lake Oswego, $1,147.95 in “advocacy calls” by Future PAC and $516.51 in postage from NARAL-Pro Choice Oregon.

In purposeful contrast, the third candidate in the race, Libertarian Tristan Reisfar, has reported only about $1,600 in donations through an Oct. 21 filing.

Most Prineville sex offenders at listed addresses

PRINEVILLE – Prineville police have completed their initial effort to confirm the addresses of 33 registered sex offenders reported to be living in the city, and four are under investigation for possible non-compliance, officers said.

“Of the 33 offenders in our city, 24 were exactly where they were supposed to be,” said Capt. Michael Boyd.

Registered sex offenders in Oregon are required to list their current address and verify it every year with a local police agency or the State Police, Police Chief Eric Bush said in announcing the planned check-up in late September (bendbugle.com/?p=18322).

One of the checked-on offenders had moved to unincorporated Crook County and re-registered, Boyd said. “In two cases, it appears the offenders’ registration errors had slight errors – one lived on the Northeast version of a street, instead of the Northwest, but the house numbers were correct,” he said. “The other subject lived in Apartment No. 3, instead of No. 1″

“Two (of the offenders) were reported to be in custody, and we’re checking on that now,” Boyd said. “Two were reported to have re-registered at new addresses, and the remaining two were reported to have moved far away, and we’re checking on that too.”

Overall, he said, “It looks like four of our registered sex offenders may be out of compliance, and we’re investigating these.”

Crane Shed rubble cleared after judge’s order

Crews have finished removing the tall piles of debris where the 67-year-old Brooks-Scanlon Crane Shed once stood, after a judge ordered the city to issue a demolition permit – the lack of which led to the illegal Aug. 19 destruction of the 500-foot-long landmark.

Deschutes County Circuit Judge Michael Adler, acting at the request of both the city and site owner Crown Investment Group LLC, issued a writ of mandamus on Oct. 19 – two months to the day after the building was knocked down, and about three weeks after he’d found Crown Investment in contempt of court and issued a $100,000 fine, two-thirds of the amount sought by the city (bendbugle.com/?p=18336).

The judge noted that Crown Investment had paid the fees required for issuance of the permit, an amount that city Building Division Manager Robert Mathias said totaled $6,275.56, so the permit was issued as ordered on the same day, Oct. 19.

“Once had the $100,000 judgment for contempt, then we just have a big pile of flammable sticks, so it’s in the public’s interest to get them out of there,” said City Attorney Jim Forbes.

Mathias said Friday that the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality in early October had determined that all of the asbestos found in old roofing material on the site had been removed. Its presence had prompted a city stop-work order shortly after the demolition. But he said the DEQ also said that, should any more of the asbestos-containing material be found, the agency must be notified immediately.

The judge’s order listed just three conditions for the property owners to follow after the demolition permit’s immediate issuance: comply with rules and regulations, including those of the DEQ; use a licensed contractor to remove the material; and continue the costly, 24-hour fire watch until the city fire marshal “determines removal is sufficiently complete to remove the condition.”

Forbes said the city has not yet received the $100,000, which the judge said must be used to create some form of memorial or historic exhibit about the crane shed and its place in Bend’s history.

“Once the judgment was signed by the judge, it becomes an automatic lien against any property they own in the county, so we’re feeling protected that our judgment is secure,” the city attorney said. “We’re not about to foreclose on the lien. We have a petition to add our attorneys’ fees onto the judgment, which is $16,000. Another reason not to enforce (yet) is they still have time to appeal. … If time runs out, or they file an appeal and lose on it, then we can pursue the (judgment).”

The order was conditioned, however, “upon Crown taking reasonable steps to keep on the site the items listed below,” and turn them over to the city. The list includes 11 items, ranging from the crane operator’s cab and controls to a section of crane rail with coupling, 4-foot sections of 12-by-24 and 12-by-12 foot beams, a sample section of the original siding, a piece of rotted buttress, “one lampshade/light shield, and one through bolt.”

PCBs may complicate crane issue

The city has 60 days to take ownership of the set-aside items, Forbes said. “It’s going to involve trying to set up volunteer labor,” he said. “The city will help in any way it can. Once we get the $100,000, then we’ll be looking at possible ways to use the artifacts.”

“The big remaining question about the artifacts is the crane itself,” Forbes said. It was used to maneuver across the top of the building, moving big stacks of lumber.

“There’s some concern that the oil used in it has (potentially cancer-causing) PCBs in it,” Forbes said. “If that’s the case, we can’t afford to take on that liability, but we understand we could remove the cab from the crane. We’re waiting for the DEQ” to weigh in.

