Travel: Bend, OR

He said “Meet me at the Bend in the road.”  So we both hopped in our cars and crossed the hours and hundreds of miles between us to meet in a small Oregon town surrounded by extinct volcanoes and endless forests, with the Deschutes river tying it all together  like a pretty blue ribbon. The quick weekend escape was truly a gift and I was surprised at how quickly I fell in love with central Oregon.


We did an AirBnB and loved it! Homey and walking distance to everything. Try it out on your next trip.


 Deschutes River downtown area is a must!  The Mill District has cute shops and you can wander by the river but I loved being downtown. Easily walkable with great coffee shops, restaurants, and shops.

Newberry National Volcanic Monument – MUST SEE. Great for families, alone, or with a couple. Make sure to walk around, check out the visitors center, and go to the top of the old Volcano for sweeping views.  Really ambitious people cycle out from the city along a path and then back into town. Bend seemed to be a very cycle-friendly place.

Outlet Shopping:  If this is your thing, Bend has some outlets right on the edge of town. I got some great deals on work clothes and basics.


Bend is the land of the Brews!  Plan on eating some great local food and drinking some ice cold local microbrews, the most famous of course being Deschutes Brewery. But there are lots of other lesser known breweries that have great beer and food.  We went to Sunriver Brewing the first night and I loved the cozy location with big picture windows. The Heffeweizen and IPA for him complemented our burgers perfectly. Pictured. We actually saw our waitress from the first night at a couple other places we went — a good sign that we were at all the right spots!  Eat where the locals eat. Also kind of fun because Bend is such a small friendly town.

Le Magie Bakery and Cafe was also fantastic for brunch. They have a to go case full of pastries that I was salivating over. But what got me most was the decor, the first room is covered in twigs, then branches, then logs. I’m not sure what the symbolism is there but it looked amazing.

For dessert, stop by Bontá Gelato – you will not regret it. The gelato rivals the best I had in Italy and is made with local ingredients. I had the Strawberry and Balsamic which is made with local organic Oregon strawberries. We almost stopped at an ice cream shop down the street but I am so glad we wandered further and found this place! If nothing else, go to Bend for beer & Bontá.

Coffee/Beer/people watching – Crow’s Feet Commons has it all. I had a nice glass of rosé while we watched the sun set on the river. Perfect afternoon.

Have you been to Bend?  What are your favorites and must-sees?

Conquering Mt. Judah



Total Distance:  7.5 Mile Loop

Elevation: 8,264′

Highlights:   The Wildflowers on this hike were amazing and there so many different kinds and colors that I hadn’t seen before. The views of Donner Lake were breathtaking, even though the summit was very windy. IMG_5829[1]IMG_5840[1]IMG_5836[1]IMG_5802[1]IMG_5841[1]IMG_5843[1]


Summer Solstice Sunset

Reno Sunset

Sometimes you look up at the sky and you remember how small you are in this world. With recent tragedies and continued unrest in the world, it was nice to have a bit of reprieve by witnessing something so beautiful.


Free Speech and Obstructing a Law Enforcement Officer

In Washington, it is a crime to willfully hinder, delay, or obstruct a law enforcement officer. However, does this law run afoul of the First Amendment? A recent Washington State Supreme Court case, State v. E.J.J., examines this issue. The defendant challenged a juvenile court conviction for obstructing a law enforcement officer under RCW 9A.76.020(1), on grounds under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. This is a timely case given the recent national attention paid to police conduct.

The facts involve an altercation between E.J.J. (at the time a minor) and police. Police were called to E.J.J.’s residence in order to deal with E.J.J.’s intoxicated sister (who also was a minor at the time). Upon arrival, the police escorted his sister outside in order to calm her down. E.J.J. became agitated when he saw an officer pull out what he thought be a nightstick. The officers told him to go back inside, but the situation escalated quickly. After several requests, E.J.J. finally went back to the house, but he stood in the open doorway and continued to yell at the police. The police continually ordered him to shut the door, but E.J.J. refused, and continued to shout. One officer went over and closed the door multiple times, but E.J.J. kept opening it. During this time, E.J.J. was yelling obscenities at the officers, and the officers were apparently yelling back. Eventually, E.J.J. was arrested for obstructing a law enforcement officer.

