Regional News

ODF Puts Wildfire Risk Map On Hold

(Salem, OR) -- Oregon's controversial wildfire risk map is on hold. An updated draft of the map was supposed to be released in March, but the Legislature is considering 11 bills that could affect the map, or even eliminate it. The wildfire risk map was supposed to rank parts of the state where properties were at high risk of wildfire. Building codes were expected to change to make properties safer. The map had several discrepancies and communities opposed it. The Oregon Department of Forestry will now wait until the Legislature finishes its work before moving forward.

Immunization Exclusion Day Is February 15th

(Portland, OR) -- Parents have until February 15th to get their children up-to-date on immunizations in Oregon, or they'll be excluded from school. This includes students in public and private schools, preschools, Head Start and certified child care facilities. The Oregon Health Authority says it's the best way to prevent diseases such as whooping cough and measles. Parents who can't afford immunizations should contact their county's health department. COVID-19 vaccinations are not required, but OHA strongly recommends them.

TriMet Issues Second Lifetime Ban

(Portland, OR) -- TriMet has issued a lifetime exclusion to Koryn Kraemer for a brutal attack on an elderly man at a MAX station. Kraemer is accused of bitting off the man's ear and part of his face until bones were showing. Kraemer remains in jail. This is TriMet's second lifetime exclusion. Previously, prolific sex offender Jared Walter, also known as the TriMet Barber, was the first person banned for life. TriMet also issued a five year ban to Brianna Workman for pushing a child onto MAX tracks. And, Dustin Rasmussen is excluded for five years after hitting a Transit Security Officer with handlebars that were removed from a bike.

Oregon Food Carts Face OHA Rules

(Portland, OR) -- Oregon food cart owners face new rules that take effect this month. The rules were established in 2020, to give owners time to comply. The rules require all equipment to be physically attached to the food cart. When items sit on the ground they create gathering places for insects and rodents. Most food carts are also required to have on-board drinking and wastewater tanks. Food carts can connect to water and sewer, if it's available, but they still need to have the tanks. Food carts that don't comply won't be shut down immediately as long as they're working to solve the problems.

Heather Davis Appointed Portland Timber CEO

(Portland, OR) -- The Portland Timbers have appointed Heather Davis as the soccer club's CEO. Davis will oversee all business and operational aspects of the Portland Timbers, Portland Thorns and Providence Park. She's the highest-ranking female executive in club history and one of five women overseeing club operations in Major League Soccer. She was named interim-CEO when Merritt Paulson stepped down and fired president of business Mike Golub in October. Paulson, who still owns the teams, said "Heather has been nothing short of remarkable during her time here."

Government Health Care Enrollment Down 3%

(Salem, OR) -- Open enrollment for Oregon Health Care dot Gov has ended and the number of people who signed up for insurance is down three-percent. Nearly 142-thousand Oregonians enrolled in health insurance coverage. That's a decline of 46-hundred people from the previous year. The Oregon Health Authority says enrollment in the Oregon Health Plan, which is the state's Medicaid program, was up. If you missed open enrollment, a qualifying life event would still allow you to apply.

Highway 30 Reopens To Two Lanes Near Slide

(Astoria, OR) -- ODOT crews have reopened two lanes of traffic on Highway 30 at a landslide east of Astoria. The slide happened November 29th. The highway was reduced to one lane with flaggers. ODOT says large rocks came off the hillside, and it's required more work to make the hillside safe. A third lane near the hillside will stay closed as more work continues.

Construction Crew Hit Natural Gas Line

(Vancouver, WA) -- A construction crew hit a natural gas line Monday morning in Vancouver causing the area to be evacuated. The work was being done near the intersection of Northeast 104th and Southeast Mill Plain Boulevard. When firefighters arrived, they detected high levels of natural gas in the area. Roads were closed and businesses were evacuated while crews from Northwest Natural stopped the leak. No one was injured.

Oregon Launches Reproductive Rights Hotline

(Salem,OR) -- The Oregon Attorney General has organized a group of lawyers to answer questions about the state's laws concerning abortions. They are part of the Reproductive Rights Hotline. Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum says following the Dobbs decision it's important to answer questions about abortion law, especially along the border with Idaho where most abortions are prohibited. The Hotline's team of lawyers will return calls within 48 hours. Legal questions will be answered on a pro bono basis. The Hotline number is 503-431-6460.

