Regional News

Oregon To Auction College Opportunity Grant Tax Credits

(Salem, OR) -- Oregonians who need an extra tax credit can buy them during the College Opportunity Grant Tax Credit Auction. It's held from December 5th through December 9th. The money raised from the auction goes toward the College Opportunity Grant program. The Legislature approved up to 14-million dollars in tax credits to be sold each year. The minimum bid is 450 dollars. Each certificate is worth 500 dollars. The Oregon Department of Revenue has more details on its website.

OSU Researchers Develop Anti-Epilepsy Medication Sensor

(Corvallis, OR) -- Researchers at Oregon State University's College of Engineering say they've developed a sensor system for quickly testing saliva to see if epilepsy patients have the correct level of anti-epileptic medication in their system. The standard way of measuring that uses a time-consuming blood test. Scientists say with more refinement, the hand held device will allow patients to monitor medicine levels at home, reducing the chances of seizures from too little medication and toxic side effects from too much. Roughly three-and-a-half million Americans suffer from epilepsy.

Nurses Want Investigation Into Providence Health Payroll System

(Portland, OR) -- Nurses who work for Providence Health & Services want the Multnomah County District Attorney's Office to launch an independent investigation into the company's payroll system. The Oregon Nurses Associations says that since July 2022, Providence has underpaid thousands of health care workers by using a faulty payroll system. It caused nurses to be underpaid for hours, overtime, and differential. In some cases, nurses and health care workers didn't receive a paycheck despite working over 40 hours in a week. Providence says most of the issues have been resolved. They added a "fast pay" program to have a check issued within 24 hours when a payment was missed. Providence says the new system will make it easier for caregivers to get information and manage changes.

Oregon Spends $20 Million To Reduce Wildfire Risk

(Salem, OR) -- The State of Oregon is spending 20-million dollars to reduce wildfire risk. The money is part of a 195-million dollar package approved by the 2021 Legislature. The money is going to several projects in Central, Southern and Eastern Oregon to thin forests and reduce fuels that cause wildfires to grow quickly. The work will be done on 200-thousand acres of land. It will be complete by next summer.

Bull Run Water Returns

(Portland, OR) -- The City of Portland is back to using water from the Bull Run reservoir. In early November, heavy rain storms caused the reservoir to get cloudy with organic material from heavy runoff. Seven-billion gallons of water flowed into the reservoir in a 24-hour period. The Water Bureau switched sources to the Columbia South Shore Well Field. Now that the turbidity in the reservoir is gone, the water is being switched back. It could take two weeks for Bull Run water to flow through the entire system. You might notice tea colored water, which is due to the reservoirs refilling. The discoloration is harmless and will eventually go away.

Two Hospitals Implement Crisis Pediatric Care

(Portland, OR) -- Portland's two children's hospitals are implementing crisis standards for pediatric care. Doernbecher Children's Hospital and Randal Children's Hospital both face urgent situations because of children with viral infections, including RSV. The crisis standard allows the hospitals to adjust staffing plans to staff all beds and coordinate with other hospitals across the region. Legacy Health has postponed some non-urgent pediatric procedures. OHSU's latest forecast indicates hospital admissions for RSV will peak next week.

False Active Shooter Call At School

(Vancouver, WA) -- Clark County Sheriff's deputies rushed to Heritage High School in Vancouver yesterday morning in response to a call about an active shooter that turned out to be false. The caller claimed to be a teacher at the school. The first deputy on the scene was the school's resource officer. Within 40 seconds, five more deputies were at the school. They quickly determined it was a prank call and there was no danger to students or staff. The investigation into who made the call continues. The Sheriff's Office says the caller had a similar accent to another call at Henrietta Lacks High School in Vancouver on September 16th.

King Tide Warning

(Newport, OR) -- King tides are expected at the Oregon Coast this week. They're some of the highest tides of the year. The waves will come further up the beach, there could be more sneaker waves and more rip currents. Beachgoers are advised to stay off jetties which will be hit especially hard by the stronger than normal waves. People should stay off logs which can quickly float in a wave and roll over. The King tides will last from Thanksgiving Day through Saturday.

Gas Prices Plunge, But Remain At Record Highs

(Portland, OR) -- Gas prices are dropping fast ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday. Triple-A reports the national average is down 12 cents over the last week to $3.64 a gallon. Oregon's average is down 17 cents to $4.60. It's the fifth-largest weekly drop among the states. Gas prices are still the most expensive ever for the holiday period.

