Family Members Fight Over Legacy of Sarah Gomez

The family of Sara Gomez held a private memorial for the 24-year-old murder victim last Monday with all of the expenses paid by the Deschutes County Crime Victims’ Assistance Fund.

That’s why some of Sara’s family and friends came forward to talk to Central Oregon Daily when they found out that Sara’s cousin was holding a fundraiser for Sara this weekend, despite repeated requests by them to not raise money in Sara’s name.

Central Oregon Daily’s Anyssa Bohanan has details on this ongoing family feud over the legacy of Sara Gomez.

On Friday afternoon, Liz Fennel told Central Oregon Daily that there will no longer be a fundraiser on Saturday due to harassing phone calls that were made to the location where the fundraiser was supposed to take place.

Fennell says the public memorial for Sara Gomez is planned for July 22nd in Tumalo State Park.

Source on the Scene: 4 Peaks Music Festival

It’s summer in Central Oregon and with plenty of sun forecasted for the weekend, some are already out and enjoying the weather at the 4 Peaks Music Festival at Stevenson Ranch.

The festival kicked off Thursday afternoon and runs through the weekend with plenty of music and activities for locals and visitors of all ages.

Central Oregon Daily’s Eric Lindstrom checked in on festival goers to see how they were enjoying the annual summer music event.

For all the latest arts and culture listings, pickup the latest issue of The Source Weekly or go to their website at www.bendsource.com.

Thanks to our Source on the Scene sponsor, Indian Head Casino, for giving us the time and resources to show you some of the best events and entertainment that our region has to offer, every Friday night on Central Oregon Daily.

Deputy Involved in Fatal Shooting

The Deschutes County District Attorney’s Office is investigating a deadly shooting involving a sheriff’s deputy west of Bend on Wednesday night.

The incident began around 6 p.m. on Wednesday night at a campsite on Forest Road 4610, off Century Drive, when a woman walking her dog overheard an argument between a man and a woman and then heard gunshots. According to District Attorney John Hummel, the woman called 911 and with in 14 minutes, Deschutes County Deputy Randy Zilke was at the scene and was confronted by 44-year-old Springfield resident Jesse Wade Powell. Powell, an ex-convict that had been recently released from a 13-year sentence, was found with a stolen U-Haul and two trailers filled with stolen items.

During the confrontation Deputy Zilke fired his gun once, killing Powell. Shortly after a second deputy, Liam Klatt, arrived on the scene. So far investigators have not said if Powell had a weapon or fired at Zilke.

The woman who had been heard arguing with Powell had fled the scene by the time Zilke arrived. However, investigators have located her and Hummel said she is cooperating with the investigation.

Deputies Zilke and Klatt have been placed on administrative leave pending the result of the investigation, which is standard Oregon protocol for any shooting involving law enforcement officers. Both Zilke and Klatt are Marine Corps veterans. Zilke has been with the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office since 2005 and Klatt since 2001. Neither deputy was injured in the incident.

History Repeating Itself

Herbicide Spraying Mistakes

A La Pine resident is sharing the story of his six-year court battle over a mistaken herbicide spraying by the government and joining a formal complaint about a new mistake that will force the removal of hundreds of trees along Highway 20, west of Sisters.

As Central Oregon Daily’s Anyssa Bohanan report, he’s hoping to prevent history from repeating itself again.

Grant for Bend Parkway Project Rejected

State and city officials have run into an obstacle in their quest to expand and reroute the Bend Parkway at Empire to address the growing congestion on the north side of the city.

Central Oregon Daily’s looks at the details of a funding rejection by the federal government.

Bend Parks Considers Removal of Iconic Bridge

On Tuesday night, Bend Park and Recreation District considered a proposal to remove the iconic Shevlin-Hixon bridge in Shevlin Park, after it was declared structurally unsound.
 
The bridge was originally built for a railroad trestle and the cover was added in 1993 for the Disney film ‘Homeward Bound.’ The proposal has been run by the Covered Bridge Society of Oregon, which does not consider the Shevlin-Hixon Bridge a covered bridge since the cover was added after the initial construction.
 
Central Oregon Daily’s Brian Jennings has more on the story. 

Free Lunches

The annual summer food service program is now available in hundreds of communities statewide, including here in Central Oregon. The program offers free meals and snacks to all kids ages one through 18.

