Regional News Archives for 2021-11

TriMet Offering $2500 Hiring Bonuses For Bus Drivers

(Portland, OR) -- TriMet is handing out hefty hiring bonuses in an attempt to attract more bus drivers to the transportation agency. The agency says new bus drivers who join TriMet will receive a 25-hundred-dollar hiring bonus. No prior experience is necessary, and training lasts seven weeks. TriMet says pay starts at 21 dollars an hour and increases to nearly 33 dollars an hour after about three years. TriMet is among multiple transportation agencies struggling to stay afloat under a national labor shortage.

PPB Commander Faces Possible Fine For Criticizing DA During Public Meeting

(Portland, OR) -- A Portland Police Bureau commander who encouraged residents to vote against District Attorney Mike Schmidt during a neighborhood meeting could face a fine. Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan issued a notice of a proposed civil fine last week against Police Commander Erica Hurley. The notice says Hurley violated state election laws by criticizing Schmidt to the public during her work hours. Public employees in Oregon are banned from supporting or opposing candidates or office-holders while on the job. Hurley encouraged residents to vote against Schmidt while speaking at a meeting with the Lents Neighborhood Livability Association in January.

OR Reports 27 New COVID-19 Deaths

(Portland, OR) -- Over two-dozen more Oregonians are dead after contracting COVID-19. The Oregon Health Authority reported 27 new coronavirus deaths yesterday from Wednesday through Sunday. That raises Oregon's death toll from the pandemic to five-thousand-142. The health authority also reported nearly two-thousand-600 new cases of COVID-19. A total of 396 people are currently hospitalized with the virus statewide, including 91 patients in the ICU.

Deadline Today For State Workers To Prove COVID-19 Vaccination Status

(Portland, OR) -- Today is the deadline for roughly 38-thousand state workers, contractors and volunteers in Oregon to show they are fully-vaccinated against COVID-19. Workers unions and state leaders negotiated a six-week extension from the original vaccination deadline from the original October 18th date. The extension mainly covered those working in the Department of Corrections, the Department of Agriculture and the Forestry Department.

Heat Waves, Supply Chain Issues Hike Tree Prices

(Portland, OR) -- Oregon residents can expect to pay more at the Christmas tree lot this year. Officials say a variety of factors has led to what is believed to be a ten-to-30-percent spike in prices over last year across the Pacific Northwest. Christmas tree farm owners say supply chain and transportation costs have been a huge factor. They say forest fires, drought, and extreme heat this summer in the Pacific Northwest took a collective toll on this year's tree crop. The Beaverton Holiday U-Cut Tree Farm tells KATU-2 the summer heat wave killed more than 60-percent of the trees they planted last winter.

County Health Officials Watch For Signs Of Omicron Variant

(Portland, OR) -- Local county health officials remain on the lookout for signs of the highly mutated new omicron COVID-19 variant discovered in South Africa. Clark County deputy health officer Doctor Steven Krager says he believes there's a high chance that the variant has already made its way to the region. He's urging residents to continue to take precautions to remain healthy. The omicron variant has not yet been detected by health officials in the U.S.

Washington County Police Using Bait Packages To Catch Porch Pirates

(Portland, OR) -- Police in Washington County are using bait packages in an attempt to catch so-called "porch pirates" this holiday season. The Washington County Sheriff's Office says it's working with volunteer residents who have previously been victimized by package thieves to carry out the sting. The packages are placed on the volunteers' doorsteps and include a normal product along with a GPS tracking device that allows police to track anyone who steals it.

Man Arrested After Car Chase In Springfield

(Springfield, OR) -- A man is facing several charges following a police pursuit in Springfield. Police say an officer was patrolling near 42nd and Main Street early yesterday morning when they noticed a car driving carelessly and tried to pull it over. Police say the driver refused to pull over, leading to a car chase that ended when police disabled the driver's vehicle in the parking lot of International Paper. The driver then allegedly got out of the car and fled on foot into a nearby cattle field. Police brought in a K-9 unit to track him down and arrest him. Police identify the suspect as 36-year-old Trask Austin Phelps.

Dark Beer Festival Sells Out

(Portland, OR) -- The Uptown Beer Company is celebrating the successful return of its in-person Dark Beer Festival in Southwest Portland. The company tells KATU-2 that Saturday's festival sold out ahead of the event for the first time ever. Last year's festival was limited to take-home beers due to the pandemic. This year's event featured 25 dark beers from all over the Pacific Northwest.

Two Juveniles Arrested For ARCO Shooting

(Portland, OR) -- Two juveniles were arrested on Sunday in Portland in connection with the armed robbery of a gas station. Police say the robbery happened at the ARCO gas station on Northwest Cornell Road in Oak Hills. Four people wearing masks and gloves robbed the gas station and then fled on foot. A police K9 searched the area and found two juvenile suspects. They were arrested and booked into the juvenile detention facility and will be charged with robbery.

Sea Lion Strolls Through Oregon Neighborhood

(Lincoln City, OR) -- A large sea lion is safely back in the water after wandering through a neighborhood in Lincoln City, Oregon Friday evening. Police and firefighters named her Tiffany and used fish donated by a local market in an attempt to lure her back to a nearby river, but she refused to budge. They got pieces of plywood and formed a corral to slowly move her back to the river where she waited for high tide. It's rare for sea lions to travel so far from the water, but there have been other instances in the Northwest when it's happened.

