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Regional News Archives for 2012-09


New Life Sciences Building for OHSU


Construction is underway on a new, $295-million building that will expand lab and classroom space for OHSU, Oregon State and Portland State Universities. The collaborative Life Sciences building is going up just north of OHSU's Center for Health and Healing at south Waterfront and south of the Ross Island Bridge.

 

OHSU Provost Jennie Mladenovic says two floors will be devoted to simulation labs.

 

Portland State students are scheduled to begin using the space in winter, 2014.

 

The project first took shape in 2008 after the Schnitzer family donated the land and OHSU received an anonymous $40-million donation.

 

Street car and light rail lines will run right by the building; Tri-Met putting $10-million toward the project. 

Deadly Care At Residential Care Facility


Allegations of abuse, neglect and manslaughter have closed down a John Day adult care facility.

 

Doris Dorsey, a West Linn woman, died while living in the country spice residential care facility in John Day a year ago.  State Human Services investigators have been going over the place; found up to seven allegations of patient abuse and neglect. and evidence to bring charges of manslaughter against two employees in Dorsey's death.  The facility closed down when the state said its license is being revoked.

 

Multnomah Undersheriff Trip Questioned


The Multnomah County Undersheriff went to a two day “Border School” in Texas last week.  Jim Ludwick with Oregonians for Immigration Reform says it focused on what drug cartels are doing on the west coast.  The event was staged by the Federation for American Immigration Reform and that is raising a red flag since the Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled the Federation a hate group.  Ludwick says the designation is simply an effort to slur the group.

Washington State Has Plan for Tsumani Debris


The Washington State Marine Debris Task Force is out with its initial plan to deal with tons of debris from the Japanese tsunami forecast to inundate northwest beaches in the next few years.  Curt Hart with the State Department of Ecology, says its a system of rapid debris assessment and agency deployment, with the ability to conserve or deploy federal, state or and/or local resources as needed.  The task force will start the on-going process of gathering citizen input next month, at a series of meetings in Long Beach, Ocean Shores and Port Angeles. 

Special License Plate Will Help Prevent Child Abuse


 

The Children’s Trust Fund of Oregon is hoping you will help them raise some money to fight child abuse and neglect.  Beginning in mid-October the DMV will issue a special "Keep Kids Safe" license plate.  David House is with the DMV.  The trust fund hopes to raise between $200,000 and $400,000.  You can order the plate beginning October 15th.

Roll Us Your Sleeve- Prevent the Flu


It’s time to get your annual flu shot. 

 

Multnomah County Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Cieslak says this year's vaccine targets two new strains of the disease. 

 

Flu  can happen anytime, but flu season typically runs from October through May.

 

Cieslak advises anyone over the age of 6 months to get a shot.  Contact your doctor for information or call  1-800-safenet to find vaccine available near you.

Oregon Leads Nation In Paint Recycling


Oregonians have poured more than a million gallons of old paint into a two-year-old program called “Paint Care.”

 

Marjaneh Zarrehparvar explains it started with a change in state law.  “The paint industry has stepped up and they would like to take responsibility for the paint we have leftover in our garages and basements, after we do a painting job.”

 

The program is paid for with a “per can” assessment.  Three other states are working new laws to start similar programs.

Lottery Considering Restrictions


People living on north Portland’s Hayden Island complain the “lottery row” of 12 businesses offering video gaming have caused a spike in crime. 

 

The Lottery is considering a new rule to limit to six the number of businesses. If the rule is approved, it would take effect in July of 2015 when the current contract expires. Chuck Baumann, with the Lottery, says a random drawing would determine who stays.

 

The Lottery will hold a hearing on the rule next month and could approve it by the end of the year.

 

 

Wind Turbine Farm Opens This Weekend


When the Shepherds Flat Wind Farm in eastern Oregon officially opens this Saturday it will produce enough power to support tens of thousands of homes.  But as Lisa Joyce with the State Department of Energy points out, wind meets a small part of the state's energy needs.  The $2-billion dollar wind farm was underwritten with government and private money.  Google kicked in $100-million.

 

Sometimes Sharing- Not A Good Thing


Using a friend's prescription medication can keep you from getting certain jobs.  The Washington State Patrol has disqualified a trooper applicant, because it's a felony to loan or borrow drugs without a prescription.  Sergeant Troy Tomaras says it's a growing problem.  How do they know?  It’s one of the questions they ask during a polygraph exam.  Tomaras says it's not only illegal, but can be dangerous to take drugs without the oversight of a doctor.