Wolves Surprise Researchers By Feeding On Sea Otters

(Corvallis, OR) -- New research from Oregon State University shows wolves on a remote Alaskan island ate nearly the entire deer population and then turned to sea otters. OSU researchers believe it's the first case of sea otters becoming the primary food source for a land-based predator. When the deer population dwindled to almost nothing, the researchers thought the wolves would leave or die from starvation. Instead, they started eating sea otters while they were in shallow water or on rocks at low tide. The research is now being expanded to Katmai National Park & Preserve, where the same thing appears to be happening.

Sink Hole Opens At Cape Kiwanda

(Pacific City, OR) -- A sink hole has opened in the sand at Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area. It's 20-feet wide and 15-feet deep. The area around the sinkhole has been closed. Oregon State Parks and Recreation says the Cape is a dynamic environment and the sink hole could grow. The Cape is a sandstone outcropping which is weaker than hard rock and subject to sudden changes. They're asking visitors to stay away from the sink hole.

Fourth Whale Washes Up On Oregon Beach

(Cannon Beach, OR) -- A fourth whale has been found dead on an Oregon beach. The body of a gray whale was found Saturday near Cannon Beach. Officials with the Seaside Aquarium say it appears to have been dead about a month. That may make it difficult to determine the cause of death. A shark bit the whale, but that happened after it was dead. It doesn't appear any of the whale deaths are connected. This is the time of year when whales are swimming south to Baja California and there are thousands of gray whales taking part in the migration.

Legislature Looks At Rescues For State Pet

SALEM -- Oregon's official pet would be rescue dogs and cats under a measure being considered by the Legislature.  

2022 Oregon Kid Governor Emerie Martin says making rescue dogs and cats the official state pet would increase awareness, “By making shelter dogs and cats Oregon’s official pet, we are putting them front and center and promoting the adoption of these animals.”

State Representative David Gomberg (D-Central Coast) says lots of Oregonians have pets, many adopted from rescue shelters, “We want to honor that very special relationship between Oregonians and their pets. And we want to honor those pets, as well, many of whom have been through a difficult pathway on their way to finding a forever home and have shown resilience along the way.”

More than 40,000 dogs and cats entered Oregon shelters last year, and most were adopted.  State Senator Janeen Sollman (D-Hillsboro) says the goal is to get more rescue pets adopted, “This bill will help raise public awareness for shelter animals and many shelters around the state of Oregon.” Sollman notes 625 dogs and cats were euthanized last year at shelters, and if more animals are adopted that number would decline.  

Couple Arrested In Child's Death

(Salem, OR) -- Two people are under arrest in connection with the death of a child in Salem. Friday morning, police responded to a report of a child who was unresponsive. The child was taken to Salem Health where they later died. The Oregon State Medical Examiner performed an autopsy and the boy's father, 29-year-old Robby-Joe Davenport and his domestic partner Cierra Wiedner were arrested. They're both charged with Criminal Mistreatment in the first degree.

Stolen Dogs Recovered

(Portland, OR) -- Four dogs that were in a van stolen in North Portland were found safe. The van was left running at a hotel on Hayden Island when it was stolen on Saturday. The dog's owners were in Portland for the Rose City Dog Show. A resident in Vancouver found the van abandoned and called police. The dogs were in crates inside of the van and returned to their owners.

Eviction Representation Measure

(Portland, OR) -- Multnomah County voters will decide an initiative in May that would establish a program to pay legal fees for anyone being evicted. It would create the Tenant Resource Office which would be funded by a three-quarters of a percent tax on capital gains. New York, San Francisco, and Cleveland have similar programs. The Multnomah County Commission is expected to approve a resolution this week that will put it on the May 16th ballot. Organizers collected enough signatures to get the measure on the ballot.

Schonely Remembered As Legendary Blazers Announcer

(Portland, OR) -- Iconic Portland Trail Blazers announcer Bill Schonely died on Saturday at age 93. Schonely was the first announcer for the Blazers and held the position for 28 years. Schonely created the phrase 'Rip City' while calling a Blazers game against the Los Angeles Lakers. Schonely's wife Dottie was by his side when he passed. A public service is being planned. The details are still being worked out. In lieu of flowers, donations are requested to be made to Providence Child Center and the American Heart Association.


Teen Carjackers Arrested

(Vancouver, WA) -- Two young teenagers are under arrest for a carjacking in Vancouver on Saturday. Police say a woman had parked her car at Vancouver Mall and as she was walking in, two boys approached her armed with a knife and stole her car. Police spotted the car and attempted a traffic stop, but the suspects drove into Oregon. The pursuit ended in Clackamas County. Both suspects, ages 13 and 14, were taken into custody and lodged at the Donald E. Long Juvenile Detention Center and will be extradited to Clark County.