One Injured In Rainier Shooting

(Rainier, OR) -- One person is injured following a shooting in Rainier. The Columbia County Sheriff's Office says deputies responded to the shooting just before 1 o'clock yesterday afternoon. The victim was taken to a hospital. Police are still searching for suspects.

Catalytic Converter Thefts A Concern As Travelers Park At PDX

(Portland, OR) -- As many Portland residents are preparing to fly out of town for the holiday this week, concern is mounting over where their vehicles will be parked while they're gone. Parking lots at PDX have been targets of catalytic converter thieves in recent months, a crime of opportunity that is growing across Portland and across the country. The Port of Portland says they will have extra security on hand for the increase in travelers utilizing their parking lots at the airport. Between January and October this year, the Port of Portland is reporting nearly 70 catalytic converter thefts from PDX parking lots and around the airport property.

Suspect In Portland Scissors Attack Restrained By Bystanders

(Portland, OR) -- Detectives with the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office say an attack on two men last week may have been racially motivated. Forty-four-year-old Joseph Haddenham is accused of attacking two men with a pair of scissors Friday evening at the Green Line MAX platform on Southeast Sunnyside Road. Police were called as Haddenham was restrained by bystanders who tied him up with a phone charger. Haddenham was in court Monday, officially facing menacing and unlawful use of a weapon charges.

More Than A Thousand Car Thefts Reported In Portland Last Month

(Portland, OR) -- Car thefts are skyrocketing in the Portland area. Over the past several months, Portland Police data shows there have been just under 600 car thefts per month in the city. In just the past month, there have been more than a thousand car thefts reported to police. Police are warning residents to lock up their cars at all times and always be aware of their surroundings.

Man Leads Troopers On 30-Mile Chase On A Stolen Backhoe

(Clackamas County, OR) -- An Aloha man is facing several charges after stealing a backhoe over the weekend. According to reports, the piece of heavy machinery was taken from a Beaverton property early Sunday morning. From there, the suspect led Oregon State Police troopers on a 30-mile, low-speed chase the wrong way down Portland-area highways. Now, Mitchell Johnston, whose license had previously been revoked, is facing theft charges and more.

Violent Trend Becoming A Serious Issue For Reynolds School District

(Troutdale, OR) -- Threats of violence at Reynolds High School have students, parents, and staff on edge. Police say though, there is no merit to an online threat of a shootout at the school lunchroom Monday. The most recent threat comes on the heels of Reynolds Middle School moving to distance learning after several fights on campus. Now, district officials are beefing up security on all campuses and looking to provide teachers more resources to combat violence in schools.

Wheeler Denounces Destruction, Violence During Rittenhouse Protests

(Portland, OR) -- Mayor Ted Wheeler is denouncing acts of destruction and violence after Portland protests over the Kyle Rittenhouse not-guilty verdict turned into a riot Friday night. Wheeler took to Twitter on Saturday saying that while he supports peaceful protests, he "strongly condemn(s) any acts of criminal destruction and violence." The Multnomah County Sheriff's Office said they declared the demonstrations a riot when they saw people damaging a gate to the detention center. Police say people near the Justice Center on Southwest 2nd Avenue and Madison Street broke windows and damaged doors at city buildings. The demonstrations were in protest of the jury's decision to acquit Rittenhouse of all charges against him in the shooting that left two dead and another wounded during a civil uprising in Kenosha, Wisconsin last year.

Man Arrested After Hours-Long Hostage Situation Ends In Woman's Death

(Portland, OR) -- A man is in police custody after allegedly holding a woman hostage and then killing her during a nearly ten-hour-long standoff at a home in Southeast Portland. The Portland Police Bureau says officers breached a barricaded door at the home and managed to arrest the suspect just after 1 o'clock this morning. Officers then found the woman dead inside the home. Police had responded to the home just after 3:30 yesterday afternoon after a woman called 911 crying, saying she was being held hostage. Police say the suspect opened fire on the officers several times during the standoff, forcing police to back off and set up a perimeter. Police eventually deployed a chemical agent into the residence, allowing them to gain entry.

Western States Safety Review Workgroup Approves COVID-19 Booster Shots Guidance

(Portland, OR) -- The Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup is approving new guidance expanding the eligibility for COVID-19 booster shots to all adults. The workgroup issued its approval Friday for the FDA and CDC's new guidelines recommending booster shots for all adults six months after they complete their initial course of COVID-19 vaccination. The move clears the way for all adults to begin receiving booster shots in Oregon, Washington state and California.

Police Seize $500M Of Product In Raid On Illegal Marijuana Operation

(Medford, OR) -- Police are seizing 500-million dollars worth of illegal marijuana in a bust outside of Medford in southwest Oregon. The Oregon State Police served a warrant at five industrial-sized warehouses on Thursday. Over the course of two days, police estimated they removed 500-thousand pounds of illegal marijuana and a gun from the premises. Individuals arrested were discovered to be migrant workers living on site and were released after they were identified. The seizure comes at time when the sale of legalized marijuana is flourishing. CNN reports sales nationwide hit 20-billion dollars in 2020 and are set to top 26-billion dollars this year.