Oregon Financial Officials Warn Of Cryptocurrency Investments

(Salem, OR) -- The bankruptcy of FTX has Oregon financial regulators warning about investments in the cryptocurrency market. FTX is the third largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world. The Oregon Division of Financial Regulation says investors should understand what they're purchasing and how the valuation is determined. They should also use a digital currency exchange that's licensed with the state and refrain from spending money that they can't afford to lose.

Lawsuit Filed Against Oregon Gun Control Measure

(Portland, OR) -- A federal lawsuit has been filed against Oregon's voter-approved measure to increase controls on gun purchases. The measure requires gun buyers to pass a background check, take an in-person training course, and get a permit. The measure also bans gun magazines with more than 10 rounds. The Oregon Firearms Federation and Sherman County Sheriff Brad Lohrey filed the suit on Friday. It claims the measure violates the constitution. The new law is set to take effect on December 8th.

5.2 Magnitude Quake Off Oregon Coast

(Coos Bay, OR) -- Officials are confirming a five-point-two magnitude earthquake hit off the Oregon Coast yesterday morning. The quake happened at 7:42 a.m. and was 158 miles west of Coos Bay. The earthquake was not strong enough to cause a tsunami and no damage was reported on shore.

Oregon Governor Pardons 45,000 Marijuana Convicts

(Salem, OR) -- Forty-five-thousand people in Oregon convicted of simple possession of marijuana are being pardoned. Governor Kate Brown says no one deserves to be forever saddled with the impacts of a conviction for simple possession of marijuana. 14-million dollars in total fines are being forgiven. The pardons apply to pre-2016 cases involving less than one ounce of marijuana for people 21 and older. It must be the only charge and there can't be any victims. The pardon does not apply to any other marijuana related offenses.

Portland Breaks November Record For No Rain

(Portland, OR) -- November has been very dry in the Portland area. The last measurable precipitation was November 7 and the record for dry days this month is 13 days. The new record will be 14 days, because rain is expected on Tuesday.

Lack Of Public Defenders Threat To Public Safety

(Portland, OR) -- Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt calls the lack of public defenders an urgent threat to public safety. Schmidt says this year 285 cases including misdemeanors and felonies have been dismissed by the courts due to the lack of defense counsel. Schmidt says each week he'll publish cases that are dismissed or set over as a result of the crisis. Schmidt is a member of a workgroup that's crafting legislation and the budgetary response that's needed to solve the problem.

Portland Chosen For NCAA Women's Final Four

(Portland, OR) -- Portland has been selected to host to N-C-double-A Women's Basketball Final Four tournament in 2030. The bidding process was organized by Sport Oregon, Travel Portland, the Portland Trail Blazers and the University of Portland Pilots. The WBCA Coaches Convention will be held the same weekend and the combined events are expected to use 11-thousand hotel rooms. In 2019, Portland hosted one of the Women's Basketball Regionals and the success of that event helped Portland win the Final Four tournament.

OHSU Trains Out-Of-State Resident In Abortion Care

(Portland, OR) -- An OB/GYN from a state where abortion care is banned is receiving training in Portland. The doctor remains anonymous to protect their safety. Oregon Health & Science University's Center for Women's Health is providing the training with costs covered by the Abortion Care and Training Fund.

Natural Gas Pipeline Environmental Impact Statement Completed

(Salem, OR) -- The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has completed an environmental impact statement on a plan to increase capacity of a natural gas pipeline that runs from Canada to Oregon. It supplies natural gas to Washington, Oregon and California. The environmental review finds it would result in limited adverse impacts on the environment. Gas Transmission Northwest wants to modify compressor stations to boost capacity. They say it's necessary to meet demand. Attorneys general in Oregon, Washington and California say the additional gas that would be burned undermines efforts to fight climate change. FERC plans a final decision next year.

Governor Brown COVID-19

(Salem, OR) -- Governor Kate Brown and her husband have COVID-19. Brown tweeted that after returning from her trade mission to Vietnam, she and her husband Dan tested positive for COVID and they're both recuperating at home. She says they're both vaccinated, and while it changes their Thanksgiving plans, effective vaccines and boosters will help keep them from getting seriously sick.