Couple Celebrates Team Effort in Life Saving


A Tualatin woman called 911 and started the "chain of survival" that saved her husbands life last month. Thursday, Sandra and Raoul Meeckom celebrate their 12th anniversary with the links of the chain at Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue Station 34.  A 911 dispatcher coached Sandra through CPR for about five minutes when Tualatin Police arrived with one of five portable defibrillators kept in patrol cars. Rescuers say the continuous chest compressions and shocks delivered along the chain are what saved Raoul's life and prevented brain damage.

Big Debate Over Coal Transportation


Health, safety and jobs are all tied up in proposals to haul coal through Oregon for export to Asia.  Today,  the Portland city council added its voice to those asking the Corps of Engineers to do more in-depth studies.

The Portland Council Chamber was packed with the pros and cons of coal shipments.  Greg Peeden with the Alliance of Northwest Jobs and Exports is pragmatic, saying id coal shipyards are not built, jobs and business will be stifled, and there will still be a demand for coal energy.

 

But local business owner Sadie Clark sees it differently, saying shipping our energy sources to China will give Chinese businesses the unfair advantage of cheap, dirty power.

 

On a 3-0 vote the Council moved the resolution citing public environmental and safety concerns and asking for an in depth review before shipment permits are granted. 

Oregon Coast Towns Considered for New Technology


After months of work, the Oregon coastal towns of Newport and Reedsport are finalists to become home to the northwest's first grid-connected Wave Energy Test facility.  Belinda Batten, Director of OSU's Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center, says they beat out competitors Coos Bay and Camp Rilea for the proposed Pacific Marine Energy Center.  Now, batten says committees in Newport and Reedsport will fine-tune site analysis before a final location is chosen later this year.   The $25-million center is expected to be completed in three-to-five years,  providing new jobs and attracting wave energy scientists from all over the world.

Oregon Legislators Angry Over Wildfire Fighting Procedures


Oregon lawmakers are angry over the federal government's management of wildfires.  Powell Butte Representative Mike McLane says it's wrong when the government allows fires to burn out of control on federal land, and then they spread onto state and private land.  McLane says it costs the state and counties millions of dollars from timber revenue that could be going toward schools.  He says it is inexcusable that a fire was allowed to burn over a million acres in southeast Oregon this summer.

Pole Creek Fire Grows


Firefighters triumphed in their battle to keep the flames of the Pole Creek Fire from breaking through containment lines this afternoon.  That was despite wind, heat, and low humidity.  The fire did manage to burn right up to established evaluation lines.  

 

Yesterday, the fire was very active and grew to a scary 15,000 acres.  Today’s estimate is not in yet.

 

Because of conditions, the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office issued another PRE-evacuation alert this afternoon to residents in areas including Crossroads,  Edington, and Remuda Roads and the south side of the City of Sisters.  Residents should be ready to leave instantly IF an evacuation order is given.  Again…this is just a pre-alert.

Wyden Supporting Free Speech for Corvallis Business


Oregon Senator Ron Wyden is putting his support behind a Corvallis business with a mural that promotes a free Tibet and Taiwan.  China's government has put pressure on the Mayor of Corvallis in an attempt to get to get a business to remove a mural with a message to free Tibet and Taiwan.  The Mayor of Corvallis has said she can't force the business to remove or change the mural.  Senator Ron Wyden says limitations on speech and expression is incompatible with fundamental human rights anywhere in the world.  In a letter to China's ambassador, Wyden says that includes the right to freedom of religion, of the press and to peacefully assemble.  He says any attempt by china to suppress these rights is unacceptable and must not be repeated. 

 

Pendleton Round Up This Week


The best cowboys in the world are in Pendleton this week for the 102nd Round Up.  Bradley Harter is one of the top saddle bronc riders and says this is one of his favorite rodeos.  The Round Up has all of the traditional events; including bareback riding, calf roping, steer wrestling and bull riding.  And you won't want to miss the wild cow milking.  They’ve been doing that since 1922.  The Round Up continues through Saturday.

Beaverton Crime Featured on "America's Most Wanted"


Beaverton Police hope “America's Most Wanted” will help them locate a wanted felon.  Mauricio Beltran-Trejo, 35, is accused of assaulting and raping his ex-girlfriend in her apartment.  Officer Mike Rowe says that since the attack, she saw Beltran-Trejo following her in Hillsboro, but she hasn't seen him since, and officials fear he’s left the country.  “America's Most Wanted” is an international show, so if he's outside of the country, they hope someone identifies him from the show.  It airs Friday night at 9 o'clock on Lifetime.