Vancouver Announces First Safe Stay Community Location

(Vancouver, WA) -- The City of Vancouver has announced a location for its first Safe Stay Community for homeless people. It'll be located on city property at Northeast 51st Circle...east of 112th Avenue. The site will have 20 modular shelters and be staffed around the clock by Outsiders Inn. It includes garbage collection, portable toilets, and hand washing stations along with supportive services. Nearby homeless campers will be encouraged to use the site. Under the city's camping ordinance, camping is prohibited with a thousand feet of the supportive sites. Construction is expected to start next month.

Police Release Details On Crash That Left Trooper Hospitalized

(St. Helens, OR) -- The Columbia County Sheriff's Office is releasing new details about the incident that left an Oregon State Police trooper hospitalized in critical condition. On November 11th, 53-year-old John Thralls, of Longview, was wanted for domestic assault and robbery in Cowlitz County, Washington. Rainier Police spotted his vehicle and there was a pursuit on Highway 30. Officers used spike strips to deflate the tires on Thralls' vehicle. Thralls hit an OSP patrol car and Trooper John Jeffries. He remains hospitalized. Thralls was treated and released from a hospital and has been charged with three counts of Attempted Murder.

EQC Approves Two New Rules Reducing Vehicle Pollution

(Salem, OR) -- The Oregon Environmental Quality Commission is approving two new rules that will reduce vehicle pollution. The new "Clean Trucks Rule" requires manufacturers of medium and heavy-duty vehicles, like large pickups, buses, and tractor-trailer rigs to sell a certain percentage of zero emissions electric vehicles starting in 2025. California has a similar rule. Another rule tightens emission standards from large trucks and also takes effect in 2025. Transportation accounts for approximately 40-percent of statewide greenhouse gas emissions.

Bomb Threat At High School Forces Evacuations

(St. Paul, OR) -- Things are getting back to normal at a Marion County high school after a bomb threat forced evacuations. Marion County Sheriff's deputies responded to St. Paul High School after the threat was made yesterday morning. The students and staff safely evacuated the building. There sheriff's office says they found no evidence the threat was real. The St. Paul School District cancelled Middle School and High School activities on Thursday.

OR Reports 13 New COVID-19 Cases

(Portland, OR) -- Oregon has 13 new deaths related to COVID-19 and one-thousand-160 new infections. The Oregon Health Authority reported the new numbers yesterday. There are 419 people hospitalized with coronavirus statewide, which is eight less than on Wednesday. Officials say 75-percent of new cases are in unvaccinated people, with 25-percent being breakthrough cases.

COVID-19 Numbers Down In OR

(Portland, OR) -- COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are declining in Oregon. The Oregon Health Authority reports new infections are down 12-percent. The number of positive tests increased one-tenth of a percent to six-and-a-half percent.

Middle School Starts Two Weeks Remote Learning Due To Multiple Fights

(Fairview, OR) -- The Reynolds School District is sending middle school students home to learn for the next two weeks because of fights breaking out in school. The district says it's because of socialization problems. Some parents say there isn't enough supervision. The school board is considering plans to increase supervision between classes, and they're also talking with the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office to hire deputies as school resource officers.

City Council Approves Updated Budget

(Portland, OR) -- Portland City Council is approving an updated budget that spends 62-million dollars in unexpected business tax revenue. Council members voted to pass the budget yesterday. Most of the money will go toward the homeless crisis with more shelter beds and garbage pickup. Public safety will get seven-million dollars to rehire police officers who are retired, body cameras, and community safety programs. Two-million dollars will be spent on economic development.

OR Reports 19 New COVID-19 Deaths

(Portland, OR) -- Oregon is reporting 19 new deaths related to COVID-19 along with 996 new infections. The Oregon Health Authority reported the new numbers yesterday. The agency says 70-percent of residents have now received at least one dose of a vaccine. There are 427 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19 statewide, which is 25 less than on Tuesday. Meanwhile, the OHA is still investigating what caused a spike of 14-percent in positive COVID test results on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the test positivity returned to six-and-a half percent.

OR Has $750M In Extra Revenue

(Salem, OR) -- Oregon's economy is booming, and that means 750-million dollars in extra revenue for the state. The money is coming from income taxes, corporate taxes, the business tax, and other sources of revenue. The Oregon Legislature will decide how to spend the money when it meets next year. Governor Kate Brown wants it to be focused on communities that have been affected by the pandemic.

Coast Guard Rescues Group From Capsized Boat

(North Bend, OR) -- The U.S. Coast Guard says it rescued five people who abandoned their sinking fishing boat 20 miles offshore from the Umpqua River on Monday night. The 67-foot fishing vessel Desire was from Neah Bay, Washington. When they radioed for help, they put on survival suits and deployed a raft. Two Coast Guard helicopters arrived in a half hour and rescued the survivors. They were flown to Air Station North Bend. No serious injuries were reported.

