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Bend councilors discuss 2-week freeze amid holiday — and what comes next

New state metrics may be unveiled next week; city won't have 'turkey cops'

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- With a new statewide temporary shutdown for some businesses, Bend city councilors had an abundance of questions Wednesday evening about what the next two weeks -- and beyond -- will look like for the city and its residents.

Oregon's Central Region Regional Solutions Coordinator Annette Liebe was on the online meeting to provide some early info about reopening steps and a new set of guidelines in the works at the governor's office and Oregon Health Authority.

"This is an approach that is more focused on risk-based metrics," Liebe said. "Similar to the school reopenings where you have green, yellow and orange phases."

Liebe said Governor Brown will not be moving counties on or off a 'watch list' as before, but rather a risk-based metric approach will let counties know where they stand.

This approach would provide different opportunities for counties, based on case counts and positivity rates.

Liebe said the new risk-based metrics could be announced as soon as next Tuesday.

With social distancing and mask mandate still in play, councilors asked staff if members of the community should be worried about Bend police knocking on doors.

Bend City Manager Eric King said their intention is to not intrude.

"We really are not going into private homes -- that is not our intent," King said. "If there is a large house party where there's many people gathering, and there's going to be impacts beyond just spreading the virus, we are obviously going to respond to those."

Councilor Bill Moseley asked, "No turkey cops," to which King replied with a slight chuckle, "No."

King stressed that the city does not want this to devolve into neighbors telling on neighbors. He also made it clear that the city does not have the resources to monitor everything at all times.

City Code Enforcement Officer James Goff outline use of overtime hours and also using some retired Bend police officers check on more businesses, in order to help with mask and other COVID-19 guidelines enforcement.

The funds will come from remaining CARES Act funding, which also will be used to help residents with utility bills and to help fund a new set of public-service messages about to launch that will have younger people urging others to wear masks.

Mayor Sally Russell briefly mentioned councilors receiving email complaints about the surprise Old Mill District fireworks show earlier in the week, but no one spoke in the visitors section on the issue and no further discussion occurred.

Russell also said she understands how difficult the upcoming holiday will be for families across Bend.

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Alec Nolan

Alec Nolan is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Alec here.


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