E.J.J. was convicted of the charge, and the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s decision.  The case made its way to the Supreme Court of Washington, where E.J.J., the petitioner, challenged the obstruction charge on grounds under the First Amendment. The Supreme Court found that E.J.J.’s words were protected, and therefore reversed the conviction and dismissed the case.

In this case, much of the Supreme Court’s decision hinged on whether the petitioner engaged in conduct or just used verbal language. The statutory definition of obstruction is rather ambiguous, as it reads “A person is guilty of obstructing a law enforcement officer if the person willfully hinders, delays, or obstructs any law enforcement officer in his or her official powers or duties.” RCW 9A.76.020(1). However, the Supreme Court looked to the statutory language and prior, applicable case-law, and determined that conduct is required for an obstruction charge, not just language. If the charge was based solely on E.J.J.’s words, then it would violate the First Amendment. However, if he had engaged in some form of conduct the conviction would stand.

The State naturally argued, and the Court of Appeals agreed, that E.J.J. engaged in conduct by approaching the officers while they were trying to calm his sister down and by refusing to obey the requests to return to the house and close the door.

The Supreme Court thoroughly examined the facts of the case, breaking down E.J.J.’s actions during the altercation. Systematically, the Court went against the Court of Appeals’ interpretation of the facts. First, the Court decided that the petitioner’s movements towards the officers did not constitute “conduct” under the obstruction statute. He was merely walking towards the police. E.J.J. did not physically interfere with or touch anyone at the scene, nor did he make any “threatening” movements.

 Previously, the Court of Appeals concluded that E.J.J.’s presence at the scene escalated the situation, but the Supreme Court shot down this argument. The Court determined that E.J.J. had every right to stand on his own property, “provided that he did not physically interfere with police.” Furthermore, there was no connection between E.J.J.’s speech or presence and anything that specifically resulted from it, i.e. he did not escalate the situation.

The Court of Appeals also held that E.J.J committed obstruction when he refused to leave the scene, hurled abuses on the officers, and refused to close the door to his home. The Supreme Court, however, said that this exchange was too intertwined with his protected speech. The Court of Appeals also found that the fact that an officer had to escort E.J.J. back to the home was sufficient evidence of obstruction. The Supreme Court found that this was a minor delay of no import. “In the First Amendment context, we must be vigilant to distinguish between obstruction and inconvenience.”

The Supreme Court also noted that obstruction statutes could not be used to limit citizens’ rights to express verbal criticism at police officers. The Court cited to a U.S. Supreme Court case, City of Houston v. Hill, 482 U.S. 451, 454, 107 S.Ct. 2502, 96 L.Ed.2d 398 (1987), by noting that “[t]he freedom of individuals verbally to oppose or challenge police action without thereby risking arrest is one of the principal characteristics by which we distinguish a free nation from a police state.”

Chief Justice Madsen wrote an interesting concurring opinion. According to her, the evidence did show that E.J.J. engaged in obstructive conduct. However, Justice Madsen agreed with the majority’s reversal mainly because “the crime of obstruction is used disproportionately to arrest people of color.” To counteract this, she proposed that the court add a common law requirement to the obstructing statute: the State cannot meet its burden of proof for an obstruction charge if “the officer’s conduct substantially contributed to the escalation of the circumstances that resulted in the arrest for obstruction . . . .” This common law requirement would help ensure citizens’ constitutionally-protected rights, privileges, and immunities were not deprived by law enforcement. Applying this to the case at hand, Justice Madsen found that the officer in this case unnecessarily escalated the situation with E.J.J. The majority, however, balked at the proposal for a new common law requirement.

It will be interesting to see how this case could be applied to future situations. It is clear-cut that words do not equal conduct. E.J.J. merely used words, his physical conduct was minimal, and he was not the focus of the police investigation. But would the Supreme Court have come to the same conclusion with a slightly different set of facts? What if the altercation occurred in a public place, instead of at the defendant’s home? What if the defendant was an unruly passenger of a pulled-over vehicle? In any case, this case should hopefully help clarify what constitutes the crime of obstruction of a law enforcement officer.