Springfield Man Charged With Federal Hate Crime

(Springfield, OR) -- A Springfield man is charged with a federal hate crime for using the internet to target and brutally assault a gay man because of his sexual orientation. The U.S. Attorney for Oregon says an investigation found Daniel McGee used the app Grindr to meet a gay man online. On July 5th, he allegedly went to the man's apartment and beat him with a wooden club. Investigators say McGee used the internet to plan the assault, buy the weapon, and get tips on how to avoid getting caught. The victim suffered life-threatening injuries. McGee is being held until his next court appearance.

OR Reports 52 New COVID-19 Deaths

(Portland, OR) -- Over four-dozen more Oregonians are dead after contracting COVID-19. The Oregon Health Authority reported 52 new coronavirus deaths yesterday, raising the state's death toll from the pandemic to four-thousand-855. The agency also reported 785 new cases of COVID-19. There are 452 people currently hospitalized with the virus statewide, which is nine less than on Monday.

OR Unemployment Rate Down

(Salem, OR) -- Oregon's unemployment rate declined last month to four-point-four percent. The state added 47-hundred news jobs. Most of the new jobs were in leisure and hospitality, which lost the most jobs during the pandemic. Professional and business services also saw big gains. Governments, especially schools, lost the most jobs. This was the fifth month in a row that Oregon's unemployment rate has declined and more people are finding work.

Police Issue Shelter-In-Place Order During Search For Suspect In Corbett

(Corbett, OR) -- Residents of the Corbett area were told to shelter in place Tuesday afternoon while a search was conducted for a suspect who is accused of shooting at a Wasco County deputy last weekend in Shaniko. A witness reported an attempted car theft and the person matched the description of 23-year-old Logan Cantwell. Deputies searched the area, but he escaped and the shelter in place order was lifted.

Independent Investigator To Review Reports Of Racial Slurs At Football Game

(Wilsonville, OR) -- An independent investigator will review alleged incidents of racial slurs during a high school football playoff game between La Grande High School and Gladstone High School on November 5th. The school districts and the O.S.A.A. released a statement outlining the investigation. La Grande High School will provide Implicit Bias professional development for athletes and coaches. Both districts are setting up meetings between coaches, captains and athletic directors. They also pledge to follow O.S.A.A. Safety, Tolerance, Acceptance and Respect guidelines.

Portland School District Recommending Six-Month Pause Before Vaccine Mandate Decision

(Portland, OR) -- Portland School District staff will recommend this week that the school board wait six months to decide whether a COVID-19 vaccine mandate is necessary. They say case numbers are declining and three out of four students ages 12 to 17 are vaccinated. There has also been a large number of families with kids ages 5 to 11 who are getting students vaccinated. Tuesday night, the school board will continue to discuss the vaccination requirement, but they're not expected to make a decision.

OR Stops Accepting Emergency Rental Assistance Applications

(Salem, OR) -- The state of Oregon has stopped taking applications for emergency rental assistance. All of the 289-million dollars from the federal government has been allocated. Oregon Governor Kate Brown says she's discussing options with legislative leaders to extend protections for renters who have applied for assistance, but there won't be enough help for all renters facing eviction.

Racial Slur Allegedly Made During Gladstone-La Grande Football Game

(Gladstone, OR) -- An investigation is underway into allegations that racial slurs were made during a football game on November 5th between Gladstone and La Grande. The comments were made throughout the game toward players and coaches at Gladstone, including one comment from a referee against a Gladstone assistant coach, according to OregonLive. Democratic leaders in the Oregon House released a statement saying school districts are required to adopt policies that promote equity, dignity, and civil rights. They're encouraging both school boards to participate in the investigation.

Strike Cancelled After Kaiser Permanente Workers Reach Tentative Deal

(Portland, OR) -- Kaiser Permanente and its union report they've reached a tentative agreement on a new contract, avoiding a strike that was set to begin today. The union says they pushed back on Kaiser's two-tier wage proposal for new workers, got wage increases, racial justice language, and language addressing the staffing crisis. Union members need to vote on the new contract before it's ratified.

Rain, Winds Continue Today

(Neskowin, OR) -- Rain and high winds are expected to resume today in Portland following a brief respite over the weekend. The National Weather Services says a wind advisory is in effect today for the greater Portland metropolitan area. Forecasters expect between a quarter and half-inch of rain to fall in the area today. Heavy rain on Friday led to flooding that forced dozens of campers to evacuate the Neskowin Creek RV Resort in Tillamook County. The U.S. Coast Guard used two helicopters and a rescue swimmer to save 12 people from the flooding, and eight more people were rescued by other agencies.

Police Find 2,800 Pounds Of Marijuana In U-Haul Truck

(Albany, OR) -- Police in Linn County are reporting a major marijuana bust that happened after an officer picked up the scent of it from the back of a U-Haul truck while driving on I-5. The Linn County Sheriff's Office says a narcotics officer was driving on I-5 on November 3rd when he picked up the scent. Police pulled the truck over. The driver initially said they were hauling furniture and the smell was from his t-shirt that needed to be washed. When officers opened the truck they found 173 large garbage bags filled with 28-hundred pounds of pot worth over two-million dollars. The driver and passenger were arrested on drug charges.

