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Crooked River Ranch saloon owner fighting for his life amid restaurant shutdown

Randy Knight of Big Dog Saloon suffers brain aneurysm

CROOKED RIVER RANCH, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The year 2020 has already been a difficult one for the restaurant industry -- and with two-week freeze starting on Wednesday, it's even harder.

But for Randy Knight, the owner of the popular Big Dog Saloon at Crooked River Ranch, that's just where the trouble is beginning.

Melynda Lappin, a family member of Knight’s said Wednesday, "They love Randy. He is part of the ranch."

And right now, a big part of the ranch is missing.

On Monday, Melynda Lappin found Knight collapsed on the ground and took him to the hospital. He had suffered a brain aneurysm.

"He has some heart issues, he has some lung issues and he has some kidney issues,” Lappin told NewsChannel 21 of Knight’s condition. “They working on all aspects of what's going on with him. He will definitely be in ICU for quite some time."

He also had another issue.

"When he was in the Redmond hospital, they also of course did the COVID test,” Lappin said. “They determined that he did indeed have COVID."

Knight is now at St. Charles-Bend, while his saloon sits closed.

"The hardest thing is, our friends depend on us,” Knight’s wife and Melynda’s mother, Barbara, said. “We've been there for 18 years. Nov. 15 was our 18th anniversary."

But it's their friends who are doing their best to help out Knight, who does not have medical insurance.

Lynnelle Morgan is the owner of The Over The Edge Taphouse, just down the street from Big Dog Saloon.

"When we want to escape our own establishment, we come up here and share fun stories with Randy's group,” Morgan said. “So when we heard that this happen to Randy, we immediately jumped into action, put a donation jar out -- and in one day yesterday, we collected over $1,000 to give to him and his family."

That makes a difference, because even if the freeze ends as scheduled, if Knight isn't back, the bar won't open.

Barbara, who tested positive for COVID herself but is asymptomatic, has one message for everyone.

"Everybody be safe," she said. "Go get checked. Wear your mask. Because I was stupid enough not to feel that, 'Hey its not going to hurt me.'"

Melynda and Barbara have set up a Caring Bridge page for the community to provide support to Knight's family.

They also have a GoFundMe page to help cover some of the medical expenses for Knight's treatment.

Business / Central Oregon / Coronavirus / Deschutes County / News
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Jack Hirsh

Jack Hirsh is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Jack here.



  1. People don’t take Covid very seriously until it hits them or their family. I feel for this guy and his wife and family maybe they did everything they could and still got it, I don’t know. Best wishes to him!

    1. What am I missing?? This story has nothing to do with COVID “hitting him.” He didn’t have an aneurysm due to COVID, and he’d be in the ICU regardless, due to his overall health and this sudden event: but he was asymptotic for COVID, as so many are.

        1. a friend of mine. got a rapid covid test.. it was negative.. however their doctor said and I quote “might as well mark it as positive.” covid numbers are skewed beyond belief. also lastly cdc #s state a 90% survival rating.. covid is real.. so is the flu. .and other things.. yet why are we wearing masks.. why are we being limited to the amount of people we can have in our own homes.. while the governor of California goes to a party with more then the number of people he set limits to and..none of them wearing masks, social distancing…or even taking the mask off between bites..
          Nancy Pelosi going to a hair salon while hair salons should have been closed.. do as I say not as I do.

  2. I’m sorry for this gentleman for his overall poor health, but this seems to be another story about two asymptomatic COVID people. Unless we’re now saying COVID caused his brain aneurism?? Why is she saying for people to wear masks?? That wouldn’t have prevented an aneurism nor afforded him health insurance. OHP???

    1. COVID can cause neurological inflammation which may very well have aggravated the aneurysm. Relying on the kindness of strangers via donation jars and GoFundMe in lieu of health insurance is an unfortunate personal choice.

  3. Civic obviously takes advantage of weak immune systems. Why so many people don’t seem to care if they die is beyond me. All these nonbelievers or jerks who just say well they had this or that, that’s what killed them, no wonder why a guy like Trump can get so many votes!

  4. I’ve seen Randy almost every day for each of the 18 years they’ve been open. He may have those health issues now, but he’s always at the Big Dog by 7am, always working inside and outside…….he’s an awesome ‘neighbor’ and a wonderful guy, our thoughts are with him and Barb.

  5. I love how the media picks an individual and tries to push its agenda. Never mind the fact that the vast majority of people recover from COVID without issues and the mortality rate is not more or even less than the regular flu’s (even according to CDC’s own stats).

    1. The article talks about Randy, his health, economic issues due to the lockdown, and what his wife had to say, which I’m sure KTVZ didn’t write for her. The fact that they both tested positive for COVID is mentioned but is certainly not blamed for the ICU stay. So where’s this agenda KTVZ is pushing?

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