Oregonians Honored By FBI

PORTLAND, OR -- More than a dozen Oregonians were honored by the FBI in a special ceremony on Friday. The FBI’s Portland Field Office recognized 10 Assistant U.S. Attorneys for their help on a number of high-profile investigations, including the case against Denis Dubnikov, accused of laundering the proceeds of ransomware attacks. "Thanks to AUSAs Harrington and Narus, Dubnikov was arrested in Amsterdam and then successfully extradited by FBI Portland Division agents to the United States, in August of 2022," Assistant Special Agent in Charge Matt Schlegel told ceremony attendees. 

Another AUSA was honored for helping catch an alleged sex abuser - a long-haul trucker accused of kidnapping a Canadian girl earlier this year. She was found in Oregon City. U.S. Attorney for Oregon Natalie Wight tells KBND News this is "business as usual" for her office, "This is what we do every day, and so it was really nice. I think we’ve really struggled a lot and had a lot of obstacles in the last few years. So, for us to come together, between the FBI and our office, and just say ‘we appreciate you,’ I think that means a lot."

Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell was also honored Friday. He received the National Law Enforcement Ethics Award, of which only a few are awarded each year. "If you’re desiring to be a Police Chief, you want it to be in a time with great staffing and great budgets and you can bring on new, innovative programs and do all kinds of great things," Chief Lovell tells KBND News, "And the last two-and-a-half years have really been about focusing on gun violence and shootings, and protests and riots and things of that nature. Just to have someone recognize you and say, ‘Hey, you’ve been doing a job in a way we think is honorable,’ it just means the world to me." 
The FBI says partnerships with local law enforcement and other federal agencies are critical to their work.

Photo courtesy FBI Portland Field Office: FBI Special Agent in Charge Kieran Ramsey presents Portland Police Bureau Chief Chuck Lovell with the National Law Enforcement Ethics Award. 

Woman Charged In Fraud Ring

(Portland, OR) -- An Oregon City woman has been indicted on federal charges for involvement in a multi-state fraud ring. Federal prosecutors say 40-year-old Mary Nguyen was working with people in Texas, Florida and other states to steal identities, access bank accounts and apply for loans. They rented at least six apartments in the Portland area. The fraud cost victims over 120-thousand dollars and they used the identities to buy vehicles worth more 150-thousand dollars. Nguyen pleaded not guilty. Her trial is set for January.

Deputy's Use Of Force Justified

(Portland, OR) -- The Multnomah County District Attorney says a sheriff's deputy was justified when he shot a woman during an incident in the Lloyd District in October. The District Attorney says Deputy Rory McPherson had a suspect in handcuffs when a woman in a car the suspect was associated with pulled a gun and pointed it at the deputy. McPherson fired and the woman drove away with the handcuffed man in the car. They crashed a short distance away. The man was arrested and the woman was hospitalized with a gunshot injury and then arrested after being released from the hospital.

FERC Approves Removing Four Klamath River Dams

(Washington, D.C.) -- The Federal Energy Regulator Commission has given final approved to a plan that will remove four dams on the Klamath River in Oregon and California. The order has been 15 years in the making and includes PacifiCorp, fishing groups, tribes and other stakeholders. The first dam is expected to be removed by next summer and the three remaining dams will be removed in 2024. The approval allows licensing of the dams to be transferred from PacifiCorp to the nonprofit Klamath River Renewal Corporation which will carry out the work to remove the dams.

Attempted Murder Suspect Arrested After Standoff

(Salem, OR) -- The Marion County Sheriff's Office had a northeast Salem neighborhood locked down for several hours Wednesday night. A suspect wanted for attempted murder was barricaded inside of a house on Quinaby Road Northeast. SWAT negotiators eventually talked Zachariah Phillips into surrendering and he came out peacefully. Phillips was booked into the Marion County Jail.

Jury Finds Protester Guilty

(Portland, OR) -- A Multnomah County jury has found a man guilty for reckless driving during a protest in 2020. Prosecutors say Timothy Swales was driving a car toward police who were in the street during a protest near the Southeast Precinct when an officer told Swales to stop and turn off the engine. He backed up at 30 miles an hour and tried to turn. An officer in a patrol car blocked his car and Swales was arrested. Police found an open container of alcohol in the car. Swales was sentenced to 18-months formal probation and his license was temporarily revoked.

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