Service Resumes Next Week On Point Defiance Bypass After Deadly 2017 Crash

(Portland, OR) -- Amtrak Cascades is set to resume service along the Point Defiance bypass next week, nearly four years after a train derailed on its way from Seattle to Portland, killing three people. Amtrak says service will resume next Thursday morning, with a total of eight trains scheduled to use the bypass daily. Amtrak released a statement saying it has added multiple safety measures and has implemented a majority of the National Transportation Safety Board's recommendations, with plans to implement the rest of the recommendations later. The National Transportation Safety Board ruled early last year that inadequate planning, insufficient crew training, excessive speed and human error were to blame for the deadly December 2017 derailment. Three people were killed and dozens were injured in the crash.

Woman Rescued From Santiam River

(Stayton, OR) -- A woman is recovering after being rescued from the Santiam River in Stayton. Workers at a Knife River facility called 911 after hearing the woman call for help yesterday. She was holding onto brush in the river. They tried to throw her a flotation device, but she couldn't reach it. Deputies used a rope from the 1st Street Bridge to get the flotation device to her. The Jefferson Fire District used its boat to reach the woman and a rescue swimmer helped her get to safety. She lived in a camp near the river and got stuck in the current while trying to leave, because of the rising water levels. She was taken to a hospital for evaluation.

North Bend School District Cancels Classes Today Due To Staffing Shortage

(North Bend, OR) -- The North Bend School District is canceling all classes for today due to a staffing shortage. NBSD officials say the shortage comes from a combination of noted teacher shortages the district has been coping with, and illnesses. The district says it does not have enough available staff or substitutes to fill the gaps.

Coffee Creek Correctional Facility Holding Recruiting Event

(Wilsonville, OR) -- The Coffee Creek Correctional Facility in Wilsonville is holding a one-day recruiting event tomorrow. Residents interested in applying to become a corrections officer can talk with other corrections officers about the job. It'll be held at Clackamas Community College from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit ODOC-JOBS-DOT-COM.

OR Has Backlog of Emergency Rental Assistance Applications

(Portland, OR) -- The state of Oregon has a backlog of 20-thousand emergency rental assistance applications it's working to process. So far, they've paid out 130-million dollars to more than 19-thousand applicants. Tenants are protected for two months after they file for emergency assistance, but many of the applications are taking longer than that to get processed. Multnomah, Washington, and Clackamas counties have the most applications that are past the window for protection.

OR Sues Opioid Manufacturer

(Salem, OR) -- The State of Oregon is filing a lawsuit against opioid manufacturer Endo Pharmaceuticals for deceptively marketing their powerful drug Opana for more than a decade. The complaint alleges that Endo misrepresented the risks and benefits of Opana, which is an extended-release opioid similar to Purdue Pharma's OxyContin. Opana was pulled from the market. The lawsuit highlights connections between legal action against Purdue and Endo. Oregon is one of nine states fighting Purdue Pharma's bankruptcy and four-point-three billion dollar payments to several states.

Officials Warn Of Landslides

(Salem, OR) -- The Oregon Department of Geology is warning residents to be on the lookout for landslides during the atmospheric river event that's hitting the state. A foot of rain could fall in the Coast Range and up to three inches could fall in the Valley. The heavy rain could cause landslides and debris flows in hilly areas. Wildfire damaged hills will be especially prone to slides.

OR Reports 75 New COVID-19 Deaths

(Portland, OR) -- Over six-dozen more Oregonians are dead after contracting COVID-19. The Oregon Health Authority reported 75 new coronavirus deaths yesterday, raising the state's death toll from the pandemic to four-thousand-730. The health authority also reported one-thousand-33 new cases of COVID-19. Health officials say new cases have declined 16-percent over the last week, but hospitalizations and deaths have increased.

Audit Finds OR Consumer, Business Services Department Needs Cybersecurity Improvements

(Salem, OR) -- A new report finds the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services needs to improve cybersecurity safeguards. An audit by the Oregon Secretary of State finds the agency has failed to implement basic steps to protect the agency's computer systems from hackers. Audits in 2016 and 2018 also found the problems and the most recent audit shows the agency still has work to do. In a response, the head of DCBS says they agree with the audit and they've formed an executive oversight committee to track compliance with the necessary steps to increase computer security.

Nicholas Kristof Takes Early Lead In Fundraising For Governor's Race

(Salem, OR) -- Former journalist and Democratic candidate for governor Nicholas Kristof has the early fundraising lead over his opponents. Kristof's campaign reported just over one-million dollars in contributions since he announced his candidacy. According to filings, more than 25-hundred people across Oregon donated to the war chest. State Treasurer Tobias Read reported nearly 486-thousand dollars this year, while House Speaker Tina Kotek reported 414-thousand dollars.

OR Reports 35 New COVID-19 Deaths

(Portland, OR) -- Oregon is reporting nearly three-dozen new coronavirus deaths. The Oregon Health Authority reported 35 new COVID-19 related deaths yesterday, raising the state's death toll from the pandemic to four-thousand-655. The health agency also reported one-thousand-120 new cases of COVID-19. There are 510 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19 statewide, which is down ten from Monday.