Should Coal Be Transported Across Oregon?


Oregon legislators heard testimony for and against moving coal through the state and then shipping it overseas.  The companies that will move the coal said environmental regulations would be followed and it would mean hundreds of jobs and revenue for communities.  But, Andy Harris, with Physicians for Social Responsibility, said there are dangers because coal is the most toxic of fossil fuels. 

 

One method for moving the coal includes using barges and fishermen say that causes increased risk for river users.  Farmers say the coal dust could damage their crops.  The companies still need environmental approves and the o-k for the Army Corps of Engineers before they can move forward.

Oregon Dems Unveil Plans for Next Session


Oregon House Democrats say their priorities are set for the upcoming legislative session. Democratic leader Tina Kotek says the agenda calls for investing in educating children and displaced workers who need additional skills for the 21st century workforce, and making the best use of industrial land for job creation.  The plan also calls for renewing tax credits to help low income families and reviewing tax loopholes.

Portland Police Cited for Excessive Force


After a 14-month investigation of the Portland Police Bureau, the U.S. Department of Justice has revealed its findings on how the Bureau interacts with the mentally ill. U.S. Attorney Amanda Marshall says, while most instances of use of force are justified, the police does engage in a pattern of excessive force; especially with people suffering from mental illness or are in a mental health crisis.

 

The city and the Justice Department have worked together to form a preliminary plan to address the problem, which includes expanded use of the Bureau's Mobile Crisis Unit and expanding officers' access by to mental health experts around-the-clock. The city has until October 12th to file a final plan in court.

 

The Mayor and Police Chief say they will continue to reach out to the community to fine-tune the plan.

 

U.S. Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Tom Perez says the PPB's problems are similar to those experienced by police departments nationwide, and years of underfunding of mental health services and insufficient training of officers are primary causes of the problem.

Anti-Grange Ads Surfacing


Oregon Ballot Measures 82 and 83 would set up the possibility of the first non-tribal casino in Oregon, and the first ads against the plan are hitting TV's and radios near you.

 

These ads reject the grange image as a family-friendly, job and tax producing project.  Instead it talks about the foreign company behind the project and its questionable histories in New York and Illinois.  Grange supporters will be answering with ads of their own.  They also flew banners over football games in Corvallis and Eugene last week.

Beer is Very, Very Good to Portland


This year's Oregon Brewer’s Festival brought about 80,000 beer lovers to Portland; and those folks spent about $30-million on the festival and related events.

 

Those numbers come from Eastern Oregon University Professor Jeff Dense.  He says this year's total was $7-million more than last year and that the average festival goer spent about $700  - and most of that was outside the festival, at restaurants, hotels and theaters.

Washington Man Get Big Fine for Investment Fraud


The State of Oregon has fined a Mill Creek, Washington man $400,000 for selling securities without a license.

 

Cheryl Martinis, with the Department of Consumer and Business Services, says Cecil "Buz" Smith, Junior was selling shares of a company that was supposed to offer bus tours through the Columbia River Gorge to senior citizens.  The 10 “victims” invested about $200,000 and never saw a dime of their money. Martinis says investors should always do background research before spending money.

 

Oregon Not As Poor As Some Other States


The national poverty rate hit 15% last year; Oregon was not quite that poor. One in seven Oregonians were in poverty last year.  That's the Census Bureau count.  That is a rate of 14.4%, or 553,000 impoverished Oregonians.  And that number is much higher than 2010 when 403,000 were living in poverty. The median Oregon household income is $51,526, a slight increase until you figure in inflation, then it is actually less than in 2011.

Portland Council Approved Controversial Additive to Water


The Portland City Council has approved a plan to add fluoride to the city's water; but it was a contentious council meeting. 

 

They took testimony last week, but did not take any testimony Wednesday.  The opponents interrupted council many times.  Mayor Sam Adams ejected several people from the Council Chambers.

 

Portland is the largest U.S. city without fluoridation. Medical experts say it's a safe and effective way to keep teeth healthy.

 

Opponents dispute whether fluoride is safe and say adding the mineral to drinking water violates a person's right to consent to medication.

 

Oregon's Budget Stability Depends on National Decisions


University of Oregon Economist Tim Duy says it's important that Congress and the President reach agreement on a long term budget plan, to help keep the economy from falling back into recession. “a long run fiscal consolidation matched with some type of short run of fiscal stimulus. I think that your best policy options on the fiscal side.”