“One of the most ironic things is that the building was far less of a fire hazard before it was torn down then after,” the city attorney said. “It had a sprinkler system. It was a public nuisance, once it was down.”

Despite the furor raised over the demolition, the property owners still are seeking city approval of a new, mixed-use structure of similar size and look on the site. Forbes said he understood the applicants had been requested to submit more information to the city; neither city Community Development Director James Lewis nor Crown principal partner Jim Reckling were available for comment.

Derek Stevens, a Bend builder and Deschutes County Historical Landmarks Commission member, has been asked by the city to help find a suitable location to display for the Crane Shed artifacts, such as the High Desert Museum or Des Chutes Historical Center Museum. He said Monday that one item, a gable end, on the judge’s list for saving already has been destroyed in clearing the site.

Stevens also is involved, at the city’s request, in the effort to decide on a suitable memorial/exhibit in the Crane Shed’s honor, using the judgment’s funds.

He said current plans call for three landmarks commission members and three members of the city’s Arts, Beautification and Culture Committee to work with Art in Public Places and Cate O’Hagan of Arts Central, with initial plans for a “call for artists” to propose designs. Like the recent rounds of roundabout art, the finalists would get a public review as well.

Stevens says he already has an idea that he’s likely to advance, for a 4-acre spot of city-owned land at the east end of the Colorado-Arizona couplet.

“I’ve sketched up a design of what was the cross-section of the Crane Shed, at actual (70-foot-tall) size,” using steel to mimic the wooden structure, Stevens said. It would include half of a crane rail, in a cut-away that could be visible from the Bend Parkway, as the original building was.

“I’ve had a favorable report from most people I’ve talked to about it,” Stevens said. “It would not be on the Crane Shed site, so as not to reward the owners for what they did.” An initial cost estimate for the steel came to $40,000, well within the budget that will be available.

There’s also talk of a community garden at that spot, which would help draw people to the location, Stevens added.

Local Libertarians to party on Election Night

Deschutes County Libertarians will be celebrating the end of this election season Tuesday Night Nov. 2 at the Candlelight Dinner Theatre, 20 NW Greenwood ( parking in the back). The celebration will begin at 7:00 P.M. All ages are welcome to join local libertarians to celebrate this very successful election season. The event is free and munchies will be provided, as well as a no-host bar. “Liber-tinis” will be the featured drink for those over 21. TVs will be available for those who want to watch the election results unfold. Tristan Reisfar, Libertarian Candidate for State Representative, district 54, will be joining the festivities after watching the first returns arrive at the Deschutes County Clerk’s office.

Bend entrepreneur drives his pro-Kerry stance

Entrepreneur Calvin Mann, is the owner of VocalBooth.com, a local and international company that manufactures and ships portable sound proof rooms. Based in Bend, Calvin Mann believes that he will be able to better provide for his 10 employees if there was a change in the White House.

Calvin Mann

“Over the last six months almost all raw material costs used in our manufacturing have been rapidly escalating in price.

Plywood, steel, fabric acoustic foam and the freight costs involved are all going through the roof. I foresee rising costs on all goods across the board. I just saw the value meals at Burger King go up!

The low to middle classes are doing with less and employers like myself aren’t able to provide what workers should be getting. None of my employees can afford health care and I can’t afford to offer it.

The Bush regime has given this country nothing but lip service and distractions in an effort to hide their bad policies and ideology. More than half the voters in 2000 did not want Bush and the sentiment has gotten worse to tragic.

The bottom line is that George Bush for four years has continued to drive a wedge dividing this country and he has neither the desire or the aptitude to change it. George Bush does not represent the United States of America that I grew up believing in. Bush must go. If not by vote, by peaceful revolt.

I have been driven to make my voice be heard and have turned my car into a John Kerry promotional machine. It’s been great.

People honk at me all day giving me the thumbs up. I believe that the tide is turning and we will see a change.

Christian Writers Guild plans annual meeting

The Christian Writers Guild will hold its annual meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, November 8, at the Bookmark, 228 NE Greenwood.

“Make A Word” will open the program. Those attending are asked to bring and read 500 words of Christian nonfiction from their own writing or from another source.

The business will include a review of the bylaws, election of 2005 officers, and a report on the recent Bend Writers Conference.

Membership in Christian Writers Guild is open to any writer, experienced or beginning, who holds a Christian world view. For more information call John Maybury, Christian Writers Guild president, 385-5374.

Ballot ‘blotches’ bring Blankenship election blues

From a VIP visit in the morning to a nightmarishly located – but apparently accidental – blob of ink found on at least nine ballots: Deschutes County Clerk Nancy Blankenship didn’t have a roller-coaster ride on the always-busy Friday before Election Day. It was more like that scream-inducing, theme-park elevator free-fall.