For over a decade, the Bend-La Pine School District has ensured that no child goes hungry, even when school is not in session. Monday marked the beginning of the district’s free summer meals program, which provides healthy meals to children in Bend and La Pine.

At least one location in both Bend and La Pine provides breakfast and lunch to children. Parents are encouraged to attend and can also purchase a meal for $4.

The program is funded through the United State Department of Agriculture and is run by district staff members. The program provides and estimated 5,000 meals in the Bend-La Pine area over the summer months.

The program runs Monday through Friday ever week until August 24th in most locations. The free lunch program in La Pine will open at the La Pine Event Center starting July 9 and running through August 17. A full list of all the locations in Bend and La Pine, as well as times and dates, is available on the Bend-La Pine School District website.

 

Penner’s Death Confirmed a Suicide

Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel confirmed that suicide was the cause of death for the man suspected of murdering Sara Gomez. Hummel released a statement disputing the claims of innocents made in the suicide note left behind by Bryan Penner.

Penner hung himself at the Deschutes County Jail on March 11th. He was in custody on charges related to the disappearance of his ex-girlfriend, Sara Gomez.

Gomez’s body was found last week east of Bend roughly four months after she disappeared. On June 6th, the District Attorney also confirmed that Penner left a note on his bunk in the jail, in which he denied killing Gomez and claimed that she had gotten back together with him before she went missing.

Hummel released the following statement Wednesday:

“I continue to be respectful of Bryan Penner’s family as they grieve his death, and disdainful of Bryan Penner for what he did to Sara Gomez. I’ve previously expressed by contempt for Mr. Penner killing Sara. My contempt deepens because in his suicide note he had the gall to claim Sara got back together with him before he killed her. In Sara’s final months of life, she fled an abusive relationship, filed for a restraining order and bean a new relationship. Penner could not accept that Sara had moved on with her life, and this is why he brutally murdered her. Shame on him for thinking he could rewrite the final chapter of her life.” 

Road Rage Victim Speaks Out

On Friday June 1, two women were allegedly assaulted during a road rage incident in southwest Bend. 49-year-old Jay Barbeau of Redmond is accused of attacking two women after they allegedly cut him off while exiting a parking lot in downtown Bend.

According to Megan Stackhouse, the driver of the vehicle, she and her fiancee Lucinda Mann were leaving an event in downtown when they pulled in front of Barbeau’s truck. Stackhouse said she could see Barbeau yelling at them from inside his vehicle as he drove behind them. Stackhouse said Barbeau continued to follow her and Mann through the Wilson Road traffic circle.

Soon after Stackhouse pulled over, hoping Barbeau would pass them rather than follow them all the way home. Instead Stackhouse said Barbeau pulled over, jumped out of his vehicle and smashed the back window of her car with his bare hand. He then came around to Stackhouse’s window and grabbed her arm, snapping her wrist. Mann jumped out of the car to help but, according to Stackhouse, Barbeau hit Mann, knocking her unconscious.

Stackhouse said Barbeau’s wife was yelling at him to get back in the truck, when he did Stackhouse stood in front of his vehicle to prevent him from running over Mann, who still lay in the middle of the street. Stackhouse tried to reach for her phone to call the police but realized her right arm wasn’t functional.

A Bend police officer who happened to be in the area came upon the scene. Stackhouse, Mann and Barbeau were all taken to St. Charles Hospital in Bend to be treated for various injuries. Stackhouse sustained a compound fracture on her right arm, which required surgery on June 4. Mann was treated for a concussion and a neck injury.

Barbeau was arrested at the scene and is currently being held in the Deschutes County Jail on charges of reckless driving, first degree criminal mischief, fourth degree assault and three counts of second degree assault. He’s scheduled to be arraigned June 11.

Supper Club: Preview of the State of the City Address

The State of the City Address is coming up next week and Bend Mayor, Casey Roats and the city manager, Eric King, sat down with Central Oregon Daily’s Donna Britt for a preview of the State of the City in this week’s Supper Club.

Thanks to Casey and Eric for joining us. If you want to watch the State of the City in person, you can see it next Tuesday at 10 Barrel Brewing‘s eastside location at 5 p.m.

A special thanks to our Supper Club sponsors, Selco Community Credit Union, for giving us the time and resources to talk about the issues that impact our region every Tuesday night and Wednesday afternoon on Central Oregon Daily.