 

The University's latest reading of economic indicators shows a slight decline, but that was due to the temporary labor slowdown at the Port of Portland.

 

Duy says when that's factored out, Oregon's economy is growing at the same pace it has over the last two decades.

Northwest Wildfires Strains Firefighters


Fire crews in Washington State are battling several wildfires.   The one threatening the most structures is burning near Wenatchee. 

 

Carol Connolly, with the Northwest Coordination Center, says the largest fire covers 8,000 acres, but lighting sparked several fires nearby.  500 structures are at risk and crews are working to build containment lines to protect them. 

 

The fire burning south of Sisters in the Central Oregon Cascades has scorched 4300 acres and has zero containment.  Connolly says part of the fire is in a wilderness area where there are no roads for fire breaks.

 

200 firefighters are working to contain the blaze.

 

Nearly all of the fire crews in the northwest are on the lines, and they're bringing in crews from the south where the fires there are under control.

ODOT Blows Up Unfinished Bridge


Bridge supports for the Highway 20 project between Philomath and Newport are being demolished, even though the bridge has never been built.   

 

Ancient slides in the area push the supports out of alignment.  ODOT's Rick Little says they've reengineered the project to eliminate bridges and use culverts.  The project is millions of dollars over-budget. 

 

ODOT replaced the original contractor and took over the project, so it could be reengineered and finished.

Gorge Fires are Dangerous


Firefighters are attacking two fires near White Salmon, Washington in the Columbia River Gorge.  There has been no rain in nearly two months causing extremely dry conditions.  Jeree Mills, at the Northwest Coordination Center, says winds will pick up starting Friday.  Around 50 homes are evacuated and 400 are on standby.  The cause of the fire isn't known.

 

A "Identified Flying Object" Will Travel up I-5


Drivers on I-5 will see a strange sight Friday night:  a huge plane is being moved from Portland to Seattle.  A B-1 Bomber is being moved to it’s new home in Washington. It’s 131 feet long, 25 feet long and 15 feet high.

 

Alice Fiman, with Wash-DOT, says on some sections of I-5, the plane will take up all lanes and traffic will have to wait for the plane to pull over before they can pass.  The plane will travel at 30 miles an hour.  During the day Saturday, it'll stay at the Nisqually Weigh Station north of Olympia and then early Sunday morning it'll move to its final destination; Boeing Field.

Komen's Race for the Cure Supports Planned Parenthood


The people who run Portland’s “Race for the Cure” are reaching out to supporters who may be skipping the event because of  the Komen Foundation's short-lived decision to cut funding for Planned Parenthood. Komen Oregon CEO Thomas Bruner says the cause is too important to abandon.  Some participants dropped out because of the national Komen group's de-funding of Planned Parenthood.  But the Oregon affiliate immediately opposed the cut, and Komen quickly restored the funding. Signups are under way now for the Portland Race for the Cure, coming up on Sunday, September 16.

The Grange Project Avoids Lawsuit


The developers pushing a casino complex in wood village forgot to get approval from the National Grange before calling their proposal "The Grange."  To avoid a lawsuit and be allowed use of the name through the election the developer apologizes and wants people to know the project is not endorsed by the fraternal organization.  National Grange President Ed Luttrell made the announcement, and added some money is involved.  He said it the casino wins voter approval the national grange could license the name to the developer.

Vernonia Kids Enjoy First Day of School


It’s an exciting day in Vernonia.  In 1996 and 2007, the town's schools were wiped out in floods.  After five years of fighting for money and holding classes in temporary buildings,  the new kindergarten through 12th grade buildings opened today.  Superintendent Ken Cox says they're still trying to get donations to help pay off the construction loans.  They’ve received major funding from the Ford Foundation and Fred Meyer.

Historical Hotel Burns


Late Tuesday afternoon, smoke was still wafting from the top of the charred buildings of the former Thunderbird Hotel at Jantzen Beach.  Crews were still dousing a few remaining hot spots with water.  The Portland Fire Bureau's John Harding says it's hard to know how long the fire was burning before crews arrived early Sunday morning.  About 30 federal investigators from around the country are now on scene.  They expect to finish safety review of the structure by mid-morning Wednesday.  They will then start collecting physical evidence to determine the cause.  Firefighters first arrived at the scene just before 3 a.m. Sunday. They called a fifth alarm at 4:23 and had the fire under control just after 7 a.m.

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