Secretary of State Bill Bradbury had stopped by on a whirlwind state tour, four days before the ballots get counted, and praised the work being done, while predicting an 84 percent ballot return. That would be the highest turnout for an Oregon presidential election since the 86 percent who went to the polls – remember the polls? – in 1960, to choose between Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy.

Little did Blankenship know of the troubles coming her way – a county clerk’s nightmare come to life – a printing problem discovered on already-mailed ballots in a heated presidential election.

In that presidential area of the ballot, no less – an inkblot right next to the Democratic ticket’s oval.

A Redmond-area couple, both registered Republicans, who had opened their mail-ballot envelopes a week earlier. Actually, Lorie Kulin said she opened her own ballot first, then the one for her husband, Steve who she assists with the voting process, for good reason: He is legally blind, with retinitis pigmentosa.

After opening her ballot, Lorie spotted an odd blob of ink, just above (and touching) the oval for the Democratic ticket of John Kerry and John Edwards, the ones atop the list of presidential candidates (arranged randomly on the ballot).

“It kind of concerned me,” Kulin said. “I was afraid more than anything that my vote would not be counted.”

But then she opened her husband’s ballot envelope and found the same “little ink blotch.”

“It had the exact same mark, the same exact spot,” she said. “I said, `Wait a minute – what in the world?'”

Kulin, like just about everyone, has a busy life, and knew she had time to deal with the matter, so she first contacted the state Elections Division.

“My only concern was that I could get a clean ballot in time to actually vote,” Lorie Kulin said.

Republicans interested in fouled ballots

The state office in turn pointed her to the county clerk’s office in downtown Bend. Trouble is, she couldn’t find it. But the Kulins did spot the county Republican campaign headquarters, located across Wall Street, and stopped in Friday. Needless to say, the GOP officials on hand were quite interested in what the couple had gotten in the mail.

That led to an Oregon Republican Party advisory to the media, and reporters meeting the Kulins across the street at Blankenship’s office, where the fouled ballots were exchanged for clean ones. State Rep. Gene Whisnant, the Deschutes County GOP chairman, was on hand as well, and later said he isn’t pointing any fingers.

“We have trust and confidence in the county clerk and her staff,” Whisnant said Friday night.

But then the blotted ballots were tested, to see if the marks would have been counted as a Kerry-Edwards vote.

“She (Blankenship) didn’t think it would scan,” Whisnant said. “It did scan.”

As a vote for Kerry-Edwards.

Uh-oh.

“It’s only on one ballot style,” among the several prepared for this election’s various combinations of local and state/federal measures, Blankenship said.

She said a third Redmond-area voter had brought in a ballot with a similar – though gray, not black – mark earlier in the week, and the clerk’s office simply swapped it for a new one, unaware it was part of a series.

As it turns out, Bend also is the location of Ryder Election Services, which prints ballots for numerous counties around the state. And so, a call was made late Friday.

“We had Tom Ryder come in,” Blankenship said. “He hasn’t run across this before. It appears, for lack of a better, technical term, a blob of ink got placed on one ballot, and before it dried,” also got transferred to a “handful” of other ballots. (Whisnant said Ryder told officials there could be six to 12 ballots with the mark on them.)

“Nancy thanked us for turning it in,” Whisnant said, and apparently was going to notify other counties, just to be sure.

The blob of ink wasn’t as worrisome as its apparently coincidental location on the ballot, the local GOP officials said. If some voters didn’t notice (or didn’t think it mattered), their mark for another ticket – say, the president and vice president – would be discounted, as two votes in the same race are considered an “overvote,” and thus discarded from the tally.

“That’s why it got our feathers a little up,” Whisnant said. “People make mistakes, and I hope that’s all it was. We just want to make sure no one loses the right to vote. “

Long night of work finds half-dozen more

Some of the election boards who had been processing the ballots stayed on late Friday night, and both parties sent in observers to watch, as all the ballots of that style were checked, from nine precincts outside of Redmond’s urban growth boundary.

“Where I live,” Blankenship, the former Redmond city recorder, coincidentally noted. (This is her first presidential election in the post, after succeeding long-time clerk Susie Penhollow.)

By around 10 p.m., they were done, and had found six more ballots with the blob. Five had been marked with votes for Bush, so the boards duplicated those ballots, as state law dictates for problem ballots (such as ones with coffee stains, etc.)

The sixth ballot with the ink mark was from a voter who marked the ballot for Kerry, so no action was taken, Blankenship said. But there could be more of the ink-blot ballots, she said, so “we’ll be paying special attention Monday and Tuesday.”