Portland Public Schools Offering Bonuses

(Portland, OR) -- The Portland School District will offer retention bonuses and referral bonuses to keep and attract new employees. The school district is facing staffing shortages. Referral bonuses of 750 dollars will be offered to employees who help the district hire custodians, paraprofessional educators, counselors and social workers. Paraeducators, who help special needs students, will get a three-thousand dollar bonus if they stay with the district through the end of the school year.

SOU Names New President

(Ashland, OR) -- The Board of Trustees for Southern Oregon University named their pick for the college's next president. Dr. Richard Bailey Jr. will take over Linda Schott, who is retiring at the end of 2021. Bailey has served as the president for Northern New Mexico College, where he saw enrollment increase by 20-percent. Prior to his career in education, Bailey served in the U.S. Air Force.

The Dalles Approve Controversial Deal With Google

(Dalles, OR) -- The Dalles City Council approved a 28-and-a-half-million-dollar agreement with Google that will allow the tech giant to build two new data centers in the city. The deal comes with controversy as it gives Google the rights to groundwater in the area to use for their facilities. The amount of water used to cool the data centers has not been disclosed.

OR Reports 58 New COVID-19 Cases

(Portland, OR) -- Nearly five-dozen more Oregonians are dead after contracting COVID-19. The Oregon Health Authority reported 58 new coronavirus deaths yesterday from Friday through Sunday, raising the state's death toll from the pandemic to four-thousand-620. The agency also reported two-thousand-125 new cases of COVID-19 from the weekend. There are 520 people hospitalized with coronavirus in Oregon, which is three less than on Sunday.

Portland Homes Flooded By Water Main Break In SW Portland

(Portland, OR) -- Over a dozen Southwest Portland residents are playing cleanup following flooding caused by an old water main break. The Portland Water Bureau reported the main break around 1 a.m. yesterday on Southwest Fairmount Boulevard in the Portland Heights neighborhood. The rupture flooded about 13 homes in the area. Crews fixed the pipe midway through the day.

Police Arrest Murder Suspect During Search For Burglary Suspect

(Castle Rock, WA) -- Police say a search for a burglary suspect in Castle Rock led to the arrest of a murder suspect. Cowlitz County Sheriff's deputies responded to a report of a burglary in progress at a home where the homeowner had recently died. A K9 track led deputies to a home a few blocks away where they found 48-year-old Jose Manuel Colon Ortega from Tacoma. He had items from the burglary and also had a warrant for Murder in the First Degree out of Pierce County. A search of the home turned up several items that had been stolen from the house where the investigation started.

Police ID Teen Killed By Falling Tree Limb

(Portland, OR) -- The Multnomah County Sheriff's Office is releasing the name of a teenager who was killed by a falling tree limb during a tree planting event on Saturday. Police say 14-year-old Christopher Kelly was helping to plant trees in the area of Thousand Acres Dog Park at the Sandy River Delta in Troutdale. He was working about a quarter-mile from the main road when the accident happened. Kelly was a student at Central Catholic High School.

Forest Service Waiving Fees At Recreation Sites Thursday

(Portland, OR) -- The U-S Forest Service is waiving fees at day-use recreation sites in Oregon and Washington on November 11th, Veterans Day. The fee waiver includes many Forest Service picnic areas, boat launches, trailheads, and visitor centers. Fees for camping, cabin rentals, or other permits still apply. There are 17 National Forests in Oregon and Washington.

Nearly 1,400 Pounds Garbage Collected From Two I-5 Ramps

(Vancouver, WA) -- Officials say nearly 14-hundred pounds of garbage were collected on two major I-5 ramps in Vancouver this fall. Vancouver Public Works received a 40-thousand dollar grant from the Washington State Department of Ecology to clean up the garbage along with Washington State Department of Transportation and Clark County Court Restitution crews. Most of the items were disposable cups, bottles, plastics, paper and bags. The litter pickups happened at the Fourth Plain Boulevard and 39th Street ramps.

OR To Get Over $1B From Federal Infrastructure Bill

(Salem, OR) -- The Oregon Department of Transportation will get over one-billion dollars from the federal infrastructure package that was passed by Congress over the weekend. The money will go toward projects around the state that will benefit drivers, transit riders, cyclists and pedestrians, help maintain roads and bridges, and address climate change. ODOT is still analyzing the legislation and plans to release more details about how the money will be spend later this week.

Two Killed By Falling Tree Limbs In Portland

(Portland, OR) -- Police say two people were killed by falling tree limbs in separate incidents in the Portland area on Saturday morning. Two homeless men were hit by a falling limb near Northeast Sandy Boulevard and 118th Avenue. One man died and the other was hospitalized. About a half hour later, a teenager who was volunteering in a Troutdale Park was hit by a limb and killed. The volunteers were planting trees in the park. Arborists say it's important to use caution under trees and to always look for signs of deterioration that might lead to a limb or tree falling.

OR, WA Kaiser Employees To Strike Next Week

(Portland, OR) -- Thousands of Kaiser Permanente workers in Oregon and Southwestern Washington are set to go on strike next week. Union leaders representing the employees gave management a ten-day notice last Thursday of their intent to strike over what they claim are proposed wage cuts for new and existing workers. The Oregon Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals alleges Kaiser Permanente proposes to depress wages for current employees and slash pay for incoming workers by way of a two-tier system that would take effect amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Kaiser officials deny the claim.

