Central Oregon 2012: The year's top stories

A big trial, massive wildfire -- and Ashton's run for gold

Year in Review: Central Oregon's Top Stories

BEND, Ore. - It was a case that lasted much of 2012:Thomas Bray, convicted of raping a woman he met online.

The former COCC instructor is now spending 25 years in prison.

The trial gained national attention when the defense asked for the victim's Internet search records. The motion was granted, but the victim refused to hand them over, and the judge said he would not enforce the subpoena. That issue in the trial left many wondering: What's private online?

The year 2012 also brought  a very busy fire season across the country. Here on the High Desert. the nearly 27,000-acre Pole Creek fire left people living near Sisters on alert much of September and sent thick smoke swirling into Sisters, Bend and other communities for weeks, depending on how the wind was blowing.

The blaze, which was sparked by lightning, was spotted Sunday morning, Sept. 9 and grew quickly, forcing hikers to flee as it raced toward the Pole Creek trailhead.

A recent report by the U.S. Forest Service said a dispatcher failed to pass on a caller's report of a wisp of smoke early that morning.

Over the next month, the fire spread to cover 40 square miles, having destroyed four cars at the trailhead in those first hours.

Fighting the blaze cost $18 million.

On a far happier note, all of Central Oregon watched as one of our own became 'the World's Greatest Athlete.'

Ashton Eaton, a former standout at Mountain View High School and the University of Oregon, first set a decathlon record at the Olympic Trials in Eugene, then captured Olympic gold in the decathlon at the 2012 London Games.

Weeks later, thousands of fans packed the streets of downtown Bend in September to honor Easton and several other Olympic champions who call Central Oregon home.

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