Addiction in Central Oregon

Representative Walden Discusses Drug Issues in Central Oregon

Representative Greg Walden was in Madras today to discuss substance abuse and addiction in Jefferson County and found that opioids are not as big a problem as other drugs in that area. 
Central Oregon Daily’s Anyssa Bohanan was there for the roundtable discussion

You can reach out to Representative Walden’s office with any questions or feedback on any of the upcoming anti-opioid proposals before Congress by contacting Nolan Hern at Nolan.hern@gmail.house.gov or at 202-224-6730.

Redmond Park Wins Funds for Accessible Playground

Central Oregon Park Wins Statewide Contest

Redmond’s Baker Park is the winner of the Portland Trailblazers Moda Assist Program. Baker Park was one of the three comunity projects across the state that were eligable for the contest. The park will recieve $13,590 which equals $10 for every one of the 1,359 assists that happened during the contest. The money will be used to install playground equipment.

Five Dogs Rescued from Redmond Home

On February 25, 2018 the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office received a call from a concerned citizen reporting several dogs abandoned on a property in Redmond.

Deputies were dispatched to the 3900 block of NW Progress Lane in Redmond, to check on the dogs, which the citizen said had likely not been cared for in several days.

Deputies observed several dogs inside the residence through a window and attempted to contact the last known resident of the home, but those attempts were unsuccessful.

On February 26, deputies executed a search warrant and rescued four pit-bull mix and one Chihuahua mix dogs. A fifth pit-bull mix dog was found dead on the property. The Sheriff’s Office said through its investigation in was concluded that the dogs were likely not fed, cared for, or checked on for at least six days prior to being seized.

On February 28, Anne M. Springer of Redmond, who was determined to be the owner of the six dogs, was cited in lieu of custody on five counts of Animal Neglect II and one count of Animal Neglect I.

The five dogs are currently at Brightside Animal Center in Redmond.

Change of Heart on Redmond Safety Fee

Redmond City Council Decides Not To Add Public Safety Fee to Residents’ Water Bills

From the beginning of a plan to add six dollars to Redmond residents’ water fees to pay for more police officers on the street, City of Redmond, Oregon Mayor George Endicott repeatedly said the Public Safety Initiative was merely a proposal and not the final word on the matter. On Tuesday night, after months of research and feedback on the so-called Public Safety Fee, Mayor Endicott and the Redmond City Council decided to table the Public Safety Initiative and prioritize public safety in the upcoming 2018-19 Budget instead.
If the Public Safety Fee had been implemented, city leaders say the funds could have paid for the hiring of up to eight more police officers in the next few years, but now, they say that number will likely be reduced to four if the city can find the available funds in the budget.

Redmond Boxer Wins Silver Gloves Championship

13-year-old Redmond boxer Kevin Ochoa-Limbeck had lost close decisions in the finals of the last two silver gloves championships, but the third time was the charm.


Central Oregon Daily’s Eric Lindstrom shows us how the Redmond boxer won a national title in Missouri over the weekend.
Kevin got a welcome home celebration fit for a champion on Sunday afternoon. 75 friends, family, and fans showed up at Redmond airport to congratulate Kevin on his national title when he arrived back home from Missouri. Kevin says he hopes to fight for the U.S Olympic boxing team in the future.

Redmond Boxer Fights for National Championship

13-Year-Old Redmond Boxer Fights for National Championship This Week

From Olympic decathletes to BMX World Champions, there must be something in the water in Central Oregon. Our region produces a lot of world class athletes, and the sport of boxing is no exception.
Central Oregon Daily’s Eric Lindstrom reports from Independence, Missouri where a 13 year old boxer from  Redmond named Kevin Ochoa-Limbeck is vying for a national title this week at the Silver Gloves Championships.
Tune into Central Oregon Daily for live updates on Kevin’s fights from Independence, Missouri on Thursday and Friday night at 6pm on KOHD-ABC and 7pm on KBNZ-CBS and throughout the weekend on the Central Oregon Daily Facebook and Twitter pages.

DOJ Puts Pressure on Sanctuary Cities

On Wednesday 23 jurisdictions, including Oregon State, received letters from the U.S. Department of Justice asking for documents to prove that they are cooperating with immigration authorities and threatening to pull public safety grants.

The letters are part of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ promised crackdown on sanctuary cities and states.

“I continue to urge all jurisdictions under review to reconsider policies that place the safety of their communities and their residents at risk,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions in a press release from the DOJ (Department of Justice). “Protecting criminal aliens from federal immigration authorities defies common sense and undermines the rule of law. We have seen too many examples of the threat to public safety represented by jurisdictions that actively thwart the federal government’s immigration enforcement—enough is enough.”

The letter sent to Michael Schmidt, the Executive Director of the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission,  warned that the DOJ could use subpoena power to force them to provide documents showing they aren’t withholding information about the immigration status of people in custody.

Similar letters were sent to cities like Chicago, New York, Denver and Los Angeles, and the states of Illinois and California. DOJ officials said the 23 jurisdictions have been previously warned they need to provide information about their policies to be receive grants.

