Heroism And Tragic Tragedy In Central Oregon In 2022 Paint A Mixed Image Of A Newsworthy Year

Heroism And Tragic Tragedy: From the moment a troubled young man opened fire on a normally quiet late-August Sunday evening on his way to and inside Bend’s Eastside Safeway, the heroic actions of employee Don Surrett Jr. in the produce department ensured that this tragic event would be remembered as Central Oregon’s biggest news story of 2022.

Heroism And Tragic Tragedy In Central Oregon In 2022

But traditional year-end summaries (or cold rankings of page views or mouse clicks) are bound to include heartbreaking or frustrating, maddening things many would rather forget or move on from, like the lingering effects of COVID-19, despite an end to the daily state reports, and skip over things we’d instead prefer to remember, even relish and cherish, like the return of traditional High Desert gatherings, like Bend’s Pet Parade and Pole Pedal Paddle.

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Neither time nor our lives nor our years nor our recollections are ever as nice and ordered as a calendar. Therefore, lists of this kind are inherently unsatisfactory and open the door to an infinite number of “what if” questions. As we turn the page and β€” only in one, chronological sense β€” begin over, we can only hope and pray that the thoughts triggered by the previous one are, on balance, worth a little review, a backward glance.

Heroism And Tragic Tragedy In Central Oregon In 2022
Heroism And Tragic Tragedy In Central Oregon In 2022

Trials and Tribulations in the Realm of Crime

In one high-profile case, a Deschutes County jury acquitted Ian Cranston of second-degree murder but convicted him of manslaughter for the September 2021 shooting death of Barry Washington Jr. outside a downtown Bend nightclub (pending planned appeals).

Wesley Brady is charged with two counts of murder in the August killings of Bend teenagers Angela Pastorino and Alfredo Hernandez, and Paige Jordan Vannorsdall is accused in the fatal shooting of ex-husband Devyne Briscoe in December; several other homicide cases remain pending at year’s end.

Deputy Steven Hatcher fatally shot 35-year-old fugitive Nicholas Rodin on a Juniper Canyon gravel road on February 4 after Rodin refused commands, said he had a gun, and reached for his pocket, according to bodycam footage released by Crook County DA Kari Hathorn, who found Hatcher’s actions to be justified.

Similarly, Jefferson County District Attorney Steve Leriche cleared the use of deadly force by police to apprehend a Madras man who allegedly stole a rifle from a parked pickup truck at the Jefferson County Fair in July, brandished it at fairgoers and pursuing officers, but was unable to fire because two rounds had jammed in the chamber.

Progress, Disappointments in Homelessness

The High Desert was far from the only area of the country to struggle with homelessness, and while officials could point to motels converted to shelters, a new navigation center, and a houseless strategies coordinator, other efforts such as the St. Vincent’s Place transitional shelter aimed to provide long-term answers, with safe places and guided programs to return to stable housing.

Bend’s new shelter and camping codes aroused discussion.

The authorities repeatedly dismantled a homeless camp on Second Street due to criminality, health, and safety concerns. A construction project will remove the Hunnell Road campsite next year.

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Covid-19: Health Concerns Expand

The third year COVID-19 caused health difficulties throughout the world were not the last, as the newest omicron variety threatened a return to school closures before instances declined and the mask mandate was abandoned in the spring while a fresh round of booster vaccinations was pushed, even for young children.

The National Guard returned to hospitals, but St. Charles lay off 105 personnel in May and slashed 76 vacant jobs, fueling unionization attempts. Joe Sluka resigned as president/CEO and two executives were fired. late-year operational losses were reduced.

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