Farm Worker OT Could See Legislative Changes

SALEM, OR -- A year after the legislature mandated overtime pay for farm workers, an effort is underway to make changes to the law. State Representative Shelly Boshart Davis (R-Albany) is proposing revisions to rules requiring farms pay workers overtime after a certain number of hours, "Hopefully being able to fix some of the problems that we see arise before they actually hurt both farm workers and small family farms." The law passed during the 2022 short session and took effect in June. Boshart Davis tells KBND News similar mandates in California led to smaller paychecks for farm workers, "Employers will attempt to reduce hours qualifying for overtime pay, the employers will try to hire additional laborers to reduce that overtime pay." 

Among other changes, she wants an exemption for peak harvest times, “Or we’ve heard it called a harvest worker allowance or a harvest week or a peak week - The bill that I would like to do sets the threshold for the overtime higher only during certain weeks of the year.”

She’s optimistic about her proposal with new leadership in the legislature and the departure of Democratic Representative Andrea Salinas, now in Congress, "Which is positive because she kind of was that force here in the building." Salinas was the chief Sponsor of that original 2022 farm worker overtime bill.


Bend Heroes Foundation Pushes For Gold Star Families Hwy

SALEM, OR -- An effort is underway to name Oregon's longest highway to honor Gold Star families.  

Highway 30 is Oregon's longest highway, stretching through seven cities. Dick Tobiason, chairman of the Bend Heroes Foundation, told lawmakers this week, "It is time to honor the Gold Star Families left behind, by honoring them on the 477-mile U.S. Highway 30." 

He says naming it the "Gold Star Families Memorial Highway" is important to families. "Perhaps the signs will provide some closure," he said, "It shows the Legislature, the Governor and the public care about these families." Bend State Senator Tim Knopp is the Chief Sponsor of SB 659, that would enshrine the designation. 

Tobiason says it would be the first of its kind in the country, "I cannot find any border-to-border Gold Star Families Memorial Highway in the United States. I can find short segments. But, like the Medal of Honor Highways in other states, there are none complete across the state. So we would be the first to have a border-to-border, all state, Gold Star Families Memorial Highway."

U.S. 30 runs across the country to Atlantic City, New Jersey. And Tobiason says there are other groups that would work to have the full length named for Gold Star Families.

Tobiason is also behind a separate effort to designate Highway 20 as the national Medal of Honor Highway


Audit Recommends Improvement In Ballot Measure 110 Rollout

(Salem, OR) -- The Oregon Secretary of State has released an audit of how Ballot Measure 110 is being implemented. The voter approved measure decriminalized drug use and required the Oregon Health Authority to establish drug treatment facilities around the state. The audit recommends creation of a plan by September that details how the program will be integrated into the state's behavioral health system. It also recommends the establishment of a way to measure progress as well as a way to develop better policies and procedures for giving grants to treatment centers. The Oregon Health Authority has been criticized for taking over two years to get the program in operation.

Boating Fatalities Decline

(Salem, OR) -- Oregon had fewer boating related fatalities last year. The Oregon State Marine Board reports 16 people died in boating incidents, compared to 19 in 2021, and 26 in 2020. Officials say most fatalities come down to people not wearing life jackets. Eleven incidents involved non-motorized watercraft, like kayaks and paddleboards.

Oregon Employment Sets Record High

(Salem, OR) -- Oregon gained jobs in December, but the unemployment rate also increased. The Oregon Employment Department reports 61-hundred jobs were added last month. Most of those jobs were in manufacturing, construction, professional and business services, and other services. The number of people working set a record high of nearly one-point-seven million. The unemployment rate rose from four-point-three percent to four-point-five percent. Over the last five months, the unemployment rate has increased one-percent.

OSU Reaches Milestone In Planning Of Wave Power Test Facility

(Corvallis, OR) -- Oregon State University has finalized a contract to manufacture cables that will carry electricity from a wave generation facility in the ocean to shore. The test facility will be called PacWave South and will be located seven miles west of Seal Rock on the central Oregon Coast. Companies designing wave power generation equipment will use it to test their devices. It's located away from fishing areas. The underground cables will be made in Norway by Paris-based Nexans. The project could be operational by 2025.

FBI Offers Reward In Reproductive Health Center Arsons

(Portland, OR) -- The FBI is offering a 25-thousand-dollar reward for information that helps identify a suspect in a series of arsons at reproductive health centers. The incidents happened last year at the Mother and Child Education Center in Portland, the Gresham Pregnancy Resource Center, and Oregon Right to Life in Keizer. Investigators believe the suspect may have been driving a white sedan, possibly a 2017-2018 Hyundai Elantra. Anyone with information about the suspect should contact the FBI.


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