According to the DOJ website, jurisdictions who refuse to turnover documents, or whose policies are deemed counter to federal immigration laws, may be forced to return federal grant dollars from a 2016 Byrne Justice Assistance Grant and may be deemed ineligible for a 2017 Byrne Grant.

The Byrne Justice Assistance Grant is a memorial grant and is the leading source of federal justice funding for state and local jurisdictions. The grant provides states, tribes and local governments across the U.S. with funding for target community specific law enforcement needs.

Oregon was allocated $3,099,650 through the grant for 2016.

Sanctuary cities, counties, and states are jurisdictions with laws, ordinances, regulations, resolutions or policies that prohibited local law enforcement agencies from complying with ICE detainers and denying ICE access to interview incarcerated undocumented immigrants.

In Oregon this means an undocumented immigrant that has committed a crime in a sanctuary jurisdiction would be penalized for that crime but would not be detained due to their undocumented status. It also means local and state law enforcement will not assist immigration officials in locating or apprehending people due to their undocumented status.

Relying on local law enforcement to detain undocumented immigrants is the primary tool used by ICE to gain custody for deportations.

In response to the letter, Oregon Governor Kate Brown said in tweet, “Oregon will not be bullied by a Trump Administration that’s focused on diving our country. Oregon’s laws are in place to uphold the civil rights of all Oregonians. The federal government cannot, under the US Constitution, force state law enforcement officers to implement its policies.”

Here’s is the full letter written to Oregon from the DOJ:

Dear Director Schmidt:

Thank you for your response to our November 15, 2017, letter regarding your jurisdiction’s compliance with 8 U.S.C. § 1373, a federal law with which your jurisdiction must comply as an eligibility requirement for receiving Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne JAG) funding from the Department of Justice (Department or DOJ). After reviewing your response, the Department remains concerned that your jurisdiction’s laws, policies, or practices may violate section 1373, or, at a minimum, that they may be interpreted or applied in a manner inconsistent with section 1373.

In light of these concerns, the Department is requesting certain documents as described below. This request is made consistent with 2 CFR § 200.336, as adopted by Department regulation 2 CFR § 2800.101. In your FY 2016 Byrne JAG award, you agreed to the following (listed as special condition #23):

[The recipient agrees to] cooperate with [the Bureau of Justice Assistance (“BJA”)] and [Office of the Chief Financial Officer (“OCFO”)] on all grant monitoring requests…. The recipient [also] agrees to provide to BJA and OCFO all documentation necessary to complete monitoring tasks, including documentation related to any subawards made under this award. Further, the recipient agrees to abide by reasonable deadlines set by BJA and OCFO for providing the requested documents. Failure to cooperate with BJA’s/OCFO’s grant monitoring activities may result in sanctions affecting the recipient’s DOJ awards, including but not limited to withholdings and/or other restrictions on the recipient’s access to grant funds; referral to the Office of the Inspector General for audit review; designation of the recipient as a DOJ High Risk grantee; or termination of an award(s).

Please respond to the below request by providing to Chris Casto, BJA, at Chris.Casto@usdoj.gov by no later than February 23, 2018, all responsive documents, consistent with the instructions in Attachment A.

Documents Requested: All documents reflecting any orders, directives, instructions, or guidance to your law enforcement employees (including, but not limited to, police officers, correctional officers, and contract employees), whether formal or informal, that were distributed, produced, and/or in effect during the relevant timeframe, regarding whether and how these employees may, or may not, communicate with the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, and/or Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or their agents, whether directly or indirectly.

BJA will review your submissions and seek additional information, if necessary. The Department fully anticipates your complete cooperation in this matter. Should you fail to respond in a complete and timely manner, the Department will subpoena these documents in accordance with 34 U.S.C. §§ 10225, 10221, 10230, 10151 – 10158, 10102(a)(6), 10110, and 10110 note.

These materials are critical to our ongoing review. Should the Department determine your jurisdiction is out of compliance with section 1373, the Department may, as detailed in your award documents, seek return of your FY 2016 grant funds, require additional conditions for receipt of any FY 2017 Byrne JAG funding for which you have applied, and/or deem you ineligible for FY 2017 Byrne JAG funds.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this request. We look forward to working through this matter with you. Any specific questions concerning this request can be sent to directly to Tracey Trautman, BJA Deputy Director, at Tracey.Trautman@usdoj.gov or call (202) 305-1491.”

Preliminary Results Look Positive for Measure 101

As of 10 a.m. Wednesday morning with 920 of 1335 precincts reporting, 61.54 percent have voted in favor of Measure 101 and 38.46 percent voted against.

Measure 101 approves a temporary assessment to fund health care for low income residents and families in Oregon and to stabilize health insurance premiums. The temporary assessments, which is basically a tax, will be applied to insurance companies, some hospitals and other insurance and health care providers.

Proponents of the measure, which include the Hospital Association, have said this measure will ensure that low income Oregonians are able to keep their healthcare.

Opponents have said it is basically a tax to cover for bad budgeting in the state government.

On Tuesday night the Hospital Association declared victory on Measure 101.

The Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems (OAHHS) issued the following statement celebrating the passage of Measure 101 on Tueaday night.
OAHHS, which represents all of Oregon’s 62 community hospitals, was a key supporter of the Yes for Healthcare coalition.

“On behalf of our patients and the communities we serve, Oregon’s hospitals are deeply gratified by the passage of Measure 101,” said Andy Davidson, president and CEO of the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems. “We are appreciative of the partnership of so many organizations and individuals from across the state who helped to make this outcome possible.”

“Tonight’s vote is critical affirmation of our collective belief that Oregon is better off with a robust Medicaid program that tends to the needs of patients before, during and after an illness or the birth of a child. It is a recognition that our vulnerable friends and neighbors need access to the lifesaving services that our entire health care system provides. We are proud to have been an integral partner in fighting for these patients and their families.”

Hospitals have been longtime advocates for the Oregon Health Plan, working alongside the legislature for the last 15 years to develop funding solutions for the program that ensure coverage for as many Oregonians as possible.

In coming months, hospitals will work cooperatively with legislative leadership, the Governor and other stakeholders to craft additional sustainable funding solutions for the years to come to ensure the stability and health of the Oregon Health Plan. Hospitals are committed to continuing their work on future budget solutions that maintain coverage for Oregon’s most vulnerable.

In Deschutes County 54 percent of voters voted in favor of Measure 101. In Crook County 62 percent voted against the measure and in Jefferson County 57 percent also voted against the measure.

Edwin Lara Sentenced to Life in Prison

Today, Edwin Lara was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the murder of 23-year-old Kaylee Sawyer.

Lara submitted a guilty plea this morning for aggravated murder and robbery. The sentence was handed down by Judge Micheal Adler after hours of impact statements, both written and in-person, were presented to the court by Sawyer’s friends and family.

Adler said the brutality of the murder, along with Lara’s position as a COCC public safety officer, made the case stand out to him.

“You are fortunate a jury is not deciding whether to sentence you to death,” said Adler. Adler added that a true life sentence is the most serious sentence anyone actually receives in Oregon and called it “appropriate for this case.”

After Edwin Lara plead guilty to aggravated murder and robbery in the first-degree, Lara also waived his right to 48-hour sentencing.

With that Judge Adler allowed impact statements from Sawyer’s friends and family. Sawyer’s mother Juli Walden VanCleave said to Lara during her statement, “You have failed to silence her.” Talking about how Sawyer’s death united the community and there is now a foundation and a scholarship in her honor.

“I’ll always be the mother of a murder victim, but your mother will always be the mother of a murderer and a rapist,” said VanCleave.

One of Sawyer’s friends who testified said she regularly reaches for her phone to text or call Sawyer before she remembers that she can’t. She also said she still struggles to sleep or to be alone at night.

“I don’t even want to have children anymore because I know that monsters exist,” said Sawyer’s friend.

Sawyer’s maternal grandparents, Jim and Sharon Walden, and family friend Doug Gray all expressed frustration at Lara’s plea deal, which allowed him to avoid the death penalty that was being sought by District Attorney John Hummel, by pleading guilty.

The court took a break after testimony from Sawyer’s mother, maternal grandparents and friend. Sawyer’s father, paternal grandparents and co-workers from Awbrey Dental Group read their impact statements this afternoon.

Sawyer’s coworkers both delivered tearful testimony about how her murder has affect their lives and work and Sawyer’s father, the only person who addressed the court from the witness stand, held back tears before echoing that his daughter’s voice was not silenced by her murder.

After a brief recess Lara was able to address the court. Much of Sawyer’s family, including her friends, coworkers, mother and paternal grandparents all chose to leave the courtroom and returned after Lara’s statement.

“Today, I’ve seen your pain,” said Lara, who turned around to address those gathered in the courtroom, rather than the judge. “Today, I’ve seen your hate. I don’t have much to say to you at this moment. I can only pray. Someday, I would like to speak to whoever will listen. God Almighty, who art in Heaven, I’ll ask you please, heal the hearts of this community. I ask you to please heal the hearts of this family, of everyone who is in this place today, and that Kaylee Sawyer rest in peace Amen.”

Sawyer’s grandfather Jim Walden walked out during Lara’s statement and returned with the rest of Sawyer’s family.

Lara, a 32-year-old former COCC campus safety officer, is accused of abducting 23-year-old Sawyer as she was walking home, killing her on the college campus and dumping her body in a canyon west of Redmond in July 2016.

Lara was also accused of sexually assaulting Sawyer but, according to Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel, once Lara’s initial confession was thrown out, sexual assault became harder to prove. He also noted that Lara refused to plead guilty to sexual assault as part of his plea deal. Hummel said they’re main goal was to get a life sentence so they decided with the family to not pursue a sexual assault conviction in order to avoid a less harsh sentence.

Lara will carry out his entire sentence in Oregon, regardless of what is decided in the case against him in California.

Stay with Central Oregon Daily on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates, and we will have report a report from Anyssa Bohanan at 6 p.m. on KOHD-ABC and 7 p.m. on KBNZ-CBS.