“This is one of those things where in 20 years, we’ll look back and laugh,” the clerk said. “But not right now.”

By the way, 57 percent of the nearly 86,000 Deschutes County ballots were back at the clerk’s office by late Friday, while Crook County had 61 percent back and Jefferson County 56 percent. The statewide count through Thursday was at 51 percent of the 2,150,777 ballots.

The ability of election boards to open the secrecy envelopes and check the ballots a week ahead of the counting process – a two-day increase from 2000, courtesy of the Legislature – has drawn concern from some who fear shenanigans could happen in some counties. But what about catching things like blobs of ink near the all-important ovals? “Apparently, they missed that,” Blankenship said, adding, “Now we know what we’re looking for.”

Bradbury bristled at talk show host Lars Larson’s suggestion that Republicans pay no heed to their party’s call for voting early, and wait until the last minute, to avoid any elections office hanky-panky.

“I’d like him to come down and tell them (the boards) they are going to do that,” the secretary of state said.

Bradbury and Attorney General Hardy Myers are investigating the allegations involving Sproul and Associates, that the GOP consulting firm’s employees had discarded Democratic voter registration cards. “It’s legal to collect only one party’s registrations,” the secretary of state said – but not to collect cards from both parties and only turn in one’s. “That’s a Class C felony,” he said.

There’s also been concern about the ability of people to register to vote in more than one county, though clerk’s offices have nipped any effort at voting twice in the bud. Bradbury said the new, statewide voter registration database, due online by the 2006 primary, will petty much erase that potential.

It’s been a frantic time at clerk’s offices, as 200,000 voters were added to the rolls in the month before the registration deadline. There have been other glitches – empty envelopes mailed in Washington County, reports of duplicate ballot mailings to the same person in Marion County.

“There’s always glitches like that,” Bradbury said, and yet, “It’s really clear we do have an incredibly effective, fraud-free election system. I feel really good. I think a person should feel 100 percent safe in voting.”

And Bradbury still suggests folks not hand their ballot to anyone to turn in for them, but to treat it like a mortgage or paycheck – and Blankenship agrees.

The centralized voter registration database will cost $6 million, along with $5 million to maintain it for the next five years.

Fortunately, Oregon now has no chance of joining Florida in the “hanging/pregnant chads” debacle of 2000. The last counties phased out punch cards and moved to optical scan readers last January.

Oregon elections officials are discussing whether to try out electronic voting systems, but Anne Martens, spokeswoman for the secretary of state’s office, said, “Only so far as they will assist disabled voters, and they will be required to produce a paper trail. Some of the machines make it much easier for the disabled – for example, a paraplegic can blow into a tube to mark their choice.”

The ballot count took days to conclude in Oregon in 2000, in part because the results were so close – a 6,700-vote win for Al Gore, or by 1/10 of 1 percent, Bradbury noted. “If it’s that close again, it’s going to take a while” to determine the winner, Bradbury said – and challenges are likely, of course, with many lawyers for both major parties standing at the ready.

And that’s why elections officials often voice what Bradbury and Blankenship called the “5 percent prayer”: “Please, let somebody win” by 5 percent – officially, of course, they don’t care who.

Charges filed in Ochocos hunter shooting

PRINEVILLE – Oregon State Police arrested a 33-year-old Madras man Friday on misdemeanor assault and “negligent wounding” charges in the Oct. 3 shooting of a fellow hunter in the Mill Creek Wilderness Area of the Ochoco National Forest, northeast of Prineville.

Isidro Olivera-Zapien was being held at the Crook County Jail on $7,500 bail on charges of fourth-degree assault and negligent wounding of another, said OSP Sgt. David Pond.

The victim, Sean Vaughan, 23, of Prineville, was taken by Air Life helicopter to St. Charles Medical Center-Bend and initially listed in critical condition with a gunshot wound to the abdomen, Pond said. Vaughan later went home and is still recovering from the wound Pond said.

“We don’t believe alcohol was involved,” Pond said. “He just thought his victim was a deer, and he shot him.”

The two men were in different hunting groups, and investigators said Vaughan was part of a group of four hunters when he was shot by Olivera-Zapien from about 400 yards away, using 6mm ammunition. Members of both hunting parties provided initial care and used a cell phone to call for help.

The Crook County District Attorney’s Office joined the OSP in investigating the matter, one of two shooting incidents involving hunters on the Ochoco forest early last month. A 36-year-old Molalla man was shot and killed by his 12-year-old son on Oct. 7 as both aimed to shoot a passing deer in the rugged, remote Prairie Hill area.

The message that Pond stressed: Be careful, and be sure of what you are shooting.