Mother, Daughter Fall 50 Feet At Multnomah Falls

(Portland, OR) -- A mother and her two-year-old daughter are hospitalized after falling roughly 50 feet while hiking at Multnomah Falls. The Multnomah County Sheriff's Office says the fall happened yesterday when the woman's daughter fell from the hiking path into the water below. The mother then followed her down to try to save her. Witnesses sprang into action to help rescue the two. Both mother and daughter are expected to survive.

Portland Group Gets Grant To Continue STEM Work

(Portland, OR) -- A Portland-based multicultural STEM nonprofit is one of eight groups receiving a one-million-dollar grant to continue their work. KATU-2 reports the Marie Lamfrom Charitable Foundation is giving 125-thousand dollars each to ELSO Inc. and seven other groups dedicated to empowering young women and people of color interested in STEM careers. The foundation says the donations are in honor of family member Hildegard Lamfrom, whose scientific research they say contributed significantly to the medical community.

Newberg Teachers Union Sues School Board Over BLM, Pride Sign Ban

(Newberg, OR) -- The Newberg Education Association is filing a lawsuit against the Newberg School District and school board members over their ban on Black Lives Matter and Pride signs and other political symbols in classrooms. The lawsuit argues the new policy is discriminatory, vague, and unconstitutional. NEA President Jennifer Schneider says the lawsuit would guarantee that the personal politics and prejudices of the school board aren't able to enter classrooms.

Kaiser Nurses, Health Care Professionals To Strike

(Portland, OR) -- Nurses and health care professionals at Kaiser Permanente in Oregon and Southwest Washington have announced they'll go on strike starting November 15th. Officials say 96-percent of union members approved the strike in a vote last month. Their primary issue is a lack of adequate staffing. 32-thousand nurses and other health professionals in five states will join the strike. Negotiations between the union and Kaiser continue.

OR Senators Ask Biden To Rescind Honor Medals From Wounded Knee Massacre Soldiers

(Washington, D.C.) -- Oregon Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden are leading an effort to ask President Biden to rescind Medals of Honor from 20 soldiers who were involved in the Wounded Knee Massacre in 1890. It happened at the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Hundreds of unarmed men, women, and children were killed. They're asking the President to use his executive authority to rescind the nation's highest military honor from those soldiers.

Property Owner Pleads Guilty To Bias Crime

(Portland, OR) -- A downtown Portland property owner is pleading guilty to bias crime, assault, and unlawful use of a weapon. Court records show 75-year-old Leon Drennan was sentenced to probation and other conditions. Drennan owns the Stewart Hotel, which used to be home to Mary's Club, a well-known dance venue in Portland. Drennan was accused of using a gun and racial slurs toward victims in two incidents. The victim was satisfied with the resolution of the case. Under the plea deal, if Drennan commits another crime he'll be treated as the highest level offender possible.

OR Reports 74 New COVID-19 Deaths

(Portland, OR) -- Oregon is reporting over six-dozen new coronavirus deaths. The Oregon Health Authority confirmed 74 new deaths related to COVID-19 yesterday, raising the state's death toll from the pandemic to four-thousand-543. The agency also reported one-thousand-211 new cases of COVID-19 and five new hospitalizations for the virus, raising the total number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Oregon to 532 people.

FBI Increases Reward For Info On 2020 Murder

(Portland, OR) -- The FBI is adding 15-thousand dollars to a 25-hundred dollar Crime Stoppers of Oregon reward for information that leads to an arrest and conviction in the murder of De'annzello McDonald. He was killed in a shooting on June 11, 2020 in a staircase near Northeast 162nd and Hoyt Street. Investigators say the suspect was a Black man in his 20s, 6-feet tall, with a thin build and possibly braided hair. He was wearing a light, multi-colored top jacket, dark or black pants, and a light colored hat. He left in a blue or gray Ford Crown Victoria sedan. This is the fourth reward offered by the FBI on behalf of the Metro Safe Streets Task Force.

Harney County Approves Advisory Measure To Join Idaho

(Burns, OR) -- Voters in another Oregon county have approved an advisory measure showing they want to become part of Idaho. Officials say 63-percent of voters in Harney County approved the measure. They join seven counties that have also voted in favor. More counties are expected to vote next year. The Greater Idaho effort would make much of Central, Eastern and Southern Oregon part of Idaho. The measure would have to be approved by the Oregon legislature, the Idaho Legislature, and Congress to happen.

Lloyd Center Mall Faces Foreclosure

(Portland, OR) -- Lloyd Center mall faces foreclosure. KKR Real Estate Trust Finance will take ownership of the property by the end of the year. It's currently owned by Cypress Equities, from Dallas, Texas. KKR plans to redevelop the site including residential and office space.

Employment Department Sends Notices To Special Unemployment Recipients

(Salem, OR) -- The Oregon Employment Department is sending notices to around 35-thousand Oregonians who received special unemployment benefits from federal programs. The notices ask for a variety of information. In most cases, they need more details about their status. The special federal programs ended in September. Most of the requests would not affect past benefits.

Wheeler Asks City Council To Approve More Police Funding

(Portland, OR) -- Mayor Ted Wheeler is asking City Council to approve more funding for Portland Police. The money would go toward hiring more officers, Portland Street Response, and body worn cameras. Over the next three years, Wheeler says the bureau needs to hire 200 armed and 100 unarmed officers. He's proposing signing bonuses up to 25-thousand dollars for the first 50 officers. Wheeler also wants to rehire officers who are retired to temporarily fill the gaps until permanent officers are hired.

OR Reports New COVID-19 Deaths

(Portland, OR) -- Over five-dozen more Oregonians are dead after contracting COVID-19. The Oregon Health Authority reported 64 new coronavirus deaths yesterday, raising the state's death toll from the pandemic to four-thousand-469. The agency also reported one-thousand-128 new cases of COVID-19. Health officials are concerned because cases are plateauing at a higher rate than after previous waves. A total of 527 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 in Oregon, which is down ten from Tuesday.

Washington County DA Gets $300K To Combat Bias Crimes

(Hillsboro, OR) -- The Washington County District Attorney's Office has been awarded a 300-thousand dollar grant to combat a rise in bias and hate crimes. The money comes from the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crime Program which is administered by the U.S. Department of Justice. The county will use the money to create a new Bias Crime Multidisciplinary Team which will include law enforcement and community partner organizations. It will develop strategies and training to combat bias and hate crimes.

Portland, Multnomah County To Spend $38M On Homelessness Services

(Portland, OR) -- The City of Portland and Multnomah County will spend nearly 38-million dollars on services for people who are homeless. The money is coming from better-than-expected business tax revenues. County Chair Deborah Kafoury and Mayor Ted Wheeler made the announcement today. Thirty-million dollars will be spent on shelter sites and beds, along with more behavioral health and public health services. Seven-million dollars will be spent on expanded trash pickup and campsite cleanup programs.

OR Reports Five New COVID-19 Deaths, 2,569 New Cases

(Portland, OR) -- Oregon is reporting five new deaths and two-thousand-569 new cases of COVID-19 since Friday. The Oregon Health Authority reported the new numbers yesterday. There are 540 people hospitalized with coronavirus, which is eleven more than on Sunday. There have now been four-thousand-377 deaths and 367-thousand-610 cases of COVID-19 in Oregon since the pandemic began.

OR Launches New Digital Library For Veterans

(Salem, OR) -- Oregon veterans have a new resource to find training and employment services. The Oregon Employment Department has created a new digital library that includes short videos, podcasts, and training. It's expected to be especially helpful to veterans in rural Oregon where in-person services are more difficult to find. The Veterans Services staff at the Oregon Employment Department has spent more than a year creating the materials.

Sheriff's Office Reports Massive Drug Bust

(Portland, OR) -- The Multnomah County Sheriff's Office is reporting one of the largest drug busts in its recent history. During a search at the Wimbledon Court Apartments in Southeast Portland, deputies found over six-thousand tablets of Xanax, nearly two-thousand Valium pills and 150 suspected Fentanyl pills. They also seized LSD, psychedelic mushrooms, marijuana, heroin and meth. A suspect was taken into custody, but his name isn't being released because the investigation is ongoing.

Two Injured In Gresham Shooting

(Gresham, OR) -- Police are searching for a suspect accused of shooting two people as they sat in their car in Gresham. It happened overnight near 202nd and Glisan. Both victims were hospitalized for non-life-threatening injuries. Police say they're looking for one or two suspects who allegedly opened fire from inside a separate vehicle.

City Council Considers Proposal To Rehire Retired Cops

(Portland, OR) -- Portland City Council is expected to consider a proposal from the Mayor this week to rehire police officers who are retired. The Portland Police Bureau is short more than 300 officers and this program would help to temporarily fill the gap until permanent officers are hired. Portland is experiencing a dramatic rise in gun violence with over a thousand shootings and a record number of homicides this year.

Governor Brown Announces Timber Agreement

(Salem, OR) -- Governor Kate Brown says she's reached an agreement with timber companies, small forestland owners, conservation leaders, and fishing organizations on changes to a timber agreement. It affects over 10-million acres of forestland in Oregon. The proposal tries to meet the statewide Habitat Conservation Plan. The Legislature will need to approve the agreement. It would allow more timber harvesting while maintaining clean water and recreation activities.

Man Injured By Stray Bullet While Sleeping

(Portland, OR) -- Police say a stray bullet wounded a man who was sleeping in his bedroom early Saturday morning in Southeast Portland. Police say the shooting happened near Southeast Powell and 132nd Avenue. Five bullets traveled more than a block and hit the house. Police say it wasn't the intended target. One bullet went through a wall and hit a sleeping man in the shoulder. He was evaluated at the scene by paramedics and didn't go to a hospital. Police have not made any arrests in the shooting.

PPS To Hold All Meetings Virtually Through November

(Portland, OR) -- The Portland Public School Board says all of its meetings will be held virtually through November. This follows a chaotic board meeting that was forced to go virtual this week when several people attending the meeting refused to wear masks, which violates the state requirement for indoor masks. The board also postponed a vote on a possible vaccine mandate. The meetings will be lived streamed and public comment will be taken via email.


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